Many people choose angelfish and shrimp for their freshwater aquariums. However, is it possible for them to live together peacefully?
What should be considered to maintain them together? How important are their habitat requirements, water conditions, and diet? Do angelfish prey on specific shrimp species?
When I first started with these aquatic pets, I was totally unaware of these things. So, I wrote this article to share my learning with you.
Let’s get started.
Can I Keep Angelfish and Shrimp Together in the Same Tank?
No, it is generally not recommended to keep Angelfish and shrimp together in the same tank due to significant compatibility issues.
- Predatory Behavior: Angelfish often view shrimp as prey, posing a constant threat to the shrimp, especially if they are small or the Angelfish are large.
- Stress for Shrimp: The presence of Angelfish can significantly stress shrimp, weakening their immune systems and increasing susceptibility to disease.
- Dietary Differences: Angelfish have a protein-rich diet, which can complicate feeding routines and potentially lead to water quality issues harmful to shrimp.
- Habitat Requirements: Angelfish and shrimp have different habitat preferences, with Angelfish needing larger, more open spaces and shrimp requiring dense vegetation and hiding spots.
Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates
Angelfish vs. Shrimp: Behavior
The first factor worth considering is the Angelfish’s and shrimp’s natural behavior. Here is what you should know:
Angelfish: Natural Behavior
Angelfish are known for their territorial and sometimes aggressive nature, especially in confined spaces like aquariums.
This behavior stems from their instinct to establish dominance and protect their territory.
- Territorial Instincts: Angelfish often claim certain areas of the tank as their territory, aggressively defending these areas from other fish and creatures, including shrimp.
- Predatory Tendencies: In the wild, Angelfish are predators and may view smaller creatures like shrimp as food, leading to predatory behavior in the tank.
- Social Hierarchy: Angelfish establish social hierarchies within their groups, which can result in aggressive interactions with other species that invade their perceived territory.
Shrimp: Natural Behavior
Shrimp in aquariums exhibit behaviors that reflect their natural instincts for survival and adaptation. They are generally peaceful and spend much of their time scavenging for food.
- Scavenging Nature: Shrimp are natural scavengers, often seen cleaning the tank by eating algae and leftover food, a behavior that can benefit the overall cleanliness of the aquarium.
- Hiding and Camouflage: To protect themselves, shrimp frequently hide in vegetation or decorations, using camouflage as a defense mechanism against predators.
- Social and Peaceful: Unlike Angelfish, shrimp are non-territorial and social, coexisting peacefully with other non-predatory tank mates, often moving in small groups or individually.
Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Shrimp
This table outlines the ideal water parameters for Angelfish and Shrimp, along with the recommended parameters for a tank containing both.
|76°F – 84°F (24°C – 29°C)
|65°F – 78°F (18°C – 25°C)
|72°F – 80°F (22°C – 27°C)
|6.0 – 7.5
|6.5 – 8.0
|6.5 – 7.5
|3 – 8 dGH
|3 – 10 dGH
|5 – 8 dGH
Angelfish: Ideal Parameters
Angelfish thrive in specific water conditions that mimic their natural Amazonian habitat. Maintaining the right temperature, pH level, and water hardness is crucial for their health and well-being.
- Temperature Range: Angelfish prefer warmer water temperatures, ideally between 76°F and 84°F (24°C to 29°C), which helps in promoting healthy metabolism and growth.
- pH Level: The optimal pH level for Angelfish is slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. This pH range is crucial for their stress reduction and overall health.
- Water Hardness: Angelfish thrive in soft to moderately hard water, with a hardness level of 3 to 8 dGH (degrees of General Hardness). This mimics their natural Amazonian water conditions.
Shrimp: Ideal Parameters
Shrimp, depending on the species, require specific water conditions that can differ significantly from those ideal for Angelfish. Precise control of their environment is key to their survival.
