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16 Best Angelfish Tank Mates – Beginner’s Guide

Adding new tank mates to your aquarium always carries the risk of certain species of fish not getting along with each other.

You may learn this the hard way, when your fish start being aggressive with each other.

Therefore, you should always check the compatibility between different fish, and pick tankmates that are good companions for each other.

If you’re considering picking out some tank buddies for your Angelfish, you’ve come to the right place – my guide to angelfish tank mates lists the best fish that are compatible with angelfish. Fish and tank mates listed on this page are easy to care for and they are a great choice even for beginners.

If you want to learn more about how to care for angelfish, please read my linked detailed guide, where I give tips on aquarium requirements, how to feed and breed them.

Angelfish

Angelfish come in many color variations, which makes them one of the most versatile freshwater fish. They’re an icon of freshwater aquariums and they’re also a good option for beginner aquarists.

In the wild, angelfish are spread throughout the Amazon River and its tributaries. Because they’re easy to breed in captivity, store-bought angelfish rarely come from the wild.

Given their peculiar constitution and size, they prefer higher and larger aquariums. They also prefer planted aquariums with broad-leafed plants.

Despite their angelic appearance (and name!), angelfish can get quite aggressive if they’re not kept with compatible species.

To save yourself from incompatibility issues, I recommend that you house your angelfish with the following fish that make great tank mates for angelfish.

Best Angelfish Tank Mates

Here are my picks for the 15 species that will not only make good angelfish tank mates, but are also good community fish:

1.  Corydora Catfish

corydoras-catfish

Despite their shy and timid nature that probably comes from their relatively small size, Corydora Catfish rank high among my preferences for community fish.

They prefer living in groups, so I recommend that you buy at least 3 or 4 of them. You’ll notice them sticking together most of the time.

There are many different types of Cory Catfish, which makes it easy to choose one to your liking. Despite the great variety, their temperament is a constant — they’re peaceful, calm, and timid.

They’re also low maintenance fish, which makes them particularly appealing for beginner hobbyists.

Because they’re bottom dwellers, you’ll find them methodically scavenging in the substrate of your tank sweeping up leftover food.

Despite having a good reputation as tank cleaners, you shouldn’t rely on Cory Fish alone to keep your tank clean.

Besides picking up leftovers, they’ll eat all basic food types: pellets, flakes, bottom feeder tablets.

Make sure you don’t overfeed your Cory Catfish, offering them food that can be eaten in 5 minutes is enough to meet their dietary needs.

  • Compatibility: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

2.  Platies

platy-fish

Despite the fact that platies in the wild exhibit dull coloration with no distinctive marks, platies bred in captivity exhibit wonderful colors that range from orange, yellow, red, to black, silver, and green.

They’re small fish that don’t need a large tank, but they’re quite active and breed fast, so get ready for some baby platies too.

Platies are the quintessential beginner-friendly fish for freshwater aquariums. They’re incredibly social and hardy fish. They like heavily planted tanks.

They’re omnivorous, which makes them easy to feed, especially that they’ll accept most foods: flake, pellet, fresh vegetables, spirulina algae, fresh or frozen foods.

Besides angelfish, platies get along with other community fish like guppies, swordtails, tetras, catfish, etc.

  • Compatibility: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

3.  Bristlenose Pleco

bristlenose-pleco

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/james_mk_green/370278032/

Bristlenose Plecos are another bottom dweller species that likes to scavenge in the substrate of your aquarium.

They’re bizarre-looking with their fleshy little tentacles, which makes them appealing for many aquarists.

They’re native to the same regions as the Angelfish, so it’s understandable that they’ll enjoy the same water conditions.

Bristlenose Plecos are prolific tank cleaners known to keep algae down by feeding on it. Still, they won’t thrive on algae alone, and they prefer a plant-based diet.

These fish are easy to care for, they make good companions for angelfish, and they’re small.

Compatibility: 10/10

Care Level: Easy

4.  German Blue Ram Cichlids

german-blue-ram

German Blue Ram Cichlids are popular mainly among experienced aquarists as they can be a challenge for beginners.

They’re commonly known as butterfly cichlids because of their beautiful colors, high fins and a fancy look.

Their peaceful nature and compatibility with non-aggressive fish makes them good tank buddies for Angelfish.

They like digging in the bottom of your tank for small insects and plant food, but also feed in the water column or at the surface of the tank.

They prefer live or frozen feed (bloodworm, brine shrimp, tubifex), but they’re not very happy eating flakes or granules.

