Best Tank Size for Angelfish

The angelfish is a South American cichlid that grows up to six inches in the aquarium. It is named for its wing-shaped fins, and its beauty has earned the fish the title of  “King of the Aquarium”.

Aquarists who have previously kept cichlids will have little trouble with the angelfish, although the fish requires specific water conditions to thrive.

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Angelfish Minimum Tank Size

You require a minimum of 20 gallons aquarium to house a pair of angelfish. This means that one angelfish needs at least 10 gallons to survive in an aquarium.

You can raise a small school of angelfish in an 80-gallon tank. For your fish to thrive, however, you will need a much bigger setup.

Angelfish Ideal Tank Size

A 40-gallon tank is the best for a pair of angelfish since they appreciate lots of swimming spaces. The fish typically grows tall rather than long, and you should invest in a tall tank rather than a wide one.

Other tank specifications to consider are:

– Substrate

Wild angelfish populate rivers in the Amazon basin and are used to sandy bottoms. Sand also recreates a natural river bed in the aquarium. You can also use gravel, which is easier to clean than sand.

– Plants

Angelfish inhabit flooded forests in their natural habitats, where they swim through different tall plants. These plants offer hiding spaces, and the fish lay their eggs on leaves.

You will need to replicate this wild environment by using short and tall plants while leaving the front and middle sections of the aquarium open.

One of the best background variety to use with angelfish is the Amazon Sword. It can reach lengths of 12-20 inches, depending on the lighting conditions in your tank.

It will snowball in intense light and slower in low light. Its long leaves provide an ideal egg-laying area for angelfish.

You can use slow-growing plants like the Java Fern, which is quite sturdy and will resist any assaults from members of the aquarium.

The leaves of the Java Fern have a vibrant green color if the lighting is intense, and they will contrast beautifully with the colorations on the angelfish.

If you would rather use a low-maintenance plant, you can buy Vallisneria, which also thrives in long tanks. The plant creates a jungle-like appearance in an aquarium.

The Anubias Nana should be ideally placed at the front of your tank since it is a short plant. It can also be left to float around.

Other plants to consider include Hornwort, Water Wisteria, and Water Sprite.

– Decorations

You can use large rocks to create caves for your angelfish. Ensure that the edges on the stones are not sharp to avoid injuries on the bodies of your pets. Angelfish have long tails and fins that are prone to abrasion.

Wood is also popular with angelfish tanks, and choices can include driftwood, Mopani wood, and bogwood.

Some aquarists will use peat moss for the tea color that it gives the tank water. Whichever decorations you use, ensure that they don’t affect the water’s chemistry.

– Water Conditions

The angelfish tank should have a temperature range of 75-82 °F and a pH of 6.8-7. The water should be slightly soft, and preferably between 5-18 dH.

The fish are not strong swimmers, and fast-moving water can lead to stress. Use under-gravel and sponge filtration systems to promote gentle currents.

You will need to renew 10-20% of the water at least once a week to maintain pristine conditions. Siphon waste and uneaten food out of the substrate and clean the filters.

Best Tank Size for Angelfish Fry

If you want to breed your angelfish, invest in a spawning tank that is at least 20 gallons. The success of the breeding process will depend on the environment you create in the tank.

The temperatures and PH in the breeding tank should be 78-85 °F and 6.5-7 respectively.

Is it not advisable to use a substrate, but some angelfish will not breed until the bottom of the tank is painted a dark color. Angelfish need to feel safe and secure in order to reproduce, and you can add driftwood and potted plants to the tank.

In the wild, angelfish are used to laying their eggs in the leaves of plants, and they may replicate this behavior in the aquarium. You can remove the plants to encourage them to lay their eggs on the slate, and add them again once they have done this.

Some angelfish will not breed until the entire aquarium is covered or dither fish are added. You will need to try out different things to make them feel safe.

It is advisable to use sponge filters since they create a gentle current for the fry. Rinse the sponge filter frequently in aquarium waste, since regular tap water can kill the beneficial bacteria colonies.

How Many Angelfish Can You Keep Together?

Angelfish can be kept in a species only or a community set up. You can keep a pair in a 40-gallon tank. Invest in 55 gallons or larger if you want to maintain a community angelfish. You can keep a school of 5 or 6 angelfish. 

Angelfish have, however, been known to get territorial in the aquarium. The fish create a hierarchical system in the tank, and the males will especially fight for dominance. This behavior is seen once the fish mature as juvenile angelfish are incredibly peaceful.

When kept in a community tank, angelfish can display the aggressive nature that is associated with cichlids. You want to keep them with larger fish as the angelfish will prey on any species that can fit in its mouth. Ensure that they are the only dominant fish in your set up.

What Size do I Need for 2 Angelfish?

A pair of angelfish will thrive in a 40-gallon tank with few Corydoras.

You can keep the fish in a community aquarium that is at least 55 gallons or larger. Some ideal tankmates for angelfish include dwarf gouramis, mollies, silver arowana, discus fish, Bolivian Ram, and plecos.


The angelfish needs a minimum of 20 gallons, and you will require 40 gallons for a pair. A 55 gallons or larger community tank will house a small school of angelfish and several tankmates.

Angelfish will typically establish dominance in a tank, and you should use plants to divide the territories.

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