Angelfish Size: How Big Do They Get?

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Many people who have fish wonder about how big their fish will get.

It’s important to know this because different types of fish grow in different ways and need the right amount of space.

In this article, I’m going to talk about angelfish. I’ll tell you about the size they usually grow to, what can stop them from growing, and what you can do to help them grow properly.

Let’s dive right into it.

The Typical Size of Angelfish

Angelfish typically grow to a size of about 6 to 10 inches in height, including their fins.

Their body length is usually around 4 to 6 inches. This size can vary depending on the specific species and the conditions of their environment.

Also Read: Facts About Angelfish

Angelfish Size By Age

Angelfish grow rapidly during their first year of life, typically reaching about half of their adult size.

After the first year, their growth rate slows down significantly as they approach their maximum size over the next few years.

  • Birth to 3 Months: Angelfish fry are tiny at birth, usually less than a centimeter, but they grow quickly, reaching up to 2-3 inches by the end of 3 months, depending on diet and tank conditions.
  • 3 to 6 Months: In this phase, angelfish continue to grow steadily, reaching about 50% of their adult size, which is usually around 3-4 inches, depending on the species and environment.
  • 6 Months to 1 Year: Growth rate starts slowing down, but they still grow to about 4-6 inches by their first birthday, with proper care including optimal diet and tank conditions.
  • 1 Year to 2 Years: During this period, angelfish growth slows considerably. They will reach closer to their full adult size, which is typically around 6 inches for freshwater varieties.
  • 2 Years and Beyond: After reaching 2 years, angelfish growth is minimal. They will have reached their full size and focus more on developing in other ways, like coloration and breeding readiness.

Also Read: Angelfish Growth Stages

Do Male and Female Angelfish Vary in Size?

Yes, male and female angelfish can vary in size, but the difference is usually minimal.

In many species, males are slightly larger and may have longer fins, but the size difference is not always pronounced and can depend on individual fish and species.

Also Read: Male vs. Female Angelfish

Do Angelfish Adjust Their Size to Their Tank?

Angelfish do adjust their size to their tank to some extent, but this is generally not healthy. In smaller tanks, their growth can be stunted, leading to health issues.

Ideally, angelfish should be kept in adequately sized tanks to allow for natural growth and health.

Are Angelfish Bigger When They Live in the Wild?

Yes, angelfish are generally bigger when they live in the wild compared to those in captivity. 

This difference in size is often due to the more abundant space and diverse diet available in their natural habitat.

Additionally, wild angelfish do not face the growth limitations that can occur in aquariums due to confined space and controlled feeding.

Which Angelfish Stay Small?

Among angelfish varieties, some species naturally stay smaller than others, typically reaching smaller maximum sizes.

These smaller species are ideal for aquarists with limited space or smaller tanks, offering the elegance of angelfish in a more compact form.

  • Dwarf Angelfish (Centropyge): These angelfish average 3 to 4 inches in length, ideal for smaller aquariums, with vibrant colors adding to their appeal.
  • Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula): Typically growing to about 4 inches, they are notable for their striking red/orange coloration, making them a popular choice.
  • Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa): Growing to around 4 inches, they feature unique blue and orange hues, suited for small to medium-sized tanks.
  • Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissima): They reach a size of approximately 4 inches and are distinguished by their bright yellow coloration, adding a splash of color to any setup.
  • Eibli Angelfish (Centropyge eibli): These angelfish grow to about 4 inches and are recognized for their mix of white, black, and red patterns, fitting well in smaller aquatic environments.

Reasons Why Some Angelfish Stop Growing Early

Not all angelfish will reach their full size or grow at the same pace as other angelfish. Here’s why:

1. Inadequate Nutrition

Angelfish need a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients to grow properly. A lack of varied and nutritious food can lead to stunted growth or health problems.

  • Balanced Diet: A diet lacking in proteins, vitamins, and minerals can significantly hinder an angelfish’s growth, as these nutrients are crucial for development.
  • Feeding Frequency: Infrequent or irregular feeding can lead to malnutrition, impacting the angelfish’s overall growth and health.
  • Food Quality: Low-quality or inappropriate food types can prevent angelfish from receiving the necessary nutrients, impeding their growth.

Also Read: What Do Angelfish Eat?

2. Overcrowding in the Tank

Overcrowding in a tank can lead to stress and competition for resources, both of which can stunt an angelfish’s growth.

  • Stress Factor: High levels of stress from overcrowding can disrupt the normal growth process, leading to smaller fish.
  • Competition for Food: In an overcrowded tank, weaker or smaller angelfish might not get enough food, affecting their growth.
  • Limited Space: Physical limitation of space in an overcrowded tank can hinder proper swimming and activity, essential for healthy development.

3. Poor Water Quality

Good water quality is essential for the health and growth of angelfish. Poor water conditions can lead to stress and disease, hindering growth.

  • Toxic Substances: High levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates can be toxic and stress angelfish, affecting their growth and health.
  • Incorrect pH and Hardness: Angelfish require specific water parameters; deviations can cause stress and impact their development.
  • Inadequate Filtration: Without proper filtration, water can become polluted, leading to diseases that can stunt growth in angelfish.

Also Read: Angelfish Water Parameters

4. Insufficient Tank Size

A tank that is too small can restrict the growth of angelfish, both physically and psychologically.

