Are you looking to add the beautiful Angelfish to your aquarium family but are missing some key information, such as how big they actually get? Do you already have a large enough tank or do you need to go out and buy a new one to accommodate your new fish? We’re going to take you through everything you need to know about keeping Angelfish when it comes to size.
Facts About the Angelfish
Before we get into the specific tank size that you’ll need for your new Angelfish, let’s take a look at some interesting facts:
- Angelfish are one of the most popular aquarium fish available.
- The Angelfish originates from South America and are freshwater members of the cichlid family
- Angelfish are carnivorous in the wild but need a varied diet in captivity.
- As they mature, Angelfish are best kept with their own kind and are, therefore, not considered a community fish.
- Angelfish lay eggs in layers.
- Female and male Angelfish are virtually indistinguishable except when the female is ready to breed.
- Angelfish come in many different colors.
- Tropical Angelfish can be kept as pets as long as you’re up for maintaining a saltwater tank.
- Angelfish are prone to diseases such as Hexamita.
How Big Do Angelfish Get?
You need to have some idea about how big Angelfish get so you have a better idea of the exact tank size that you’ll need for them. You’ve likely heard that a fish’s potential for growth depends heavily on its environment, which is true for Angelfish. There are also different species of Angelfish to consider, some of which have the potential to grow larger than others. More on that later.
Angelfish Growth in The Wild
When it comes to the potential for growth, Angelfish thrive in their natural habitat. This is because they have unlimited space to grow and access to their natural diet. In their natural environment, Angelfish have the potential to grow up to a full 12 inches. If kept in a poorly maintained environment, Angelfish are exceptionally susceptible to Ich. If wild Angelfish are cared for properly in an aquarium environment with the proper diet and enough room to grow, they still have the potential to reach their full 12 inches in length.
Angelfish Growth in A Fish Tank
As previously mentioned, a fish’s potential for growth depends on their environment. Fish actually release growth inhibiting pheromones, regardless of the size of the environment they’re in. These pheromones not only have the potential to limit their own growth but the growth of the other fish around them as well.
So, if a fish releases these pheromones regardless of the size of their environment, why does it matter what size tank they’re kept in? Well, in a larger tank or in the wild, these pheromones are diluted and/or washed away, which causes them to have little to no impact on growth. If allowed to build up in a small system like an aquarium, they will most definitely stunt a fish’s growth.
So, what does this mean for the Angelfish? Angelfish still have the potential to grow up to six inches in a small, crowded tank but, depending on their species, this may only be considered 50% of their growth. In a bigger, less crowded tank, they can grow up to 10 inches.
Tank Conditions Affect Growth
To help your Angelfish achieve its maximum growth potential, make sure that you’re meeting its required aquarium conditions. Angelfish prefer freshwater conditions and require very low acidic to very low alkaline water conditions with a pH between six and eight. The tank must not exceed 85°F and has to be kept clean and sanitary at all times.
We’ll get to specifics in regards to tank size shortly but first, there are many reasons why Angelfish need to be kept in a tank that is large enough for them to live comfortably. Stress is a huge factor when it comes to growth and an Angelfish is not going to be happy in a tank that’s too small or too crowded. Keeping them in a separate tank away from other fish species makes a big difference in their stress level. Angelfish become aggressive as they get older and do not take kindly to other fish species.
Diet and Growth
Feeding your Angelfish a diet that they can thrive on is essential to achieving maximum growth. While Angelfish are naturally carnivorous, feeding them a balanced diet is beneficial for them in a tank environment. Angelfish prefer diets containing what they would naturally eat in the wild, such as Bloodworms, shrimp, and Daphnia.
Different Species of Angelfish and Their Size
There are several different types of Angelfish and each varies in their growth capacity. The following are generally kept in a tank, listing their capacity for growth at maturity.
- Albino Angelfish – 6 inches
- Marble Angelfish – 6 inches
- Veil Angelfish – 6 inches
- Leopard Angelfish – 6 inches
- Gold Angelfish – 6 inches
- Zebra Angelfish – 6-7 ½ inches
- Smokey Angelfish – 6-7 inches
- Ghost Angelfish – 6-8 inches
- Koi Angelfish – 6-8 inches
- Blushing Angelfish – 6-10 inches
- Altum Angelfish – 7-10 inches
- Black lace Angelfish – 8-10 inches
Ideal Tank Size for Angelfish
The ideal tank size for Angelfish changes slightly based on a few factors, including the size of the Angelfish, how many Angelfish you wish to keep in the tank, their tendency for aggression, and their growth pattern.
The ideal tank size for a single or a pair of Angelfish is 30 gallons and the more you have, the bigger the tank required. We would not recommend adding these fish to a community tank. If you have a tank with mature Angelfish and you wish to add additional Angelfish, the tank would need to be upgraded to a minimum of 50 gallons. The tank size should also be tall rather than wide due to the Angelfish’s capacity for growth.
Can I Raise My Angelfish in A Community?
As mentioned, this is not recommended. Angelfish are gentle when they’re young and growing but can become very aggressive once they mature. It is certainly not uncommon for an Angelfish to eat a smaller species in the tank, especially considering this is what they’re used to in the wild. They may also attack other species if they feel provoked or if they feel that they are a threat to their young.
Angelfish should not be raised with any other species of fish that is known to be aggressive. Potentially suitable, non-aggressive tank mates may include medium-sized Catfish, Rainbowfish, peaceful Barbs, Corydoras, Gouramis, larger Tetras, Rasboras, and discus but only in larger aquariums.
Additional Tank Requirements
We’ve already covered temperature and size requirements but another important aspect to pay attention to is tank accessories. Angelfish are bottom swimmers and prefer to be active. While you won’t often see your Angelfish sitting at the bottom of the tank doing nothing, it’s still important to include rocks and decorations in the tank to create hiding spaces. This not only supports their activities but fish do like a place to hide to feel safe and secure if they’re feeling uncomfortable for any reason.
Fast Water and Growth
When preparing a tank for Angelfish, consider the effect that your filtration system may have on the tank’s water. Stress will stunt your Angelfish’s growth and water that moves too fast can be very stressful.
Although they are very active, Angelfish are not the strongest swimmers. They use more energy to simply move around which can cause stress and strain to their body.
Although there is some controversy about the use and effectiveness of over under-gravel or sponge filters, they do create a gentler current which can allow the Angelfish to conserve some of the energy that it would be using fighting those stronger currents.
Additional Facts on Angelfish
When setting up your tank for you Angelfish, consider these additional facts:
- Although they can be aggressive, Angelfish are mostly shy creatures and like to hide behind plants and other decorations. It’s highly advised to accommodate accordingly.
- Do not place your tank directly in the sun as it will throw off the ideal water temperature.
- Angelfish reproduce often and your tank may quickly become overpopulated. Keep on top of removing the fry if you don’t want a serious Angelfish overload on your hands.
The main take away from all of this is that Angelfish need to be kept in a tank that’s large enough so they can thrive. This means a minimum of 30 gallons per Angelfish or pair of Angelfish. This is a beautiful species and, just like any other fish, it has special requirements regarding its surroundings. Pay special attention to your Angelfish’s diet, possible stressors, and general quality of life so they can grow to their maximum potential and thrive.