Can Angelfish And Puffers Live Together? (Common Mistakes)

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Angelfish and Puffer Fish are popular choices for freshwater aquariums. But can they live together peacefully?

What should you consider to house them together? What are the key points about their aquarium size, water conditions, and diet?

When I first started with these fish, I knew nothing about these things. That’s why I wrote this article – to share my learning with you.

Let’s get started.

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

No, keeping Angelfish and Puffer Fish together in the same tank is not recommended.

  • Temperament Mismatch: Angelfish are generally peaceful, while Puffer Fish can be aggressive, potentially causing stress and harm to Angelfish.
  • Dietary Differences: Angelfish primarily eat flakes and small pellets, whereas Puffer Fish require a varied diet, including hard-shelled foods to maintain their beak.
  • Water Parameters: Angelfish thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.8-7.8), while Puffer Fish often need different, sometimes brackish, conditions.
  • Space Requirements: Angelfish need spacious, vertically oriented tanks; Puffer Fish, being territorial, may view Angelfish as intruders in limited space.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Puffer Fish: Behavior

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

Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish are known for their peaceful and graceful demeanor in aquariums. They often exhibit social behavior, preferring to swim in small groups or pairs.

  • Social Dynamics: Angelfish tend to form hierarchical structures within groups, with dominant individuals often leading the way in the tank.
  • Territorial During Breeding: When breeding, Angelfish become territorial, guarding their eggs and fry fiercely against intruders.
  • Interaction with Tank Mates: Generally, Angelfish are peaceful but can nip fins of slower, long-finned fish, especially in crowded tanks.

Puffer Fish: Natural Behavior

Puffer Fish are unique and interesting but can be unpredictable and aggressive.

Their behavior varies significantly among species, with some being more solitary and others more social.

  • Defensive Mechanism: When threatened, many Puffer fish species inflate with water or air as a defense mechanism.
  • Territorial Nature: Puffer fish are often territorial, especially during feeding times, and can be aggressive towards other fish.
  • Varied Diet Preferences: Puffer fish require a specific diet, often needing hard-shelled foods to wear down their constantly growing teeth.

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Puffer Fish

This table compares the ideal water parameters for both Angelfish and Puffer fish, providing an insight into the challenges of keeping both in the same tank.

ParameterAngelfishPuffer FishBoth Types
Temperature76°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C)74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C)Challenging to balance; needs compromise
pH Level6.8 to 7.87.0 to 8.0 (Species dependent)Dependent on species; challenging to match
Water Hardness3 to 8 dGH5 to 15 dGH (Species dependent)Difficult to standardize; varies with species

Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish thrive in a stable, clean environment with specific water parameters. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral water and a stable temperature.

  • Temperature Range: Angelfish prefer a temperature range of 76°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C), which is crucial for their immune system functioning.
  • pH Level: Ideal pH levels for Angelfish range from 6.8 to 7.8, with slight acidity being optimal for their health.
  • Water Hardness: Angelfish thrive in soft to moderately hard water, typically between 3 to 8 dGH (degrees of General Hardness).

Puffer Fish: Ideal Parameters

Puffer fish require specific water conditions that can vary greatly between species. Some need freshwater, while others thrive in brackish or even marine environments.

  • Temperature Specificity: Depending on the species, Puffer fish can require temperatures ranging from 74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C).
  • pH Level Variation: The ideal pH for Puffer fish also varies; freshwater species might prefer 7.0 to 7.6, while brackish species can tolerate higher levels.
  • Water Hardness and Salinity: Some Puffer fish species need higher water hardness or specific salinity levels, especially brackish and marine species.

Angelfish vs. Puffer Fish: Tank Setup

This table outlines the differences in tank setup requirements for Angelfish and Puffer fish, highlighting the complexity of a tank housing both.

AspectAngelfishPuffer FishBoth Types
Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate0 ppm Ammonia/Nitrite, <20 ppm Nitrate0 ppm Ammonia/Nitrite, Low NitrateStrict water quality control needed
Tank SizeMinimum 20 gallons30-200 gallons (Species dependent)At least 100 gallons recommended
FoliageTall plants, floating vegetationNot essential, but hiding places importantBalance of hiding spots and open areas
DecorationsSmooth rocks, driftwoodCareful, no sharp edgesNo sharp edges, ample space
FilterModerate flow filterRobust filtration systemHigh-quality, adjustable flow
Heater76°F to 82°F74°F to 80°FCompromise temperature setting
SubstrateFine, soft substrateVaries, soft for diggersChoose based on primary species
PumpModerate water circulationGood circulation, not too strongBalanced circulation for both
LightingModerate lightingLess critical, day/night cycleAdjustable, species-appropriate lighting

Angelfish: Tank Setup

Angelfish require a carefully set up tank that caters to their peaceful nature and vertical body shape. They thrive in well-planted, spacious environments with stable water conditions.

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Angelfish need ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm, and nitrate levels below 20 ppm to avoid stress and illness.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallons is needed for Angelfish, with additional space required for more individuals or breeding.
  • Foliage: Tall plants and floating vegetation are preferred by Angelfish, offering hiding spots and mimicking their natural habitat.
  • Decorations: Smooth rocks and driftwood can be added for aesthetic appeal, ensuring no sharp edges that can harm Angelfish.
  • Filter: A high-quality filter is essential to maintain clean water; however, the flow should be moderate to not stress Angelfish.
  • Heater: Stable temperature is crucial; a heater should be used to maintain water temperature between 76°F to 82°F.
  • Substrate: A fine, soft substrate is ideal for Angelfish as it reflects their natural riverbed habitat and supports plant growth.
  • Pump: A water pump should be used to ensure even water circulation, but the current should not be too strong to disturb the Angelfish.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is preferred, simulating the natural light of their rainforest habitat and encouraging plant growth.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And African Cichlids Live Together?

