What do Angelfish Eat? Diet & Nutritional Requirements

Angelfish are fascinating creatures, known for their unique shape and vivid colors. To keep them thriving in an aquarium, understanding their diet and nutritional requirements is crucial. In this article, we will discuss what Angelfish eat, their feeding habits, and how to ensure they receive a balanced diet for optimal health.

angelfish diet

What Type of Diet Does Angelfish Have?

Angelfish, scientifically known as Pterophyllum scalare, are omnivorous creatures, meaning they consume both animal and plant matter in their diet. In their natural habitat, which is the freshwater bodies of the Amazon Basin, they have a diverse diet consisting of various sources of nutrition.

In the wild, their diet mainly includes:

  • Small fishes
  • Invertebrates like shrimps, insects, and worms
  • Algae
  • Plant debris

It’s essential to mimic this diverse diet in a home aquarium to ensure proper nutrition for your angelfish. A well-balanced diet not only contributes to their health and well-being but also enhances their vibrant colors and longevity. Here are some options for feeding captive angelfish:

  • Live or frozen foods: These can be brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia, which help stimulate their natural feeding behavior.
  • Flake or pellet food: High-quality, specialized angelfish food can be provided as it has the right balance of nutrients.
  • Vegetable matter: Fresh vegetables like spinach or blanched peas can be incorporated into their diet as they provide essential fibers and minerals.

Maintaining a varied and nutritious diet is crucial for your angelfish’s health. Keep in mind that different nutritional requirements may arise for angelfish of various ages, size, and breeding status, so it’s essential to adjust their diet accordingly. Remember, providing a balanced diet ensures the overall well-being and longevity of your angelfish, and it’s a critical aspect of their care.

What do Angelfish Prey On and Eat in the Wild?

In their natural habitat, angelfish (scalare) are opportunistic feeders, meaning they mostly consume a diverse range of available food sources. Their diet primarily consists of smaller aquatic organisms as well as plant materials.

Small aquatic organisms:

  • Invertebrates: Angelfish prey on various invertebrates like insects, larvae, small crustaceans, and worms.
  • Fish: They are also known to eat smaller fish, including their own offspring, as well as fish eggs.

Plant materials:

  • Algae: Angelfish graze on different types of algae, making them an essential source of nutrition for these omnivorous creatures.
  • Submerged plants: Apart from algae, angelfish also nibble on leafy, submerged plants and decaying plant matter.

These food sources are essential in providing the necessary nutrients for the growth, muscle development, and immune system of angelfish. In fact, wild angelfish are well-adapted for this kind of menu, showcasing an elongated body to navigate their way through tight spaces, such as submerged vegetation, in search of food.

Additionally, angelfish possess a protruding, pointed snout that allows them to pick off invertebrates and other small food items with precision.

However, when keeping angelfish in captivity, it’s crucial to recreate their natural diet as closely as possible to ensure optimal health and longevity.

Therefore, understanding what angelfish eat in the wild will play a significant role in providing a balanced diet for captive angelfish, allowing them to thrive in the home aquarium environment.

What are the Feeding Habits of Angelfish?

Angelfish are known for their opportunistic feeding habits and generally fall under the category of omnivores, consuming a variety of food sources in the wild. They tend to spend most of their time foraging for food in submerged vegetation, hiding and waiting for unsuspecting prey to swim nearby.

  • Frequency of feeding: Typically, adult angelfish require feeding 2 to 3 times per day at regular intervals. Juveniles, on the other hand, need more frequent feedings to support their rapid growth, and should be fed 3 to 4 times daily.
  • Adaptable eating habits: Angelfish can easily adapt their diet based on the availability of food in their environment. They are known to eat almost anything they come across, including various invertebrates, insects, small fish, and aquatic vegetation.

In the wild, angelfish have a diverse diet, preying on small crustaceans, insects, larvae, and other small fish as well as plant matter. In captivity, it is essential to replicate this diet as closely as possible to ensure the health and vitality of your angelfish.

A well-balanced diet consisting of live, frozen, and dry foods as well as occasional servings of vegetables can satisfy their nutritional requirements.

Moreover, captive angelfish can learn to recognize their caretakers and become quite responsive over time. This trait allows for a well-established feeding routine, which is crucial to maintain the health and well-being of your fish.