- Temperature Range: Most freshwater shrimp species prefer cooler temperatures, typically between 65°F and 78°F (18°C to 25°C). This range is essential for their metabolic processes and longevity.
- pH Level: Shrimp often require a pH level that ranges from 6.5 to 8.0, depending on the species. Maintaining a stable pH within this range is vital for their health and molting process.
- Water Hardness: The ideal water hardness for shrimp varies widely by species, but generally, they thrive in soft to moderately hard water, around 3 to 10 dGH. This range supports their exoskeleton development and molting cycle.
Angelfish vs. Shrimp: Tank Setup
This table compares the tank setup requirements for Angelfish and Shrimp and suggests a combined setup for a tank housing both.
|Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate
|0 ppm (Ammonia, Nitrite), <20 ppm (Nitrate)
|0 ppm (Ammonia, Nitrite), <10 ppm (Nitrate)
|0 ppm (Ammonia, Nitrite), <10 ppm (Nitrate)
|Min. 20 gallons
|5 – 10 gallons
|Min. 30 gallons
|Dense, tall plants
|Dense, varied plants
|Shrimp tubes, caves
|Combination of both
|Canister or HOB
|Canister with sponge pre-filter
|Soft, fine, dark-colored
|Air pump with stone
|Air pump with sponge filter
|Low to moderate
Angelfish: Tank Setup
Creating an ideal tank setup for Angelfish involves carefully balancing water quality, space, and environmental features to mimic their natural Amazonian ecosystem.
Attention to detail in each aspect of the tank setup is essential for their health and happiness.
- Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Ensure ammonia and nitrite levels are always at 0 ppm, and nitrate levels are kept below 20 ppm to prevent health issues.
- Tank Size: Start with a minimum tank size of 20 gallons for one Angelfish, adding 10 gallons for each additional fish to allow enough swimming space.
- Foliage: Incorporate a variety of plants, such as Amazon swords and Java ferns, to provide natural hiding spots and maintain water quality.
- Decorations: Use driftwood and rock formations to create hiding places and territorial boundaries, enhancing the Angelfish’s sense of security.
- Filter: Opt for a powerful filter, like a canister or hang-on-back filter, to efficiently manage waste and maintain clean water.
- Heater: Use a submersible heater to consistently maintain water temperatures between 76°F and 84°F, crucial for Angelfish health.
- Substrate: Select a fine, soft substrate like sand or small gravel, which is gentle on Angelfish fins and supports plant roots.
- Pump: Install an air pump with a gentle air stone to provide additional oxygenation and water movement, beneficial for Angelfish.
- Lighting: Moderate lighting, mimicking a subdued Amazonian environment, is ideal. Use LED lights with a timer to regulate light cycles.
Also Read: Can Angelfish And Crayfish Live Together?
Shrimp: Tank Setup
Shrimp tanks require specific conditions focusing on water quality, safety, and environmental stability.
The setup must cater to their small size and vulnerability, ensuring a safe and thriving environment.
- Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate: Maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm and keep nitrate levels as low as possible, ideally under 10 ppm, to protect sensitive shrimp.
- Tank Size: A smaller tank, starting from 5 gallons, is sufficient for shrimp, providing adequate space for exploration and foraging.
- Foliage: Dense plant coverage, including mosses like Java moss, provides hiding places and natural food sources for shrimp.
- Decorations: Add smooth decorations such as small caves or shrimp tubes, offering safe hiding spots without sharp edges that could harm them.
- Filter: Use a sponge filter or a filter with a guard to prevent shrimp, especially babies, from being sucked into the filtration system.
- Heater: If necessary, use a heater to maintain a stable temperature, typically between 65°F and 78°F, depending on the shrimp species.
- Substrate: Choose a dark-colored, fine-grained substrate to enhance coloration in shrimp and support beneficial bacteria growth.
- Pump: An air pump with a sponge filter is often sufficient for oxygenation and gentle water flow, ideal for shrimp tanks.
