The freshwater Angelfish captures fishkeeping hobbyists’ hearts by not only the beauty of its figures but graceful swimming behaviors; additionally, its presence brings joy and vigor to your tank.

Koi Angle Fish | Splashy Fish

Angelfish (Pterophyllum) is the small genus of freshwater fish from family Cichlidae which is not unfamiliar to many fishkeepers. The species looks like an arrowhead with long and spectacular fins. When it comes to coloration and patterns, one may be overwhelmed since there are many variations from silver, veil, koi, zebra, to marble, albino, and many more.

Nonetheless, Angelfish is currently recognized with three species: P. altum (the largest one, its maximum size could reach 15 inches (around 38 cm) when matured), P. leopoldi (it is the most aggressive species of angelfish also rarely found in fish stores), and P. scalare (relatively small 6 inches (around 15 cm) compared to P. altum, yet the most available species found in the aquarium market).

How come the fishkeeping community love Angelfish? How to care for them properly when kept in captivity? This article will reveal all to you. Let’s see if the amazing freshwater fish could capture your heart after you’ve learnt everything about them.


Are Angelfish aggressive?

It is always fun to find out not all the cichlids are that much aggressive. In fact, some are considered peaceful or semi-aggressive, the mentioned includes Angelfish.

Despite peaceful disposition, Angelfish does sometimes show belligerent behaviors towards the same-species, or those having similar reflection. Further, they will not hesitate to eat any other fish that can fit into their mouth. This has nothing to do with Angelfish’s temperament. They are regarded predators hence, preying on the targeted fish (normally the small ones) is their natural instinct. However, if kept with the appropriate tank mates in ample space, Angelfish surely will not be the first to mess with the others.

Are Angelfish active during daytime?

Yes, they love to alert everyone nearby of their presence. Angelfish especially enjoy dwelling in the mid-levels of the tank, weaving in and out of aquarium plants. A school of them in different appearances raised as the centerpiece of the tank will brighten the whole fish community.

Can I keep a single Angelfish?

Angelfish can be kept alone. While the species are shoaling by nature, it is alright for one Angelfish to live in the aquarium. To those who have not much experience in caring for the fish, it seems to be easier in terms of tank setups and maintenance.

When grouped together, Angelfish prefer the colony of at least 5 or 6 specimens, provided your tank is big enough. That said, not all Angelfish get along well with each other. Make sure you have a backup plan in that case so the whole community fish will not be affected.

Natural habitat

Altum Angel Fish | Splashy Fish

Angelfish is known indigenous to a large area of tropical South America, including much of the Amazon River system. There lies quiet and slow-moving water which tends to be swampy and covered with lots of vegetation. Riverbed is often soft and sandy.

Angelfish like to dwell in dimly lit areas, under overhanging vegetation or among trees that fall into the river. In wild habitat, their appearance is not as colorful as that of the captive-bred. Most wild-caught specimens are found relatively dull or in silver coloration with vertical stripes. They are also rarely encountered in the aquarium hobby. Most Angelfish for sale these days are captive-bred. Due to its unique body shape, it could be said that Angelfish are one of the most sought species for breeding purposes.


Though the species of Angelfish share similarities in figure, its color and patterns are varied and constantly being developed. At the beginning, you may find a solid color (silver, black, orange, yellow, gold, white) covering Angelfish’s body. Yet as time goes by, many variations have occurred. 

One may have a marbled angelfish featured with a combination of marbled black, white, orange, yellow, gold, and silver on the body. And another may possess a unique albino angelfish of pure white figure with red eyes, yellowy-orange heads, and red-hued tails.

Zebra Angel Fish

That has not yet mentioned other special markings or colorations such as panda, platinum, or gold Angelfish. The brighter the fish’s color is, the healthier the Angelfish may be. Indeed, coloration somewhat reveals the health conditions of Angelfish. If this tropical species is in a good mood or thrives in ideal water conditions, it may display the vibrant hues/ optimal colorations. On the other hand, when they get stressed or have healthy problems, they appear duller.

How to pick healthy Angelfish?
Angelfish is pretty difficult in terms of care. The fish are further not recommended for beginners as preparing and maintaining the appropriate living conditions for them require many things taken into account. Therefore, for the best chance of success, picking healthy Angelfish is very important. While Angelfish are relatively slender fish, don’t pick those overly thin. Look for young, strong fish with a thicker head and meaty body. If possible, ask the store to feed them so you can exclude the most aggressive eaters. Also, avoid any fish with cloudy or damaged eyes as they are a sign of health problems. 

Tank setup

What is the right tank size for Angelfish?

Angelfish grow and expand not only in length but in height as well. Hence, the fish absolutely prefer tall aquariums to long ones as these containers fit them and allow enough space for them to swim as well as interact with the fish community. Subject to the number of Angelfish you intend to raise, room for other fishes, and aquarium devices and decoration, a 20-gallon tank could fit a single Angelfish while a 55-gallon could nurture a group of five to six juvenile Angelfish. If you keep more than that number, you could consider the ratio of extra 10 gallons per extra fish. It has worked well for most cases.