By understanding and replicating the natural feeding habits of angelfish, you can ensure your pets thrive in your aquarium and display their most vibrant colors and behaviors.

What are the Nutritional Requirements of Angelfish?

Angelfish have specific nutritional requirements that need to be met in order for them to thrive, grow, and maintain good health. As omnivores, they require a balanced diet that includes a mix of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Protein: Angelfish need a high-protein diet, as it is crucial for their growth and overall health. A diet containing 40-60% protein is ideal for them. Sources of protein include insects, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.
  • Fats: Fats are necessary for providing energy to angelfish and promoting healthy growth. A diet with 10-15% fat content is sufficient. Fats can be found in live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and blackworms.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbohydrates are not as essential to angelfish as proteins and fats, they do provide energy and contribute to a balanced diet. A diet containing 5-15% carbohydrates is suitable for angelfish. Vegetables, such as spinach, peas, and lettuce, can provide the necessary carbs.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins and minerals are critical for maintaining strong immune systems, healthy bones, and proper metabolism. Incorporating foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, E, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, and trace minerals, can help meet these requirements.
  • Fiber: Fiber is required for proper digestion and maintaining a healthy gut in angelfish. A diet containing 3-10% fiber content is adequate. It can be found in vegetables like spinach and kale.

To ensure your angelfish receives all essential nutrients, it is recommended to include a variety of foods in their diet, alternating between high-quality pellet or flake food, and live or frozen foods. This will not only provide the necessary nutrients but will also keep your angelfish interested in eating and maintain their good health.

What are the Best Foods for Captive Angelfish?

To ensure the health and happiness of your captive angelfish, it’s essential to provide them with a balanced, varied diet that closely mimics their natural eating habits in the wild. Below are some of the best foods to include in their diet:

Live Foods

These are a crucial part of an angelfish’s diet, as they are not only nutritious but also stimulate their natural hunting instincts. Examples of live foods include:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Bloodworms
  • Blackworms
  • Small insects and insect larvae

Frozen or Freeze-Dried Foods

These can be a good alternative if live foods are unavailable, difficult to source, or as a supplement to a live food diet. Some popular frozen or freeze-dried food options include:

  • Mysis shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • White mosquito larvae
  • Cyclops
  • Daphnia

Pellets and Flakes

While these should not be the sole food source for your angelfish, they can be a convenient and economical supplementary food. Be sure to choose high-quality, nutritionally balanced brands that cater specifically to angelfish dietary needs:

  • Spectrum
  • Hikari


As omnivores, angelfish need some plant-based matter in their diet. Chopped, blanched vegetables can be provided around once a week as a treat. Suitable vegetables include:

  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Lettuce

A well-rounded diet consisting of live foods, frozen or freeze-dried options, pellets or flakes, and occasional vegetables will provide captive angelfish with the nutrients they need to thrive. Be sure to monitor their intake and response to these foods, making adjustments and nutritional additions as necessary.

How Does Diet Impact the Lifespan and Health of Angelfish?

A balanced and nutritious diet plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and longevity of angelfish. In order to thrive, angelfish require a variety of food sources to fulfill their nutritional needs.

  • High-quality proteins are essential for muscle development and growth in angelfish. A diet rich in live or frozen food such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia helps provide these proteins.
  • Vitamins and minerals are vital for the immune system and overall health of angelfish. Including vegetable matter, spirulina, and quality prepared foods ensures that your angelfish get the necessary nutrients.

A poor diet can lead to many health issues for your angelfish, such as:

  • Stunted growth: Inadequate nutrition can result in slower growth or even stunted growth in angelfish.
  • Reduced lifespan: Poor nutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, making it harder for the angelfish to fight off diseases and infections.
  • Diseases: Lack of essential nutrients in their diet can cause angelfish to be more susceptible to diseases like ich, fin rot, and fungal infections.
  • Poor coloration: A diet lacking in vital nutrients can result in dull coloration and poor patterns in angelfish.

To ensure optimal longevity and health in your angelfish, it is important to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of high-quality foods, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, proper feeding habits and monitoring the overall health of your angelfish can prevent many common health issues related to poor diet.

By offering your angelfish a well-rounded and nutritious diet, you can significantly improve their quality of life and help them to live a long and healthy life.