  • Limited Swimming Space: Insufficient space can physically restrict the growth of angelfish, as they need room to swim and exercise.
  • Stress from Confinement: A small tank can cause stress, which negatively affects the angelfish’s metabolism and growth rate.
  • Inadequate Territory: Angelfish are territorial, and a lack of space can lead to increased aggression and stress, impacting growth.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Size

5. Genetic Factors

Genetics play a significant role in the growth potential of angelfish. Some fish may be genetically predisposed to be smaller.

  • Hereditary Traits: Just like in other species, genetic makeup can determine the maximum size an angelfish can reach.
  • Selective Breeding: Selective breeding for certain traits, like color or fin shape, can inadvertently result in smaller size.
  • Inherited Health Issues: Genetic health problems can affect an angelfish’s ability to grow and thrive in an aquarium setting.

Tips for Ensuring Good Growth in Angelfish

Taking care of your angelfish is crucial for their healthy growth. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Improving Diet Quality and Variety

A well-rounded diet is essential for angelfish growth. Introducing a variety of high-quality foods meets their nutritional needs and promotes healthy development.

  • Variety of Foods: Offer a mix of flakes, pellets, frozen foods like bloodworms, and live foods such as brine shrimp to ensure a balanced intake of proteins, fats, and essential nutrients.
  • Regular Feeding Schedule: Feed angelfish small portions 2-3 times daily to maintain consistent nutrition; overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and health problems.
  • Supplemental Nutrients: Use vitamin and mineral supplements to enhance the diet, especially important for juvenile angelfish to support their rapid growth phase. My recommendation: Seachem Nourish (link to Amazon).
  • Quality of Food: Choose reputable brands for flakes and pellets, and ensure frozen and live foods are sourced from safe, reliable suppliers to avoid disease.

2. Reducing Tank Population or Upgrading Tank Size

Managing tank population and size is key to preventing overcrowding, which can stunt growth due to stress and competition for resources.

  • Optimal Population Density: Keep the number of fish appropriate for the tank size; a general rule is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water to prevent overcrowding.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regularly monitor fish size and behavior; if you notice signs of aggression or stress, consider reducing the number of fish or moving them to a larger tank.
  • Tank Upgrades: For growing angelfish, upgrade to larger tanks progressively; a juvenile may start in a 20-gallon tank but eventually need 55 gallons or more as it grows.
  • Spatial Arrangement: Arrange tank space with ample hiding spots and open swimming areas to reduce stress and encourage natural behavior, promoting healthy growth.

3. Regular Water Testing and Maintenance

Maintaining optimal water conditions through regular testing and maintenance is critical for the health and growth of angelfish.

  • Frequent Water Testing: Regularly test water for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, aiming to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and nitrate below 20 ppm. I measure those with the API Freshwater Master Test Kit (link to Amazon).
  • Routine Water Changes: Perform weekly water changes, replacing 10-15% of the tank water to remove toxins and replenish essential minerals.
  • Filter Maintenance: Clean and maintain the filter system monthly to ensure it functions effectively, removing waste and keeping the water clean.
  • Temperature Regulation: Maintain a consistent water temperature, ideally between 76-82°F (24-28°C), as drastic temperature changes can stress angelfish and affect their growth.

4. Providing a Larger, More Suitable Tank

Adequate tank size and environment play a crucial role in angelfish development. A larger tank provides the necessary space for growth and reduces stress.

  • Sizing Up: For a single angelfish, start with a minimum of 20 gallons, but consider larger sizes (40-55 gallons) for adult fish or if keeping multiple angelfish.
  • Environment Enrichment: Include plants, rocks, and driftwood to mimic natural habitats, which encourages exploration and reduces stress in the fish.
  • Appropriate Filtration: Use a powerful filter that can handle at least 3-4 times the tank’s volume per hour, ensuring clean water and a healthy environment.
  • Stable Water Parameters: Ensure the tank has stable conditions, including pH levels between 6.5 and 7.5, to provide an optimal environment for growth.

5. Selective Breeding Practices and Genetic Management

Selective breeding and understanding genetics can influence the size and health of angelfish. Responsible breeding practices can lead to healthier, larger fish.

  • Choosing Healthy Parents: Select breeding pairs that are robust, healthy, and exhibit good growth, as these traits are often passed to offspring.
  • Monitoring Offspring: Keep a close eye on fry development; cull any with signs of poor health or stunted growth to maintain a strong gene pool.
  • Diverse Genetic Pool: Avoid inbreeding by introducing new genetic lines periodically; this helps prevent genetic issues that can affect growth.
  • Record Keeping: Maintain detailed records of breeding pairs and offspring development, aiding in understanding and improving genetic factors over generations.


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish typically reach a size of 6 to 10 inches in height, with growth influenced by species, environment, and care.
  • Rapid growth occurs in the first year, slowing down significantly thereafter, with full size reached around 2 years.
  • Male and female angelfish sizes are similar, though males may be slightly larger with longer fins in some species.
  • Angelfish can adjust their size to tank conditions, but confined spaces and poor care can lead to health issues and stunted growth.
  • Factors affecting angelfish growth include nutrition, tank overcrowding, water quality, tank size, and genetics; proper care is essential for healthy development.