Angelfish And Rainbow Fish: Can They be Kept Together?

Both angelfish and rainbow fish are spectacular creatures. Personally, I was able to grow both of them in the same tank. However, in the beginning, I did notice some hierarchy establishment attempts. That encouraged both species to act aggressively towards one another. Can angelfish be kept with rainbow fish? And more importantly, can we do something to keep things quiet between the two?

Yes, angelfish and rainbow fish can be kept together. That is mainly because both species thrive in similar water conditions. Also, angelfish and rainbows feature close dimensions in their adult life. This, in turn, lowers the chances that the two will compete over territory or feel intimidated by one another.

Nevertheless, there are cases when the two species will hassle each other. As we move forward, I will show you what steps to take to avoid hostility between the two. To your surprise, there a few simple solutions that work like a charm.

Can Angelfish be Kept With Rainbow Fish?

As far as the first question is concerned, you can keep angelfish and rainbows in the same tank. Typically, they are proper tank mates.[1] Here’s what you need to understand.

In an ideal world where both your angelfish and rainbows have docile personalities, angelfish are more likely to nibble smaller species (usually because they want to eat them). However, angels won’t try to eat anything they can’t fit in their mouths.

They also rarely attack fish that are the same size or larger than them. Rainbowfish can grow to six inches, just like angelfish. As such, your angels will probably leave them alone.

Secondly, angelfish are social creatures that do not like living alone in tanks. While they are easier to keep when surrounded by their kind, angels will happily accept the company of different species. In an ideal scenario, your angelfish will appreciate the company of their rainbow neighbors. 

Angelfish can become aggressive and antagonistic when their water conditions go askew. The wrong temperature and pH will ruin their health, and this will exert undue stress on their bodies. In turn, their aggressive tendencies will become more pronounced. 

Fortunately, angelfish and rainbows enjoy similar water conditions, as I will elaborate later on. As such, you can alter the water to give your rainbowfish the appropriate atmosphere without harming your angelfish. If the water conditions are right for both fish, you can trust them to behave.

You have plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Of course, there are no guarantees. Plenty of fish owners will tell you that the last time they kept rainbows and angels in the same tank, violence ensued.

Whenever violence between angelfish and rainbows breaks out, you can blame it on the following factors:

  • The most significant source of conflict between angels and rainbows is the hyperactive nature of rainbowfish. Rainbowfish don’t sit still. They have sleek, elongated bodies that are made for fast swimming. Angels are hardly slow, but they have no chance of keeping up with rainbows. Their hyperactive tendencies could become a source of annoyance for your angels. 
  • Because they are so fast and hyperactive, rainbowfish need large tanks. The typical 25-gallon angelfish tank won’t do, especially if you have a school of fish. Rainbows are always zipping back and forth across the aquarium.

They need room to roam, to stretch their fins, to swim to their heart’s content. A tank that is too small will aggravate them, driving them to display aggressive behavior that was previously absent. This can lead to conflicts between your rainbows and their angelfish neighbors.

  • The fact that rainbowfish are always zipping about might annoy your angelfish. They won’t appreciate the stress the hyperactivity of your rainbowfish causes. That being said, you have an additional worry to consider.

Because your rainbows are so fast, they will outcompete your angels for food. And if your angels start missing out on meals because the rainbows keep stealing all the flakes and worms, they are going to respond with aggression.

Some angels adapt to this situation by rising to the surface during mealtimes. So, that they are perfectly positioned to consume the first batch of food you drop, the moment you open the lid. But others are not quite as tactical. Angels are not the only fish that react negatively to rainbows. Their speed can become a source of stress for most slower species. 

But such issues do not always manifest. While some fish owners prefer to keep angels and rainbows apart, others have reared them successfully side by side. As I’ll explain later on, you won’t know whether or not your angels and rainbows can live together until you try.

What to Consider When Growing Angelfish With Rainbow Fish

Finding the right tankmates for your angels is never easy because they have such an aggressive streak. For the most part, they get along with their own kind, especially if you keep them in sufficiently large groups, and their tanks are generously sized (giving them plenty of room to roam).

Things get complicated when you mix your angels with other species. They will probably eat the small fish and harass the larger ones. This, in turn, will encourage the larger fish to harass and bully them back.

Of course, this doesn’t always happen. Some angels are entirely peaceful, and you can trust them to live harmoniously with other fish. Angelfish are not all the same. You shouldn’t expect them to present the same personality traits.

Admittedly, that doesn’t help anyone that is thinking about mixing angelfish with rainbowfish. Informing them that some angels will live in peace with their rainbowfish while others might attack them doesn’t tell them what they should do, whether it is a good idea to put these two species in the same tank.

At the end of the day, you just have to try. You won’t know whether or not your angelfish and rainbowfish can survive in the same tank until you experiment with the living arrangement. 

Though, while experienced fish owners cannot give you any definitive answers with regards to how well your angels and rainbow fish will relate, they will encourage you to learn as much as you can about both species.

