Can Angelfish And Arowanas Live Together? (Common Mistakes)

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Angelfish and Arowanas are popular choices for freshwater aquariums. But, is it really okay for them to live together in the same tank?

What should you consider to make this work? Things like the size of the tank, water conditions, and their diets are crucial.

When I first started with these fish, I didn’t know much about this. That’s why I’m writing this article – to share what I’ve learned with you. Let’s get started.

Can I Keep Angelfish and Arowanas Together in the Same Tank?

No, keeping Angelfish and Arowanas together in the same tank is generally not advisable.

  • Size Discrepancy: Arowanas can grow over 2 feet, while Angelfish typically reach 6 inches. This size difference poses a risk as Arowanas may view Angelfish as prey.
  • Dietary Needs: Arowanas are carnivorous and require a diet rich in proteins, whereas Angelfish are omnivores, needing a varied diet including vegetables and smaller proteins.
  • Water Parameters: Angelfish thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.0-7.5), while Arowanas prefer slightly more alkaline conditions, making their water needs incompatible.
  • Behavioral Traits: Angelfish are generally peaceful but can be territorial. In contrast, Arowanas are more aggressive and may exhibit dominance over Angelfish, leading to stress or harm.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Arowanas: Behavior

The first factor worth considering is the Angelfish’s and Arowanas’ natural behavior. Here is what you should know:

1. Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish exhibit a calm and somewhat territorial behavior in their natural habitat. They are known for their graceful swimming and prefer to stay in groups.

  • Territorial Nature: Angelfish can become territorial, especially during breeding. They often claim a particular area of the tank and defend it against intruders, including other Angelfish.
  • Social Swimming: In the wild, Angelfish often swim in groups. This schooling behavior provides safety in numbers and is a key aspect of their social structure.
  • Environmental Interaction: Angelfish interact actively with their environment, often exploring plants and other tank features. They use these features for shelter and as part of their territorial claims.

2. Arowanas: Natural Behavior

Arowanas are known for their assertive and predatory behavior. In their natural habitat, they are top predators, often leaping out of the water to catch prey.

  • Predatory Instincts: Arowanas are natural predators, often eating smaller fish and insects. Their hunting behavior is characterized by sudden, swift movements to catch prey.
  • Surface Dwelling: Arowanas spend most of their time near the water surface, looking for food. This behavior is unique compared to many other fish species, which tend to vary their depth.
  • Solitary Nature: Unlike Angelfish, Arowanas are more solitary and do not exhibit schooling behavior. They are more independent and can be aggressive towards other fish.

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Arowanas

This table compares the ideal water parameters for Angelfish and Arowanas, including temperature, pH level, and water hardness.

It also shows the parameters for a tank housing both types of fish, which requires careful balancing.

ParameterAngelfishArowanasBoth Types
Temperature76°F to 82°F75°F to 82°F76°F to 82°F (compromise)
pH Level6.0 to 7.56.5 to 7.56.5 to 7.5 (neutral range)
Water Hardness3 to 8 dKH5 to 15 dKH4 to 12 dKH (average)

1. Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish thrive in stable water conditions that mimic their natural Amazonian habitat. The right temperature, pH level, and water hardness are essential for their health and wellbeing.

  • Optimal Temperature: Angelfish prefer a water temperature between 76°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). This range is ideal for maintaining their metabolism and immune system.
  • Preferred pH Level: The ideal pH level for Angelfish is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. This mimics the pH of their natural Amazon river habitat.
  • Water Hardness: Angelfish do best in soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness between 3 to 8 dKH (degrees of carbonate hardness). This level helps in maintaining their osmoregulation and overall health.

2. Arowanas: Ideal Parameters

Arowanas, being large and active fish, require specific water conditions to thrive. Their ideal parameters are slightly different from those of Angelfish, reflecting their natural habitat.

  • Optimal Temperature: Arowanas are comfortable in a temperature range of 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). This range supports their active metabolism and large size.
  • Preferred pH Level: Arowanas prefer a slightly more alkaline water condition, with an ideal pH between 6.5 to 7.5. This slightly broader range reflects their adaptability in different water conditions.
  • Water Hardness: They require moderate to slightly hard water, ideally between 5 to 15 dKH. This hardness level supports their bone structure and overall robustness.