As I mentioned, they’re a bit more difficult to care for, which is why I don’t recommend them for beginners. They’re picky about water conditions, and they’re especially sensitive to nitrates and toxins.

They do well in a community tank, provided that they are not housed with large fish. Apart from angelfish, they also get along with guppies, mollies, platies, rummy-nose tetra, etc.

  • Compatibility: 9/10
  • Care Level: Moderately Difficult

5.  Dwarf Gourami

dwarf-gourami

Dwarf Gourami fish are shy and peaceful fish that are known as labyrinth fish due to their labyrinth-like breathing organ.

Despite being a species native to India and Bangladesh, which has very different conditions compared to where Angelfish originate from, they can still make good companions for these fish.

However, I recommend that you keep an eye on how your Angelfish interact with your Dwarf Gourami fish, because sometimes Angelfish can act territorial, and Dwarf Gourami let themselves easily bullied.

In general, however, you shouldn’t encounter any issues between these two species.

In terms of diet, these little buddies eat flake foods, freeze-dried foods, frozen foods, live food and vegetable tables.

In nature, they like eating small insects from the surface of the water and algae growth that they find on plants.

If you want to breed these fish, make sure to provide plenty of vegetation in the tank as they build bubble nests using vegetation.

  • Compatibility: 8/10
  • Care Level: Moderate

6.  Swordtails

swordtail-fish

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21900098@N02/2417655643/

Swordtails are great community fish that come in many colors and varieties, and it’s sure to jazz up your tank.

Along with their great color variations, their elongated bottom fins have earned them the name Swordtail fish.

They’re livebearers and easily reproduce, without any special preparation that tank owners need to do.

Despite their peaceful nature, they don’t let themselves easily bullied by aggressive fish, so a little aggressivity from Angelfish won’t bother them much.

They’re easy to care for, they enjoy being in groups, and they’re omnivorous eating live food, flakes, frozen and pretty much everything.

They’re quite an active little bunch and sometimes they’ll even jump out of the tank, so choose a higher tank to avoid that.

They make good Angelfish companions and they get along well with other livebearing species too.

  • Compatibility: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

7.  Keyhole Cichlids

keyhole-cichlids

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/james_mk_green/393086702/

It will be difficult to find Keyhole Cichlids in pet stores, because they’re not as popular among aquarists. However, cichlid keepers absolutely love them for their smart and peaceful personality.

The dark stripe that goes across their eyes earned them the name Keyhole Cichlids.

They are undemanding fish that exhibit no aggressivity towards other fish. They get along with Angelfish and they won’t cause any problems like nipping at the elongated fins of Angelfish.

Keyhole Cichlids can live a long time (up to 8 years) and they form couples, being regarded as monogamous fish.

Because they’re timid, they like to have plenty of hiding spaces, so make sure to provide a sufficient number of shelters in the tank.

They’re diet is made up of insects, worms, crustaceans, and larvae. In captivity they’ll eat frozen, dry and live food.

  • Compatibility: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy

8.  Kribensis Cichlids (Rainbow Kribs)

kribensis-cichlids-rainbow-kribs

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stormbasiat/5018356110/

Kribensis Cichlids and Angelfish aren’t a match made in heaven, but they can be kept together if there are no other small fish in the tank.

They can both become aggressive, although the Kribensis is more aggressive and will nip at the fins of Angelfish. Still, they can hold their own against each other.

Kribensis Cichlids or Kribs are colorful, attractive fish that can be found in a variety of color morphs. Although they remain small, they have a large personality.

They’re undemanding when it comes to water conditions, which makes them a hardy fish that’s suitable for beginners.

Because they’re territorial, avoid overstocking the tank. Provide them with enough plants and cover areas, but allow enough space for open swimming as well.

They’re easy going when it comes to food, they’ll accept all foods including frozen, live, pellet foods, flakes, and vegetables.

Of all the fish in this guide, Kribensis are probably the least compatible with Angelfish.

  • Compatibility: 6/10
  • Care Level: Easy

9.  Lemon Tetras

lemon-tetras

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00VZgEoa6K8

Also native to the Amazon River area, Lemon Tetras make good companions for Angelfish if you keep these Tetras in schools of 6 or more.

Any less than that, and they might exhibit bad behaviors like nipping at the fins of your Angelfish.

Other than this, they have a peaceful nature and a good temperament, which makes them a good choice for a community tank, provided that you keep them with fish that won’t try to eat them.

They’re not demanding fish, so they’re easy to look after.

In the wild, Lemon Tetras eat small invertebrates, algae and crustaceans. In captivity, a varied diet will make them happiest, so make sure to give them a varied menu that includes live foods as well.

  • Compatibility: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy

10.  Kuhli Loach

kuhli-loach

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUBPhmWhCs8

Kuhli or Coolie Loach are intriguing little characters that prefer the bottom part of the tank, where they burrow in the sand and explore hiding places.

Notice I wrote sand and not gravel, and that’s because the Kuhli Loach have soft bellies that can be hurt by a gravel substrate.

They have a distinctive eel-shaped body with stripes or bands that fully or partially encircle their body.

Another distinctive marking on them is a pair of sharp spines just below their eyes, which rise if they feel threatened and which makes it difficult for predators to swallow them.

Their mouths are surrounded by four pairs of barbels and their mouth points downward.

They thrive in groups of half a dozen and they make very good community fish when kept with like-tempered species.

They’re mostly nocturnal, so don’t worry if they don’t seem very active during the day. Make sure your tank has plenty of hiding spaces like rocks, plants, driftwood, and caves.

They prefer live foods the most, but you can feed them flake food, frozen, tablets, freeze-dried and wafers as well.

  • Compatibility: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy

11. Rummy Nose Tetras

Before I get into the particularities of this species, a word of advice:  Don’t add Rummy Nose Tetras to an Angelfish tank before they reach adulthood (or they’re fully grown), because they might end up as a delicious snack to your Angelfish.

The distinctive red marking on their head earned them the name “Rummy Nose”. Other physical characteristics include the black and white stripes on their fluke and their silvery body.

To make sure they’re happy in their environment, keep them in schools of 6 or more.

They’re not particularly hard to care for, but they do take issue with ammonia levels and nitrate levels in the tank, so it’s important to keep a close eye on water purity and water parameters.

If notice that your Rummy Nose Tetra loses its bright red marking, you can be sure it has something to do with the water quality.

For these reasons, I don’t recommend them for beginners, they’re better suited for experienced aquarists.

As for their diet, they eat all types of foods – live, frozen, and flakes.

  • Compatibility: 6/10
  • Care Level: Moderately Difficult.

12. Guppies

guppy-fish

Guppies are popular freshwater fish among beginners. They’re a hardy species that gets along with many other peaceful community fish.

If you’re planning on keeping guppies with angelfish, add them to your tank while your angelfish are still young. This way they’ll grow up seeing guppies as tank mates and not potential food targets.

Guppy males are brightly colored with gorgeous fins and tails, females are less interesting when it comes to physical traits.

Guppies are small and active fish that breed easily and are undemanding both in terms of water conditions and diet.

They’ll eat live food (bloodworm, tubifex, brine shrimp), flakes with vegetable content, pellets and other artificial foods.

They get along with peaceful fish like mollies, bristlenose plecos, dwarf gourami, harlequin rasboras, and if the conditions I discussed above, they can be housed with Angelfish as well.

Like with every other fish species that isn’t a 100% match for angelfish, make sure you keep an eye on their behavior.

  • Compatibility: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy

13. Head and Tail Light Tetras

As you can see from the above video, these tetras get along with angelfish quite well.

Head and Tail Light Tetras are a rather peaceful species of Tetras, but even so keep an eye on them, because they have a tendency to nip at fish with long, flowy fins.

They got their name from their coppery spots that look like tail lights. Another distinctive mark is their bright red spot above their eye.

Head and Tail Light Tetras come from the same regions as Angelfish do, that is, the Amazon River Basin, which makes them enjoy the same habitat.

They’re peaceful mid-dwellers that like to live in schools of half a dozen or more and they get along best with other peaceful fish like other Tetras, dwarf cichlids, catfish, small loaches and guramis.

They’re an egg-layer species that is relatively easy to breed. They’re not fussy about their diet either, being omnivorous by nature.

  • Compatibility: 8/10;
  • Care Level: Easy.

14. Mollies

molly-fish

Mollies and Angelfish are a match made in heaven. They’re perfect companions, especially that Mollies can protect themselves from potential aggressions coming from Angelfish.

Mollies can adapt to a variety of water conditions and some types of mollies can even live in saltwater aquariums. They do well with any of the common tropical freshwater fish.

They’re best buds with guppies, so much so that they’re known to interbreed with them.

The only issue that you may encounter with mollies is that they tend to nip at the fins of other fish, but they mostly keep to themselves and don’t bother their tank mates.

They’re often recommended as a beginner freshwater fish because of their endurance and community-friendliness. They breed easily and rapidly.

