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If angelfish were competing for the title of most popular fish in the tank, they would be strong contenders.
Chances are if you’ve seen your fair share of aquariums, you’ve also seen your fair share of angelfish. Many people choose them because they are beautiful fish and are mainly low maintenance.
While angelfish are generally peaceful, they can become a bit aggressive and territorial when it’s feeding time.
Don’t let their name fool you; these fish are carnivorous.
While you can feed them flakes, you should be prepared to also give them live feedings of freshly hatched brine fish and bloodworms. If you don’t you may see their aggression come out because they will get “hangry”.
Angelfish are not known to be the most agile swimmers so you’ll want to keep them in fairly large tanks, especially if they’re inviting friends over. This is because a tank that’s too small can create excessive waves that the angelfish don’t particularly enjoy.
As we all know, fish can get sick too. Angelfish are highly prone to ick. Ick is a parasitic condition that can develop if the tank is not in good, clean shape. Overcrowding and poor diet can also lead to ick.
Once one fish has it there’s a good chance the other tank mates will get it too as it’s pretty easy to spread. The best way to stop its spread is to avoid it in the first place by keeping your tank clean and your angelfish well fed.
Part of keeping the tank clean also means keeping it in optimal shape for angelfish and its tank mates.
Here are some things to keep in mind if angelfish are in your future:
Care Level: Easy Ideal tank size: 20 gallons or larger Temperature range: around 74-84 degrees Fahrenheit pH Range: 6-7.5
Angelfish will thrive in aquariums with that environment and with other fish who share some of their traits. If you’re thinking of buying an angelfish and don’t want it to be lonely, here’s a look at some of the best tank mates.
Just remember you don’t want to crowd the tank with too many friends!
What fish are compatible with Angelfish?
The best tank mates would be similar fast and active fish that don’t have long fins. Most tetras like the cardinal or neon tetra as well as some bottom feeders like the corydoras catfish would work well. Gourami and Swordtails can also be compatible with your Angelfish.
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 2 1/2 inches Temperature range: 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 5.8-7
Corydoras Catfish are the preferred tank mate for angelfish because they not only thrive in the same water conditions, but they also like the bottom of the tank.
This allows the angelfish to occupy the middle of the tank which it prefers. Since they like different parts of the tank the chances of them getting in each other’s way is slim. Both fish can live happily ever after.
2. Bolivian Rams
Care level: Moderate Max Size of fish: 3 inches Temperature range: 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6.5-7.5
Bolivian Rams are small in size so they won’t take up a lot of space in the tank, making them good roommates for the angelfish. They are also beautiful in color, so the combination with the angelfish makes for an aesthetically pleasing tank.
Bolivian Rams tend to hang out in the bottom of the tank which means they are unlikely to get in the way of the angelfish. Each fish can have its own space but still co-exist quite nicely. Since Bolivian Rams are omnivores, they’ll eat what the angelfish eat and then some.
3. German Rams
Care level: Moderate Max Size of fish: 2.5 inches Temperature range: 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 5-7
Much like the Bolivian Rams, these are exquisite looking fish and fun to watch. These fish swim along peacefully and make great tank mates for the angelfish because of the shared temperature range.
As with the angelfish, maintaining extremely clean water is a must for the German Rams. Not doing so won’t make the German Rams happy and may leave you shopping for new tank mates.
4. Kribensis Cichlids
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 4 inches Temperature range: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6-8
The Kribensis Cichlids spend the majority of the time hiding in the tank. So, be sure to provide plenty of plants and rocks. There are sometimes when you may even forget that it’s there except when it swims around to get its food.
Seeing that the Kribensis Cichlid keeps to itself it won’t get into any spats with the angelfish and can co-exist quite nicely. When it comes to feeding, these guys like vegetable-based foods so there shouldn’t much of a fight at meal times.
5. Kuhli Loaches
Care level: Moderate Max Size of fish: 4 1/2 inches Temperature range: 79-86 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6-6.5
Mainly, bottom dwellers, the Kuhli Loaches can live harmoniously with the angelfish that are typically drawn to the middle of the tank. They’re also carnivores, so no need to cook these guys a separate meal!
While Kuhli Loaches make great tank mates for the angelfish you’ll want to keep the baby Kuhli Loaches away because they may get eaten from time to time. This is a very rare occurrence but is still worth mentioning.
6. Bristlenose Pleco
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 6 inches Temperature range: 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 5.5-7.6
These fish are hard workers that should be rewarded with a sinking herbivore pellet from time to time. The algae alone is not enough to sustain them. Since Bristlenose Plecos are bottom dwellers, it’s highly unlikely any food will reach them once the angelfish have first dibs.
