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FAQs on Freshwater Angelfish Compatibility 1

Related Articles: Freshwater Angels, Discus, Juraparoids, Neotropical Cichlids, African Cichlids, Dwarf South American Cichlids, Asian Cichlids, Cichlid Fishes in General,

Related FAQs: Angelfish Comp. 2, Angelfish Comp. 3, Angelfish Comp. 4,
Angels 1, Angels 2, Angelfish Identification, Angelfish Behavior, Angelfish Selection, Angelfish Systems, Angelfish Feeding, Angelfish Disease, Angelfish Reproduction, & FAQs on: Wild Angels (P. altum), Cichlids of the World, Cichlid Systems, Cichlid Identification, Cichlid Behavior, Cichlid Compatibility, Cichlid Selection, Cichlid Feeding, Cichlid Disease, Cichlid Reproduction,

Other small/er species of S. American cichlids can be mixed with Angels if there's sufficient space.

angelfish tankmates, 29 gal     /BobF    11/16/12
Hello Crew!
I was hoping that you could help me with something. I'd been looking around, but I'm having trouble finding a sure answer. Would a group of Pseudomugil furcatus be in danger of being eaten by an angelfish in a 29 gallon?
<Mmm, not if they were of "good" relative size... let's say a half inch in length for half-sized angels (2-3" tall), twice for twice... There might be "collateral damage" if the Angels were to pair, set up breeding in this volume>
I just found out that I could keep a larger tank than my 12 gallon, so I've been revising my stocking list for that. I want an angelfish, but I'd like to keep the Pseudomugils from the previous stocking list. Thanks!
Also, quick question, would a moonlight and/or pearl gourami do alright?
<Mmm, singly? Should be okay here>
I'm a bit unsure since the aquarium is 30 inches long. I'm planning <planning> to have plenty of plants, so that should break up the line of site <sight> in regards to the angel (if that's an issue-- please tell me if not), but I'm not sure whether it's enough space for one of those gouramis to begin with. Again, thank you, and keep up the great work! Your site is so useful.
<Thank you for your kind words, inquiry. Bob Fenner>
angelfish tankmates, 29 gal   /Neale     11/16/12

Hello Crew!
I was hoping that you could help me with something. I'd been looking around, but I'm having trouble finding a sure answer. Would a group of Pseudomugil furcatus be in danger of being eaten by an angelfish in a 29 gallon?
<Probably not, if the Angels are average specimens no bigger than 10 cm/4 inches. Basically, anything bigger than Neons or male Guppies should be fine.>
I just found out that I could keep a larger tank than my 12 gallon, so I've been revising my stocking list for that. I want an angelfish, but I'd like to keep the Pseudomugils from the previous stocking list.
<Odd combination, but each to their own. Angels do best in calm, well-planted tanks and dislike overactive tankmates (they often get shy when kept thus) whereas the Pseudomugil furcatus are busy, even hyperactive fish that appreciate open swimming areas and a decent current. This said, in a 29-gallon aquarium you should have the potential to create good conditions for both species.>
Thanks! Also, quick question, would a moonlight and/or pearl gourami do alright?
<Both are outstanding companions for Angelfish.>
I'm a bit unsure since the aquarium is 30 inches long. I'm planning to have plenty of plants, so that should break up the line of site in regards to the angel (if that's an issue-- please tell me if not), but I'm not sure whether it's enough space for one of those gouramis to begin with.
<Assuming you don't get mated pairs of anything, you should be okay. For this aquarium though, with space being limited, I'd tend to go with a group of one species of your choice, or else a singleton from each species. Of them all, the Moonlights are probably the most docile, but they might be a bit big -- they can get to 15 cm/6 inches. The Pearl Gouramis are smaller (10 cm/4 inches) and almost as peaceful. Angels are about the same size, but pairs can be tricky to house in communities.>
Again, thank you, and keep up the great work! Your site is so useful.
<Thanks for the kind words, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal    11/17/12

Thank you for your swift response, both of you!
Would you have any suggestions on how to create the right conditions for both species?
<In a small tank, less than 90 cm/3 ft long this wouldn't be easy; but in a tank that long or bigger, then simply placing the outflow from the filter at one end and some tall plants at the other should create both sorts of habitats. One end will be open and with more flow, the other shadier and more gentle. Pseudomugil spp don't need mountain stream type currents, indeed, many live in ponds, but a bit of current is welcome.>
This will be my first venture into any sort of aquascaping, so rather than risk making the fish unhappy during a period of trial and error and having to move stuff around, I figure it may be better to ask if you have any ideas... Pseudomugils prefer the mid- to upper water column, right?
Also, am I right in guessing that after one gourami, one angelfish, and eight to ten Pseudomugils (I'm guessing three males to however many females would be a good ratio?), would I have around... Ten "inches" of fish left?
I may have a bit more, but understocking would be better than overstocking, and if there isn't a fish that I *really *want to add, then what's the point of cramming them in there?
<Quite so.>
Would dwarf SA cichlids and/or upside down catfish make an acceptable fish to "complete" the setup? I'm thinking either one cacatuoides or a pair of Bolivian rams.
<Either cichlid could work, though A. cacatuoides is the smaller species.
On the other hand, Synodontis nigriventris can be nippy, so wouldn't be recommended for life with Angels, though I'm sure it's been done.>
From what I've heard, the rams quite like being in pairs, so it seems unfair to have just one... If I can't keep a pair, then I'd probably go with the cacatuoides.
They seem to be more solitary? If there are any other dwarf SA cichlids that you would recommend, what would they be? I think rams (not Bolivian rams) would be too sensitive as my water leans rather far towards alkaline.
<A. cacatuoides is fine up to around 15 degrees dH, pH 7.5.>
I have heard of people keeping them successfully in alkaline conditions, but unless they're from a local breeder, I'm a bit skeptical of those claims.
<A. cacatuoides has now been domesticated to such a degree that like Angels, it'll do well across a wider range of conditions than wild-caught specimens will.>
My other idea (perhaps in addition if I go with a single dwarf, but I doubt they would do alright with the pair?) would be a whiptail cat or possibly (with a good deal of reserved feelings on my part right now) a peacock eel?
<Whiptails would be ideal. They're fun to watch, active by day, and completely harmless to other fish. Spiny Eels are specialist fish, and I wouldn't not recommend them as simple community tank additions. Do read on WWM re: Spiny Eels generally.>
I'm a bit curious as to the eel, since I've been finding conflicting information online as to how much space it actually needs.
<Macrognathus siamensis gets to 20-30 cm in length, so a 90-cm tank should be adequate. It is difficult to feed, needs a sand (not gravel) substrate, and will escape from any tank that is not securely sealed.>
A lot of the stuff I come across says that it should do fine in a smaller tank, but that if it grows to a certain size then you'll have to move it.
That claim seems a bit self-contradictory to me. Perhaps you could shed some light on the issue?
Again, thank you all for all of your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal    11/17/12

Hello again :)
Just wanted to clear something up... Actually, I would be getting a 30 inch/73.66 cm, 29 gallon tank. The official listed size limit for aquariums at the school is ten gallons, so I'm very grateful that they're letting me keep one this size and feel like I shouldn't push it any more than I have.
<I see.>
If the furcatas don't need *too* much current, then I would think it would still be doable, though.
<I agree, but it's a push. To be honest, I think you'd be infinitely better served by eschewing the Angels and going with the Pseudomugil, some Whiptails, and either a pair of Apistogramma or maybe a Dwarf Gourami if you can get good, healthy specimens. This will provide you with ample space for each species, so you can keep bigger groups and minimise risk of problems such as territorial aggression. After a few months, if all seems to be working, you could add something else, Cherry Shrimps maybe, or Dwarf African Frogs, or some other "critter" that would add educational as well as entertainment value to a school aquarium.>
On the other hand, would the pearl (or moonlight) gourami still be appropriate? According to Seriously Fish, they need six more inches than I can give them…
<No argument from me; as stated, these fish get fairly big, and while they would surely live in 29 gallons, it's less space than they'd look good in.>
On the other hand, I'm not sure they need quite that much (I'd probably go with the pearl... I think the moonlight gourami are beautiful, but they both are and the pearls are better suited to my water (it's most likely above 7.5 (I have trouble reading the colors on the test kit... Better not risk it))).
As always, many thanks for your wonderful help.
<Do hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal - 11/17/12

Oh! Actually, it's an aquarium in a dorm room... I'm a little too young to be a teacher still!
Hmm, I sort of did have my heart set on the angel and/or gourami as the main centerpiece fish/es... I suppose if it's really best to do without, though…
<Well, one Angel would probably work just fine, and one small or medium-sized Gourami species, maybe the Lace Gourami, but better still the Dwarf Gourami.>
To be honest, I'd rather take out the furcatus, since as much as I love them and it pains me to take them out they seem to like a bit more current and cooler temperatures than most of the other fish (even with the catfish, I'm trying to track down a species that's happy with low current).
<At the low-end tropical range, 22 C/72 F, there are plenty of good community species: virtually all Corydoras, the Whiptails, Dwarf Acaras, Platies… quite a few others, even putting aside the Danios and Minnows that mightn't get on too well with the Pseudomugil.>
I just wouldn't know what to replace them with (at least not sure what has as interesting behavioral displays).
<Ah now, check out the Threadfin Rainbowfish. I've got a bunch of them in a tank half the size of yours, and they're great! A little delicate at first, but once settled in they're easy. Males put on amazing displays with their fins. There's a variety of colours available, seemingly different populations, but even the plainest ones are gorgeous.>
But no, I'm not worried about adding "educational" animals or anything like that. If I was doing something for a classroom, I'd more than likely get a breeding pair of cichlids or something, but that's not really relevant. Still, I think they'd be a good way to observe behavior. Why am I thinking about this?
Thank you again.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal

EDIT: correction to my previous email: it seems as though furcatus does indeed do fine at higher temperatures. Likely I was getting it mixed up with some whiptails, which I had just been researching (I did find a small, high temp one though).
<Quite so; double checking seems to suggest ordinary tropical conditions are fine.>
That said, given the rest of my stocking list and the fact that keeping one of those two gouramis sounds like it may not be the best idea (still unsure about the angel... I seem to have more than the minimum tank size, and my entire reason (initially) for switching to 29 gallons was basically for the benefit of an angelfish), I had been considering switching to something
resembling a SA biotope. My main reserve would be that the tetras need more acidic water than I can provide them with, and they seems to be less behaviorally interesting. Any other ideas? A few small annual Killies perhaps?
<Killifish can be worthwhile; Aphyosemion australe is particularly worth reviewing, not an annual, but pretty, widely sold and adaptable.>
(my phone does not like that word)
<Odd. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal - 11/17/12
Hello! Yes, it does help. Thank you.
<Most welcome.>
I'll keep an eye out for any healthy wild-color dwarf gouramis (because honestly, they look like saltwater angelfish and the line bred colorations just subtract from their beauty in my opinion), but I can't say I'll wind up with one... Personal preference aside, it's going to be tough to get my hands on one where I live, let alone a healthy one, and there is the unpredictability factor with temperament... If I come across one that seems like he'll work, though…
<Understand your reasoning. I've avoided them for many, many years. But I took a chance a year back, and touch wood, he's still doing great.>
Still, for the preliminary stocking list I think it would be best to stick with T leeri (just so I've got the larger fish on here and don't wind up having to give another one the boot if I wind up switching). It's looking a bit crowded, but I've got...
- 8-10 furcatus OR 6-8 (roughly?) threadfin rainbows
-1 angel
-1 smaller gourami, assuming pearl for now
-3 R lanceolata (was going to be one, but they apparently like to be in groups)
<Work well either way.>
-possibly one SA dwarf cichlid... I think a pair would be too many fish here, unless I were to take out the whiptail cats
-may replace or add a small killifish? (as many seem to be rather sedentary... Even so, probably won't add without taking some other fish off the list here)
<Also agreed. Killifish are best kept as the only midwater fish; they'd do fine with small catfish like Whiptails and some of the Corydoras.>
-some shrimp if I can get a good enough breeding population going for them not to be wiped out by the angelfish
<Ah yes, Angels will wipe out the smaller, breedable shrimps.>
I realize that this is probably too much (not sure if adequate planting, filtration would make a difference), but that's why I'm calling it preliminary... Still, anything that jumps out at you as particularly off? Again, thanks! I think I'll stop "bugging" you for the time being... Regardless, you've been a great help :)
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: angelfish tankmates, 29 gal (I'll save Bob the effort… "chatting"…) <Heeeee!>    11/23/12

Hello! I'm attaching this to the old correspondence so it shows what I'm talking about, though this isn't really about angels here...
I just got the pH of ESC's (college's) water supply... The person who got back to me said...
"The pH of McAllister Springs varies, but is between a 6.6 and a 6.8.  Evergreen gets their water from McAllister Springs in the winter but is supplemented in the summer and sometimes in the winter with Allison Springs Water with a pH of 7.6 and Kaiser Well with a pH of 6.4 or 6.5.  The Allison Spring water blends with the Kaiser water before it reaches Evergreen in the summer months."
In other words, I can expect the water to range between 6.6 and... Maybe 7.1? I'm wondering if the furcatus would be a bad idea in this case. They'd do fine in the water at home, but this is too soft for them.
<Easy fix… mix up some Rift Valley salt mix, described elsewhere on this site, and use at 25-50% the suggested dosage. Adjust the carbonate hardness (and thereby the pH) by changing the amount of baking soda, and tweak the general hardness using the Epsom salt. Reduce or skip the marine salt mix component if needs be, it's helpful, but not essential; plain vanilla tonic salt could be used instead.>
I was thinking of replacing them with sparkling gouramis (or just adding sparkling gouramis to the list and taking out something else), but I don't know if the sparkling gouramis are a viable option... I wouldn't have a dither fish in this case, though, and the angel may eat the gouramis…
<Likely so, or at least harass them.>
There's also the issue of the possible dwarf/pearl gourami (I really think the pearl would be more compatible here... Still, perhaps I should take it off the list if I go with honeys? I think sparkling gourami would do alright, though…)Would honeys act much like sparkling gouramis if kept in a group in a tank this size? That could be an option... (though they would take up more space, they would be in less danger of being eaten... They don't tolerate higher temperatures as well as the rest of the fish, though).
<Sparkling Gouramis are _sui generis_ and not a substitute for other gourami types; they are small, they stay among floating plants all the time given the choice, and they set up small territories they largely stay within. Superb fish, but keep with similar sized or smaller tankmates only.>
I'm thinking some other non-dwarf SA/CA cichlid like a festivum would be too big and not work quite as well here?
<Festivums much too big for 29 gallons; 55+ gallons. Do reach 15-20 cm/6-8 inches in length, and they're chunky too.>
Oh yes, if I'm sticking with a 12 gallon for the time being (something came up, so...) would an Apisto and 5-6 T pumila be acceptable tankmates? I know it's a little overstocked (I think?), but it wouldn't be for their entire lives (unless it turns out to work wonderfully or something)…
<I would not mix cichlids this large, territorial with anything so small and docile as Trichopsis spp.>
At any rate, regardless... Are there any glaringly obvious soft water fish here that I've overlooked?
<Many; do obtain, peruse a fine book of fish like Baensch's Aquarium Atlas or else review good quality sites such as SeriouslyFish.com. Forums like the one at this site and elsewhere are a better place to sound out ideas that here; do solicit opinions, ask for ideas, perhaps contain local fishkeepers for reports on what does well. As, when you have some firm plans, feel free to write back, but when it comes to stocking community tanks, it's as much about opinions as anything else, and my idea of a pretty aquarium may not be yours. Hmm.. what else… there's a book called "The Complete Aquarium" by Peter Scott that's very much about showing how to build various types of community and biotope aquaria; though not a perfect book, and a bit dated in some ways, it's easily obtained and an excellent read, full of ideas. Worth tracking down on Amazon.>
I've only been considering ones that can handle an 8.0 pH, but I do live in a soft water area. I could just complete the stocking once I move, as the tank will be rearranged anyway.
Many thanks once again.
<Welcome, Neale.>
Re: more questions on angelfish tankmates.  1/31/13

I found some catfish/tank mate species for angelfish I would like information on. First up is Zebra Dora cats.
<Do you mean Platydoras costatus? A good Angelfish companion. However, do bear in mind these catfish are [a] sociable, so keep more than one; [b] quite big, around 15-20 cm/6-8 inches when fully grown; and [c] resolutely nocturnal, especially if kept singly.>
Then sun catfish
<Horabagrus brachysoma? Not really viable. Gets to over 30 cm/12 inches in length, and would view Angels as food. On the other hand, a school of Mystus bimaculatus would work very well, and given space, a school of the somewhat larger Mystus castaneus ("Mystus armatus" of the trade) can work very well too.>
and then Distichodus affinis ( orange fin loath)
<Distichodus affinis is NOT a loach but a plant-eating characin. It can be nippy, so I wouldn't risk it without having another aquarium to remove it to if the combination didn't work. Otherwise, on paper this 15-20 cm/6-8 inch characin can work well with South American cichlids generally.>
and finely haraquin Rasboras.
<Classic Angelfish companions.>
would/could any of these fishes outgrow my idea of a 90 gallon system, 18 w 24 h and 48 inch long.
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: more questions on angelfish tankmates.    2/4/13

Thanks. I will go with a couple different combos tell which is the best from the 3. Mystus bimaculatus 6 or 7 and 4 Manacapuru angels (2 to be removed if 1 set should pair).
<Should work.>
B about 4 Platydoras costatus, and 4 Manacapuru angels( plan on getting a pair out of the 4) with some haraquin Rasboras maybe a school of 10.
<Harlequins might be "dinner" for fully grown Platydoras, but probably will be fine.>
or c about 12 warm water Corys and 4 Manacapuru angels (again only having an adult pair) and some (a school of 10) tetras or Rasboras.
<The ideal combo. Corydoras sterbai or Brochis elegans; Pterophyllum spp; some suitable tetra species. Cheers, Neale.>

Angel attacking larger angels 9/22/12
I have three angelfish at the moment. Two are large black angelfish. They were put in there with one angelfish that is an adult, but quite small. The black ones are about 5 inches with more volume and the blue about 3 1/2 inches and flatter. The blue one is chasing both around a lot.
<Is what they do. Singletons work well; mated pairs also work well; groups of six or more specimens should also work well given space (55+ gallons).
But any other combination of Angels is unreliable at best, and very often degenerates into one male or a mated pair bullying the others. Add additional Angels or remove unwanted Angels from your group according to the size of your tank.>
He/She was ok with other juvenile angels that were in there, but he is really after these new larger angels. I put him in a little tank for a half hour and rearranged the decor. He is back in and acting the same. Will I have to give him away to de-stress the others?? The two larger ones seem calm and "laid back" One of the black angels is losing out on food due to the blue one. Thank you
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

