Can Angelfish And Discus Fish Live Together? (7 Key Tips)

Disclosure: When you purchase something through my affiliate links, I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Angelfish and Discus Fish are popular choices for those with freshwater aquariums, but is it possible for them to live together peacefully?

Considerations for housing them include tank size, water conditions, and diet. When I first started with these fish, I was completely unaware of these factors.

This is the reason I’ve put together this guide—to share what I’ve learned with you. Let’s get started.

Can I Keep Angelfish and Discus Fish Together in the Same Tank?

Yes, you can keep Angelfish and Discus fish together, as they both require similar water conditions and are generally peaceful.

  • Temperature Compatibility: Angelfish thrive in water temperatures between 75-82°F, aligning with the 82-88°F preference of Discus, allowing a comfortable middle ground.
  • Water Chemistry: Both species demand slightly acidic to neutral pH levels (6.0-7.0 for Discus, 6.8-7.8 for Angelfish), making water chemistry management feasible.
  • Behavioral Patterns: Angelfish are known to be semi-aggressive but can coexist peacefully with Discus, which are calm and non-territorial, reducing potential conflicts.
  • Dietary Habits: While Discus require high-protein diets, Angelfish are omnivores; both can adapt to a varied diet, simplifying feeding routines within a shared habitat.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Discus Fish: Behavior

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

1. Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish are known for their semi-aggressive behavior, often establishing a pecking order within a community tank.

  • Territorial Instincts: Angelfish often claim territories within the aquarium, which can lead to aggressive interactions if the tank is overcrowded or too small.
  • Social Hierarchy: These fish establish social orders, with dominant Angelfish typically eating first and choosing the prime spots for shelter.
  • Interaction with Others: Angelfish may show aggression towards slower fish by nipping at them, necessitating careful consideration when choosing tank mates.

2. Discus Fish: Natural Behavior

Discus fish exhibit a more placid nature, preferring a calm environment and are known for their shyness.

  • Group Behavior: Discus are peaceful and tend to stay in groups, which can help reduce stress and promote a harmonious tank environment.
  • Stress Response: When threatened, Discus fish are more likely to retreat and hide rather than show aggression, making them less confrontational.
  • Compatibility: Due to their calm demeanor, Discus fish are less likely to instigate issues with tank mates, provided their need for a tranquil environment is met.

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Discus Fish

For Angelfish and Discus, maintaining ideal water parameters is crucial for their health and wellbeing. Here’s a comparative table highlighting their needs:

ParameterAngelfishDiscus FishBoth Types
Temperature75-82°F82-88°F80-85°F (compromise range)
pH Level6.8-7.86.0-7.06.5-7.5 (middle ground)
Water Hardness3-8 dKH1-4 dKH3-6 dKH (suitable for both)

1. Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish require specific water conditions to thrive, including a warm temperature, a slightly acidic to neutral pH, and moderate water hardness.

  • Temperature Needs: Angelfish prefer a temperature range of 75-82°F, which helps in maintaining their metabolism and immune system efficiency.
  • pH Level: The ideal pH level for Angelfish is between 6.8 and 7.8; this range is crucial for their skin and gill function and overall health.
  • Water Hardness: Angelfish are best suited to water with a hardness between 3-8 dKH (54 to 145 ppm), which supports their osmoregulation and electrolyte balance.

2. Discus Fish: Ideal Parameters

Discus fish are quite particular about their water parameters, necessitating warmer water, a more acidic pH, and soft water hardness.

  • Temperature Needs: Discus thrive in warmer temperatures, specifically between 82-88°F, which is essential for their digestion and resistance to pathogens.
  • pH Level: They require a slightly acidic pH, ideally from 6.0 to 7.0, to mimic their natural Amazonian habitat, which is critical for their mucous coat integrity.
  • Water Hardness: Soft water is necessary for Discus, preferably between 1-4 dKH (18 to 70 ppm), aiding in their kidney function and growth.

