Freshwater Angelfish Tank Mates – 20, 55, 75 Gallon, Other Tank Sizes

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Angelfish are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful fish you can keep in a tropical freshwater aquarium. But are Angelfish aggressive? Unfortunately, that’s true; the Angelfish can be a bully if it’s kept with the wrong company.

However, please don’t despair if you have your heart set on keeping Angelfish. You can still house Angelfish in a community setup, as long as you choose their tank mates carefully.

In this detailed compatibility guide, we introduce you to 29 of the best Angelfish tank mates and show you how to ensure that peace and harmony reign in your aquarium!

What Makes an Ideal Tank Mate for Angelfish?

This section of our guide discusses what you should consider when choosing an ideal tank mate for your Angelfish. But does the Angelfish really deserve its reputation for belligerence?

Are Angelfish Aggressive?

Pterophyllum scalare (Lichtenstein, 1823) - freshwater angelfish from the Rio Negro drainage basin of northern Brazil (captives, Newport Aquarium, Newport, Kentucky, USA).
Image Source: flickr.com

Angelfish are members of the cichlid family of over 2,000 freshwater fish species. Cichlids generally have a reputation as being aggressive creatures. However, Angelfish are actually pretty peaceful, provided that they’re kept with species of a similar temperament and size.

Feeding and Breeding

Like many fish species, your Angelfish is most likely to become feisty when feeding and during spawning, when the fish become very territorial. During the breeding season, you may need to remove the breeding pair of Angelfish to a separating spawning tank where they don’t feel threatened by their tank mates.

Space Invaders!

Too many fish in too little space is a recipe for fighting and fin nipping. So, to reduce the likelihood of aggression in the tank, it’s important that you don’t overcrowd your fish. 

A green beautiful planted tropical freshwater aquarium with fishes

When you’re stocking your tank, follow the general rule of one inch of fish per one gallon of water, or one inch of fish per two gallons if you keep any large, especially messy fish. The little 2-inch juvenile Angelfish that you bring home from the fish store has the potential to grow to six inches long and eight inches tall, so remember to factor that in when deciding how many fish you have space for in your aquarium.

Angelfish can live for up to ten years when kept in suitable conditions, so it’s crucial to either provide a large enough tank or be prepared to upsize when the fish get bigger.

What Makes an Ideal Tank Mate for an Angelfish?

Aquarium Level

Angelfish spend most of their time swimming in the top part of the water column close to the surface.

Altum Angelfish - freshwater aquarium fish

Therefore, it makes sense to choose tank mates that hang out in the lower regions of the tank. That will prevent the fish from invading each other’s space and also goes a long way to avoiding fights over food.

Similar Water Parameters

Angelfish comes from the tropical rivers of South America, specifically Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, and various river systems in Brazil, including the Rio Essequibo, Rio Oyapock, and the mighty Amazon, too.

The water in these habitats is warm, typically in the range of 78° to 84° Fahrenheit. The species’ preferred water hardness is between 8 and 8 dKH, with a pH in the range of 6.8 to 7.8. So, the fish you choose as tank mates for your Angelfish must share the same or very similar water parameter requirements.

Size 

Close up image of an angel fish in an aquarium.

As mentioned above, Angelfish can grow to measure six inches long and eight inches tall when fully mature. And it’s not only space that can be an issue here.

Angelfish will eat any fish that are small enough to fit into their mouths, which rules out nano fish species such as Endler’s livebearers, some rasboras, and very small tetras, too. For that reason, I recommend that you pick tank mates that are at least two inches long or larger.

On the other hand, Angelfishes can be the victims of bullying, too. So, avoid including very big species such as Oscars, Redhead cichlids, and Jaguar cichlids, all of which are more than capable of beating up an Angelfish and killing it.

Levels of Aggression

Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare

Although Angelfish don’t generally go looking for trouble, you do need to consider what fish species are likely to trigger aggression in your Angels. It’s also beneficial to understand which Angelfish genders are more aggressive and territorial.

Card-carrying fin nippers, such as tiger barbs, certain tetras, and Skunk botia should be avoided, as should any species that has a reputation for aggression.

29 Best Tank Mates for Angelfish

In this part of our guide, we introduce you to 31 of the most suitable tank mates for Angelfish. 

1. Corydoras catfish (Corydoras Sp.)

Corydoras catfish (Corydoras Sp.)
  • Care Level: Easy, beginner
  • Temperament: Peaceful (keep in schools of 5 or more)
  • Size: 2 – 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Corydoras catfish come from South America and share similar water parameters to Angelfish. 

These cute, active little catfish spend most of their time foraging around the substrate, cleaning up scraps of food, occasionally darting up to the surface to grab a gulp of air.

These fish are completely peaceful, happily minding their own business and interacting with their own species around the bottom of the tank. In nature, corys live in huge schools, often numbering hundreds of individuals. In captivity, it’s essential that you keep at least five fish, preferably more. 

2. Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster Lalius)

Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster Lalius)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

Dwarf gouramis come from Southeast Asia and enjoy very similar water conditions to Angelfish.

I have several Dwarf gouramis of different colors in one of my aquariums, and I have kept them with Angelfish in the past without any problems. These delightful fish are beautiful to look at and are peaceful with their own species and with others in their community.

3. Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)

Gymnocorymbus ternetzi. Tropische Fische schwimmen im Aquarium, the best photo
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

Black Skirt tetras are an unusual and seldom-seen member of the tetra family that makes a delightful addition to a community tank. These peaceful fish do best when kept in a school of at least five individuals.

These tetras come from southern Brazil and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and water conditions, making them ideal for life in Angelfish’s setup.

4. Bleeding Heart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)

Bleeding Heart Tetra (Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma)
Find out more : flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Bleeding Heart tetras come from the Upper Amazon River Basin, sharing the same water condition requirements and diet as Angelfish.

These tetras are peaceful, schooling fish that can be shy if not kept in a group of at least six individuals. Bleeding Hearts tend to cruise the bottom to middle areas of the aquarium, hiding out among plants when they feel stressed.

5. Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia Boesemani)

Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia Boesemani)
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish starts life as a rather dull gray color with a yellow tail. But that changes as the fish mature, morphing into a stunning, iridescent blue at the front of their body and neon yellow at the back.

These fish are peaceful, although they do bicker among themselves occasionally. Although they prefer hard water in their natural environment, the specimens you buy are captive-bred, and they will acclimate to softer conditions.

6. Bolivian Ram (Mikrogeophagus altispinosus)

Bolivian Ram
Find out more: flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

Bolivian Rams are a peaceful species of small cichlid that comes from the Amazon River Basin in Bolivia and Brazil, sharing similar conditions to that of the Angelfish.

These are very popular aquarium fish that are easy to keep and peaceful with others. The Ram’s beautiful, shimmering colors create a stunning display in any community tank.

7. Common Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus)

Sailfin Pleco. Plecostumus fish. Loricariidae
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: Up to 24 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: Over 30 gallons

The Common Pleco is a peaceful bottom-dwelling armored catfish that spends most of its time grazing on algae that it finds growing on surfaces and the viewing panes in the tank.

Plecos get along fine with other fish, although they can be belligerent towards others of their own kind and do best as a single specimen in the community.

8. Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus plecostomus)

Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus plecostomus)
Source : liveaquaria.com
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 4 to 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: Over 30 gallons

The Bristlenose pleco is a peaceful bottom-dwelling member of this catfish family that can be distinguished by the fleshy tentacles on its face. Like other plecos, the Bristlenose is a helpful worker in the aquarium, eating algae and cleaning the glass and other surfaces.

Although Bristlenose plecos are peaceful with other fish, they should be kept singly, as they can be aggressive toward other plecos.

9. Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Neon Cardinal Fish
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: Over 20 gallons

The brightly colored Cardinal tetra is native to the upper Orinoco and Negro Rivers of South America and is commonly confused with Neon tetras. These peaceful fish inhabit the upper to middle areas of the water column.

In the wild, Cardinal tetras live in huge shoals, often containing hundreds of fish. Captive Cardinals should also be kept in large groups so that the fish feel secure and don’t become stressed.

10. Discus Fish (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Discus Fish (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Temperament: Generally peaceful 
  • Size: 5 to 7 inches in diameter
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 75 gallons

The majestic Discus fish comes from the Lower Amazon River Basin, where the current is very slow, and the temperature is at the higher end of the Angelfish’s tolerance.

