Why Do Angelfish Hide

6 Reasons Why Angelfish Hide

When it comes to keeping aquariums, one of the most important things to remember is that fish need hiding places.

This is especially true for angelfish, who tend to hide more than other types of fish.

But why do they hide in the first place? And What are they doing when they’re hiding?

There are several reasons why your angelfish might be hiding. They’re maybe trying to escape from predators or getting away from the bright lights and noise in the aquarium. Or maybe they’re just trying to find a place to relax and rest.

Today’s guide tells you everything you need to know about why angelfish hide and what to do if your angelfish is hiding too much.

Reasons Why Your Angelfish Frequently Hide

Your angelfish is hiding because it’s trying to escape something that’s stressing it out.

Angelfish are susceptible creatures, and even the slightest change in their environment can be stressful.

1. The Water is Too Hard

One of the reasons your angelfish might be hiding is that the water in your aquarium is too hard. This usually happens because of high levels of calcium and magnesium carbonates.

As a result, the water becomes alkaline, negatively affecting your fish’s health. Angelfish prefer soft water, so make sure to test and adjust your water regularly.

Testing the Water Hardness

To begin adjusting the hardness of your water, you will need to know the current levels. Therefore, you should invest in a hardness test kit, which may be a strip test or a reagent test.

The strip test is a procedure in which you fill a small bowl with water from your aquarium and then dip the strip into it.

After that, the color will vary depending on the water’s hardness. Then, check to see if the water is hard or soft using the instructions manual.

However, the reagent test involves filling a test tube with aquarium water. After that, you must add a few drops of the chemical supplied in the test kit.

Likewise, the watercolor varies depending on how hard the water is. To determine the reading, you should use the color chart that comes with the kit.

How to Turn Hard Water Into Soft Water

The next step after determining the hardness of water is to learn how to soften your aquarium water. Some of the most common ways to do this are:

  • Reverse Osmosis: Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a filter that can remove up to 99 percent of the minerals, chemicals, and other particles from water. This makes it one of the most effective ways to soften aquarium water.
  • Water Softening Pillows: The water softening pillows use a chemical filtration system to reduce magnesium and calcium levels in the water.

However, it’s better to go with the RO filter since water softening pillows raise sodium levels (while lowering calcium and magnesium levels).

  • Use Peat Moss: Peat moss is an organic material that binds calcium and magnesium ions, making the water softer.

To use peat moss, you should soak it in water for a weak. The water in which you’ve soaked the peat moss can be used to lower the hardness of your aquarium water.

2. The Temperature and pH Might be Wrong

The ideal water temperature for angelfish is around 78°F to 80°F with a pH level of 6 to 8.

If the temperature or pH levels are inadequate, the environment will not be comfortable for your fish, causing them to stress out and hide.

In that case, angelfish will not come out even if you offer them food. This is why you need a pH testing kit and a thermometer to test the water quality and make any necessary changes.

If the water is too cold, many aquarium heaters can help you maintain the right temperature. Just make sure to opt for one with an automatic thermostat that can test and adjust the temperature automatically without manually doing it.

To adjust your pH levels, adding crushed coral or baking soda to the aquarium will do the trick if the pH level is too low.

On the other side of the coin, if the pH level is too high, you can add driftwood or peat moss to lower it.

The goal is to maintain the temperature and pH level in the desired range to keep your angelfish comfortable.

How Does Temperature Affect pH? Westlab
How Does Temperature Affect pH by westlab

3. Your Tank is Overcrowded

Angelfish are sensitive and delicate species, and if your aquarium is overcrowded, they will stress out and look for a hideout to catch their breath.

While most aquarium owners know that overcrowding is an issue, many people do not realize its importance to your fish.

The following are some of the negative effects associated with an aquarium being overfished:

If you detect any of these symptoms, your aquarium is likely full of angelfish.

It would help if you give some fish away or purchase a second tank to solve this problem.

4. The Angelfish Share Aggressive Companions

Have you added any new fish to your aquarium lately? If this is the case, your angelfish might be hiding from bullying.

Angelfish are semi-aggressive fish, which means if you add unsuitable tank mates to your tank, it will turn into a battleground.

Each fish will claim its territory, and if your angels fail to do that, they will search for a safe place to hide.

There are some species you must avoid:

  • Tiger barbs
  • Betta
  • Peacock bass
  • Green terrors
  • Jack Dempseys
  • Silver Arowanas

However, there are many great types of fish that will get along well with angelfish. Some of the best tank mates for angelfish include:

  • Guppies
  • Dwarf gouramis
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Mollies
  • Zebra loaches

5. High Nitrate Levels

If the nitrate level in your aquarium is high, angelfish are likely to become inactive and search for a place to rest. There are a number of causes for high nitrate levels in the tank, including:

  • Fish waste
  • Leftover food
  • Decomposing plants

To discover whether your fish is hiding because of the high nitrate level, you must check your aquarium.

Nitrate testing kits may be purchased online or at an aquarium store, and they will tell you immediately how much nitrates there are in the water.

The ideal level is 5 to 10 ppm. If the levels are higher than 20 ppm, it’s time to take action to bring them down.