Angelfish vs. Arowanas: Tank Setup

This table outlines the differences in tank setup requirements for Angelfish and Arowanas, covering aspects from tank size to lighting. It also suggests settings for a combined tank.

FeatureAngelfishArowanasBoth Types
Tank SizeMin 20 gallonsMin 250 gallonsMin 500 gallons
FoliageLive plantsFew sturdy plantsBalanced mix
DecorationsHiding spacesMinimalStrategic placement
FilterAdjustable flowPowerfulHigh-capacity, adjustable
Heater76°F to 82°F75°F to 82°F76°F to 82°F
SubstrateSoft, fineFine gravel/bareMixed type
PumpNot essentialStrong air pumpStrong, with gentle flow
LightingModerateModerate to brightModerate, with shaded areas
Water QualityAmmonia & nitrite: 0 ppm, Nitrate < 20 ppmAmmonia & nitrite: 0 ppm, Nitrate lowStringent water quality control

1. Angelfish: Tank Setup

Angelfish require a well-balanced and stable environment to flourish.

Their tank setup should closely resemble their natural habitat, focusing on water quality, space, and appropriate decorations.

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Keeping ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrate below 20 ppm is crucial for Angelfish. Regular water changes and a good filtration system are essential to maintain these levels.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallons is recommended for Angelfish, but larger is better, especially for groups. A taller tank is preferable due to their vertical body shape.
  • Foliage: Live plants are ideal for an Angelfish tank, providing hiding spots and mimicking their natural habitat. Plants like Amazon swords and Java ferns are excellent choices.
  • Decorations: Angelfish appreciate decorations that provide hiding spaces. Driftwood, rock caves, and other similar decorations help create a natural and secure environment.
  • Filter: A high-quality filter that doesn’t create excessive water flow is important. Angelfish prefer calmer waters, so a filter that can be adjusted or baffled is ideal.
  • Heater: A reliable heater is necessary to maintain the ideal temperature range of 76°F to 82°F. Consistent temperature is key to keeping Angelfish healthy.
  • Substrate: A soft, fine substrate like sand or fine gravel is best for Angelfish. This prevents injury and is similar to the riverbeds of their natural habitat.
  • Pump: An air pump is not essential but can be beneficial for oxygenation, especially in larger tanks. Gentle air flow is preferred to maintain a calm environment.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is ideal for Angelfish, replicating their natural light conditions. Too bright lighting should be avoided to prevent stress.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Flowerhorns Live Together?

2. Arowanas: Tank Setup

Arowanas demand a spacious and well-maintained tank setup due to their size and activity level. Their tank environment should be tailored to accommodate their unique requirements.

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Arowanas are sensitive to poor water quality. Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be at 0 ppm, and nitrate levels should be kept as low as possible.
  • Tank Size: Considering their size, a minimum of 250 gallons is required for Arowanas. They need ample space to swim freely and maintain their health.
  • Foliage: While foliage is less critical for Arowanas, a few sturdy plants can be added. They should be robust enough to withstand any disturbance from the Arowana’s movement.
  • Decorations: Minimal decorations are recommended for Arowana tanks. Too many decorations can obstruct their swimming space and potentially injure these large fish.
  • Filter: A powerful filter is necessary for Arowanas due to their large size and the waste they produce. Canister or sump filters are often the best choices for such large tanks.
  • Heater: A stable heater that can maintain the temperature between 75°F and 82°F is important. Consistent temperature is crucial for the health of Arowanas.
  • Substrate: Arowanas are not particular about substrate, but a fine gravel or bare bottom is often preferred. This makes cleaning easier and reduces the risk of injuries.
  • Pump: A strong air pump is essential for oxygenation, especially in large Arowana tanks. Good oxygenation supports their active lifestyle and large size.
  • Lighting: Moderate to bright lighting is suitable for Arowanas. They are less sensitive to lighting than Angelfish, but proper day and night cycles should be maintained.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Arowanas

This table compares the dietary requirements of Angelfish and Arowanas, focusing on food types, quantity, and feeding schedule.

It also considers the requirements for a tank with both species.

AspectAngelfishArowanasBoth Types
Food TypesFlake food, brine shrimp, bloodwormsLive/frozen fish, shrimp, insectsSeparate diets, varied offerings
QuantitySmall amounts 2-3 times a dayEquivalent to 5% body weight dailyMonitor closely to avoid overfeeding
Feeding ScheduleRegular, morning and eveningOnce or twice a daySeparate feeding times/areas

1. Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish are omnivorous and require a balanced diet consisting of both plant and animal matter.

