Pterophylum scalare

A highly compressed lateral body gives angelfish a shape distinct from other cichlids. From the side profile an angel fish is shaped like a diamond with a height greater than the length.

These fish are commonly available in black, silver, gold or combinations of these colours in various patterns suck as the koi angel fish.


Angelfish are generally well suited to the community aquarium but may attack smaller fish if under fed.

Angelfish cichlids will swim at all levels of the aquarium making use of planted areas and open water. Choosing other fish that do the same can produce a dynamic scene. Avoid keeping with small schooling species known to nip fins.


Although delicate in appearance the angelfish is a reasonably hardy species. Fin damage is the major ailment to try and prevent. The fish's long fins can be prone to attack by small fin nipping fish. Barbs and aggressive tetras are likely offenders. This behavior causes worse problems when the wounds develop fungus. Similar damage can occur if the aquarium gravel has jagged edges. Choose smooth round gravel to help prevent this.

Angelfish Profile

Family - Chichlidae

Size - Up to 10 cm

Fish Origin - South America

Water - Keep pH 6.8-7.5 and hardness soft to medium

Temperature - 24-26°C

- Provide a mix of flakes, frozen and live foods

Sexing - Not obvious. Mature male has a rounder head.

Breeding - Egg are laid on a vertical surface

Aquarium - The angelfish's long fins leave it susceptible to fin nipping


Provide a varied diet made up of cichlid flake and frozen or live foods. Angel fish have small mouths which can reduce the speed at which they eat. Offer smaller sized food suitable for their needs.

Breeding Angelfish

Angelfish are not difficult to spawn. Start with six or more fish and grow them until bonds become apparent between some pairs. Provide lengths of slate and broad leaf aquatic plants as spawning sites. Feed plenty of live food to the pair and raise the temperature slightly. A partial water change will also help to bring about spawning.

Inexperienced parents may eat their eggs. This problem has been compounded by selective breeding which has inadvertently favored breeding lines with poor parenting skills. Remove the spawn and hatch the eggs in another tank if concerned. If the parent angelfish eat one or two do not be alarmed. They are probably weeding out an infertile or fungus affected eggs.

Black Spawning Angelfish Pair

These black angelfish are spawning on a vertical piece of wood. Such natural objects may be selected for spawning while other times the eggs may be deposited on the aquarium glass. After the female has deposited some eggs the male will pass over and fertilise the clutch.

Striped Angelfish

These standard striped angelfish are enjoying a meal of bloodworms. The planted tank is a good environment for such fish.

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Further information about Angel Fish on our partner's website.

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