Can Angelfish And Flowerhorns Live Together? (Mistakes To Avoid)

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Angelfish and Flowerhorns are popular choices for freshwater aquariums. But is it possible for them to live together peacefully?

What should you consider to make sure they can coexist? This includes their tank size, water conditions, and diet.

When I first started keeping these fish, I didn’t know much about these things. That’s why I wrote this article, to share what I’ve learned with you.

Let’s jump right in.

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

No, Angelfish and Flowerhorns should not be kept together in the same tank.

  • Temperament Mismatch: Angelfish are generally peaceful and can become stressed by Flowerhorns, which are known to be aggressive and territorial.
  • Size Disparity: Adult Flowerhorns can grow up to 12 inches, potentially viewing smaller Angelfish, which typically reach 6 inches, as prey or competitors.
  • Dietary Differences: Flowerhorns often require a high-protein diet that can lead to excess waste, possibly harming the more sensitive Angelfish due to increased ammonia levels.
  • Environmental Needs: Angelfish require densely planted tanks for hiding, which conflicts with the open swimming spaces Flowerhorns need to thrive and establish territories.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Flowerhorns: Behavior

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

1. Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish are typically serene creatures, preferring a calm and planted environment.

They exhibit a graceful, almost gliding motion when swimming and tend to keep to themselves or a small group.

  • Community-Oriented: Angelfish often thrive in groups and can be seen forming loose hierarchies within their community, but they remain generally non-aggressive towards other species.
  • Territorial During Breeding: While peaceful, Angelfish can become territorial when breeding, guarding their eggs and fry diligently against intruders.
  • Subdued Foraging: Angelfish slowly scour the tank, primarily feeding on small invertebrates or plants, showing a preference for vertical surfaces like plants or tank walls.

2. Flowerhorns: Natural Behavior

Flowerhorns, on the other hand, are hybrid cichlids known for their vivacious and assertive behavior.

They are active swimmers and often engage with their environment and owners, sometimes aggressively.

  • Highly Territorial: Flowerhorns display a strong territorial instinct, often claiming large areas of a tank and aggressively defending it against any perceived threats.
  • Interactive Personality: These fish are known for their intelligence and can recognize their owners, often reacting to their presence with enthusiastic displays.
  • Aggression Issues: Due to their breeding, Flowerhorns can be unpredictably aggressive, making them unsuitable tank mates for peaceful species like Angelfish.

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Flowerhorns

This table compares the ideal water parameters for Angelfish and Flowerhorns, and suggests a compromise for a tank housing both.

ParameterAngelfishFlowerhornsBoth Types
Temperature76-82°F (24-28°C)80-85°F (27-29°C)78-83°F (25.5-28°C)
pH Level6.0 to 7.57.0 to 8.06.5 to 7.8
Water Hardness3-8 dGH6-20 dGH5-12 dGH

1. Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish prefer a stable environment that closely mimics their natural Amazonian habitat. They thrive in warm, slightly acidic water, with moderate hardness.

  • Temperature Specifics: Angelfish require temperatures between 76-82°F (24-28°C), a range that allows their metabolism to function optimally and supports a strong immune system.
  • pH Level: The ideal pH level for Angelfish is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5, which helps in maintaining their slime coat and reducing stress.
  • Water Hardness: Angelfish are best suited to soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness level of 3-8 dGH, ensuring proper osmoregulation and growth.

2. Flowerhorns: Ideal Parameters

Flowerhorns, being hardy hybrids, are less specific about their water parameters but still have an ideal range they prefer.

They can tolerate a wider range of conditions but do best in warm, neutral to slightly alkaline water.

  • Temperature Range: Flowerhorns are comfortable in temperatures from 80-85°F (27-29°C), a warmer range that supports their active metabolism and digestion.
  • pH Preference: These robust fish favor a pH range of 7.0 to 8.0, which caters to their hardy nature and helps in maintaining vibrant coloration.
  • General Hardness: Flowerhorns can adapt to water hardness levels from 6-20 dGH, allowing for flexibility in mineral content without compromising their health.

Angelfish vs. Flowerhorns: Tank Setup

This table outlines the differences in tank setup requirements between Angelfish and Flowerhorns, including suggestions for a shared tank.