Angelfish vs. Discus Fish: Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for Angelfish and Discus Fish, it’s important to consider each species’ requirements, as well as how to merge them:

AspectAngelfishDiscus FishBoth Types
Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate0 ppm0 ppm0 ppm
Tank Size55 gallons75 gallonsLarger than 75 gallons
FoliageLive or silkSoft-leaved plantsCombination of plants
DecorationsVertical structuresFew decorationsBalanced decorations
Filter4-5x turnover rateHigh-quality canisterHigh-quality canister with good turnover
SubstrateDarker substratesFine, soft or bare-bottomSubstrate optional
PumpNot essentialGentle water movementGentle movement
LightingModerate lightingDimmer lightingModerate to dim lighting

1. Angelfish: Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Angelfish involves creating a stable environment with pristine water conditions and ample space for swimming and territories.

  • Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: Angelfish require a tank with a cycled filter to maintain ammonia and nitrites at 0 ppm and nitrates below 20 ppm for health.
  • Tank Size: A group of Angelfish need at least a 55-gallon tank to allow sufficient space for growth and territorial behavior.
  • Foliage: Live or silk plants are essential for Angelfish to provide hiding spots and to mimic their natural habitat.
  • Decorations: Angelfish appreciate vertical structures like driftwood or tall decorations that they can swim around and claim.
  • Filter: A powerful filter that can turn over the tank water at least 4-5 times an hour is recommended for Angelfish, ensuring clean water.
  • Heater: Stable temperatures are vital; thus, a reliable heater capable of maintaining the water between 75-82°F is necessary.
  • Substrate: Angelfish are not fussy about substrate, but a darker color can help showcase their colors and provide a more natural look.
  • Pump: An air pump is not essential but can aid in oxygenation, especially if the tank is densely stocked or has a weaker filter.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting suits Angelfish, supporting plant growth without causing excessive algae or stress to the fish.

2. Discus Fish: Tank Setup

For Discus, the tank setup is critical and must replicate their natural environment to ensure their wellbeing.

  • Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: Discus tanks require rigorous filtration to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrates as low as possible, ideally under 10 ppm.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 75 gallons is advised for Discus fish to provide ample swimming space and to accommodate their social nature.
  • Foliage: Soft-leaved plants and tall foliage that can tolerate higher temperatures are ideal for Discus, adding comfort and shelter.
  • Decorations: Discus enjoy a tank with few decorations to avoid injury and provide open swimming areas; smooth rocks and driftwood are suitable.
  • Filter: A top-notch canister filter is preferred for Discus, ensuring the removal of waste and the distribution of clean water throughout the tank.
  • Heater: An adjustable heater is crucial for Discus, keeping the water consistently between 82-88°F to replicate their tropical habitat.
  • Substrate: Fine, soft substrate or bare-bottom tanks are preferred for Discus to prevent injury and facilitate cleaning.
  • Pump: A water pump ensuring gentle water movement helps in evenly distributing heat and nutrients without creating stressful currents for Discus.
  • Lighting: Dimmer lighting that simulates the shaded waters of the Amazon is perfect for Discus, providing a stress-free environment.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Discus Fish

Angelfish require a varied diet that can be consumed quickly, whereas Discus Fish need high-protein foods more frequently.

In a shared tank, the feeding schedule and quantity should be adjusted to accommodate both species without overfeeding.

Food TypesAngelfishDiscus FishBoth Types
Primary DietFlake foods, live/frozen foods, vegetablesHigh-quality pellet food, beef heart, bloodwormsA mix of flakes, pellets, live/frozen foods, vegetables
QuantitySmall amounts 2-3 times/daySmall portions 3-5 times/daySmall amounts 2-5 times/day depending on the fish
Feeding ScheduleConsistent daily timesFrequent throughout the dayAdapt to the most frequent schedule for both

1. Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish are omnivores with a need for a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter to ensure proper nutrition and health.

  • Food Types: Angelfish diets should include flake foods, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, and vegetable matter for balance.
  • Quantity: Adult Angelfish should be fed an amount they can consume in 30 seconds, two to three times a day to prevent overfeeding and waste.
  • Feeding Schedule: Consistency is key; feeding Angelfish at the same times daily helps regulate their digestion and reduces stress.

