Angelfish are one of the aquarium’s most beautiful species. They’re lovely and hardy, and anyone would be wowed by their brilliant hues.
However, keeping your angels in your tank isn’t as simple as it seems; the wrong angelfish mates could turn your tank into a battleground!
Let’s say that there are many factors that determine compatibility between your tank fish, so it’s crucial to know every tiny step to acclimate your fish happily and live a long, healthy life.
In this article, we will cover how to choose the best tank mates, things to avoid when selecting your community tank companions, in addition to a list of the 30 best angelfish tank mates.
So without further ado. Let’s move right into the first stage of knowing whether this fish is compatible with an angelfish or not.
1. Level of the Aquarium
Most of an angelfish’s time is spent swimming near the surface in the top part of the water column. As a result, it’s prudent to select the best angelfish tank mates that reside in the lower regions of the aquarium.
This will ensure that your fish will avoid fighting over food and squabbling for space by keeping to different levels.
2. Water Parameters Difference
Angelfish are quite sensitive to their environment, so it’s crucial to provide your angels with the most suitable water parameter to keep them healthy.
Before introducing your new fish into the tank, you must conduct extensive research and ensure that the tank’s water parameters are suitable for this newcomer!
Also, it’s important to mention that the pH range for angelfish is 6.5-8.0, while the levels of nitrites and ammonia should be zero.
Keep in mind, if you didn’t keep the water parameters within the acceptable range, your angelfish will get stressed out and this will increase their aggression towards their tank mates.
Therefore, you must do everything possible to provide them with the appropriate tank requirements in order to satisfy them and prevent them from attacking other fish.
3. Food Preference
Angelfish tend to be territorial by nature with a huge appetite, thus you want to select angelfish tank mates that don’t travel in the same areas as they do.
In other words, avoid fish that travel back and forth from bottom to top or vice versa for feeding purposes.
You’ll end up with two of the same fish competing for food, which is something you certainly don’t want.
4. Size Does Matter
When fully grown, an adult angelfish can reach a length of six inches and a height of eight inches. It isn’t just the room that may be a problem here.
Angelfish will eat any fish in the ocean that are small enough to fit into their mouths.
Do you know the scene from Finding Nemo where that seagull drops a clam into the mouth of a surprised-looking fish? That’s what happens to a tank mate that is too small to swim among your angelfish.
Similarly, small fish species such as Endler’s livebearers, some rasboras, and very small tetras will be food for angelfish.
While angelfish are considered big fish, they may be targets of bullying as well.
So, avoid adding huge species like the Oscars, Redhead cichlids, and Jaguar cichlids that are more than capable of beating up an Angelfish and killing it.
5. Levels of Aggression
The level of aggression is very important to put in your mind, angelfish are territorial by nature and they will deadly defend their territory against any intruders.
Putting other aggressive species with your angelfish is a nightmare, as it will trigger the aggressive behavior in your angelfish and can turn your tank into a battlefield.
Since most angelfish species have quite large fins, we recommend you avoid adding any card-carrying fin nippers, such as tiger barbs, certain tetras, and Skunk botia, as these species can nip the fins of your angel fish and ruin their beauty.
Bad Tank Mates for Angelfish
Angelfish are semi-aggressive fish but when it comes to Shrimp Fish, they are always regarded as food and will be consumed. For this reason, angelfish can’t cohabit with shrimp of any size, even the large ones in the same tank.
On the other hand, angels can also become the prey of larger, more aggressive fish species, such as Oscars and certain large cichlids. So it’s not a good idea to acquire them as well.
Tiger barbs and green tiger barbs, which are documented fin-eaters that will harass Angelfish, are among the other fish species to avoid.
Male bettas, on the other hand, are lovely to look at but do not get along with Angels. Male bettas perceive any fish with trailing fins as a rival and may become violent towards them.
Although it is permissible to house a small group of up to six Angelfish in the same tank, males may become aggressive towards their own species when attempting to pair off and begin spawning, so keep that in mind.