Ragged Angelfish Fins, beaten       8/18/12
Hello all!  I am a novice fish enthusiast and am having trouble. I have searched the website and it has terrific information, but I am really wanting to have confirmation on what is going on with my tank.  I started out at my locally owned fish store and bought a 20 gallon tall tank, had many difficulties with cycling and losing fish, and also with the types of fish I was keeping together.  I was ready to throw the towel in when I found an out of town pet store, family owned, not the big box store, that helped me greatly!
Sorry for the tout but I feel its very important for people to realize the difference in a place looking to earn a buck and a place that is concerned with educating its customers.  Anyhow, after the cycling problems, I emptied the tank completely, left the rocks unwashed, and refilled and since my water quality has been greatly improved.  That was two months ago.  I am using a Aqueon on the tank filter with a carbon insert,
<Carbon is largely useless in your sort of aquarium; instead, concentrate on biological media. Remove the carbon and replace with filter floss or sponge or ceramic noodles.>
and a Terra Easy Strip tester kit.  According to the tester strips my Nitrate is just below 20, I assume this because the color it turns is slightly less pink than the color it should be if it is 20ppm, Nitrite is 0, Hardness is 150 GH ppm, Alkalinity is 80 KH ppm, and pH is 6.8.
<All sounds fine for Angelfish.>
I am thinking I need to invest in a good quality vial test kit, and wonder which one is worth my investment.
<Possibly; I use the strips and they're quick and easy. But as/when they run out, and you really want the accuracy liquid test kits provide, be sure to get a nitrite test kit and a pH test kit, as these give you the best "quick look" tests for water quality and water chemistry.>
Onto my fish problem.  Once I felt my tank had stabilized I ended up with 4 small juvenile Angelfish, 2 Pictus Cats,
<These are restless, predatory fish that do better in schools and need much more space than 20 gallons (and to make matters worse, a "tall" 20 gallon tank provides even less swimming space than a plain vanilla 20 gallon tank!)>
2 White Tip Sharks,
<Do you mean the catfish? What used to be called "Arius jordani" but is properly called Ariopsis seemanni? You do understand this isn't a freshwater fish? It needs brackish
conditions when young, and preferably marine conditions as an adult. Even in a 20-gallon marine aquarium you wouldn't keep these catfish -- they get HUGE, easily 20-30 cm/8-12 inches, and sometimes a bit more than that.>
and one algae eater.
<What sort of "algae eater"? A common Plec, i.e., a Pterygoplichthys species of some sort? Again, a huge fish -- 30 cm/12 inches within the first year, and 45 cm/18 inches within two; barely viable in a 55 gallon aquarium, and really needs 75-100 gallons unless you happen to like murky, faeces-ridden aquaria. Trust me, if defecating were an Olympic sport, Plecs would win the gold!>
Everyone seemed very happy and I was doing 20% water changes every week to week and a half.  After about a month I noticed one morning that one of my Angelfish was barely swimming on its side near the bottom of the tank, it died later that day.  Within 48 hours I lost a total of 3 angels to this problem.  They still looked healthy except for some ragged fins.  The one pictured attached had ragged fins but persevered and other than the fins was acting normally.  I did a 50% water change and tested the water before and after and the water did have a low level (.5) of Nitrate, after the water change, none.  Since then the survivor seemed to be doing well, eating vigorously, but his rear fin hasn't grown back, and his top fin is ragged this morning.  I checked the water quality and those are the stats I gave you above.
<I don't trust those values. It's not necessarily the test kit is inaccurate (though dip strips are, at best, approximations) but you can easily detect no nitrite or ammonia when you test the water at a certain time of the day, but at another time of the day the nitrite and ammonia are well above zero. Try testing every half-hour for 2-3 hours after giving the fish a good feed and see what happens. But I do believe this fish is suffering from some sort of bacteria-mediated Finrot, perhaps caused by stress, including water quality problems. If one fish has ragged fins, then aggression of nipping may be an issue. But if multiple fish have ragged fins, then you have to suspect the environment as well.>
I also turned the heat up a bit this morning because I keep reading that 80 degrees is best, and on my stick on thermometer (which I will be replacing because it doesn't give me a specific reading) was hovering between 76-79 degrees. So what now?  I'm wondering if I should treat him for fin rot.
<Yes, but do bear in mind some medications (copper, formalin especially) can be toxic to catfish. Antibiotics should be safe though.>
I am terribly upset that I took 4 healthy Angelfish from the store where they breed them, and have caused 3 of their early demise!  Am I on the right track?
<No. You're doing a great deal wrong. Neither catfish species belongs here, and it's not entirely out of the question they're attacking the Angelfish at night -- after all, both species are predators, and while the Pimelodus pictus can be combined with Angels of similar size, they may go for small/weak specimens. The Ariid catfish simply don't belong at all, and though they are total pussycats when kept with brackish/marine fish of appropriate size (Monos, Scats or large Damselfish for example) large specimens view much smaller fish as food.>
Also the sharks and cats are aggressive eaters but the Angelfish holds his own.
<For now. Angelfish aren't adapted to fight for food.>
I am feeding a combination of dried ocean plankton and flake food, is this sufficient?
<Let's assume you're getting rid of the two catfish species -- neither species has any long-term future in this tank, so this isn't even something to delay or argue about. It's a done deal. You made a CAT-a-strophic mistake if you'll pardon the pun. A "tall" 20 gallon tank is adequate for a mated pair of Angels. Since you can't sex Angels, you can't buy a pair, so you need to buy six, rear them together, then remove the surplus fish. Realistically, you need 40-55 gallons for a group of six Angels up to the size when they'll pair off (around 8 cm/3 inches). So, what we're talking about is a single Angelfish here, perhaps with a 5-6 Corydoras sterbai (a good warm water-tolerant Corydoras) at the bottom and 6-8 medium-sized tetras (such as X-Ray Tetras, a very reliable, easy species) in the middle. All these would thrive on a mix of good quality flake and small sinking pellets (mostly at night, for the catfish). Augment with freeze-dried food if you want, but occasional live daphnia and/or brine shrimp are really useful for avoiding constipation.>
Once this problem is solved I would like to get another Angelfish so I at least have a pair, is it wise to do so?
<Keeping a pair is fine. Getting a pair is hard work. Two random Angels will likely fight, the weaker one being bullied. Has been tried many, many times. Unless you happen to get two females or a male/female duo that happen to pair off, this isn't a reliable approach. If it's any consolation, Angels can't always sex themselves either, and "homosexual" pairs are quite commonly reported, usually two females, each laying eggs on a leaf assuming the other was a male!>
Thank you for your input!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4GLTE Smartphone
<Oh gosh, another of these ridiculous "from my phone" messages… when will they stop? Who cares? Who's bright idea was this nonsense?>

Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/19/12
I confirmed that the suggested fish were in fact what I have in my tank.
<I see.>
They will be going back tomorrow.
I'm hoping the out of town store will take them in since the local store didn't care enough about them to give me complete and accurate information.
<"Caveat emptor" I'm afraid. Welcome to capitalism. It's up to the buyer to make sure the thing on sale is what he/she needs -- the seller is under no obligation to sell you what you need!>
I will then treat the Angelfish for fin rot and follow through with the other things you mentioned.
I have read I need to remove the carbon filter before I treat with medication, is it okay to replace it with  the filter floss during or before treatment or should I just remove the carbon filter insert and leave it empty until I am done medicating the tank?
<I would remove the carbon and replace with filter floss.>
How often and how much of a water change is needed during treatment?
<Usually, none during treatment, but a good-sized (25-50%) water change a day after the last dosage is a good idea. Check with the instruction leaflet that comes with the medication you use.>
How long after treatment should I consider purchasing the other fish?
<As a rule of thumb, wait at least a month after any sickness before buying any new fish. That gives you chance to [a] make sure the sick fish is better and not contagious; and [b] to make sure the filter has recovered from any troubles that might have caused the fish sickness in the first place.>
Thank you for your time and expertise!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)(Bob, does Melafix actually harm filters?)<<can>>     8/21/12

Good morning from Michigan!
All the catfish have been rehomed.

I picked up a bottle of Melafix to use for treatment.
<Hmm… have you kept the receipt? This isn't a very reliable medication. At best (and I'm being generous) it has a mild antiseptic quality, so it's rather like dabbing a cut with antiseptic lotion. But it isn't an antibiotic, and once the bacterial infection is established (i.e., your fish are showing symptoms of Finrot) it isn't terribly effective.>
I'm curious though about the carbon filter insert.
<Junk it. Provides little value in freshwater systems.>
Carbon is supposed to be changed every few weeks from what I read, so I wondered if its even active now.
<Good analysis. The reality is that carbon works for around 2-4 weeks from new, and after that point it becomes so clogged with bacteria and detritus it's basically a biological medium. While it might be useful in that capacity, there are better media, such as high-quality ceramic noodles. There's some debate about whether "old" carbon can release toxins, but it can certainly mess up dosing medications, removing at least some of each dosage, so overall effect of the medicine isn't as expected.>
I haven't changed it out for 3 months. I am curious though, if I remove the foam insert that has the carbon inside it, won't I also be removing the good bacteria that is keeping my tank chemistry stable?
<Bacteria don't really affect water chemistry; their job is water quality, which is a much different thing. Anyway, you can remove up to 50% of the live media in a mature filter and have no impact on its working efficiency. Add some new media, and within days that new media will be fully matured. It's remarkable really, and an example of why bacteria are so useful in those applications where we've learned to "tame" them.>
Since the tank stabilized I haven't changed this insert out of this fear.  Will the Melafix harm my biological system?
<Doesn't normally, but it's a scattergun antiseptic, so there's always the potential.><<Can indeed destroy biological filtration. RMF>>

Also I've considered adding live plants to the tank to enhance the biological filtration, what plants would you suggest?
<The easiest plants are floating plants, especially Floating Indian Fern (sometimes called Water Sprite, Ceratopteris thalictroides). This plant grows in most situations, doesn't mind being under an aquarium hood (some other floating plants do), and its long roots bring plenty of helpful bacteria! It also happens to be hands-down the plant most loved by aquarium fish. You only need a bit -- it grows fast!>
Thank you again for taking the time to indulge all of us novice fish keepers!
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Ragged Angelfish Fins (also Ariids, Pimelodids in a very wrong environment)     8/21/12

I think I may have just had an epiphany, should I cut the bottom of the insert and just remove the carbon and leave the insert in place????
<If that works, sure! Cheers, Neale.>

Angelfish and Black tetra    7/20/12
Hi, I have a 55 gallon tank with two angelfish, 9 cherry barbs, and 2 Raphael's. I want to add a few black skirt tetras, is that possible? Will they get along with the angelfish?
<Black Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) are fin-nippers. I would not trust them with Angels; in fact I kept them together in my first community tank some 25 years ago, and the Angels were nipped!>
Thank you!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Angels fighting    6/24/12
Hi Neale! good morning,
<Good evening from England.>
quick recap, I have 4 Angel fish (2 black, 1 marble, 1 white) and 2 Striped Raphaels, yesterday we moved them from a 23 to a 55 gallon aquarium.
<I see.>
The marble and pearl paired a month ago and hatched eggs, I told you the marble became very protective and aggressive towards the blacks, but ever since the eggs died, the papers changed, the two black ones are the dominant now and they won´t let marble go near the white one, she seems to want to go with him but if he tries they attack him, even when he is hiding or just swimming in the bottom they go look for him and poke him. ;-(
I am very sad because of this he looks so lonely. An aquarium should be a peaceful thing to look at but every time I look I get stressed!
Marble wants to explore the new aquarium just as the other 3 do but they won't let him.
<And won't. It's the nature of Angelfish to form pairs and bully any others that come within range of their territory.>
I understand 55 is still not big enough but that´s all we could do at the moment.
<55 gallons would be big enough for a group of 6, but you do have rather a lot of other fish.>
The cats are so happy on the other hand with their sand beds :).
So is it time to let go of 2 Angels? should I keep the marble and white knowing they are a pair?
and return the blacks that appear to be 2 beautiful males, I´m just worried about the two that go, they are approx. 7 or 8 months old, will they survive in a  new aquarium (my aquarist would take them)
<Once you return the fish, it has to take its chances. It may get bought by a skilled fishkeeper -- but it might not. It's often better to donate the fish to someone who know keeps fish, or get in touch with your local aquarium club.>
please advise! my husband always wants more so if we remove 2 Angels he wants to get some Green Tiger Barb Sumatra, would this be a good choice? and how many?
<Terribly choice. Tiger Barbs are very nippy, and Angelfish are too slow to avoid trouble.>
thanks so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angels fighting    6/24/12

Hi again! Just a doubt regarding:
I wrote: I understand 55 is still not big enough but that´s all we could do at the moment. You replied: "55 gallons would be big enough for a group of 6, but you do have rather a lot of other fish."
I only have 4 Angels and 2 Striped Raphael, that's it, 6, you meant a group of 6 Angels? Introducing 2 more Angels now would solve the problem?
<Angelfish and Discus both tend to form more stable groups with less bullying in them when kept in groups of 6 or more specimens. Don't know why this is the magic number but it seems to be the most reliable starting point if you want a whole group of either species. Now, your 55-gallon tank is quite large, and could hold 6 adult Angels with ease, but the two catfish are going to get quite big, 15-20 cm/6-8 inches, and add that to the adult Angels at around 10-12 cm/4-5 inches a piece, and you see why I'm cautious about recommending you keep them all in the same tank. As juveniles you might be fine, and as/when they get bigger, you may upgrade the tank or move out the catfish. At the very least, this tank will be heavily stocked and will need very robust filtration and substantial weekly water changes. It's doable for sure, but not ideal, hence my reticence.>
Sorry I got confused! Thanks.
<Cheers, Neale.>

4 Angelfish, FW, comp., sys.       6/15/12
Hi Neale, how are you? mid term already?
<Been and gone.>
so regarding the below situation I had told you about, now that the eggs disappeared (died), the two black Angelfish have turned against the marbled one, (the father of the eggs) and they continuously attack and harass him. He is always cornered or hiding behind the plants, I feel sorry for him.
Is this normal?
<Yes. Angelfish are cichlids. That's something we often forget. Like all cichlids, territorial pairs can be venomous in their aggression towards other fish, including their own species. As a very general rule, single Angels are easy to keep, and mated pairs are usually stable and well behaved. But if you have 3, 4 or 5, you're playing a lottery. You need at least 6 before you can trust groups to school together most of the time.>
Now, our new aquarium arrives next week, its going to be a 47" x 19.5" x 15", 52.83 gallons; will this ease the fights?
<More space will surely help.>
Question on the new aquarium, at the bottom corners, left and right, I will have two "sand-boxes"  (2" tall glass divisions 4" x 8") built within the aquarium, one for each of my Striped Raphaels, I intend to put some sand in them so they can bury and do their thing.
Which kind of sand you recommend? which you don´t, and any kind of tip will be welcome,
<Avoid any sand that's sharp or abrasive. Also avoid calcareous sand as that'll harden the water and raise the pH. Smooth silica sand is good, chemically inert and cheap. In the US, it's often sold as pool filter sand.>
as always, thanks a lot Neale!
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Re: I need your help, please. And mixing Angels and Discus 4/6/12
Thank you,
I put in a heater and the salt as well after receiving this,
the "hernia" has grown larger over night,
I will email back if the heater doesn't help...
Hopefully we can get this solved!
I also had another question because I keep getting mixed answers everywhere.
I've seen people keeping Angels and freshwater Discus together,
<Not generally a good mix... The Angels can/do become much more aggressive, hog foods...>
but I've also heard that angels carry some type of disease or parasite that can be fatal for Discus,
<An olde myth that I used to circulate as well (Octomita/Hexamita)>
and they shouldn't be kept together.
What is your opinion on this?
I love both fish and would like to keep them together, But it's $20 for a Discus around where I live and I certainly would not like to waste that kind of money and a poorly thought out mistake.
Thanks again.
<Better by far to keep separately. BobF> Mixing ADFs w/ Pterophyllum in a large setting 3/19/12
Good afternoon! Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my story and question. I am currently keeping one adult (almost breeding size) and a juvenile angelfish in a 25ish gal tank.. I was ordering a 105 and was wondering if I raised half the tank shallow for the frogs and left half bare bottom if I could put my 4 ADFS in with the two angelfish and still have no over crowding.. or would the angel being an established adult with its own territory not enjoy the frogs? Waste output atm is way left than what the filters are capable of so I was thinking the frogs would look GORGEOUS against the java moss I have in the angel tank
<Am not a fan of mixing FW angels and Hymenochirus period... as the former can become aggressive toward the latter... and in a large setting, it's too hard to get the frogs food/s... See WWM re both species needs, compatibility. Bob Fenner>
Re: Mixing ADFs w/ Pterophyllum in a large setting 3/19/12

Thanks, I've opted to add a Pleco.
<... do see WWM re stkg./sel... Ancistrus, other genera... B>

Re: Fish to add 3/13/12
Hi there, one follow-up question. My daughter is interested in Angelfish.
Those are not on your list below, but could they work with Corydoras and Zebra Danios? Again, thanks so much for your help!
<Angels can work, but only just. Corydoras and Zebra Danios will tolerate water up to 25 C/77 F, which is at the low end of what farmed (i.e., average pet shop) Angels accept. Wild Angels will need rather warmer water to do consistently well, around 28 C/82 F, so you'd keep these with Corydoras sterbai, the classic "warm-water Corydoras". As for water chemistry, Angels prefer soft, slightly acidic water, just like the other two species, but all three can do fine up to 20 degrees dH, pH 8, even though it isn't optimal. Angels normally ignore Corydoras, and if the Danios are in a big group, there's little risk of fin-nipping. Cheers,

freshwater angelfish compatibility 2/26/12
I'm planning a 16 gallon community. I'd like one angel, a gourami, harlequin Rasboras, and tetras. Is this doable?
<No. 16 US gallons is a very small amount of water. Angels need a 20 gallon tank for a start. Stock as per 10 gallons instead, choosing appropriate species, but feel free to keep slightly more within each group of species (at least with non-territorial species). >
I want as peaceful an environment as possible. What combo and #s do you recommend?
<What's your water chemistry? Options for soft water will be different to hard water. Assuming middling hardness, around 10 degrees dH, pH 7, you could keep a school of 10-12 Neons or Glowlights, or alternatively 6-8 Harlequins (they're somewhat bigger fish). Cherry Barbs or Checkerboard Barbs could work too, as might the smallest Danio species such as Danio choprae (bigger Danio species, like Zebra Danios, need a tank not less than 60 cm/2 ft long because they're so hyperactive, and in smaller tanks get bored and harass each other and their tankmates, so you end up with just one or two bully males). For the specimen fish, something like a single Honey Gourami would be nice (Dwarf Gouramis and their domesticated variants are disease-ridden and not worth keeping at all). Alternatively a pair or trio (1M, 2F) of some dwarf cichlid might be possible. Look out for Apistogramma cacatuoides, a good combination of colour, adaptability and peacefulness. Avoid the sadly ruined Ram Cichlid, a species farmed cheaply and "juiced" with antibiotics, and consequently rarely maintains good health for long once purchased. On the other hand, Kribs might work, especially one of the more colourful wild-type species such as Pelvivachromis subocellatus. The farmed P. pulcher isn't bad, but its colours don't compare to its wild ancestors. A single female Krib would be the best, being prettier than the male, and smaller too. As for catfish, Corydoras will be the obvious choice, though don't keep these with dwarf cichlids as the cichlids do tend to harass them. Almost any Corydoras could work, but do review their temperature requirements. Most prefer cool water, 22-25 C, and so make good companions for other low-end tropicals like Neons. But at least one traded species, Corydoras sterbai, is happier in warmer water, 24-28 C, and it works well with gouramis which also like warm water. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: freshwater angelfish compatibility 2/26/12
THANK YOU!! What an awesome resource!
<Glad to help. Neale.>
Re Neon, freshwater angelfish <in>compatibility 2/26/12

I forgot to add that I'd like NEON tetras if possible. What order to introduce fish and size/ages (e.g. juvenile size angel with full grown tetras?)
<Neon Tetras are small, soft water fish that prefer low to middling temperatures -- 22-25 C/72-77 F. As such they aren't compatible with Angelfish, partly because big Angels will eat them, but also because Angels prefer warmer water. Cardinal Tetras prefer warm water too, and are a bit bigger, and they generally work well with Angelfish. Neon Tetras have a bad
reputation in the hobby for not living for very long. To some degree that's because they won't tolerate hard water for long (you really do need soft, slightly acidic water, around 2-12 degrees dH, pH 5.5-7.0). But keeping them excessively warm likely shortens their lifespan too. All that said, the quality of farmed Neons is low, and if you have soft and acidic water,
you're better off investing in the more expensive, but generally less disease-ridden, Cardinal Tetras. If you don't have soft and acidic water, you shouldn't be thinking about either. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: freshwater angelfish compatibility 2/29/12

I have tap water that is hard (tested around 250 GH total hardness with test strip) I don't understand or know about tests for dH degrees.
<Strictly speaking, 10 mg/l calcium oxide = 1 degree dH. But many test kits, particularly in the US, give the result for general hardness in mg/l calcium carbonate (which isn't the right way to do this, but is done anyway). In that case, 17.8 mg/l calcium carbonate = 1 degree dH.>
The pH tests at 8.2 I'd really like to have cardinal tetras as you suggested, but would of coarse hate losing them even more. Can I soften and change the pH of our water? Is it too complicated or time consuming?
All the questions you're asking are there! You cannot soften water without access to either RO water or rainwater. You must not change the pH directly, and domestic water softeners will not produce acceptable water for tropical fish. Sounds like you have very hard, very alkaline water, so you should choose fish species accordingly.
Cheers, Neale.>

Glowlights vs. neon tetras 2/1/12
I notice some people here keep Glowlight tetras with angelfish without problems, yet neon tetras are angelfish food.
<Yes. Or at least, big Angels will eat small Neons. Many farmed Angels fail to reach the full size of the adults -- i.e., 15 cm/6 inches in length -- so many people will keep farmed Angels and Neons together without problems.>
I always thought there was no difference between neons and Glowlights except color. What is it about Glowlights that make them a good fish to keep with angels?
<Glowlights are a bit bigger. They're also more tolerant of warm water (Neons prefer to be kept between 22-25 C, which is a little cooler than Angels enjoy).>
Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Angelfish not getting to eat 1/28/12
<Hi there Judy>
I have a juvenile angelfish in a 29 gallon with 5 lemon tetras and 5 black neon tetras. When I put food on the surface the tetras zip to the top and have it eaten in no time. I've had this angelfish for a couple of weeks now and do not understand how it is getting any food. This morning the tetras ate everything and afterwards the angelfish came out of a terracotta pot after the frenzy. I am wondering if it was a bad idea to get a juvenile with these fast tetras?
<Might be...>

The only other tank I have is a 10 gallon
<Too small for an Angel>
with a Betta. Would this angelfish still be getting some food or is there any other way to feed it. Thank you!!
<I'd be trading the Angel in. Bob Fenner>

Temporary situation for fish... Guppies and Angel, Lemon Tetras comp. 1/20/12
I was wondering if it is ok to put a juvenile angelfish in with four guppies in a 29 gallon, if the guppies will be getting a new home in a few days?
<Mmm, a risk to some degree; but likely to be okay if the Angel is regularly fed... a few times per day>
I have guppies in water made hard with marine salt.
<How much salt? Do you have a hydrometer, refractometer, or such to measure? How much have you added? Pterophyllum can tolerate some salt content, but not nearly as much as Guppies>
The tap water is soft which is needed for the angelfish. Also is it ok to put about five lemon tetras in with the angelfish? Thank you!!
<This number of Lemons should make a fine addition w/ Angels. Bob Fenner>
Re: Temporary situation for fish... Guppies and Angel, Lemon Tetras, salt use 1/20/2012

I was wondering if it is ok to put a juvenile angelfish in with four guppies in a 29 gallon, if the guppies will be getting a new home in a few days?
<Mmm, a risk to some degree; but likely to be okay if the Angel is regularly fed... a few times per day>
I have guppies in water made hard with marine salt.
<How much salt? Do you have a hydrometer, refractometer, or such to measure? How much have you added? Pterophyllum can tolerate some salt content, but not nearly as much as Guppies>
One tablespoon in a 29 gallon.
<<Ahh, this should be fine for all. BobF>>

The tap water is soft which is needed for the angelfish. Also is it ok to put about five lemon tetras in with the angelfish? Thank you!!
<This number of Lemons should make a fine addition w/ Angels. Bob Fenner>

Danios or Golden Tetras nipping at Angelfish fins? 11/21/11
Dear WetWebMedia,
I am a relatively new aquarist and am having trouble with nippy fish.
<One of the commonest problems beginners have to deal with. Trust me, we've all been there.>
I have a 21Gallon (tall) aquarium that has been established for 7 months.
It has 2 Zebra Danios, 2 Longfin Rosie Danios, 1 Longfin White Danio, 3 Golden Tetras, a Glass Cat and a Plecostomus.
<Could really be any of the Danios or Tetras, to be honest. You've made the classic mistake of not keeping enough of either species. The Rosy Danios are, I assume, Danio roseus. The Zebras and Albino Danios are both Danio rerio. Both of these have the potential to be aggressive fish in groups smaller than 6, and honestly, I've seen groups of six Danios withered down to just one male through ceaseless aggression between the original members.
So the bigger the group, the better. Golden Tetras also need to be kept in groups of 6. That's a standard rule of any schooling fish. But this species, Hemigrammus rodwayi, isn't aggressive or known to be nippy under most circumstances. My money would be on the Danios.>
Two days ago I added a small Angelfish and every morning its caudal fin becomes a little more frayed.
Naturally, I wish to relocate the aggressors to a 10 Gallon tank (established for 1 year). I have searched many different websites and have received much contradictory advice. I have also read many threads on your site and, wonderfully informative as they are, all seem to indicate that the Angelfish should be the one nipping at fins.
<Not really, no. Can't think why that's something you've read here. Angels can be territorial, and adults are surprisingly predatory. But they're not serious fin-nippers, except perhaps with truly hopeless cases like Bettas that get nipped by anything!>
I am aware of the schooling factor and was told that Zebra and Longfin Danios would happily school together.
<Yes. But three Danio rerio does not a school make!>
Perhaps this is not so? As for the Golden Tetras, I live in a remote town with a limited LFS and I have never seen any more Golden Tetras for sale.
Perhaps they would school with a different type of Tetra?
I would very much like to keep my Angelfish healthy and stress free. I look forward to any advice you may have.
Thank you very much,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Danios or Golden Tetras nipping at Angelfish fins? 11/22/11

Thank you Neale!
<My pleasure.>
I will now pay closer attention to species... seems so logical now that you've pointed it out!
<As with many things in life.>
I will relocate the Danio Rerio and, due to lack of tank space, will look into trading the Danio Roseus for more Rerio and form a proper school.
Will also ask LFS if they can order more Golden Tetras.
<Wise. They're nice fish.>
Lesson learned! :)
Re: my misinterpretation of Angelfish being nippy... it's likely I simply misunderstood what I read as my head does "swim" with too much info at times!
<Fair enough.>
Thank you for indulging a novice!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

New angels and golden Gourami 11/7/11
Hi crew,
We have just bought a pair of small angels and a pair of gold goumi.
We have a 65 litre tank
<Mmm... really not large enough for the Angels and Gouramis when they're larger... there will be disputes, trouble...>
and 6 other small fish in there too. The angels and goumi have been in the tank for a few hours now and they have started to chase and nip their own partner.
<Oh, already>
The White angel is chasing the black one, and both golden are doing the same. Do you know whether they are just settling in or whether this is going to be a real problem.
<The latter>
Please help?
<You/they need a larger world. Either a bigger tank, or returning them to the shop. Bob Fenner>

Freshwater Angelfish... hlth... comp. 10/20/11
Hello WWM, <Hiya Christapher!>
About a month ago we treated our 50 gallon tank with a broad spectrum medication treatment because a couple of the new fish we had gotten had died
(a Bala shark and an angelfish). <Did you manage to identify the cause of the deaths?> This seemed to do the trick because the other two (another Bala and angelfish) survived. We also have Neons that we had before the new fish and they are still kicking. <I would not recommend mixing angels with Neons. There is too much risk that the angels will pick on them. Assume the above are all the fish you have here?> However, now the Bala and angelfish are looking bad. The Bala is getting thin it seems and doesn't seem to want to eat much <does it eat at all?> and the angelfish eats plenty, but it's fins seem to be rotting away. Also the angelfish's tendrils look thinner and broken. What do you think this could be and how should I treat this?
<Firstly, the Bala shark is a fish that gets very very large very quickly. I also do not recommend mixing it with slow moving fish such as angels.
From your description, it sounds like the angel has Finrot. A photograph would help identify the disease but you should be seeing damage to the fins; almost like they are frayed. If so, any good Finrot medication will help if diagnosed in time. Read here -
For the Bala shark, how long have you had the fish? They tend to be pretty hardy, if a bit shy. Do keep in mind that when they are smaller, they do tend to prefer company and may school. Not practical however given the size of tank you have. You can read here about the Bala shark
Please check your water parameters and make sure all is good with them.
From your description, it sounds like the fish are stressed and you need to identify the source. Likely environmental/water chemistry related. - Good luck! Sugam>

Angelfish Help, comp. mostly 9/1/11
Hello -
I have a question. I have two adult Angelfish in my 150gal tank.
<I assume you mean freshwater Angelfish?>
They were fine with all of our small fish (we had several community fish that the angels grew up with) but once we moved all the small fish to another aquarium, our larger angel stopped eating.
<Can happen. With the new aquarium come new territories, and one fish may well become dominant. When two cichlids grow up together they may view one another as "part of the scenery". Move them, and they view each other as new fish, and act accordingly. Adult Angels are not really schooling fish, at least not under aquarium conditions, and you need at least 6 specimens for them to school together anyway. Mostly Angels become territorial, whether as pairs or a single male.>
Now both angels hang out in the far corner of the tank. When one ventures out to eat, the other stays in the corner until the one eating comes back.
We attempted to put two more angels in the tank as well, but the adult angels attacked and killed one of them and wounded the other ( We transferred him out immediately but he later died in the small fish tank).
<Oh dear. When adding more Angels, choose specimens AT LEAST as big as the ones you have, remove ALL the Angels already in the tank, and introduce the new ones first, and then the original Angels 30-60 minutes later so that the other Angels have time to settle. Don't bother with trying to keep groups less than 6.>
They don't swim around like they used to and they shy away from us when we approach the tank (which is completely different from their behaviour before then they would rush to the front and follow us when we'd walk by).
Could this be due to stress?
I was reading about breeding habits but I haven't seen anything tubular coming from either of the angels or anything that could possibly resemble eggs. The pH is good,
<Please, tell me the value, not your interpretation. For farmed Angels, between pH 6.5-7.5 is what you want.>
all the ammonia levels and such are in the yellow
<Meaning what? Again, give me the values, not what you believe they mean.
Ammonia and nitrite need to be zero.>
and the water temp is kept at about 78 degrees. I just don't want my angels to die from something that I can prevent. Any advice generated would be absolutely wonderful.
<Do read here:
Any questions, write back. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Angelfish Help 9/4/11

Neale - The pH is 7.0, the ammonia and nitrite are both at zero. Sorry, guess I should have mentioned that in the first place.
<This should be ideal for Angels; so as stated last time around, if they haven't settled down yet, assume either environmental or behavioural stress and review accordingly. Angels are territorial, males often don't get along, but they're also easily spooked by bright lights, loud noises, boisterous and restless tankmates, etc. Cheers, Neale.>

Freshwater Angelfish Bully and Restocking 7/13/11
Hello Crew,
I currently have a 90 gal. tank that has been set up for 3 years. For over a year I have had 6 angelfish, four that paired off and two that were loners. I also have one Chinese Algae Eater, one Rainbow Shark and one Raphael Catfish. Up until recently things were fine, then one angelfish from a pair suddenly died. I noticed one of my other paired angels chasing one of the loners. The loner was dead within two days. The bully angelfish then targeted the remaining paired fish so I removed the bully.
Now I am left with 3 angelfish. Currently they are at peace with each other with no pairs. In reading your articles, it seems a group of six fish should be kept together. Should I try adding three more angelfish or just let the remaining three alone? With such a big tank I would like to add other fish as well, perhaps a Pearl or Opaline Gourami. I'd like other fish as well, but I am not sure what would be best with both angels and the one shark.
Thank you for your time,
<Hello Heidi. Unfortunately, Angelfish are territorial, and what you describe is far from uncommon. If you want a group, then keeping six or more is the most reliable approach. Remove the resident Angels, rearrange the rocks and plants in the tank so the territory looks different, add new Angels of similar size to the tank, and then return the resident Angels.
With luck, they'll *all* think they're in a new bit of the river and get along okay. No guarantees, but this is the best approach with cichlids like these. Alternatively, remove the bully, move the rocks and plants around, then put the bully back, and see if he settles down. Sometimes this works.
Not often, but it's a cheap fix and worth trying. If everyone is getting along okay, then there's no reason to add more Angels. Don't feel like you have to. In a tank like this, the larger Trichogaster species Gouramis can be good choices, though males of these, particularly Trichogaster trichopterus, can be troublesome. I happen to like Trichogaster microlepis, and have found it an excellent companion for Angels, and it has colours that work nicely with the wild-type silver Angels I prefer. As an alternative, some of the Colisa species are good, though some, like Colisa lalia, are notoriously disease-prone. For example, Colisa fasciata would be a colourful and very hardy choice. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Tankmates for One Angelfish (38gal tank) 5/6/11
Hello Crew,
First of all, thank you all for everything you do with this website - I've found it extremely useful! I particularly appreciate the grammatically correct write-in questions and comments. I do hope this Email meets your high standards!
<I as well>
Now for the question. My husband and I have a rectangular 38 gallon planted aquarium which has been established for four years. It currently uses the Marineland Penguin 200 BIO-Wheel filter and contains an assortment of fish:
1 - Male Angelfish (5+ years)
4 - Adult Emerald Cory Catfish
1 - Juvenile Emerald Cory Catfish
2 - Emerald Cory Catfish Fry (there may be more - the Emeralds keep breeding!)
1 - Julii Catfish (the last remaining of several, but he schools with the Emeralds)
1 - African Clawed Frog
<Xenopus? This is a real "eater-upper"... not compatible>
We have been researching and considering for months what additional fish we should add. We previously had two additional Angelfish in the tank.
<Mmm, not likely to get along here>
We purchased our current Angelfish (Obtuse) and one other (Acute) in early 2006. They were originally housed in a 20 gallon aquarium with several Albino Cory Catfish with the intent to upgrade soon. We upgraded to the 38 gallon the following year, but once we moved them, Acute began acting aggressively towards Obtuse, and we determined that they were likely both male. We adopted another similarly sized Angelfish (Trig) in hopes of calming down the situation; it did, and everyone lived in relative peace for a couple of years.
<Better to have a group of six or so; but even then you'd have to separate any two that "paired off">
About a year ago, Trig died. A few months before that, she (we presume) and Acute had become a mated pair. After her death, Acute quit eating and seemed to just give up; it was a terrible thing to watch, and we tried offering several different foods but to no avail.
We now are left with Obtuse, a bunch of Cory Catfish, and the frog. Obtuse was and remains the most laid-back of the three Angelfish we have had; we have seen no signs of aggression towards either the Cory Catfish or the frog. We would like an additional, large-ish fish (or more, if they would fit); I have seen warnings to avoid nippy Tetras, additional Angelfish (because of our existing one and the tank size), and anything small enough to fit in Obtuse's mouth. I have found through my research that Gouramis are typically compatible, and Pearl Gouramis were often suggested.
<A good choice, along w/ others of the same genus (Trichogaster), and larger Colisa>
Dwarf Gouramis have also been listed as viable options,
<Mmm, no, not recommended>
but we have had poor luck in the past purchasing quality Dwarf Gouramis locally. We would like to add a Pearl Gourami or however many is necessary and appropriate, but we are not sure (a) the correct number for our setup and tank size and (b) the best gender ratio. I suspect we would only have room for one male.
<One male maximum, a single female or more if you'd like>
We have also been considering Swordtails or Platies, either in addition to the Pearl Gourami(s) or in place of them. I have read varying information on the mature size of Swordtails and am unsure if they or Platies would be better (if either would work at all).
<The Angel might go after the Platies...>
I think our ideal additional tankmates would be one male Pearl Gourami, two to three female Pearl Gouramis, one male Platy or Swordtail, and three or more female Platies or Swordtails. However, we aren't set on anything and are certainly open to ideas if you have any to offer.
<If you can't locate the Pearls, do consider Blues/Opalines, Thick-Lip and Giant Gouramis>
Thank you for reading all of this!
All the best,
<And you, Bob Fenner>

Angelfish bully - 3 angelfish in a tank. 4/30/11
Currently have 3 large healthy veil tail angelfish in a 55 gallon planted community tank. The largest angelfish is being bullied by the smallest.
<Not even remotely uncommon, I'm afraid. In a tank this size, there's much to be said to keeping either a singleton, a mated pair, or a group of 6+ specimens that will diffuse serious aggression among themselves.>
The third angelfish is tolerated by both angelfish but spends most of its time with the bully angelfish.
<Likely these two are a pair.>
This bully angelfish is aggressive toward smaller fish in the tank as well, tetras and dwarf rainbowfish.
I would like to separate the angelfish but, in this situation, not certain who should move out. Should it be the bully, the potential pair, or the angel that's being picked on?
<Up to you. A mated pair could be kept as a breeding pair in a 20 gallon tank with decent water quality. A singleton would live a very happy life as "top dog" in a community of smaller fish.>
I would like to move 1-2 of the angels into a 20 gallon tank. Is a 20 gallon tank (16.75" tall) too small for veil tail angels (6" tall including fins)?
<If the fins don't touch the sand or gravel when the fish is swimming normally, it's deep enough. On paper at least, a 20 gallon tank is okay for a mated pair of Angels, but don't expect to keep them with anything else in there. Decorate the tank around their needs, depending on whether you want to rear fry or not.>
Thank you very much for your time. You have a wonderful site, and I visit it frequently.
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

mean gouramis, actually Angels 4/9/11
hello crew!
<Hello Tavian,>
I have a few questions about my 12 inch kissing gouramis. I have three large kissing gouramis in my 75 gallon fish tank and there
about 6 years old. I added about 3 angelfish about 3 inches long and around 6 months old. well when I added the fish the angelfish went crazy and started beating up the gouramis. They have frayed fins and missing scales and don't try to fight back. there very healthy and aren't aggressive to the baby neon tetras I have in there ether. There gentle giants! any input?
thank you so much
<I'm a bit confused here. Your email subject line suggests it's the Gouramis that are being aggressive, while the text of your message seems to imply it's the Angelfish. In any event, if you have aggression in a fish tank, there's usually little you can do to fix the situation. Remove one of the two species to another aquarium. Sometimes, removing the aggressive fish to a bucket, moving all the rocks and plants around, and then putting those fish back into the aquarium helps. Why? Because by breaking up their territories, you're hopefully pushing them down to the bottom of the pecking order. But the reality is that Angelfish become territorial once sexually mature, though in 75 gallons a pair shouldn't cause any problems. Keeping Angels in groups of 3-5 doesn't always work because territory-holding pairs often attack the remaining adult Angelfish, but groups of 6+ are usually reliable. Cheers, Neale.>

Fish Help... FW, stkg., reading 2/10/11
Hello Crew,
I have a 26 Gallon tank that used have more than three fish :[. Currently, there is an elderly Platy, a Small Rainbow Shark, and a Black and White Blushing Angelfish. Many of my other fish are gone ( I believe they died of old age because I had them for a few years).
I want to restock my tank. However, the angel and the shark sometimes chase the platy.
<Yes, and likely any new fishes>
I hoping you guys can provide some suggestions for new tankmates for these fish that will get along with them. Also, would getting some more platies be okay?
<Swordtails of decent size would be better, and similar... And you should read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwshkcompfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rfsharkfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelcompfaqs.htm
I also feel like I need to divert the hostile attention away from my lone platy. It outlived my other ones, I think it's almost 3 years old.
Basically I just need some guidance. Which fish are good choices for my tank?
<Read on! Bob Fenner>
Thank you,
Re: re: Fish Help 2/10/11

Thank you Bob!
Thanks for the links. I couldn't find them myself because the search wasn't working for me. I read a lot and found some good information. However, after reading, I am now stumped. I feel like anything I add won't fit in with my current fish unless I add some faster or larger fish. The Angel rules the tank and the shark is bipolar.
<It may well prove better to trade these two in, keep the platy and go from there in restocking>
Sometimes, it'll attempt to school with my platy (and "hang out" with it) and other times it tries to nip my platy.
There are some fish I've been wondering about though:
Gouramis; the blue/gold/Opaline variety. How would they do in this tank?
(Definitely not Dwarf Gouramis)
<Trichogaster spp. are a very good choice to try here>
I also like the swordtail idea as I think swordtails are able to put up a fight with other fish if bullied.
<Yes, more so than Platies>
What kind of tetras would be compatible (w/ Rainbow Shark, Platy, Angelfish)? From reading, it seems like most will either get eaten or nip the fins of my angelfish.
<The list here is very long... larger size, faster... Look to some of the popular African species... Alestes, Congos...>
Finally, are there any compatible barbs that are flashy?
<All sorts... again, mid-sized. Listed on WWM>
Danios? (I used to have 10 of them but some died from being old and others got ripped apart in the night, by, I believe, a more aggressive rainbow shark that is now deceased. The less aggressive one is left).
<And there are larger Danios... the Giant/rerio is a fave>
<Welcome, BobF>
Re: re: Fish Help 2/10/11
Dear Bob,
I feel like there is hope :] I plan on trying out the Trichogaster spp.
(Hopefully I'll find a nicer one). I heard the tempers of these guys vary a lot. I think I'm most likely going to skip the tetras since I really only had my mind set on the Bleeding Heart Tetra or Black Skirt.
<These can be a big nippy>
So probably; A pair of Gouramis (Either male and female or two females)
<A pair will be more interesting>
I'll probably buy 1 male swordtail and two female swordtails or platys since they interbreed. I'm not sure 26 gallons is enough for more than 1 male but I have lots of plants.
<I'd stick w/ one>
And if possible, I might go with another school of Danios, most likely Giant, I had zebra ones before but they got shredded up at night by the deceased bully rainbow shark.
Maybe some mystery snails.
<Do make sure these are healthy... See WWM re their life history>
I really appreciate your help. Another thing: I have a spare 10 gallon tank that I want to use as my quarantine tank but I'm not sure if that's enough to accommodate the gouramis or larger swordtails since I mostly used it for the platys and angelfish when it was smaller. The tank has gravel and some plants and the usual filter and heater things. Would it suffice?
<It will>
Also, how long should I quarantine the fish for? I used to do it for only about a week.
<Two weeks>
Thank you,
<Certainly welcome my friend. BobF>

My new angelfish tank, comp. 1/24/11
Hey Crew,
I just set up my new 29 gallon tank tonight and I'm still trying to nail down my vision for it's population, before I begin it's cycle. I think I want to make angelfish my centerpiece, but I want a nice, healthy community.
<Certainly do-able with Pterophyllum spp., but don't underestimate [a] their predatory instincts and [b] their territorial behaviour.>
In my research, I've read some conflicting opinions. In a tank my size, can I have 3 or 4 angelfish
<Don't bank on it. I'd put money on this group ending up with either a single bully or a pair, and the remainder needing to be rehomed. Groups of six are somewhat more reliable, but you need a big tank for that.>
and still have room for a couple more species like mollies or clown loaches, or should I just have one angelfish in my community?
<Clown Loaches are right out, they're much too large! Mollies need hard, basic water, and ideally brackish water, so they're completely incompatible. Good companions for Angels includes Pearl and Moonlight Gouramis, Harlequin Rasboras, Congo Tetras, Five-Banded Barbs, and really anything else that is too large to eat but won't in itself be nippy or aggressive. When choosing bottom dwellers, be sure to choose species that enjoy the same warm water as Angelfish, for example among Corydoras, the standout species is Corydoras sterbai, though Brochis splendens is another winning choice.>
I'm also having trouble finding information regarding Angelfish (and compatible fishes) and their compatibility with non-fishes. Would I be able to add any frogs,
<No, too small to thrive with these big fish.>
<No, they're all amphibious and/or brackish water.>
<Not Apple snails, but Nerites and especially Clea helena and Tylomelania species should work just fine.>
or shrimp
<Live food in most cases, though the big Amano Shrimps should be okay.>
to my future angelfish-centered community?
Can you tell I love variety? Anyway, thanks for helping out a novice aquarist!
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

compatibility... info. 12/16/10
I have a 20-gallon tall that I'm looking to fill. I'm considering a pair of (freshwater) angelfish and a pair of Killies or two different species pair of Killies
<What species?>
in a planted tank, but I'm not sure about compatibility between angels and Killies.
<... again>
I may add a pair of Siamese algae eaters also, and that pretty much tops out the bio-load for that size tank.
One other question. Although I don't plan to use it, this tank currently has an undergravel filter. I'm curious whether there is still a place in the hobby for undergravel filtration.
<See WWM re... http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwugfiltfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: compatibility... reading 12/16/10
Undecided on the Killie species. Depends largely on what is available here. I'm open to suggestions since I've never kept Killies before.
<? Do a bit of reading, investigating before purchasing... Many species of Killifish are difficult to keep except under special conditions (i.e. not w/ Pterophyllum); some are too retiring. B>
Re: compatibility - 12/16/10

Have been reading on Killies, but there is a lot out there. I think I need to find a local AKA member instead of pestering you guys.
<Or a good book perhaps>
By the way, my new Endler's are doing great. Different personality than mollies but still fun.
<Ah good. B>
Angelfish again, incomp. 1/21/11

As I've mentioned in the past, I have that 20-gallon tall tank. I stocked it originally with 2 *Pterophyllum scalare*. One died, which I attributed to the tank cycling even though I was making frequent water changes and the ammonia and nitrites never got above 0.5 ppm.
<These are deadly toxic materials, values...>
I waited until the tank cycled and then bought a replacement for the second angel. That fish died in under 36 hours. A few days later, I bought another and the same thing happened. (These were all mostly black with a little silver if the strain makes any difference.) On Monday I bought yet another replacement (this time a yellow and brown strain) making sure I took one that was feisty and active. It was the most active of the replacements and was eating well. I thought this one would make it but I found it on the bottom of the tank this morning.
The first angel, the remaining one from the original pair, I did see "nosing" the yellow one during feeding time and occasionally in the "sweet spot" between the major roots in the tank to intimidate.
I did read your article here
and noted that sometimes an individual can become territorial over the entire tank.
<This is so>
Since this is only 20 gallons with just a 10-gallon footprint, I come to the conclusion that the surviving fish is the reason all my other imports are dying.
Ultimately, my question is whether I can put anything else into the tank with this angel.
<Answered yourself. Evidently not another angel. Perhaps some other fast-moving, knowing species>
I think I'm out of luck if I want two angels in there, but I kind of miss keeping tetras and thought putting in a small school of black skirts might work, but I don't want to find a bunch of dead tetras on the bottom of the tank. And there is still the bottom-feeder question I asked last night. Can I even put a bottom feeding fish in this tank or will it also be killed?
<Not likely if it's armored (vs. naked). B>
Rick Novy

freshwater angelfish help 10/18/10
I have two large Koi marble angels in a 55 gallon tank. They both got along well at first, but now they are fighting a lot.
<Unfortunately, this is what they do. Angelfish school when young, but as adults they are more or less territorial, particularly males.>
Their fighting consists of nipping each other just below the mouth.
The one that is being nipped will tilt back like he is submitting to the other fish and then will nip back.
<The dominant fish is a male, and the weaker one most likely another male as well.>
There is only 5 zebra Danios and one much smaller angel. They don't seem to mind him.
<"He" is probably a she, and because of that, the dominant male is happy to have her around.>
I want to keep them both. Can you give me some advice?
<This is a very tough problem to solve. There are two things you can do.
One is to add more females. Because Angels are virtually impossible to sex except when spawning, adding females requires you to cozy up to an Angelfish breeder and get some female specimens from them. You cannot sex juveniles in aquarium shops. Possibly adding random Angelfish to the tank would work, but you'd need at least 3 more specimens for this to work because 6 appears to be the "magic number" when it comes to getting Angels and Discus to school together as adults. In smaller groups they almost always do what you're seeing -- individual fish become territorial and possibly bullies. Otherwise, all you can do is remove one of the two Angels that are fighting, and hope the remaining two coexist peacefully. If you
have another tank, the third Angel could be kept there by itself; despite being described as schooling fish, adult Angels work just fine kept singly.>
I have never asked you a question before so I don't know whether your response would go to my email or to your site specifically.
<We do both!>
Thank you!
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Threadfin-Angelfish compatibility
FW Angelfish Tankmates 10/17/10

Hello WWM crew This is my first time writing although I run into a lot of your posts through Google and find the very helpful. This time however, I am stuck. I have a planted 55 Gallon aquarium that was started on July 4th, 2010. Progressing very well, water parameters are within normal limits of a planted tank, livestock includes a female Blue Ram, Male Kribensis, pair of Cherry Barbs, 5 Pygmy Corydoras, 3 Flying Fox, Hillstream Loach, 4 Kuhli loaches, 1 Hummingbird Tetra, and 3 male Threadfin Rainbows, I really wanted to know if 1 Angelfish will co-exist with the Threadfins or will the angel fin nip, try to eat, or make life unbearable for them? I do not want to add the one Angel and find either my Pygmy Corydoras or Threadfins gone.. Also will one Angelfish be content by himself or do they always need to be in schools? Thank you! Abdiel David
< Angelfish are cichlids. They will go after smaller fish with fin extensions. AS they get bigger the smaller cherry barbs may then become a target. The angelfish like to be in schools.-Chuck>

Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, now, Algae issues, now, Oto care/feeding
Future Angelfish Food 8/10/10

Hello again Crew, It has been quite a while... almost eight months.
Anyway I had managed to wait quite awhile for my local PetSmart to have angelfish for sale. I asked the saleswoman and learned that they have been there for almost three weeks! There are four juveniles, two black and two yellow/blonde? I got the one that seemed the less violent of the two yellows, and now he is at home of a 29 gallon tank that has a swarm of guppies, and one lone Otocinclus, a sad shadow of the original six. So now
the angelfish is the size of a guppy, but when it grows, will it try to stomach his companions? Thanks, thanks very much!
< Angelfish are opportunistic predators and will eat any other fish that will fit in their mouth. If the fish are fast enough then they will last a little longer. Eventually the angelfish will get a bite into them, they will slow down and eventually get picked off.-Chuck
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, now, Algae issues, now, Oto care/feeding
Cichlid Learning Curve 8/10/10

Yeah, you are probably right. Even though right now it is the size of a dollar coin, it is becoming touchy, only a few hours after being introduced!
It seems to have hogged a lily plant that is smack middle of the fish tank, and drives all of the guppies away, but does not mind the Glowlight tetras that swim below it. How long does it take an angelfish to ah, "mature", as
in beginning to start stalking and biting other fish?
< Cichlids are actually pretty smart and will not take long to figure out what fits in the mouth and what doesn't. It will always be trying as long as it is hungry. So as it grows so does the size of its potential prey items.-Chuck>

Angel fish in a 20 gallon long  06/09/10
I was wondering if it is possible for a 6 inch freshwater angelfish to be happy in a 20 gallon long tank,
<In terms of water quality, then yes, it's do-able, but if the Angelfish is so "tall" its fins are dragged along the bottom of the aquarium, then it won't be terribly happy. Most of the common Angels sold only get to about 10 cm/4 inches long, and maybe 12 cm/5 inches tall. But if you have a deep gravel bed for plants, you may not have much more than 20 cm/8 inches of water depth, which would really be too little for Angelfish. So you'll have to use some common sense here.>
with four fancy male guppies??
<Potentially Angelfish food, either whole or one bite at a time.>
Wouldn't the guppies be attacked?
<Yes, Angelfish will nip at the fins of Fancy Guppies. Large Angelfish can, do eat small Guppies whole.>
I also have 12 Neons in there, but I would move them to the ten gallon as I know they would become a snack.
Would a 20 gallon tall tank be much better for an angel???
<Breeding pairs of Angels are usually kept in tall 20 gallon tanks, but in community settings, Angels are best kept in systems 30 gallons upwards.
Apart from extra space, this allows you to keep sensibly-sized tankmates alongside the Angels, such as Gouramis, Bleeding Heart Tetras, Dwarf Rainbowfish, and so on.>
I noticed some places sell the angelfish and say they may grow to eight inches tall,
<These will be non-hybrid Angels, and tend to be quite expensive. Things like Pterophyllum altum, true Pterophyllum scalare, and Pterophyllum "Peru". The standard sort sold in ordinary pet stores, including all the
ones with non-wild-type colouration, are hybrids that rarely get this tall.
Veil-tail Angels are the exceptions of course, but I don't recommend keeping them in community settings because they're so commonly nipped by otherwise "nice" fish.>
Thank you!!
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Angelfish bullying others 5/3/10
I bought 6 angelfish a while ago, and 3 died after a few weeks.
<Did you determine the cause of these deaths?>
I got 3 more to replace them, and now one of the original fish is bullying the others, whether they're new or not.
<How large are these fish? Have you noticed any "pairing up" happening?>
I have them in a 29 gallon specifically set up for breeding them and they're the only fish in the tank.
<Do you mean the six of them? Normally, when one purchases six Angels in preparation for finding a breeding pair, the other four are removed after a pair is established. You're going to have a difficult time actually breeding the fish in the presence of the others, especially in this small tank. Have you found a pair yet?>
I moved the bully
fish to another tank to keep it from stressing out the others, and they seemed to be fine. Today I put the bully fish back in, hoping it would stop attacking the others, and it was fine for the first hour. After that, it began herding the others to one side of the tank.
<Angels can really turn into bullies, as you've witnessed. I have a breeding pair who, after being moved to a larger system (a 125 gallon community), began to fight. I removed the aggressor (the male) for a month, and then returned him to the tank. He has been less aggressive, but I still do witness spats between the two of them, and this is a pair which spawns every three weeks. Unfortunately, it is in their nature, and if you've got a breeding pair established, I'd remove all four of the others if you plan to breed them. Still, you may experience troubles as these fish mature.>
I'm afraid it's going to
kill the others if it keeps stressing them like this, so should I take it back to the pet store and exchange it for a different one?
<I'm still not sure if you've got a pair or not, or if you're actually expecting a pair to spawn in this tank, with all of the other fish (probably won't happen), or what, so I'm a little confused. In any case, this is a small tank for six mature Angels, so if that's what you've got, the problem won't go away. You could exchange it, but if you've already got a pair, it's time for the other four to go back, anyway. Ultimately, this tank will house two mature, breeding Angels, and again, you may see problems just between those two, as I've experienced. But, trying to keep six in there is going to lead to even more problems.>
I don't want to trade it if I don't have to, but I'm not sure what to do. The temperature in
the tank is 80 degrees F, and ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are normal.
<What are "normal?" I'm fairly sure it has nothing to do with this issue that you're having, but numbers are far better than subjective terms when it comes to water quality.>
What should I do?
<If this fish has become aggressive in this small system, I don't even think a longer "time out" is going to help. If you've already got your pair, return the other four, and hope for the best with the two that you have. That's really all you've got room for in this tank. If you don't have a pair yet, then I guess you could exchange him, but as these fish mature, and no pair develops, you're going to keep running into problems.
That's just a lot of attitude for a 29 gallon tank! Please write back if you have further questions.

Re: Angelfish bullying others 5/10/10
Hey, I'm writing back about my angelfish.
<Hey! Good to hear back!>
I think the breeder my pet store got the first angels from didn't care enough about angelfish and fishkeeping to remove unhealthy fish from the group he sold to the pet store.
<Even good pet stores/good breeders cannot necessarily "pick out" the sick ones -- if they looked sick, you wouldn't have purchased them, right? So, these things happen. My worry was caused by the fact that you lost half of your initial stock, and it could have been due to illness that began at the store. I just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything going on which you could take and add to your file of "fishkeeping knowledge" for next time!>
I think the bully fish may have killed the last one, but I don't think angels will eat their own kind, will they?
<If a fish is weak, it will be the target of bullying, and a dead fish is a meal, so yes.>
I found one of the last one's fins on the substrate, but that was all.
Yes, I am planning on removing the other four once I have a pair established, but as of right now, none of them have paired up. There are no other fish in the tank besides the 6 angelfish, and ammonia is 0, nitrite is 0, and nitrate is just a little too high (I just did a water change to fix this).
<Oh, okay. Do remember that the longer it goes, with no "pairing up" the more crowded this tank gets, both physically and psychologically. Please see my suggestions below for redecorating to possibly ease territoriality.>
The bully fish has calmed down a lot, but it will still fight for every piece of food it can get to.
<It's good to hear he's calmed down. It may be that one of the new additions is giving him a run for his money.>
But now one of my angels has fungus, so I moved it to a quarantine tank and am treating it right now.
<This could be due to stress, less-than-optimal water quality, or both. So keep these things in mind.>
It's just one thing after another. Should I just get 6 new angels and start over?
<You could, or you could give the ones you have more time. Try adding (if you don't already have) more tall, bushy plants, and maybe some vertical rockwork. Anything vertical does double duty, in that it breaks up the space, encouraging the establishment of different, separate territories as the fish age, and also makes it easy to tell when fish have paired up, as they'll begin cleaning a vertical surface in preparation of spawning. It's really up to you whether or not you keep these guys, but I'd probably be tempted to give it a go -- at least you know what's up with the fish you have, and that the majority of them seem to be healthy.>
I didn't have the choice or patience the first time to choose only healthy ones, and I can do better this time, as they have a larger selection of larger fish(half dollar sized) that I won't have to raise as long before they pair up. What should I do?
<You could remove the bully, as you suggested before. You could do some redecorating, as I suggest above, and see how that changes the dynamic of the tank. You could return all, and get six more... choices, choices! I'd probably stick with the group I had, and give them some more time, especially if they're still smaller fish... in any case, you're obviously carefully weighting options/possibilities... so any choice you make will be a good one to go with. In the meantime, enjoy learning/reading about the fish you've got, and planning your setups for breeding, etc.! Please write back if you have any more questions.>
<You're welcome!

Are Platies and angelfish generally compatible? 3/18/10
Dear Crew,
I have done my research on a fish and all, but I cannot find one thing (many websites are telling me they are and aren't). Are Platies and angelfish generally compatible?
<Somewhat, but they're not ideal companions. Platies need hard, basic water that isn't too warm; 10+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8, 22-25 Celsius. Angelfish prefer soft water and high water temperature; 5-15 degrees dH, pH 6-8,
25-30 Celsius. While there's a bit of overlap there, Platies don't do well in soft water, so unless you're keeping your Angels in moderately hard water, Platies aren't going to work. If you keep the tank warmed to much above 25 C, the Platies will be stressed. In short, there are much better companion species to look at than Platies. Skip livebearers, and instead concentrate on things like characins and especially Rainbowfish. A school of Melanotaenia boesemanni for example would work great.>
If you have a good Wet Webpage on them or another web site for angelfish
care and maintenance to that would be great!
<Much here, and follow the links for more:
Sincerely, The Fish Keeper
<Cheers, Neale.>

My new fish :D Molly, Angelfish, Newt incomp. 1/31/2010
Hi There!
My name is Libby.
<Hello Libby,>
I have owned and operated my own fish tanks for about 12yrs now. I just got a couple of freshwater angelfish today and I also picked up a couple of Marble Lyretail(sp?) Mollies.
<Not an ideal combination. Although Mollies sometimes do okay in plain freshwater, they are more reliably in slightly brackish water. Angels, on the other hand, are soft water fish, and while they'll live in hard water, they won't tolerate brackish water. In other words, these are two types of fish you'd be unwise to mix. Do read here:
I'm in the process of floating them in their tank (which are two separate tanks I'm working with). One tank I have is about 10g and is currently housing a Paddle Tail newt (Sally) whom I have had for about 6yrs.
<Well, these are coldwater amphibians, and have no business living with tropical fish.>
My other tank which is about 5g is currently empty, and is temporary housing for my Angelfish until I set up my 30g tank. I was originally planning on introducing my Mollies in with Sally.
<Nope. Optimal water temperature for your newt, Pachytriton labiatus, is 15 degrees C; Mollies and Angels are both hothouse flowers that need temperatures above even those of the average tropical fish, and are best kept at 28 degree C or even slightly higher. There's no overlap here at all.>
Sally has lived with many other fish in the past and only gets aggressive if she gets bothered first. Other than eating old, dying fish, I have never been concerned with her attacking and killing my other little buddies. She's even been homed with Tetra's before and never harmed them.
<You really are keeping your newt far too warm. Do please review the needs of this species. Your newt will have a much shorter life kept too warm.>
I've had Sally with Mollies before, but I'm wondering if I would honestly just be better off with introducing my Mollies to my Angelfish. My only concern is if they would get along okay. I've never owned Angelfish before, but am very prepared for the road ahead of me.
<Farmed Angels, which is what I assume you have, are quite straightforward fish. Do read here:
I would really like to have them together, but I'm wondering if the Mollies would be too aggressive with my Angels?
<They're a bad combination because of differing water chemistry requirements. In terms of behaviour, they should ignore one another, but both species have the potential to be aggressive, occasionally cause major problems in community tanks.>
Is this something I can accomplish? Should I just play it safe and keep my Mollies in Sally's tank? Gosh, I have so many other questions I don't know where to begin, but I guess this will do for now :). I hope to hear from you soon!
<Time to do some reading, I fear. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Aggressive Angelfish 1/25/2009
Hello, I would first like to say I just recently stumbled across your site not too long ago and found it very informative. Thank you for putting so much work, knowledge, and time into such a site.
<Thanks for your kind words.>
I've a freshwater aquarium, and although I'm unsure how large it is, my guess is that it's roughly 20 gallons if not just slightly larger. In it, I've 2 Cory Cats,
<Schooling fish; will be stressed and unhappy unless 5+ specimens per species kept.>
2 Otos (I believe this is what they are),
<Another schooling fish; also tend to do badly in crowded tanks. Need cool water, to 25 C, and lots of green algae.>
3 Platies (A "batman", a "coral" and a "Gold bar" or something, I'm unsure of the last one), 6 Beckford Pencilfish, A goldfish, 2 Black swordtails, 3 Serpae tetras,
<These are incredibly nippy.>
and last but not least a "sm. angelfish".
<"Small" means "baby", and these fish will get to their full size of about 12 cm within about a year.>
The tank originally started with a left over goldfish from a biology experiment for school (We were to test stress levels on a goldfish to understand breathing rate, etc.) that I had saved (It would otherwise have been flushed). The goldfish started in a bowl, but was then moved to a 10 gallon tank, where I acquired a Pleco (Mysteriously vanished) and 2 Platies (The "Gold Bar" and another different type). As time progressed, the goldfish grew rapidly, and I eventually changed it to it's current tank.
I've had the tank established for a little over a year. Unfortunately one of the Platies passed away (It swam into an ornament and never came out).
<Usually not the immediate cause of death, any more than people die in hospitals because hospitals are deadly poisonous. What normally happens is a fish is weakened somehow, and drifts into a cave or gets stuck in a filter because it doesn't have the strength to do otherwise.>
My tank looked a little bare in terms of fish, and so I had purchased two black swordtails (From my understanding, one is female and one is male due to a stripe on one of their tails),
<No. Male Platies are smaller than females and have a rod-shaped anal fin, the gonopodium.>
2 Cory cats, 3 Otos and a "Sm. angel". I understand that the temperature for the angelfish is higher than the goldfish would like, however so far the goldfish hasn't had any problems. I was worried at first that the angelfish would bully my "gold bar" platy, however they seemed to co-exist without problems. Next came some 5 Fin Sharks (I was assured by the store, and informed by 2 other stores that they would be fine in Freshwater, even though I suspected they needed brackish and saltwater. Unfortunately, it turns out either I was right, or they both mysteriously died after roughly the same length of time (I'd say roughly 3 months?) and acting weird), and
then the tetras previously mentioned.
<I have no idea what "Fin Sharks" might be. Sciades seemanni is sometimes sold as the White-fin Shark or Black-fin Shark, and is indeed a brackish/marine catfish. Certainly, Sciades seemanni would be totally inappropriate for a 20 gallon aquarium. Indeed, 5 of them would need something around the 100 gallon mark, minimum. They're big, extremely active predators. Let me also say that if you suspect your retailer doesn't know about a fish he's selling, why trust him? It costs nothing to e-mail us, and if that doesn't appeal, there are plenty of good aquarium books. In
any event, your tank is way overstocked, and I'm sure the catfish and tetras died because of poor water quality rather than anything else.>
When the tetra's were first introduced, they stuck together and attempted to nip the platy. It took a few days, however they ended up co-existing and I haven't seen the tetras nip again.
<"Haven't seen" doesn't mean it doesn't happen.>
An Oto became caught in the same ornament that one of the initial Platies became caught in and passed away within the last 3 months.
<Again, I doubt this ornament goes around snapping up fish that swim by; think about why fish are getting weak, and act accordingly.>
Today, my girlfriend decided to get some fish for her aquarium and while there I decided to pick up 2 more Platies (As at this point with the exception of the angelfish and goldfish, everything else had "playmates"),
<What are "playmates"? A fish is either solitary or else a schooling species kept in groups of 6+ specimens. There's no "playing" involved.
Please, don't apply human thinking to animals. For one thing, animals resent it. They have their own wants and concerns. And secondly, most of what we think we know about human behaviour is rubbish anyway, which is why we have wars, crime, crooked politicians and other such plagues.>
and 6 Beckford Pencilfish as there was a sale for the two types of fish.
Before this addition to the fish, everything lived peacefully. My angelfish is about the size of a Canadian Toonie, possibly SLIGHTLY larger. It has not had an aggressive attitude towards any of it tank mates. After today's
addition, the angelfish will occasionally attempt to nip at the batman platy (Which is rather small, and although the angelfish is pretty small, it's still roughly 2-3 times larger) however it leaves the coral platy and gold bar alone completely. The Pencilfish seem to be having no problem either, and one of them is roughly the size of the now-bullied platy. I'm concerned as the batman platy is floating at the bottom (Almost looks dead) but seems to be hiding.
<Stress, poor water quality, wring water chemistry... could be any number of things. Male Platies are bullies, and you should have at least twice as many females as males. Water quality should be good: zero ammonia and zero
nitrite. Water chemistry should be hard (10+ degrees dH) and basic (pH 7.5 to 8). Water temperature should be quite cool, around 22-24 C. This is ideal for Corydoras, but too cold for Angelfish and most tetras, which is why Platies aren't ideal companions for such fish. Do READ about fish before purchase. I'd have a lot more hair on my head if I didn't get so worked up reading e-mails like this one!>
I know the angelfish has not been getting to the platy very often, as it was chased into this corner almost immediately after being introduced to the tank, and the angelfish has been unable to get at it. So I know that
the angelfish has not caused any physical damage as of yet. Can I expect the angelfish to settle down within a few days, as the tetras did when they were first introduced?
<Who knows?>
Why is it only aggressive towards the "batman" platy?
<No idea.>
Note: I just fed them (I made sure the platy got food, it did eat a fair amount) and the angelfish is now nipping at anything that tries to take "it's" flake of food. The angelfish will drag a piece into a corner and nibble on it and if anything comes near the flake they will seem to charge at them, then go back to their flake. Once done feeding, the angelfish went back to living harmoniously with everything other than the batman platy.
Also, while I'm asking, my goldfish continually churns up the gravel at the bottom of the tank with its mouth, and it actually seems to be "eating" or "sucking" on the gravel before spitting it back out. I read online that this is normal, but I know not to believe everything you read online.
Should I be concerned at all?
<Is normal.>
Thank you very much in advance. -- -Kyle
<Oh boy, you have some work to do. And you need some much better fishkeeping habits. Try reading about fish, and understanding more about how an aquarium works. Fewer fish will die. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Aggressive Angelfish �� 1/27/10
> Hello, I would first like to say I just recently stumbled across your site
> not too long ago and found it very informative. Thank you for putting so
> much work, knowledge, and time into such a site.
> <Thanks for your kind words.>
> -You're welcome-
> I've a freshwater aquarium, and although I'm unsure how large it is, my
> guess is that it's roughly 20 gallons if not just slightly larger. In it,
> I've 2 Cory Cats,
> <Schooling fish; will be stressed and unhappy unless 5+ specimens per
> species kept.>
> 2 Otos (I believe this is what they are),
> <Another schooling fish; also tend to do badly in crowded tanks. Need cool
> water, to 25 C, and lots of green algae.>
-Have done alright as it is, even with non-ideal temperature.
<<Just saying, they'll live longer when kept towards the cooler end of the tropical range. Lots of folks ignore the requirements of Otocinclus spp.; and lots of folks find them difficult to keep alive for more than a year.
Do feel free to double check what I'm saying in any catfish book of your choice.>>
> 3 Platies (A "batman", a "coral" and a "Gold bar" or something, I'm unsure
> of the last one), 6 Beckford Pencilfish, A goldfish, 2 Black swordtails, 3
> Serpae tetras,
> <These are incredibly nippy.>
-Which are?-
<<Serpae tetras. The Hyphessobrycon eques and its relatives. First fish I ever kept. Known for having a feeding frenzy behaviour, and also semi-parasitic, consuming the fins of other fish as part of their natural diet. Lots of lookalike species, some nippier than others>>
> and last but not least a "sm. angelfish".
> <"Small" means "baby", and these fish will get to their full size of about
> 12 cm within about a year.>
-It's been about 8 months and it hasn't grown much. It's not stunted due to small space.-
<<Still very young. Surprised it hasn't grown much. But these are inbred and somewhat hybridised, so saying anything with 100% certainty is difficult. Most do reach about 10 cm within a year or two.>>
> The tank originally started with a left over goldfish from a biology
> experiment for school (We were to test stress levels on a goldfish to
> understand breathing rate, etc.) that I had saved (It would otherwise have
> been flushed). The goldfish started in a bowl, but was then moved to a 10
> gallon tank, where I acquired a Pleco (Mysteriously vanished) and 2 Platies
> (The "Gold Bar" and another different type). As time progressed, the
> goldfish grew rapidly, and I eventually changed it to it's current tank.
> I've had the tank established for a little over a year. Unfortunately one
> of the Platies passed away (It swam into an ornament and never came out).
> <Usually not the immediate cause of death, any more than people die in
> hospitals because hospitals are deadly poisonous. What normally happens is
> a fish is weakened somehow, and drifts into a cave or gets stuck in a
> filter because it doesn't have the strength to do otherwise.>
-People can leave a hospital. This house would be difficult for anything to get out of. It has since been removed from aquarium.-
<<Point taken. What I was (perhaps clumsily) expressing was that your fish didn't die because it got trapped inside an ornament. Much more likely it was moribund, drifted into the ornament, and then died.>>
> My tank looked a little bare in terms of fish, and so I had purchased two
> black swordtails (From my understanding, one is female and one is male due
> to a stripe on one of their tails),
> <No. Male Platies are smaller than females and have a rod-shaped anal fin,
> the gonopodium.>
-I was not aware Swordtails were Platies. After a quick Google of it, apparently they're close relatives, but not the same.-
<<Yes. Quite right. I misread that. Forgive me. I answer a couple dozen messages a day, and once in a while I make a mistake. In any event, Swordtails are usually sexed by the length of the lower lobe of the tail fin, but do understand some males never develop this, or sometimes develop it very slowly. So ALWAYS go by the gonopodium if in doubt. Don't assume a female is a female just because the fish has no "sword". Many a fishkeeper has been caught out on that!>>
> 2 Cory cats, 3 Otos and a "Sm. angel". I understand that the temperature
> for the angelfish is higher than the goldfish would like, however so far
> the goldfish hasn't had any problems. I was worried at first that the
> angelfish would bully my "gold bar" platy, however they seemed to co-exist
> without problems. Next came some 5 Fin Sharks (I was assured by the store,
> and informed by 2 other stores that they would be fine in Freshwater, even
> though I suspected they needed brackish and saltwater. Unfortunately, it
> turns out either I was right, or they both mysteriously died after roughly
> the same length of time (I'd say roughly 3 months?) and acting weird), and
> then the tetras previously mentioned.
> <I have no idea what "Fin Sharks" might be. Sciades seemanni is sometimes
> sold as the White-fin Shark or Black-fin Shark, and is indeed a
> brackish/marine catfish. Certainly, Sciades seemanni would be totally
> inappropriate for a 20 gallon aquarium. Indeed, 5 of them would need
> something around the 100 gallon mark, minimum. They're big, extremely
> active predators. Let me also say that if you suspect your retailer doesn't
> know about a fish he's selling, why trust him? It costs nothing to e-mail
> us, and if that doesn't appeal, there are plenty of good aquarium books. In
> any event, your tank is way overstocked, and I'm sure the catfish and
> tetras died because of poor water quality rather than anything else.>
-I notice a lot of advice on your site, even on the submit a question page, is to use your search function. I'd much appreciate if you would take your own advice. A simple search on your own site would show you that a 5 fin shark has also been a somewhat common name for "Sciades Seemanni".
<<Never, ever come across this name for them. All sharks have 5 fins (at least) so it's a pretty unhelpful name. Honestly, I literally wrote the book on brackish water fishes, and never came across this name. I've learned something today. Thanks!>>
I never said how many of these I had, although it's to my understanding you took it as a "fin shark" and not a "5 fin shark". I did not have 5 of these, that would be crazy.
<<Crazy to you perhaps. But not for the fish. These are schooling fish, and it is very common for singletons to become neurotic, spending all their time treading water in one corner. I don't really know what you want me to say here.>>
Other than the 5 Fin being sold as a freshwater fish, I've yet to see any reason NOT to trust them.
<<THAT isn't enough? They sold you a big, predatory (and venomous!) brackish/marine fish and told you it'd be fine in your small freshwater aquarium? How much do you want them to mislead you before you'll pick up a book and double check their pearls of wisdom?>>
It's to my understanding an inch of fish per gallon of water?
<<This is a very misleading rule. Think about it. An adult Great White Shark is around 15 feet long, or 180 inches. Neon tetras get to about 1.5 inches. So 120 of them would measure 15 feet. Which do you think needs more space? The Neons or the Great White Shark? Even allowing for the fact Sciades seemanni is rather smaller, let's say 12 inches when full grown, a single specimen is still going to need more space than 8 Neon Tetras, right? Even though 8 Neons would measure 12 inches laid end to end. The inch-per-gallon rule really only works with very small fish: Neons, guppies, Danios, and so on. Anything substantially larger and it's useless.>>
Going by that, my tank is not overstocked at the moment.
Thank you for your concern. Also, my water quality is fine. I do happen to test it. Again, thanks for your concern however.-
<<No problem.>>
> When the tetra's were first introduced, they stuck together and attempted
> to nip the platy. It took a few days, however they ended up co-existing and
> I haven't seen the tetras nip again.
> <"Haven't seen" doesn't mean it doesn't happen.>
-I understand that, however it means that it's happening less frequently than before as before I saw it all the time, and now I never see it.-
<<Fine. I don't need to win any arguments here.>>
> An Oto became caught in the same ornament that one of the initial Platies
> became caught in and passed away within the last 3 months.
> <Again, I doubt this ornament goes around snapping up fish that swim by;
> think about why fish are getting weak, and act accordingly.>
-Not once did I say that an ornament was snapping up fish. You've managed to get lost once or twice, no?-
<<Forgive me, I was merely using idiomatic English to suggest something in a humorous way. But just to be clear, my point was that the fish wasn't killed by the ornament. It most likely died (or was moribund) and then ended up in the ornament.>>
> Today, my girlfriend decided to get some fish for her aquarium and while
> there I decided to pick up 2 more Platies (As at this point with the
> exception of the angelfish and goldfish, everything else had "playmates"),
> <What are "playmates"? A fish is either solitary or else a schooling
> species kept in groups of 6+ specimens. There's no "playing" involved.
> Please, don't apply human thinking to animals. For one thing, animals
> resent it. They have their own wants and concerns. And secondly, most of
> what we think we know about human behaviour is rubbish anyway, which is why
> we have wars, crime, crooked politicians and other such plagues.>
-Unless you've a device to communicate with animals, then I do not believe you can factually make the remark that animals resent humans applying human thought to them. Secondly, how can animals "resent" something, because according to what you said just a sentence before that, they hate when people apply human thought to them. Resent being a human thought and all. Not to mention that cats play, dogs play, etc. They're animals, and yet they clearly play.-
<<Again, I was merely trying (and failing) to be humorous. Fish at least don't play, with one (questionable) exception among the Mormyridae. So far as scientists can tell, things like chasing aren't play behaviour, but assertions of dominance within the school, or whatever.>>
> and 6 Beckford Pencilfish as there was a sale for the two types of fish.
> Before this addition to the fish, everything lived peacefully. My angelfish
> is about the size of a Canadian Toonie, possibly SLIGHTLY larger. It has
> not had an aggressive attitude towards any of it tank mates. After today's
> addition, the angelfish will occasionally attempt to nip at the batman
> platy (Which is rather small, and although the angelfish is pretty small,
> it's still roughly 2-3 times larger) however it leaves the coral platy and
> gold bar alone completely. The Pencilfish seem to be having no problem
> either, and one of them is roughly the size of the now-bullied platy.
> concerned as the batman platy is floating at the bottom (Almost looks dead)
> but seems to be hiding.
> <Stress, poor water quality, wring water chemistry... could be any number
> of things. Male Platies are bullies, and you should have at least twice as
> many females as males. Water quality should be good: zero ammonia and zero
> nitrite. Water chemistry should be hard (10+ degrees dH) and basic (pH 7.5
> to 8). Water temperature should be quite cool, around 22-24 C. This is
> ideal for Corydoras, but too cold for Angelfish and most tetras, which is
> why Platies aren't ideal companions for such fish. Do READ about fish
> before purchase. I'd have a lot more hair on my head if I didn't get so
> worked up reading e-mails like this one!>
-Stress might be possible, water quality is fine, and the platy has been he bullied so far, not the bully. Again, the only thing that may be wrong is the temperature, however I've had a platy living in this temperature or a year now and it's as healthy as can be from what I see. Again, not everything is going to be ideal in real life yet people, animals, etc. adapt.-
<<Up to a point, yes. But adapting to something doesn't mean they're functioning at full efficiency. Humans can (and do) survive on poor diets, with poor drinking water, and so on. But the less good these things are, the more prone they are to disease. When we keep fish together we're already trapping them in much smaller volumes of water than they'd inhabit in the wild. Things like water quality and oxygen availability are much lower than in the wild. This is why fish get sick, at least most of the time. Every little thing you do to optimise conditions reduces the chances of sickness. Conversely, every deviation from optimal conditions increases the chances of sickness.>>
> I know the angelfish has not been getting to the platy very often, as it
> was chased into this corner almost immediately after being introduced to
> the tank, and the angelfish has been unable to get at it. So I know that
> the angelfish has not caused any physical damage as of yet. Can I expect
> the angelfish to settle down within a few days, as the tetras did when they were first introduced?
> <Who knows?>
-Well seeing as you've criticized on everything else I said, and I'm emailing you, I ASSUMED you would.-
<<I'm simply saying that on the basis of the data given, I can't assure you that the Angelfish will settle down. It might, it might not.>>
> Why is it only aggressive towards the "batman" platy?
> <No idea.>
<<I try.>>
> Note: I just fed them (I made sure the platy got food, it did eat a fair
> amount) and the angelfish is now nipping at anything that tries to take
> "it's" flake of food. The angelfish will drag a piece into a corner and
> nibble on it and if anything comes near the flake they will seem to charge
> at them, then go back to their flake. Once done feeding, the angelfish went
> back to living harmoniously with everything other than the batman platy.
> <Oh.>
> Also, while I'm asking, my goldfish continually churns up the gravel at
the bottom of the tank with its mouth, and it actually seems to be "eating"
or "sucking" on the gravel before spitting it back out. I read online that
> this is normal, but I know not to believe everything you read online.
> Should I be concerned at all?
> <Is normal.>
-Thank you.-
<<No problem.>>
> Thank you very much in advance. -- -Kyle
> <Oh boy, you have some work to do. And you need some much better
> fishkeeping habits. Try reading about fish, and understanding more about
> how an aquarium works. Fewer fish will die. Cheers, Neale.>
-I understand how an aquarium works, thanks though.
<<Up to a point perhaps. But the fact you don't understand the inch-per-gallon rule implies you have some gaps in your knowledge.>>
And if we're going to try and nitpick reasons for why fish are dying, without any credible information, I'd like to say that maybe if you were a little more concerned with reading my email, searching your own site, and helping my situation, fewer fish would die.
<<I think if you go back and look at the (surely) thousands of messages I've answered, most folks have been appreciative of what I've told them. We aren't paid to do this. We're volunteers. You didn't pay me to be nice. You asked me to offer some advice. A favour from me to you. I did that. If you don't like the advice, you are more than welcome to go elsewhere. If you're looking for someone to sell you more fish and more magic potions and products, your retailer will be only too happy to see you. But I happen to put the fish first, and wanted to share some useful advice with you.>>
Of course, I'm no fish expert, and I don't claim to be,
<<Luckily, I am an expert.>>
however I've had aquariums before containing various fish, and never had a problem once.
<<Good for you!>>
I know Angelfish are aggressive, especially as they get larger, however I did not understand why it would only attack one fish in the whole aquarium.
<<Sexually mature males especially are territorial. Yours may well be genetically (or otherwise) stunted somehow, and older than it looks. So now it's throwing its weight around.>>
I understand some fish are schooling fish, but by your knowledge that fish hate being personified, they don't get lonely.
<<Didn't say they become melancholy and cry themselves to sleep. But schooling fish are nervous when kept singly, and more likely to exhibit abnormal behaviours, sometimes aggression, sometimes shyness. They are more likely to get sick, less likely to show their best colours, and unlikely to live their full lifespan.>>
Schooling fish, although ideal with 4-6+, will live with even a single one there.
<<Says you. But I suspect you're merely rationalising. No-one else who knows anything about fish would agree with you. But whatever.>>
Which, I've tried to keep more than one, and a few of these incidents have occurred. I await your response, and I hope it's more helpful/educational than this one was.
<<Simply because I'm not telling you what you want to hear doesn't mean I'm wrong. Indeed the fact I have a zoology degree, a PhD, write for aquarium magazines the world over, cover healthy topics for FishChannel.com, and have an aquarium book to my name might just suggest I have a little knowledge. But you're free to ignore all of that and keep the fish however you want.>>
I apologize for the late reply, I've been rather busy lately.-
<<Hope this clarifies things, and good luck with your fish. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Aggressive Angelfish
Thank you. I found this much more informative than the last email.
I much appreciate the time and effort you have taken to reply to this, and you've helped me realize a few things such as the "inch of fish per gallon" rule and such.
<Glad I could help.>
I apologize if I seemed snappy, I didn't mean to, and I apologize,
<Unnecessary, but thank you.>
I forgot that you read many emails a day. Thank you again.
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale!>

Angelfish Compatibility Question 1/15/10
Dear Crew,
<Hi! Melinda with you here tonight.>
First I'm going to say that you have a wonderful site that I have found many answers to fish keeping.
<I am always astounded at just how much information there is on WWM.>
However, I'm 12 years old, so I will thank you to take me seriously.
<I'd do nothing else -- especially since you are obviously treating the situation with the same seriousness!>
Currently I have a 29 Gallon aquarium with some Amazon Swords and Java Ferns in it. I have 4 Glowlight Tetras, a single female guppy, and lot of guppy fry. My question is how many Angelfish can be added to this aquarium and will they eat my Glowlights?
<I'd add one Angel here, for two reasons. One, I think this volume, along with the tankmates, sort of leans toward only one Angel. The second reason is that unless you were able to obtain a mated pair, the aggression between two Angels in a tank this size would likely turn bad for the weaker one.
Angels are surprisingly territorial, as well, so there would not only be danger toward another Angel, but any tankmate. This doesn't even stop with a mated pair, in fact -- my pair goes from loving each other to really hating each other, day in and day out! I'd say go for one here, and watch him or her grow big and beautiful. It'll be completely worth it!>
I've had them for 4 years
and my parents won't be thrilled that they became lunch.
<The Glowlights should be fine. I have noticed that my Glowlights tend to be pretty pushy at mealtime, and this gives them little fat bellies! Thus, they're not as thin as, say, a Neon would be, and their maximum size, lengthwise, puts them at the bottom of the list of potential Angel food.
Since these guys have had a head-start, having already been in your tank, there should be no problem. However, with the Glowlights on the bottom of the list, the Guppy fry will be on the top! This is a common method of population control for some folks who keep livebearers, and there's certainly nothing wrong with it, but I wanted to make sure you were aware.
The Angel will likely eat a good portion of the fry.>
P.S. My 29 Gal came in a kit, with filters, heaters, etc. the filter is rated at 30 gal a hour? Is this enough?
<What you want to be looking at here is the filter's stated turnover -- how many gallons it moves per hour. This information may not be listed on the filter itself, and if you no longer have the box, a quick Google search with the name and model of the filter should reveal this information.
You're ultimately aiming for a filter that turns the tank's volume over six times per hour or more. So, if you search and find that the filter you have isn't strong enough, you could buy another hang-on-back filter and add it to the tank to achieve this turnover. There's also a hidden benefit here -- if you change the cartridge in one filter one month, and then change the other filter's cartridge in the next month, you're doing a lot to preserve the beneficial bacteria that create the biological cycle us fishkeepers are so dependent upon. Also, if one filter happens to die, you've still got another one, and the situation is a lot less of an emergency! So, I think this would be a good idea, anyway. Please feel free to write back if you have any questions!>
Thanks for your help!
<You're welcome!
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, then, Algae issues, now, back to Angel care! 1/16/10

Thanks! Well, this is probably my final questions, because Ill probably be asking more when the Angel arrives.
<Okay. Do check out what WWM has about Angels:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwangelfishes.htm and those linked files above the title of the article.>
But do I really need dither fish or is it okay for the angel to just hide?
<Your Glowlights will serve as dithers; even if there were no other fish, I doubt your Angel would just hide. They are not shy fish in the least!>
Currently I only have flakes, and I'm still talking to my parents for wet frozen foods. Should I first use guppy fry (I am willing to sacrifice many small lives for n expensive and beautiful one!) as a beginning food to help the angel get out of its timidness?
<Likely won't be timid. If this was a wild-caught fish, then steps might need to be taken in order to ensure it began eating, settled in, etc., but the typical Angel you'll find in the pet store is the product of generations of captive breeding, and doesn't have a lot of special needs.>
Thanks a lot for all of your response. I'm the only one that knows how to keep fish in my family and there's only so much I can learn from books. I will tell you when I might get the angel! I might have to wait until the temp in Wisconsin is a bit warmer.
<Sounds great. Make sure and read everything WWM has to offer about Angels -- they are such a popular fish that there are pages and pages of archived queries. There's a chance you'll find answers to questions you hadn't even thought to ask yet! Good luck with your fish and please write back if you can't find the answer to a question.
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, and FW alg. contr. 1/16/10
Dear Melinda
Thanks for your extremely fast reply. I'm actually quite surprised that the response was so quick.
<Not a problem!>
Just to tell though, the guppy fry are in a plastic box that floats at the top of the tank. Actually, I may release some of the fry as live food...
Not to be cruel or anything, I just don't want my tank to be so filled with fish.
<Oh, okay. Yeah, if that's what you want to do. That's why I said that some folks who keep livebearers do use this method in order to control population.>
So since you said I could get one, could I get a pair or anything?
<I'd really stick with the one. As I said, even a pair will turn on each other at times, and then there's a surprising amount of violence! In this small volume, with nowhere to escape, the weaker one would be killed, I'm afraid. Also, there is the issue of finding a pair, and ensuring they are a pair, and then even whether they'll be a pair when they move from the seller's tank to yours! In addition, two full-grown Angels are going to represent a relatively heavy bioload for you, and since you haven't got filtration quite hammered down yet, I think stocking lightly is the thing to do. Like I said, I think finding the best Angelfish ever and allowing him or her to inhabit the tank solo is best here.>
Also, I just noticed, (I was checking the tank) and I found what looks like... Dark brown circles on my swordplant leaves? I think they may be... Beard algae? How do I get rid of it? (I have tried restricting light, underfeeding, but it seems to grow back...)
<Dark brown circles? Like the leaf itself is becoming discolored? This doesn't sound like algae... but more like a problem with the leaf itself.
Try reading here on Algae:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_6/volume_6_3/fwalgae.html. As for beard algae, I have six Amazon Swords in my planted tank, and all of them were quite furry until I introduced CO2. However, that was only after I'd ruled out problems with lighting, overfeeding, lack of water flow, etc.
So, I'd first figure out what this is (hopefully the above article will help) and then we can move forward on figuring out how to fix it. A photo would help, too. If anything, do a quick Google search on WWM for "beard algae.">
Thanks really, really, really, much!
<You're really, really, really welcome!>
P.S. I know I sound like a fish geek,
<If you're a fish geek, then what am I? Hehehe!)
but I want the aquarium to go right. The fish I have right now are survivors of many mistakes. My Amazon swords have leaves growing out of a stalk and are growing roots... Can I remove them?
<Yes, if that's what you'd like to do. However, the brown spots (is that what you're referring to here?) may not, in themselves, be cause for removal, but if you'd like to make your life easier, then remove them!
It's totally up to you -- your tank, your fish, your choice!>
And again, thanks very, very, much and sorry for the extremely long message.
<You're welcome, and don't worry about the length in the least.
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question
Hello, again...
Oh dang, I hope I'm not being annoying are anything...
<Don't worry.>
Well you see, its not the problem with the leaf. I checked.
<So you're sure this is algae? Have you made a positive ID based on what I sent you? I know you suspected beard algae, which is usually, at the very least, easy to manually remove.>
However I wanted to know if the angelfish would eat flake. If so, that's great.
<Yep, he or she will eat flake just fine, but no one is going to mind (and in fact, will be beneficial) if you added in some wet-frozen foods. San Francisco Bay Brand makes a food called Freshwater Frenzy. It's got bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, Spirulina, and some other goodies. The tetras would love this, as well. Feeding wet-frozen foods helps avoid digestive issues and just makes for a more interesting meal, I'm sure.
Even if you can't find this particular food, any of those ingredients would be tasty to your fish.>
And the guppy fry is the product of my own guppies. My parents would never allow me to buy fish only to have them eaten.
<Well, this makes a lot of sense! But, as we discussed, if you're not trying to breed guppies in large numbers, merely trying to have guppies as pets, this is a good method of controlling the population. The Glowlights, as stated, should be fine.>
The java fern is not buried. I sort of dropped it into the substrate.
<Is best for this type of plant -- that the rhizome should not be buried, but either left to sit on top of the substrate, or some folks like to attach the plant to driftwood/rocks, etc. But this is a fine way to keep the plant.>
And you said I could use scissors and cut off the stalks were the new swords were growing and plant them somewhere else?
<No, I don't remember saying this at all! I'm not sure what you're referring to by "new swords" -- swords don't split at the root in order to reproduce, but send out long "runner" looking stems and then the new plants grow on the runners. I've read that these are usually near the substrate, but all of mine seem to grow right out into the water, toward the light.
Either way, if you're not looking at a situation like that, the part you plant is not likely to grow a new plant. You can remove the leaves, if they're looking kind of sickly or something, by either cutting them at the base of the leaf, or just pinching off the stem from the rest of the plant.>
And (at this point you must think I'm a nerd...) I should remove the leaves that are effected my algae right?
<No, you don't have to. Back when I was dealing with the dark green, fuzzy algae, I simply removed the algae itself. Or, as we sort of talked about earlier, and the reason I linked you to the article on algae, you can figure out why the algae is there, take care of those issue, and then allow the algae to die off on its own, and then manually remove it.>
Final question: can I trust algae eaters or are they just scams to make money?
<Well, the fish themselves are nice enough, but no fish/snail/shrimp should be purchased with a "job" in mind. So, I don't think an algae eater is going to be your best ticket here, as any addition to the system simply adds bioload, and you're still in the process of stocking the tank with fish you actually want! I'd go back to the drawing board, here, and read up on algae, and test for Nitrate, and start messing around with the amount of time you've got the light on, etc... just sort of ruling out any of the contributing factors to algae growth.>
I thank you very much to reply to my messages. Hope I'm not getting annoying with all these replies.
<Again, not a problem. I think that right now, research is your best friend, as well as getting filtration up-to-par for the stock you eventually plan to keep, if it's not already, testing for Nitrate and getting that under control, if it's not already, etc.>
I hope I can persuade my parents to get the angelfish soon!
<Me, too! I think it would be a great addition to your tank.>
From, the 12 year old noob fishkeeper.
<--Melinda, the somewhat-older-yet-always-a-noob-fishkeeper>
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, now, Algae issues
Thanks for the tips!
<You're welcome!>
I've been wondering, some of my guppy fry have bent tails and stuff. I know it was natural, but out of the 21 fry I had, now I have 15 because of the deformities. Is this natural?
<Folks who breed guppies on purpose keep detailed records of which fish breed and where those fish came from in order to avoid inbreeding. The bent spines suggest to me that you possibly have fry breeding with fry from the same parents, or something like that, especially if your guppies came from the same batch at the fish store, meaning they were possibly siblings.
Another suspect for deformation in fry is water quality. Do you test your water? This is absolutely necessary, especially in situations where breeding is occurring, because fry are more susceptible to poor water quality than adults.>
the Amazon Sword has a green stalk going all the way to the surface. At a certain point the stalk stops growing and little leaves start growing out of the sides. Below the leaves I find some brown-green seeds, and sometimes white roots. I hope this is not a bad sign... because both of my swords have the stalks.
<This kind of sounds like the runners I was referring to. Yes, the plants do grow on the runners, and do grow roots... at that point, you can trim them off of the runners and re-plant.>
In my old 5 gal tanks, that had the fish I have now, (I know, I know, they should have been in a bigger tank...)
<And now they are!>
I tried to have plants, and on some websites that said that Ramshorn snails sometimes or always eat algae? But all I got was my plants being eaten by the snails.
<Haha I had the same experience when I first began keeping fish. I wasn't buying the snails to remedy algae, but simply because I thought they looked cool (and they are neat-looking snails). But, they began to feast on my plants!>
Is this a typical newbie fish keeper being deceived by the employee at the PetSmart?
<Well, I hesitate to say "deceived." You didn't know, and there's a chance the employee didn't know, either, but didn't want to look uniformed, so just agreed with you! Yet another reason why research before purchase is always best.>
I've been changing 25% water ever since the algae showed up.
<How often? What is your Nitrate level?>
My biggest worry is that the brown clumps on the leaves will kill the plants and my parents will be all discouraged again.
<I would attempt to pull these clumps off. It has worked for me in the past, though it is labor-intensive. There's only so many leaves you can remove before the plant starts to suffer.... as I'm sure you know, a good deal of "eating" is done through the photosynthetic process. This is why I turned to manual removal of the algae, and then, finally, to CO2. I would then begin to do as stated previously, and rule out all possible causes of the algae problems... It might mean leaving the light on less, keeping plants that are faster-growing... it could be any number of things. As for your parents, I'm sure they'll understand that nothing happens quickly, and the obvious value of your interest, research toward a goal. As it happens, for one of my college classes, I am in the process of designing a mock course for folks just your age to learn about fishkeeping in a museum-type setting! Though the course I'm designing is only a hypothetical situation, your interest, along with a looming deadline, has really inspired me to start writing that paper!>
Oh, yeah, on previous FAQs about angels someone said they were all of the same species? But does that make one strain hardier than another?
<It all comes down to genetics. In the wild, Angels enjoy the process selecting a mate based on certain attributes that they instinctively understand lead to better offspring. In captivity, humans make these choices for them. We select for totally different things than the wild fish would! And, so, this affects a lot of things. I would not say, for example, that Koi Angels are hardier than Blushing Angels. If you find a good breeder with good stock, then that's about the best you can do.
Angels, though, on the whole, are fairly hardy fish. Keep in mind that water quality is everything here. If your water quality is poor, you'll begin to see evidence of this in the fish themselves. Testing your water weekly means that your fish don't have to be the canary, so to speak, in the mine -- you know before the problem escalates, and you can take action to remedy the situation. Feeding a good variety will also help your fish look as good as it can, as can being selective about tankmates, and ensuring that their beautiful, flowing finnage isn't in danger of being nipped. All of these things sort of factor into the final picture.>
Thanks, again, and again, and again!
<You're welcome!>
From, the constant question asking, newbie fishkeeper.
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, now, Algae issues
I wonder if other people reply so much, It must be very busy to answer FAQs.. So I thanks you.
<Again, you're welcome!
The guppy fry are in a 0 ammonia, 0 nitrate water.
<0 Nitrate? Is this a typo? Either you mean Nitrite, or there's something wrong with the cycle. Most freshwater tanks have some Nitrate.>
I think the reason, thanks for telling me, is that I probably have siblings breeding with each other. (ewwwwwwwww now I'm glad guppies aren't human...)
<Yes, it's a good thing! If you'd like to seriously breed guppies, I'd recommend being a bit more stringent with who meets who!>
I guess I will turn the deformed ones into live food. And thanks for the conformation, I will at a certain point replant the baby swords. I also don't have Co2 remover, so I guess Ill turn the light on in the morning, and when I come back from school, (7 hours later) ill turn the light off?
<Yes, well the CO2 is actually an added gas... not removed... the plants "breathe" CO2, the same way land plants do, and then they release oxygen, which is good for the fish! I wasn't trying to suggest you add CO2, only stating that after I'd tried everything else, CO2 turned out to be my answer. May not work for everyone at all! There's a lot of reading to be done on planted tanks... think about it! You're creating an ecosystem!
This thing, in this glass box, is a little world... and there's just as much going into it as is going into the various ecosystems of the world that make those work. 7 hours is a good time period to start with. You don't have to do it when you're not home, though -- how much fun is that??
See if your parents will buy you a timer -- they cost about ten bucks -- or if you can afford one for yourself. Then, the light can come on sometime before you get home, and go off sometime before you go to bed. That way, you get to watch the tank with the light on, and the time is always on for the same period.>
And, you better hurry with that paper...never procrastinate. I learned that lesson the hard way...
<Haha, I'm a senior... believe me, I've learned it by now, for sure. I've just had some things happen over this break which really, actually precluded me from working on this paper! It'll get done... they always do!>
By the way, were are you doing your presentation? It would be ironic if I was in that group if kids...
<Well, you kind of are! The paper is based on a plan I would present to a museum in order to get classes created to teach young people about fishkeeping, because it is such a rewarding experience. There aren't any real people, it's just a paper and a plan I'm writing, but you are one of the folks I'm thinking of when I'm writing this stuff... people who are interested in and find fishkeeping rewarding, and want to be better at it (don't we all?)>
In my 5 gal, the snails have strategy, which sort of scares me. They wait until lights out, then attack the base of the plant. By morning they stop eating and try to be innocent.
<Ahh, yes... guilty snails!>
I give them 2-3 days and the plants completely dead... So now in my present tank, every snail I see, I throw outside into the snow =). I think Ill get any angel that's available....
<Do take your time in choosing the best one you can find. Unlike some Cichlids, an Angel's color is pretty much the same as he grows into adulthood, in my experience. So, pick a really nice juvenile, and feel confident that if you provide all you can, you can expect him or her to grow into a beautiful adult!>
Thanks for your quick answering and patience!
<Not a problem...>
And I'm hoping that the rest of the crew isn't complaining that I send too many emails.
<Haha don't worry!>
from, the question asking noob fishkeeper. Lol
Re: Angelfish Compatibility Question, now, Algae issues 1/16/10

Thanks for the tips!
<You're welcome.>
Wow. I usually spend 1 hour a day reading on WWM. I think I'll slowly shorten the time the light. I have this UV that a old employee owned store recommended me. It works, but I also think that it also worked too well. I have... Brown, green, beard, fuzzy, and maybe the green slime. Too much excess light I think.
<Also review that article I linked you to previously for the myriad of other causes of algae... it can really take a while to figure out what's going on.>
The online order say that you get a mixed angelfish. It could be any. So you might get a really cool one, or a really lousy one. Since angelfish's color doesn't change, Ill rather try to find it at a petstore.
<Oh, okay, I get it now. I wouldn't bother ordering this fish online -- Angels are easy to find, and shipping is usually around thirty bucks or so, even if you're only buying one fish! Much better to scan the pet stores and see who's got what, and even find out if more are due in, before purchasing.>
The 10 gal didn't have any rocks just a forest of hornwort that I had to give away when I moved... Well, that was a long time ago anyway. What's your favorite strain?
<The pair I have is Koi. I like them because they've got so many different colors. The silvers are nice too, though. When you're looking, just make sure and really examine the fish you're thinking of getting for any sort of bumps, lumps, or bruises! Torn fins are okay, and will heal, but you want to stay away from fish with any other physical problems.

Pterophyllum (compatibility, breeding behaviour) 6/26/09
Hello All
So I have a 55 g setup, established, running for a year and a half.
Everything is balanced, I do regular water changes. My fish count is a little high, but I have a powerful filter, along with the aforementioned regular water changes. In my aquarium, I have:
1 Ctenopoma acutirostre
3 Pangio kuhlii
4 Corydoras (various)
1 Gobioides broussonnetii
<A brackish/marine fish; doesn't really belong here, and won't live its full lifespan under freshwater conditions.>
1 Ancistrus spp.
1 Macrognathus siamensis
1 Epalzeorhynchos frenatum
3 Kryptopterus bicirrhis
2 Unidentified rainbowfish, most likely Chilatherina bletheri
And, my most recent acquisitions, 2 Pterophyllum scalare
I mainly have a question regarding the angelfish.
<Fire away.>
I plan to get two more, but also give away my E. frenatum, as he is getting too aggressive.
<I'd be very careful about adding more Angels; adult Angels are pair-forming, and unless kept in reasonably large groups (six or more) mated pairs often bully other Angels kept with them.>
I want to possibly breed the angels, and I will have homes for the remaining two that are unpaired.
<Ah, this being the case, I'd get six, let them pair off, and then rehome the surplus four.>
My current two are quarter-size. I do not want my K. bicirrhis being attacked whatsoever, as they are some of my favorite fish in my aquarium. I also understand that the C. acutirostre may eat any young angels, but I can deal with that when the time comes.
<Provided the Angels are deeper than, say, a Congo Tetra, your Climbing Perch will be completely trustworthy.>
So, overall, the question that I put forth from this is: How aggressive are spawning/breeding P. scalare?
<Potentially, very aggressive, and will try to maintain an area of clear space about 30 cm radius around the breeding spot.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

New Community Tank Setup, FW stkg. 9/20/07 Hello, <Good Morning, Terri, Andrea here.> Great informative site, thanks for all the wise advice! <Thanks, I agree.> I am planning to start my first ventures into keeping an aquarium as a hobby and wanted to make sure I was heading in the right direction. I have done lots of research <Excellent! Keep up the research and good work.> on fish compatibility and have so far come up with the following for a 30 or 33 gallon tank. 6 Neon Dwarf rainbowfish, 3 yoyo loaches, 4 angelfish and 3 red honey Gourami's.<The gouramis, while small, may nip the angels and like a slightly higher pH, KH than Angelfish. Likewise, the Angels, unless you cull down to a mated pair, will quickly outgrow a 30-33 gallon tank.> The questions I have are: 1) I have tried to come up with a suitable number of each species to suit them, but I am concerned that I might be overcrowding the tank (and I even read that angelfish and gouramis should be kept more than 3 to reduce aggression.) Are these numbers ok for my tank? <I'd say you are pushing it. I'd suggest starting out with the Yo Yo loaches and Angels. Get 6 juvenile angelfish and wait for a pair to form. Once one does, return the remaining four. Then stock accordingly from there. I feel the dwarf rainbows would be a good addition at that time.> 2) Also I am quite excited to have a heavily planted aquarium. Do you have suggestions for types of plants that would suit these fish species? <In this tank, the Angels are more or less the centerpiece fish. Choose wisely, and choose healthy, nice specimens. Read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwangelfishes.htm and the linked articles at the top of the page. These are South American Cichlids. I'd suggest plants from the Amazon/Pantanal region, where these fish are native. They create a lovely biotope. Have you done your research on what a heavily planted tank entails and are prepared with the proper lighting, substrate, pressurized CO2, and fertilizers? You might look into some planted tank sites online. Try http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com and also the articles on WWM.> 3) I would like to have a fish group that are aware of their outside surroundings and have interesting behaviour, do you recommend replacing the gouramis with 2 of either German Blue Rams or Bolivian Rams? Would they be compatible with this group? <My main concerns with the gouramis is that despite their small stature, they are nippers, and will go after the angelfish. Likewise, they tend to prefer solitary life, and will sometimes turn on each other. This is less common with dwarf honeys, but not unheard of. Also, gouramis are an Asian fish, and I tend to suggest people stay within the same continent when choosing stock. The German Blue Rams and Bolivians however are a good choice for pairing with angels, as they are also peaceful South American cichlids from the same region. But I feel the breeding behavior of both groups (Angels v. Rams) would eventually result in conflict. Choose either Angels or Rams.> 4) Is their a particular order that I should stock my fish after I have cycled the tank or just add all the fish right away? I read that yoyo's can be sensitive so wondering how long (if any) I should wait before adding them. <General rule of thumb is to introduce the most "shy" and "peaceful" fish first. I encourage you to research the behaviors of your stock selection and go from there. I'd start with the Yo yos.> <In closing, with Angelfish (a fantastic choice for a 30 tank if you go with just a pair, also for planted tanks), make the pair your "centerpiece" fish, then stock one or two small groups of schooling fish in a planted aquarium. Stay away from tiny fish, however that will fit easily in an angels mouth. Neons Tetras, for example, are their natural food in the wild. However, the six dwarf rainbows, and perhaps a small school of other, slightly larger, tetras would make a stunning display.> Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you guys. <Most welcome.> Cheers <Back at ya.> Terri <Andrea>