What are the Signs of Dietary Deficiencies in Angelfish?

Dietary deficiencies in angelfish can manifest in several ways, affecting their health, growth, and overall well-being. It’s important to recognize these signs early, so you can quickly adjust their diet to suit their needs and prevent further complications.

  • Poor growth or weight loss: Angelfish that are not getting enough nutrients will often exhibit stunted growth or decrease in body mass. If you notice your angelfish is not growing at a healthy rate or appears to be losing weight, consider adjusting their diet to provide essential nutrients and increase caloric intake.
  • Lethargic behavior: A lack of proper nutrition can cause angelfish to become sluggish or less active than usual. Make sure to monitor their activity levels and ensure they are receiving a balanced diet.
  • Fading colors: Angelfish with dietary deficiencies may have dull or fading colors. If you notice a decrease in the vibrancy of your angelfish’s coloration, reassess their diet to ensure they are receiving the necessary nutrients for maintaining healthy pigmentation.
  • Damaged or frayed fins: Insufficient nutrition can also lead to damage or degradation of fin tissue. If your angelfish’s fins appear damaged or frayed, this could be a sign of an inadequate diet.
  • Weakened immune system: A nutritionally deficient diet can weaken the immune system, making angelfish more susceptible to diseases and infections. Keep an eye on your angelfish for any signs of illness and consult a veterinarian if you have concerns about their health.

By keeping a close eye on your angelfish’s appearance and behavior, you can quickly identify potential dietary deficiencies and make the necessary adjustments to their diet. A balanced and nutritious diet is critical to ensuring the health and longevity of your angelfish.

What are the Benefits of a Balanced Diet for Angelfish?

A balanced diet for angelfish is crucial in maintaining their overall health and well-being. It prevents numerous disorders and helps them to thrive in captivity. Some of the most significant benefits of providing a balanced diet to your angelfish include:

Improved Growth and Development: A well-rounded diet with a variety of high-quality foods ensures that your angelfish receive all the essential nutrients they need for optimal growth and development. This will contribute to healthier bones, better organ function, and an attractive appearance.

Enhanced Coloration: Angelfish can display stunning colors, and a balanced diet containing appropriate pigments and nutrients like spirulina, astaxanthin, and beta-carotene helps maintain and enhance their natural coloration.

  • Stronger Immune System: Providing a balanced diet helps to boost your angelfish’s immune system, making them less susceptible to diseases and infections. With a robust immune system, they are better equipped to fend off illnesses and recover more quickly from any health issues.
  • Longevity: Angelfish fed a balanced diet are likely to have a longer and healthier lifespan, as they can more effectively maintain their bodily functions and avoid malnutrition-related complications. Proper nutrition ensures your angelfish will live a happy, healthy life.
  • Improved Behavior and Well-Being: A well-fed angelfish exhibits better overall behavior and well-being. They become more active, display less stress, and are more likely to initiate social interactions with their tank mates.

Providing your angelfish with a balanced diet is essential for their overall health and happiness. By feeding them high-quality foods and ensuring they receive all necessary nutrients, you will improve their growth, coloration, immunity, lifespan, and well-being—leading to a healthy, vibrant, and thriving angelfish.

What are the Dietary Needs of Angelfish of Different Ages?

As angelfish grow and develop, their dietary needs change to support their growth and overall health. It is important to understand the specific requirements for different life stages of angelfish to ensure they receive proper nutrition throughout their lives.

Fry (Baby) Angelfish: 

During the early stages of life, angelfish fry require a diet high in protein to facilitate their rapid growth and development. Some ideal foods for fry include:

  • Newly hatched brine shrimp
  • Microworms
  • Crushed high-quality flakes or pellets

Feed the fry multiple times a day, ensuring all fry have access to plenty of food until they reach around 6-8 weeks old.

