Quick Facts about Angelfish

Species NamePterophyllum
Common NameAngelfish
Care LevelModerate
LifespanUp to 10 years
Adult SizeUp to 6 inches
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Temperature74°F – 82°F (23°C – 28°C)
Water ConditionsSlightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.5-7.5), soft to moderately hard

About the Angelfish – Species Summary

Angelfish are among the most recognizable and iconic freshwater aquarium inhabitants. Hailing primarily from the Amazon River basin in South America, these beautifully shaped fish have been gracing aquariums around the world for decades. Their graceful, flattened bodies, tall, triangular dorsal and anal fins, and peaceful demeanor have made them favorites among aquarium hobbyists.

Belonging to the genus Pterophyllum, angelfish are cichlids, a family known for their diverse size, appearance, and behavior. Though they exhibit some cichlid behaviors, such as territorialism, angelfish are generally more peaceful than many of their relatives, making them suitable for community tanks with the right tank mates.

Angelfish Lifespan

A well-cared-for angelfish can live up to 10 years or even longer in some cases. Their lifespan largely depends on factors such as diet, tank conditions, and genetics. To ensure a long, healthy life for angelfish, it’s crucial to provide them with a balanced diet, regular tank maintenance, and appropriate water parameters.

In the wild, many factors, including predation, disease, and competition for resources, can influence the longevity of angelfish. However, in the controlled environment of an aquarium, with optimal care, they have the potential to reach their maximum lifespan.


Angelfish have a unique and striking appearance. Their laterally compressed bodies are almost disc-shaped, providing an elegant silhouette. Their long, flowing dorsal and anal fins create an impressive display, often likened to the wings of an angel, hence their name.

They come in a variety of color patterns, including silver with black vertical stripes, gold, koi, and even marbled. Selective breeding in the aquarium trade has led to the development of many unique and stunning color morphs, making each angelfish truly distinctive.

Average Size

Upon reaching adulthood, angelfish can achieve sizes of up to 6 inches in length from nose to the base of the tail. However, when including their long, flowing fins, they can appear much larger.

Angelfish Care

Tank Size

For angelfish, a minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended for a single pair. However, for every additional angelfish, an extra 10 gallons is advisable. A larger tank not only provides ample swimming space but also helps in diluting waste products, ensuring a cleaner environment for the fish.

How To Set Up Their Tank

Setting up an angelfish tank requires consideration of both aesthetics and the natural environment these fish inhabit. Start with a fine to medium-grained substrate. Plants are essential, both for aesthetics and to provide hiding spaces. Angelfish, being native to the Amazon, are accustomed to densely planted environments, so incorporating broad-leafed plants like Amazon swords can mimic their natural habitat.

Driftwood and rock formations can further enhance the natural feel and provide additional territories and hiding spots. Filtration should be efficient but not too strong to avoid excessive water current which the angelfish dislike.

Lighting Requirements

Angelfish prefer subdued lighting, which mimics their natural Amazonian habitat where dense canopy often filters light. Using adjustable LED aquarium lights can allow hobbyists to control the intensity and even simulate a day-night cycle. Floating plants can also help diffuse the light, providing the dim environment angelfish appreciate.


Angelfish thrive in slightly acidic to neutral pH levels. A range of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal. Regular monitoring and adjustments using natural buffers can help maintain the desired pH level.


A tropical species, angelfish require warm water temperatures between 74°F and 82°F (23°C – 28°C). Consistency is key; sudden temperature fluctuations can stress the fish.

Water Parameters

Soft to moderately hard water is best for angelfish. The water hardness should ideally be between 3-8 dKH. Regular water changes, typically 25-30% every week or two, can help maintain optimal water quality.

Disease Potential

Like all aquarium fish, angelfish are susceptible to various diseases, including ich, fin rot, and fungal infections. Regular observation, maintaining optimal water parameters, and quarantine of new fish can help prevent the outbreak and spread of diseases.

Food & Diet

Angelfish are omnivores, meaning they consume both plant and animal matter. In the wild, their diet comprises small invertebrates and plant matter. In the aquarium, a mix of high-quality flake food, live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and occasional vegetable matter will keep them healthy and vibrant.

Behavior and Temperament

While angelfish are generally peaceful, they can exhibit territorial behavior, especially during breeding. They tend to swim in the mid-to-upper regions of the tank. As cichlids, they have more personality than some other fish and can recognize their caregivers, often swimming to the front of the tank during feeding times or when their primary caregiver approaches.

Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates is crucial. Compatible companions include larger tetras, rasboras, mollies, and some types of barbs. It’s best to avoid very small fish, as they can become a snack for the angelfish. Similarly, overly aggressive fish can stress or harm the angelfish.


Angelfish breeding can be both rewarding and challenging. Once a pair forms, they become quite territorial, often choosing a broad leaf or vertical surface to lay their eggs. The parents usually tend to their eggs, fanning them and guarding against intruders. After a few days, the eggs hatch, and the fry begin their journey.

Angelfish FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)