Can Angelfish And Mollies Live Together? (7 Essential Tips)

Disclosure: When you purchase something through my affiliate links, I earn a small commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Angelfish and Mollies are favorites for home fish tanks. But is it okay for them to share one? 

What do you need to think about if you want both? How should you set up the tank, handle the water, and feed them?

In this article, I’ll answer all these questions and more, so you leave with all the information you need. Let’s get started.

Also Read: 19 Great Molly Fish Tank Mates

Can I Keep Angelfish and Mollies Together in the Same Tank?

Yes, Angelfish and Mollies can be kept in the same aquarium, but their cohabitation is subject to certain biological and environmental factors.

  • Water Parameters Overlap: Angelfish and Mollies can both adapt to a neutral pH around 7.0, creating a common ground for water conditions.
  • Similar Temperature Needs: Both species are tropical fish requiring similar temperatures, with an overlapping comfort zone that can suit both species well.
  • Behavioral Traits: Mollies are generally peaceful and can coexist with Angelfish, which are also not typically aggressive to fish that cannot be considered prey.
  • Dietary Habits: Their omnivorous nature means they can thrive on a similar diet without specific needs that might cause conflict between the two species.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Mates

Angelfish vs. Mollies: Behavior

The first factor worth considering is the Angelfish’s and Mollies’ natural behavior. Here is what you should know:

Angelfish: Natural Behavior

Angelfish are known for their semi-aggressive temperament, especially during breeding times or when establishing territory.

They glide majestically through the water and can be quite assertive in staking out their space.

  • Territorial Nature: Angelfish can become protective over areas they’ve claimed, particularly around breeding sites, often leading to bouts of aggression toward tank mates.
  • Social Hierarchy: In groups, Angelfish establish a pecking order; larger, more dominant Angelfish often control the best spots and food resources.
  • Breeding Aggression: During spawning, Angelfish become more aggressive, guarding their eggs or fry fiercely against any perceived threats, including Mollies.

Molly Fish: Natural Behavior

Mollies, on the other hand, exhibit a more social and peaceful behavior.

They are active swimmers and generally enjoy the company of their own kind as well as that of other non-aggressive fish.

  • Community-Oriented: Mollies are gregarious and often found swimming in groups, showing little to no aggression towards other non-predatory fish species.
  • Active Swimmers: They display playful behavior, often seen dashing around the tank, which can be perceived as non-threatening by Angelfish.
  • Breeding Behavior: Mollies are livebearers and can reproduce frequently; their breeding behavior is less aggressive than that of Angelfish, reducing potential conflict.

Also Read: Can Neon Tetras And Angelfish Live Together?

Ideal Parameters for Angelfish and Mollies

Understanding the water parameters for both Angelfish and Mollies is essential for a healthy tank. Here’s a comparison of their ideal conditions:

ParameterAngelfishMolliesBoth Types
Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)72-82°F (22-28°C)76-80°F (24-27°C)
pH Level6.8-7.87.5-8.57.0-7.5
Water Hardness3-8 dGH10-25 dGH5-15 dGH

Angelfish: Ideal Parameters

Angelfish hail from the Amazon Basin and prefer warm, slightly acidic water with a bit of softness to it.

Stability in their environment is key to their well-being, as they can be sensitive to drastic changes.

  • Temperature Range: Angelfish require a stable temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C), with 78°F often cited as the sweet spot for these tropical natives.
  • Preferred pH Level: The ideal pH for Angelfish lies between 6.8 and 7.8, with their comfort zone leaning towards the lower, more acidic end of this spectrum.
  • Water Hardness: Soft to moderate water hardness, measured at around 3-8 dGH, is best suited for Angelfish, emulating their natural Amazonian habitat.

Molly Fish: Ideal Parameters

Mollies are more adaptable to a range of water conditions but they flourish in environments that are slightly alkaline and a bit harder.

They’re native to coastal brackish waters and freshwater habitats, which suggests their versatility.

  • Temperature Range: Mollies thrive in temperatures similar to Angelfish, ideally between 72-82°F (22-28°C), allowing for a common ground in shared tanks.
  • Preferred pH Level: They prefer a higher pH level, around 7.5-8.5, favoring slightly alkaline conditions, but they’re flexible enough to accommodate a neutral pH.
  • Water Hardness: Mollies are well-suited to hard water, thriving in ranges of 10-25 dGH, which is indicative of their brackish water origins.

Angelfish vs. Mollies: Tank Setup

A well-designed tank setup is crucial for the compatibility of Angelfish and Mollies. Below is the comparison of their requirements:

Tank SetupAngelfishMolliesBoth Types
Ammonia0 ppm0 ppm0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm0 ppm0 ppm
Nitrate<20 ppm<20 ppm<20 ppm
Tank Size20 gallons minimum30 gallons minimum40+ gallons recommended
FoliageDense vegetationLive plants, open swimming areaBalanced vegetation
DecorationsVertical structuresMinimal, open spaceCombination of both
FilterHigh-quality, adjustable flowStrong filtration systemHigh-capacity, gentle flow
HeaterStable heater for 75-82°FStable heater for 72-82°FStable heater for 76-80°F
SubstrateFine, dark substrateAny type; darker preferredFine to medium, dark substrate
PumpIf needed for larger tanksAir pump preferredHigh-capacity pump
LightingModerateBrighterModerate to bright

Angelfish: Tank Setup

Designing a tank for Angelfish requires attention to their native Amazonian habitat, which is calm and heavily planted.

