75 Gallon Tank Angelfish aggression is getting out if control!

  • #1
Hi guys! After about a month or two i finally set up my 80 gallon tank. And recently (Even in the 29 gallon) I saw my angelfish transform into demons! They became vicious bullies to basically everything in the tank and i’m pretty sure that they are breeding because they have the little pink things that pop up when they’re about to breed. So i obviously known something like this could happen but not to this extent. They bullied my glass catfish so much that the three of them died and i had to give the remaining two to the fish store where they’re happy with a lot of other glass catfish. I also returned my hillstream loach. But now let’s get into the aggession. So basically the angelfish started to chase the cardinal tetras and they nipped at them so hard that one of them basically lost it’s tail. But the tetras now stay low in the tank and act healthy without getting bullied so they’re ok for now. But the biggest problem is the pearl gourami. So every time they see him they just start biting and chasing him until he manages to hide in a corner or near a driftwood cave thing that i set up. And it’s really annoying me since the pealr gourami is my personal favorite fish in the aquarium and im scared they will bully him to death. I don’t really have any spear tanks right now since i have the 29 gallon in my old house. (I set up the 80 gallon conveniently since i was moving) And i dont know what to do. Should i just wait until the female lays eggs and hope nothing bad happens midway? I don’t but please help. Thanks guys
Sorry for the typos i don’t have autocorrect on

  • #2
Could you possibly set up a divider between the angelfish and the others? It does sound like they are thinking of spawning as otherwise they are only aggressive to each other, not to other fish species.

  • #3
Put the bully Angelfish in my tank. My fish will teach them a lesson! Lol I'm kidding kidding.

Honestly man, your best bet is separation. You seem to have done that (returning some fish) already to some extent. Use a divider as suggested or get the other tank you mentioned you had and separate the fish. If they are breeding, aggression will usually continue throughout the breeding session (which is why breeders separate fish who have "paired off").
  • #4
IF breeding they will stake out an area and chase everyone out of that area. Sometimes the area is about 5 inches circle around the breeding spot and sometimes it is 4 feet; very much depends on the pair - if this pair is too painful but you want a breeding pair in your community aquarium start over with some small angels until you get a pair with the proper behavior. It took me about 4 tries to find a nice pair who turned into extremely good parents but only wanted a small area around the eggs to guard.
  • #5
It has to be "the right" angelfish to have a breeding pair in a community setting, and that "right" pair doesnt happen often at all.
Otherwise they will eventually kill everyone else in the tank, they will spawn over and over again and every time get territorial and defensive/offensive of their breeding area.

It simply doesn't work really. Angels that have paired need their own tank 99% of the time to avoid them killing the other fish that keep coming into their territory. It's really rare to get a pair that takes a small area, or are not hyper aggressive when looking to put eggs down onward. It doesn't work with extras of their own species in the tank never mind other species.
Even if you do get a pair that takes a small territory and isn't that aggressive the other fish will know it and stress the pair pressuring to get at the eggs.

A pair needs their own tank, and it doesn't have to be a big tank. 20-30 gallons is enough for a single pair. They test and submit to each other but it's not damaging and they share the territory that that have together, it's better for them with the pressure of other fish off every spawn, for the angels and for your other fish.

If you don't intend to raise fry, You can lean a piece of slate up in the tank they will likely use it to lay eggs on and you can remove the eggs and destroy them. Raising fry is a lot of work.

Something like this, leaned up and blocked so they can't be knocked over. Gives the pair a couple options to lay eggs that are easy to spot and easy to remove the eggs instead of the tank glass or a larger object or filter intake.
86 ssinit
  • #6
I’ve got to say angels are the most vicious fish out there. Wonder how they do with jewel fish. Some remove all the females or all the males to get a peaceful setting. I keep 2. Hope for 2 of a kind. Now have 2 females. They killed the male.

Time to get the 29 or return the angels. Only gets worse if they do mate.
  • #7
Angels really aren't that bad but they aren't an easy fish for a beginner and will blindside people. You kind of have to understand angelfish behaviors to unlock the secrets to keeping multiples mostly peacefully. Like you have to understand the male and female relationships and among themselves, know the difference between sparring for heiarchal positioning or as a mating ritual and attempting to kill behaviors.
Like if a female angelfish turns to charge horizontally instead of staying vertically like all angelfish normally are, that's not sparring, that's looking to kill.

