When to Add Angelfish to Aquarium?

Angelfish are some of the most stunning swimmers to keep in your aquarium. As popular tropical fish, they come in unique shapes and personalities.

Angelfish are active swimmers and extremely curious about their environment.

They need to be kept in a well-maintained aquarium and given a proper feed to thrive. If you’re wondering when to add angelfish to your aquarium, then keep reading!

When Can I Add Angelfish to Aquarium?

Angelfish can be added a few days after your aquarium has finished cycling. While these are overall hardy species, they can be a little sensitive to poor water conditions. Therefore, after your tank has finished its nitrogen cycle, try adding tough species like mollies or guppies.

Wait for a few days and allow the aquarium to establish and then add the angelfish.

If you’re adding angelfish to a mature tank, make sure that the existing fish are similar in size.

They can be slightly aggressive and opportunistic around smaller species.

Before adding the new specimens, keep them in a quarantine tank. This will help your angelfish to ease into the new water conditions without any stress.

Above all, it’ll help prevent the spread of any infections or parasites.

Certain conditions like water quality, temperature, and tank mates need to be met before adding angelfish. Since they’re native to the Amazon River, they prefer slow-moving streams and ponds.

It’s best to keep them in a cichlid tank as opposed to a community aquarium. That way, all their physical needs will be met.

Here’s a breakdown of how to acclimatize your angelfish to the new aquarium.

How to Take care of Angelfish in Aquarium

Angelfish are hardy creatures that can grow up to 6 inches in size.

They belong to the Cichlidae family and are super easy to care for. With proper tank conditions, they can live up to 10 years.

They have triangular snouts and wide bodies, which is why they prefer tall aquariums.

Before adding them to your tank, here’s what you need to take care of.

The Temperature of the Aquarium

Before adding angelfish to the tank, adjust the temperature between 75 and 82 degrees F.

Angelfish are tropical fish and will love a warm aquarium. Although they’re quite adaptable to various water conditions, the temperature should ideally be 80 Degrees F.

You can always use an aquarium heater if the temperature falls below 76 degrees F.

If you introduce them to a cold tank, they might get stressed or sick. Angelfish are far more active in warmer temperatures.

In fact, the slight increase in heat also helps kill parasites in the fish tank. However, be careful not to raise the temperature too much as it can shorten their lifespan.

pH Level in the Fish Tank

Maintain the pH level between 6.8 and 7 with water hardness between 3 and 8 dKH.

Angelfish prefer slightly acidic water with little to no salinity. They are, however, hardy freshwater species that can tolerate different water parameters. However, the optimal pH level for angelfish to breed is 6.8.

Since dechlorinated tap water has a higher pH, you might have to soften the water. You can try using distilled water or water from reverse osmosis.

Keeping the pumps and aerators low-flow can also help lower the pH for angelfish.

Another great way to lower the pH is by adding peat to the substrate or power filter.

The pH of the peat substrate is between 5.5 and 6.5. Peat also contains beneficial microbes that prevent bacteria and fungus in the fish tank.

Decorating the tank with driftwood will also soften the water levels. The natural tannins in the driftwood can create a slightly acidic environment for angelfish.

This readily prevents disease-causing bacteria and viruses and keeps angelfish healthy and happy.

However, always change the pH of the tank gradually. When changing pH levels, consistency is crucial.

Once the pH has adjusted, carefully add your angelfish to the fish tank.

Tank Substrate

Angelfish are cichlids that like to dig as soon as they are introduced to a new tank.

Therefore, always choose a soft, fine sandy or muddy substrate. You can also add pebbles that are at least as big as a quarter of an inch.

Gravel is also a good choice as it’s fine and soft.

As long as the substrate is dark, angelfish will thrive well. The dark substrate creates a home-like, Amazonian habitat for them.

Aquarium Housing Recommendations

Angelfish should ideally be added to a tall aquarium with at least 55 gallons of water.

If you’re adding a single angelfish or a pair, then 30 gallons is a good start. Keep the water currents gentle as angelfish like slow-moving water.