- Lighting: Provide low to moderate lighting to encourage plant growth, which in turn provides food and shelter for shrimp.
The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Shrimp
This table highlights the dietary needs of Angelfish and Shrimp, along with a combined dietary approach for a tank with both.
|Flakes/pellets, brine shrimp, bloodworms
|Shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables
|Combination of both, with separate feeding areas
|Small amounts, 2-3 times a day
|Small amount, once a day/every other day
|Adjusted amounts for both, avoiding overfeeding
|Morning and evening
|Twice daily, with shrimp feeding at night
Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements
Angelfish require a balanced diet rich in protein to maintain their health and vibrant colors.
It’s important to vary their diet to ensure they receive all necessary nutrients and to mimic their natural feeding habits.
- Food Types: Include a mix of high-quality flakes or pellets, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, ensuring a protein-rich diet.
- Quantity: Feed small amounts that Angelfish can consume within 3-5 minutes, typically two to three times a day, to avoid overfeeding and maintain water quality.
- Feeding Schedule: Establish a consistent feeding schedule, preferably in the morning and evening, to regulate their digestive system and reduce stress.
Shrimp: Ideal Dietary Requirements
Shrimp, primarily being scavengers, have different dietary requirements compared to Angelfish.
They feed on biofilm and algae in the tank, but supplementary feeding is also essential for their nutrition.
- Food Types: Provide a diet of specialized shrimp pellets or wafers, along with blanched vegetables like spinach or cucumber for additional nutrients.
- Quantity: Offer only what the shrimp can consume in a couple of hours, once a day or every other day, to prevent overfeeding and water pollution.
- Feeding Schedule: Feed shrimp in the evening when they are most active, allowing them to forage naturally and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
Which Shrimp Types Shouldn’t Be Kept with Angelfish?
Most small and delicate shrimp species should not be kept with Angelfish due to the high risk of predation and stress.
Shrimp that are particularly vulnerable or require specific conditions that don’t align with Angelfish needs are at greater risk.
- Cherry Shrimp: Small and brightly colored, Cherry Shrimp are easily targeted by Angelfish and can be stressed or consumed due to their size and visibility.
- Crystal Red Shrimp: These shrimp are known for their specific water parameter needs, which often don’t align with Angelfish requirements, making cohabitation risky.
- Bee Shrimp: Similar to Crystal Reds, Bee Shrimp have specific water needs and their small size makes them vulnerable to Angelfish predation.
- Amano Shrimp: Although larger, Amano Shrimp can still be stressed by the presence of Angelfish, affecting their health and lifespan.
- Ghost Shrimp: Despite their transparent bodies, Ghost Shrimp are small enough to be seen and eaten by Angelfish, making them unsuitable tank mates.
Shrimp Species That Can Be Considered to Live with Angelfish
While generally not recommended, some larger or more resilient shrimp species might coexist better with Angelfish than smaller, more delicate varieties.
However, the risk of predation always exists, and careful observation is necessary.
- Bamboo Shrimp: These larger shrimp can sometimes coexist with Angelfish due to their size, reducing the risk of being seen as prey.
- Vampire Shrimp: Also larger in size, Vampire Shrimp have a better chance of avoiding predation but still require careful monitoring in an Angelfish tank.
- Wood Shrimp: Similar to Bamboo Shrimp, Wood Shrimp are larger and less likely to be targeted by Angelfish, but the environment must be closely managed.
- Indian Whisker Shrimp: These are more robust and can sometimes handle living with smaller Angelfish, but there’s still a risk involved.
- Caridina Babaulti: While not entirely safe, this species is more adaptable and might survive with careful tank management and hiding spots.
Can Angelfish Eat Shrimp?
Yes, Angelfish can and often will eat shrimp, particularly smaller species.
Due to their predatory nature, Angelfish view small shrimp as prey, making them unsuitable tank mates for delicate shrimp species.
It’s important for aquarists to consider this when planning a community tank involving both Angelfish and shrimp.
Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Shrimp
Successfully keeping Angelfish with shrimp in the same tank requires diligent management and environmental control to minimize predation.
Focus on providing adequate food and shelter, and choose shrimp species that have a better chance of cohabitating with Angelfish.
- Choose Larger Shrimp Species: Select larger shrimp like Bamboo or Vampire Shrimp, which are less likely to be viewed as prey due to their size.
- Abundant Hiding Places: Equip the tank with plenty of plants, rocks, and cave-like decorations to give shrimp numerous places to hide from Angelfish.
- Feed Angelfish Well: Feed Angelfish a varied diet, including flakes and live food, to satiate them and reduce the chances of them hunting shrimp.
- Add Shrimp First: Introduce shrimp to the aquarium before the Angelfish, allowing them to establish territories and hiding spots.
- Use a Large Tank: Opt for a tank size of 40 gallons or more to provide ample space for both shrimp and Angelfish to coexist.
- Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor the aquarium, especially after feeding times, to ensure Angelfish are not harassing or preying on the shrimp.
How to Introduce Your Shrimp to a Tank with Angelfish
Introducing shrimp to a tank with Angelfish requires careful acclimation and strategic planning to minimize stress and predation risks.
It’s important to gradually adjust the shrimp to the tank’s environment and ensure plenty of hiding spaces.
- Acclimation Process: Use a drip line to slowly mix tank water into the shrimp’s bag over 2-3 hours, allowing them to adjust to the new water parameters.
- Provide Hiding Spaces: Create dense plant areas with Java moss or Anubias and add driftwood or caves for shrimp to escape Angelfish attention.
- Monitor Angelfish Behavior: Observe the Angelfish for signs of aggression towards shrimp, especially during the initial days after introducing the shrimp.
- Introduce at Night: Add shrimp to the tank at night when Angelfish are less active, reducing the immediate risk of predation or stress.
- Use a Quarantine Tank: If feasible, keep shrimp in a separate quarantine tank for 1-2 weeks to monitor their health before introducing them to the Angelfish tank.
Best Tank Mates for Angelfish and Shrimp
Selecting the best tank mates for a community aquarium containing both Angelfish and shrimp involves finding species that are peaceful and can thrive in similar water conditions.
It’s crucial to choose fish that won’t prey on shrimp while also not provoking the territorial nature of Angelfish.
- Corydoras Catfish: Ideal for the bottom of the tank, Corydoras are peaceful and too large to be eaten by Angelfish, and they don’t pose a threat to shrimp.
- Tetras (such as Neon or Cardinal): Small, quick, and non-aggressive, Tetras can coexist with both Angelfish and shrimp without causing stress or being at risk.
- Dwarf Gourami: These calm, top-dwelling fish avoid shrimp territory and are generally not aggressive towards Angelfish, making them good companions.
- Bristlenose Plecos: Known for their algae-eating habits, these Plecos stay out of Angelfish’s way and are large enough not to view shrimp as food.
- Rasboras: Small yet swift, Rasboras tend to keep to themselves, making them unlikely to be targeted by Angelfish or to bother shrimp.
Also Read: Can Angelfish And Turtles Live Together?
For quick readers, here’s a short summary:
- Angelfish and shrimp generally have incompatible tank requirements, with Angelfish often preying on shrimp and causing them stress.
- Angelfish display territorial and predatory behavior, which can lead to aggression towards shrimp, while shrimp are non-territorial and peaceful.
- Ideal tank conditions differ for both, with Angelfish preferring warmer water and more open spaces, whereas shrimp thrive in cooler temperatures with dense vegetation.
- Dietary needs of Angelfish and shrimp vary significantly, with Angelfish requiring a protein-rich diet and shrimp feeding mostly on algae and biofilm.
- Coexistence in a tank is challenging but possible with careful planning, choosing larger shrimp species, providing ample hiding spots, and ensuring a large tank size.