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Angelfish Care: Tank, Water & Food Requirements

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Fish enthusiasts love angelfish for their long flowy fins, intelligence, and unique personalities.

Not to be confused with the saltwater angelfish, freshwater angelfish are cichlids native to tropical South America.

Once you get their tank set up, angelfish care is simple.

However, you must ensure you manage their water, feeding, and tank cleanliness.

Otherwise, you put your fish at risk of making your fish live in bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens.

Are Angelfish Easy to Care For?

Angelfish are intermediate fish, but their care is pretty straightforward once you have their tank ready to go.

Ensure you keep the tank at the proper pH level and temperature and feed them a healthy diet.

You’ll also need to clean the tank 2-3 times each month.

How Long Do Angelfish Live?

With the proper tank and excellent care, angelfish can live up to 10 years in captivity.

However, stress or disease from poor tank conditions or shocking water changes can cause them to die.

It can be deadly if your fish swim in an unheated tank, water with no filter, or poor water quality.

Here is everything to know about angelfish tank requirements.

Angelfish Tank Requirements and Basics

Here are the basic tank requirements for angelfish.

What Size Tank Does an Angelfish Need?

If you have one angelfish, you’ll need to purchase a tank of at least 20 gallons.

However, a larger tank is always better.

When adding additional fish, they’ll require an extra 10 gallons per extra fish.

Angelfish can be territorial, so you’ll need to ensure they have plenty of space when needed.

What Do Angelfish Need in Their Tank?

Choose decor, plants, and substrate that mimics their native habitat as closely as possible.

Large, broadleaf plants are excellent choices, as well as driftwood to replicate fallen trees or branches.

Angelfish enjoy gently digging around the substrate, so choose mud or sand substrates.

Heavier gravel may have sharp edges and injure your pets.

Do Angelfish Need a Filter?

Filters help keep the tank clean and mimic the natural water flow in their native habitat.

However, avoid using water filters that have a strong water flow.

In the wild, they live in slow-moving water so opt for a filter with an adjustable flow rate.

Do Angelfish Need an Air Pump?

Although angelfish require aeration, they won’t need a bubbler.

They do, however, require well-oxygenated water.

Assuming you already have a filter for your fish, there should be sufficient aeration and oxygen in the water.

Do Angelfish Need a Heater?

Angelfish need their water to be at a temperature between 75-84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unless you keep your home extremely warm, you’ll probably need a heater.

You can find heating systems at your local pet shop or online stores.

Regularly check the water temperature to ensure it’s warm enough for them.

Do Angelfish Need a Light?

Angelfish are diurnal, so like us, they’re more active during the day and then sleep at night.

Although they won’t need a nightlight, they should have lighting during the day to replicate sunlight.

If you add live plants to your tank, proper lighting will help keep them healthy.

Do Angelfish Need Live Plants?

While aquatic plants aren’t a requirement for angelfish, they can help replicate their natural environment.

Additionally, plants provide benefits to their water.

Some great plants for angelfish tanks include java fern, anubias, hornwort, amazon sword, jungle Vallisneria, water sprite, and water wisteria.

Can Angelfish Live in Tap Water?

It’s common for fish owners to use tap water to fill their tanks.

Typically, tap water is safe as long as you take proper precautions.

Tap water contains chlorides that can harm your fish.

So, treat tap water with a water conditioner to neutralize the chlorine and create a safe habitat for your pet.

How Long Should Water Sit Before Adding Angelfish?

Before adding angelfish to your new tank, ensure you’ve added all the substrate, decor, plants, and water.

Then, allow the water to sit for at least 2-3 days.

Test the water to ensure it meets all the qualifications before adding your fish.

What Temperature Should an Angelfish Tank Be?

Angelfish are native to freshwater areas of tropical South America, including the Amazon River system.

This area stays warm year-round, so it’s important to replicate this environment.

Keep the temperature between 78 degrees and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s okay if it fluctuates between a couple of degrees, but it should mostly be consistent.

How Often Do You Change Angelfish Water?

If you maintain good filtration, you should be able to get away with weekly or biweekly water changes.

When you do change the water, make sure not to take out more than 50% at a time and leave your angelfish in the tank.

Angelfish Diet and Feeding

Here are the diet and feeding requirements for freshwater angelfish.

What Do Angelfish Eat?

Angelfish are omnivores and enjoy a healthy combination of live food and flakes or pellets.

Choose fish flakes or spirulina-based pellets to get plenty of plant content.

As for protein sources, you can choose from live or frozen food.

Their favorites are brine shrimp, bloodworms, Mysis shrimp, and plankton.

How Much Do You Feed an Angelfish?

Feed your angelfish the amount of food they can eat within 30 seconds.

If your angelfish seems hungry, you can give them another 20-30 seconds’ worth of food.

However, you do not want to let your fish eat for minutes at a time.

Overfeeding your fish can lead to improper digestion, fatty liver, and fin rot.

How Often Do You Feed an Angelfish?

Feeding adult angelfish 2-3 times a day would be best.

Ensure that you offer your pet various live food, frozen food, and pellets or flakes.

Try to keep your fish on an eating schedule.

