Angelfish is not a single species of fish, but a genus of different species of fish known for their beautiful appearance, and colors. It is a member of the Cichlidae family of fish. The Angelfish are some of the most popular aquarium fish species that you can buy for your aquarium. The scientific name of this genus of fish is Pterophyllum. This genus originated from South America but is now found all over the world in different aquariums, ponds, and reservoirs.

Carlosar, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most species in this genus originated from the Amazon river basin area and Orinoco river basin and floodplains. These fish have a unique body shape that makes them look different from any other fish species on earth. Also, there are multiple color variations of Angelfish available that you can buy for your fish tank. Silver Angelfish, Zebra Angelfish, Koi Angelfish, Black Lace Angelfish, and Golden Angelfish are some of the most popular freshwater variants of this genus. Below is a complete care guide about the Angelfish.

Basic Facts Table

LifespanMore than 10 years
SizeAverage 6 inches.
ColorsMultiple colors, depending on species and variant.
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater
Care LevelMinimum
CompatibilitySimilar-sized peaceful fish

Tank Companions

Here is a list of the possible tank mates/ Tank companions of the Angelfish.

  • Rainbow Fish
  • Catfish
  • Gouramis
  • Loaches
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Barbs
  • Rasboras
  • Tetras

You can pair the Angelfish with any fish species from these groups. But you will have to make sure that the fish you are pairing with the Angelfish can live with them in the same tank. Read below to know more.

How To Select Tank Companions?

Before selecting any tank companion for the Angelfish in your tank, you need to consider a few factors. These include the size of fish, living conditions, habits, and nature or temperament of the behavior of the fish. All of these play a major role in determining if a fish is a suitable tank companion or not. Let’s discuss further; why these factors matter and why you need to be careful when selecting a tank companion for the Angelfish in your tank.

First of all, you need to consider the size of your Angelfish in the tank and select a tank mate that has the same size. You cannot pair a large fish like the Angelfish with a small fish such as YoYo Loach. Because the large Angelfish would consider them food and would eat them or bully them and it would cause depression and stress in your small fish in the tank. In that case, your smaller fish species would die within a few months of being in the same tank with the large Angelfish. From this example, you can understand why it is important to consider the size of your fish and introduce the fish of the same size in the tank of Angelfish.

Second, you need to know if the fish that you are pairing with the Angelfish can live in the same type of habitat and water condition. If yes, then you can pair it with the Angelfish, but if it needs different conditions, you cannot pair them. It would simply kill the other fish species. Every fish has specific requirements and parameters that are essential for its survival, if those parameters are not met, the fish would die. That is why it is advised that when you are picking a fish as a tank companion for the Angelfish, you should check the parameters that it needs to survive and match them with parameters that Angelfish needs. If both can live in the same type of conditions, then you should pair them. Otherwise, you should not put them in the same tank as one of them would die eventually.

Third, you need to consider the temperament of the behavior of your fish before pairing it with other fish species. Most Angelfish are peaceful and passive-aggressive. Meaning that they do not start fights in the tank, but if forced to fight, they will fight. So, you should not put them in the tank with other aggressive fish species. Instead, you should put them in a tank with peaceful companions. Peaceful companions who would not disturb the Angelfish are a good choice for the aquarium of Angelfish.

You should keep the above three factors or guidelines in mind when selecting a potential tank mate or tank companion for the Angelfish.

Species Overview

The Angelfish is not a single species, but a genus (group of species). Every species in this group has different sizes, shapes, body structures, color patterns, and varieties. Most of the Angelfish are found in many rivers in South America, including the Amazon River, the Orinoco River, and the Guiana Shield area. Members of this genus are known for their unique shapes and colorful bodies. Their colorful appearance and unique bodies make them a perfect choice for most aquariums. Also, these species are known for being joyful and peaceful. Apart from that, these species require minimum care and can live for a long time. For these reasons, fish from this genus are popular worldwide and can be found in aquariums all over the world. Fish keepers love to have them in their tanks.


The Appearance of the fish from the Angelfish genus depends on the species. Below is a list of some of the most popular Angelfish species and their appearances.