Setup ComponentAngelfishFlowerhornsBoth Types
Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, <20 ppm nitrate0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, <20 ppm nitrate0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, <20 ppm nitrate
Tank SizeMinimum 20 gallonsMinimum 70 gallonsMinimum 150 gallons
FoliageDensely plantedSturdy or minimalDensely planted, sturdy
DecorationsVaried, secure, non-aggressiveMinimal, secureSecure, minimal aggression
FilterHigh-capacity, biologicalPowerful, high-capacityMultiple high-capacity
Heater76-82°F (24-28°C)80-85°F (27-29°C)78-83°F (25.5-28°C)
SubstrateFine or mediumThicker, coarserBalanced for both
PumpEfficient circulationStrong circulationHigh efficiency
LightingModerate, supporting plant growthModerate, not intenseModerate, suitable for both

1. Angelfish: Tank Setup

Angelfish tanks should mimic the calm and sheltered waters of the Amazon, with an emphasis on stable water conditions and plenty of hiding places.

The setup should cater to their peaceful nature and preference for vertical space to swim.

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Angelfish tanks require diligent monitoring to maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and nitrates below 20 ppm to prevent stress and illness.
  • Tank Size: A group of Angelfish needs at least a 29-gallon tank to provide ample swimming space, with an increase of 10 gallons for each additional fish.
  • Foliage: Dense, tall plants or artificial equivalents are essential for Angelfish to feel secure and to replicate their natural environment for breeding.
  • Decorations: Angelfish benefit from vertical decorations like driftwood or tall rocks, providing both cover and a substrate for spawning.
  • Filter: A canister or hanging filter that offers gentle water flow is ideal, as Angelfish prefer calm waters and can be disturbed by strong currents.
  • Heater: A reliable heater is required to keep the water temperature consistent between 76-82°F, crucial for the health of Angelfish.
  • Substrate: A fine, dark-colored substrate can help mimic the natural riverbeds of the Amazon and make the Angelfish’s colors stand out.
  • Pump: Air pumps are generally not necessary, but if used, should provide a gentle flow as Angelfish do not like strong currents.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting reflects the dappled sunlight of their natural habitat and encourages natural behavior and growth in plants they require.

2. Flowerhorns: Tank Setup

For Flowerhorns, a tank setup must cater to their larger size and more active behavior.

The environment should be spacious and robust to handle their strength and occasional bursts of energy.

  • Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate: Flowerhorns require strict monitoring of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, with ammonia and nitrite kept at 0 ppm and nitrates less than 20 ppm for health.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 70 gallons is recommended for a single Flowerhorn to accommodate their growth and active swimming habits.
  • Foliage: While plants are not a necessity, sturdy species can be added; however, Flowerhorns are known to rearrange or uproot less secure plants.
  • Decorations: Decorations should be minimal and securely placed to prevent injury, as Flowerhorns can be boisterous and may knock over unsecured items.
  • Filter: A powerful filter is crucial for a Flowerhorn tank to handle the heavy bioload they produce and to maintain water clarity and quality.
  • Heater: A reliable heater is needed to maintain a consistent temperature between 80-85°F, which is vital for Flowerhorn health and vitality.
  • Substrate: A thicker, coarser substrate is preferable, as fine substrates can be ingested during their digging behavior, potentially causing health issues.
  • Pump: An efficient water pump is essential to ensure proper water circulation, providing the Flowerhorn with oxygen-rich water and aiding in waste distribution.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is sufficient for Flowerhorns; intense lighting is not necessary unless live plants are included in the tank setup.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Flowerhorns

This table compares the dietary needs of Angelfish and Flowerhorns, along with a balanced approach for tanks with both types.

Dietary AspectAngelfishFlowerhornsBoth Types
Food TypesFlake foods, brine shrimp, bloodworms, spirulinaCichlid pellets, krill, mealworms, earthwormsBalanced mix suited for both
QuantityConsume in 30 seconds, twice a dayFinish in two minutes, once or twice a dayModerated for each species
Feeding ScheduleSame times each dayMorning and eveningRegular, separate times

1. Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish dietary requirements reflect their omnivorous nature, needing a balanced diet of plant and animal matter.

They thrive on variety and require careful feeding to avoid overeating, which can lead to water quality issues and health problems.

