Angelfish belongs to the freshwater cichlid family, known as the ‘Pterophyllum’, famous among the tropical fish of the aquarium. They are round-shaped, have attractive pointy fins, laterally compacted, and are tall.

Their origins are Amazon Basin, rivers of Guiana Shield, South America, and Orinoco Basin.  

Naturally, angelfish exhibit peaceful ambience, but they detest mixing with other breeds, feeding on smaller fishes, and displaying aggressive territorial tendencies sometimes. Their body shapes enable them to camouflage under plants for protection, and they beautify aquariums.

Overview: Angelfish

Angelfish adapt easily in a suitable environment, and rearing them is also simple. Their attractive colours give them a unique and impressive appearance.


They may accommodate other freshwater species because of their peaceful characteristics, however, you need to be careful from putting smaller fish with them or pairing them, else, they may grow uncomfortable and eat up their new neighbours.

Typical Behaviour of Angelfish

Angelfish are generally peaceful. However, they have aggressive tendencies that occur every once in a while. Try as much as possible to avoid tank overcrowding, because such actions could trigger aggressive behaviours and territorial hostility, common among the males.

As aquatic habitats, angelfish have graceful skills in swimming. They love to play hide-and-seek by blending under roots or plants, due to their distinctive colours. Small fish are at risk with angelfish because of their natural predatory instincts to hunt and eat the smaller fishes and macroinvertebrates.


The wild ones have silver-coloured skins, striped vertically by black fine lines. There is also what is called ‘veiltails’, achieved through the process of selective breeding.


These fish possess beautiful appearances with attractive, pointy fins, tall, and shining scales.

Their shape is laterally compacted, rotund bodies, and they have long triangular dorsum, with triangle-shaped anal fins. They can camouflage under plants and roots because of this physical make-up, mostly on vertically cropped surfaces. Another stealth mechanism for them is transverse stripes. This colour feature adds to their cover-up skills.

Life Span

They are blessed with long-lasting living abilities. Whether they are reared outside the home or inside an aquarium, angelfish lifespan is 10 years at least. They possess strength that provides them with longevity.

Ensure to keep them healthy by feeding them regularly with compatible diets for their genetic make-up. Breeders who prioritize the fish’s tank conditions and sanitation will prolong the lifespan for a decade and above.


An average adult of angelfish possesses between 6 and 8 inches in body length. The females have longer genitalia than their male partners.


Experiences from breeders of this fish have realized how hard it is to mate angelfish. Spawning makes it possible to differentiate their sexes because detecting their genders prior to that period is difficult. For the males, genitalia is pointed and smaller than the females’, but the physical visibility may only be unveiled during reproduction periods.

The best advice is for you to begin their pairings with only 6 younglings per group, then give them time to blend naturally during maturity. This will hasten the actions of breeding. An alternative, however, is to buy an existing breeding mate from a professional breeder or stores where pets are sold.

Compatible Tank Mates

The peaceful nature of angelfish is a positive trait suitable for other fish types, but their occasional aggressiveness and domineering behaviour to protect their territories should not be taken for granted.

Compatible tank mates for angelfish can be;

  • Tetra
  • Barbs
  • Gouramis
Water Conditions

Water is preferred when it is slightly warm. The best pH can lie around 6.8 to 7.8, and hardness around 3° to 8° dKH. For temperature, 78° to 84° F should be maintained. Make sure the filtration is good. Change the water at intervals of 10% per week. Siphon Vacuum Gravel Cleaner or Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer is effective for water cleaning. This will retain the quality of the water.  

Swap the media of your used filter every week. Carry out aquarium water tests once weekly to guarantee its safety and to be certain that its parameters are well sustained in the right range.

Buy a test kit for your aquarium water. Test kits are affordable and simple to apply. Alternatively, collect a sample from the water in the tank and take it to the nearest pet shop close to you for free testing.

In addition to these, have a diary where all test results will be kept. It will help you to form a standard for the tank’s parameters, thereby making it easier for you to detect a problem or irregularity in the parameters.


The recommended temperature for aquarium water is between 78° and 84 °F. Maintain good filtration practices and use a durable heater to achieve the stipulated temperature. 

PH Level

The most advisable pH level for aquarium angelfish is between 6.8 to 7.8,

Oxygen level

Poorly oxygenated water is dangerous for angelfish, because it reduces their activities, seizes their breaths, makes them lose appetite, and they will become weak. Keep your water well-oxygenated at all times. Air pumps are good providers of oxygen in aquariums.

Tank Setup

Breeders should remember to plan the tank set up well by considering the essential needs of angelfish;

  • 10 to 20 gallons of tank size.
  • Regular water filtration.
  • Compatible tank mates.
  • PH that is acidic, i.e., 6.0 to 7.5.
  • A set-up with a generous amount of thick plants.
Tank Size

Angelfish is very long and big. Consequently, an average of 10 tank gallons is required to hold one angelfish inside a tank, and this is the minimum size. A lesser size will not work out, except you want chaos in your aquarium. For two angelfish, a minimum of 20 gallons is recommended.

