What Do Angelfish Need in Their Tank? Your Complete Guide

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angelfish tank guide
Photo by: Josephina Kolpachnikof from Unsplash

Pet ownership is always a joy and aquariums are no exception. There’s something so peaceful about sitting and watching the underwater scene.

But starting an aquarium is different from adopting a furry friend. It’s normal to feel a little lost at first—sorting through tank sizes and equipment can be overwhelming.

As proud fish owners, we love seeing people take an interest. Everyone deserves to enjoy the proven mental health benefits of owning an aquarium. That’s why we’re covering all the angelfish tank requirements you need to get started.

In just a few minutes, you’ll have a clear picture of everything you need for a flawless angelfish tank setup. Let’s dive in!

What Size Tank Do Angelfish Need?

Rigel Zthssngel Unsplash

One freshwater angelfish needs a 10-gallon size tank, on average. But it’s not quite that simple. You see, freshwater angelfish naturally form schools. One angelfish in a tank will be confused and despondent.

You really want to start with at least two fish. So, the smallest tank you need for happy angelfish is 20 gallons (10 per fish).

Consider the dimensions of angelfish, too. They’ll grow up to 7 inches long and 13 inches high, depending on the breed. Think about the height and width of your tank in addition to the gallons it will hold. Taller tanks are always better for this species.


What Is the Best Tank Temperature for Angelfish?

The best angelfish water temp is between 78–86 degrees Fahrenheit.  Your tank temperature is crucial to their survival.

Quick biology recap: Freshwater angelfish are ectotherms, meaning the water temperature impacts their energy, locomotor skills and metabolic rate. When the water is too hot or cold, it can harm or even kill your fish.

What Type of Gravel Do Angelfish Like?

Angelfish like gravel that’s smooth and fine to medium-sized. These beautiful fish are foragers, so they eat microscopic bits of plants and food. Their favorite place to hunt? Along the bottom of your tank.

So, your gravel needs to be smooth and light enough for angelfish to dig around. Rough, super-chunky gravel will damage their delicate anatomy. You’ll find our favorite listed below.

Your Complete Angelfish Tank Setup Shopping List

Now you understand the importance of choosing the right products for your new fishy friends. But you still need specific answers to “What do angelfish need in their tank?” Read on for our favorite brands and products.

Heater

angelfish tank guide

To keep your tank at the temperature angelfish need, you’ll want a heater. More importantly, you’ll want a heater with a great warranty and shatterproof construction to protect your fish.

That’s why the Aqueon Pro 150 Heater is our top pick. Aqueon always stands by their warranties and this model works for aquariums up to 55 gallons.

We also suggest the Imagitarium Aquarium Strip Thermometer to monitor temperatures, just in case.

Substrate

As a new fish keeper, gravel will be the easiest thing to put in your angelfish tank. Gravel is great because it’s super easy to clean, but it also does a great job of trapping waste and dirt.

Our favorite gravel option for freshwater angelfish is Imagitarium Shallow Creek Aquarium Medium Gravel. It doesn’t contain any dyes, though we do recommend rinsing it before adding to your tank.

You and your angelfish will love the medium size and polished smoothness. They can forage to their heart’s content and cleanup will be a breeze for you.

Lights

Freshwater angelfish will be much happier with simulated sunlight. We don’t recommend relying on natural sunlight from a window—it’s rarely enough for the fish and plants.

LED lights to mimic the sun for 8–12 hours daily are best. Our favorite is the Aqueon Modular 24” LED Aquarium Lighting System because it’s fast to set up, affordable and should last for years.

Best of all, it’s modular—so if you plan on buying a big tank now or down the road, you can keep adding to this same piece.

Filter

A filter is necessary because it removes toxic ammonia build-ups. It also aerates the water, enabling your fish to breathe.

We suggest investing in your filter. Doing so means you’ll spend less time and money on maintenance down the road. The Fluval 207 Performance Canister Filter is our top pick. It’s perfect for tanks between 20–40 gallons. For bigger tanks, you’ll need two filters.

Vegetation and Decoration

Angelfish don’t need fancy decorations, but they do like shade and hiding spots. Fill your tank with a mix of vertically-placed driftwood and large-leafed plants to achieve this environment. A few plants floating on the surface are a good idea, too.

Our favorite options for an angelfish tank.

Try to create many different spots and lots of various heights. This keeps your angelfish happy, plus creates a gorgeous aquascape for you to enjoy!

Water

You can’t just fill your angelfish tank with tap water and plop them in. The water needs a specific pH range and absolutely no chlorine. You’ll need a water conditioner to achieve this.

Our favorite, hands down, is the Fluval Water Conditioner. It makes tap water safe for your fish with all-natural ingredients—a win-win!

FAQs

How many angelfish in a 55-gallon tank?

A 55-gallon tank comfortably houses six, adult, freshwater angelfish. It might not sound like much, but remember how big angelfish can get.

Adult angelfish need 7–11 gallons of water, each, to feel comfortable, and because they’re sometimes territorial. You may have to reduce your population to five if they aren’t getting along.

How many angelfish in a 75-gallon tank?

A 75-gallon tank comfortably houses seven, adult, freshwater angelfish. Because each fish needs up to 11 gallons of water, a 75-gallon tank can’t hold many more than a 55-gallon tank.

Angelfish can become territorial with any tank size. Depending on each fish’s personality, you may not be able to keep more than five or six in a 75-gallon tank.

Do angelfish need a filter?

Yes, angelfish need a filter of some kind. The best brand of filter for your angelfish tank is Fluval. This brand makes filters that are ultra-quiet, use the same amount of energy as 1 LED light bulb and need very little maintenance.

Once you have some experience under your belt, you can experiment with going filter-less. If you achieve the perfect balance of plants in your tank, a filter isn’t necessary. But striking this balance is virtually impossible for a new fish keeper. To protect your new pets, start with a Fluval filter.

Will angelfish jump out of a tank?

Yes, angelfish may sometimes try to jump out of the tank. But know this is very uncommon.

The only reasons a freshwater angelfish may attempt an escape ?

  • Contaminated or dirty tank
  • Not enough oxygen in tank
  • Life-threatening temperature fluctuations
  • Not enough hiding places
  • Bullying from other fish

Nobody likes waking up to an escaped fish—well, except your cat. To keep your angelfish happy and in their tank, clean it at a regular cadence. Stay on top of the tank’s temperature, oxygen levels and nitrate levels.

As a final precaution, there are no downsides to keeping a clear cover over your aquarium.

With just a bit of regular maintenance, you can enjoy your new angelfish tank for years to come.

About the Author
Oscar cichlid fish

Shelby Dennis

Shelby Dennis has been a passionate pet owner her entire life-- whether furry, feathered, or fishy, she loves them all. She started writing both fiction and website content as a teenager, and still enjoys both today. When she isn't researching and writing about the best pet products, she can be found curled up with a good book and a cat in her lap.... Learn More

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