Angelfish and Convict Cichlids are popular choices for freshwater aquariums. But, can they live together peacefully?
What should you consider to make sure they coexist? How about their tank size, water conditions, and diet?
When I first started with these fish, I was clueless about these things. That’s why I’m writing this article – so you can benefit from what I’ve learned.
Let’s get started.
Can I Keep Angelfish and Convict Cichlids Together in the Same Tank?
No, keeping Angelfish and Convict Cichlids together in the same tank is generally not advisable.
The differences in their temperaments and environmental needs make cohabitation challenging.
- Temperament Mismatch: Angelfish are typically peaceful and can be stressed by the aggressive nature of Convict Cichlids, which may lead to health issues or injury.
- Territorial Behavior: Convict Cichlids are known for their territorial nature, especially during breeding, and may harass or attack the slower-moving Angelfish, causing undue stress.
- Differing Water Parameters: Angelfish thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.0-7.0), while Convict Cichlids prefer slightly alkaline conditions (pH 7.0-8.0), making ideal water conditions for both challenging.
- Feeding Habits Conflict: Angelfish, primarily omnivorous, require a varied diet including live foods, whereas Convict Cichlids, being more aggressive eaters, can outcompete Angelfish for food, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates
Angelfish vs. Convict Cichlids: Behavior
The first factor worth considering is the Angelfish’s and Convict Cichlids’ natural behavior. Here is what you should know:
1. Angelfish: Natural Behavior
Angelfish display a serene and somewhat territorial behavior, especially noticeable in community tanks.
They are known for their calm swimming but can show assertiveness during breeding.
- Territorial During Breeding: During breeding, Angelfish become more territorial, often guarding their eggs and fry aggressively against perceived threats, including other tank mates.
- Social Hierarchy Establishment: In a group, Angelfish establish a social hierarchy, which can lead to mild aggression towards each other, particularly in confined spaces or overcrowded tanks.
- Environmental Interaction: Angelfish are known to interact gently with their environment, often seen grazing on algae or exploring tank decorations with curiosity and care.
2. Convict Cichlids: Natural Behavior
Convict Cichlids are known for their robust and aggressive behavior, particularly when defending territory or during breeding. They are active and can be quite territorial, even in spacious tanks.
- Highly Territorial: Convict Cichlids are known for their strong territorial instincts, often claiming and vigorously defending a particular area of the tank against intruders.
- Aggression During Breeding: Breeding periods see an increase in their aggressive behavior, where they can become hostile towards other fish, including larger species.
- Active Foraging Behavior: Convict Cichlids exhibit a more aggressive foraging behavior, actively chasing down food and often outcompeting slower or more timid tank mates.
Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Convict Cichlids
This table outlines the optimal water conditions for Angelfish and Convict Cichlids, including temperature, pH level, and water hardness, along with a balanced column for a tank containing both species.
|Parameter||Angelfish||Convict Cichlids||Both Types|
|Temperature||76°F – 86°F (24°C – 30°C)||79°F – 84°F (26°C – 29°C)||77°F – 85°F (25°C – 29°C)|
|pH Level||6.0 – 7.0||7.0 – 8.0||7.0|
|Water Hardness||3 – 8 dGH||6 – 15 dGH||5 – 12 dGH|
1. Angelfish: Ideal Parameters
Angelfish thrive in water conditions that closely mimic their natural Amazonian habitat.
Stable water parameters are crucial for their health, with a focus on temperature, pH level, and water hardness.
- Optimal Temperature: Angelfish prefer a warmer water temperature, ideally between 76°F and 86°F (24°C to 30°C), which helps in maintaining their metabolism and immune system.
- Ideal pH Level: The preferred pH level for Angelfish is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.0, mirroring the conditions of their native Amazon River.
- Water Hardness Preference: Angelfish are best suited to soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness level of 3 to 8 dGH, ensuring their comfort and aiding in their overall health.
2. Convict Cichlids: Ideal Parameters
Convict Cichlids, originating from Central America, require different water conditions compared to Angelfish.
They are adaptable but flourish best in specific temperature, pH, and hardness levels.
- Temperature Range: Convict Cichlids prefer a slightly cooler temperature range than Angelfish, thriving best between 79°F and 84°F (26°C to 29°C), which suits their active metabolism.
- Preferred pH Level: These cichlids favor a more alkaline environment, with an ideal pH range of 7.0 to 8.0, which is higher than the preferable range for Angelfish.
- Water Hardness Adaptability: Convict Cichlids are quite adaptable but do best in moderately hard water, with ideal hardness levels ranging from 6 to 15 dGH, which is slightly harder than Angelfish’s preference.