Their dietary needs can be met with a variety of foods, ensuring they receive all necessary nutrients.

  • Food Types: Angelfish benefit from a mix of flake food, frozen or live brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Vegetables like blanched spinach or zucchini can also be included for balance.
  • Quantity: Feeding Angelfish small amounts 2-3 times a day is ideal. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and health problems, so it’s important to feed them only what they can consume in a few minutes.
  • Feeding Schedule: Regular feeding times in the morning and evening help maintain a routine. Occasional fasting days are beneficial for their digestive health and mimic natural feeding patterns.

2. Arowanas: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Arowanas are carnivorous and require a diet rich in protein.

Their dietary needs are more specific than Angelfish, focusing on larger and meatier foods to sustain their size and energy.

  • Food Types: Arowanas thrive on a diet of live or frozen fish, shrimp, and insects. Pellets designed for large carnivorous fish can also be used to provide balanced nutrition.
  • Quantity: Given their size, Arowanas need significant amounts of food. However, it’s crucial to avoid overfeeding; a guideline is feeding them an amount equivalent to 5% of their body weight daily.
  • Feeding Schedule: A consistent feeding schedule, usually once or twice a day, is important. Their metabolism and size dictate the need for regular feeding, but care should be taken to prevent obesity.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Arowanas

While it is generally not recommended to keep Angelfish with Arowanas due to significant differences in size and behavior, if one chooses to do so, careful planning and monitoring are crucial.

The key is to create an environment that minimizes stress and potential conflict between the two species.

  • Tank Size: Opt for a very large tank, at least 500 gallons, to provide ample space for both Angelfish and Arowanas to coexist without feeling overcrowded.
  • Separate Feeding Zones: Establish separate feeding areas in the tank to prevent competition for food and reduce the chance of aggressive encounters.
  • Visual Barriers: Include plants and decorations to create visual barriers, allowing Angelfish to have hiding spots and territories away from the Arowanas.
  • Closely Monitor Behavior: Regularly observe their interactions. If signs of stress or aggression are evident, be prepared to separate the species for their well-being.
  • Water Quality: Maintain pristine water conditions, as both Angelfish and Arowanas are sensitive to poor water quality and stress from environmental factors.
  • Compatible Tank Mates: If adding other species, ensure they are compatible with both Angelfish and Arowanas to avoid adding additional stress to the tank environment.
  • Gradual Introduction: Introduce Angelfish and Arowanas to the tank gradually and monitor their initial interactions closely to ensure they can coexist peacefully.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Oscars Live Together?

Should I Opt for Angelfish or Arowana

Choosing between Angelfish and Arowanas largely depends on your experience level, tank size, and commitment to aquarium maintenance.

Angelfish are generally more suited for beginners and smaller tanks, while Arowanas require more space and expertise.

  • Space Requirements: Angelfish can thrive in a smaller tank (minimum 20 gallons), making them a better choice for limited space. Arowanas require a much larger tank (minimum 250 gallons).
  • Maintenance Level: Angelfish are relatively easier to care for, suitable for beginners. Arowanas demand more advanced care, including strict water quality management.
  • Cost Implications: Setting up and maintaining an Arowana tank is significantly more expensive than an Angelfish tank due to size and equipment needs.
  • Behavioral Considerations: Angelfish are generally peaceful and can coexist with a variety of other fish. Arowanas are more solitary and can be aggressive, limiting tank mate options.
  • Aesthetic Preference: If you prefer a more interactive and prominent fish, Arowanas are a striking choice. Angelfish offer a more tranquil and graceful tank presence.


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Keeping Angelfish and Arowanas together is not recommended due to significant size differences and dietary needs, with Arowanas possibly viewing Angelfish as prey.
  • Angelfish prefer a calm, planted environment and are omnivorous, while Arowanas are solitary, predatory, and require a protein-rich diet.
  • Ideal tank conditions for Angelfish and Arowanas differ significantly in terms of water parameters and tank setup, making cohabitation challenging.
  • If attempting to house both species together, a very large tank (at least 500 gallons), separate feeding zones, and close monitoring are essential.
  • Choosing between Angelfish and Arowanas depends on one’s experience, tank size, and maintenance capability, with Angelfish being better suited for beginners.