2. Discus Fish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Discus fish are more carnivorous and require high protein foods but also benefit from the inclusion of vegetables in their diet.

  • Food Types: Discus flourish with a diet of high-quality pellet food, beef heart, bloodworms, and occasional vegetable treats.
  • Quantity: These fish require frequent feedings of small amounts, ensuring they eat all food provided to maintain water quality.
  • Feeding Schedule: Discus should be fed small portions three to five times a day due to their high metabolism and nutritional needs.

How to Introduce Your Angelfish to a Tank with Discus Fish

Introducing Angelfish to a tank with Discus requires a careful approach to minimize stress and ensure a smooth transition into the shared environment.

  • Quarantine Period: Begin with a quarantine period for the Angelfish to prevent the spread of diseases to the Discus, typically lasting 2-4 weeks.
  • Water Parameters: Gradually adjust the Angelfish’s water to match the Discus tank’s parameters to prevent shock, doing so over several days.
  • Visual Introduction: Allow the Angelfish and Discus to see each other without physical contact first, using a clear divider if available.
  • Feeding Together: Start feeding both Angelfish and Discus simultaneously near the divider to associate each other’s presence with positive experiences.
  • Monitor Interactions: Once introduced, observe their interactions closely for a few days to ensure no aggressive behavior ensues and intervene if necessary.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Discus Fish

Successfully keeping Angelfish with Discus Fish requires attention to their shared needs and careful monitoring to maintain a harmonious tank.

  • Stable Water Conditions: Ensure the tank water remains within the ideal parameters for both Angelfish and Discus, with regular checks and adjustments.
  • Sufficient Space: Provide a large enough aquarium to accommodate the full adult size of both Angelfish and Discus, minimizing stress and aggression.
  • Balanced Diet: Offer a varied diet suitable for both species, including high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen foods to meet their nutritional needs.
  • Regular Health Checks: Observe both Angelfish and Discus daily for signs of stress or illness, addressing any issues promptly to prevent spread.
  • Gradual Introduction: Introduce Angelfish to the Discus environment slowly, using acclimation techniques to equalize water parameters and reduce shock.
  • Separate Feeding Zones: Establish distinct feeding areas to prevent competition and ensure both Angelfish and Discus receive adequate nutrition.
  • Harmonious Groupings: Keep Angelfish and Discus in compatible group sizes to reflect their social structures and reduce the chance of bullying.

Also Read: Angelfish And Rainbow Fish

Best Tank Mates for Angelfish and Discus Fish

Choosing the best tank mates for Angelfish and Discus is crucial to ensure a peaceful and healthy aquarium community.

  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom dwellers are peaceful and keep to themselves, cleaning up leftover food without bothering Angelfish or Discus.
  • Rummy-nose Tetras: Known for their schooling nature, they add dynamic movement to the tank without stressing the Angelfish and Discus.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Smaller cichlids like the Apistogramma stay out of the way of Angelfish and Discus, while adding variety to the tank’s mid-level.
  • Cardinal Tetras: Their calm demeanor and smaller size make them non-threatening to Angelfish and Discus, while their schooling nature adds beauty.
  • Plecos: Plecostomus species are great for algae control and generally ignore other fish, making them good companions for Angelfish and Discus.
  • Loaches: Peaceful loaches, such as the Kuhli Loach, are excellent for keeping the substrate clean and are too quick to be caught by Angelfish.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Loaches Live Together?

Kuhli Loach


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish and Discus fish can coexist in the same tank, provided the environment meets their shared preference for water temperature, chemistry, and diet.
  • While Angelfish are semi-aggressive and territorial, Discus are calm and shy, yet both species can peacefully share a well-structured environment.
  • Both fish require specific water parameters with a middle ground temperature of 80-85°F, a pH level of 6.5-7.5, and moderate water hardness to thrive together.
  • A harmonious tank setup for both Angelfish and Discus includes ample space, balanced foliage, and decor, with high-quality filtration and moderate to dim lighting.
  • To maintain a healthy shared tank, regular monitoring of water conditions, a balanced diet, and careful introduction of new fish are essential.