Adding angelfish to new tank - best approach?

TClare

Member
I would like to have a group of angelfish, maybe 5 or 6 (?) in my newly set up tank which is about 150 gallons or 560 litres. I aready have two young angels that are currently in a 175 litre tank with some Neón tetras, pencil fish and a pair of Apistogrammas. I got the angelfish at the beginning of November, they were very small but have grown quickly and are now about 10cm (4 inches) total height. They are getting on fine together so far, and not yet big enough to be a danger to the smaller fish, so I am not necessarily in a hurry to move them, but I have always intended them for the large tank long term. If I get 3 or 4 new small angelfish for the new tank will they be Ok with the bigger ones or should I try to get ones the same size ? I would rather get smaller ones as I like watching them grow, and they cost less!. If I do get smaller ones could I add them to the new tank together with the two bigger ones, or would it be better to let them grow a bit first before adding the others? I am sure it’s not a good idea to put the two I have in the new tank before getting any others.

Another question for those with experience of angelfish groups. If / when they eventually start maturing and pairing off, will things be manageable in a tank of this size, I mean if any start to get bullied will they be able to get far enough away not to be chased, or would a pair try to own the whole tank?

IFinally, is 5-6 a good number for this tank? I want to allow room for some dwarf cichlids and other small fish as well.
 

A201

Member
A 150 gal. tank is plenty big enough for a large group of Angel's. You could balance it out with groups of Barbs & Tetras as well. Even a colony of Bolivian Rams would be fine.
 

jake37

Member
I would just pluck them in but be aware that all your angels as adults will be able to eat the neon and pencil fishes. I have mine with cardinals. What i've been told is that if they are raised with these fishes there is less chance they will eat them and so far they have left my cardinals alone but i do worry what will happen if they get hungry....

As for what will happen with your angels - that is a bit unpredictable. My experience was that when I started with 8 i ended up with two and the dominant female would pick off the undesirable one by one. The male just chases them but not very far but the female will brutalize fishes she does not want around. Two rounds with 6 to 8 fishes ended up with 2 but one of the many times my angles bred i kept 8 (now 7) of the babies and they are just reaching maturity. I now have 11 angels (i had 3 - one was a betta female that would get beat up by not killed) and so far it is working out as the babies reach sexual maturity but i'm still waiting on the finale verdict. My babies ended up quite large - larger than the female and challenging the male for size (I think i have 3 males and 4 females based on size).
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My tank is a bit smaller than yours - it is a 120 which is only 4 feet long - and i believe your tank is 6 feet - and i have a gentle breeding pair that is ok with other fishes as long as they stay 8 to 12 inches away. Previous pair (which i got rid of for various reason) wanted everyone to say 3 feet away.
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So the summary - i would plop the four angels in - there might be a lot of bickering between the 2 you have and the 4 but it won't be deadly and it might last 8-12 weeks. When they reach sexual maturity it will be a **** shoot how it works out and i don't think anyone can predict for sure how it will turn out but 6 is a thin number so you might end up with 2 in the end.
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Your neon will be serious threat to become food. You really should keep larger schooler with angels - mine loves shrimp pellets and most neon are not going to be much thicker than a pellet. My smaller cardinals stay in the middle of their school (I have 25) and the larger ones are quite a bit larger than neon but they scatter fast when the angels are near. If you like their looks rosy white fin tetra are a favorite. My long term plan is after I move the cardinals will go in the ram tank and the angels will get a larger schooler - and i'll cross my fingers till that happens.
 
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TClare

Member
A201 said:
A 150 gal. tank is plenty big enough for a large group of Angel's. You could balance it out with groups of Barbs & Tetras as well. Even a colony of Bolivian Rams would be fine.
How many angelfish would you suggest? I was thinking along those lines, Bolivian rams would be good if I can get them, and definitely tetras.
 

A201

Member
Too much of a good thing often doesn't look all that great. IMO, Six Angel's would be enough. Plenty of room left over for pretty schooling fish like Denison or Filament Barbs.
A 150 gal. affords so many possibilities, a lot of space to fill.
 

jake37

Member
You could do 12 comfortably. The concern with 6 is when a pair forms if you end up with a bossy female she will pick off contenders one by one. With a larger school she might pick on one and then another giving the previous one a chance to rest. I don't know if A201 has kept many angels but as i noted above in my long essay the two times i had 6-8 angels the female wittled it down one by one. I'm not sure why things are working out now - but mostly the other 7 stayed out of the parents way when they were small and now they are pretty bloody large and can take a bit of punching... but there really hasn't been much bickering. Maybe they are just a gentle crew or maybe i was unlucky the last couple of times...
 
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TClare

Member
Mmm interesting, 12 sounds a lot, especially when they get big, but I see what you are saying, I was thinking only about 6, to be able to have Bolivian rams or Apistogrammas as well. If one became too aggressive perhaps I could move it to another tank, but then maybe another would take over? And is it Ok to mix sizes?
 

jake37

Member
Hard to predict... just be prepare to remove some or give them to lfs...