Juvenile Angelfish: 

As your angelfish grow into their juvenile stage, their dietary needs become more diverse. A mix of high-quality processed foods and live or frozen foods is essential for maintaining health. Frequent feeding, 3-4 times a day, is necessary for continued growth:

  • High-quality flakes or micro pellets
  • Bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia
  • Vegetables, like spinach or peas

Adult Angelfish: 

Once angelfish reach adulthood, their growth rate slows down, and their nutritional needs stabilize. At this stage, offer a balanced diet based on the following:

  • High-quality flakes or pellets (aim for around 40% of their diet)
  • Live or frozen foods, like bloodworms, brine shrimp, or daphnia (around 30% of their diet)
  • Vegetables, like spinach, peas, or cucumber slices (around 30% of their diet)

Feed adult angelfish two to three times a day, taking care not to overfeed, as this can lead to health issues.

By accommodating the changing dietary needs of your angelfish throughout their lives, you can significantly improve their overall health and ensure they live a long, happy life in your aquarium.

What are the Common Myths About Angelfish Diet?

Angelfish are popular aquarium pets, and it is no surprise that numerous myths have arisen about their dietary needs. In this section, we will debunk some of the 4 most common misconceptions about angelfish diets to ensure that you provide nothing but the best for your Angelfish.

Myth 1: Angelfish are strictly herbivores. 

While Angelfish do consume plant matter, they are not pure herbivores. In the wild, they are omnivores, preying on a variety of food sources such as small fish, insects, and crustaceans. It is important to provide them with a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal matter in captivity.

Myth 2: Angelfish can survive on flake food alone. 

Although many commercial flake foods offer a good nutritional base, relying solely on flake food is not ideal for angelfish. Supplementing their diet with various forms of protein, such as frozen or live food, will help keep them healthy and promote growth.

Myth 3: Live food is always better than processed food. 

While live food can be a tempting treat for angelfish, it must be offered with caution. Introducing live food increases the risk of transmitting parasites and diseases to your fish. Frozen or freeze-dried alternatives are safer options, as they still provide the necessary nutrients without the added risks.

Myth 4: All fish food is the same. 

Not all fish food is created equal. Some foods are specifically formulated to meet the nutritional needs of certain species of fish. For angelfish, look for food specifically labeled for angel species or foods with nutrients that suit their omnivorous diet.

By understanding and debunking these common myths about angelfish diets, you can provide your pets the nutritious and balanced diet they need to thrive. This will contribute to their overall health and longevity, ensuring you enjoy a long and happy relationship with your angelfish.

FAQs about Angelfish Diet

Find the answers to the 8 most common questions people ask about the diet of angelfish:

How often should I feed my angelfish?

Feed your angelfish 2-3 times per day, offering small amounts that they can consume within 2-3 minutes.

Can I feed my angelfish live foods?

Yes, angelfish can benefit from live foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms, providing essential nutrients and encouraging natural hunting behavior.

Is it okay to feed my angelfish only flakes or pellets?

While flakes and pellets can serve as a staple diet, it is essential to provide a varied diet, including frozen, live, or freeze-dried foods, to ensure optimal health and prevent nutritional deficiencies.

Can my angelfish eat vegetables?

Yes, angelfish can eat vegetables like spinach, lettuce, and peas, which provide additional nutrients and help improve digestion.

What is the ideal temperature for promoting healthy eating habits in angelfish?

The optimal water temperature for angelfish is between 78-82°F (25.5-27.7°C), as it helps promote healthy metabolism and optimal eating habits.

Why are my angelfish not eating?

Angelfish may refuse food due to stress, illness, or environmental factors such as improper water temperature or poor water quality; ensure your tank is well-maintained and monitor your fish for signs of illness.

Can I feed my angelfish human food?

Feeding angelfish human food is not recommended, as it does not provide the necessary nutrients and may cause health issues or imbalances in their diet.

Can angelfish survive on leftovers from other fish in the tank?

A: Relying solely on leftover food is not ideal for angelfish, as it may not meet their nutritional needs and can lead to aggressive behavior due to competition for limited resources.


In conclusion, understanding and providing a proper diet for your angelfish is crucial for their health, growth, and overall well-being. By meeting their nutritional requirements and feeding them a variety of high-quality foods, you will ensure a long and healthy life for your aquatic pet.

If you have any further questions or insights regarding angelfish diets, feel free to leave a comment below!

Angelfish   Updated: June 10, 2023
avatar Hello, my name is Fabian, and I am the Chief Editor at Aquarium Nexus. I have over 20 years of experience in keeping and breeding fish. The aquarium hobby brings me immense joy, and I take great pleasure in sharing my experiences with others.

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