Start with a morning and evening feed, to begin with, and add in feeding around lunchtime if you think they need more food.

Angelfish Tank Mates

Here are potential tank mates to place in an angelfish aquarium.

Can an Angelfish Live Alone?

Angelfish prefer to have other angelfish in their tanks to keep them company.

Adding in additional angelfish will keep them happy and allow them to thrive.

If you plan to add extra tank mates, ensure that you have a large enough enclosure to house the additional fish.

Can an Angelfish Live With Other Angelfish?

Not only do angelfish enjoy swimming around with other angelfish, but they can breed and produce uniquely colored offspring.

While angelfish can be territorial and aggressive, they are less aggressive than other types of cichlids.

But, they tend to get along best with their species.

How Many Angelfish Can You Keep Together?

Add at least two angelfish to their tank, but schools of 5-6 are best.

If you have a large aquarium that can house more angelfish, there’s no reason you can’t keep more than 5-6 at once.

More angelfish will require more work as you’ll have a bigger tank to work with.

Ensure there is plenty of space for each of the fish to get their alone time.

Can an Angelfish Live With Other Types of Fish?

Although angelfish can be aggressive and territorial, they can’t hold their own against more aggressive fish species.

So, avoid pairing angelfish with any fish that are more aggressive than they are.

Angelfish are top-water-dwellers that will spend their time swimming near the surface.

Ideally, choose tank mates that occupy lower tank levels to give each species its space.

Recommended Tank Mates for Angelfish

Here are some of the best tank mates for angelfish.

  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras Catfish come from the same region as angelfish. You’ll need to add a school of these fish, but they’ll spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank.
  • Zebra Loaches: Zebra Loaches are another bottom-feeder fish species. As a bonus, they do an excellent job of helping to clean the substrate and decor in the tank.
  • Boesemani Rainbow Fish: Rainbow fish grow to be about four inches in size, so they’re too big to be in danger of getting eaten by your angelfish. They ignore other fish species and spend much time in the middle of the tank.

How to Care for an Angelfish

Here is how to provide the best care for angelfish.

How to Feed an Angelfish

Feed your angelfish a balanced diet at least twice per day.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Only provide what they can eat in a 20-30 second period.
  • Keep your fish on a somewhat regular feeding schedule.
  • Rotate their diets each day.
  • Give them frozen and live foods as treats.

How to Clean an Angelfish Tank

Keep your angelfish in the tank while you clean their enclosure to avoid causing unnecessary stress.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Don’t remove more than 50% of the water in their tank. (aim for around 10-15% for smaller tanks and 20-25% for larger tanks)
  • Allow tap water to sit for at least two days.
  • Unplug the filter and heater.
  • Use a sponge to clean the glass walls.
  • Siphon debris at the bottom of the tank
  • Slowly add water back in, testing at each interval.

How Can I Play With My Angelfish?

Playing with your angelfish allows you to create a bond with your pet.

Name your angelfish and call each of their names when you feed them.

By using their names, they’ll become more accustomed to your voice.

You can also move your finger along the glass while they chase it.

Can an Angelfish See Me?

Angelfish are intelligent and can not only see you approaching the tank but will begin to recognize who you are.

You’ll see them rushing to the front of the aquarium when you approach them with their meals.

Does an Angelfish Recognize Me?

Angelfish do start to recognize their owners.

They can even identify your face amongst a group of people.

You’ll know you’ve bonded with your angelfish when they act excited to see you.

Angelfish Behavior Basics

Here are the basics of angelfish behavior.

How Do You Know if an Angelfish Is Happy?

You’ll know your angelfish is happy if they actively swim, have a healthy appetite, and have bright and vibrant scale colors.

If you notice any white spots, blemishes, abnormal growths, or cloudy or bulging eyes, this may be a sign that something’s wrong.

What Does a Stressed Angelfish Look Like?

If you notice that your angelfish is hiding behind decor for extended amounts of time or frantically swimming or darting around the tank, this is a sign of stress.

Angelfish that need more oxygen in their tank may gasp for air at the water’s surface.

Stressed fish may not eat as much.

How Do I Know If My Angelfish is Healthy?

Healthy angelfish can control their balance and buoyancy, while unhealthy angelfish may dart around their tank or float upside down.

Unhealthy angelfish may also lie at the bottom of the tank or scrape their bodies against the substrate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most frequently asked questions regarding angelfish care.

How can I tell if my angelfish is male or female?

Female angelfish have rounded, smooth ventral fins and a more angular belly than males.

The female will also have a broad and blunt ovipositor or breeding tube. Males will also have a narrower cloaca, while females will be wider.

How much does an angelfish cost?

The cost of an angelfish varies from state to state and from pet store to pet store. With that said, they’re relatively inexpensive and will cost anywhere from $5-$15

Wrapping Up

Angelfish make excellent pets for beginners and experts alike.

They have spirited personalities and long-flowing fins, making them entertaining to watch around the tank.

Additionally, they’ll bond and recognize you over time.

Although their care is easy once you set up the tank, you’ll need to ensure you regularly care for your fish.

Keeping their tank clean with proper water parameters and giving them a healthy diet is vital for them to thrive.

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