ANGEL FISH (Pterophyllum)

Know Your Fish

The Freshwater Angelfish is native to South America. Their Natural Habitat includes slow moving water bodies which are densely vegetated & flooded area's. The scientific name of this elegant fish is 'Pterophyllum', there are many naturally occurring species like Pterophyllum Altum, Pterophyllum Leopoldi, Pterophyllum Scalare, Pterophyllum Dumerilii, all these fish are distinguished  based on size, patterns & number of scales. All Naturally Occurring species have vertical stripes which works as camouflage as these fish are Ambush Predators. Water condition requirement changes from one species to another, complete understanding of their natural habitat is required before getting these fish home. Some do well only in Blackwater Aquariums with very low pH levels like the Peruvian Altum Angelfish. 


More then 5 years, few have known to live for 10 years.


Male Angelfish have breeding tube called 'Papilla' which is shorter than females & more pointed at the end. Males are ore aggressive than Female Angelfish.


Female Angelfish have longer breeding tube called 'Papilla', they are more round shaped at their abdomen area.

Angelfish Aquarium Care

Most Angelfish do well in community tanks with similar sized fish, there are few types of Angelfish which thrive in Blackwater Aquarium Set-up like the Peruvian Altum Angelfish. Most Captive bred species which are more common prefer slightly Acidic Water Conditions. The below information will Guide with Tank Set-up & water parameters for most types of Captive bred Angelfish available in Home Aquarium today. 

Tank Size

Minimum 20 Gallon (75 liters) for a breeding pair & 50 Gallon or bigger for community tank. The bigger the tank, the better!

Temperature Range

(76–82 °F or 24.4–27.7 °C)

pH Range

6.5 to 7.5 is the pH range ( there should never be drastic change's in the pH level)  

Water hardness

5 to 13 dGH


Angelfish are Omnivores, readily available food can be Fed which includes Pellets, Flakes, Freeze Dried Worms & they will eat live food as well.

Tank Decoration

Angelfish like Plants & Driftwood in the Aquarium, this simply mimics their Natural Habitat. Plants are also used to lay eggs when they spawn & provide them hiding places. Driftwood mimics the roots of flooded areas in their natural habitat & helps maintain pH. Indian Almond Leaf is also recommended in Angelfish tanks as it benefits the health of Fish & tannin's released from it makes look more like their Natural Habitat. Make sure the water movement is minimal for these fish as they are weak swimmer's.

Tank Mates

I have included Angelfish with Goldfish, Pleco, other types of Angelfish, Mollies, Swordtail, Loach, Dollar Fish, Gouramis etc. Remember these fish are Ambush predators they will eat any fish which fits in their mouth.


Angelfish reach sexual maturity in 6 to 12 months of age. Best way to Breed  Angelfish is getting 5 pair's & waiting for them to pair up. Angelfish pair for life. Once they pair up they protect their mate from any other fish which moves too close by charging at them. The eggs are laid usually on a flat surface or a  leaf & even on the glass of the aquarium. Once the female lays the egg the male fertilizes them, the female may lay anywhere between 100 to 1200 eggs in a spawn.The eggs hatch in 24 to 72 hours & the fry are free swimming in about 7 to 10 days. Angelfish fry can be fed baby brine shrimp & crushed fish food.

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