How Big Do Angelfish Get and How Long Do They Live?

Terri Mitchell | September 20, 2021
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Freshwater Silver Angelfish
Photo by: Simon Infanger on Unsplash

The Angelfish is from South America and has been dubbed ”king of the aquarium” due to its beauty and distinctive appearance. Angelfish have wing-shaped fins and are generally silver with gray and black markings when found in their native habitat. Fish in captivity are found with beautifully-marbled colors and vibrant orange, yellow and blue hues.

Thinking of an angelfish aquarium? Here are some common questions:

How Big Do Angelfish Get?

Freshwater Angelfish in a planted aquarium

Anne Kroiss on Pixabay

Generally speaking, Freshwater Angelfish in captivity, such as pets in home aquariums, grow to be around 6″ in length, depending on the specific species. In nature, with access to a steady food source, angelfish can grow up to 12″ long. These fish are usually thin with long fins that resemble wings when they swim.

What Size of Tank Do I Need for Angelfish?

The best tank size is at least 20 gallons for two angelfish. At a minimum, a single angelfish needs 10 gallons to thrive. It is far better to double-up these tank sizes—that is, provide a 40-gallon tank for a pair of fish and at least a 20-gallon tank for a solo pet, as angelfish like a lot of room to swim. The SeaClear 40 gal aquarium combo set (sponsored) is an ideal option to get started with angelfish.

You should know that the Cichlid species of angelfish can become a bit aggressive as they get older, so it makes sense to offer these fish plenty of room. Also allow ample room in the tank for features like rocks, plants and ornaments, as angelfish like to explore the bottom of their aquarium.

Do Angelfish Grow to the Size of the Tank?

If you provide your angelfish with more room to swim, they will grow a bit bigger. For instance, a fish in a crowded tank will grow to be 6″ while the same species may grow up to 10″ in a larger aquarium. These fish thrive in tanks with water that has a pH of 6 to 8. Angelfish grow best in a clean tank with fresh water. Arrange plants along the bottom to give each fish their own “space” to lurk and swim.

How Long Do Angelfish Live?

With attentive Angelfish care, your fish can live up to 15 years. Fish in nature typically live around ten years, depending on the environment.

Angelfish are stunning additions to any aquarium. Carefully consider the care involved with angelfish, as well as the 15-year commitment, before investing in these small beauties.

About the Author
Freshwater Silver Angelfish

Terri Mitchell

Terri Mitchell is a freelance content writer from North Carolina who brings years of research, experience, and passion in animal-assisted therapy to her work. A former Licensed Clinical Social Worker,... Learn More

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