  1. Silver Angelfish: Silver Angelfish has a typical Angelfish body, and silver colors. Apart from silver, this fish also has black stripes. The first black stripe starts from the eye and moves downwards. The second black stripe is more apparent and can be seen near the dorsal fins of this fish. Its body can grow up to 8 inches long. This fish is very popular among the fish keepers because it is known as some of the “hardy” fish species that can live in different conditions and can survive multiple changes in the aquarium. Its body is not just long but also tall and wide. This fish has a unique appearance that is similar to other Angelfish species as well.
  1. Zebra Angelfish: Similar to Silver Angelfish, the Zebra Angelfish has a long, and tall body shape. This fish is known as Zebra Angelfish because its fins portray a zebra color pattern. It has long dorsal, and tail fins. The top of its body also contains more shiny fins. This is one of the most popular Angelfish species that is found in aquariums all over the world. It is not only known for its beauty but also “hardy nature”. Some of its variants have developed a red-eye color, which is uncommon in the original species. But there are special breeds of Zebra Angelfish that have this red-eye marker.
  1. Koi Angelfish: Another popular species of Angelfish is Koi Angelfish. It is known as Koi Angelfish because it has been bred with Koi Fish to produce a multi-colored fish variant with properties from both species. This species of fish has a beautiful multi-color appearance. Its body contains white, golden, and red colors. Most of its body is covered with white color, the part near the head is covered with the orange or gold color that fades into a reddish color. This fish has the same size as most other Angelfish and has a similar body shape. It has long fins on the dorsal sides, tail, and near the belly. This fish can grow up to 8 inches tall, and long.
  1. Black Lace Angelfish: Black Lace Angelfish is one of the most common fish species from this genus that is seen in many aquariums around the world. This fish has a beautiful appearance and black-colored body that makes it more appealing to the eyes of spectators. Its fins give an appearance like lace, and its entire body is enveloped in the blackest color that is seen in the fish species. This fish has a wide and tall body, and its fins make it look even larger. This fish is 8 inches tall, and 9 inches long. Its black color makes it easy to identify, but it is one of the rare species that is not found in every aquarium. If you want to buy this, you will have to look beyond your local fish market.
  1. Golden Angelfish: It is also one of the most popular Angelfish species, known for its beautiful golden colors and peaceful nature. This fish has a typical Angelfish-like appearance. What makes this fish unique is the colors on its body. It has some of the most unique color combinations that occur in the Angelfish species. In some variants, the entire body of this fish is golden, but most variants have a white and golden combination of color where white fades into golden color. Some variants of this species are also known for being albino or partly white in appearance. The size and body shape of this species are also similar to any other golden fish. It has long fins on all sides of the body and a tall body.

There are a lot of other Angelfish species that are not included in this list. Most of them have a similar appearance, i.e long, and tall body shape, with multiple fins that are very long. The only major difference in most species and varieties of Angelfish is that they have different color patterns on their bodies. You can buy them from your local vendors, but if you want to find a specific and rare type of species, you can look for online sellers that provide that specific breed. All of these species live in freshwater aquariums and need similar care. You can read about the care of Angelfish in the article below.


Most of the Angelfish species are native to South America, specifically areas near the Amazon river, and other rivers that flow through Brazil and most of South America. This fish species is native to tropical climates. It is a freshwater fish species that also can survive in brackish waters. Some breeds of the Angelfish are not native to Brazil or South America, because they were selectively bred inside the captivity to create new variants of the Angelfish species.

Natural Habitat

Fish species from the Angelfish genus live in natural habitats that contain warm freshwater and have a medium flow. They live in the middle and bottom layers of the rivers and floodplains. Most Angelfish live near the sides of the river. In their natural habitat, these fish eat everything, including insects, smaller fish species, algae, and plants. Their natural habitat contains a lot of vegetation that provides them cover and protection against other fish species in their habitat.

