Angelfish (Pterophyllum)

Angelfish are freshwater aquarium fish that originate from the Amazon Basin in South America. Although Angelfish don’t resemble other cichlids, it is part of the cichlid family. Angelfish are popular aquarium fish known for it’s beauty and elongated, graceful fins. Below you will find tips and advice on how to set up the aquarium for your angelfish, what to feed your angelfish and how to breed angelfish.

Pet Fish Pro participates in affiliate programs including Amazon Associates Program and may earn commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. We write these articles for free, so thank you for your support.

How to Set Up Aquarium for Angelfish

1. Tank Size for Angelfish

Angelfish needs a lot of space to swim, for a pair of angelfish, I recommend a 50 gallon tank. At a minimum you need a 15 gallon tank per angelfish. So that means if you have a pair of angelfish you need at least a 30 gallon aquarium for your angelfish. However, since you want your angelfish to have plenty of space to swim, I recommend aquarium size of 40 gallons or larger for your angelfish. Get fish tanks that are tall rather than wide since Angelfish can grow quite big.

2. Water Set Up for Angelfish

Angelfish are native to the Amazon River basin, they prefer warm water. You need a water heater to maintain the aquarium water to around 78-82F. Angelfish also prefer slightly acidic water so a PH level of 6.8 to 7 PH is ideal for your angelfish. You can use PH test strips to determine the PH level of your aquarium water.

Angelfish are used to slow moving water so a filtration system that is not too strong is ideal for your angelfish aquarium. I do recommend setting up two water filters in your angelfish tank, I do this with almost all of my tanks. The 2 filter system keeps your tank clean plus if one filter breaks down you still have another filter running. I recommend setting up an outside filter and an internal filter in your Angelfish aquarium.

3. Plants for Angelfish Tank

Your goal is to recreate the natural habitat of angelfish. Aquarium plants are ideal because it will make your angelfish feel safe- giving them an aquarium with plenty of hiding spots. Angelfish will also be more inclined to breed if they feel safe and in their natural habitat. Sword plants are great especially Amazon Sword plants since these plants are native to the Amazon river. Angelfish are known to lay eggs on the long, elongated leaves of sword plants. The photo below shows a Koi Angelfish with sword plants.

koi angelfish with sword plant

Java Fern is also another aquarium plant that compliments sword plants. Jave Fern can grow up to 14 inches tall and will look good in your angelfish tank.

Vallisneria is also another aquarium plant with long leaves, resembling tall grass. I like to mix up the different long leaf aquarium plants to create texture and interested in the angelfish tank.

For short plants, you can go with Anubias Nana which can go well in front of the tall sword plants.

Water Wisteria is another plant you can add to your angelfish aquarium. The leaves are textured and ragged which will compliment the elongated lines of the sword plants.

I anchor down the aquarium plants by burying the roots in the aquarium gravel.

4. Sand or Gravel for Angelfish Tank?

I like gravel better for my angelfish tank because gravel is easier to clean and the little crevices makes good hiding spots for little baby angelfish. But you can also use sand, it just depends on your preference.

What Fish Can Live with Angelfish?

Angelfish can live in the same fish tank with other peaceful freshwater aquarium fish such as platies, molly fish, swordtails and guppies.

What Fish are NOT Compatible with Angelfish?

Never put angelfish with barbs. Barbs are aggressive and will nip the fins of your beautiful angelfish!

And don’t put angelfish with small fish that can fit in your angelfish mouth. Your angelfish will eat the small fish! Trust me, your angelfish may be peaceful but it will eat any fish that can fit in its mouth!

Can Angelfish live with Discus Fish?

Angelfish can live with discus fish only if the discus fish are not mature. Once discus fish reaches maturity, they start getting territorial and at that point, you should not have both angelfish and discus fish in the same tank.

How Often Should You Change Water of Angelfish Tank?

Angelfish aquarium water should be changed once a week by removing 10% of the old water and replenishing with new water. If you skip a week, it’s okay. Just make sure to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from the tap water by adding water conditioner drops to the tap water. Also, try your best to keep the new tap water temperature the same as the existing aquarium water so you don’t shock your angelfish with water that is too hot or too cold!

You can easily remove old water in the fish tank by using a siphon. The siphon works great because it vacuums out debris off the gravel and you don’t have to worry about harming your angelfish!

Pet Fish Pro Tip: Install 2 water filters in your aquarium- an outside filter and an internal filter. The 2 water filter will keep your aquarium water clean even if you miss a routine water change (perfect for when you go on vacations!)

