When do Angelfish Reach Full Size? (Growth Rate Explained)

There were times I watched my angelfish grow impatiently. My biggest concern was that larger fish tank companions would eventually consume them if they remain small. Some of you, on the other hand, might wonder when do angelfish reach their full size for commercial purposes (if you eventually tend to sell them, for example). 

Angelfish reach their full size within 8 to 12 months, at the precise point they are mature enough to reproduce. That is valid for most angelfish, which grow up to six inches in length and live ten to twelve years on average. You may guarantee that growth rate by providing ideal aquarium conditions, feeding schedules, and a peaceful environment.

Most angelfish do fall in this growth pace range. However, some exotic types will take a bit longer. Also, you should stick to a few growing rules and food types to make sure your angelfish actually reach the desired size. I will elaborate on both subjects later on in this article.

How Long Does it Take For Angelfish to Reach Full Size?

Straight to the question at hand. Assuming that your fish will live 12 years and they have a maximum size of 6 inches, when will they reach that size?

Angelfish are supposed to mature within 8 to 12 months. This is also when they become reproductive. When it comes to maturity in terms of size, these numbers remain the same. Hence, it will take angelfish at least eight months to reach their full potential extent.

However, others require 12 or even 16 months to fill out. Some angelfish achieve their full length in mere months. But then you have to wait several more months for their bodies to grow fatter and stockier. 

The growth rate of an angelfish does not follow any specific formula.

In an ideal scenario, these creatures should be 2 inches within two months, 3 inches within three months, 4 or 5 inches within six months, and 6 inches within a year. But you will find angelfish that are 3 inches at eight months. Sometimes, they are just growing slower than usual.

You also have cases where the angelfish in question has already reached its maximum size, and it will never grow more substantial. Stunted growth in angelfish is nothing new. The condition can emerge as a result of various factors. Sometimes it’s a genetic issue. Some breeders argue that a small tank can also stunt the growth of angelfish.

If you are interested, feel free to check an article I’ve written on how to make angelfish grow faster. I’ve mentioned there a few techniques that I found useful over the years. I also discussed stunt growth among angelfish and provided a few tricks to avoid it.

What Determines The Definitive Angelfish’ Size?

The rate at which an angelfish will grow depends on factors such as the following:[1]

1. The Species in Question

The type and species of the angelfish you choose to breed will determine the results you ultimately attract. As I’ll mention later on, the average angelfish can achieve a length of 6 inches. It typically requires 8-16 months to do so. These are the basic domestic angelfish that you find in many tanks. But you also have more exotic species. 

A French angelfish, for instance, can grow from 2 inches to 10 inches in 12-18 months, which is incredible. The majestic angelfish, on the other hand, requires five years to manifest any significant growth (and yet it rarely grows past 7 inches). You may agree that five years is a long time for an angelfish to grow 7 inches. 

Choose the angelfish you buy carefully. The type you select will affect the growth rate and the sizes your fish will ultimately reach. If you are patient, you may lean to more exotic varieties, as was just mentioned. If you are growing angelfish to sell them eventually, you may grow species that develop faster, like Scalare.

2. Tank Size

If you don’t get a tank in the right size, your fish will take much longer to reach their full dimensions. As you will see later, the average angelfish needs roughly 30 gallons. You can get away with 25 or even 22, but 30 gallons works best. 

If you don’t own one, feel free to check my aquarium kits buyer’s guide. I’ve reviewed relatively large tanks which are great for angelfish and received hundreds of positive feedbacks online. Personally, I’ve been using one of them for years with great success.

Keep in mind that if you are crowding your angelfish, you are exerting undue stress that will stunt or slow its growth. You are also exposing it to diseases. This is because toxins tend to accumulate faster in smaller tanks. 

Also, the more angelfish you grow, the bigger the aquarium you’ll require. Here is an article I’ve written on how big of a tank you need for angelfish. I’ve mentioned their three useful techniques to determine the right aquarium dimensions for your angelfish, with a unique calculator, only a few people know.  

3. Living Plants

Angelfish need plants and driftwood in their tanks. You will alleviate stress by giving them objects of this sort to swim through and hide behind. Additionally, plants can help you monitor the quality of your water.

If the water conditions are terrible, the health of the plants will suffer. This will give you the warning sign you require to change the water before your fish suffers long-lasting damage. 

