Angelfish Lifespan – How Long Do Angelfish Live For?
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Often I get asked by beginners the following questions regarding angelfish:
How long do angelfish live for? Do female angelfish live longer than male angelfish? What is the lifespan of angelfish? Do angelfish live less in aquarium than in the wild? How to improve the longevity of my angelfish?
Angelfish are popular freshwater fish that are kept and bred for their amazing beauty and variety. Angelfish can live around 10-12 years and tend to reach sizes of 6-12 inches, especially if they’re kept in larger aquariums.
Because of their tall bodies, these fish prefer higher aquariums and don’t fare well in smaller or crowded aquariums.
If you’re thinking of keeping angelfish, be prepared that they have a longer lifespan than your average freshwater aquarium fish.
I have always enjoyed having angelfish and I always offered them the best conditions, which resulted in them living a long and happy life.
In this article, I’m sharing some of my experiences in how you can prolong the life span of angelfish, so you too can enjoy them for years on end.
What’s the Life Span of an Angelfish?
Angelfish are at the long end of the life span spectrum averaging a life span of 10-12 years, or even longer with pristine tank care.
Therefore, if you’rejoining the world of aquarists for the long haul, angelfish are a species that you can plan with.
Angelfish are often described as hardy fish that can be raised by beginners as well. While they’re not very difficult to raise, there are some difficulties in keeping that don’t recommend them as a first choice for beginners.
Truth is that if you want to ensure the longevity of angelfish and provide them with the best care, it helps to have a few years of experience under your belt.
Below, you’ll find some of the must-dos when it comes to providing angelfish with the tank conditions, diet, and other aspects that can help prolong the life span of your angelfish.
How to Improve Angelfish Longevity?
If you believe that creating an environment in which your angelfish can thrive in is crucial in improving their life expectancy, you’re absolutely right.
However, angelfish genetics also has an important role. You may provide your angelfish with the best of care, but if they come from a bad lineage of angelfish prone to diseases and deformities, you’re unlikely to succeed.
Therefore, here’s what you can do to improve the life expectancy of angelfish:
1. Choose Quality Angelfish (Angelfish Genetics)
Since you can’t assess angelfish genetics, especially when it comes to traits that cannot be judged on a non-breeding angelfish (e.g. fecundity, behavior, aspects related to size,etc.), you must rely on other things.
Show quality is one of these things, which means that you can confidently enter them in an angelfish show and reasonably expect that they represent the variety well.
Buy your angelfish from a reputable breeder that pays attention to producing the highest quality angelfish.
Angelfish with fins that feature kinks and twists, or curves in the dorsal, anal or caudal fins aren’t show quality angelfish.
2. Ensure Suitable Tank Size
Most angelfish guides tell you to ensure at least a 20-gallon tank for your angelfish, however, I recommend a 30+ gallon tank.
Also, because of the tall bodies these fish have, I also recommend ensuring that your tank has some height to make sure your angelfish can comfortably swim in the tank.
In small tanks,angelfish grow smaller and their territorial, semi-aggressive behavior gets dialed up.
3. Ensure Good Water Parameters
Any respectable aquarist understands the importance of good water parameters in the tank.
That said, angelfish require the following water parameters:
- Temperature: 76-82°F
- Water pH: 6.5-7.5
- Water Hardness: 5°-13°
Angelfish enjoy a planted tank with broad-leafed plants and lots of hiding places, which helps them feel more at ease. Dark colored substrate can also help them feel more relaxed.
Maintaining healthy water parameters involves performing regular water changes (weekly or bi-weekly based on water parameter testing) and proper tank cleaning (scrubbing algae,siphoning gravel, etc.).
4. Feed Them High-Quality Foods
Angelfish are an omnivorous species, which means that they’ll thrive on a balanced and varied diet that should include quality fish flakes, live brine shrimp, frozen foods,and some fresh vegetables like lettuce or spinach.
Angelfish are gluttonous fish and they may trick you into feeding them more than you should.
If you try to breed angelfish you can feed them small portions 3-4 times a day and don’t give them more than they can eat in about 60 seconds.
If you are keeping angelfish for fun, feeding them once a day with high quality food is enough.
Overfeeding your fish can ruin water parameters by releasing too much toxin into the water. Overfeeding can also cause health issues just like with humans.
If you have the time and the willing, you can also prepare home-made food for your angelfish. Make sure you offer them a variety of good food to provide them with all the vitamins and minerals they need to stay in good health condition.
5. Reduce Stress
Angelfish don’t do well under stressful conditions, especially during breeding time. Therefore,you should minimize or eliminate stress factors.
Potential stressors for angelfish include:
- Unhealthy tank conditions;
- Overcrowded tank;
- Unsuitable tank mates (e.g. tank mates that might nip at the fins of your angelfish or that display aggressive behaviors);
- Tank exposed to sound pollution;
- Too much traffic around the tank.
If you keep angelfish in a community tank, choosing the right tank mates is crucial. Choose suitable tank mates for angelfish (e.g. corydora catfish, platies, mollies, swordtails, kuhli loaches, bristlenose plecos, and stay away from any aggressive species like goldfish or bettas).
Size your aquarium to account for the growth of your angelfish and keep the aquarium in a quiet location away from daily traffic in your household.
Angelfish are tropical fish and they like warmer water. They thrive in water with 76-82°F (24-28 °C) temperature range. You will need to heat your fish tank, in order to keep them healthy and make them live longer. If possible, keep the temperature on the lower side. Higher temperature will speed up the fish metabolism and will result in faster ageing.
Overcrowded tank can cause a lot of stress to angelfish. They will become very territorial and often will fight over a certain territory. This can cause injuries which can result is death.
Although angelfish do not hear sounds, they are very sensitive to vibrations in the water caused by sound or other things. If you keep angelfish and fish in general, probably it is not a good idea to put your sub-woofer near your aquarium.
6. Monitor for Diseases
Because angelfish don’t have a good tolerance to stress, they’re prone to a few diseases like Ich or White Spot Disease, which is a parasite infection that can occur due to stress and lowered immunity.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms, treatment and prevention of common freshwater diseases, so you can avoid diseases among your angelfish.
Male or Female Angelfish – Which Lives Longer?
Unfortunately I did not found any scientific research which proves that female angelfish lives longer than male angelfish or vice-versa.
From personal experience I can tell, that both genders can live equally long if they are kept in the right conditions.
I noticed that angelfish which are used heavily for breeding will live less. It looks like breeding will exhaust angelfish much faster.
The life span of your angelfish can be determined by genetic and environmental factors, just like with any living creature.
Therefore, freshwater angelfish can live a long life if you choose breeding quality angelfish and offer them the best conditions. However, to be able to do that, you’ll need to become familiar with proper angelfish care.
If you do things right and pay attention to your angelfish, you may be one of those lucky owners who can help angelfish beat the odds and help them live much longer than the expected average of 10-12 years.
If you want to learn more about angelfish, please read my other articles.