Their natural habitat is mostly dimly lit with heavy vegetation.

Therefore, if your tank has a flow accelerator, you might have to remove it before adding angelfish. Keep the currents slow and steady.

Add a few floating plants with broad leaves. Any foliage that is native to the Amazon river will be loved by angelfish.

You can also keep Java Moss and Java Fern in the fish tank for good hiding places for the angelfish.

If the tank’s lights are bright, try to dim them a bit when introducing angelfish. If the tank lights are on, the fish might immediately hide between the plants.

When you transfer angelfish to a new tank, they will get slightly stressed. The bright lights can add to this.

Therefore, always switch off the lights and gently introduce them to a dark aquarium.

Quarantine the Tank

If you’re adding angelfish to a mature community tank, it’s best to quarantine them first.

This is because angelfish are vulnerable to bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

If found in excess in the tank, they can even cause nagging problems or death to the fish in a day or two.

Therefore, the only effective way to eliminate such hassles is a quarantine tank. Set up a smaller tank with the above-mentioned tank conditions. Keep the heat slightly high and pH level acidic.

Slowly, let the angelfish out from the bag and into the quarantine tank.

Allow the fish to stay in there for a few weeks so that they become used to the environment.

During these weeks, carefully inspect the angelfish for any viruses or diseases. Any residual diseases may develop and can be treated during this time.

You can also pair them, wean them onto different aquarium foods, and condition them to the new tank.

After 2-3 weeks, slowly and gradually add one or a pair of angelfish to the main aquarium. If you have a school of angelfish, always add them gradually.

Quarantine is a time of healing and conditioning for the angelfish. Hence, always keep stress to a minimum.

Tank Mates for Angelfish

Since angelfish are cichlids, they can be slightly territorial and aggressive. However, mollies are dwarf gouramis and are ideal tank mates for angels.

They are peaceful, hardy, and almost the same size as angelfish.

Small freshwater catfish and Pictus are also good choices as these species like to keep themselves.

While most barbs, especially tiger barbs should be avoided, cherry barbs are safe to add. When kept in schools, they aren’t as prone to nip.

Dwarf cichlids, belonging to the same family, are excellent tank mates. They’re slightly timid and very peaceful schooling fish.

Many aquarists have noted that dwarf cichlids tend to spend their time hiding with adult angels in the tank. However, it’s important to monitor all the fish species to ensure their safety.

Angelfish are generally peaceful. The only time they do get aggressive is during feeding or breeding.

They tend to nip at other fish species when threatened. Therefore, only add to a tank with peaceful, similar-sized species.

Breeding Freshwater Angelfish

Apart from adding young specimens to your aquarium, angelfish are also very easy to breed.

When introduced to a school, these species pair of naturally. After that, they will set aside a territory and mate on their own.

Once you notice the pairs, you can then prepare for breeding. The ideal breeding environment needs at least a 20-gallon tank with very low flow.

The tank should have a slanted, vertical surface made of tiles and PVC pipes. You should also add Anacharis as it makes for good spawning ground.

Keep the temperature warm, around 82 Degrees F. When it’s time to lay the eggs, the female will spend a lot of time near the spawning ground. She will lay 200-400 eggs that will be fertilized.

After that, the parents rear the fry for a month, after which the fry can be set aside in a different rearing tank.

Feed the fry brine shrimp larvae meshed with hardboiled eggs mixed in water. After 5-7 weeks, you can feed the fry fried foods and flakes.

Once it has been 6-8 weeks in the rearing tank, you can transfer the angelfish to an adult tank. However, add them gradually to ensure minimal stress.

Add angelfish only when the tank is well-filtered and has the right pH level and temperature. If you add them to a tank with high ammonia or nitrate levels, they can get extremely stressed.

Angelfish need plenty of time to adjust to a new aquarium. Use the instructions above to decide the best time to add your angelfish to the tank!

You may also find the following articles about fishkeeping useful: