Can Different Angelfish Live Together? (With 6 Examples)

Angelfish are among my favorite types of fish. However, like much other fish, they come in different kinds. That automatically raises the question of whether or not different angelfish can live together. Over the years, I’ve learned some critical lessons regarding that issue.

Yes, different angelfish can live together, although one must consider the species in question. The Dwarf kind tends to be aggressive, while Veil angelfish typically lose their fins due to their vulnerability. On the other hand, Zebra, Ghost, Black Lace, and Koi angelfish usually get along quite well with each other.

Nevertheless, each case features its own variables. Sometimes docile angelfish will attack one another. As we move forward, I will show you a few techniques to make different angelfish get along, regardless of their subtypes.

Will Different Angelfish Live Together Peacefully?

Angelfish are not fussy creatures. They eat both animal and plant-based food, and they can survive in pH and temperatures that vary slightly from their optimal conditions. Add their colorful bodies to the equation, and it becomes quite easy to understand why beginners are encouraged to rear them.

However, you should know that angelfish are shoaling creatures. They prefer to live in groups. And once they have a group, a social hierarchy always takes shape. Therefore, fish owners are encouraged to find appropriate tank mates for their angelfish.

But what do appropriate tank mates look like? The answer to that question is complicated because angelfish, like most creatures, have distinct personalities. So it takes time and effort to locate the right tank mates for your particular angelfish. 

Some people argue that, rather than trying to vet various species to find a type that can live peacefully in your angelfish tank, you are better off adding other angelfish.

But this isn’t the straightforward solution people expect it to be. Angelfish are not one homogenous group. Instead, they come in so many different types and categories. Do all of them get along? Can different angelfish live together? That is the question you usually have to answer before you proceed.

No rules are governing the mixing and matching of angelfish. However, you can make educated guesses based on what you know about the different types of angelfish, for instance:

1. Saltwater Angelfish

Freshwater angelfish are the most common angelfish on the market. But plenty of people keep the saltwater variety. That being said, there is no need for you to question whether or not freshwater and saltwater angelfish can live together. 

You can’t keep these two types of angels in the same tank. So, their temperaments and personalities don’t matter. They can’t survive in the same water conditions, and you shouldn’t try mixing those kinds.

2. Marble Angelfish

Marble angels are called so because of their marble markings. They are resilient creatures that can adapt to unexpected changes in the conditions of their water.[1]Opens in a new tab. This makes them less likely to resort to violence in the face of negative occurrences, such as temperature fluctuations. 

This kind is known to be semi-aggressive.[2]Opens in a new tab. That means it would probably be able to get along with other types of angelfish. From my experience, that is usually the case. Nevertheless, you should keep its environment peaceful. Do not overcrowd the tank with relatively large fish.

3. Veil Angelfish

Veil angels have long, beautiful fins. This is a good thing because the angels will refresh the visual appearance of your aquarium. It is a bad thing because veil angels are vulnerable to fish that like to nip fins.[3]Opens in a new tab. Angelfish do this from time to time.

As such, if your veil angel is sharing its tank with a more significant and aggressive angel, the veil’s fins could become a problem. I wouldn’t suggest raising that particular breed among other species. Veil angelfish would do better with their own kind, preferably in groups of five.

4. Zebra, Ghost & Black Lace  Angelfish

Besides their vertical striping, zebra angels don’t stand out, not in the area of personality or health. The same goes for ghost angelfish, which have a shimmering silver color, black lace angels that have black bodies, and leopard angels that have spots. This is also true for gold, blushing, koi, and smokey angelfish.

These typically get along with each other, perhaps due to their resemblance. If you wish to raise these angelfish in the same tank, you will probably do just fine. However, what I would suggest is getting a dark-colored substrate. That would camouflage their color and keep them out of predators’ sight.   

5. Albino Angelfish

Albino angels are beautiful. They have red eyes and pale colors, which is why they always stand out in a tank of colorful fish. But they are more vulnerable to health issues. This makes them a danger to other types of angels.

Like veil angelfish, I wouldn’t recommend raising albino with different kinds of angelfish. Due to their bright colors, they find it difficult to hide. Again, if you like this type, you should keep it with its own breed. 

6. Dwarf Angelfish

Dwarf angels are complicated. You can get them in various types, and some are pretty docile.[4]Opens in a new tab. On the other hand, quite a few are highly aggressive. This is why keeping multiple dwarf angelfish in the same tank can present a problem. 

Nevertheless, keeping them with other types of angelfish doesn’t necessarily solve your issue. Some dwarf angels are only dangerous to other species. But you also have those that are aggressive towards their own kind.

If you choose to pair other types of angels with dwarfs, you should expect the worst. Naturally, your dwarf fish could surprise you by presenting a calm persona. But you shouldn’t be surprised if hostilities break out. 

What to Consider When Raising Different Angelfish Together?

Obviously, as was mentioned above, angelfish vary in personality. But they share specific attributes. Even the traits that might be absent at present could manifest later on. So you should prepare accordingly.

The first question you must answer is this: what kind of temperament do angelfish have? It is easier to determine whether or not different types of angelfish can live together in a tank if you understand the type of behavior you will encounter. 

  • Angelfish are aggressive. This isn’t true for every angel. But it is in their nature to manifest aggressive tendencies. This can be credited to the fact that they are territorial creatures. They use conflict to assert their control over their domain in the tank.
  • The hierarchical nature of their groups encourages aggression. Angels have to prove their supremacy by fighting and exerting their dominance over their tank mates. Sometimes, this show of strength can devolve into unhealthy bullying.
  • Angels communicate their dominance through the urine and waste they excrete. This is why frequent water changes can encourage conflict among angelfish. They dilute this excrement, creating questions about the hierarchy and forcing the angelfish to fight once more.
  • The aggressive streak of an angelfish is most prominent when it is spawning. During this period, in an effort to protect their eggs and fry, angels become even more territorial, and this makes them a danger to all other fish in the tank, including other angelfish.
  • Angelfish don’t respond positively to aggressive species in the tank, and this encourages fighting (either because the other species are aggravating the angelfish or because the angelfish are alienating the other species). 

This encourages fish owners to keep their angels with other angelfish. If your angels are the only dominant species in the tank, you don’t witness quite as much conflict. 

  • Angelfish are voracious eaters that must be fed regularly. Otherwise, they will grow hostile in their efforts to compete for food with the other inhabitants of the tank.
  • Angelfish thrive in tanks with foliage.[5]Opens in a new tab. This doesn’t just protect them from larger fish. If their aquarium is filled with smaller species, the plants will keep them out of sight, preventing your angels from unnecessarily antagonizing them. 

Angelfish don’t hunt for things they can’t see. It is relatively commonplace for small angels to use the plant life in a tank to hide from larger angelfish. Again, it is worth reiterating that angelfish do not behave the same.

Some of your angelfish will display this behavior and more. But others might present more docile, less combative personalities. Either way, it helps to know.

What Might Happen When Combining Different Kinds of Angelfish?

What does any of the above tell you about the relationships that will form between different angelfish? Ultimately, there is no way for you to know what will happen until you start mixing and matching them:

  • They might actually get along splendidly, especially if they are both calm, docile creatures, and particularly if they are well fed.
  • If the different kinds of angels have aggressive personalities, they are likely to fight. If you have too many kinds of angels in the same tank, their desire to compete for resources and territory will make things quite miserable for everyone in the tank. 
  • The different colors of the different angelfish are not an issue. As far as most people can tell, angelfish don’t know their own color. So, they can’t really tell when they have entered the company of fish whose color varies drastically from their own. So the colors are not an issue.

How to Make Different Angelfish Get Along?

To be clear, you don’t have to accept the aggressive behavior in your angelfish. You have no way of knowing how the different types of angelfish will react. But even if your angels choose to engage in violence, separating them should be the last resort.

Start by taking steps to quell their hostile behavior. This typically involves the following:

  • Remove mating pairs. Angelfish are most aggressive when they spawn. This is true for all angelfish. If you can eliminate mating pairs, you can increase the chances of your angels living in peace. To avoid spawning, ensure that all your fish are the same gender. Female angelfish can lay eggs in the absence of a male, but they can’t fertilize them.

If you suspect that is indeed the issue, you might find my article on how to keep angelfish from breeding useful. Apparently, there are a few changes you can make in the water pretty quickly to prevent this from happening.

  • Reduce the frequency with which you change the water. Frequent water changes disrupt the social hierarchy in the tank. Find a pattern that keeps the pecking order stable while also maintaining the hygiene of the container.
  • Angelfish are tough. But some species are more sensitive than others. As such, if you fail to maintain the appropriate water conditions, the levels of aggression will spike. You have to keep the temperature and pH within the right parameters (24-29°C and 6-8, accordingly). 

You should also endeavor to keep the angels adequately nourished. Here you will find another article I’ve written on how often (and how much) you should feed them. In there, I considered the different kinds of food which I found healthy for angelfish, based on years of experience.

  • Don’t forget the tank size. This is especially true for dwarf angels with their feisty personalities. Give them space to roam without invading one another’s territory. If you can’t afford a bigger tank, add foliage. Give your fish hiding places. This will minimize instances of fighting among your angels. 

On that matter, here you will find an article by me in which I’ve elaborated on the suitable plants for angelfish (which they aren’t likely to eat). I also considered the tank dimensions you’ll require in a different article, depending on the number of angelfish you wish to raise.

  • If these methods fail to produce the results you desire, don’t be afraid to separate your fish. Some fish are too aggressive, and nothing you do can control them. In such cases, if it is within your means, try getting a second tank. 

Conclusions

Angelfish are aggressive creatures – that is apart of their cichlids’ characteristics. Therefore, it may be challenging to raise different kinds quietly. If you wish to do so, you should probably avoid Veil and Dwarf angelfish. These typically get along with their own types.

Instead, try raising angelfish, which look similar. That is why I suggest that you stick with Zebra, Koi, and Black Lace angelfish. Also, introduce vegetation to your tank and choose a dark-colored substate.

I hope my article gave you a better sense of how to keep different angelfish together. I am sure you will eventually find the balance in your tank. On that matter, there is nothing better than practicing. 

References

  1. https://www.buildyouraquarium.com/types-of-angelfish/
  2. https://www.liveaquaria.com/product/983/?pcatid=983
  3. https://www.theaquariumguide.com/articles/different-types-freshwater-angelfish
  4. https://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/features/dwarf-angelfish-heaven-sent/
  5. https://pets.thenest.com/types-cichlids-can-live-angelfish-3757.html

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