  • Food Types: Angelfish diet should include a mix of flake foods, frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetation like spirulina, providing a rich array of nutrients.
  • Quantity: Adult Angelfish should be fed an amount they can consume in about 30 seconds, twice a day, to prevent overfeeding and minimize waste.
  • Feeding Schedule: Consistency is key; feeding Angelfish at the same times each day helps regulate their digestion and reduce stress, promoting a healthy immune system.

2. Flowerhorns: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Flowerhorns have voracious appetites and require a diet high in protein to support their growth and vibrant coloration.

Overfeeding can be a significant issue, leading to obesity and water quality degradation, which must be carefully managed.

  • Food Types: A Flowerhorn’s diet should be varied, including pellets designed for large cichlids, supplemented with treats like krill, mealworms, or earthworms for protein.
  • Quantity: They should be fed enough food that they can finish in two minutes, once or twice a day, to meet their energy demands without causing excess waste.
  • Feeding Schedule: Flowerhorns benefit from a regular feeding routine, once in the morning and once in the evening, to maintain their metabolism and reduce aggression.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Flowerhorns

While it is generally not advised to keep Angelfish with Flowerhorns due to significant behavioral differences, if one chooses to do so, meticulous planning and tank management are imperative.

It requires a commitment to monitoring and maintaining a delicate balance within the aquarium environment.

  • Tank Size: Opt for a tank that is significantly large, at least 150 gallons, to provide ample space for both Angelfish and Flowerhorns to establish their territories.
  • Visual Barriers: Use plants and decorations to create clear visual barriers, allowing Angelfish to have hiding spaces and reduce the line of sight aggression from Flowerhorns.
  • Separate Feeding Zones: Implement separate feeding zones to prevent competition for food, which can be stressful for Angelfish and trigger aggression in Flowerhorns.
  • Multiple Filters: Equip the tank with several high-capacity filters to handle the waste produced and maintain high water quality, crucial for Angelfish health.
  • Closely Monitor: Keep a vigilant eye on the fish, especially during the initial period after introduction, to gauge the Flowerhorn’s aggression and Angelfish stress levels.
  • Species-Specific Needs: Ensure that the tank meets the specific needs of each species, such as temperature and pH that both Angelfish and Flowerhorns can tolerate.
  • Emergency Plan: Have an emergency plan in place, including a separate tank ready, in case the Angelfish are endangered and need to be quickly relocated.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Barbs Live Together?

Should I Opt for an Angelfish or a Flowerhorn

Choosing between an Angelfish and a Flowerhorn depends on your experience level and what you’re looking for in a fish.

Angelfish are better suited for peaceful community tanks, while Flowerhorns require more space and attention due to their size and aggression.

  • Assess Compatibility: If you have a community tank with peaceful fish, opt for Angelfish; for a single, standout fish, a Flowerhorn may be more suitable.
  • Consider Tank Size: Angelfish can thrive in a smaller tank, starting at 20 gallons, whereas Flowerhorns need a larger space, with a minimum of 70 gallons.
  • Evaluate Care Level: Angelfish require a balanced ecosystem with stable parameters, while Flowerhorns demand more rigorous feeding and tank maintenance routines.
  • Reflect on Interaction: Angelfish are more hands-off, while Flowerhorns often engage with their owners, even responding to them, which can be rewarding for interactive aquarists.
  • Long-Term Commitment: Remember, Flowerhorns can live up to 12 years and grow quite large, requiring a long-term commitment compared to the slightly shorter lifespan and smaller size of Angelfish.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Arowanas Live Together?


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish and Flowerhorns should not cohabit due to Flowerhorns’ aggression and size, which can stress and endanger Angelfish.
  • While Angelfish prefer calm, planted environments, Flowerhorns need open spaces and exhibit strong territorial behavior, making tank compatibility challenging.
  • Angelfish require a diet rich in plants and small invertebrates, contrasting Flowerhorns’ high-protein diet, necessitating different feeding regimes.
  • Ideal tank conditions differ significantly; Angelfish thrive in warm, slightly acidic water with moderate hardness, whereas Flowerhorns prefer warmer, slightly alkaline conditions.
  • Keeping these fish together demands a large tank (at least 150 gallons), separate feeding zones, and careful monitoring to manage their distinct needs and behaviors.