a picture of a black and white Freshwater Angelfish swimming in an aquarium

Are you looking for a new fish to add to your aquarium? Freshwater Angelfish might be the perfect choice for you! These beautiful fish are popular among first time pet owners, and they make great additions to any home.

Freshwater Angelfish are a type of tropical fish that come from South America. They have long, slender bodies and bright colors that range from yellow to blue. Freshwater Angelfish are typically about 6 – 10 inches long, and weigh as much as 2 pounds. 

If you’ve ever wanted to own a fish that is both beautiful and entertaining, then you might want to consider getting a Freshwater Angelfish. These fish are colorful, and friendly. They are also very hardy and can survive in a range of temperatures.

Freshwater Angelfish are very easy to care for. When it comes to food, Freshwater Angelfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live food. They are very curious, and will swim right up to you to see what you’re feeding them.

There are more than 30 species of Angelfish. Most of them are tropical fish that live in saltwater but a few live in freshwater. Angelfish are named for their round, flat, fluffy pout, which resembles a human angel’s face. They have prominent dorsal and pectoral fins and a long flowing tail. Their bodies are covered with tiny scales.

They are very attractive fish, and look great in any aquarium, but because they are an aggressive fish it will limit what you can have with them. The average price of a Freshwater Angelfish is about $20, and they can be found at most local pet stores.

Overall, Freshwater Angelfish are a great choice for first time pet owners. They are beautiful, easy to care for, and can bring years of joy to your family. With proper research and care, these fish can be a wonderful addition to any home.

If you’re looking for a fish that is both beautiful and easy to care for, Freshwater Angelfish are the perfect choice. They make wonderful additions to any home and can bring years of joy to your family.

Angelfish Information

  • Average Length: 6 to 10 inches
  • Scale Colors: Silver, Gold, Black and Marbled
  • Attention Needs: Low
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: No
  • Good Pet: Yes!
  • Good with Other Angelfish: Yes
  • Good with Other fish species: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Health Concerns: Fin Rot, Hexamita and Dropsy.
  • Average Life Span: 8 – 12 years

Physical Appearance of Angelfish

a black and white Freshwater Angelfish with a lot of yellow spots swimming

Angelfish are a type of Cichlid, a large family of freshwater fish which includes thousands of different species. They are freshwater fish, and different from the Saltwater Angelfish. They get their name because of the wing-like shape that their fins have. It closely resembles the wings that angels are depicted to have.

Like other Cichlid species, Angelfish also have long narrow bodies. They have a unique arrow-shaped appearance. Their mouth is the point of the arrow and their body expands above and below them behind their head. They have elongated and triangular-shaped pectoral and dorsal fins. Their dorsal fins can sometimes be longer than their length. The unique shape of their fins allows them to hide among plants to protect themselves from predators in the wild.

When it comes to colors, Angelfish can have a variety of patterns and vivid colors. The most common Angelfish color is silver bodied with large black bands. Younger Angelfish will have seven bands but as they age some of their bands will merge together and as adults they’ll only have three. Years of captive breeding have created many vibrant colors like silver, gold, black and marbled.

The most common type Angelfish found in pet stores are Silver Angelfish that have three stripes on their body. Their stripes can appear or disappear depending upon the time of day, lighting conditions or if they feel frightened. Bright lights and stress, and nighttime are the main reasons why their stripes can temporarily disappear.

Zebra Angelfish are a popular type of Angelfish that looks similar to Silver Angelfish with the only difference being that they have 4 black bands.

Golden Angelfish, Black Lace Angelfish and Marbled Angelfish are other popular varieties commonly found for sale. Black Lace Angelfish are actually a Silver Angelfish where black genes are dominant with no contrast bands on their body. Marbled Angelfish have black spots and irregular bands on their body.

Some species like Zebras can have red eyes which indicates sexual maturity and good health.

a beautiful Freshwater Angelfish swimming up from the bottom of their aquarium

Temperament of Angelfish

Compared to other Cichlids, Angelfish are relatively peaceful. They are mostly active during the day and will usually sleep at night.

Angelfish are known to get aggressive and territorial with other Angelfish in their tank. It’s generally a form of breeding behavior where a male will chase other males in their group to get the attention of a female.

Angelfish rarely attack or nip other species outside their school, with the exception being smaller fish. A male Angelfish may become aggressive with other fish to defend their eggs or newly hatched fries.

They prefer not to swim with other fish or other Angelfish types. They will mostly swim around in a small school of their own type.

Best Habitat for Angelfish

Their natural environment includes slow-moving waters, swamps and floodplains. With a good water filter you can replicate these conditions in your fish tank to make their aquarium close to their natural home. Have the water filter draw water from one end of the tank. The return should return water to the other end and it will simulate the conditions of a slow river.

Tank size

These fish can grow up to 6” tall and be 8” tall. A 20 gallon tank is the minimum tank size for an Angelfish, and as with any fish bigger is usually better for their comfort. If you want to have more than one, then a larger tank will be needed. The rule is to increase the tank size by 10 gallons for every additional Angelfish.

One important thing about Angelfish is that they grow tall rather than long. So having a taller tank is better. If you want to create a community fish tank or want to add living plants then a larger tank will be needed.

a black and white Freshwater Angelfish that looks like its nearly see through


They prefer a slightly warm temperature between 75 to 82° F.

Water Hardness and PH

They need slightly acidic water, a pH of 6.8 to 7 is recommended. The water hardness should be between 3 and 8 dKH.