What to Feed Angelfish

Angelfish are omnivores. Feed your angelfish tropical flakes everyday- twice a day. You should also supplement tropical flakes with blood wormsbrine shrimp and krill shrimp. Instead of tropical flakes one meal, you can supplement with bloodworms, brine shrimp or krill shrimp. Just make sure you don’t overfeed your angelfish. You need to feed just the right amount of food- just enough for your angelfish to consume in 2 minutes. Usually a pinch of flakes will do. If it’s taking your angelfish more than 2 minutes to finish eating all the food, then you need to decrease the amount of food you give. Overfeeding is one of the worst things you can do to your angelfish. The uneaten food will cloud up your water and cause water quality to become poor. It’s better to underfeed your angelfish than to overfeed it!

How to Breed Angelfish

Angelfish are freshwater fish that lays eggs. Under the right condition, angelfish are not difficult to breed. Similar to their cichlid relatives, angelfish will pair off and form life long partners.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Male and Female Angelfish

It’s hard to tell the difference between male angelfish and female angelfish. The gender of the angelfish becomes evident when they are spawning. In general, male angelfish have a larger hump on their head and they are bigger. Another way to tell the difference between male and female angelfish is to look at the tubes that comes out of their underside. The female angelfish tube is rounder and wider while the male angelfish tube is more pointy and narrow. These tubes are really small and are visible when they are breeding so it is really hard to distinguish between male and female angelfish.

How to Get a Breeding Pair of Angelfish

In order to get a male and a female angelfish to pair up, you need to raise young angelfish and let them choose their own mate.You can do this by putting 6-8 young angelfish in a 50 gallon tank. You will notice the angelfish will start to pair up, this happens when their bodies reach around 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter. It takes 5-7 months for angelfish to be mature. If you are in a hurry, you can buy angelfish breeding pair but it’s not advisable because sometimes they may lose their bond when you move them.

How to Prepare the Aquarium for Angelfish to Lay their Eggs

Once the angelfish pair up, they will stake out their territory. You should have smooth surfaces for them to lay their eggs on such as the leaves of Amazon sword plants or a breeding cone.

What to Feed Angelfish to Prepare for Breeding?

Prepare your angelfish for breeding by feeding them high protein food. This can be done by feeding your angelfish a combination of tropical flakes and bloodworms. Live foods or frozen bloodworms are great but if you don’t want to handle the mess of live food, freeze dried bloodworms are also a good alternative. This process of prepping your angelfish can take 1 to 2 weeks and you will notice your angelfish growing bigger and fatter.

How Many Eggs Do Angelfish Lay?

Angelfish can lay around 300 eggs in a single lay. Sometimes they may lay less or more but from my experience angelfish will lay around 300 eggs each time.

Will Angelfish Eat their Own Eggs?

Angelfish will not eat their own eggs. In fact, both male and female angelfish will take care of their eggs and protect it. However, if this is the first time for the angelfish pair, they will need a few tries before getting it right as parents. The angelfish pair will need to go through a few breeding cycles before their parental instincts properly kicks in, so don’t be surprised if they eat their own eggs in the beginning. If you don’t want to wait and want to ensure maximum angelfish eggs survival rate, you can take the eggs out and hatch them in a separate tank.

How Many Days Until Angelfish Eggs Hatch?

It takes 2 days for angelfish eggs to hatch. After hatching, the angelfish fry are called wigglers. The angelfish wigglers are tiny eggs with little tails. Angelfish wigglers feed on their yolk sac. The wigglers phase will last 5 days. After that, the angelfish wigglers turns into free swimming fish.

What to Feed Angelfish fry?

Feed your angelfish fry crushed tropical flakes or baby brine shrimp. I usually feed my angelfish fry these specially formulated newborn fish food. Feed your angelfish fry 3 to 4 times a day to get them to grow as big as they can.

Is it Better to Remove Angelfish Eggs and Keep in a Separate Tank to Hatch?

I think it is better to move the angelfish eggs to a separate tank to hatch. By moving angelfish eggs to a separate tank, you increase the chance of survival of your angelfish fry when they hatch. If you were to keep the eggs with the Angelfish parents, you take the risk of the fry being eaten specially if there are other fish in the same tank.

How to Set Up Angelfish Fry Tank

Get an aquarium that is 5 gallons or less for your angelfish fry. Set up the angelfish fry tank with a sponge filter and water heater. Use the water heater to keep the water warm in the Angelfish fry tank at 78-82F. The sponge filter will prevent angelfish fry from being sucked up. The smaller tank will ensure that the tank is not too big that your angelfish fry will have difficulty getting to the food. Do frequent water changes, every 2-3 days, to maintain optimal water quality.

Angelfish Facts

Family: Cichlidae

Origin: Amazon River Basin- South America

Max. Size: Up t0 6-10 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons per fish or 30 gallons per pair

Level: Easy

Water Temperature: 78-782°F

Water PH Level: pH 7.8-7.0

Color: Silver, Gold, Marbled

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Compatibility: Other peaceful freshwater fish like platies, molly fish, swordtails and guppies

You May Also Be Interested In Other Cichlids