Angelfish vs. Convict Cichlids: Tank Setup
This table compares the tank setup requirements for Angelfish and Convict Cichlids, covering various aspects like tank size, foliage, and lighting.
A combined approach for a tank with both fish types is also provided.
|Aspect||Angelfish||Convict Cichlids||Both Types|
|Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate||0 ppm ammonia & nitrite, <20 ppm nitrate||0 ppm ammonia & nitrite, low nitrates||0 ppm ammonia & nitrite, <20 ppm nitrate|
|Tank Size||40-55 gallons||30 gallons or more||75 gallons or more|
|Foliage||Lots of live plants||Hardy or artificial plants||Combination of live and hardy plants|
|Decorations||Driftwood & rocks, no sharp edges||Caves & stable rock structures||Diverse, safe decorations|
|Filter||Canister or hang-on-back filter||Strong filter||High-quality, robust filter|
|Heater||76°F – 86°F (24°C – 30°C)||79°F – 84°F (26°C – 29°C)||77°F – 85°F (25°C – 29°C)|
|Substrate||Soft, fine substrate||Coarser gravel||Balanced substrate for both|
|Pump||Gentle water circulation||Even water circulation||Adjusted water circulation|
|Lighting||Moderate lighting||Standard aquarium lighting||Moderate to standard lighting|
1. Angelfish: Tank Setup
Setting up a tank for Angelfish requires attention to detail to replicate their natural Amazonian habitat.
The tank should maintain proper chemical balance, adequate space, and a comfortable environment with appropriate foliage and decorations.
- Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Keep ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm, and nitrates below 20 ppm. Regular water changes and a good filtration system are essential to maintain these levels.
- Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallons is required for a single Angelfish, but a larger tank (40-55 gallons) is better, especially for a group, to provide ample swimming space.
- Foliage: Angelfish prefer a tank with plenty of live plants, which provide hiding spaces and mimic their natural environment, like Amazon Sword or Java Fern.
- Decorations: Include driftwood and rock formations for hiding places. Avoid sharp-edged decorations that might injure the Angelfish’s long fins.
- Filter: A high-quality filter is necessary to keep the water clean. Canister or hang-on-back filters are suitable for maintaining a gentle flow, as Angelfish dislike strong currents.
- Heater: A reliable heater is essential to keep the water temperature stable between 76°F and 86°F, crucial for the health of Angelfish.
- Substrate: A soft, fine substrate is preferred, like sand or fine gravel, to prevent injury to the Angelfish and to support plant growth.
- Pump: If the tank is large, a water pump can help in maintaining water circulation, but ensure it does not create a strong current, as Angelfish prefer calm waters.
- Lighting: Moderate lighting is ideal for Angelfish, enough to support plant growth but not too bright to cause stress.
2. Convict Cichlids: Tank Setup
Convict Cichlids require a robust tank setup that can accommodate their active and territorial nature.
The setup should ensure proper water quality, sufficient space, and a stimulating environment with suitable decorations.
- Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: As with most fish, keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and nitrates low. Regular water testing and changes are vital to maintain these levels.
- Tank Size: A 30-gallon tank is the minimum for Convict Cichlids, but larger is recommended, especially if keeping a pair or group, to prevent territorial aggression.
- Foliage: While not as essential as for Angelfish, some foliage can provide hiding spots. Hardy plants or artificial plants are suitable, as Convict Cichlids may uproot delicate ones.
- Decorations: Include caves and rock structures for territory establishment. Ensure stability of these structures as Convict Cichlids are known to dig and rearrange their environment.
- Filter: A strong filter is necessary due to the Convict Cichlids’ messy nature. Canister filters are ideal for maintaining clean and oxygen-rich water.
- Heater: Maintain a stable temperature between 79°F and 84°F with a reliable heater, which is slightly cooler than Angelfish preferences.
- Substrate: Coarser gravel is suitable for Convict Cichlids as they enjoy digging. The substrate should be secure to prevent accidental overturning.
- Pump: A water pump is beneficial for larger tanks to ensure even water circulation and temperature, and can be adjusted to not create overly strong currents.
- Lighting: Standard aquarium lighting is sufficient for Convict Cichlids, as they are not as sensitive to light intensity as Angelfish.
The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Convict Cichlids
This table illustrates the dietary needs of Angelfish and Convict Cichlids, highlighting food types, quantity, and feeding schedule, with an additional column for a tank hosting both.
|Aspect||Angelfish||Convict Cichlids||Both Types|
|Food Types||Flake foods, brine shrimp, vegetables||Cichlid pellets, bloodworms||Varied diet suitable for both|
|Quantity||Small amounts 2-3 times a day||Once or twice a day||Controlled portions, 2-3 times a day|
|Feeding Schedule||Morning & evening||Morning and/or evening||Regular, consistent times|
1. Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements
Angelfish are omnivorous and require a balanced diet that includes both plant and animal matter.