TClare said:
Mmm interesting, 12 sounds a lot, especially when they get big, but I see what you are saying, I was thinking only about 6, to be able to have Bolivian rams or Apistogrammas as well. If one became too aggressive perhaps I could move it to another tank, but then maybe another would take over? And is it Ok to mix sizes?
 

jmaldo

Member
By no means an "Angel"expert. Picked up 5 juvenile Angels, approx. a quarter body size for a 55g Planted Community. They were fine with Bolivians, Cories and Tetras. But... eventually as they grew and decided to pair off the remaining 3 along with the other inhabitants were banished to the other side of 55g tank. Especially when they spawned, they were very protective. I eventually removed the pair. As far as adding smaller to larger already established Angels. They are cichlids and have claimed areas. Not sure how it will work out.
The larger tank may help.
Good Luck
 
  • Thread Starter

TClare

Member
Yes t
jmaldo said:
By no means an "Angel"expert. Picked up 5 juvenile Angels, approx. a quarter body size for a 55g Planted Community. They were fine with Bolivians, Cories and Tetras. But... eventually as they grew and decided to pair off the remaining 3 along with the other inhabitants were banished to the other side of 55g tank. Especially when they spawned, they were very protective. I eventually removed the pair. As far as adding smaller to larger already established Angels. They are cichlids and have claimed areas. Not sure how it will work out.
The larger tank may help.
Good Luck
Thanks, that is the sort of thing I would expect to happen eventually. I think I will just try it out with 6 and be prepared to deal with things later on, I don’t really want to overstock the tank even though it is big. The two bigger angels I have are not in the big tank yet, I was thinking to probably get some smaller ones in there first then later add the two bigger ones who are still Ok in the 175l (46 gallons I think). And how did it work with the Bolivian rams, how many do you have and did they also pair off and cause any issues?
 

jmaldo

Member
Your plan sounds good, but... have a back-up plan, you never know with cichlids.
I did have a Bolivian pair spawn successfully with the Angel pair. They were "Great" parents and kept the Angels away and were not intimidated at all. They did their "Best" but the juveniles eventually became snacks.

Good Luck!
 

86 ssinit

Member
Angels are though fish to figure out. Had 3 in a 90 last year. 1 male 2 females. The male mated with both females many times and than one day the females killed him. Now the 2 females have been fine fore the last year. Those I see who keep angels have a lot of them in big tanks. 10+. I’ve even seen recently a 125 with 10discus and 10 angels that seemed to be doing well. I think the more you have the better they are. Again think! I’m not sure. bizaliz3 has been keeping and breeding and would probably know the most.
 
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TClare

Member
86 ssinit said:
Angels are though fish to figure out. Had 3 in a 90 last year. 1 male 2 females. The male mated with both females many times and than one day the females killed him. Now the 2 females have been fine fore the last year. Those I see who keep angels have a lot of them in big tanks. 10+. I’ve even seen recently a 125 with 10discus and 10 angels that seemed to be doing well. I think the more you have the better they are. Again think! I’m not sure. bizaliz3 has been keeping and breeding and would probably know the most.
Yes, it’s difficult to predict how things will work out with cichlids!
 
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TClare

Member
Alternatively I could keep the two I have and think of something else to add with them, but I do like the idea of a group. Initially I wanted festivums, but I want to keep the plants, plus I have not seen any for sale lately. Anyway I think there would eventually be similar issues with them as with the angels. By the way I meant to clarify before, the two angels are with the neons at the moment, but I have no intention of putting the neons in the big tank, would have to be bigger tetras...
 
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TClare

Member
Ok so as an update last week I bought two small angelfish (only 2 as the shop I went to all the ones they had were from the same parents so I thought it better to mix them) Yesterday I got two more from somewhere different, even smaller (actually the first two have already grown quite a bit). So in the big tank I have two about 3cm total length (nose to end of tail) and two about 5cm total length, while the original two still in a smaller tank are much bigger, probably at least 8cm and much stockier. I am wondering at what stage to put the two big ones in with the others?
 

jake37

Member
Do it now - unless you are qt'ing them. They might not get along but it works better if they grow up together. Adding them later after the fishes are old enough to establish a territory is just going to make things worse.
 
  • Thread Starter

TClare

Member
jake37 said:
Do it now - unless you are qt'ing them. They might not get along but it works better if they grow up together. Adding them later after the fishes are old enough to establish a territory is just going to make things worse.
ok thanks, I will put them in tomorrow then. I am not quarantining the new ones, they seem very healthy, the two I bought first were bred at the fish store, and the second two they had had in for about a month. I did see some nice all black ones at the first shop, but they were recently arrived, still in quarantine and did not look so healthy. Might get one later on...
 
  • Thread Starter

TClare

Member
I put the big ones in a couple of days ago, no issues so far, thanks for the advice......


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