30 Best Tank Mates for Angelfish
1. Corydoras Catfish
Corydoras catfish are also referred to as copycats or dwarf catfish. These bottom-dwellers are tropical fish native to South America and they belong to the Callichthyidae family of armored catfishes.
Dwarf catfish mainly inhabit streams, rivers, canals, ponds, floodplains, swamps, blackwater tributaries, and oxbow lakes.
They’re beautiful fish with unique body patterns and colors. The most common species has three dark stripes on its sides and a white belly.
Additionally, they are considered highly social by nature, they are friendly and peaceful species, so they won’t bother any tank mates. Cory cats might also be kept in a community aquarium with other small schooling fish.
Another plus is that these catfish are always on the lookout for food. They’ll scour every inch of your tank in search of morsels to eat, picking up uneaten food bits as well as algae from all surfaces.
2. Otocinclus Catfish
Otocinclus Catfish are also native to the Amazon basin in South America.
They belong to the Loricariidae family, also known locally as suckermouth catfishes due to their large lips, which enable them to consume algae and scrape off tough skin tissues of plants.
Otocinclus Catfish are attractive fish who will appreciate any tank mates they can interact with.
As shy and peaceful fish, these catfish prefer to hide out among plants or large rocks during the day and emerge to feed at night.
Additionally, Otos can be kept with non-aggressive tank mates, including Angelfish.
Plecos are known as sucker-mouth catfish because they have a unique ability to attach themselves to surfaces, which helps them feed on algae.
They are native to the Amazon River basin but are also found in other South American countries including Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
As scavengers who eat both plant matter and are known to be voracious algae eaters, they might be a little too efficient.
Since these fish also produce vast amounts of waste from their digestive tracts, you may need to change the water more often if your angelfish tank is home to bristle nose plecos.
Most Plecostomus species are bottom dwellers that live peacefully alongside Angelfish and other mid-level fish without any problems.
Rainbowfish come from Australia and New Guinea, where they inhabit streams and rivers. They’re also native to the islands of Fiji and Melanesia.
Rainbows are beloved for their brilliant colors and their iridescent reflections.
There are about 107 species in this family, but only a few can make good tankmates:
- Fairy or dwarf rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox)
- Pacific blue-eye (Hypselecara temporalis)
- Pygmy rainbowfish (Glossolepis incisus)
Just be sure to avoid species with long fins because Angelfish may nip at them.
Mollies are livebearers who originate from Central America and Mexico. Like other members of the Poeciliidae family, mollies are prolific reproducers, which makes keeping a single female in a tankless work than keeping one male around. It’s best to keep mollies with peaceful fish, including Angelfish.
6. Ram Cichlids
Ram Cichlids earned their name from the organ above their mouths that superficially resembles a fish’s horn (or ram’s horn).
These cichlids are also called dwarf cichlids and they hail from South America, primarily Colombia and Venezuela.
They can be territorial with members of their species because they’re highly territorial fish. But they are also very social. When kept with other tankmates, these cichlids prefer to live in large groups of at least six or more individuals.
However, mixing Ram Cichlid species is risky because it can cause interspecific aggression. It’s best to stick with one species only in the same freshwater aquariums.
7. Discus Fish
Discus fish are members of the Cichlidae family. They hail from the Amazon River basin in Columbia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and other South American countries.
As open-water fish who like to swim in the middle levels of the water column, Discus fish can be kept with Angelfish without any problems.
Their range of colors and patterns is stunning. Even the most basic of Discus fish will be a beautiful addition to any aquarium.
For this reason, these fish are often kept in a tank size of 20 gallons at least by discerning aquarists who have the time, money, and space needed to keep them happy.
8. Dwarf Gourami
Dwarf gouramis are part of the Osphronemidae family. Their closest relatives include bettas, rummy nose tetras, and giant gouramis.
These fish are usually found in regions of Asia, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. They’re also very popular as pets because they come in a range of colors and patterns.
Many aquarists enjoy seeing how gouramis’ color changes depending on their mood or environment so these beautiful fish are often kept in low-lit tanks.
Some dwarf gourami species can be kept with Angelfish while others cannot so you’ll need to do some research before adding a new fish to your aquarium.