They need 8 to 12 hours of lighting every day. Any type of aquarium lighting will be good for them. The water should be clear so that the light will reach the bottom of the tank. Avoid adding floating plants because they will block the light.


To replicate their swampy living conditions in the wild, living plants can be added to their tank. Plants like Java Fern are good choices for them. These plants are tall and need low lighting. They are easy to care for and will make a great addition to your fish tank. Other good living plants like Amazon Swords or Java Moss will compliment your aquarium.

Adding decorations like driftwood and rocks are also recommended. They will help create hiding places for your fish.

Tank conditions

For the substrate, something soft like sand or mud works well. Like all Cichlids, Angelfish like to dig so these will be an excellent choice. Avoid using gravel or any other hard substrate because it can cut their fins and scales.

In their natural environment, they are used to slow water currents. Keep the water clean and aerated by using a filter and air pumps.

a black and white Freshwater Angelfish with a lot of yellow on their top

Tank Maintenance

Try to maintain stable water conditions by measuring the water’s temperature, alkalinity, and dissolved compounds in the tank regularly. Clean the filters and air pumps every other week and it will ensure they work efficiently. A 10% water change should be carried out each week.

Perform a deep cleaning every month, doing a 20% water change and cleaning algae from the glass. A deep clean will help remove debris from your tank and also control the algae growth. If you have living plants, trim them and remove the dead ones to keep the water clean.

Best Tank Mates for Angelfish

Freshwater Angelfish are generally peaceful which makes them a great choice for a community tank. When housing them with other species, a larger tank is recommended because it will give them the space they need. A small tank can cause your Angelfish to be territorial or aggressive towards other fish.

The best tank mates for them are:

  • Tetras
  • Rasboras
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Rainbow Barbs
  • Cory Catfish and some other medium-sized Catfish
  • Discus
  • Dwarf Cichlid
  • Bolivian Ram

Avoid housing them with fin-nipping fish like aggressive Barbs. Cichlids like aggressive Oscars and Convicts won’t do well either.

They tend to show territorial behavior towards other Angelfish species. Avoid keeping different species of Angelfish together because they will become aggressive with each other.

Health Issues

Angelfish are susceptible to bacterial and parasitic infections. Clean water is the easiest way to maintain your fish’s health.


Hexamita, also known as hole-in-the-head disease or head and lateral line erosion, is a common parasite affecting many freshwater fish species. It’s caused by the protozoan Hexamita spp., which primarily targets a fish’s gills and eyes. Hexamitiasis can be prevented through proper quarantine and regular water changes. Fish should also be monitored for any signs of infection, especially if there is a history of Hexamita in the tank. Proper nutrition and maintaining good water quality can also help reduce the risk of infection. Some commercially-available medications can be used to treat existing infections or as a preventative measure.


Dropsy is a condition that affects freshwater fish, but it can also occur in saltwater species. It’s caused by the accumulation of fluid in a fish’s body cavities, most commonly in the abdomen or their swim bladder. The result is a swollen appearance, with the scales standing out prominently and often taking on a pine cone-like shape. Dropsy may be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, but it’s most commonly caused by poor water quality.

In addition to its swollen appearance, a fish with Dropsy can have difficulty swimming and breathing. The scales often become discolored and their gills can appear pink or white. Dropsy can be fatal if left untreated, because the infection can spread throughout their body, damaging major organs and eventually leading to death.

Fin Rot

Fin Rot is a common illness caused by bacteria in an aquarium. It’s associated with the deterioration of a fish’s fins, scales and skin. The affected areas can become discolored, frayed or disintegrate entirely. In extreme cases, fin rot can be fatal to a fish if left untreated.

The most common cause of fin rot is poor water quality. Bacterial growth can happen when ammonia and nitrite levels become too high, or PH levels become imbalanced. Overcrowding in the aquarium can also lead to fin rot, because poor water quality is more likely when there are too many fish in a tank.

In order to prevent fin rot, it’s important to maintain a clean and healthy environment for your fish.

Feeding Angelfish

a pile of fish food flakes

Freshwater Angelfish found in the wild are omnivorous. They eat a variety of insects, crustaceans, larvae, rotifers and other smaller fish. Algae is also popular with them in the wild but it’s only a small portion of their diet.

In captivity, they should be fed a meat-based diet. Live prey like bloodworms, brine shrimp, insects and crustaceans can be fed to them. They can also be fed commercial cichlid flakes or pellets.

They will not eat living plants and algae in your tank but you can feed them plant-based food like algae flakes and wafers. The flakes and wafers will give them a balanced diet and make sure they receive all the nutrients that they need.

They have a large appetite and should be fed twice a day. If you have mated pairs then they should be fed more, up to 4 times a day.

Because they feed on a variety of food we recommend rotating their diet and feed them different types of food.

Only feed them what they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes.

Related Questions:

How do I know if My Angelfish is Male or Female?

Both male and female Angelfish look the same. The only way to identify their sex is when they are getting ready to lay their eggs. They have an organ called papilla which is located midway between their ventral and anal fins.

When a female is ready to lay her eggs, her papilla will become enlarged and have a blunt tip. A male who senses this and is interested in breeding will also develop an enlarged papilla with a slightly pointed tip. Looking at the tip of their papilla will help identify their sex but this is also not a fool proof method. Angelfish who are not breeding may not develop an enlarged papilla, making it difficult to identify their sex.

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Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.