Angelfish with a beautiful and elegant look is the centerpiece of any freshwater aquarium attraction. So, it is no wonder as to why enthusiast and experienced aquarium hobbyists like to own the angelfish in their fish tank.
However, owning an angelfish requires some skill and regular maintenance which can often be challenging for fish keepers. One such challenge comes from finding the right number of angelfish to be kept together. Hence, many people continuously lookout for the answer to the questions, “How many angelfish should you keep together?”
Well, to put it shortly, you should not own more than a pair of angelfish in your tank aquarium. If you have a third one, the chances are high that the couple will bully it.
However, if you want to increase the number of angelfish in the tank, it requires strict attention and hard work. That’s why, even if you own a large fish tank, we discourage you from keeping more than two together.
Now, let’s get to see how to calculate the right number of angelfishes for the tank, their tank maintenance, and other tank mates suitable for angelfish.
Angelfish with its flat, streamlined body and long fins have become an iconic freshwater aquarium fish. The fish has a triangular shape. You will see the angelfish in a variety of color patterns that what precisely make them so popular among aquarists.
Nonetheless, the most common appearance found for an angelfish is a longitudinal stripe. It helped them camouflage in the habitat and hid from preys.
The angelfish is a native species to South America. You will see them widely in Amazon River as well as in the river basins of Essequibo and Orinoco. Although these are primarily wild fish, with the right tank condition, you can own them in captivity.
In captivity, the tank requirements need to be slightly warm. The right tank temperature needs to be around anywhere between 80°F with a slightly acidic pH level. Breeding the angelfish in the tank is relatively easy.
You only need to provide a flat rock bed and plants with broader leaves. The female angelfish will lay eggs on these leaves or flat rock. However, angelfish are void of any parental care and so, tends to devour their own eggs. So, be aware of the fact.
Table of Contents
How Many Angelfish Should You Keep Together?
While filling tanks with fishes, many fish keepers tend to follow one simple rule, one gallon of tank water for each inch of the fish species.
As per the rule, if a fish grows around 5 inches, it will need at least 5 gallons of tank water. However, this is only a theory. In reality, a fish needs twice the amount of water of its original size. And when it comes to an angelfish, the ideal tank size goes even bigger.
To be specific, an angelfish grows up to 5 inches to 6 inches long. And you should use an at least 20 gallons tank for the angelfish. Also, angelfish tends to grow taller than longer. Hence, when you choose the tank for them, focus on getting a tank taller than more exhaustive.
So, now that we know how much space a single angelfish needs to have within the tank. Let’s calculate how many angelfish you can keep together in a tank.
For the first angelfish, you should have a minimum of 20 gallons of tank water.
And to keep two angelfish together, you need to opt for a tank as large as 35 gallons.
4 angelfish: 60-70 gallons
6 angelfish: 90-100 gallons.
So, according to the measurement mentioned above, the ideal rule will be two gallons for each one inch of angelfish.
However, in reality, keeping more than two angelfish won’t be a good idea. It is because angelfish needs a huge amount of care and skills from your per. So, it would be best if you kept two angelfish. In this way, you can adequately take care of them and prolong their lifetime too.
What Happens When you Keep More Than Two Angelfish Together?
Angelfish is a school fish. So, you would want to own a group of angelfish, and many expert fish keepers do so.
But it gets really tough.
First off, you will need skill management to keep two angelfish together. Secondly, you will monitor the angelfishes closely to keep them healthy and happy. Also, you will need a large tank space for more than two angelfishes and finally, proper planning.
Managing all these together isn’t an easy task. So, we always recommend you to keep two angelfish together.
Also, if you really want to keep more than two angelfish in the same tank, always get them in a pair. It means, always gets four, six or eight angelfishes.
It is crucial since if the fish isn’t kept in pair in the tank, it can bring severe effect on the angelfish. The third one will be bullied and attacked by the couple. Also, don’t own more than two male for one female angelfish.
Another reason that we discourage to keep a school of angelfish in the same tank is because of their territorial attitude. These may not be as territorial as the betta but is still attacking enough to get engaged in a fight.
However, if you are still determined to put more than a pair of angelfish together, we suggest you rear them up from their juvenile state. When a group of angelfish grow up together from their adolescent state, it will help them grow a bonding.
