If you’ve ever considered starting a freshwater aquarium, you may have considered the elegant angelfish. Technically a cichlid, the angelfish is not only beautiful to look at, but it’s also quite graceful.
There are tons of angelfish species out there. Some grow as large as ten inches in length, while others stay a more moderate four inches long. These fish are native to South America, though many are now bred in captivity in locations all around the world.
There’s nothing quite like watching an angelfish swim through the water, with its long fins trailing gracefully behind it. These fish have been kept as pets for well over a decade, and selective breeding has made it possible for you to choose from a vast array of colors, patterns, and behaviors.
These fish are more popular than ever before – which one will you choose? Get started by reading our comprehensive guide to the most popular angelfish for your freshwater aquarium.
- The Most Popular Angelfish For Your Tank
- How To Care For An Angelfish
- The Next Step? Purchasing Your Own Angelfish!
The Most Popular Angelfish For Your Tank
1 Veil Angelfish
One of the most popular and beautiful species of angelfish, the veil angelfish is often called the veiltail. This is because it has illustrious, beautiful fins that are long and gorgeous. It has a unique dramatic flair that makes it stand out among other angelfish.
You do need to be careful about the other species with which you house your veiltail. Their extra-long fins easily make them targets or hazards or nipping fish. You also need to be careful about putting your veiltail in a tank where the water conditions fluctuate often – they need consistent parameters at all times.
2 Zebra Angelfish
Zebra angelfish are named for their zebra-like vertical stripes. These run the length of the fish’s body, but they also have delicate pale blue coloring, too.
3 Marble Angelfish
The marble angelfish is one of the most beautiful species you can keep in your freshwater tank. A marble angelfish can come in a wide variety of colors, although the marbling pattern itself will usually be black.
These fish are some of the most resilient species you will find. They can adapt easily to changes in temperature, pH, and other conditions. Therefore, they are a good choice for people who are new to raising angelfish.
4 Ghost Angelfish
The ghost angelfish is a unique fish with a shimmering silver coloration. As a n adult, this fish may have some stripes on its body. However, there are some variations. It is not always silver – there are partially black or other colors, too.
5 Leopard Angelfish
The leopard angelfish is another popular aquarium species. It has a spotted pattern that looks, as you might guess, like the patterns on a leopard. However, you need to make sure you maintain good water and lighting conditions your tank for this species. If it is not provided with enough light, its spots can actually fade and discolor.
6 Albino Angelfish
The albino angelfish, as you might expect, is marked by a lack of color and vivid red eyes. This fish has an elegant beauty, contrasting sharply against its relatives who tend to be more brightly colored.
This fish is usually all or mostly white. Sometimes, it might have pale gold striping. You need to be aware that albino angelfish can be more difficult to take care of. They are prone to particular health issues that are not common among other angelfish, and they also tend to have shorter lifespans.
7 Black Lace Angelfish
On the complete opposite end of things from the albino angelfish is the black lace angelfish. This fish has an all-black body and a gentle beauty that makes it a popular choice for home aquariums.
8 Blushing Angelfish
This beautiful angelfish looks like the gold angelfish, which we will tell you about in a moment. However, while the gold angelfish does not have any coloring on its gills, this creature has red colors on its gill that make it look like its cheeks are blushing, hence the name.
9 Smokey Angelfish
Smokey angelfish are grey in color, but you might see them with different patterns. There are certain pattern combinations that are common, including smokey blushing and smokey leopard angelfish.
10 Koi Angelfish
The koi angelfish is not related to its namesake – koi carp – but it sure looks like it is. This fish has beautiful white and orange colors that make it look just like this pond goldfish favorite. What’s truly special about koi angelfish in that each has its own distinctive, gorgeous pattern.
11 Gold Angelfish
The gold angelfish, often called the golden angelfish, is common in most aquariums. However, it won’t always be gold! As a juvenile, this fish will start off somewhat silver in color before it transitions to a deep gold shade in its older age.
12 Altum Angelfish
Finally, the altum angelfish is one of the rarest species of angelfish you can find. It often isn’t available from pet stores and you may find that you have to order one online. These fish are hard to find because they are practically exclusively caught from the wild and are not captive bred. Therefore, you do need to be vigilant about issues such as parasites – make sure you order from a reputable breeder.
How To Care For An Angelfish
Caring for an angelfish requires some dedication and special know-how, but not any more than you would need to raise any other kinds of fish. Angelfish need certain parameters and care in order to stay happy and healthy. Make sure you check with your pet store to make sure you are following the appropriate instructions for your given breed.
Feeding Your Angelfish
Angelfish are omnivores that are accustomed to eating a wide variety of foods. Some of the most popular food choices for angelfish include cichlid pellets and flakes, brine shrimp, bloodworms, white worms, mysis shrimp, plankton, and vegetables. Just make sure any food you feed your angelfish is broken down into small enough pieces so that it can fit it into its small mouth.
You can purchase meaty foods in live, frozen, or dehydrated form. If you feed frozen foods, you should thaw them before feeding to prevent any illnesses.
To best satisfy the diverse dietary needs of your angelfish, you should feed them a rich, diverse diet. You will want to be careful feeding live food, too. Although this is often recommended to help increase the nutrients in your angelfish’s diet, it can be risky if you don’t know the exact origin of the food. Sometimes, live foods can introduce harmful bacteria. Just make sure your live foods come from a respectable source.
