Aquarium Fish

Freshwater Angelfish Care

The freshwater Angelfish is a very popular tropical fish because of its unique shape and because of their interesting personalities. They are aggressive eaters and will go to the top of the tank when they see you approach. Because of their aggressive feeding habits, make sure that your less aggressive fish are getting their share around feeding time.

Angel fish are curious about their environment and can become very territorial, especially around breeding time. They will pair off and if any other fish tries to enter their territory they will go after them. So use caution when stocking.

As mentioned earlier, they are not picky eaters. They will go after many types of fish food, including vitamin enriched flakes, frozen, freeze dried and live foods. As they grow in size they may even go after smaller fish like neon tetras, so keep that in mind when stocking your aquarium.

They prefer tall tanks over short tanks because of their tall body shape.


Pterophyllum scalare Angelfish Marbled variety


Care Details

Scientific Name : Pterophyllum scalare

Common Names : There are many types with many different color varieties including: Albino, Black, Gold, Silver, Marbled, Koi, etc - seems there is a common name for each color variety.

Care Level : Easy

Size : Up to 6 inches (15 cm)

pH : 6 - 7.5

Temperature : 74°F - 84°F (23°C - 29°C)

Water Hardness : 5° to 13° dH

Lifespan : 8 - 10 years

Origin / Habitat : Amazon River

Temperament / Behavior : A lot of people wonder if these cichlids are aggressive? They are generally peaceful, but can be aggressive eaters and may become territorial while breeding.

Breeding / Mating / Reproduction :This fish can breed in 7.5 or lower pH. They can breed in 78-80F water, but cooler water works as well, the fry just develop slower. They will lay the eggs on a vertical or diagonal surface. Assuming you have a pair, they are not difficult to breed. Assuming you have a male/female pair... an aquarium with live plants, smooth rock or flat slate will be good options for them to place the eggs on. Once the eggs are placed by the parents it is usually a good idea to remove the parents to prevent them from eating the eggs. Especially during the first few breeding attempts. An air stone placed under the eggs with very gentle flow over the eggs will help produce a good hatch rate. Pre-conditioning the parent angelfish with high quality live foods will also increase the chances of a successful hatch. Read the article on breeding Angelfish for more information.

Listed below is a short video on a pair taking care of a fresh hatch:
Breeding Video (Low Speed - 188 KB)
Breeding Video (High Speed - 1.5 MB)

Aquarium Size : 20 gallon minimum, prefer tall aquariums

Tank Mates : Jump to profiles of fish that could potentially be kept with this fish:
Pleco, Blue Gourami, Dwarf Gourami, Larger Tetras, Bala Shark

Freshwater Diseases : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Foods : Usually very good eaters, they will take flakes, pellets, freeze dried (re-hydrated before feeding to prevent bloat and other issues - blood worms, brine shrimp) and especially live foods and fresh veggies.

Tank Region : All levels of the aquarium.

Gender : There are no visible differences between the male and female. Only at spawing will you be able to tell the male from the female. A female has a round "tear-drop" shaped breeding tube and a male has a cone shaped breeding tube. See the How To Sex Angelfish thread on the forum for more details.

Author : Mike FishLore

References :

Fish Lore Forum : Angelfish Forum
Also see the Different Types of Angelfish thread on the forum.

Forum Avatar :
Pterophyllum scalar

From: Mark
I bought a small freshwater angel fish (2") at the pet store and I didn't notice until I got home that the fin had been nipped or eaten. Will it grow back?
Since you did not notice it at first, we are assuming that a very small piece of the fin is missing. Small nips in a fin should grow back provided that you give your Angel fish a good quality diet, provide them with good, frequently changed water in a cycled tank and make sure they are kept with peaceful fish that will not continue the bother (nip at) their fins.

From: Jimmy D via email
Great fish to have. I have about 22 of them and they are big.

From: Mike
I have 7 different angel fish in one tank. Are they able breed if they are mixed?
Sure, provided that you have males and females. Wait and watch your fish as they form pairs when they are ready to breed. Check out the article on breeding them (links above). Be prepared to remove some of them as aggression could become a problem with all of them in one tank.

From: Sean
What are some sutible tank mates if I wanted to include Angel fish in a community tank?
Because they are usually very peaceful, there are quite a few freshwater tropical fish you could keep with them. However, they will become territorial if they have formed pairs and are ready to spawn.

Some that would work well: Corydoras, Gouramis (avoid the Kissing Gourami), Plecos, Guppies, Silver Dollars, Platies, Swordtails and Bala Sharks. Freshwater fish that may not do well with your Angels would be the notorious fin nippers, such as Tiger Barbs and some of the tetras if not kept in schools. Keeping only one or two barbs or tetras may bring out the fin nipping behavior.

From: Jose
If i get a pair of angels do i remove the other fish (Mollies, guppies)?
It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you are trying to breed the angels then I would say it may be a good idea to remove the other fish or at least put in a tank divider. They will generally make good community tank mates with mollies and guppies if you just want to add some angels to your tank.

From: Leslie
I have a fresh water tank with 3 clown loaches who have been in the tank for several weeks. Tonight I bought an angel fish. The gentleman at the pet store said they should be fine together, but every site I have checked hasn't mentioned clown loaches and angel fish together. Do you think these two types of fish will be suitable tank mates?
Generally, Angels will do fine with clown loaches. Your clown loaches may go after the long fins on the Angels from time to time, but they shouldn't get too aggressive.

From: Liz
Will angel fish get along with gold fish? I currently have three goldfish (feeder fish) in a 25 gallon tank.
I wouldn't recommend keeping them together. Especially since feeder goldfish can be loaded with disease problems that you don't want to introduce to your other fish. Goldfish will like a colder water temperature than them as well.

From: Zero
They are a very impressive in large groups in variety of colors. I say the best looking tropical angel would be the Wild Breed (Silver, Black vertical stripes and red eyes, a.k.a. Silver angels) You don't see them very often any more becuase pet stores buy fish from local breeders nowadays instead of being imported. If you see a Silver (Wild) that has red eyes, you should purchase it. I got mine at a pet store for 3 bucks it was 2" and now eight months later it is almost 7" inches! The wild angels are a bit more territorial than other angels, and will chase any angels away (except its pair partner) from its spot in the tank, which for mine is inside a sunken ship. The Wild angels are a very elegant and make a great crown jewel of any aquarium.

From: Agnes Otworowski - Behavior
10 hours ago, I bought my first fish for my new 20 gallon aquarium, 7 guppies and 2 swordtails. 2 hours later, I bought 2. They have been hiding ever since they arrived in the new aquarium. Sometimes, they come out but they usually return to their hiding spot. What made my fish seem so shy? They weren't this scared when they were at the store.
Woah, this is a lot of fish for 20 gallon tank. This is also a lot of fish to introduce all at once. You will see an ammonia spike in the coming hours. Be ready to do water changes on a regular basis to keep the fish alive as they go through the nitrogen cycle. You have to slowly stock a tank so that the beneficial bacteria can keep up with the demands placed on the system. If you have 2 different sexes of angels you will also see aggression from them when/if they pair off to breed down the road if they make it through the cycle. I'd return them to the store if you can and pick up some Bio-spira while you are at the store. Also read the article on the nitrogen cycle while you're here on Fishlore.

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