Re: FW Angelfish, Stocking plan, planted tank start up. 7/21/07 Hi Andrea, <Hi Terri!> Thanks for responding so quickly! <No problemo.> This website is great and lots of helpful advice. In regards to your reply about stocking my 30 or 33 gallon tank, I have a few more questions: 1) You suggested getting 6 baby angelfish and wait for 2 to pair up after a year or so, and then take the 4 extra out of the tank. I don't have anywhere to put the 4 extra and the pet store does not take specimens back. Can I just try to buy 2 directly from the store and see if they get along? I know its hard to sex juvenile angels, so also assuming I got 2 males, will they display territorial aggression in a 30 gallon space? <You can always give it a shot, and keep a close eye on them. You want to try to get a mated pair, which is why it is suggested to start with a larger number, and cull down once a pair forms. Also, I'd ask the pet store why they won't take fish back. That is unusual, except with (Gah!) the large chains. Do you have an aquarium specialty, local, fish only store anywhere near?> 2) After considering your advice I will not get Gourami's and rams since I guess my tank would be too small for them to be compatible, but what about 2 Apistogramma fishes? I really would like to get Apisto bitaeniata in particular. I realize they too like rams are South American cichlids but still wanted to know what you thought if there might be a difference if I changed the rams for the Apistos. <Good choice on the Gourami/ram combo. However, Apistogrammas and Angelfish aren't going to get along well either. You'd be better going with angels and gouramis if you must have one of the three (Gourami, ram, or Apisto), but I encourage you to investigate another, non-cichlid, non-nipper option. Angelfish are generally slower moving, slightly nervous, and long finned fish. This should be your consideration when choosing the tank mates.> 3) In addition to the Rainbow neon dwarfs, what about adding platies to the mix? I would like red fish in the tank to contrast against the blue of the dwarfs and shape of the angelfish. It doesn't matter to me if the angelfish eat platy spawn as Im not interested in breeding fish. <I don't see a problem with platys.> 4) If the platies are not a good mix can you recommend another pretty red fish that would go will with my setup? <Platys should be fine. Another good choice would be something like a Serpae or Von Rio Tetra.> 5) I have been reading a lot that clown loaches and angelfish go well together, but I don't want to get clowns as they grow too big. Would a different loach species be better suited compared to the Yo Yo loach? I am also concerned that loaches are from India and like gentle currents and angelfish are from S.A and like still waters, will this be a problem if I put them together? <The loaches would be just fine. I suggest going with something smaller, such as a small school of Botia Sidthimunki or a trio of Botia striata.> Possible revised setup, 30-33 gallons: 6 neon dwarf rainbows <-- Fine.> 2 angelfish <--Fine.> 3 yo-yos <--See above about the loach question.> 2 Apistogramma <--Swap for a pair of dwarf gouramis (preferably honeys) with close attention, or other non-cichlid fish> 5 platies (or less?) <--Fine, but this would be your maximum limit.> <You would be FULLY stocked. Go slowly, and keep up your water changes weekly. Plenty of plants and excellent filtration will be of great help.> Thanks so much again for your help. <Sure thing!> Cheers, <Yep!> Terri

General advice, FW mix of Bettas, Angels, Pictus Cats... 5/12/07 Hi to all the crew at web media, <Hello.> I have a 47.5 gallon tank and currently have 8 platies (all pairs), One male Betta splendens, four Angel fish Genders unknown and 3 pictus catfish (Genders also unknown) could you tell me whether or not in your opinion there could be trouble with the community I have described. <Angelfish have been reported as "fin nippers" with fancy (as opposed to wild-type) Bettas. Angels aren't otherwise "nippy" but when kept with fish as unable to swim as fancy Bettas, they're certainly happy enough to have a nibble. Angels and Pimelodus pictus, on the other hand, are an old, established combo that generally works well.> I did research and seek advice from veteran fishkeepers but would still appreciate feedback from your site and will be very grateful. <Very good. I'd not keep the Betta in there, and would instead swap it for something like lace gouramis or some type of medium-sized schooling fish, like Australian rainbowfish or bleeding heart tetras. But if the Betta is there now, you may as well persevere and just be prepared to remove it if it looks nibbled. Your other problem with Bettas of course is they aren't able to compete for food all that well. Hand-feeding the Betta (easy enough to do) is one option here.> Thanks in advance Victor <Hope this helps.>

Too much flow? Parrot Cichlid, Angel incomp. 4/21/07 Hi, Crew. <Boris/Mark> I have 29 g FW tank with 2 red parrots and 2 angels. <Too small a volume... and incompatible mix...> I'm using 2 filters AquaClear 200. I noticed that all my fish prefer to stay in other side of the aquarium with no filter. Half of my aquarium is almost always empty. Could it be the reason for this is to much flow? Should I remove one filter? Appreciate your help. Excuse me for poor English. Mark <Worth trying... but these two species won't likely live together for long... the Parrots will kill the Angels in time. Bob Fenner>

The truth about Angels and Discus 12/1/06 Hello, <Hi there> your site is very informative - thank you for providing so much useful information. <Welcome> I have a 72 g tank with substrate and plants and am wanting to stock it with a few discus and angelfish. There seem to be two schools of thought here; 1. the two shouldn't mix, and 2. they are ok together. I am aware of the need for frequent water changes and the need discus have for high quality water. <Mmm... will repeat my S.O.P. response re these two cichlid genera... and personal experience>> I've heard more from the no. 1 camp to be sure, but would like to hear from the 2 camp. Surely someone has had positive results having the two species together? <Do know of this, but is a minority experience> If they are raised together from a small size, would they not accept each other? BTW I don't want to breed, just have a nice show tank. I've been told they could be kept together until the angels spawn. I was thinking of getting about 5 discus and 3 or so angels. I have a few bottom feeders in the tank already (Raphael catfish, 2 Horseface loaches and an upside-down catfish - not all Amazonian but seemingly compatible). I will drop this idea if I'm told that there is no way of having the two species co-exist without too many adverse effects. Michaela <There are folks who suggest that disease may be/is easily passed between Pterophyllum and Symphysodon (most noted: Octomita)... but the real issue has been behavioral incompatibility, with Angels almost invariably over-bullying the Discus... causing them to go off-feeding... perishing subsequently from "stress". Bob Fenner>

Angelfish not Compatible w/ Barbs... - 10/18/06 I purchased a medium sized silver angel fish from a reliable fish store a few days ago. <OK - hopefully you quarantined it, even though you find the store reliable...> The first day it looked stressed; difficulty maintaining balance and swimming. By the second day, its balance and strength seemed to improve. It's now the third day and I expect any minute to see it floating. It's been hiding much of the time behind the strip thermometer in the front of the tank. I haven't seen it eat although I provide a variety of food for it (dried blood worms, color bits, shrimp pellets and flake food.) I also have five bleeding heart tetras, six red platys, a rope fish and a few feeder sized guppies. All of the other fish seem happy. <Have you recently tested the water parameters? I'd start buy finding out what the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates are at, along with pH. Also, when you put the fish in the tank, did you slowly acclimate it, or just immediately release it in the tank?> Would a partial water change/gravel vacuuming stress it out more? <Depends on your water parameters - generally, water changes are never a bad thing, however...> What about moving it to another tank (10 gal) by itself for a while? <You should have done this initially. If the fish was harboring some sort of disease, it's now been introduced into your main tank. If the fish still isn't acting well, I would quarantine it ASAP, though. Make sure to provide hiding places (plants, decor, etc.). Also, in the present tank, have you been able to observe if any of the older inhabitants are picking on the new arrival? Especially the barbs - they can be very fin nippy, and the angel, with its beautiful fins, could find him/herself being bullied, which obviously would cause stress. In all reality, angels and barbs should not be housed together.> I called the store where I got it (in a tank by itself) and they said it was healthy and eating well there. <What else would they say?!> Out of the four angels they had, this one seemed most active when I bought it. Now it just hides. <I think you have an incompatible mix of fish here - you will likely have to find a new home for the angel...with peaceful tankmates, not aggressive ones, like barbs.> I have plenty of plants in the tank, but it seems to prefer the thermometer. What should I do? Will it eventually get used to its tankmates or is it more likely to starve to death? <Incompatible. Either set up a suitable species / peaceful community aquarium for the angel or return it to the fish store. Do make sure to research species compatibility before purchasing...check out A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums by David E. Boruchowitz if you haven't yet...> <Good luck, Jorie.>

Jorie Misread Last Email - Apologies All Around. Angel Fish with Tetras... - 10/18/06 I don't have any barbs unless they go by a different name. The 29 gal tank has a rope fish, six platys, five bleeding heart tetras and a few guppies? Which ones are barbs? <I apologize for my mistake, Jennifer - I misread your list. Your stocking scheme seems fine, but whenever a new fish is introduced, you should look out for bullies. Your setup seems good, complete with plants and all for cover, but do make sure no one is harassing the angel.> PS. Chemicals were fine. <"Fine" is subjective - ammonia and nitrites are both at zero, and nitrates no more than 20 ppm (at the very highest?)> I did the water change and moved it to a 10 gal tank with a mild mannered female beta, a glow light tetra (large) and a neon tetra (large). <Sounds like a good idea.> I would have put it by itself but the beta didn't like the turbulent water in the big tank and the rope fish would probably eat the tetras. <I understand; sounds logical.> Angel seems healthier and has started to eat a little food. <Great sign.> It hides behind the plants during the day but swims around at night. I have noticed it's tail seems a bit nipped since I moved it. Territorial tetras? <That would be my first guess. You could try re-arranging the decor, etc. so that the angel isn't so much the "newcomer" - this can work with territorial saltwater fish issues sometimes, so I would think the same theory would hold true in fresh...> I haven't seen any problems but I can't imagine who else could be doing it. Angel doesn't swim as fast as they do. <I agree. Perhaps the tetras can go into the 29? If not, I'm not sure what options you have, besides finding another home for the angel...> Thanks for your advise. Jennifer Pickett <Jennifer, I apologize once again for misreading your initial e-mail - no barbs, I see that now! As you point out, though, the tetras may be bullying the angel - if the re-arrangement doesn't help sort things out, you may have to play "musical tanks" again...best of luck. Jorie>

Sometimes the small fish can be the bullies! 10/24/06 Thanks for your advice. I moved the tetras to the larger tank. One disappeared but the other's doing fine. The angel fish immediately left the corner and began swimming around the whole tank. It's fine with the female Betta. It's amazing how such tiny fish could intimidate such a large one. <I know - never ceases to amaze me. An extreme example of this is the strawberry Pseudochromis (marine fish) - it's one of my favorites, due to its beautiful magenta coloration, but even at its max. size of 1.5 or so inches, not even the hardy clownfish could likely stand up to it! And, as I mentioned, I've got the same phenomenon going on with one of my mollies - a female, at that. After killing her boyfriend (plus being the suspect in a few other molly deaths), she's been relegated to living alone in a 5 gal. hex...> Two days later, I moved the tri-color sharks back to the 10 gallon tank. The platys were bullying them. They're much happier now. Musical tanks worked well this time. Only one tiny casualty. <Sounds like things are going well - sorry you lost the one tetra. Once everything is established, you may be able to add another one, if you like. Good luck! Jorie> Thanks again, Jennifer Pickett

Setting Up A FW Angelfish Tank - 10/14/06 Hi my little brother told me about your site when I told him I wanted to set a freshwater angelfish tank like his. My question is could I put 4 adult angelfish in a B45 gallon Odyssey bow front aquarium. Also what plants do you suggest to use with these fish. Also what kind of tetras do you suggest to house with angels. Thanks -- Sbatiste < Four angelfish will fit quite nicely in that aquarium. I would recommend medium to low light plants like Anubias, java fern, and come Cryptocorynes. Small tetras like Neons may get picked on by the angels. I would recommend larger bodied tetras like rosy, bleeding heart or emperor tetras.-Chuck>

An angel community 9/21/06 Hi everyone I had a couple of quick questions to ask, I was wondering how many of each of these fish could I keep in a 40 gallon planted aquarium, here's the fish: angelfish, German blue rams, true rummy nose tetras. Also would a blue crayfish be compatible with 2 clown loaches, <Ah, no> and 2 gold algae eaters. <I'd seek out other than Gyrinocheilus species here. Some Loricariid... of small ultimate size... Listed on WWM> Thanks --Sbatiste <A pair or two of Angels (should be okay unless they start spawning, likely just a pair of Rams, and a school of what size suits you (for me, 5,7,9) of the Tetras. Bob Fenner>

Breeding FW Angelfish Are Aggressive 8/19/06 Hello Bob and Crew, Ever since one of my angels laid eggs, she has been extra aggressive towards the other one. She was always dominant, but it is getting pretty bad. I figured that if I add in another angel and switch the decor around that would give her more to think about. We have some angels at the pet store where I work that are similar of size but the one I have permission to take is the most aggressive in the tank. Will this be a problem if the new one wants to be the dominant one? I just don't want my angel to get beat up because she's real pretty and all she "can" do is hide in the back corner beneath the plants. Thanks for your help and advice! < Angelfish are cichlids and really don't like other fish around when they have fry or eggs. An over protective mother with guard the eggs from her mate if she thinks that he is going to eat them. Adding more fish will give her more fish to beat up. If she has no mate then reduce the temp to the mid 70's and she will stop breeding and she will not be as aggressive.-Chuck>

Adding FW Angels, Bob's go 7/3/06 How many angelfish can I add to the tank I already have which is 37 gallons and has: - 2 angels - 1 male dwarf Gourami - 1 ram cichlid (pretty sure it's a male) - 2 platys - 2 female pineapple sword tails - 2 Cory cats <Mmm, actually, I would add no more here. The two you have already about "fill up" this space (with growth, age), particularly if they should display reproductive behavior... and force all other fish livestock to the corners... More angels added would almost assuredly bring about this consequence> If I can add any more angels to this tank, I would have to buy angels that are about 3 times smaller than the ones I have in my tank already. My angels are pretty big compared to the ones at the pet store so do you think they would pick badly on the newer , smaller angels I would add? <None IMO> I have a hang on back filter which I converted to a biological filter like the ones they use for ponds and an undergravel filter also. Thank You! <Perhaps another aquarium can be found... Bob Fenner>

Adding Angelfish to A Tank, Chuck's go 6/30/06 Can I add any more angelfish to this setup? If so, how many? 37 Gallon tank - 2 angels (about 3 times the size of the angels I would purchase, is that too big?) - 1 male dwarf Gourami - 1 ram cichlid - 2 platys - 2 female pineapple sword tails - 2 Cory cats - if I would not add any angels, how many Cory cats could I add to make these guys happier, because I understand they like to be in groups of 4 or more. Thanks < The angelfish would eat any livebearer fry that were born in this tank. The "feelers" on the Gourami would be mistaken for food and bitten off. You could add 4 to 5 angels to this tank easy assuming that you have adequate filtration and do regular water changes.-Chuck>

FW Set Up For Long Term 4/6/06 Hi Chuck, Thanks for your quick response. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to save the medium angelfish described before and lost them within 48 hours. The angel that was a fry when placed in the tank is now 1 1/4" and been named Savage by my daughter. In my frustration at losing the fish, I was prepared to take the Pleco and Savage to a LFS and sell or give away the tank and equipment. My wife convinced me to purchase 6 neon tetras which I did almost two weeks ago. Of the six, I lost two. One got stuck to the intake of the carbon filters, and the second died due to an unknown reason. Meanwhile, I've followed your advice with the exception of a quarantine tank. I've been unable to convince my wife that it would be money well spent, but she's starting to agree. I've also removed 200 lbs of the gravel. On the advice of my LFS, I've begun adding 1 Tbsp of kosher salt per 5 gallons of water when doing water changes and added some artificial plants. Tuesday, April 4, twelve 1"-1 1/2" angels, provided by a different dealer than the previous fish, were added of which two didn't make it through the night and two are improving, but they still show signs of stress. The other eight are beautiful, active, and eating well. Current tank conditions: Population: 11 small angels, 4 Neons, 1 large Pleco Ammonia: 0.0 ppm Nitrite: 0.0 ppm Nitrate: 0.0-5.0 ppm Ph: 7.8 Temp: 82 degrees F I'm concerned about the compatibility of the angelfish and the tetras, especially as the angels grow. Should I increase the school size of the Neons until I'm able to purchase and cycle another tank? < Depends on what you ultimately want to do. Adult angels potentially will injure or kill Neons when hungry. In the best case the Neons will be stressed by the larger fish and never really show their colors.> Hopefully, all will do well enough to cause me to deal with the potential overcrowding. I'm beginning to suspect that my Ph is actually higher than my test indicates and have ordered a high pH test kit. Would lowering the pH be good for the fish? < A pH of 7.8 is at the upper end of their range. I would not try and change it unless I was prepared to continue to do this for the long haul. Try and keep the water clean and see how they do with out any pH modification.> I understand from other writings on the website that a consistent pH is most important. However, if I'm able to condition the water in such a way as to make the fishes more comfortable, I'm happy to do it. If yes, what's the best way to proceed? Have I chosen the proper diet for the fish? What else should I be doing to make the lives of the fishes, long, without stress, and disease free while I continue to work at getting a QT tank? Many thanks, Chris < Keep tabs on the nitrates and do not let them exceed 20 ppm. Feed the fish once each day and only enough food so that all of it is eaten in a couple of minutes. Occasionally add some algae wafers for the Pleco, even though the other fish will go after it too.-Chuck> Angels, tankmates and tank size? - 04/05/2006 Hi there <Hello.> I have an established 40gallon freshwater tank which was given to me 8 months ago by my stepfather. It has gone really well so far, no losses (touch wood) and everything seems hunky dory. I'd like to set up an additional tank, using your guides on how to set up - as it completely new to me, but I'm not too sure on which fish to buy. I'd like angel fish and a Plec for definite, if possible, but can you offer some advice on the best tankmates and those to avoid... also how big a tank would I need to keep 2 or 3 angels plus a couple of others? <Mm, can get by with a pair of angels in say a 30 or 40g tank, but do keep in mind that 3 angels will lead to having only 2 angels. These are cichlids, after all, and therefore VERY aggressive during breeding. You could start with a half dozen small ones, and as they pair off, get rid of all but your favorite pair. A Bushynose Ancistrus Plec or any of the smaller, meat-eating Hypancistrus Plecs would do well in a 30 or 40 with the pair of angels. In fact, you could probably do a pair of either the Bushynoses or Hypancistrus (L260 "Queen Arabesque" Plecs are my personal favorite) and breed both the Plecs and the angels in the same system, perhaps. I've seen others do the same. If you do a large enough tank for other tankmates, some of my favorites to suggest are smaller Botia (I like B. striata), Pantodon buchholzi / African butterflies (may need live insects as food), larger livebearers like platies or swordtails, moderately sized, placid tetras like emperors or Congo tetras.... Lots and lots of options for you. I would stay away from other cichlids (except perhaps some of the smaller Apistogrammas if the tank is big enough) and definitely steer clear of any of the "nippy" tetras and the like. I'm sure you'll have fun with this endeavor! All the best to you, -Sabrina>

Angelfish Tankmates - 03/09/2006 Hi to all at WWM. I have recently purchased a new tank and have 4 half marble angelfish. What I would like to know please is if I can keep south American and African cichlids in with them. I have been told they are aggressive so they cannot but according to my books on tropical fish they are only aggressive when spawning. I would really value your advice please on this matter. Thank you Ann < South American dwarf cichlids like Apistogrammas would be fine. Medium sized peaceful cichlids like Festivums and keyholes would also work. Some aquarists also keep some discus and Uarus with them too. African cichlids are much too aggressive and have different water conditions to be put with angelfish.-Chuck>

