The Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) live in coral reefs and are famous for their striking patterns and colors. The angelfishes include numerous beautiful and colorful species. One of the most popular aquarium fishes, the tank-bred angelfish is hardy, tolerant of common tap water conditions and a wide range of temperatures and resistant to diseases. They require ample space, as many species are territorial.

Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare
Platinum Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare

There are two groups of angelfishes: large and dwarf, Centropyge. Dwarf angelfish usually does not exceed 5 inches in length, while some large angelfish species may be as long as 24 inches. Tank-bred angelfish, especially Centropyge species, adapt well to aquarium conditions. The hardiest of the dwarf species is Coral Beauty, Centropyge bispinosus.

The majority of angelfishes are good eaters, consuming a wide variety of animal and plant materials. Angelfish should not be kept with barbs, giant danios, tetras, oscars or swordtails. They are very territorial and may prey on small fish. Angelfish prefer soft, acidic water. Aim for a pH of 6.5 or below, and hardness of about 5 dH. Temperature should be between 80° and 84°F. Brood size of these substrate choosers can be up to 500, with 200 or 300 being more common. Many breeders buy a group of juveniles and let them pair off naturally.

Black Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare
Black Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare
Photography by Larysa Johnston

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