This way, they will live friendly in the tank.
But be aware, you will always be on your toes to maintain a school of angelfish, and it may have serious concerns over your daily routine.
So, here’s the summary of what happens when you decide to keep more than a pair of angelfish in the same tank-
- You will need a massive tank which can be expensive often.
- Extremely close and regular monitoring of each angelfish
- Tank management requires professional skill.
- The fishes can often get engaged in fights.
Tank Setup Guideline for A Pair of Angelfish
We hope that you are now convinced that owning a pair of angelfish is the best available option for you. So, how do you prepare the tank and later, manage it for the two angelfishes?
So, without any ado, let’s begin the tank maintenance for a pair of angelfish and other tank mates. Angelfish roughly falls in the category of cichlid fish which are famous tank or aquarium fish and lives in freshwater.
Like most cichlid fishes, the angelfish requires a warmer tank setup. Hence, maintain the tank temperature anywhere between 75°F to 82°F. On top of this, hold the pH level between 6.7 to 7. Also, angelfish has an affinity of digging the tank substrate. So, pick a tank substrate that is soft and easily removable.
You can use gravel or small pebbles. Choosing the right substrate is essential since hard or rough tank substrate can cause cuts and scrapes on the angelfish body and especially, fins.
Another part of tank management is the controlling of the water flow in the aquarium. Freshwater angelfish aren’t adept with high flow. So, there’s no necessity to provide robust aerator for a powerful current in the tank.
Hence, an under-gravel tank filter or a low-flow aerator will work fine.
Next, you will need to fix the light exposure on the tank. Ideally, the tank needs to have 8 hours to 12 hours of proper lighting exposure. You don’t need to spend much on the lighting, though. Any adequate lighting that will effectively mimic the sun will work fine.
Angelfish is a tropical swampland fish. So, you may want to mimic a miniature swampland condition in the tank. You can easily do it by using any plants native to Amazon forest and river. Some of the familiar and widely used plants used for the angelfish tank include:
- Brazilian Waterweed: Most people know them as anacharis. It has broad leaves and is a good choice for angelfish tank. Female angelfish would lay eggs on its broad leaves.
- Amazon Sword Plant: it also has board leaves. So, the fish will love the hideout space and feel safe.
Although many people use floating vegetation such as Pondweed or Duckweed, we discourage you from using them. Since these are floating vegetable plant, they will block the lighting and fish space.
Compatible Angelfish Tank Mates
You need to take extreme care when it comes to the angelfish. Moreover, they are exceptionally picky of their tank mates and won’t tolerate many fish species. Also, they need deep water and constant pH and water temperature.
Lastly, the angelfish loves swimming comfortably in deep water. All these make the selection of the right tank mates for the angelfish a tedious task.
So, you will find it challenging to find the fishes that will effectively meet the challenging tank environmental demands of the angelfish. Yet, our observation and long experience in the fish keeping industry helped us found some suitable tank companions for the angelfish. These are:
- Mollies: Mollies are one of the most lovely looking and exotic fish species. They are non-aggressive and makes a good community tank mate for most fish species.
- Plecos: Plecos has a wide variety and is a useful community tank companion. Popularly they are known as suckerfish or janitor fish due to their cleaning habit by eating algae and fish wastage in the tank.
- Corydoras: Corydoras or cory catfish is another good-looking community tank fish. So, you can keep them with angelfish. They are bottom feeder and won’t engage in fights with angelfish.
- Gourami: The gourami with its colorful patterns and widespread variations is a popular community tank species to most fish keepers. They are peaceful and non-aggressive. So, you can consider them for the angelfish tank.
- Rainbow fish: It is another peaceful fish species that is easily kept with all small and non-aggressive fish species.
The Final Words
Admittedly, angelfishes are one of the most beautiful and lovely-looking freshwater aquarium fish. So, it is tempting to rear up a school of angelfish together. However, they are very demanding in nature and require skilled tank management.
So, when you decide, ‘How many angelfish should you keep together?”, you should resist the temptation of keeping more than two angelfish together. Also, for a single angelfish, the tank needs to have 20 gallons of tank water. And for each additional angelfish, get another 15 gallons of water in the tank.
And unless you are committed to the tank caring and confident, we won’t suggest you go beyond a pair of angelfish.