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How Do I Set up an Angelfish Tank?

Setting up an angelfish tank requires careful planning to mimic their natural habitat. Start with a spacious tank, add fine substrate, and provide ample hiding spots with plants and decor. Ensure the water is soft, slightly acidic, and well-filtered. Maintain a warm, stable temperature. Now, imagine your angelfish thriving—what's the next step to create their perfect underwater sanctuary? Continue reading to find out.
Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters

Angelfish are popular freshwater fish that thrive in home aquariums. There are many different types of this particular type of fish, in varying sizes, but they all have similar needs when it comes to setting up an angelfish tank. These are generally fairly large fish, growing to about six inches (about 15 cm) in height, and they need a deep tank with plenty of room. They should also have warm water, plenty of plants and good filtration to help keep the water clean.

The first consideration when setting up an angelfish tank is the size of the tank. One or two angelfish can live in a 10-gallon tank (38 liters), but a 15 gallon (57 liter) or larger tank is better. The tank should be at least 15 inches deep (38 cm), but 18 inches (46 cm) or more is ideal for these tall, thin fish.

Fox-faced rabbitfish are good tank mates for angelfish.
Fox-faced rabbitfish are good tank mates for angelfish.

It is important to have plenty of plants in an angelfish tank, so the fish can hide if they want to. The narrow body of this species allows it to slip in between plants and use its black stripes the same way that a tiger does, as camouflage when the fish lurk among the plants. Since humans have created so many new colors and strains, many of these fish no longer have stripes, but it is still natural for them to want to hide. An angelfish tank should make the fish feel secure by providing plenty of cover.

Angelfish thrive in home aquariums.
Angelfish thrive in home aquariums.

Gravel covering the bottom of the tank makes it more attractive and offers a place in which to secure the plants. A filtration system is important for keeping the water clean, and can either be set up under the gravel or above it. If the angelfish tank might be used for breeding it is best to use a sponge filter, so that the tiny babies don’t end up sucked into the filter.

The temperature of the water is another concern when setting up an angelfish tank. These fish can survive in a wide range of temperatures, but they do best when the water is about 80F (27C). A heater should be placed in the back of the tank and set to keep the water at the proper temperature. The best kind of heater to use is one that can be completely submerged, since these won’t break if the water level drops a bit during tank cleaning.

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Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- It might not be wise to trust that opinion if you are not comfortable with the employee who gave that advice. Ask someone who keeps fish and has experience with them for find a store that has a staff that strikes you as knowledgeable.

As I recall, angelfish get along fine with other fish but there is a problem. If an angelfish lays eggs. those tend to get eaten by other types of fish.

I don't know if I remembered that right or not, but ask a competent employee at a local pet store for the correct answer.


I have always wondered if angelfish do well in an aquarium with other fish. I asked the guy down at the local, big box pet store and he just kind of said angelfish would be fine with anything. I'm not sure if I trust that opinion.

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    • Fox-faced rabbitfish are good tank mates for angelfish.
      Fox-faced rabbitfish are good tank mates for angelfish.
    • Angelfish thrive in home aquariums.
      Angelfish thrive in home aquariums.