9. Platy Fish
Platys are livebearers who hail from Africa. They got their name because they’re flat, like a plate.
These fish can be kept with most community fish so you can house them alongside Angelfish without any problems.
However, Platy fish prefer to live in groups of at least three or four individuals so getting more than one platy in the same tank can be counter-productive.
Because they’re livebearers, Platys require the attention of an experienced aquarist who knows how to breed and cull them.
10. Guppy Fish
Guppies are livebearers who are popular because of their variety in color and pattern. They also come from South America so they’ll be perfectly at home when kept with Angels.
Even though Guppies are used to living in large groups, they should not be combined with other dither fish in the same tank.
11. Zebra Danios
Unsurprisingly, Zebra Danio fish is named after the zebra stripes on their bodies. But this name can be misleading because these fancy-looking freshwater fish are originally from Asia, specifically India and northern Myanmar.
Danio fish enjoy living in groups of at least three or four individuals because this helps them establish a social hierarchy. Therefore, you should keep them with Angelfish or other community fish if possible.
The Kribensis is a member of the Pelvicachromis family and its closest relative is the Pelvicachromis Taeniatus.
This cichlid hails from Africa so it’ll be perfectly fine when kept with your Angelfish if you introduce them to their aquarium at the same time.
But you should know that these cichlids like to live in small groups of two or three individuals so you might need to get more than one kribensis if you want your fish to establish social hierarchies.
13. Bristlenose Pleco
Bristlenose Pleco, or Plecostomus as they’re also called, has a unique appearance that makes them very popular in the aquarium trade.
Plecos are native to South America and Central America but can be found throughout the world where they’ve been introduced via aquarium releases.
They’re very hardy fish so Angelfish and other community fish will be fine with them.
14. Boesemani Rainbowfish
Boeseman’s Rainbowfish are livebearers who hail from South East Asia. These fish are popular because of their beautiful coloration, specifically their black bodies with alternating blue and yellow stripes.
You can combine them with other community fish that are not too large or very aggressive.
15. Keyhole Cichlids
Keyhole Cichlids, or Cleithracara Maroni, are endemic to the Amazon River Basin in South America.
These fish can be kept with Angelfish and other community fish without any problems but you should note that they’re sociable creatures who require companionship of their kind.
They do well in groups of at least three individuals and should not be kept with other cichlids who look similar to them.
Swordtail fish are livebearers who hail from Central America. Their name arises from the long ‘sword’ like extensions at the end of their bodies.
They come in a variety of color morphs that make them popular with aquarists all over the world. While they can be kept with Angelfish, you should keep them in separate tanks because their natural diet consists of small invertebrates that could harm your Angelfish.
17. Black Skirt Tetra
Black Skirt Tetra, or Gymnocorymbus Ternetzi, are livebearers that hail from South America.
These tetras come from the Orinoco River of Venezuela and their habitat gets cold during wintertime.
These fish can be kept with Angelfish but you should note that they’re active swimmers who spend most of their time chasing other fast-moving fish around the tank.
If you keep them with Angelfish, it’s best to keep only one Black Skirt Tetra in your tank so they don’t chase other tetras out of their territory.
18. Lemon Tetras
Lemon Tetra, or Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis, are native to South America.
These tetras come from the Amazon River Basin and Orinoco River of Venezuela.
Lemon Tetra should be kept with other peaceful community fish like Angelfish but should not be combined with other types of tetras because they can be very territorial.
19. Rummy Nose Tetras
Rummy Nose Tetras, or Anostomus Anostomus, are native to South America and prefer their habitat in blackwater rivers and streams.
These tetras hail from streams of Venezuela where they usually live among thick vegetation.
Rummy Nose tetras should be kept with other community fish but you should note that they’re very timid and will easily become stressed out if their tank mates are too aggressive or fast-moving.
20. Head and Tail Light Tetras
Head and Tail Light Tetras, or Hemigrammus Taeniatus, are livebearers who come from the blackwater streams of Venezuela.
These fish are very territorial so they should be kept with slow-moving community fish like Angelfish.