This will tell you what to expect in the long run, where conflicts might come from, and what you can do to bring any aggressive tendencies under control. Fortunately, rainbow fish are not that difficult to understand. This is what you should know.

First of all, the rainbowfish are pretty popular. You can find them in quite a lot of tanks these days. This works in your favor. If you ever encounter challenges with your rainbow fish, the species has a thriving community of experienced fish owners that will happily lend you their support.

Secondly, rainbowfish are aptly named. They have beautiful scales with multiple iridescent colors that will change when they reflect the light. Rainbowfish are not that aesthetically impressive when they first come into this world. 

Their colorations become more pronounced as they age. The colors will also change in response to stimuli. For instance, they are brightest when the rainbow fish is experiencing stress. You will notice a similar reaction whenever they vie for a female’s attention.[2]

You must learn to interpret the meaning behind the colors of your rainbow fish. It is easy to assume that rainbows with bright colorations are happy or healthy when the opposite is actually the case. 

As with angels, stress isn’t good for rainbow fish. If the rainbows in your angelfish tank are the brightest they have ever been, they are probably not happy with their living arrangements.

Multiple male angels in a tank can leave peacefully with one another. They may fight at the beginning to establish a hierarchy. But eventually, once the pecking order is confirmed, peace will prevail. This is not true for rainbows. If you have two or more male rainbows in a tank, the chances of the creatures clashing are quite high.

These conflicts are far less playful than you realize. Male rainbows have the strength to do serious harm to one another. Their aggression is at its worst during the breeding season. For this reason, you are encouraged to keep one male rainbow in each tank.

Also, the one thing angelfish and rainbowfish have in common is the fact that both species are social. They don’t like living alone. If at all possible, you need to keep them in groups of at least five. 

They get along with various other species, including discus, guppies, tetras, and the like. As was mentioned above, you should limit the number of male rainbows to one. On the other hand, you can add as many female rainbowfish as you want. 

Another thing angels and rainbows have in common is their love for plants. Any tank that has rainbowfish should have plants. Live plants are the best option, but artificial plants are also acceptable. In fact, amateur fish owners prefer them because they don’t require maintenance. 

Rainbows can use plants to hide whenever they feel afraid or stressed. If you don’t have plants, add some rocks and decorations. Make the environment in the tank as natural as possible. This will boost the health of the rainbowfish.

You should also keep in mind that rainbows are freshwater creatures. This is a good thing because most of the angelfish you find in aquariums today are freshwater angelfish. Both species prefer temperatures ranging from 74 degrees F to 82 degrees F. The pH ranges from 6.7 to 7.8.[3]

Though there are some slight variations in the temperature and water, for the most part, both angels and rainbows thrive in the same water conditions. You can alter the water to keep your rainbows healthy without negatively affecting your angelfish.

Like angelfish, rainbows require regular water changes. You must clean the tank, removing waste and dead plants to keep the water pure. Otherwise, the conditions in the tank will deteriorate, and the health of your rainbows will suffer. 

Moreover, rainbowfish are not picky eaters. They eat live food, frozen food, flakes, pellets, and everything in between. Like angels, they are unlikely to nibble your plants. If you overfeed them, you will make them sick. There is so much more to learn about rainbowfish. But the points above are more than enough to tell you what you should expect from these creatures.

How to Keep Angelfish And Rainbow Fish From Fighting

As mentioned earlier, it is quite likely that your angelfish get along with your rainbow fish. That is mainly because both species feature similar sizes, and thrive in the same water conditions. However, sometimes things don’t go so well.

If your angels show aggressive behavior towards your rainbows (or the other way around), the first solution is getting a larger tank. I have previously discussed that angelfish require space to swim. 

That is also true for rainbows, mainly because they swim so swiftly. If you are interested, here you will find my recommendations for aquarium kits. I’ve mentioned there the one I personally use, and also provided a 55-gallon tank for experts, which is about the size you’ll require. Also, sometimes angelfish feature aggressive behavior when they are breeding. 

I have previously discussed that in a different article regarding the biting habits among angelfish (both humans and other fish). In that case, you are better off keeping merely male or female angels. The same goes for rainbow fish. Preventing reproduction is one of the most effective ways to keep the atmosphere quiet in your tank.

Conclusions

Most of the time, raising both angelfish and rainbow fish shouldn’t be a problem. The two tend to get along quite well, especially when the water conditions are ideal. Luckily, both of them require similar temperatures and pH levels.

When you notice hostility, there are a few steps you could take. The first solution is getting a more substantial tank. If you can, stick to at least 55-gallons. When they have plenty of room to swim, angels are less likely to encounter rainbows, and that works for your benefit.

I hope my article had answered your question regarding whether or not angelfish and rainbow fish can be kept together. Even if you fail in your first attempt – do not give up. The more you try, the better you will eventually get into this field. 

References

  1. https://modestfish.com/angelfish-tank-mates/
  2. https://www.petmd.com/fish/general-health/6-facts-about-rainbowfish#
  3. https://www.thatpetplace.com/articles/rainbowfish-article

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