Angelfish With Cardinal Tetras - 2/28/2006 Hi, I have a 40 gal long planted tank. I am thinking of putting 30 or so cardinal tetras and 6 angelfish in it. My biggest question is are my angels going to eat the cardinal tetras? If you think they will...what other large peaceful swimming fish would you recommend? Thanks Can < The angelfish might try and eat them when they are small. If nothing else they may occasionally pick on them and get and eye or occasional fin. If you are set on the angels then look at emperors, bleeding hearts or diamond tetras.-Chuck>

FW Angelfish aren't Behaving Like Angels 9/24/05 Dear WWM Crew, I read through all the questions on your angelfish page and could not find a question that involved my particular concern. Me and my husband have a freshwater tank, quite large, 20 gallons I think. I have several different types of fish in it, and they all seemed to get along well until recently. I have two angel fish. Both are quite large as I've had them for years. One is a very pretty colour, silver with black stripes, and the other slightly bigger one has faded stripes and is more bluish-gray in colour. They always seemed to get along well, but within the last few months, they are always attacking each other. First the smaller silver one (who is still big in his own right) would constantly attack the other on his neck area, below his mouth. The skin in that area seemed to be torn and was being affected. Eventually that died down, and then the other one, the larger bluish grey one, started constantly attacking the silver one, biting his mouth all the time. Over time, his mouth became red and the skin connecting his mouth to his face became ripped at the sides and he literally had holes on either side of his mouth. I became VERY CONCERNED, as I love that fish above all others. I thought that if this did not stop, his mouth would come off and he would die (I keep saying he, although Im not entirely sure its a he!). So I put a barrier in the tank and isolated the silver wounded angelfish, and kept all other fishes on the right side. Both angels kept trying to bite each other through the plastic, and seemed desperate to get back together. Many mornings we'd wake up and the bluish angel fish would be on the other side of the barrier! We don't know how he got through maybe pushed the plastic to one side and squeezed through, or jumped over the top of the barrier, as the barrier does not read the top of the tank. Every time they would get back together it would be biting time all over again (not constantly, but still very much) and again we'd separate them. At first we thought it was the blue one trying to get to the silver one to attack him, but one time we separated the blue one into isolation and kept the silver one on the right side with the rest of the fishes, and he was DESPERATE to get back to the other side to his mate! If he was weary of being attacked, why would he do that? He kept pushing against the plastic and I though he would hurt himself, so we switched them and put the silver one back on the left side of the tank on his own. He calmed down after that. My questions are: 1.Why are they behaving like this? <Angelfish are cichlids and are very territorial. You may have two males that are disputing territories in a small 20 gallon tank.> 2.Is what they're doing aggressive behaviour? (I don't see how it couldn't be as the silver one's mouth was practically coming off!) < Many times cichlids actually go for things like the eyes but the defending fish intercepts the attack with it's mouth.> 3.Is it because they're too big now? < No doubt they are sexually mature by know and this makes me thing that they may be two males.> 4.Should we remove one from the tank and find it another home? < That would probably be the best long term solution.> 5.If we do remove one (it will probably be the bigger one, because, as I said, I have a fondness for the silver one), is it safe to buy another small baby angelfish and introduce it into the tank (As I love angelfish!)? < Not unless you get a bigger tank. You best bet would be to get six young angelfish. As they grow they will pair up. Each pair can be placed in a 20 gallon tank of their own for spawning.> 6.Should we remove the barrier and keep them together again and see what they do? < They will probably just fight again.-Chuck> I'm sure you have tons of questions, but please reply as soon as possible - this matter is very unsettling!! Many thanks, Waheedan Jariwalla

Marble Angelfish With Community Fish - 10/24/05 Hello My name is Amy. I have a nicely sized marble veiled angelfish, whom recently I noticed is getting coppery/orange hues around her/his eyes and the top of its head and top fin. The fish is at least silver dollar sized, no other symptoms or problems seem to be present. It swims great eats well-happily and voraciously--no change in shape/size/behavior and no one is aggressing it. Just wondering if there may be a problem I need to fix. The tank just got changed, no high ammonia levels. Is there copper in a tank? < The colors you describe are normal for marble angelfish. This is in the genetics of the fish. May be somewhat affected by diet and lighting.> I am moving in the next month and will be giving the fishes to friends and don't want to contaminate their fish in their tanks. < Good idea.> Also, can you have 2 angelfish in a tank that is a 100+ gallons with 2 discus 1 angel fish some guppies/loaches/o-cats? < Angelfish go well in a community tank set up as long as the smaller fish can't be eaten by the angels. I would watch out for the guppies.-Chuck>

Tank Suitability of Angels Hello and thanks to the Crew, I received an answer about my Azie (?) Shrimp, and yes, I think they are definitely taking chunks out of my other fish, in fact I think the big one got one of my Otos ! So back to the LFS I go with them.. My question is, would I be able to introduce 2 small young angels in with my Neons/cardinals, Otos, black widows and soon to be Corydoras sterbai...we have a 240 litre Juwel aquarium all set up for a south American river habitat? The aims is to build up, at the moment we have Otos, 2 Neons (used to be 6 but due to shrimp there are fewer!) Thanks for any response Cheers, Nicola <The angels would be another suspect for eating small fish when they get large enough. -Steven Pro>

Goldfish & Angelfish Hi. I am a beginner at this, and I just purchased a 55 gallon tank. <Well, welcome to this beautiful hobby! May you have much success and enjoyment.> I have 7 goldfish, 1 Pleco, and 2 Angelfish. I was wondering if its okay to have angelfish and goldfish together? <Not really a good idea; goldfish like colder water temperatures, and can contract illnesses more easily in higher temps that the angelfish would need. Also, keep in mind that goldfish get rather large over time, and are very messy fish; your tank is really at its limit with seven goldfish. Goldfish and tropicals together can be done, but one or the other will suffer for it.> the temperature in my tank is 78 right now. <This is fine for the angelfish (though a touch warmer would be better), but not for the goldfishes. Goldfish should be kept closer to 68-70F or thereabouts.> I got my fish at Wal-Mart and they couldn't answer my question. I have a 10 gallon tank also and if The angelfish cant live with the goldfish then I plan on putting them in there. <Well, unfortunately, angelfishes get quite large, too, and a 10 gallon is too small for them. They'll be alright in there for a while, but will definitely need a larger tank in the long run. Basically, you're set with a few options: move the angels into the 10g and plan to upgrade to a 29g or larger; skip the angelfish altogether, and keep the 55g as a coldwater tank (the Plec should be okay down to 70F, I'd think), or skip the goldfish and do a tropical tank with the angels, the Plec, and some other tropicals. If you're feeling adventurous, you might even want to do a small pond for the Goldies, then turn the 55 tropical. Lots of options, but all costing, unless you're willing to give up one or the other.> Thank You. <You're quite welcome. -Sabrina>

Angelfish 'n Platies Crew, I read the post & Sabrina's reply to the reader with an impressive collection of FW fish in a 58G tank. <Say my name, and magically I appear! Sabrina with you, today> Among the multitude of fish in the tank were angels and platies and swordfish. Over the years, I have never had much luck keeping angels and platies/swordtails thriving in the same tank. My daughters have taken over the FW in our house now that I have moved to SW. My 10 y/o wants an angel and a swordfish, but I have resisted so far. <One swordtail wouldn't be a very happy fish - they really like/need to school. Two females (or more) per every one male. At that, one angel wouldn't make for a very happy critter, either, I'm afraid - and angels will eat baby swordtails, so don't plan on raising many. On top of that, two angels in a tank will likely try to breed, and will turn aggressive to their tankmates. I prefer to see angels in larger tanks where they can have space needed to establish territory if they do breed (at the least, a 55 gallon tank, IMO, to try to have other fish with them).> Am I correct in my understanding that their optimal pH and hardness ranges are different enough that it is difficult to keep them together? <I wouldn't think so; platies, swords, and angels have been bred in captivity long enough that they can tolerate a very wide range of pH and hardness. Angels will tolerate pH much lower than the platies and swords, and the platies and swords can go with a much harder, alkaline water than the angels. Platies and swords can even go brackish. But I definitely think there's enough neutral ground to keep them together (as long as you're not dealing with wild stock).> Also, the fish guy at the local Petco tells me that the hardiness and general health of the swords and platies available at retail had been going down in the past few years, probably from genetic problems. <Likely true. The same can be said for guppies and mollies, as well, I would think. Too much selective inbreeding without taking care to add in fresh genes.> I've been hearing similar concerns about angels recently - too much inbreeding for certain desirable traits leading to problems with other genes. <Exactly. I've even seen in stores in the last couple of years angels with very significant deformities - missing or malformed fins, malformed heads, etc. If possible, try to get angels from good, reputable breeders instead of from stores where some of the angels exhibit deformities.> Thanks, Steve

Angel Finds Neons a Tasty Treat (4/22/04) Hello - I cannot thank you guys enough for the awesome website! <It's an honor to play a small part. Steve Allen here tonight.> I've had a planted 29 gallon freshwater tank running with only an Angel (about 4 inches) and a balloon bellied molly for quite a while. All of the other fish died of velvet and these two were the survivors. Today I decided that the tank could use some new inhabitants and I really wanted small schooling fish. I purchased a 3 pack of neon tetras and finished acclimating them about 2 hours ago. Unfortunately my 3 pack is now a 1 pack and my Angel fish now has a pot belly, so he got a very colorful snack. <Tasty too.> I really want to keep some sort of schooling fish in this fairly small tank. My question is if I buy more of the neon tetras will they have a better chance of survival in a bigger school (maybe 6-9 of them to create confusion) or am I just buying an expensive snack? <Number two. The Angel will pick them off one-by-one in that small tank.> Are there other small schooling freshwater fish that are better at escaping or a bit bigger so they wont fit in the angels mouth? <Not small ones. You could put maybe 4 or 5 somewhat larger tetras such as Lemon or Serpae. These ought to be OK, but since your Angel is already rather large, start out with near-adult size ones. Another possibility would be Golden or Cherry Barbs, but these could get a little too big. The angel will continue to grow somewhat bigger, so you need to be careful not to put too many other fish in there.> Thanks in advance for the advice :) <Hope this helps.>

Angelfish puffer fin damage Hello...I have a question about fresh water Angelfish...My son bought a green spotted puffer and put it in the tank with his other fish...it proceeded to bite one of the long feeler like fins over half way off. My question is will this feeler or fin grow back...? the puffers are now history and live across the street so there is no other problem with them. I was just kind of worried about the angel at this time...I hope you can help...thanks Echoe < Your angelfishes fins will grow back, just not as straight and not as long. AS you have already found out, puffers have teeth and like to use them on slower tankmates.-Chuck>

Angelfish and Gourami aggression Hi there! Great website! I just got a brand new 20 gallon aquarium. I have a few dwarf gouramis and a couple of tetras. I also have a young ghost angel fish. The angel fish is constantly nipping at my gouramis, although they are pretty much the same size. I was wondering if there is a certain type of fish or group of fish that I can get that will reduce the aggressiveness of my angel. Thanks, < The long feeler type of ventral fins of most gouramis look very much like hanging worms to many fish. You could add some "dither fish" to the tank. There function is to distract the more aggressive fish so they don't pick on the slower more peaceful species. Peaceful fast moving tetras like rosy's or bleeding hearts may be worth a try. Your angelfish eventually will get larger and you may have to make a decision on which ones you want to keep.-Chuck> Kathryn

Possible angelfish tank-mates Hi there, Thanks for your recent help with the guppy fry... I now have a question about angelfish which I'm sure you can answer if you have the time..... My girlfriend and I are soon to be setting up a tank for angelfish, and would like some suitable tank-mates. After browsing the web and learning that angels are compatible with dwarf-medium South American cichlids of similar temperament and size. Our local fish stores stock both keyhole and Firemouth cichlids (amongst others), would these be suitable? < Keyholes yes, Firemouths no.> Are there any other common cichlids that the angels would get along with? <Sure, Lots of dwarf cichlids in the genus Apistogramma and rams, Kribs to name a few.> Also, I was thinking maybe a small herd of bronze Corydoras to keep the tank clean, are there likely to be any problems there? < No all sounds good until they decide to breed. Cichlids like angels are easy to breed and when they do they chase all the other fish away from their eggs and fry.-Chuck> Cheers! Liam

Re: Possible angelfish tank-mates Hello I'm just following up a question you answered for me *see below) i was just wondering if, when mentioning Kribs you meant the Krib sold under that name (don't know what the Latin name is, sorry!), or the Pelvivachromis taeniatus, or if both types of fish are suitable tank mates for angels. The Pelvivachromis taeniatus are beautiful! < The old name for the fish I was referring to was Pelvivachromis kribensis or "Kribs for short as a trade name. The current name is P. pulcher. Any fish from the group Pelvivachromis would be a fine tank mate for your angelfish.-Chuck> thanks, Liam

Goldfish and angelfish Hi, I have had my goldfish for over two years now, I change their water every month and feed them every other day, and they were in a 2 gallon tank. <Hi there...Jorie here. A 2 gallon tank is an extremely small space for even one goldfish...how many did you have living in there? While I congratulate you on not over-feeding (something that leads to poor water quality very quickly), the reality is that goldfish are quite messy and produce a lot of waste, and you probably should have been changing this water at least twice per week.> About two weeks ago, I got a 10 gallon tank, and my fish are fine. <Great to hear...I'm sure they appreciate the additional space! Do keep up on the water changes, though...50% twice per week at a minimum, in my opinion.> But now I wanted some more fish in the tank, <Well, I think you were pretty full to capacity already...> I went to a fish store and I got 2 angelfish and two snails. I asked a man about adding angelfish to my goldfish, he said that I shouldn't mix the two, but he said that they both might be ok. <Definitely should not be living together, as you are dealing with cold water vs. tropical fish. Totally incompatible.> I know that goldfish are to have 65-70 degree water and angelfish 75-82, but my goldfish are spoiled and they are always in 74 degree water (they have been for the two years, and they are doing fine) I would like to know is it ok for me to add the angelfish since I have the two snails (which will clean the tank) and since my goldfish like warmer temp.? <I would absolutely recommend against adding the angels. Perhaps you can enjoy watching your goldfish relish in their additional swimming room in their new tank? They will lively behave much more actively now. Maybe change the decor if you are dying to try something new? Plants, if you don't have any, would look nice...something like Cabomba, which are tough enough for Goldies and provide them some munching food? Also, I want to point out that the snails will pick up *some* leftover food in the tank, they do not actually "clean the tank", per se, and you still need to do regular water changes.> And please tell me what I can to do so. <I don't mean to sound harsh, Mel, but in reality, a 2 gal. tank really wasn't appropriate for your goldfish. They are likely very happy in their new digs and, in my opinion, you are now full to capacity. You could always start another tank...!> Mel <Regards, Jorie>

Lonely Angel I have a 20 gallon tall with one Koi angel that I have had for nine months. She is the only one in the tank and is doing great but sometimes I'm tempted to get her a friend. Would there be enough room? Should I get one of the opposite sex? Or should I forget this idea entirely? By the way your web sight is awesome!<Thanks> <Sure, As long as your angel is small enough you could add another. But realize that in time they will outgrow the tank. But so will a single. Hard to sex them. Unless you are looking to breed them, I'd add 3 or 4 Cory catfish instead. Don> sincerely, Erica

Lonely Angel Just how big can Angel fish get? <About 6 inches, but remember they are taller than long.> Do you have any suggestions besides bottom feeders, because they don't do well in my tank due to very little algae. <First, Corys do not eat algae. Most do very well on flake and pellets for meat eaters. As for midwater fish, your choices are almost endless. Danios would do well. Don>

Mixing new, established FW angels, Plecos Mr. Fenner I only have a couple of more questions for now. I was wondering if angelfish living together are going to be ok because I already have two angelfish and I was think of getting two more of the same size, and two of the x-large angelfish (for a total of six angelfish), I was wondering because I've read some articles that tell me that they can be/come a problem with the other angelfish and other fish alike. <Yes... only a good idea if the tank is quite large... four feet long... sixty or more gallons let's say> My last question was if adding a Pleco to my tank in addition with my angelfish would be OK or if it would be/come a problem. Thank you for your time Mr. Fenner <Likely the species of "Plecos" available would be fine. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish Aggression Thank you, Chuck at WetWebMedia, for your quick response to my urgent question/problem. I have taken your advice to heart, and took the angelfish out of the goldfish tank. I agree that possible aggressive behavior on the part of the angel would eventually be a problem. I do think I saw a new nip or two out of the tail of my Shubunkin. His tail is frayed a bit anyway and the other goldfish are CONSTANTLY playing. There is no way that I could leave any even POSSIBLE danger to my sweet goldfish. They are just so cute and happy and do seem to enjoy life so much. So, the more docile male angelfish is back in the tank with the fighting female, with a separator between them. They have spent most of the time just staring at each other. She is seen occasionally trying to bite through the separator. She really IS aggressive. He, seemingly emboldened by the separator, will approach her and try to nip her through the plastic, too. At first, though, he was pretty crept out to be back so close to her and retreated to his furthest corner. Then he realized he was protected. Poor guy. I have a 10-gallon that I may put him in eventually. BUT I DIDN'T WANT ANOTHER TANK!!!!! The work! The work! The work! I feel like I have devoted every spare minute the past two years to FISH!!! But I love them. I do. And I wouldn't give this hobby up for anything. Sincerely, and thanks again Rebbie. <I am glad that your fish will happy and healthy for a long time with a caring owner like yourself.-Chuck>

Angelfish with Goldfish? I have had two young angelfish in a 20-gallon tank (with plans to upgrade soon to a 29-gal.) for about a month now. They've grown quite a bit. Day before yesterday, the apparent female (belly swollen) began to pick on the apparent male. I found him sort of cowering in the corner, fins torn in several places, so I reluctantly moved him to my 50-gallon tank which houses two goldfish and three Rainbowfish and three Siamese Algae Eaters (I know, but it has worked beautifully for two years now). I am not interested at all in breeding the angels, but most of all I don't plan to subject the more docile male to this harassment from the female again. After almost two days, he seems quite happy in my 50-gal. My questions are, 1) do you think there is a hope of compatibility between the angel and my Goldies long term ? So far, they seem to be ignoring each other and things are fine, and also 2) are angels OK, kept singly, with other fish like rainbows? Thanks for any advice you can give! <The angelfish comes from warm soft acidic waters in South America. Your goldfish come from cool more temperate waters. I think eventually one or the other will have a problem and you will need to separate them into their own tank. Eventually the angelfish will get big and may start picking on the goldfish too. Rainbow fish are very fast and active. They may outcompete the slower angelfish but in general they should be ok.-Chuck>

What Won't Go in This FW Tank Just browsing through the site and it's very helpful but there are some things that I just cant find anywhere on the internet so I would appreciate it very much if you could help me here. <That's what we are here for.> I have a pretty average 50 gallon tank and I'm building a community of smaller tropical fish, so far I have a school of neon tetras, 5 angelfish, a Pleco and a male fighter (Betta) and they seem to be getting on really well. Sometimes the biggest angelfish chases the Betta but only for an inch or 2 then gives up, but he also bullies the smallest angel too so he is probably just a bully. The Betta hasn't shown any signs of aggression to any fish since he has been in my tank, (2 months). So so far its going well, but I want to get some more types of fish to include, like some common fish like barbs, guppies, Knifefish, catfish, etc possibly some rare ones too, could you give me a small list of fish that DEFINITELY will not mix in my aquarium. Thank you very much please reply soon. <As your angelfish grow they will eventually eat the smaller tetras like the Neons and begin to pick on the Betta and tear his fins to the point he may die. As a general rule of thumb, stay away from fish that get too big, like Oscars. Otherwise, once you decide which fish you want to keep out of your current set up, I would go with fish that have similar water conditions and all stay around the same size.-Chuck>

Angels and Clowns I have a 90 gallon show tank. It is decorated with wood, a single large piece of holey limestone, black gravel and floating plastic bamboo plants...sort of a sparse Zen look. It has clown loaches (2"-4")... they eat out of my hand...and Bushynose Plecos... the Plecos are actually breeding on a routine basis. The pH is 7.2, temperature is 80 degrees, and ammonia and nitrite are zero. It has been up and running for 18 months. I use two Emperor 400s. I change 10% of the water daily and wash out the filer pads in the process. I want to add a few angelfish. Are they compatible with the clown loaches? The loaches are pretty active sometimes. Also, would the angelfish help control the Pleco population? My LFS gives me $2 each for them...several hundred dollars so far... but it is a hassle to take everything out of the tank to catch them and it disturbs the fish. >> You should be able to add some angels, but please start with medium sized fish, the activity of the clown loaches at night may bother the small angels. They will, unfortunately, eat some of your baby Bristlenose Plecos. If you want to catch your Bristlenose babies without having to take the tank apart try putting some food (romaine lettuce, tied to an airstone) at night, with a net underneath it. The baby Plecos will enter the net from the top and swim down to eat the lettuce in the stream of bubbles. Use a flashlight to see when Plecos are in your net and lift! Good Luck, Oliver <<

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