Angelfish Lifespan

The average lifespan of the Angelfish species is 10 years, but with proper care, this lifespan can be extended. According to expert fish keepers, if the conditions are kept perfect, and you provide them a large tank where they can explore and live comfortably, they can live for more than 15 years. But this extension of their lifespan requires a lot of effort and hard work. You will have to take proper care of the Angelfish. The special breeds of the Angelfish genus might not live as long as the original species from this genus. This is caused by the mutations that happen during the process of selective breeding. Other factors that can shorten their lifespan include tank conditions, water parameters, tank companions, and fish diseases. If you can protect your Angelfish from diseases, provide them with perfect companions and keep the water parameters according to the recommendations, your fish would last longer.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Species from the Angelfish need perfect tank conditions and habitat to live and thrive. You can provide them with this type of environment by creating a tank that resembles their natural habitat. To do this, you need to consider a few things first. For example, you need to know the perfect size of tank for this large fish species, you need to know the specific layout or tank setup, and the parameters that must be controlled. Read below to know more about building a perfect tank or habitat for the Angelfish.

Tank Size

This is the first step when you are building a habitat or tank for your Angelfish. You need to select an appropriate tank size for your aquarium. A tank will have an appropriate size if it provides the required space to the members of the tank. To get a perfect tank for your Angelfish, you need to know two important things. First, how many fish do you plan to keep in your tank, and how many tank companions you will add to that tank. Second, you need to know about the ratio of fish per gallon for the members of your tank. You should take the average fish per gallon ratio and multiply it with the number of fish that you are adding to the tank. It will give you an estimate of the size or capacity of that tank that you need.

For example, if you have 5 Angelfish, and the fish per gallon ratio of Angelfish is 6 gallons per fish. You will have to multiply 5 x 6 (Number of fish x Fish per gallon). It will give you an answer for the appropriate size. From this example, it is clear that to keep 5 individuals of Angelfish, you need thirty gallons of water capacity container or tank. It is not a recommended size, but the minimum size of the tank that you can use for keeping a family of Angelfish in your tank. The formula is simple when it comes to the size of the tank for Angelfish, “Bigger is better”.

Tank Setup

After selecting a tank of an appropriate size, you will have to start decorating your tank. Tank setup means everything that you put inside your tank. For example, you will have to put in treated sand, rocks, and pebbles inside the tank. This will create a look at their natural habitat. Apart from this, you will also have to add some aquatic plants to your aquarium to make it look more natural. You can also add some caves, and driftwood to make it look more natural.

After that, you will have to add a filtration system to your tank. Make sure that you use a strong water filtration pump or system that is capable of filtering the entire tank within hours. You will also have to add a heater or temperature controller to your tank. A heater will be used to maintain the temperature inside the tank during the winter. Meanwhile, the temperature monitor would allow you to check the temperature of the water. So that you can control it according to the recommendations.

You will also have to add some aquarium lights to your tank. The importance of aquarium lights is that they not only keep the entire place lit but also help you create a false day and night cycle. So that your fish can sleep properly. These aquarium lights are also used for inducing spawning behaviors in this fish species. You should also add a lid over the tank to contain the Angelfish inside the tank. You should keep the decorations, and setup of your tank to a minimal level. Because it can mask the beauty of your fish.

Water Conditions/Parameters

Here is the list of water conditions that are parameters that you need to maintain in your tank to keep your Angelfish healthy.

  • Temperature between 75 To 82°F
  • pH levels between 6.8 to 7. (Neutral)
  • Hardness between 8 to 12 dKH

It is very important to maintain these parameters perfectly. Any change in these parameters can kill your fish. For example, any water changes would directly impact the health of your fish because its internal temperature is maintained and controlled by the water. So, any change in water temperature would have an impact on your fish. Also, the pH of the water and hardness are important. Because they help you retain the chemistry of water inside the tank. Changes in the chemistry of the water inside your Angelfish tank can kill your fish. That is why it is important to maintain the pH and hardness.

Water Source

There is no restriction on water sources. You can use the water from any source. For example, you can use your tap water, or the water from your local streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. You should test the water before using it to make sure that it is safe for your aquarium usage or not. If water is safe, you should use it, if it is not safe, you should filter it first and then use it.

Behavior and Temperament

Most Angelfish species are passive-aggressive. Meaning that they remain peaceful unless they are threatened or challenged. This fish has a habit of living in hierarchies or social statuses. Members of the tank would fight for the top spot in the social circle. Mostly these fights are skirmishes and there are no serious damages to the body of any fish involved in the fighting. Apart from this aggressive behavior, this fish also has a social side.

