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Last updated date: 22nd Jul 2024
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Freshwater Angelfish

Angelfish are a creature of freshwater cichlid and they are one of the well-known species of tropical aquarium fish.

Freshwater angelfish, or Pterophyllum scalare, are basically a species of cichlid native to South America. The different angelfish types are usually found throughout Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Brazil and Peru in various water systems including the Rio Essequibo, Rio Oyapock, and the Amazon itself. The species of angelfish type may grow up to 8 inches tall and attain a total length up to 6 inches. Like most cichlids, they display a laterally compressed body structure that simply means they are fairly thin.

These fish are available in a variety of colors and patterns ranging from solid silver to black-and-silver marble, and blue or colored stripes. As a species, freshwater angelfish are essentially peaceful; however they are a bit difficult to get along with very small species. These fish can survive up to 10 years or longer. Angel fish prefer to be kept in tanks with a number of their own species.

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Different Types of Angelfish

Many mutations took place in domestic angelfish stocks and have been launched into fixed strains. Some species of angelfish will breed true, meaning that if you couple up two fish of the same variety, all the offspring will be of that type. Other varieties of species will produce a variety of types. And, if a fish with a commanding trait mates with a fish with the recessive variant of that trait, the offspring may all exhibit a commanding trait.

The genetics of angelfish are captivating and complex. Let’s look at some of the common varieties, however there is much more to the breeding of different angelfish varieties.

1. Silver

The silver angelfish exhibits a coloration of the wild angelfish. It contains a silver body with red eyes. Three vertical black stripes embellish the side. Depending on the mood of the fish, these stripes fade or darken.

2. Veil and Super Veil

The veiltail gene induces all of the finnage to be elongated and more flowing. A fish with one veiltail gene is known as a veiltail, and one with two contains even more detailed fins and is known as a super veil. A veiltail bred to a standard fin will yield half of each type, while a super veil bred to a standard yields all veiltail offspring.

3. Black and Black Lace

The initial color mutation in captivity has been the dark gene. A fish having one dark gene is known as a black lace. The whole body is darkened, and there is an attractive lace pattern in the fins. A fish having two dark genes is known as a black, double black, or double dark angel and is closely completely black, though faint barring can be observed in some strains or in the right light.

4. Half-Black

In the half-black angel, the back half of the fish displays a solid black coloration. The front half is that of silver. This trait can be influenced by climatic conditions, so fish that are genetically half-blacks appear as silvers when their rearing conditions were less than ideal.

5. Zebra

The zebra angelfish is somewhat identical to the silver, but it consists of four to six vertical stripes. If a zebra has one dark gene, it is known as a zebra lace and is a darkened version of the zebra, also with attractive lacing on the fins. (A double dark zebra appears similar to a regular double dark.)

6. Gold

Gold angelfish has a yellow-gold base color and possesses no black markings. They commonly have considerable yellow or orange markings on the head, face, and back.

7. Marble

In marble angelfish the silver and black markings are marbleized instead of in stripes. This angel fish type can be lightly or heavily marbled.

8.Gold Marble

A different gene induces the gold marble coloration, which is actually more gold than silver and possesses only a slight amount of black marbling relative to a regular marble angelfish.

9. Platinum Angels

The newest mutation in angelfish is the gene officially called the Philippine blue. Recognized and established by Ken Kennedy in the Philippines, this trait can combine with other varieties in alluring ways. A gold angel with two Philippine blue angelfish genes is known as platinum and is a marvelous, blue-white fish with spectacular iridescence. A black angel having two blue genes is tagged as pinoy angel, and a gold blushing angel with two blue genes is known as a Paraiba.

These new types have caused quite a stir in the hobby, as they display traits heretofore not seen in angelfish and are truly gorgeous. A particularly popular strain is the pearlscale platinum, who's iridescent body looks positively metallic.

10. Pearlscale Angels

Scale mutation species can occur on any color angelfish. It generates a finely crinkled tinfoil look to the scales and is much more apparent on light fish than on darker ones. Most people favour, say, an albino pearlscale to a black pearlscale.

11. Blushing Angelfish

The blushing trait eliminates the dark bars and induces the gill covers to be translucent in young fish. The bright red gills displaying through defines the “blushing” name. As the fish mature, the gill covers become opaque. A silver blushing is all-over silver having red “cheeks,” and these commonly display substantial blue iridescence and are occasionally called blue angelfish or German blues.

12. Koi and Sunset

A gold marble blushing is recognized as a koi angelfish. Initially they possess red-orange on their heads, but strains have been advanced in which the red-orange pigment is shown on the whole body and into the fins. A gold blushing fish having a notable orange crown is known as a sunset angel.

13. Albino

Albino angelfish are deficient in dark pigments, but may retain yellow or red pigments. In the right light you will observe a white-on-white effect that exhibits the bars. The eye pupils are pink/red as in all other kinds of albino animals. Albinos do not produce any dark pigments and thus exhibit a white to yellow body.

