how to sex angelfish

How to Sex Angelfish? Appearance Vs Behavior

Male and female angelfish appear virtually identical, so it might be difficult to tell the difference between them, especially when they are young.

Although it’s a complicated mission to tell them apart, this does not imply that it is impossible.

You can distinguish your fish by two methods, appearance, such as the forehead, and behavior, such as their aggression.

This article will go through the two methods and explain how you can use them to determine the gender of your angelfish.

How to Determine Angelfish Gender by Appearance?

You can sex your angelfish by looking at its forehead. The forehead of an adult male angelfish is often scalloped or bumpy, while the female Angelfish has a more pointed facial profile than the male.

Angel fish male female difference Sexing the angelfish and male female  difference | Angel fish, Tropical freshwater fish, Tropical fish tanks
Sexing angelfish by pinterest

Still, the distinction between them is somewhat tricky to perceive regarding looks, and thus it requires some expertise to sex your angelfish correctly.

Here are some more physical characteristics to distinguish your fish.

Male Physical CharacteristicsFemale Physical Characteristics
The male Angelfish has a more significant, rounder body than females.Female angelfish do not have the nuchal hump or forehead bump that males have.
The forehead of an adult male angelfish is often scalloped or bumpy.The female Angelfish has a more pointed facial profile than the male.
The area in front of the male Angelfish’s eyes is rounder and more prominent than the female.The females are generally smaller than the males.
The male’s breeding tube, like a pencil tip, is sharp and slender.The female has smoother, rounder ventral fins.
The ventral fins of male angelfish are forked.The Angelfish’s belly line is more angular in females than males.
The growth rate of male angels is generally more significant than that of female angels.The female’s ovipositor, or breeding tube (blunt and comprehensive), is long.
The male fish’s coitus aperture is narrower than the female’s.The female’s cloaca is considerably more extensive than the male’s, much thinner.
The male angelfish’s dorsal region is more erect and has an almost 90-degree angle with the body.The female develops a swollen belly full of eggs during the breeding season.
The male lacks this characteristic because it is solely the female who produces eggs.
The eyes of male angelfish are small.The female Angelfish’s line from their dorsal fin to the right corner of their eye is straighter than the male’s.
The male Angelfish also grows a ridge on his nose as it matures.The female Angelfish have more prominent, round eyes.
The female Angelfish has a flat nose and mouth, consistent with their forehead form.
Male and female angelfish physical characteristics

How to Sex Angelfish by Behavior?

Males are generally more aggressive and territorial than females when defending their space in the aquarium. So, if you see one fish chasing another around or nipping at its fins, there’s a good chance that it’s a male.

There are also some other behavioral signs that can help you determine the sex of your angelfish.

Spawning Behavior

While spawning, males will fan their fins out to grab the female attention. After he has the female’s attention, he will gently embrace her and start to rub her body with his own.

The female angelfish do not spread out its fins, making this a method to distinguish between male and female angelfish.

Swimming Behavior

Females and males differ significantly in their swimming behaviors. Males swim with their bodies positioned horizontally from mouth to tail, and females place their mouths higher than this at the center of the tail.

You can get reasonably accurate at spotting the distinctions in how fish swim via routine observation, and this may be a simple method to determine which fish is at a glance.

Yellow Pterophyllum Scalare fish
Angelfish getting angry by science

Why Should You Wait Until the Male and Female Are Mature?

Young male and female angelfish will appear nearly identical because the fish aren’t developed enough. So, It’s difficult, if not impossible, to tell apart fish that are less than six months old.

After six or seven months, your fish become mature, so it will be easy for you to differentiate them. For example, the breeding tubes will be easy to distinguish during this time.

It might be preferable to buy fully grown fish if you intend to breed the fish. This way, you can easily tell which fish to put together for breeding.

Here is a five minutes guide telling you how to sex your angelfish.

Some Angels Can Change Gender

It might look weird, but some angelfish can change genders. This happens mainly due to the social hierarchy in Angelfish groups. The larger, more dominant fish will typically be male, while the smaller ones will be female.

So, this is something that you should be aware of if you’re trying to determine your angelfish gender.

The most common angels, such as silver angelfish, koi angelfish, marbled angelfish, zebra angelfish, and gold angelfish, will be unable to transform genders.

However, certain uncommon saltwater angelfish can assume the opposite sex. So, it would help if you research the species before you buy them.

3 Ways to Tell the Sex of an Angelfish - wikiHow
Male and female angelfish by wikiHow

Do Male and Female Angelfish Fight?

Male and female angelfish generally do not fight. They can squabble over territory occasionally, but this is typically not a serious issue.

If you have two angels that are constantly fighting, it is likely that they are both of the same sex. In this case, you may need to separate them into different tanks.


How Can I Tell If My Angelfish Are Fighting Or Playing?

If your angelfish are flaring their fins, chasing each other, and making loud clicking noises, they are probably fighting.

However, if they are gently nudging each other or swimming close together without any aggression, they are likely just playing.

Do Angelfish Fight More When They Are Mating?

Angelfish become more aggressive when they are mating, but this is usually not due to fighting.

Rather, the male angelfish chase the female to gain its attention and then gently nudge its side to start the mating process.

What Should I Do If My Angelfish Are Fighting?

If your angelfish are fighting, you may need to separate them into different tanks. Also, you can try adding plants or other objects to the tank to create more territory for them to claim.

In addition, you should make sure that they are getting enough food and that the water quality in the tank is good.

After the Eggs Are Laid, Will the Angelfish Stop Fighting?

Angelfish will not stop fighting after they lay their eggs. In fact, they can become even more aggressive as they protect their territory and offspring.

If the fighting becomes too intense, you may need to remove the fry (baby fish) from the tank.

My Angelfish Are Laying Eggs, But They Keep Eating Them. What Should I Do?

If your angelfish are eating their own eggs, it is likely because they are not getting enough food. Therefore, make sure to feed them a high-quality diet and provide plenty of live foods.

Do Angelfish Fight More in Small Tanks?

Angelfish do fight more in small tanks because they feel more crowded and have less space to claim as their own.

In addition, small tanks have poorer water quality, which can cause stress leading to aggression.

How Many Eggs Does a Female Angelfish Lay?

A female angelfish can lay between 100 and 1000 eggs at a time depending on their diet, age, and health.

My Angelfish Keep Getting Sick. What Should I Do?

If your angelfish keep getting sick, it is likely due to poor water quality. Make sure to do regular water changes and clean the tank regularly.

Also, you should check the ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels of the water and make sure they are all within the acceptable range.

If you are still having problems, you may need to take your angelfish to a vet for a check-up.

What Is the Lifespan of an Angelfish?

The lifespan of an angelfish is 10-12 years. However, this can vary depending on the species and the care they receive.

For example, angelfish that are kept in poor conditions or that are constantly fighting are more likely to have a shorter lifespan.

Do Angelfish Lay Eggs on Plants?

Angelfish usually lay their eggs on vertically-growing plants. They will often clean a spot on the plant before laying their eggs.

If you do not have any plants in your tank, you can try adding some live plants or plastic plants that are securely anchored to the substrate.

Last Words

Even experienced fish keepers might have difficulties determining the sex of Angelfish from time to time.

However, if you follow these tips, you shouldn’t have any problems in the future.

We hope this article has helped you understand how to tell the difference between male and female Angelfish.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!