Discus fish require pristine water quality to thrive, so you must be prepared to clean your tank and maintain your filter system regularly. These are shoaling fishes that should ideally be kept in groups.

11. Electric Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

Close up image of an Electric Blue Ram in a blackwater aquarium
  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Temperament: Generally peaceful 
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Electric Blue Rams are stunning fish that bring a shimmering burst of metallic turquoise color to the aquarium. 

These fish are bottom-dwellers that are generally peaceful, although you should only keep one male specimen in the tank, as these fish are very territorial. Blue Rams tolerate the same water parameters as Angels and should do fine in a community tank.

12. Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
Learn more : wikimedia.org
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

Guppies are an incredibly popular livebearer that many people love to keep in their aquarium. These lively little fish come in a huge range of colors and breed readily, so you’ll most likely never need to buy more once you introduce a small shoal of males and females.

These fish are peaceful within their own species, and they won’t bother your Angelfish, as the Guppies will most likely be too busy breeding to take notice of other tank residents!

13. Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus sternicla)

Hatchetfish (Gasteropelecus sternicla)
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2.6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

The Hatchetfish comes from Brazil, Guyana, and Surinam. These peaceful little fishes make a very unusual addition to the community aquarium with their hatchet-shaped bodies and silvery coloring.

Hatchetfishes are regarded as the only true “flying fish,” as they flap their large pectoral fins to help them fly through the air, which they do to hunt flying insects. Needless to say, you need a tank with a tight-fitting lid or cover slide if you want to keep these fascinating fish. 

14. Keyhole Cichlid (Cleithracara maronii)

Keyhole Cichlid (Cleithracara maronii)
Find out more : flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Keyhole cichlids are often overlooked as community fish, largely because they lack the vivid coloring of others of the cichlid family. 

However, these fish are still attractive and interesting, forming monogamous couples within a shoal. Once the fish have formed couples, they can become territorial, so be sure to provide plenty of hiding places within the tank that divide the space into separate 

15. Kribensis Cichlid (Pelvicachromis taeniatus)

Colorful kribensis or purple cichlid (Pelvicachromis pulcher) isolated on black
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Kribensis cichlids are pretty fish that bring a charming presence to a community tank. Kribs are peaceful, spending much of their time at the bottom of the tank, hanging out among the plants. 

If you keep Kribensis in small groups, you can be sure that couples will pair off and begin spawning. Both parents guard their eggs and fry, and the sight of the female escorting her brood of tiny fry around the tank is delightful! 

16. Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii)

Banded Kuhli Loach Live Fish Aquatic Pets
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3 to 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

The Kuhli loach is a peaceful, wormlike loach that comes from Southeastern Asia. 

You can keep these loaches in groups, although they are just as happy when kept alone, spending their time foraging in the substrate and among your plants. Although relatively hardy, Kuhli loaches are partly scaleless creatures, and that can leave them vulnerable to attack by parasites and diseases.

17. Lemon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis)

Lemon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis)
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

The Lemon tetra is an extremely attractive tetra that makes a beautiful addition to the community aquarium. These are inquisitive, confident little fish that are a popular choice for beginners’ tanks.

These tetras hail from the Tapajós River basin in the Iquitos region of the Peruvian Amazon, where they are found in huge shoals, thousands strong. For the Lemon tetra to be happy and to thrive, it must be kept in a school of at least six individuals.

18. Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)

Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3 to 5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Mollies come from South America and have long been extremely popular aquarium fish, largely because they are so easy to keep and also because they spawn readily.

Mollies come in several varieties, including Sailfin, Balloon, and Common Mollies. These livebearers can be golden, orange, red, black, silver, green, and rust-colored, as well as striking combinations of all of those.

19. Otocinclus Catfish (Paracheirodon innesi)

Otocinclus Catfish (Paracheirodon innesi)
Find out more : flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 1 to 2 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

Otocinclus catfish are bottom-dwelling fish that are native to South America, primarily the freshwater rivers of Venezuela and North Argentina. 

These tiny catfish are not only cute and very attractive, but these lively creatures are also helpful to the hobbyist, as they are voracious algae eaters.

20. Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)

Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2.8 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

Platies are a wonderful fish for beginners. They are tolerant of a wide range of water conditions, as well as being peaceful community fish and ready spawners.