Angelfish should be fed a couple of times each day. Usually, you want to give them no more food than what they can eat in roughly two minutes. If you overfeed your angelfish, you risk creating an overabundance of waste products in the tank. This can cause nitrite and ammonia to build up rapidly in the tank, which can make your fish sick.
Proper Tank Environment For An Angelfish
Angelfish do best in tanks that have temperatures ranging between 76- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit, although this will vary depending on the specific type and stage of your fish. For example, spawning angelfish need waters that are slightly warmer.
The pH of your water should be between 6.5 and 7.5. Check with your pet store to find out the specific temperature and pH requirements of the angelfish you end up bringing home. These fish also love plenty of places to hide, along with rocks and plants.
Make sure you keep your angelfish in a relatively large tank – ideally, you will want one that is at least 20 or 30 gallons. This will vary depending on how many angelfish and other fish you keep, but generally, bigger is better.
Best Tankmates For An Angelfish
Angelfish can be housed with several other companions. You need to be careful about keeping them with species that are too small – in other words, small enough to be eaten by your angelfish – but in most cases, the following companions will work.
Dwarf gouramis can thrive in a wide variety of water conditions and are exceptionally docile. A passive fish, the dwarf gourami is an excellent choice – as long as your angelfish isn’t overly aggressive.
Kuhli loaches are also good choices. These fish are long and eel-like and tend to hang out closer to the bottom of the tank. They are more active at night, so they won’t even come into contact with your angelfish most of the time. However, if you do decide to raise a kuhli loach, you will want to get a few of them.
Guppies are also good for angelfish. You will want to introduce them while your angelfish is young, or else you run the risk of your angelfish thinking that the guppies are foods. You can further reduce this risk by not feeding your angelfish live foods.
Another good option? The Bala shark. These unique creatures can grow to be quite large, so you will want to make sure you have plenty of room to keep them peacefully with your angelfish. However, they are absolutely lovely to look at, and if you already have a large tank, they might be a good species to consider.
Mollies may also make good tankmates, as they are hardy and very adaptable. They usually won’t bother your angelfish, but they can also hold their own if your angelfish gets too aggressive. A similar fish is the swordtail, which does well when cohabiting with the angelfish.
You can also house your angelfish with other cichlids. Some options include German Blue Ram Cichlids, Kribensis Cichlids (also known as Kribs) and Keyhole Cichlids. Some of these species are relatively rare, buy German Blue Rams, in particular, tend to be passive enough to get along with more aggressive fish. While Kribs have a tendency to fight, they will usually leave your angelfish alone as long as there is plenty of room.
You can also keep your angelfish with non-fish species. Aquatic snails are a good choice. Not only will the two species leave each other alone, but snails can also help keep the tank clean by feeding on fish waste and algae.
You should avoid housing your angelfish with other creatures like goldfish, koi, frogs, eels, Oscars, guppies, and bettas. These are all fish that the angelfish is prone to attacking – or being attacked by.
Ultimately, your angelfish will do best when it is housed with other angelfish. These are social creatures and they need time to acclimate to their settings. Keeping them with others of their own kind can help.
In addition, if you are introducing your angelfish to a tank that is already established, you should try to do so while your angelfish is still young. This fish can become territorial when new fish are added, so you need to make sure you monitor all interactions between your fish. It is not unheard for an angelfish to attack and even eat a smaller companion fish.
Always make sure your angelfish has plenty of room to grow. A tank that is too small can cause your fish to become overly aggressive. Nobody wants that!
How To Breed Angelfish
Many people purchase angelfish because they are interested in learning how to breed them. This can be tough to do, but it’s far from impossible. Here’s what you need to know.
First of all, angelfish look very close in appearance regardless of gender. When your fish aren’t spawning, this is especially true. You might want to start with a group of angelfish so that you are sure to have enough males and females to get started. You can also purchase a breeding pair that is already established.
Once your breeding pair is all set up, you can move them to a separate tank. Make sure you keep the conditions of your tank stable during breeding, as you don’t want to deter them from breeding out of stress.
If the conditions are ideal, it won’t be long before the female deposits clusters of her eggs around the tank. Then, the male will fertilize them. Once this is done, most experts recommend that you move the adult fish out of the breeding tank to avoid any interference with the eggs.
The Next Step? Purchasing Your Own Angelfish!
Ready to take the plunge? Let’s head to the pet store and find the best angelfish for your needs. When you are selecting an angelfish, you should choose one that is healthy and robust. Here’s what you should look for.
Ideally, you want a fish that has intact fins. These should not look damaged or ragged in any way. You also need fish who have clear, clean eyes free of any cloudiness or bulging, as this can indicate poor health.
You should also look for a fish who is engaged and alert, interested in exploring the tank and swimming around. Don’t worry about a fish who might want to duck behind a plant or decoration every now and then – a little bit of hiding is nothing to worry about. However, if you see a fish that is lethargic or swimming in an odd way, you might want to steer clear.
Make sure that the fish you select has a healthy appetite and a bright color. Dull colors can be a sign of illness, as can faded areas or spots. You also need to find a fish that is neither bloated or bony, as this can be a sign of illness.
Once you’ve found the perfect individual for your tank and set it up to meet the specific needs of your angelfish, you are ready to go. You have years of enjoyment ahead of you while raising these energetic, gracious little fish. Enjoy!