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Angelfish Growth: Stages, Rate, Duration, & More

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I must say, angelfish are truly remarkable creatures. Their stunning beauty and noticeable intelligence make them a favorite among fish enthusiasts.

But what about their growth? How long does it take for angelfish to grow to their maximum size?

What are the various stages of their development? And is it true that they grow according to the size of their aquarium?

In this article, I’m going to answer all these questions and more, ensuring you leave with all the information you need. Let’s get started.

What Are the Angelfish Growth Stages?

Here’s a basic chart showing the growth phases of angelfish and how long they last at different ages:

Growth StageAge Duration
Egg Stage60-72 hours
Larval Stage5-7 days
Post-larval Stage10-15 days
Juvenile StageSeveral weeks-months
Sub-adult StageUp to 1 year
Adult Stage9-12 months onwards

Also Read: Facts About Angelfish

1. Egg Stage

In the Egg Stage, angelfish eggs are laid and fertilized, usually on a flat surface like a leaf or tank decoration.

This stage, lasting about 60-72 hours, is critical for the development of the angelfish.

  • Visibility of Eggs: The eggs are tiny and translucent, clustered together, and visible to the observant eye, changing color if unfertilized.
  • Ideal Temperature: A temperature range of 78-84°F is crucial for healthy development, influencing the speed and success of the hatching process.
  • Parental Care: Angelfish parents guard and fan their eggs, a behavior crucial for preventing fungal growth and ensuring egg viability.

2. Larval Stage

The Larval Stage begins when the eggs hatch. Lasting about 5-7 days, this stage sees the larvae attached to a surface, absorbing their yolk sac.

  • Yolk Sac Absorption: The larvae rely on their yolk sac for nourishment, which is vital for their initial growth and energy.
  • Non-Swimming Phase: During this stage, the larvae don’t swim, remaining attached to the surface where the egg was laid.
  • Development Milestones: Key features like the mouth and fins start to develop, setting the stage for their transition to the next phase.

3. Post-larval Stage

In the Post-larval Stage, lasting approximately 10-15 days, the young angelfish begin to swim and feed independently.

  • Onset of Swimming: This is the stage where the larvae start swimming freely, marking a significant developmental milestone.
  • Start of Feeding: The post-larvae begin to feed on small foods like brine shrimp, transitioning from yolk sac dependency.
  • Physical Changes: Noticeable changes include the development of fins and the beginning of the distinctive angelfish body shape.

4. Juvenile Stage

The Juvenile Stage, lasting several weeks to months, is when the angelfish grow rapidly and start showing coloration.

  • Rapid Growth: This stage is marked by significant growth in size and strength, a critical period for their overall development.
  • Color Development: Juvenile angelfish start to develop their unique patterns and colors, which can vary widely among individuals.
  • Social Behavior: At this stage, the young fish begin to exhibit social behaviors, including hierarchy formation within groups.

5. Sub-adult Stage

During the Sub-adult Stage, which can last up to a year, the angelfish continue to grow and mature.

  • Continued Growth: The angelfish keep growing in size, though the rate of growth slows compared to the juvenile stage.
  • Maturation of Features: The physical features, including fins and scales, become more pronounced and closer to adult form.
  • Behavioral Maturation: Sub-adult angelfish start showing more complex behaviors, including territoriality and potential mating rituals.

6. Adult Stage

The Adult Stage is when angelfish reach full maturity, typically around 9-12 months old, and can last several years.

  • Full Size and Coloration: Adult angelfish reach their full size, which can be up to 6 inches in length, and display their full coloration.
  • Breeding Capability: They become capable of breeding, with clear distinctions in behavior and physical characteristics between males and females.
  • Longevity and Health: Proper care during this stage is crucial for longevity, with angelfish living up to 10 years in well-maintained conditions.

Also Read: When Do Angelfish Reach Full Size?

How Big Do Angelfish Get?

Angelfish typically reach a size of about 6 inches in length and can grow up to 10 inches in height, including their fins.

Their size largely depends on the species, with the most common types in aquariums being the Pterophyllum scalare, which tend to be the larger ones.

Adequate tank size, diet, and environment play a crucial role in achieving their full size potential.

Also Read: Angelfish Size

Which Angelfish Stay Small?

Certain angelfish species naturally stay smaller, making them ideal for aquarists with limited space or smaller tanks.

These species reach a modest size, providing the elegance of angelfish without the need for large aquariums.