Their diet should mimic the variety they would find in their natural Amazonian habitat, focusing on nutrition and food size.
- Food Types: Angelfish diet should include a mix of flake foods, frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and boiled vegetables like peas and spinach for plant matter.
- Quantity: Feed Angelfish small amounts 2-3 times a day, ensuring the food is consumed within a few minutes to avoid overfeeding and tank pollution.
- Feeding Schedule: Regular, consistent feeding times are important for Angelfish. Morning and evening feedings are ideal, with an optional midday feeding for larger tanks or groups.
2. Convict Cichlids: Ideal Dietary Requirements
Convict Cichlids are less finicky eaters compared to Angelfish and have a robust appetite. They are omnivorous as well, but their diet leans more towards protein-rich foods.
- Food Types: Provide a diet of high-quality cichlid pellets or flakes, supplemented with live or frozen foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp for protein.
- Quantity: Feed Convict Cichlids once or twice a day, in amounts they can consume in about 3-5 minutes, to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.
- Feeding Schedule: Consistent feeding times are beneficial. Morning and/or evening feedings align with their natural feeding patterns and help maintain a healthy digestive system.
Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Convict Cichlids
While keeping Angelfish with Convict Cichlids is generally not recommended due to their differing needs and temperaments, it can be attempted under careful, controlled conditions.
It requires meticulous planning and continuous monitoring to ensure a harmonious environment.
- Tank Size Matters: Use a large aquarium, ideally over 75 gallons, to ensure enough space for both species, reducing stress and territorial conflicts.
- Establish Separate Territories: Strategically place rocks, plants, and decorations to create distinct territories, ensuring each fish has at least 15-20 gallons of its own space.
- Monitor Water Conditions: Regularly check and maintain water parameters, keeping the pH around 7.0, which is a compromise between both species’ needs.
- Provide Ample Hiding Spots: Incorporate numerous hiding places like caves, driftwood, and dense plants to allow Angelfish and Convict Cichlids to retreat when stressed.
- Feeding Stations: Set up multiple feeding areas to reduce competition for food, ensuring each species gets its dietary needs met without conflict.
- Observation and Intervention: Closely observe their interactions, especially during the initial weeks, and be prepared to separate them if aggression escalates.
- Consider Tank Mates Carefully: If adding other species, choose ones that can coexist with both Angelfish and Convict Cichlids, and avoid overly aggressive or very timid fish.
Other Tank Mates for Angelfish
Angelfish can coexist peacefully with a variety of other fish species, provided these tank mates are chosen with their temperament and environmental needs in mind.
Ideal companions are those that are not too small to be eaten, not too aggressive, and thrive in similar water conditions.
- Corydoras Catfish: These bottom dwellers are peaceful and make excellent companions for Angelfish, helping to keep the tank clean by scavenging leftovers.
- Dwarf Gourami: A calm and colorful addition, Dwarf Gouramis can share the upper levels of the tank with Angelfish without competing for space or food.
- Mollies: Mollies are adaptable and peaceful, suitable for a community tank with Angelfish, and they come in various colors and patterns for aesthetic diversity.
- Rummy-Nose Tetra: Known for their distinctive red noses, Rummy-Nose Tetras are schooling fish that add movement to the tank and are peaceful with Angelfish.
- Platy: Platies are hardy and peaceful, available in various colors, and they occupy different tank levels, avoiding competition with Angelfish.
- Loaches: Certain loach species, like Kuhli Loaches, are good options as they are peaceful, bottom-dwelling, and help keep the substrate clean in an Angelfish tank.
For quick readers, here’s a short summary:
- Angelfish and Convict Cichlids are not recommended to be kept together due to differences in temperament, territorial behavior, water conditions, and feeding habits.
- Angelfish are peaceful and require slightly acidic water and a varied diet, while Convict Cichlids are aggressive, prefer alkaline water, and are more competitive eaters.
- Ideal tank conditions for each fish differ significantly; Angelfish thrive in a planted tank with gentle circulation, whereas Convict Cichlids need a robust setup with hiding places.
- While cohabitation is challenging, a large tank with separate territories and careful monitoring of water conditions and feeding can help manage their coexistence.
- Angelfish are compatible with various peaceful species like Corydoras Catfish and Dwarf Gouramis, making them suitable for diverse community tanks.