They need pristine water conditions and a spacious environment to accommodate their tall body shape and graceful swimming behavior.

  • Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: Angelfish need a tank with a well-established nitrogen cycle, keeping ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, with nitrates less than 20 ppm.
  • Tank Size: A minimum of 20 gallons is required for a single Angelfish, but a larger tank (55 gallons or more) is ideal for a group, allowing ample swimming space.
  • Foliage: Angelfish prefer dense vegetation, replicating the Amazon’s riverbanks; plants like Amazon swords and Java ferns are good choices.
  • Decorations: They appreciate vertical structures like driftwood or tall rocks to mimic their natural hiding spots among roots and branches.
  • Filter: A high-quality filter is crucial, preferably with adjustable flow since Angelfish favor gentle currents over strong ones.
  • Heater: A reliable heater is necessary to maintain the 75-82°F temperature range that Angelfish require for optimal health.
  • Substrate: A fine, dark substrate is favored as it resembles the riverbeds of the Amazon and can help show off the Angelfish’s colors.
  • Pump: If the tank is large, a water pump might be needed to ensure even water temperature and proper distribution of filtered water.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is preferred, enough to support plant life but not so bright as to cause stress or excessive algae growth.

Also Read: Can Angelfish And Platies Live Together?

Molly Fish: Tank Setup

Mollies are highly adaptable but do best in tanks that mimic their natural preference for warm, slightly saline waters with open swimming areas and places to hide.

  • Ammonia/Nitrite/Nitrate: Mollies also require stringent water quality, with ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and nitrates as low as possible, certainly below 20 ppm.
  • Tank Size: They are active swimmers and prefer spacious environments; a 30-gallon tank is a good starting point for a small group of Mollies.
  • Foliage: Live plants such as hornwort and anacharis can provide hiding places and help maintain water quality, which is beneficial for Mollies.
  • Decorations: Mollies enjoy the presence of decorations, but they prefer more open space for swimming than dense décor, so balance is key.
  • Filter: They need a strong filter system to keep the water clean; Mollies are tolerant of stronger currents than Angelfish.
  • Heater: Consistent temperatures are vital; a heater must keep the water between 72-82°F, aligning with their tropical nature.
  • Substrate: A darker substrate can be used for Mollies as well, but they are not as particular about it as Angelfish.
  • Pump: An air pump can be beneficial for Mollies, as they sometimes enjoy nibbling on the bubbles and it helps with water circulation.
  • Lighting: Brighter lighting is acceptable for Mollies, which can be conducive to maintaining the algae they like to graze on.

The Dietary Requirements of Angelfish and Molly Fish

The dietary needs of Angelfish and Mollies differ, but a common ground can be found for a shared tank. This table presents their feeding requirements:

Dietary NeedsAngelfishMolliesBoth Types
Food TypesHigh-protein flakes, live foodsAlgae-based flakes, spirulinaVaried flakes, live & frozen food
QuantityAs much as can eat in 30 secondsSmall portions, finish in minutesModerate portions, no leftovers
Feeding ScheduleTwice a day, morning and eveningTwice a day, morning and duskTwice a day, scheduled

Angelfish: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Angelfish are omnivorous with a strong preference for high-protein foods, which are essential for their growth and vibrant coloration.

Their diet in the wild consists of insects, larvae, and small crustaceans, which can be replicated in the aquarium with a variety of food types.

  • Food Types: Angelfish benefit from a mix of flake foods, freeze-dried bloodworms, and brine shrimp, which provide a balanced diet similar to their natural intake.
  • Quantity: Adult Angelfish should be fed an amount they can consume in about 30 seconds, two to three times a day, to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.
  • Feeding Schedule: Consistency is key, with regular feeding times that align with their natural feeding patterns, typically once in the morning and once in the evening.

Mollies: Ideal Dietary Requirements

Mollies are also omnivorous but require more plant matter in their diet, reflecting their natural consumption of algae and plant material in the wild.

They do well on a varied diet that includes both animal and vegetable components.

  • Food Types: A balanced diet for Mollies should include algae-based flake foods, spirulina, and occasional live foods like daphnia or bloodworms for protein.
  • Quantity: They should be fed small amounts that they can finish within a few minutes, one to two times a day, to avoid excess food contributing to poor water conditions.
  • Feeding Schedule: Mollies do best with a regular feeding schedule that mimics their grazing habits, usually in the morning and at dusk.

Angelfish Species Most Suitable for a Tank With Mollies

In a tank with Mollies, the most suitable Angelfish species would be those that are more tolerant and less likely to exhibit aggressive behaviors.

It’s generally the common Silver Angelfish that is best known for its more placid nature and compatibility with peaceful fish like Mollies.

