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Picking the ideal tankmate for your angelfish can be troublesome, these tropical fish are known to be aggressive and territorial. It might be difficult finding a suitable tank mate but it doesn’t mean that you can’t find tankmates for the angelfish.
Which fish should you get as a tankmate? I made this guide to help fellow fish keepers find the ideal tank mate for angelfish.
What are good tankmates for angelfish?
Angelfish are relatively peaceful fish, but they can be quite aggressive. They shouldn’t be housed with other aggressive species like african cichlids, oscar fish, and tiger barbs.
The ideal angelfish tank mates are similarly sized fish species with calm and timid nature like ram cichlids, discus, and bolivian rams.
Before we move to the top 5 angelfish tank mates, let’s first discuss the things you need to consider when picking a tankmate for angelfish…
Things to consider when choosing angelfish tankmates
Here are factors to consider when choosing great angelfish tank mates.
Angelfish are peaceful species but they can be territorial, make sure to house them with non-aggressive fish.
Male angelfish are more aggressive than female angelfish. If you’re planning to keep angelfish, you might want to start with a female. There is research that suggests that doing water changes less often can help lessen fights between angelfish.
Angelfish has a tendency to bully smaller fish species or they might even eat them. So make sure to house them with similarly sized fish.
Choose tank mates for angelfish that can thrive in the same water parameters as them. Being a tropical species from the amazon river basin, angelfish needs water temperature to be slightly warmer, right in the 78° – 84° F range. The pH should range between 6.8 and 7.8 and water hardness should stay between 3° and 8° dKH
Considering the angelfish’s aggressive and territorial nature, having a large tank size is must if you want to add angelfish tank mates.
Placing peaceful fish with angelfish will still result in fighting if the space is not sufficient. Aside from compatible tankmates, plenty of additional space is required if you’re planning to breed your angelfish.
Angelfish prefers to hang in the middle level of the aquarium, choosing angelfish tank mates that stay on other levels can help prevent fights.
Top 5 Best Tankmates for Angelfish
After taking into consideration all the things above. Here are my recommendations for the best angelfish tank mates.
1. Boesemani Rainbow Fish
Rainbow fish come in many varieties, but I particularly think the Boesemani is an excellent fit for an angelfish aquarium.
They are peaceful fish for the most part, but can occasionally bicker with their own species.
The fish is found in northern and eastern Australia, New Guinea, islands in Cenderawasih Bay and Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia, and in Madagascar.
Similar Habitat with Angelfish
Despite not being native to the Amazon River, they still have fairly similar water parameter needs to angelfish.
As juveniles, these fish can look a little dull as they are greyish silver in color with a yellow or gold tail.
However, once they mature, Boesemani fish turn a stunning iridescent blue with a bright yellow back half.
They’re incredibly beautiful fish that add a lot of color to a freshwater aquarium.
How To Care For Boesemani Rainbow Fish
Boesemani aquarium fish are easy to care for and can reach up to 4 inches in size, so there’s no risk of them being eaten by your larger angelfish.
As they are schooling fish, you’ll need to keep them in groups of at least 6.
This requires you to have a fairly large aquarium if you want to house them with angelfish.
The majority of wild rainbow fish come from hard, alkaline water, but captive raised varieties can tolerate a fairly wide range of parameters.
Water Parameters and Diet
Angelfish are tropical fish, they do best at temperatures between 74° F and 78° F, at a PH of around 6.5 to 8.0, and water hardness between 10 GH and 20 GH.
Boesemani rainbow are omnivores in the wild, so you should feed them a diet that replicates this in the aquarium.
Offer them high-quality flake food, alongside live and frozen foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and blackworms.
Mix up their diet regularly and refrain from feeding the same foods for multiple days in a row.
2. Corydoras Catfish
Affectionately known as cory cats, corydoras catfish are lovely and very peaceful little fish that work well in an angelfish community aquarium.
Like angels, they originate from South America and therefore require a similar home.
These little catfish come in a huge range of varieties and colors, including panda, alibino/gold, and pepper (black and gold).
There’s even an extra small type called the pygmy corydoras which reaches a mere 1.5 inches in length, though I wouldn’t recommend them in an angelfish tank!