Kind of takes experience and monitoring to gain the insight on what they are doing.
Like sparing, they usually square up face to face and lip lock or butt, the weaker fish turns upward and gives its belly and ventral fins in submission and its settled. A pair will do this back and forth to each other in preparation for spawning, challenging and submitting to each other, but never running away, if a male runs from a female she can decide he's too weak and unfit and then he has to go or he will be killed. It's a delicate balance of "I'll risk my life for the spawn, and take what you can throw at me and keep coming back for more" from both male and female as the check each other to make sure both are fit for spawning every single time they spawn.

Females are always the killers, males generally do not but they will learn it from a female the longer they are paired. Males generally spar for dominance, and it's settled and follow the pecking order and if a dominant fish loses the winner then becomes the dominant fish of the group, and with more angels you can have a couple groups and a couple dominant fish the males are following in their groups, if the space is enough, there isn't fighting either, the groups blend, and split and the one dominant fish chills as the rest spar and interact and just watches and will come out to interrupt. Generally the dominant angel gets the most food, and the most respect and doesn't have to do much but they all tend to break up when he moves to step in and reorganize around him and the 3nd dominant fish he allows to run the groups.

Females want to spawn and take territory, males want a female to spawn with, without Females, males stick to their schools and their pecking order and hope a female matures from the school at some point or they pass another school with females, or they happen across a Females territory.

All of this hinges though on space. If a female doesn't want to spawn with a male, he has to be able to leave like he could in the river, or he will be killed. As a keeper you have to understand this, and the keeper has to be the river and know whem its not working and someone is going to get killed. The females are killers and territorial. You can have a couple Females with territory in a tank, you can't have a male with them because the other female will kill the male, or they both will if neither want him.
Males just cruise around in a group of unpaired males and juveniles, spar for pecking order on whos strongest, and it settles quick. From my experience spawns are male heavy and there's a lot of competition for females so the sooner you can identify a female and give her her own space, the sooner it calms down between the males.
Once a male has spawned a few times and learned from a female how to kill, it's really hard to integrate him back into a group, he will generally be very dominant and just kill to take what he wants from the group if he needs to and the dominant fish of the group don't submit to him.

I didn't learn any of this overnight, it took years. But I did start with a couple angelfish and a massive headache just like everyone does when they mature and all heck breaks loose. Understanding their natural behavior and how they interact with each other males and males , females and females, and males and females, goes a long way to keeping the relative peace.

There's just so many variables, I could go on and on forever and still forget to mention half of what a person may have going on and I'm still being surprised by something new I've never seen like 3-4 smaller angels working together to try to break a dominant male and get him to submit to one of them until recently.
Like I found out this year you can have 1 dominant male running 2-3 subdominant males that running the smaller groups under them with the dominant male sitting completely unchallenged for months and months just eating and doing nothing and watching his subdominants run the younger fish and stepping in if it gets too rough for the subdominants then he'll come over and back them up and assert his dominance, and put them back on top of the group and then go back to chilling again for the day and his subdominants back him up and keep their groups off of him.

I find it all fascinating really. Angels have been my focus for a few years now. But I started right where you are today. It's overwhelming but if I can figure it out, so can you if you like them that much and want to of course. I like angels gracefulness and calmness, and then their explosive bursts and individual personalities. It never gets boring and holds my attention, something I struggled with with other species.
  • #8
I didn’t read all the comments.
Each angel fish has its own personality, I have 5 in a 110g tall, and one of my male and female have paired up to breed, and I have another laying female without a mate. When the pair of breeders are getting ready to lay eggs, they keep everyone else away and will chase anyone , sometimes nipping each other too. I barely have any fish in the tank, but it can get aggressive when they want to spawn. We make sure to remove the eggs once they are laid , that calms them down a lot. And this happens every 7-10 days. It’s annoying for sure but it’s their nature and if they were ripping fins and killing fish (which so far it’s mostly just chasing other fish away) I would remove them and give them their own aquarium as it’s very stressful on the parents aswell as the rest of the community. In my 110g there is only the 5 angels, 2 dwarf gourami, a platy, a small rainbow shark, some otos and a corydora. I call them brats because they really have so much space, yet they want to be a-holes. But that’s the nature of the aquarium, for us the angels rule the roost and we got the aquarium specifically to have angelfish. Growing up we had a 29 gallon with 5 angels, bunch of tetras, gouramis, pleco, rainbow shark, corydora, guppies, rasboras. They all lived for years and years in that aquarium and even when they spawned the angels didn’t kill any fish. Must have been more docile angels? Lol

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