Hardy fish can survive in a wide range of conditions – making them great for beginner fishkeepers. A favorite species from South America is the freshwater Angelfish.
Are Angelfish considered to be hardy? Is this species sensitive to things like tap water? Do they have health concerns when housed with other tank mates?
As keepers of Angelfish, we understand your apprehension as someone new to the hobby. Once you know more about them, you will be surprised at how tough they can be.
Let’s see what you need to consider when determining if this is a hardy fish that you will want for your fish tank.
Are Freshwater Angelfish Difficult to Keep?
These hardy fish are not difficult to keep, especially if you know a bit about them. Angelfish are one of the most popular cichlids from South America for a reason.
Freshwater Angelfish species
As tropical fish enthusiasts, we want to limit the discussion to the Pterophyllum genus. Keep in mind as you learn about Angelfish that there are marine variations as well. The Pterophyllum genus all hail from the Amazon river and other basins in South America.
There are three species:
- Pterophyllum altum
- Pterophyllum leopoldi
- Pterophyllum scalare
What is the hardiest Angelfish species?
Angelfish are one of the most popular aquarium pets in the trade, and Pterophyllum scalare is the dominant species in the market. You can find captive-bred altum from some sources, but it is hard to find leopoldi.
Pterophyllum scalare is your best bet when shopping for a hardy fish. They have been bred for decades to promote healthy traits for aquarium life.
Many species variants for sale are scalare, with many types of color and marking differences. We would suggest that the Silver Angelfish is hardy enough for beginners as it is the most widely bred and available variant in the industry.
Hardy Freshwater Angelfish Conditions
The hardy angelfish can live in a wider variety of water conditions than some other fish (which would require stringent requirements).
However, no matter how tough your Angelfish might be, they will need proper nutrition and living conditions to thrive.
Hardy Water conditions
Your Angelfish are tropical fish and should be provided with treated tap water to avoid problems with chlorine or other contaminants. As a beginner in the hobby, use the following parameters to provide the best environment for your Angelfish:
- Temperature: 78 to 84-degrees Fahrenheit
- pH levels: 6.8 to 7.0
- dH levels: 5 to 13-degrees
If you are new to keeping Angelfish, you might not know some of these measurements. The pH level indicates if the water is base, acidic, or neutral chemically. Water hardness measures in degrees of dH.
These hardy fish are omnivores, meaning they will eat both animal and plant food sources. In the wild, they tend to eat more animal protein. You can offer them different foods in the aquarium at the surface or mid-level in the water column.
Size is something to consider
One thing that surprises many keepers new to the hobby is how big their Angelfish can get. If you buy them small, be aware that these fish will grow to have a body length of six inches and a fin span that can reach eight inches.
We would recommend at least a 20-gallon aquarium for a pair, but your pets will do better in a 55-gallon tank or more. If there is not enough room to grow and move, these normally hardy fish will become stressed or sick.
Freshwater Angelfish tank size
Like most tropical fish, this species does well in groups. It will be tough to keep adult fish if you do not have at least a 20-gallon tank. We would suggest the following minimum tank sizes that most novice fish keepers will start with:
- Less than 20-gallons = 0 adult fish
- 20-gallon tank = 2 adult fish
- 30-gallon tank = 4 adult fish
- 55-gallon tank = 5 adult fish
A 55-gallon tank provides plenty of room for these cichlids to establish territory, swim, and breed. If your aquarium falls between the 20 and 55-gallon range, you should shoot for no more than a pair of adults. Juveniles can live in larger groups before being moved to larger fish tanks.
Are tank mates an issue?
Your pet Angelfish are cichlids and will become the apex species in most aquarium settings. These hardy fish can be aggressive as they establish a territory or during mating. That can make them problematic towards tank mates during these times. Learn how angelfish fighting need not be a problem.
Passive tank mates that are large enough to avoid being swallowed are best. Some hardy tank mates for angelfish you might include in your community aquarium are some varieties of Tetras, Corydoras, Gouramis, Discus (in 55-gallon tanks or larger), and Barbs.
Hardy Angelfish FAQs
Are Angelfish good for beginners?
These fish are hardy and will not be more challenging than other species. Your only considerations as a beginner will be tank size (minimum of 20-gallons, with 55-gallons being better) and tank mates (peaceful fish that are big enough to not fit into your Angelfish’s mouth).
What temperature can Angelfish tolerate?
These hardy fish fall will do best in treated tap water temperatures ranging between 78 and 84-degrees. Water temps lower than 65 or higher than 90 will be fatal. We have an article discussing this in more detail that you should read.
What are some of the hardiest fish for a freshwater aquarium?
For freshwater Angelfish, we would suggest the Silver Angelfish as a hardy species. Other types of hardy fish to consider include:
Angelfish Are Tough Enough For You
Freshwater Angelfish are not hard to keep as long as you prepare ahead of time. Your top considerations will be water conditions, space, and community members.
Do you have any questions or comments on what we have discussed? Make sure to leave them below so we can answer them or continue the discussion. Our goal is to make your hobby happy and healthy for you and your pets!
Keeping hardy and happy Angelfish as a beginner
- Tank size: 20-gallons minimum, 55-gallon optimal
- Community: An Angelfish pair is good, other tank mates should be peaceful and large enough not to become prey
- Water conditions: Treated tap water, 78 – 84-degrees, Ph xx
- Maintenance: Regular cleaning, weekly changes of no more than 25-percent tank volume (preferably less)