They’re not fussy about food, they enjoy a fair amount of vegetables, and eat dried, frozen and live foods.

  • Compatibility: 10/10
  • Care Level: Easy.

15. Malaysian Trumpet Snails

malaysian-trumpet-snail

Malaysian Trumpet Snails have a great appetite and they’re mostly kept for tank cleaning operations. They can be a true asset in tanks planted with live plants that shed edible material that’s good for the snail’s diet.

As scavengers, they’ll eat leftover foods, soft algae growing on hard surfaces, any uneaten food from fish, pellets, wafers, etc.

Some aquarium owners consider them a pest because they breed like crazy, so maybe don’t add too many of them of you don’t want a full-blown colony of them.

They fare well in friendly and calm community tanks, and they’re not bothered by Angelfish.

So, if you’re considering adding something other than fish to your tank, Malaysian Trumpet Snails can be a good choice in a tank that also houses Angelfish.

  • Compatibility: 8/10
  • Care Level: Easy.

16. Siamese Algae Eater

siamese-algae-eater

Siamese Algae Eater Fish

An algae eater fish is always a must have in a fish tank. They can keep your tank free of algae without the need of adding chemicals or high tech equipment.

The Siamese Algae Eater fish, is one of the best algae eaters out there. This fish has got so popular in the fresh-water aquarium hobby, because it is the only fish, which will consume black beard algae.

The good news is, that they are also compatible with angelfish. Siamese Algae eaters can become very territorial and some-times aggressive. This will only happen, if only one fish is added to a tank or they don’t have enough food. They like to school, so a minimum of 3-5 fish should be added to avoid aggressive behavior towards angelfish or other tank mates.

Siamese Algae eaters can grow pretty big. They can reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

Also, it is recommended a minimum of 30 gallons aquarium for these fish.

Siamese Algae Eaters are mostly herbivore, and they consume algae. Therefore you have to give them a special diet to keep them healthy. Probably the algae that is available in a fish tank is not enough for them to get all the vitamins and minerals they need.

They will not consume the food you feed your angelfish with. You will need to feed the Siamese Algae eaters algae wafers, vegetable based fish food or cocked vegetables.

  • Compatibility: 9/10
  • Care Level: Easy.

These are the fish that make good companions for Angelfish, barring some of the edge cases that I marked with 6/10 compatibility, where special requirements must be met.

Now, let’s see which fish you should absolutely avoid keeping with Angelfish:

Fish That You Shouldn’t Keep with Angelfish

As a rule, avoid keeping Angelfish with fish that like to nip at the fins of other fish like Barbs and some species of Tetras.

Also, as I mentioned in some cases, it’s best to introduce smaller tank mates while your angelfish are still small and young, so they’re less likely to see other species as food.

A notoriously bad companion for Angelfish is the Betta fish. Bettas have a tendency to attack anything that even slightly resembles them. They’re also both very territorial.

So, despite what anecdotes you may have heard about these two getting along with each other, do not keep them together as they’ll end up fighting and ultimately hurt or even kill each other.

Another bad combo are Goldfish and Angelfish. For starters, these two have different water temperature preferences (Goldfish prefer colder temperatures).

However, going beyond the fact that these two cannot be housed together because of environmental differences, Angelfish will prey on your Goldfish, so keeping them together is a no-go.

Another bad mix are Angelfish and Shrimp. If the shrimp can fit in the mouth of an Angelfish, then all bets are off, and they’ll eat your shrimp no question about it.

But even if they won’t fit in their mouth, I’ve seen Angelfish attack and nip at Shrimp just for the fun of it until they’re dead.

So, I don’t recommend adding shrimp to your tank of Angelfish because they’ll end up as food for them, and a rather expensive one at that too.

Final Comments

Angelfish are an interesting freshwater species that’s loved by all aquarists for their grace and beauty.

They best get along with their own species, but there are many other species that they’ll get along perfectly like Guppies.

Despite sometimes exhibiting aggressive behavior, Angelfish can’t hold their own against overly aggressive fish, so don’t pair them with fish that are more aggressive than them.

To make sure you’re creating a peaceful community tank:

  • Don’t pair Angelfish with fish that fit in their mouth (anything that small is potential food to them);
  • Keep an eye on tank dynamics, especially in edge case scenario pairings;
  • You’ll be most successful in adding tank mates while your Angelfish are still small and young;
  • Don’t keep them with aggressive fish;
  • Don’t keep them with fish that like to nip at fins.