Angelfish Physical Attributes

Angelfish are remarkably shaped for cichlids since they are laterally compressed, having round bodies and lengthen triangular dorsal and anal fins. Their distinctive diamond-shaped body enables them to hide and move easily and swiftly among plants and roots. Their inherent coloration includes dark vertical stripes, perceived to provide camouflaging like a zebra’s stripes. Angelfish are ambush predators who prey on small fish and invertebrates that they pursue in the plants.

Angelfish's Natural Habitat

Angelfish are innate to a widespread region of tropical South America, including much of the Amazon River system. In their natural habitat, they occur in nearly, exclusively calm, slow moving water. In the wild, they favor dimly lit areas, under vegetation hanging over or among trees that have fallen into the river. 

 What Do Angelfish Eat?

Angelfish will feed at the surface or mid-water, but, in nature they most commonly forage along the bottom searching for worms and small crustaceans. They are omnivores and will thrive on Shrimp Pellets, Tropical Granules, Color Flakes, and Aqueon Tropical Flakes. Frozen and live foods can also be fed as delicacies or to enable inducing spawning. For excellent outcomes, turn around their diet daily and feed only what they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes, once or twice a day.  

Water Requirements For Angelfish

Captive raised angelfish accept a variety of water conditions, though they prefer little warmer water. The pH level must be between 6.8 and 7.8, with hardness between 3° and 8°. Temperature is best kept between 78° and 84° F (Fahrenheit). It is also important to keep good filtration and conduct water changes of 10% weekly or 25% every alternate week. Also make sure to treat tap water with water before refilling your tank!  You can use a water conditioner for purifying water.

Housing Recommendations For Angelfish

Angelfish grow to be massive and will need an aquarium of 55 gallons or more when full grown. Tall aquariums are best, to fit their body shape. A few floating plants can also be installed to offer shaded areas and cover. Substrate must be fine to moderate grade, smooth surfaced gravel, as angelfish like to forage on bottom for food. 

Behavior/Compatibility for Angelfish

While angelfish are usually subtle, peaceful fish, they are cichlids and can be volatile toward one another, particularly when trying to pair and spawn. Moreover, they will not hang back to eat smaller fish. This does not mean they are hostile, just that they are opportunistic and will eat anything that satiates and sits into their mouth. 

Did You Know

  1. Freshwater Angelfish Members from Cichlid Family includes other popular fish such as oscars, parrot fish, and Jack Dempseys.

  2. 2. Angelfish Are Omnivores and will eat live foods and plants to reach optimum size and remain healthy.

  3. Angels fish are best to fed with daily flakes or a pelleted diet

  4. Angelfish can also consume fish that are in the tank, such as fry and tetras.

  5. Angels are best kept when not overcrowded as this could intensify aggressive or territorial behavior.


If you are looking for a distinctive, dainty and delicate species of freshwater fish, consider the angelfish. Not only do these fish are diverse in colors and patterns, but they are a stunning sight to behold when they swim around the tank. You will find an angelfish to suit you. Whether you plan to breed your angelfish or just embrace them for their aesthetics and elegance, these fish are a phenomenal species to cultivate.

FAQs on Angelfish

1. What are the Angelfish Types Admired For?

Answer: Angel’s fish are admired the most for their grace. Perhaps the most recognized freshwater species in the aquarium hobby, angelfish comes from the family Cichlidae. Appreciated for their graceful swimming skills and manners, angelfish make phenomenal additions to huge community aquariums. Wild caught angelfish are quite rare in the aquarium hobby, with most fish for commercial sale being captive raised. Wild angelfish are silver with black vertical stripes, but, through selective breeding, many color patterns and also long-finned varieties, called “veiltails' ', have been advanced over the years. Most angelfish sold in the hobby are Pterophyllum scalare, but, P. altum is sometimes available. A third species, P. leopoldi, the tiniest and most volatile species of angelfish, is almost never seen.

2. How Do Angelfish Lay Eggs?

Answer: Angel Fish types either give birth to live babies or they lay eggs which are fertilized and hatched later. Angel fish fall in the category of egg laying. The mechanism for angels’ fish egg laying and hatching is:

  • The female chooses to deposit her eggs in defined rows on a piece of immersed slate leaned against a wall of the tank.

  • The male will follow her and use his own papilla to individually fertilize each egg.

  • If the fertilization has been victorious, you'll observe the fry start wagging their tails in about two days, although they're still attached to the slate.

  • The fry will become free swimming occasionally around day five, and they will start eating on their own around day seven once they have soak up the yolk sacks from their eggs.

3. What Do Angelfish Look Like?

Answer: Male and Female Angelfish look the Same. Contrary to some breeds of angelfish, you generally can't tell a male angel from a female just by looking at them until the female is ready to breed.

Both sexes contain an organ known as a papilla positioned between their anal and ventral fins. When the female gets gravid, that suggests she is carrying eggs. Her papilla becomes a little expanded and has a blunt tip. When the male becomes conscious of a gravid female, his papilla also expands somewhat, but has a more pointed tip. This is a crucial way to differentiate between the sexes, but it's not foolproof.

It is always beyond doubt that any angel that lays eggs is a female. Any other angels in the tank who do not become gravid or do not respond to a gravid female may either be more females or males that aren't interested in mating and breeding.