Most hobbyists keep Platies in large groups of multiple colors to create a spectacular display as the fish cruise together around the mid to upper areas of the water column.

21. Praecox Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia praecox)

Praecox Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia praecox)
Learn more : aquaticarts.com
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

Praecox is a species of dwarf rainbow fish that comes from the lush jungle streams of Western New Guinea and the Mamberamo region of West Papua.

These little fish are intelligent, beautiful, and lively, spending their time swimming in the tank’s upper to middle areas. Praecox Rainbow Fish are not recommended for complete beginners as these fish are extremely sensitive to unstable water conditions.

22. Ram Cichlids (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)

Ram Cichlids (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi)
Find out more : flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 2.8 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

The Ram cichlid is a perfect cichlid for a beginner, as it’s one of the easiest of the cichlid species to care for. Rams also come in a range of gorgeous colors that really enhance your tank.

This species of dwarf cichlid is very peaceful in nature, and you can keep one or a pair. However, if you want to keep two males, you’ll need a large tank, as they are somewhat territorial.

23. Rummy-Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri)

Rummy-Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus bleheri)
Learn more : wikimedia.org
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 1.8 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

Rummy-Nose tetras are pretty, lively little shoaling fish that make a good addition to a well-established, peaceful community tank. 

These fish need very stable water conditions to thrive, and they’re highly sensitive to water pollution. If the Rummy-Nose tetras become stressed, they will lose most of their color until conditions improve.

24. Rubbernose Pleco (Chaetostoma formosae)

Rubbernose Pleco (Chaetostoma formosae)
Find out more : flickr.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Generally peaceful 
  • Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

The handsome Rubbernose pleco comes from the Orinoco River in Eastern Colombia. These bottom-dwelling fish are generally peaceful, although they can be quite territorial toward other pleco species. Also, the Rubbernose pleco is not averse to eating fry and very small fish.

These fish require pristine, well-oxygenated water.

25. Silver Dollar (Metynnis argenteus)

Silver Dollar (Metynnis argenteus)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 5 to 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 75 gallons

Silver Dollar fish are peaceful, schooling fish that do best when kept in groups of five or more. If you keep just one fish and don’t provide hiding places or shelter, the Silver Dollar can become reclusive. 

The Silver Dollar makes a wonderful community fish when kept with other large, peaceful species, although very small fishes will most likely be eaten by big Silver Dollars.

26. Featherfin squeaker (Synodontis eupterus)

Synodontis Catfish (Metynnis argenteus)
Learn more : wikimedia.org
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 11.8 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 55 gallons

Synodontis catfish are perfect for beginners, as these fish are incredibly hardy and easy to care for, although you do need a large tank to house them.

In their natural environment, Synodontis are mainly scavengers, eating whatever edible morsels they can find. These bottom-dwellers generally do well in community tanks, and they can be kept in small groups.

27. Three Spot Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Three Spot Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 5.9 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 35 gallons

The Three Spot gourami is a large gourami that’s often recommended for beginners because they are so easy to keep.

These hardy fish can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, including those preferred by Angelfish, and they are a peaceful species that gets on well in a community setup.

28. Zebra Loaches (Botia striata)

Zebra Loaches (Botia striata)
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: 3 to 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

The Zebra loach is an active, beautifully patterned fish that enjoys socializing with its own kind, as well as other peaceful species of loach.

These fish do best in groups of five or more as if you keep them in pairs or small groups; the dominant fish can become aggressive towards the others. 

29. Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri)

Swordtails (Xiphophorus helleri)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful 
  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

The Swordtail from North and Central America is a spectacular looking fish that’s a firm favorite with hobbyists around the world. Super-easy to keep and beautiful to look at, the Swordtail makes the perfect addition to any community tank.

You can keep Swordtails in colorful groups, even though they are not schooling fish by nature.

In Conclusion

Angelfish are not the antisocial bullies that they are often made out to be and can coexist happily and peacefully with suitable tank mates. However, when choosing fish species to add to a setup with Angelfish, remember that fish are individuals, and there are always exceptions to every rule. For more information on what fish make good tank mates, check out our freshwater fish compatibility chart.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. If you did, please remember to share the article with your friends, and do leave any comments or questions that you have in the box below.

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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