Freshwater angelfish is one of the most popular aquarium fish. There are generally three angelfish types: Dumeril Angelfish, Altum Angelfish, and the Common Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare). The fish are incredibly beautiful, have distinctive shapes, and come in various colors.
Despite their mesmerizing beauty, the fish have a reputation for being aggressive. Angelfish are natural predators, so you should always choose compatible species when picking angelfish tank mates. If you plan to keep a pair of angelfish, you need at least a 30–40-gallon tank.
Which fish can live with angelfish?
The best angelfish tank mates survive in the same water parameters as angels. Angelfish prefer warmer water temperatures of 78 to 84°F. They also like water with a pH of 6.5 to 7.8. Therefore, the best tank mates are the fish that can live comfortably within those water parameters.
Some of the most suitable tank companions to consider as angelfish tank mates include:
The rainbow fish is very popular in tropical community aquariums. They are very easy to care for and are exceptionally peaceful. The fish does extremely well in community tanks and can be the perfect addition to your angelfish tank.
Bristlenose Plecos are bottom-feeder species from the Amazon River region. These fish make good angelfish companions as their natural habitat has the same water conditions as the angelfish. They are easy to care for, appealing to look at, peaceful, and good tank cleaners.
Like rainbow fish, platies are also popular in tropical aquariums. The fish are easy to care for and extremely attractive. Platies are good angelfish mates and grow to about 3 inches in size. Their size ensures that angels cannot feed on them.
The catfish is among the most low-maintenance, calm, and peaceful fish. They like living in groups of four. Thus, you can consider having about 3 to 4 of them in the same tank as the angelfish.
The dwarf gouramis are peaceful and shy fish. They are good angelfish companions as they require the same water requirements as the angels. The fish has a bright color that makes it easy to spot. If you decide to have dwarf gourami as the angels’ tank mates, ensure your tank has extensive plants. The plants will provide the dwarf gourami a cover to hide as they are very shy.
Zebra loaches have aggressive personalities and can stand up to the angelfish if the need arises. However, they can be very peaceful and will not cause trouble unless forced to. One primary merit of the zebra loaches is that they are bottom feeders, meaning they can do a phenomenal job cleaning your tank. Also, they prefer staying in groups of five in a tank.
Are angelfish good community fish?
Angelfish can only make extremely good community fish if you place them together with suitable companions. Generally, the fish can be territorial and aggressive, so you need to be extremely careful when choosing tank mates.
All angelfish types can grow to more than 6 inches in length. Therefore, you should avoid keeping smaller fish less than 2 inches in size in the same tank as angelfish. Angelfish are most likely to swallow small fish such as fish fry. However, they can live peacefully with small fish about 3 inches in size.
Also, avoid more territorial and larger fish when choosing tank mates. If you place territorial and larger fish, such as big cichlids, in the same tank as the angelfish, there will most likely be aggression.
How many angelfish should be kept together?
Your angelfish tank size determines how many angels you can keep in one tank. If you have a 29-gallon community tank, you can keep at least four adult angels together with other tank companions.
If you plan to keep juvenile angelfish, you can place at least six angels in a 55-gallon tank. However, if they grow and begin to act territorial, remove some. Remember to go for a bigger tank if you have many tank mates. Also, increase the rate of water changes if you have several angelfish in the same tank. The water changes will ensure you maintain high-quality water.
How do you stop angelfish aggression?
The territorial nature of angelfish makes them pretty aggressive. The aggression is often a way for them to establish their highest rank within an aquarium. However, you can reduce angelfish aggression in the tank with the right conditions. Here are some of the ways you can accomplish that:
1. Eliminate food competition
Angelfish can be very competitive when it comes to their meals. They are mid-water or surface feeders and thrive on foods such as:
When feeding your fish, provide food in different aquarium areas simultaneously. Use a combination of sinking and floating foods to reduce competition. The sinking foods can be for the bottom feeders, while the floating ones are for the angelfish.
Also, provide a sufficient diet. Angelfish are not picky eaters, but they do not like an environment where they would compete for food. If you offer them an inadequate diet, they will likely chase and eat the smaller fish.
2. Have an adequate tank size
The bigger the angelfish tank size, the better. Big tank sizes help to reduce the aggressive behavior of the angelfish. Ensure to provide a tank of at least 29 gallons if you keep at least two angelfish. For a community tank, go for a more than 50 gallons tank.
3. Provide hiding areas
Add rocks and plants if you intend to have other tank mates in your angelfish tank. The aquatic plants and rocks can act as hiding spots for fish, such as the dwarf gourami, in case they need to run.
Angelfish are good community fish only if you provide a suitable environment and tank mates. The general rule is to avoid less than two inches fish, more territorial, and larger fish. Also, make sure to have the correct tank size and provide adequate food to reduce aggression.