What else do I need to do when setting up Angelfish-tanks?

In order to let the fish feel comfortable and secure, imitating its wild habitat conditions to home aquariums is not less important. By adding live aquatic plants (such as amazon swords, anacharis, java fern, and java moss) and driftwood or rock caves here and there in the tank, your Angelfish could feel at ease and become more active, swimming gracefully. Further, driftwood and rock caves sometimes act as refuges for Angelfish to hide when threatened. 

Soft fine substrates such as sand or fine gravel are mostly preferred as they allow Angelfish to dig (their favorite activity) into and forage for food without injuring the fish’s body. Water currents should be monitored in calm and slow-moving flows, replicating their natural environments.

Angelfish get used to a lot of light and need day/night cycles to thrive. Hence, if your room does not meet the requirement, equipping the fish tank with an aquarium LED light turning on for between 8 and 12 hours per day is necessary.

Koi Angel Fish | Splashy Fish

Water parameters

Like other fish, Angelfish need the right water parameters to survive. As a hardy species, Angelfish can accept a wide range of water conditions, although they prefer slightly warmer water ranging from 78° to 84°F (26° - 29°C). pH levels could be adjusted to be neutral with the preferable range from 6.0 to 8.0. 

  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: less than 20 ppm
  • GH: 50 – 150ppm
  • KH: 3-8 dKH 
  • pH: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Water change: 10% once a week or 25% every other week

For Angelfish, extremely clean and well-cycled water is crucial to decide its happy life. Hence, make sure you perform water change regularly and diligently. Use a good filter for your tank and treat tap water (if you fill the tank with tap water) with water conditioner so it will always be in the state appropriate to your lovely Angelfish.

It is further noted that the freshwater Angelfish are unable to tolerate copper. Thus, you must be careful to check this substance in your aquarium. High-demanding as the fish are, they are really not the option for aquarium beginners.


Fortunately, Angelfish are pretty easy when it comes to diet. They will take all sorts of fish foods, whether floating or sinking. In nature, the fish are found foraging along the bottom looking for worms and small crustaceans; yet in aquariums, they often feed at the surface or mid-levels of water. 

Their favorite meals include tubifex worms, freeze-dried bloodworms, krill flakes, brine shrimp, and live water fleas. Apart from live foods, Angelfish are omnivores which means you should vary their diet to ensure they get sufficient nutrients. Often providing the fish with a small amount of high-fiber plant food, such as blanched spinach or zucchini is highly encouraged.

As a good rule of thumb, feed your Angelfish two meals per day with an amount sufficient for them to consume within 2 to 3 minutes. Then, remove the leftover food to keep the tank water in clean condition. 

How long do angelfish live? 

Follow the care guide, your Angelfish will grow up joyfully in captivity and be less prone to common illnesses of freshwater fish such as fin rot, ich, and dropsy. Angelfish then could live up to 8 to 12 years long.

Tank mate

What fish can be kept with Angelfish? 

This is going to be an endless list. In fact, a lot of species could be good neighbors of Angelfish which include larger tetras and rasboras, gouramis, peaceful barbs, rainbowfish, Corydoras, mollies, plecos, and other medium-sized catfish.

When considering Angelfish tank mates, remember they are predators and tend to prey on small fish. Hence, avoid those which are relatively small in size. In addition, since Angelfish possess long gorgeous fins, you should also stay away from those species known as fin-nippers. Make sure the candidates you choose could thrive in the similar living conditions set for Angelfish and not outcompete them during mealtimes


Is Angelfish breeding difficult?

It is intermediate. Adult Angelfish will pair off and spawn naturally when the season comes. To cause the breeding happening, you first have to identify the pair.  

Unless you’re an experienced angelfish keeper, it can be a little bit hard to recognize the differences between males and females. Therefore, the easiest method of getting a breeding couple is to buy a group of specimens containing both males and females. Raise them together and wait for them to pair off. Then, pick the best-looking pair and move them to your well-prepared breeding tank.

How often do Angelfish lay eggs? 

Angelfish readily breed every one to two weeks with each successful spawn could produce up to 400 eggs. The eggs are typically laid on vertical surfaces (like a stiff leaf, filter pipe, or a section of aquarium wall), and will hatch in 2 to 3 days subject to tank temperature. The parent Angelfish will look after the fry for about up to a month. Nonetheless, it is reported that the first couple of spawns often fail because the new parents can end up consuming them. Hence, if you find your situation is similar, don’t panic. Angelfish need time to get used to their babies. They soon have experience and show parental care for the next spawns.

Now, are you ready to introduce this fish to your aquarium? At Splashy Fish Store, we supply a wide range of Angelfish which come from reliable sources. We further guarantee that all of our Angelfish will go through the quarantine process for a period of 14-day before sale. We care about the quality and strive to provide you the best we can. Visit our store to find what surprise is waiting for you.