Basic care

Caring for Angelfish

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: April 24, 2018
Caring for Angelfish

Angelfish - or Pterophyllum - is a genus that includes many beautiful freshwater species. They come from the tropics, so an appropriate water temperature is very important for their survival and overall well-being.

It is commonly said that angelfish do not require much looking after, but this is misleading. Caring for an angelfish takes time and a series of prior actions to ensure that its habitat is suitable. If this is all prepared correctly, the angelfish will be comfortable and happy in its aquarium.

If you keep reading this AnimalWised article we will tell you the proper way to care for your angelfish.

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  1. Aquarium for an angelfish
  2. Getting the aquarium ready for angelfish
  3. Cohabitating with other fish
  4. Feeding angelfish
  5. Decorating the aquarium

Aquarium for an angelfish

Many beginner fish lovers get an aquarium and some angelfish to enjoy and marvel at their beauty. All too commonly, these fish die after a couple of weeks.

This happens because their aquarium requires specific measurements. Angelfish are taller than they are long, so the aquarium should be high enough for the angelfish to comfortably roam around without their fins rubbing against the sand substrate and without their dorsal fins peeking out of the water.

Choosing an aquarium requires research and some thinking over. A 110 litre aquarium will be able to hold a single angelfish, while one of 150-200 litres can home two specimens, but never two males.

Caring for Angelfish - Aquarium for an angelfish

Getting the aquarium ready for angelfish

An angelfish aquarium needs to be "mature", a process that usually takes one month before the fish can be introduced without any problems. The maturation of the aquarium consists of developing a colony of beneficial bacteria in the water and removing the harmful ones.

The ideal water temperature is 24º C (75º F), without ever exceeding 28º C (82º F), since the rise in temperature shortens the life of angelfish. Thus, a heater and a thermometer are indispensable.

Another essential element is a filter with a capacity greater than the contents of the aquarium. If the aquarium is 100 litres, the filter should be able to filter 140 litres. As such, the nitrogen cycle is properly stabilized. These can be waterfall or canister filters, but powerhead filters are not suitable. Angelfish are stressed by the noise and movement they produce in the water, as they are accustomed to still water.

A beneficial bacteria kit can accelerate the process, and the first angelfish can be introduced after 30 days. If there are no problems for the first 2 months, you'll be able to introduce another angelfish - if the aquarium capacity allows it - or other companions.

Angelfish like to have plants in their aquarium. It's crucial to change 20% of the water on a weekly basis. You need to strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions to perform a complete cleaning of the aquarium.

Caring for Angelfish - Getting the aquarium ready for angelfish

Cohabitating with other fish

Corydora catfish

Corydora catfish are recommended, since they clean the debris in the aquarium. They share the same water characteristics as angelfish. It's important that there is only one specimen.

It's recommended to feed catfish at night, in total darkness, while the angelfish sleep in the middle of the water column. The corydora inhabit the deepest parts of the aquarium, and all the food will fall to the bottom if the angelfish are still.

Caring for Angelfish - Cohabitating with other fish

Ram cichlid, tetra and others

The Ram cichlid, also called Ramirezi or Ramirez's dwarf cichlid, is compatible with angelfish. It is a very pretty fish.

Medium-sized tetras are also compatible. The neon tetra, cardinal tetra and other small-sized ones are plausible companions as long as the angelfish are young. When they have grown and reached adult size - 15 cm (6 in) long by 25 cm (10 in) high - they will devour smaller fish without giving it a second thought. In the picture you can see the cardinal tetra:

Caring for Angelfish -

Feeding angelfish

It's important for angelfish to consume food specifically designed for them of at least two different brands, making the diet richer, more varied and more nutritious.

The angelfish' diet ought to be supplemented with dry, bacteria-free blood or tubiflex worms. You should never provide pet angelfish with live worms as they could introduce fatal bacteria in the aquarium.

Caring for Angelfish - Feeding angelfish

Decorating the aquarium

Angelfish like swimming among plants. Java fern (Microsorum pteropus), Ambulia (Limnophila) and Amazon sword plants (Echinodorus grisebachii) are ideal for decorating an angelfish aquarium.

Besides from the substrate of sand or gravel at the bottom of the tank, having perforated rocks will serve as protection for the fry or small tetra, should you decide to incorporate them into the aquarium.

Caring for Angelfish - Decorating the aquarium

If you want to read similar articles to Caring for Angelfish, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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Caring for Angelfish