  • Dwarf Angelfish (Centropyge): Typically reaching 3 to 4 inches, Dwarf angelfish are popular in smaller tanks for their vibrant colors and manageable size.
  • Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula): Flame Angelfish grow to about 4 inches and are favored for their striking red/orange hues, suitable for compact aquariums.
  • Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa): With a size around 4 inches, Coral Beauties are noted for their blue and orange coloration, perfect for smaller setups.
  • Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissima): Lemonpeel Angelfish, growing up to 4 inches, are a top choice for their bright yellow color and compact size.
  • Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi): The Pygmy Angelfish, only growing to about 3 inches, is ideal for nano tanks due to its small stature and attractive blue body with yellow accents.

What Is the Typical Angelfish Growth Rate?

The typical growth rate of angelfish varies, but they generally grow rapidly during their juvenile stage, reaching near-adult size within about 9-12 months.

Factors influencing their growth rate include diet, tank conditions, and genetics. Regular, balanced feeding and proper tank maintenance are key to supporting their healthy growth.

Also Read: How To Make Angelfish Grow Faster

Do Angelfish Grow to the Size of Their Tank?

Angelfish do not grow to the size of their tank; this is a common misconception.

While a smaller tank can limit their growth due to stress and poor water conditions, it does not directly determine their maximum size.

Providing a suitably sized and well-maintained aquarium is essential for their health and full growth potential.

At What Age and Size Do Angelfish Breed?

Angelfish typically reach breeding maturity at around 6 to 12 months of age, depending on their overall health and environmental conditions.

They are usually ready to breed when they reach a size of about 4 to 6 inches in length. 

Proper tank conditions, diet, and health are crucial factors that influence their readiness to breed.

How Can You Tell How Old an Angelfish Is?

Determining the exact age of an angelfish can be challenging, but there are several indicators that can give you a rough estimate.

These include observing their size, coloration, behavior, and other physical characteristics.

  • Size Measurement: Generally, a full-grown angelfish can be around 6 inches long, and reaching this size usually indicates an age of about 9-12 months or older.
  • Color Development: Juvenile angelfish have less vivid colors; as they mature (around 6-12 months), their colors become more vibrant and patterns more defined.
  • Fin Growth: The fins of angelfish develop over time; longer and more developed fins often suggest an older fish, typically over a year old.
  • Breeding Behavior: If an angelfish is actively breeding or showing breeding behavior, it is likely at least 6-12 months old, the typical maturity age for breeding.
  • General Health and Vigor: Older angelfish, particularly those over a few years, may show signs of aging such as slower movements or less brightness in color.

What Do You Feed Angelfish to Make Them Grow Properly?

To ensure proper growth in angelfish, a balanced diet consisting of both plant and animal-based foods is essential.

Providing a variety of nutrient-rich foods at appropriate frequencies and quantities is key to supporting their health and growth.

  • High-Quality Flake Food: Serve a staple diet of high-quality flake food twice daily, in amounts they can consume within a few minutes, to provide essential nutrients. My recommendation: TetraCichlid Cichlid Flakes (link to Amazon).
  • Frozen or Live Brine Shrimp: Offer brine shrimp, either frozen or live, a few times a week as a protein-rich supplement, enhancing growth and vitality.
  • Bloodworms: Incorporate bloodworms into their diet 2-3 times a week, in small quantities, as a high-protein treat that supports healthy growth.
  • Blanched Vegetables: Provide blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini once or twice a week, in small pieces, to ensure a balanced diet with necessary vitamins.
  • Pellets: Use high-quality pellets, especially designed for angelfish, as part of their daily diet, to ensure a well-rounded intake of nutrients.

Also Read: How Do I Know If My Angelfish Is Happy?


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish go through six distinct growth stages, with their size and behavior evolving from the Egg Stage to the Adult Stage, reflecting their development and maturation.
  • Proper environmental conditions, such as temperature and tank size, significantly impact the health and growth of angelfish at each stage, especially during critical phases like the Egg and Larval Stages.
  • The Juvenile Stage is pivotal for angelfish, marked by rapid growth and the emergence of unique coloration and social behaviors, setting the stage for their adult characteristics.
  • Angelfish do not grow to the size of their tank; instead, their growth is influenced by factors like diet and tank conditions, debunking a common misconception about their development.
  • A balanced diet, including a mix of high-quality flake food, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vegetables, is crucial for the healthy growth and longevity of angelfish.