How To Care For Cory Catfish
Most cories reach 2 to 4 inches in length, so the bigger varieties are compatible with angelfish.
They’re highly social fish and need to be kept in schools of at least 5 to feel safe.
At least a 20-gallon tank is necessary for this fish, but you’ll have to go bigger if you want to house them with multiple angelfish.
Cory cats are bottom dwellers, so they will spend the majority of their time at the base of their home digging and scavenging for food.
In addition to being extremely cute, cories are great little cleaner fish as they help maintain good water quality by eating leftover food from other inhabitants.
Cory catfish prefer the temperature of their aquarium water between 68° F and 82° F, PH of 6.5 to 8.0, and water hardness 5 to 19 GH.
They eat a variety of foods, including sinking pellets, flakes, and algae wafers. Being scavengers, they will also consume uneaten fish food that they encounter.
Bristlenose Pleco Feeding on a Cucumber
3. Bushynose Pleco
Bushynose plecos (also known as bristlenose plecos) are one of the smallest species of ancistrus, making them a good option for smaller tanks.
They are a peaceful fish and will do well in angelfish aquariums.
Compared to common plecos who can reach up to 24 inches in size, bushynoses only reach around 3 to 5 inches.
They’re a bit of an odd-looking fish as they have long spikes that protrude from their mouth, similar to a beard. These bristles are more prominent in males.
Like angelfish, bushynose plecos originate from South America, primarily from the Amazon River Basin.
Standard varieties are brown, olive, or grey with white or gold specks, but other colors like albino/gold are available.
Although they don’t have a tremendous amount of color, they’re still an interesting freshwater fish species to choose for your aquarium.
How To Care For Bushynose Pleco
Unless you have an extremely large aquarium, I would recommend keeping just one bushynose pleco as they can be quite territorial towards their only kind, including other species of plecos.
Even during spawning male plecos will shoo away the female once she has laid her eggs.
Bushynose plecos spend the majority of their time at the bottom of the tank and will scour the aquarium glass for algae.
They are herbivores and will happily eat any algae in your community tank, but you will need to supplement their diet with algae wafers and vegetables like zucchini. They will also consume any uneaten food that is left after feeding.
Driftwood is also necessary for keeping this fish as it aids with their digestion, so make sure you have a piece for them to munch on in their home.
Tank Size and Water Parameters
Bushynose plecos are a very hardy fish that are easy to care for, which makes them a great fish to choose if you’re new to the fishkeeping hobby.
However, they still require at least a 30-gallon tank as they have incredibly high bioloads.
Good filtration in your aquarium is key as despite their relatively small body size, they produce a lot of waste just like the oranda.
They accept a wide range of water parameters and do well in temperatures between 60° F to 80° F and a PH from 5.5 to 7.6. The water hardness in your aquarium should fall within 2 to 10 GH.
Platies are great little fish to add to an angelfish tank as they are very peaceful. These small fish very hardy and come in a huge range of color varieties to choose from like red, gold, gold calico (yellow and black), black, and silver-blue.
Platy fish come in 3 species (Southern Platy, Variable Platy, and Swordtail Platy) that all inhabit different rivers of South America.
Despite not being classed as schooling fish, platies are happier when kept in groups.
As they are livebearers (which means they give birth to live fry rather than lay eggs), they breed very easily and can quickly overrun your community tank.
However, in community freshwater tanks (especially containing angelfish!), this shouldn’t be a problem as the fry will likely be eaten rather quickly.
In fact, breeding these small fish is quite difficult to do in a tank with angelfish as angelfish will eat any eggs or fry they spot.
How To Care For Platies
Platies usually grow to around 2.5 inches and don’t require large aquariums, so you won’t need a huge setup if you decide to get them as tank mates.
They are not fussy when it comes to food and will readily accept fish flakes, pellets, live prey, and frozen foods.
Due to their hardiness, platies are great for fishkeepers new to the hobby as they are incredibly resilient.
They can adapt to a wide range of water parameters, but thrive in slightly alkaline water with a pH range of 6.8 to 8.0.
Water hardness should be around 10 to 28 GH and the temperature should be 70° F to 80° F.