4. Aquarium Companions

Pay close attention to the species that share your angelfish’s tank. You are better off keeping multiple angelfish in the same aquarium. When you start adding other species of fish, you have to worry about finding the right water conditions to suit them all.

If that wasn’t enough, angelfish are more likely to act aggressively towards other kinds of fish. Some of them will happily assault angelfish. To make sure your angelfish grow at a steady rate, you must ensure a peaceful tank. One with other angelfish, discus, corydoras, or tetras will suit.

5. Water Quality

The water conditions matter. Most angelfish types require a temperature ranging between 74 and 80 degrees F. Their tank needs a pH ranging from 6.5-6.9, and a filtration system that delivers an adequate flow of water. 

6. Adequate Food

Angelfish must be fed appropriately. They eat brine shrimp, earthworms, black and blood worms, flakes, and pellets, to mention but a few. You should feed them once or twice a day for roughly five minutes. Do not overfeed them. This will negatively affect their health. You can’t underfeed them either. The larger they grow, the more food they need to keep growing. 

A study[2] that was conducted in 1862 has found that the type of food which mostly affects the ultimate length of angelfish is the Decapsulated Artemia cyst (link to Amazon). Angelfish that were fed on this diet have grown much more extended and broader compared to commercial flakes or pellets. Take this into considerations, especially if you are looking to make your angelfish bigger.

Angelfish’ Potential Lifespan & Size

How long do angelfish live is a question new breeders always ask. However, you are unlikely to find a definitive answer to that question. Or rather, there is a definitive answer, but it doesn’t apply to every single angelfish.

Many angelfish breeders will tell you that their fish don’t follow any particular growth pattern. Some reach their full size at the expected time. Others take either a longer or shorter duration. You also have those fish that never reach their full extent. It is an entangled web, one that can only be unraveled by answering additional questions:

How Long do Angelfish Live?

You can’t determine whether or not your angelfish is maturing at the right rate if you don’t know the lifespan of the species. In some fish, a few months is a long time. In others, a few years is quite short. So, where do angelfish fall?

As far as most people can tell, angelfish have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.[3] Some unusual fish have been known to live longer than that. But 10-12 years is the best most people can expect. 

Their lifespan is one of the longer ones among fish kept in aquariums. So you should be prepared to keep them for the long haul. Obviously, not all angelfish live to their full age. Additionally, angelfish will not necessarily grow more prominent the longer they live. But one way to increase the chances of your fish growing to its full size is to ensure that it lives longer.

That typically involves feeding the creature appropriately. You have to ensure that it is supplied on a decent and predictable schedule. Drastic changes can lead to stress. You should also ensure that the tank in which it is kept is peaceful.

If it has to keep fighting to stay alive, its lifespan could reduce. That isn’t even taking into account the physical harm it can suffer in the long run.

As with all fish, the water chemistry matters.[4] If you cannot maintain optimal conditions in the water, your fish is unlikely to live a long life. Don’t forget to protect it from diseases. Keep an eye out for any signs of illness. The sooner you diagnose its ailments, the sooner you can provide the necessary treatment, the longer the fish will live.

How Big do Angelfish Get?

This is the second question you should ask. To find out the duration your fish will require to reach its full size; you should first know how big your angelfish is supposed to get. Only then can you begin to determine whether or not it has reached its full size.

Some people will argue that the type of angelfish matters, but that is only true to an extent. There are two types of angelfish, namely:

  1. Freshwater Angelfish
  2. Saltwater Angelfish

As their names suggest, one type lives in freshwater while the other lives in saltwater. The majority of angelfish you encounter are the freshwater variety. This is what most of you will buy from the store. For that reason, the minutiae of saltwater angelfish are of no use to you.

Angelfish can also be categorized along these lines:

  1. Scalare
  2. Leopoldi
  3. Altum

In this case, your options are also limited because most stores sell Scalare angelfish. If you have an angelfish in your aquarium, the chances that it might be the Altum or Leopoldi variety are quite low.

Among the domestic angelfish that most people keep, you will find types such as the following:[5]

1. Silver Angelfish

These are among the most popular angelfish in the world. They stand out because they have stripes on their bodies and even through their eyes. Their silver color is also difficult to ignore.

