The Angelfish is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the hobby, and is known by almost all fish keepers. Ideally suited to larger, moderately planted aquariums, angelfish can become prized specimens in the right environment. The name angelfish relates to the fishes appearance rather than its nature, as being part of the cichlid family, its behaviour is sometimes far from angelic! Providing you are aware that angelfish can sometimes be a little aggressive, but not unmanageable, a pair or shoal of angelfish can make a great addition to a community aquarium.
Although Angelfish are often recommended for planted aquariums, in the wild adults are usually found in areas with little vegetation and only the young fish, which form shoals, stick close to vegetated areas for protection.
Re-creating roots and driftwood in a vertical fashion, using the majority of the aquariums height, creates an ideal environment, but if this is not possible, tall plants make a perfect substitution. Whilst sometimes referred to as a soft-water fish, natural conditions vary and angelfish can be kept in water with a pH ranging from 6 to 8. Hardness should ideally be between 5-15 dGH, and whilst angelfish can adapt to harder water, breeding may become more difficult.
Angelfish also have a wider temperature range than some tropical fish, and can be kept anywhere between 24-30C (75-86F) Angelfish are natural predators, but they will become lazy if given a regular supply of food, so they will not usually harass smaller fish that they have been raised with. It is not wise however, to introduce small fish to an aquarium containing adult angels, since any unfamiliar fish small enough to eat will be quickly devoured. Whilst angelfish are not fussy eaters, and will readily eat dried foods, the addition of small meaty foods such as rich frozen or live foods like bloodworm will help to maintain ideal health, and even encourage spawning.
Since angelfish can easily grow to reach 15cm, and are natural predators, tiny fish are not good tank mates, but most medium sized and peaceful fish will mix well with angels. As mentioned earlier, aggression in angelfish is normally directed towards other angels, but in case of spawning activity, it is wise to make sure the aquarium has plenty of space, and that tank mates do not include any overly delicate fish of a similar shape.
A single pair of angelfish can be kept in an aquarium measuring 75cm (2.5 feet) long, providing the aquarium is tall (45-60cm) and very lightly stocked. Otherwise, a 120cm (4 feet) long aquarium is a minimum size for two adult pairs to allow sufficient space in case of spawning.
Angels are hardy species, but many fish keepers have had losses when introducing angels to new aquariums, so avoid introducing the fish to aquariums less than two or three months old. Otherwise, the angelfish is a fish full of character and should make a good addition to any reasonably sized community aquarium.