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 24 inches Temperature range: 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6.5-7.5
The Common Pleco is known as a bottom-feeding catfish. These types of fish rarely fight with other fish, just larger fish of their own species. They will mainly stick to the bottom of the tank so the angelfish should remain quite content in the middle of the tank.
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 1.5-2.5 inches Temperature range: 64-77 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 7-8.2
Platies are great beginner fish because they’re so easy to care for and can survive in most conditions. Although they prefer hard water and angelfish prefer soft water, many platies are now captive bred and can adapt to many different types of water.
Platies are mainly omnivores but will also eat brine shrimp and bloodworms like the angelfish.
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 4 inches Temperature range: 64-82 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 7-8.3
These easy-to-care-for peaceful fish just want to live each day swimming in the tank. They’re known to be great community fish and get along with many different species including the angelfish.
If you are going to house these guys with the angelfish just be sure to have a cover because they’re known to be frisky little jumpers
10. Sailfin Molly
Care level: Easy Max Size of fish: 6 inches Temperature range: 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 7-8
The Sailfin Molly is a peaceful fish that will live in harmony with the angelfish. It thrives in the same water temperature and environment so these guys are best friends in the making.
It’s important to know that the mollies are delicate fish that can be prone to disease. So keep this in mind when deciding on tank mates for your angelfish.
11. Yoyo Loach
Care level: Moderate Max Size of fish: 3 inches Temperature range: 72-86 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6-7.5
Due to their size and the fact that they do best in schools of five, yoyo loach only makes good tank mates for angelfish when they are in a very large tank. If you do have a fairly large tank then the two can become friends, if not it may be best to go with another compatible tank mate.
When the yoyo loach does share a tank with angelfish all is well because it tends to stay at the bottom, leaving the rest of the tank free for the angelfish to swim.
Care level: Moderate Max Size of fish: 2 inches Temperature range: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit pH range: 6-7.5
When you’re looking for a peaceful fish that everyone seems to love, it doesn’t get much better than the dwarf gourami. These guys just want to swim around and can get along with pretty much any other fish.
But, sometimes they are too nice and can let other fish bully them.
If your angelfish is more on the aggressive side you may not want to pair it with dwarf gourami. But, if your angelfish is more peaceful then the dwarf gourami is an excellent tankmate choice.
Not So Good Tank Mates For Your Freshwater Angelfish
While the above tank mates are all good options for the angelfish, there are definitely some you’ll want to avoid.
Neon Tetras. Angelfish are known to eat small fish like the Neon tetras. So, placing them in the same tank is generally not a good idea.
Blackshirt Tetras. There’s something about these fish that make angelfish attack them. In order to prevent an attack, keep these fish away from one another.
Harlequin Rasboras. These tiny fish can also end up to be dinner rather than a dinner date for the angelfish.
Besides these specific types of fish, any type of aggressive fish should also be avoided. They may try to bully the angelfish who just want to swim in the middle of the tank and eat when it’s feeding time.
Misconceptions about the Angelfish
If you’re thinking about buying an angelfish you should know the facts so that you can weed out the fiction.
Angelfish are never aggressive: Wrong! While angelfish usually come in peace and can certainly be angels (they are angelfish after all), that doesn’t mean they can’t have a mean streak.
No one is perfect.
They can become aggressive when they feel cramped or when they’re protecting a spawn. The lesson to be learned here is to give angelfish their space and stay away from their kids.
Angelfish will immediately adapt to a new tank: Wrong! Although they are easy to care for, angelfish are known to be extremely sensitive to temperature changes. That’s why you need to introduce them to their new tanks gradually.
You can do this by temporarily keeping them in a container and adding water. This will give them a small taste of their new environment a little bit at a time.
Angelfish will never grow larger than six inches: Wrong! Although it is extremely rare, angelfish can grow as large as ten inches. But, this is only possible when they have an extremely large tank and are not crowded.
This is hardly seen in captivity but is something to be aware of just in case your angelfish has a growth spurt that never ends.
When deciding on tank mates for angelfish it may be a case of trial and error until you find the right ones. Fish are like people in that they’re all different. What may work for one angelfish when it comes to tankmates may not necessarily work for another. You may need to try many fish from the list before you find the tank mates that live in perfect harmony with your angelfish.
No matter what type of tank mates you choose always be sure to keep your tank clean and feed your fish regularly. That will allow all fish to live happily in their tank!