Puffer Fish: Tank Setup

Puffer fish require specific tank conditions due to their unique nature and needs.

Their tanks should cater to their dietary habits, territorial behavior, and, in some species, the need for brackish conditions.

  • Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Puffer fish are sensitive to water quality; ammonia and nitrite levels must be at 0 ppm, and nitrates as low as possible.
  • Tank Size: The tank size for Puffer fish varies by species, but generally, a larger tank is required to accommodate their territorial nature.
  • Foliage: Dense foliage is not essential, but hiding places should be provided, such as caves or tunnels, to give them a sense of security.
  • Decorations: Decorations should be chosen with care to avoid sharp edges; Puffer fish are curious and may accidentally harm themselves.
  • Filter: A robust filtration system is crucial to handle the waste Puffer fish produce, especially in species that feed on hard-shelled foods.
  • Heater: Depending on the species, Puffer fish may require warmer water, typically between 74°F and 80°F.
  • Substrate: The substrate can vary; however, for species that like to dig, a softer substrate is advisable to prevent injury.
  • Pump: A good water circulation system is important, but like with Angelfish, the current should not be too strong.
  • Lighting: Lighting requirements for Puffer fish are generally not as critical, but a day and night cycle should be maintained to mimic natural conditions.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Puffer Fish

This table compares the dietary requirements of Angelfish and Puffer fish, illustrating the need for separate feeding strategies in a shared tank.

AspectAngelfishPuffer FishBoth Types
Food TypesFlake foods, brine shrimp, bloodwormsSnails, crabs, shrimp, mollusksSeparate feeding areas/strategies
QuantityAs much as consumed in 30-60 secSmall amount, finish within minutesControlled, species-specific portions
Feeding Schedule2-3 times a dayOnce a day/every other dayRegular, consistent times; separate feedings

Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet of both plant and animal matter. Their diet in captivity should mimic the varied nutrients they would naturally consume in the wild.

  • Food Types: Angelfish thrive on a mix of flake foods, frozen or live brine shrimp, and bloodworms, supplemented with blanched vegetables.
  • Quantity: Feeding should be moderate; a good rule of thumb is to offer only as much food as they can consume in 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Feeding Schedule: Consistency is key; feed Angelfish small amounts 2-3 times a day, ensuring they receive a variety of foods for nutritional balance.

Puffer Fish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Puffer fish are unique in their dietary needs, with some species requiring hard-shelled foods to maintain their beak-like teeth.

Their diet should be carefully managed to prevent overfeeding and to maintain their dental health.

  • Food Types: Depending on the species, Puffer fish may eat snails, crabs, shrimp, and hard-shelled mollusks, along with specific pellet foods.
  • Quantity: Puffers are prone to obesity; thus, feeding should be controlled, usually a small quantity that they can finish within a few minutes.
  • Feeding Schedule: Regular, but not frequent feeding is important, typically once a day or every other day, depending on the species and size of the Puffer fish.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Puffer Fish

While it’s generally not recommended to keep Angelfish with Puffers due to their differing needs and temperaments, if attempted, it requires careful planning and management.

The key is to create an environment that caters to the specific requirements of both species while minimizing potential conflicts.

  • Tank Size: Opt for a large tank, at least 100 gallons, to provide enough space for both species to coexist without encroaching on each other’s territory.
  • Tank Dividers: Use tank dividers, especially if aggression is observed; this can be a temporary measure to protect Angelfish from potential Puffer fish aggression.
  • Diet Management: Feed Angelfish and Puffer fish separately to ensure each gets its specific dietary needs met without competition.
  • Close Monitoring: Regularly observe for signs of stress or aggression, especially from Puffer fish towards Angelfish, and be ready to intervene.
  • Water Quality: Maintain optimal water conditions, keeping ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrate below 20 ppm, beneficial for both species.
  • Enriched Environment: Provide plenty of hiding spots and visual barriers using plants and decorations to reduce direct line of sight and potential conflicts.
  • Acclimation Process: Introduce Angelfish and Puffer fish to the tank at the same time, allowing them to establish territories simultaneously to reduce territorial disputes.

Should I Opt for an Angelfish or a Puffer Fish

Choosing between an Angelfish and a Puffer fish depends largely on your experience level, available space, and willingness to meet specific care requirements.

While Angelfish are more suited for peaceful community tanks, Puffers require more specialized care and attention.

  • Care Level: Angelfish are generally easier to care for, making them suitable for beginners; they adapt well to standard aquarium conditions.
  • Tank Requirements: Angelfish need a vertically spacious tank, at least 20 gallons, to accommodate their tall body shape and swimming style.
  • Temperament: Angelfish are relatively peaceful and can coexist with a variety of other fish, making them ideal for community aquariums.
  • Dietary Needs: Angelfish have a more straightforward diet, primarily consisting of flake and pellet foods, supplemented with occasional live or frozen foods.
  • Lifespan and Health: Angelfish typically live up to 10 years with proper care, showing resilience to common fish diseases when kept in optimal conditions.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Blood Parrot Cichlids Live Together?


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Keeping Angelfish and Puffers together is not recommended due to temperament mismatches and differing dietary needs.
  • Angelfish prefer peaceful environments and a specific diet, while Puffer fish can be aggressive and require varied, hard-shelled foods.
  • Tank requirements for both species differ significantly, with Angelfish needing vertically oriented space and Puffer fish requiring larger, territorial areas.
  • If attempting to house both species together, a large tank, careful diet management, and close monitoring are essential to minimize conflicts.
  • Choosing between Angelfish and Puffers depends on the aquarist’s experience and willingness to meet each species’ specific care requirements.