They like to live in the presence of other members of their species or other species. It cannot live in a separate tank alone, because living alone causes stress in this species. So, you should never buy a single Angelfish for your tank. You should buy a complete school. This fish species lives in the middle and bottom layers of the tank. It is an omnivore in nature, meaning that it can eat anything. These are also joyous and fun to watch fish species because when they swim, their large and beautiful fins move in a way that it appears as if this fish is dancing. The passive-aggressive nature of this species makes it dangerous for smaller species of fish. For that reason, it is important to pair them with these fish species that are capable of defending themselves against the attacks of Angelfish.

Breeding Angelfish

Angelfish species are known for being too easy to breed. That is why you can see there are so many selectively bred angelfish varieties. Most of these fish can breed by themselves without outside interference. Here are a few things that you can do to successfully breed an angelfish.

  • Create a separate breeding tank so that you can monitor the breeding process. This will also help you save the eggs from being eaten.
  • Put the male and female Angelfish inside the spawning tank, and allow them to explore and room. Male angelfish would start the courting procedure and would lure the female towards him.
  • Female Angelfish should be properly fed before the egg-laying process starts. This increases the chances of success at breathing. After that, your fish would lay 200 eggs in the bottom of the tank.
  • Male Angelfish would swim towards these eggs and fertilize them. These eggs will hatch after 72 hours. In some species, it can take even longer. Newborn fry will come out of the egg sacs and will start to eat them.

Eggs and Fry Care

Eggs may need protection from males and females after fertilization. You should remove the male and female after fertilization to avoid any kind of damage to the eggs and Fry. Fry would need special food that you can buy from fish stores and feed to them. This special diet/food contains everything that a growing Fry needs. Keep the tank clean, and fresh to avoid any diseases or issues.

Diet of Angelfish

The diet of Angelfish is omnivorous. In their natural habitat, they rely on the food of multiple types. For example, they eat smaller fish species, insects, and invertebrates. They also eat algae and greenery inside their natural habitat. This makes it easy for you to select the right type of food for them to feed. You should prepare a chart and feed them according to that. You should feed them live worms once a week, and pellets, flakes, and frozen meat every day. Feeding them twice a day is considered enough.

Diseases of Angelfish

Here is a list of the possible diseases of Angelfish.

  • Ich: It is one of the most common fish diseases that is also found in the Angelfish. It is a serious health concern that can kill your fish. It happens because of poor water conditions that allow the growth of parasites. It is treatable using medications.
  • Dropsy: Dropsy is identified by the bloating of the fish’s body. This is caused by bacteria that are found in contaminated water. It causes bloating and scales irregularities on the body of the fish. It is a lethal disease that can kill an entire tank. You should quarantine your fish and treat them.
  • Fin Rot: Fin rot occurs in almost all of the fish species that are slow and that have longer fins. Fins of these species break and then start to rot instead of healing. This happens because of unsanitary conditions inside the tank. It is also treatable with medicines, but you will also have to clean your tank as well.

What is the Ideal Size For The Tank?

The ideal size of tank for the angelfish is 50 gallons. Anything smaller than 50 gallons is not suitable for a school of angelfish. But if you are keeping only a couple of angelfish, you can keep them in a small tank but that would not be an ideal situation.

Are Angelfish Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

This is a genus of freshwater fish species.

Are Angelfish schooling species or not?

Yes, most angelfish species show schooling behavior. But there are also some deviations from this behavior that are seen in this family.

Conclusion – Are Angelfish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Yes, it is suitable for anyone’s aquarium. Angelfish are some of the most beautiful, and unique fish species with a playful nature. It is a hardy fish species, meaning that it does not require that much care. This fish is also easy to breed. So, even if you are an expert fish keeper or a newbie, angelfish is suitable for your aquarium.


Question: Are angelfish aggressive?

Answer: Yes, these are a group of passive-aggressive fish species. They show aggression towards others and the members of their species. They do this to assert their dominance inside the tank.

Question: What is the average lifespan of angelfish?

Answer: The average lifespan of the angelfish inside a tank is 10 years. Although, some angelfish species can live for more than 12 to 15 years inside a tank. But those are rare circumstances where the tank conditions were kept perfect for a long time.

Question: How many angelfish should be kept together?

Answer: You should keep 5 or 6 angelfish together in your aquarium. This is the minimum size of their school.

Leave a Reply