Angelfish – Pterophyllum scalare

Angelfish - Pterophyllum scalare

  • pH: 6-7.4
  • gH: 0-15
  • Temperature: 24-30C
  • Maximum Size: 15cm long, 20cm tall
  • Minimum Tank Size: 200 litres, 100x40x50cm

The angelfish is found in numerous locations across South America and in its wild form is a black and silver striped fish, though the wild fish are rarely imported these days. Most of those available are domesticated, line bred variants such as mine photographed above  the sunset blushing (male – first photo) and koi (female and their juvenile offspring – second and third photos.) There are two other species available, the Pterophyllum altum, which is a taller, slimmer fish and Pterophyllum leopoldi which is smaller and has a different head shape.


Can be aggressive to their own kind, so a group of six or so is better as that diminishes the amount of aggression visited up any one fish. They are generally good community fish, but shouldn’t be housed with anything small enough to fit in their mouths – they will be eaten! If any pair up to breed they will become territorial and aggressive towards all other tank mates which can cause a good deal of stress for everyone.

Housing and Feeding

Because of their long fins, angelfish are very tall and need plenty of tank space (see minimum recommended tank size above). Plants are appreciated and flow should be low.

They will eat commercial foods quite happily and enjoy the occasional treat of live or frozen food.


Angelfish form pairs and once paired up will clean a suitable spawning site (rock, broad plant leaf, tank furniture). The female lays her eggs and the male then passes over them releasing milt to fertilise them. The adults care for the eggs, which will hatch in 2-3 days. The newly hatched larvae (“wrigglers”) may be moved by the parents and will be free swimming 2-3 days after hatching. In a community tank, most of the eggs/fry will be eaten by tank mates so if you want to rear a brood you will need a separate breeding tank for your pair.


Questions about this? Click here.

Has this page been helpful? Buy me a coffee 🙂

Back to Category Page
Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.