When juveniles, Angelfish start out peaceful and docile, but as they mature, they can become a bit aggressive and territorial, so it’s best to keep them with fish that they’re compatible with off the bat.

Resources

Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jenly/4554219314/

Updated: August 30, 2019

11 Responses

  1. Caleb says:

    I want to buy 5-6 angelfish from a local breeder. They are beautiful!
    Was wondering what would be the best aquarium size for 6 angelfish. Also, what type of aquarium filter do you recommend?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Hey Caleb! The recommended minimum aquarium size for keeping angelfish is 30 gallons. A taller aquarium works better for them. Personally, for 6 angelfish I would choose a 40 gallon aquarium, just to provide them with more space. These fish will get pretty big: 6 inches long and around 8 inches tall.
      As far as filtration, I would recommend the AquaClear 70 (check out on Amazon), because it has an adjustable flow rate and it is very effective in filtering big tank. On purpose I did recommend a bigger filter, because it is always better to overfilter than underfilter aquarium water. This filter is recommended by manufacturer for fish tanks of up to 70 gallons, but in reality does not work like that. In my opinion for 6 angelfish and 40 gallon tank this filter would be perfect.

  2. Hena says:

    I keep 4 angelfish in a 30 gallon aquarium along with some guppies and tetras. One angelfish rules the entire aquarium. He is so aggressive, that my other 3 angels are staying in one corner, while guppies in the other corner. The tetras will swim around, but I guess only because they are much faster and they swim in school.
    What do you recommend? What should I do? How to keep him under control? He becomes more aggressive when I feed them. It is like he wants all the food and don’t let the other fish get their portion. Is this normal?
    I’m really upset about this, because everything was fine until 3 weeks ago. And now it is getting worst. Any suggestions?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Hello Hena! Even though these fish are called angelfish, they can become really aggressive, especially, when they are in a small space. The minimum recommended aquarium size for angelfish is 30 gallon, though it is better to have a bigger aquarium for them. The fish you are talking about is most likely a male, and probably has reached sexual maturity. That is why it has become more aggressive and territorial in the last few weeks.

      I know that for most aquarists it is not an option to upgrade to a bigger tank, however, probably this would be the best option. Having more space will not help in all cases, but from my experience it works really well.

      You can try to add some live plants, redecorate your aquarium, try to break up line to sight. Maybe, he will relax for some time.

      If you can’t fix the aggressiveness, probably you will need to get rid of him. Trade him in your local fish store for other fish or just give him away to someone who has a bigger tank. You can also try selling them as “mature angelfish ready to breed” on ebay or aquabid.

  3. Frank says:

    Hey, thank you for this detailed article. I’ve learned a lot from it. I want to keep discus fish with angelfish in the same aquarium. Do you think these fish species can live together? I’m just setting up a 50 gallon fish tank in my living room and want to stock it with angels, discus, corydoras, a school of neon tetras and few otos. What is your opinion on this setup idea?

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Hey Frank, I’m glad you enjoyed this article. The fish you’ve mentioned can live together peacefully in the same aquarium. Though, please remember that discus fish are relative sensitive compared to other fish species. They also require higher water temperature. So, I suggest to do you research of each fish and see what would be the best temperature and water chemistry of your tank, which is suitable for all inhabitants.
      I would also suggest adding tons of live plants, to make your aquarium more pleasant, especially if you will keep it in your living room.

  4. Raquel says:

    I have a 55 gallon tank that has currently one male adult angelfish and two goldfish and they all seem to get along but I want to get another angelfish for my other one and maybe some other fish. What do you suggest I do? I’m not sure if I should separate the goldfish

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Personally, I would separate the goldfish and I would make a separate tank for them. I would not put other with together with goldfish, although there are some tank mates that you can keep with them such as zebra danios, bristlenose plecos and white cloud minnows. These fish can also be kept with angelfish.
      So if you don’t have the option to separate them at the moment, you can try adding new tank mates and see what happens. If you see that they are not getting along, you might need to get another tank for the goldfish.
      Would love to hear from you about how this turned out.

  5. Yoshua Michael says:

    I have a 100 gallon tank. I was wondering if I can put 4 Angelfish With 4 Severam Chilids? and if i can add other small ones also like rams, Kribensis, tetras, etc??

    • avatar Fabian says:

      Anfelfish and Severum Cichlids can live together, especially in a large aquarium like yours. A larger school (12+) of tetras can also go well with them. German Rams and Kribensis Cichlids are also compatible with them, though make sure you do not overcrowd your tank and you create hiding spaces in case if there is a bully in the tank.

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