Have it at the back of your mind that the size of the tank matters very much, to fit the length and height of your fish.


Ensure that you use a filter with high volume. Clean your water regularly to avoid clogging of dirt. Use more filters or change the current filter to a stronger capacity component. Highly recommenced are airstones, powerhead, and placing a spray-bar at the filter’s vent.


It is advisable that you put these factors into consideration before choosing your heater; submersible ability, immersible ability, inline, in-filter, and substrate. It’s advisable to ensure that your heaters can be submerged inside the aquarium.

Other heaters like immersible heater need a tank lid opened at the head because this heater hovers over the aquarium and dipped into the water. The tank’s filter swallows an in-filter heater for equal heating of the aquarium. In-line heaters are fixed in the middle of the tank and the sump. The heater is made of substrate fitted wires.

You are also advised to put the size, durability, cost, and adjustability of your heater in mind before purchasing one. Always turn your heaters and lights off. Take the lid, and cover the top with a screen to prevent the fish from escaping.

These are a few tips on how to use your heater;
  • Avoid choking your heater with excessive decorations. If you stuff it, water circulation may be blocked.
  • Make sure to place your heater in such a way that heat emanating from it will circulate equally. Put it close to the firth and open parts of the filter, for the water to get heated up while going into the tank.
  • Avoid placing the tank you are using at points that open up it to unfriendly conditions like the cold. Don’t use chilling bases for it.
  • In case you have decided to make use of two heaters, for the big tanks, put them beside each other, for equal distribution of heat.  
  • Always remove the heater’s plug before flushing out your used water. Failure to do so will cause overheating.
Tank Decorations

Angelfish enjoy comfort, so think of the most suitable plants to lay as their beddings when decorating their tanks. These plants below are highly recommended;

  • big broadleaf plants
  • vertically organized driftwood

Ensure that free plants are included in your tank décor for shades. Add fine-textured substrates, sleek gravel as fodder, and plenty of light. The tank must never be dark. Sunlight is a good source of light for the tank.


Feeding of angelfish is flexible and somewhat technical. If you want the most desirable outcomes, alternate their daily meals and ensure the quantity is consumable within 3 minutes. Do this once a day or two times weekly.  

What to feed your angelfish?

Give them meat-based food. Their choices are mostly aquatic invertebrates and small crustaceans, shrimps of all kinds, natural vegetables, tiny insects, algae, white worms, bloodworms, and other varieties of plants.

Specially made pellets, frozen, dried, and live diets also suit their stomachs, in addition to cichlid flakes.

The duration of angelfish’s survival without food

Angelfish has the strength to survive without eating any food for about 3 days, or above. The factors that determine the survival period of your angelfish are genetics, diet, age, and size. However, starving them should not be an option.


Angelfish belong to the egg-producing species because they replicate lives. In other words, female angelfish do not conceive pregnancies, rather she lays eggs. Males are responsible for fertilizing the laid eggs. However, you can still detect an egg-laden potential nursing mother when you observe that she has gained weight, looks fat, is close to being lazy, and her breeding tube will enlarge, shooting out like a bump. You should also watch her closely when she starts producing her eggs. Then her male partner will fertilize them and looks after the hatched babies called ‘fry’. The process of fertilization is difficult. A system of ‘hit and trial’ can be a good choice.


Angelfish often fall victim to certain diseases they’re prone to, such as;


It is a parasitic infection that leads to weight emaciation, a higher frequency of stooling, a change of color, and skin rot, bringing out lesions that resemble holes.

Freshwater Ich

This is a parasite of protozoal disease that results in the springing up of white spots on the gills and bodies of fish belonging to the freshwater species.


Also called ‘cottonmouth’, is contracted by the contagion of a pole-like bacteria that live in unclean conditions which cause cotton-type lesions. The lesions chew off the fish’s mouth and split its fins. 

Other things to note

Keeping angelfish together in one place

Angelfish is very long and big. Consequently, an average of 10 tank gallons is required to hold one angelfish inside a tank, and this is the minimum size at most 6 younglings.

Best companions

Gouramis, barbs and tetra.

Pairing angelfish

The pairs of Angelfish create a lasting relationship. They usually get into situations that make one fish safeguard their friend from harm, life-threatening challenges, and new partners. When one of the pairs dies or it is taken out of the aquarium, it is common for those remaining in the community to become hostile and aggressive to new additions. Pairing up with new mates for continuous breeding is bound to fail.

While Caring for angelfish is challenging and energy-consuming, but the aftermaths are awesome. It is equally important to ensure to love them with all your heart when rearing them and nurture them with utmost patience. Seek more professional advice from experts if you encounter any problem during the course of this process. Good luck.

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