Beginners are encouraged to get silver angelfish because they are sturdy and easy to maintain. In a tank, they will grow up to six inches. But in the wild, they can reach nine to ten inches. 

2. Zebra Angelfish

The Zebra type got its name from the six stripes cutting across its body. Zebra angelfish are quite common in aquariums. At full maturity, they will develop red eyes, another distinguishing factor. Their full size also ranges from 6 to 10 inches.

To ensure that they achieve that size, you must keep them in a large tank, especially if you have many zebra angelfish in one aquarium. They spend a lot of time swimming. So they need their space. By restricting their movements, you will induce the sort of stress that can inhibit their growth rate. 

3. Koi Angelfish

These are easy to care for because they can survive in a wide range of conditions. So it isn’t that hard to maintain the quality of their water. Koi stand out when they are young because they have a red hue below their eyes. As they get older, this hue fades.

As their name suggests, Koi angelfish look a lot like Japanese koi. They have an orange color that grows darker when they experience significant stress. This is another 6-inch fish. It needs 30 gallons of water to thrive.

4. Marble Angelfish

The marble type has stripes. However, they vary in color. Sometimes they are black. In other cases, they are white or yellow. This variation creates a marbled pattern that gives the angelfish its name. They can grow to 6 inches. This type prefers slightly acidic water and a 30-gallon tank to thrive.

5. Black Veil Angelfish

This type is black in color. Like most of the fish on this list, this one requires 30-gallon tanks if you have a pair. You must maintain the temperature between 78 and 84 Degrees F. The pH should be 7.8. It is also imperative that you fill their tank with driftwood and rocks. In optimal conditions, they grow up to 7 inches long.

6. Black Lace Angelfish

This type will grow to six inches. Attractive and relaxed, the Black Lace angelfish don’t appreciate any noise. Neither does it do much swimming. Besides keeping the temperature between 75 and 82 Degrees F, you should choose this type’s companions carefully. Avoid aggressive fish.

7. Gold Angelfish

This is similar to a veil fish except that it is gold rather than black. It is quite beautiful, but its water requirements do not differ from those of the other fish on this list. The tank in which it is kept should have plenty of wood, rocks, and vegetation. If the conditions are right, it should reach 6 inches.

There are many more types of angelfish. However, while their appearance might differ, their average size remains mostly unchanged. The blushing type has a red color on the gills. It also has similarities with the gold and koi fish, and you may get it in white or silver. 

The golden marble fish is a type of koi fish that has a sophisticated array of marble markings and patches. The half-black type has marbling and blushing. The leopard fish has spots like a leopard. You ran the risk of killing the color in this type if you fail to maintain the conditions of the water in its tank. 

Smokey types are among the least colorful, but their dark pigmentation gives them an alluring look. Platinum angelfish are stunning to behold. They have a white color that looks almost grey. They have no other markings on their bodies. 

Clown angelfish are weird. Their bodies do not have a particular pattern. You can recognize them by the wide variety of shapes that cover their bodies. 

  • It would take you hours to learn all the types of angelfish. Some people have estimated that there are over a hundred different types. However, most of them have an average size of 6 inches and an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. 
  • If the angelfish you own fall in one of these subtypes categories, you are likely to see them reach their full size at a point they reach maturity. This, as was mentioned a couple of times earlier, will happen in approximately eight to twelve months.

Conclusions

Determining precisely how long it would take for angelfish to reach their full size is a challenging task. Mostly, it is difficult because they may be divided into multiple subtype categories. Nevertheless, most angelfish reach up to six inches within a year. 

If your angelfish seem not to follow that track, you may make some adjustments. Make sure your tank fulfills the precise requirements mentioned earlier. You may also use Decapsulated Artemia, which was found to grow angelfish bigger. 

Either way, I wish you the best of luck with your angelfish. Even if they remain relatively small, I am sure you’ll eventually learn to love them as they are.

References

  1. https://www.aliveaquarium.com/angelfish/
  2. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/837/83790306.pdf
  3. https://smartaquariumguide.com/angelfish-lifespan/
  4. https://www.petmd.com/fish/general-health/how-long-do-fish-live#
  5. https://www.thesprucepets.com/angelfish-gallery-4121742
  6. Featured Image: Flickr

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