6. Sickness

When angelfish have an ailment or sickness, they need somewhere quiet and secure to go while recuperating.

Since disease makes them more prone to predation, they hide to keep themselves safe.

This is something that they must be able to do in their aquarium. If they can’t, your angelfish may be hiding under the filter, which is a dangerous place to hide.

Angelfish will hide when suffering from:

  • Velvet disease
  • Hole in the head disease
  • Freshwater ich
  • Fin rot

7. Loud Noises

Angelfish are very sensitive to noise, and even the slightest sound can make them stressed.

This is one of the reasons why you should never place your aquarium near loud appliances such as a television or stereo.

Also, avoid making sudden noises around the tank as it will frighten your fish and make them hide.

Here is a youtube video talking about why fish hide.

When Does Hiding of Angelfish Indicate a Problem?

As we mentioned, angelfish are known to hide for a brief time when they must escape from harm or other dangers that might jeopardize their survival.

However, if they are continuously hiding, it may indicate an issue. In this case, you must discover the source and take action to solve this problem.

Some of the Indications That There Is a Problem Facing Your Angel

  • Hiding for days.
  • They do not emerge even when it is food time.
  • The Angelfish appear to be uninterested.
  • The angel fish’s body has injuries or wounds.
  • They hide during the daytime

These symptoms are an indication that something is wrong, and it isn’t your angelfish’s natural behavior.

If that’s the case, follow our guide in the sections above to identify and remedy the problem.

Should You Introduce Hiding Spots in Your Aquarium?

Many aquarium owners believe that eliminating hiding places will bring back the angelfish. However, this can be a significant mistake.

Angelfish in the Amazon basin dwell in diverse places such as caverns, rocks, and woody debris.

These places help them to protect themselves and their fry from predators. Also, it helps them take a rest when they are stressed.

So, providing hiding places in your tank will help mimic their natural habitat; it will also give your angelfish a sense of security.

On the other hand, if you don’t provide enough hiding places for your angelfish, they will attempt to hide behind the filter or any other hiding spots that are not good for their health.

Hiding fish by thesprucepets

How to Make Hiding Spots for Fish?


The easiest method to ensure that your fish have enough hiding places is to add plants to the tank.

You can create a dense underwater jungle for your angels to hide in and swim through by carefully putting the taller plants at the back and placing the smaller ones in front.

These plants are compatible with them and angelfish won’t attempt to eat them:

  • Anubias nana
  • Anacharis
  • Amazon sword
  • Ambulia
  • Java fern
  • Java moss
  • Hornwort
  • Hygrophilia
  • Red tiger lotus
  • Water sprite
  • Water wisteria
  • Vallisneria
  • Vertically floating plants


Aside from providing hiding spots for your fish, driftwood also replicates angelfish’s natural circumstances since they resemble fallen trees.

While plants allow angelfish to burrow into, driftwood allows them to hide underneath or on top of it which gives them a sense of security.

Furthermore, driftwood can help lower the pH of the water, making it more akin to the delicate, wild waters to which angelfish are accustomed.


Captive-bred angelfish like to hide behind rocks, so adding a few large and medium-sized rocks to your aquarium will give them additional places to feel secure and comfortable.

When selecting rocks, search for non-sharp, smooth edges that would not harm your fish since their long tails and fins are susceptible to being scratched on them.

Similarly, be sure that the stones aren’t too tiny and don’t contain any little cracks where your angelfish could get trapped.


Caves are similar to rocks, but they have more intricate patterns. Some resemble rocks, while others resemble driftwood.

However, hollowed-out coconut shells are an excellent low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative.

The benefit of caves is that angelfish can nestle inside them, achieving complete isolation.

When looking for a cave, make sure that it isn’t too small or your angelfish won’t be able to enter and exit it comfortably.

Also, you should check that it is not so big that other fish could fit inside and bother your angelfish while they’re trying to rest.


Do Angelfish Hide When They’re Sick?

Angelfish hide when they’re sick because illness makes them more vulnerable to predation. Hiding gives them a sense of security and helps them to recover.

Do Angelfish Hide When They’re Stressed?

Angelfish hide when they’re stressed for the same reason they hide when they’re sick – it makes them feel safe.

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, including changes in the water quality, lack of hiding places, and bullying from other fish.

How Can I Tell If My Angelfish Is Stressed?

If your angelfish is hiding more than usual, it may be stressed. Other signs of stress include lethargy, loss of appetite, and darting around the tank.

How Can I Reduce Stress in My Angelfish?

There are a few things you can do to reduce stress in your angelfish:

  • Make sure there are plenty of hiding places in the tank for them to feel secure.
  • Do not overcrowd the tank.
  • Perform regular water changes to maintain good water quality.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature or lighting.
  • Do not move the fish around too much.

Last Words

Angelfish are a beautiful addition to any aquarium, but they can be challenging to care for if their needs aren’t met.

In this article, we’ve outlined some of why your angelfish may be inactive. We’ve also given you some solutions that you can apply to resolve these issues.

Remember to take your time and be patient with your fish. With a little effort, you’ll have healthy and active angelfish in no time!

We hope you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below.