21. Cardinal Tetra
Cardinal Tetra, or Paracheirodon axelrodi, are livebearers who hail from South America.
These tetras come from the Amazon River Basin and prefer their habitat in slow-moving rivers with thick vegetation.
Cardinal Tetras should be kept with other peaceful community fish like Angelfish but you should note that they’re very timid and will easily become stressed out if their tank mates are aggressive or fast-moving.
22. Rubbernose Pleco
Rubber nose Pleco, or Hypostomus Lacustris, is native to northern South America.
These fish come from the rivers of Venezuela where they prefer their habitat in the blackwater streams with lots of vegetation.
These fish are nocturnal bottom-feeders that will eat algae off of your tank walls at night if you have live plants.
They are excellent cleaners but you should note that they will also eat smaller fish if they find them on the floor of your tank.
23. Silver Dollar
Silver Dollar, or Metynnis Argenteus, are silver-colored freshwater fish.
These fish come from streams of Venezuela and prefer their habitat in the blackwater rivers where they feed on algae off rocks and plants.
Silver Dollars will eat smaller fish if they find them on the floor of your tank so you should keep these fish with other community fish and not with small tetras and danios.
Silver Dollar is one of the largest freshwater fish that can be kept in a standard 10-gallon tank if you keep just one individual.
If you want to keep more than one silver dollar, then your tank should be at least 20 gallons or larger because these fish will grow quite a bit when they get older.
24. Three Spot Gourami
Three Spot Gourami, or Trichogaster Trichopterus, is a livebearer that comes from the blackwater streams of Brazil.
These fish prefer their habitat in small rivers with lots of vegetation and prefer to feed on algae off rocks and plants.
25. Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish
Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish, or Melanotaenia boesemani, originate from New Guinea and prefer their habitat in the blackwater rivers where they feed on algae off rocks.
Males will sometimes show brilliant blue coloration if they’re happy and healthy.
Boeseman’s Rainbow Fish should be kept with other non-aggressive community fish like tetras and angelfish but you should keep in mind that they’re quite slender and will easily become stressed if their tank mates are too aggressive or fast-moving.
Hatchetfish, or Gasteropelecus Bleheri, is an ideal tank mate, which is also native to South America and live in the blackwater streams of Suriname.
They have a very delicate body that’s covered with plates of protective armor so they should be kept with other non-aggressive community fish.
27. Keyhole Cichlid
Keyhole Cichlid, or Geophagus Megalops, is a cichlid from South America.
These fish come from the blackwater streams of Suriname and prefer their habitat in the shallow waters around riverbanks with lots of vegetation.
Keyhole Cichlids should be kept with other non-aggressive or semi-aggressive community fish like tetras, angelfish, and hatchet fish.
28. Featherfin squeaker
Featherfin squeakers, or Synodontis multipunctatus, are bottom-feeders from Africa.
These fish come from the swamps and blackwater streams of the Nile River where they prefer their habitat in muddy bottoms with plant cover.
Featherfin squeakers will eat smaller fish if they find them on the floor of your tank so you should keep these fish with other non-aggressive community fish.
29. Kuhli Loach
Kuhli Loach, or Pangio Kuhlis, is native to Southeast Asia.
These fish come from swamps and blackwater streams of Thailand where they prefer their habitat in silt-laden muddy bottoms with lots of vegetation.
Kuhli Loach is a great scavenger and will help you to keep your tank clean.
30. Siamese Algae Eater
Siamese Algae Eater, or Crossocheilus Siamensis, are native to Thailand.
These fish come from the blackwater streams of Thailand where they prefer their habitat in the shallow waters with lots of algae.
Siamese Algae Eaters are quite active and will chase most other bottom-dwelling fishes away but if there’s a lot of algae in your tank then this fish will have enough to eat and won’t bother its neighbors too much.
31. Yoyo Loach
Yoyo loaches are peaceful bottom dwellers that swim away from angelfish territory, making them an ideal addition to an angelfish tank.
Another advantage, these fish are hardy and can withstand a wide range of water conditions.