  • Pterophyllum scalare: Often simply known as the Silver Angelfish, this species is renowned for its more docile demeanor compared to other Angelfish varieties.
  • Marble Angelfish: With a similar disposition to the Silver Angelfish, the Marble variant can also be a good tankmate for Mollies due to its calm nature.
  • Koi Angelfish: This selectively bred variant of P. scalare, recognized by its koi-like coloration, typically shares the peaceful traits of the common Silver Angelfish.
  • Leopold’s Angelfish: Slightly more sensitive to water conditions, Pterophyllum leopoldi is less common but can be peaceful enough to cohabit with Mollies when well-acclimated.
  • Altum Angelfish: Although larger and somewhat more imposing, Pterophyllum altum can be suitable if given ample space, as they are not inherently aggressive towards non-predatory fish.
Koi Angelfish

How to Introduce Your Angelfish to a Tank with Mollies

To introduce Angelfish to a tank with Mollies, it’s essential to ensure a smooth transition that minimizes stress and aggression.

The process should be gradual, giving both the Angelfish and the Mollies time to adjust to one another’s presence without direct confrontation.

  • Acclimatization: Begin by floating the Angelfish, still in its bag, in the tank to equalize the water temperature, typically over a period of 15-30 minutes.
  • Visual Barrier: Use a tank divider or place the Angelfish in a clear quarantine box inside the tank to allow visual contact with the Mollies without physical interaction.
  • Controlled Release: After a few hours of visual acclimation, release the Angelfish into the tank during a time when the Mollies are most calm, often after feeding.
  • Monitor Behavior: Observe the Angelfish and Mollies closely for the first few days to ensure there are no signs of aggression or stress from either party.

Also Read: Can Molly Fish And Zebra Danios Live Together?

Tips for Keeping Angelfish with Mollies

Keeping Angelfish with Mollies can be a rewarding experience if done correctly, focusing on creating an environment that meets the needs of both species.

It is crucial to monitor their interactions and water conditions closely to ensure a healthy, peaceful community aquarium.

  • Balanced pH Levels: Regularly test water parameters, targeting a pH level of 7.2, which is a happy medium between the ideal ranges for Angelfish (6.8-7.8) and Mollies (7.5-8.5).
  • Ample Space: Opt for a tank size of 40 gallons or more for multiple fish, providing ample swimming space which reduces competition and stress between species.
  • Diverse Diet: Feed a mix of high-protein flakes for Angelfish and algae-based foods for Mollies, measuring out portions that each fish can consume in under two minutes.
  • Sufficient Filtration: Use a filter rated for at least twice the actual volume of your aquarium to efficiently manage waste from both Angelfish and Mollies.
  • Gentle Water Flow: Employ a filter with adjustable flow or use water flow diverters to create a gentle current that suits the slow-swimming Angelfish while still oxygenating the water.
  • Regular Health Checks: Look for signs like discoloration, fin damage, or lethargy in both fish types daily to catch and address health issues early.
  • Hideaways and Plants: Arrange the tank with live plants such as Java Fern and caves or driftwood to provide natural hideouts for both Angelfish and Mollies.

Best Tank Mates for Angelfish and Mollies

The best tank mates for Angelfish and Mollies are peaceful fish that thrive in similar water conditions and do not compete aggressively for food or space.

It’s important to choose species that will not nip at the Angelfish’s long fins or be small enough for the Angelfish to eat.

  • Corydoras Catfish: Bottom dwellers like Corydoras provide good companionship as they do not intrude on the Angelfish’s mid-to-top level territory and are peaceful by nature.
  • Dwarf Gourami: These are colorful and peaceful top-dwelling fish that generally stay out of the Angelfish’s way, preferring the upper parts of the water column.
  • Zebra Danios: Fast and agile, Zebra Danios are too quick for Angelfish to catch and they tend to stay in schools, which reduces the chance of Angelfish predation.
  • Harlequin Rasboras: With their peaceful demeanor and mid-water schooling behavior, Rasboras do not compete with Angelfish and are not seen as prey due to their size.
  • Bristlenose Plecos: Ideal for being non-aggressive and beneficial for the tank, they clean algae without disturbing either Angelfish or Mollies.
  • Cherry Barbs: These small, peaceful fish are fast enough to avoid Angelfish and stick to themselves, adding color and activity to the tank without causing stress.

Also Read: Can Gouramis Live With Mollies?

Corydoras Catfish


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Angelfish and Mollies can cohabit if the tank conditions cater to their overlapping needs for pH, temperature, and water hardness.
  • The semi-aggressive nature of Angelfish, especially during breeding, should be managed with careful tank arrangements to coexist with peaceful Mollies.
  • Tank setups for both fish require high water quality and specific conditions, such as size (40+ gallons recommended) and plant decorations, to suit both species.
  • A balanced diet and proper feeding schedules are crucial for both species, with high-protein foods for Angelfish and algae-based for Mollies.
  • Successful cohabitation involves careful introduction and monitoring of fish behavior, ensuring compatibility and minimizing stress or aggression.