Zebra Angelfish

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Zebra Angel fish (scientific name: Pterophyllum scalare) is the centerpiece of your aquarium for its wonderful coloration of black, white displayed together in different parts of the body. Although they are indigenous to several river systems in Northern South America, Zebra Angelfish, mostly found in the marketplace these days, are tank-bred. As a result, its pattern arrangement may be slightly different from one to another which makes your aquarium more vivid and pleasing to enjoy. 

Unlike most other cichlids, Zebra Angelfish are tall and thin. Their iconic long pelvic fins and arrowhead- shaped bodies tell them apart. Such features help them reach the size of 6 inches long and up to 8 inches tall. Therefore, when you prepare an aquarium for them, you should take their size into consideration. According to many experienced aquarists, a 30-gallon tank with an appropriate height will work well for one specimen. However, a larger size is preferred if you plan to keep Zebra Angelfish in groups or with other mates.

In wild habitat, Zebra Angelfish appreciates quiet, slow-moving water with plenty of vegetation. They also love spending time in dimly lit areas. That explains why these fish thrive in the aquarium sharing similar conditions. Besides, as angelfish is used to forage along the bottom for food, you should not cover your bottom tank with sharp-edged substrate.

Relatively aggressive as they are, Zebra Angelfish can make good friends with large shrimps and snails as long as your aquarium provides adequate space for all living together. This also means your Zebra Angelfish should not be kept with dwarf and other small fish/ invertebrates as it may be a threat to these little creatures. On the other hand, Zebra Angelfish could be bullied by those well-known for fin nipping. 

What You Can Expect From This Fish:

  • Wonderful coloration distributed in a unique way 
  • Favorite option for heavily planted aquarium
  • Interesting behaviors


  • Temperature: 76° - 86° F (24° - 30° C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.4
  • KH: 1 – 12 dKH
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons for one specimen (40-gallon tank is recommended for a pair but the larger is required for a group)


  • Diet: Zebra Angelfish are omnivores. They will accept a variety of food including dry, frozen, and live foods. Make sure you feed them high-quality ones and cycle them to maintain their optimal health and coloration.
  • Social behavior: Relatively aggressive. Can be kept as a single specimen, in a pair or group of at least 6 (less than six will lead to bullying among them). 
  • Origin: Northern South America, tank-bred
  • Average adult size: 6 inches (15 cm) long, 8 inches (20 cm) tall
  • Average purchase size: 1 – 1.5 inches (2.5 – 3.8 cm) 

See more details about care guide for Zebra Angelfish here.


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