Although these fish will clean up uneaten food and algae, it’s better to supplement their meals with sinking pellets or vegetable tablets to ensure they have enough to eat.
32. Malaysian Trumpet Snails
Unlike other snail species, Malaysian trumpet snails are not prey for angelfish. In fact, most angelfish will leave these snails alone completely.
These snails are great aquarium cleaners, digging through the substrate in search of organic matter to consume, which helps to keep the aquarium water cleaner and reduces algae.
Aside from that, these snails are easy to care for and don’t require any special care.
33. Cherry Barbs
Although cherry barbs arenormally peaceful in schools of six or more, they can be temporarily aggressive and nip at fins when they live in smaller numbers.
When adding them to a community aquarium, you should monitor them for several weeks to ensure that all the fish have enough room and no nipping behaviors emerge.
However, they are easy to care for and make a beautiful addition to any aquarium with their bright red coloration.
34. Zebra Loach
The Zebra Loach is a peaceful fish that does best when living in groups of its own species.
To make them feel more comfortable and secure, it’s best to provide them with at least five individuals.
These fish live at the bottom of the tank and have similar water parameter requirements as Angelfish making them a perfect choice.
Aside from eating flakes, pellets, live, and frozen food – they also enjoy grazing on algae.
Not to mention, they help keep your tank surfaces clean by picking off scraps of uneaten food and pieces of plant waste
35. Blue Ram Cichlids
Blue Ram Cichlids are a great option for your fish tank since they come from South America so they have the same water requirements as Angels.
These bright fish spend the majority of their time at the mid and bottom levels of the water column, so they won’t be in regular touch with your Angelfish.
Although they are small fish, growing to only two inches in length, blue rams are still large enough that your angels won’t eat them.
36. Bala Shark (Balantiocheilos Melanopterus)
The Bala shark is a peaceful fish that coexists well with other mid-sized fish, like angels.
In addition, they are easy to care for since they can withstand a wide range of water conditions and eats a variety of food.
The only downside is that they grow quite large, up to one foot in length (30 cm), so you’ll need at least a 120-gallon tank.
37. Black Shark (Epalzeorhynchos Bicolor)
The black shark is also known as the red tail shark, due to its black body and brilliant red tail.
This fish reaches a size between four to six inches long (10-15 cm) and dwells near the bottom of the tank, which reduces potential interactions with angelfish.
However, they tend to get territorial when they are kept in too small of a tank. Therefore, you should provide at least a 55-gallon tank to give them enough room to swim.
38. Tinfoil Barbs (Barbonymus Schwanenfeldii)
Tinfoil Barbs match well with the angelfish since both species occupy the same levels of the water column.
To avoid aggression, it’s best to keep them in schools of six or more individuals.
Also, they can grow up to 14 inches (35 cm) in length. Hence, you should provide at least 75 gallons for a single fish.
However, tinfoil barbs will snack on plants and eagerly consume any smaller fish, so make sure your angels are big enough.
39. Odessa Barb (Pethia Padamya)
One thing that makes Odessa barbs a good tank mate for angels is that they have the same water parameters and similar appetites for the same foods.
These tiny fish grow up to three inches long and like a group size of at least five individuals. Thus, you should provide them with at least a 30-gallon tank.
However, they may be nippy sometimes, so keep an eye on interactions in the tank and be ready to alter anything that goes wrong.
40. Honey Gourami (Trichogaster Chuna)
Honey gourami is a small shy fish that is a perfect match for angelfish. Although they sometimes exhibit hierarchical aggression, their actions would not impact your angels.
However, you should pair larger gouramis with smaller angels to avoid your angels picking on them.
These gouramis grow up to only two inches in length (5 cm). To make them comfortable, keep these fish in a 10-gallon well-planted tank with a group of four to six species.
Here is a youtube guide showing the top 10 tank mates for angelfish.
Well, those are our suggestions on the best 30 community fish for blackwater tanks.
I’m sure you can come up with some more species if you like, but please remember that the key to a successful community tank is balance and compatibility between all inhabitants of your aquarium.
We hope you enjoyed this article as much as we did.
If you still have any questions, please share them with us in the comment section below.