5. Dwarf Gourami
Dwarf gourami are gorgeous fish that are very docile, making them a decent tankmate for angelfish.
However, if your angelfish are very aggressive or territorial, then they might not be the best choice.
Due to their easy-going nature, dwarf gourami often let other fish species bully and harass them.
They are visually striking, sporting stripes of bright blue and red
Found in India, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Assam in waters that are densely vegetated.
How To Care For Dwarf Gourami
Although not schooling fish, you should keep at least two of them. Housing them in a heavily planted tank with lots of hiding places can help them feel safe and at home.
Dwarf gourami reach a maximum size of around 3.5 inches, so they don’t require larger aquariums than what you’d typically get for angelfish.
They are omnivores in the wild and enjoy both plant matter and meaty foods.
Feeding and Water Parameters
Feed them algae-based flake food, alongside live prey, frozen, or freeze-dried tubifex, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.
Like with other fish, avoid feeding them the same foods for too many days in a row to add some variety.
Like angelfish, dwarf gourami prefer soft, acidic water with a slow flow. The temperature range should be between 77° F and 78.5 ° F and the PH should be around 6.0 to 8.0. Water hardness should fall within 10 GH and 20 GH.
Tankmates To Avoid
What angelfish tank mates to avoid? You should avoid tank mates that can’t thrive in the same water parameters as an angelfish. Size and speed should also be considered when choosing tank mates.
The fish shouldn’t be too slow and or too small because it might have trouble getting food or it could get bullied or eaten by the angelfish. Last thing to look out for are tank mates that are too aggressive or tank mates that can be harmful to your angelfish.
1. Betta Fish
Bettas are not ideal tank mates for angelfish. They are known to be aggressive but this is worsened due to the fact that both bettas and angel fish both have flowing fins. This means that they will consider each other as competitors.
Goldfish species produces a lot of waste which can highly affect the water parameters. But the main reason that makes them bad tank mates is their incompatibility with the angelfish preferred water temperature. Goldfish need water temperatures 72°F or colder which is too cold for angelfish.
Shrimps are bad tank mates for angelfish but it’s not because they are harmful to angelfish. It’s the other way around. Smaller shrimp will be eaten by angelfish while big shrimps will be harassed by the angelfish. Unless you don’t mind them getting reduced one by one, its not a good idea to put them in your fish tank.
4. Tiger Barbs
Although the water parameters for angelfish are very suitable to tiger barbs, they shouldn’t be kept together due to their tendency to fight. Barbs are known to be fin nippers and aggressive. They won’t overpower the big angelfish but the fin nipping can cause infection and the constant fighting will stress out your angelfish.
Oscar fish are not a good tank mates for the angelfish. They are known to be very aggressive. Aside from being aggressive they can grow larger than the angelfish which means that they can easily overpower or kill angelfish once they attack.
Before we end this article, let’s answer some common questions regarding angelfish tankmates.
Can you keep just one angelfish?
Ideally, it’s better for an angelfish to have a tankmate but if you don’t have enough space it’s much better to keep angelfish alone.
How many angelfish can live together?
Depending on the space you have, an angelfish pair can be enough. Angelfish prefer to stay in groups, if you can provide the space needed you can keep a group of 5 – 6 angelfish in tanks.
Are angelfish aggressive?
Angelfish are aggressive and territorial in nature. For them to thrive in a community aquarium, they need to be provided with plenty of extra space. It also helps if you introduce tank mates while your angelfish are still young. While they are young, they tend to be less aggressive and territorial.
Do angelfish kill other fish?
Angelfish can kill other fish or even eat smaller tank mates. So it’s best to choose appropriate and peaceful community fish to avoid any injuries or deaths.
Can angelfish live with cichlids?
Angelfish can live with other cichlids depending on the type of cichlid and if enough space is available in the community aquarium.
There are quite a few things to consider when trying to get tankmates for angelfish but it definitely pays off to be familiar with those factors to have a peaceful community tank.
Thank you for reading this article. If you enjoyed this article, you should check out this in-depth angelfish care guide and this article about the saltwater emperor angelfish.
I hope that it was helpful. Feel free to share this to your friends or other fish keepers. Till next time.