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Zebra Angelfish

Zebra angelfish are one of the most popular aquarium fish available in a wide range of colors and patterns.

They are simple to maintain and require minimal effort on the part of the owner. This makes them an excellent choice for beginner fish owners or people who don’t have time for a more high-maintenance companion.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about caring for zebra angelfish, including the best diet, habitat, and tank mates.


Scientific NamePomacanthus semicirculatus
OriginSouth America
AggressionSemi Aggressive
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
size10 inches (25 cm)
Ease of CareModerate
pH6 – 7.4 
Temperature79 – 83 degrees
Zebra Angelfish Characteristics

Zebra Angelfish Origins & Habitat 

Zebra Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) is native to the Amazon River Basin, Orinoco Basin, and other tributaries of South America’s Guiana Shield.

They can be found in swamps and flooded regions with dense vegetation around clear or silty water in their natural environment.

These beautiful angels prefer marshes and underwater bushes, where they can swiftly hide. Also, they are a relatively calm, sociable species that may be observed congregating in large groups while swimming.

What Are the Features of Zebra ​Angelfish?

Physical Appearance

Zebra angelfish have long, triangular dorsal and anal fins, a lengthy forked tail, a tiny mouth, and a spine positioned on the lower cheekbone.


The female zebra angelfish is light blue with a black band around her eyes and black vertical stripes on the top and bottom of her tail.

However, the male zebra angelfish is pale blue with a zebra pattern of numerous thin, dark vertical lines.

Also, zebra angelfish species can be found in other hues, including:

1. Silver Zebra Angelfish

They have dark brown or black longitudinal stripes and are generally black, gray, or silver body.

2. Blue Zebra Angelfish

This fish has a blue body with a large striped pattern.


Zebra angelfish grow to a length of up to 10 inches (25 cm).

Is Zebra AngelfishAngelfish Hardy?

Zebra angelfish (pterophyllum scalare) are relatively hardy and easy to keep and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. This is one of the reasons why they are such a popular choice for aquariums.

How to Care for Zebra Angelfish?

Water Requirements

1. Water change

Although they are hardy fish, high water quality is still essential for their health.

You should change at least 10-15% of the water in your aquarium every week. Also, make sure to remove any uneaten food or waste from the tank before doing a water change.

2. Water Temperature

The Zebra Angelfish, like most South American cichlid species, prefers soft waters with a temperature range of 79 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because this aquatic creature cannot survive significant changes in water temperature, it’s critical to keep a consistent environment by utilizing an aquarium heater.

3. pH Level

These angel types thrive well in lightly acidic waters similar to their natural habitat. Therefore, the ideal pH level for their tank should be between 6.0 and 7.4.

Since fluctuations in pH levels can stress them out and cause health problems, you should use a pH test kit to keep the pH level stable.

Tank Setup

1. Size

Zebra Angelfish grow big and tall, so they need a lot of space to swim and explore. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is ideal for a single fish.

However, if you want to house them in a group of three species or more, you’ll need a tank aquarium of at least 55 gallons.

2. Tank Decoration

Zebra angels prefer to hide in aquarium plants and river rock formations since they will feel safer.

Amazon sword plants (Echinodorus) or other large-leaved plants like elodea would be ideal for providing cover, nesting spots, and keeping the fish calm.

In addition, you can add sandy or fine gravel substrate, driftwood roots, and small caves to make their environment more natural and comfortable.

3. Filtration

Zebra Angelfish thrive on excellent water quality and gentle water movement. Therefore, to maintain suitable water quality and retain beneficial microorganisms, you should install a high-quality filtration system.

This species will benefit from using an external canister filter, which has a tiny powerhead to provide gentle water movement.

Zebra Angelfish Compatibility

The zebra angelfish (pterophyllum scalare) is a sociable species that live in groups.

As juveniles, they are peaceful schooling fish. However, when Zebra angel fish reach maturity, they pair off and become more territorial.

However, it is not suggested to keep them with other tiny fish since zabra angels will feed on any other fish that may fit in their mouths, such as neon tetras and mosquito danios.

Zebra Angelfish Diet 

The zebra angelfish is a species of omnivore that should be fed a variety of meats and vegetables.

Generally, their diet should consist of:

  • Bloodworms
  • Blackworms
  • Tubifex Worms
  • Flake foods
  • Pellets
  • Frozen meals

When it comes to feeding frequency, they should be fed twice a day in the amount of food that they will consume in 5 minutes.

However, if they are kept in an aquarium with many other fast-swimming species, it would be necessary to feed them three times a day.

Zebra Angelfish Breeding

Zebra angelfish are egg layers that dwell in nuclear families. They are open breeders and lay their eggs on submerged leaves in the wild.

In captivity, they are ready to breed when they are 6 to 12 months old, generally around 2 inches long.

When you notice that two fish paired off and the male is chasing the female, it’s a good indication that breeding is about to happen.

To induce spawning, there are a few things you can do:

  • Place a flowerpot, a piece of slate, or a leafy plant in the tank for the pair to lay their eggs on
  • Feed a diet of protein-rich foods
  • Maintain a pH level of 6.5
  • Maintain water hardness of about 5° dGH
  • Keep the temperature between 80 and 85° F

After that, the female will lay around 1000 eggs on a clean surface when ready to breed. Then the male embraces her and fertilizes them.

If the parents don’t devour the eggs right away, they’ll hatch after three or four days and the little fry will be free swimming in around a week.

For the first few weeks, you can feed the fry newly hatched baby brine shrimp until they can consume finely crushed flake food on their own.

Zebra Angelfish Gender Difference

The way a zebra angelfish behaves and its size are the only ways to distinguish between male and female zebra angelfish.

As zebra angelfish mature, males grow larger and more aggressive, while females become smaller and more docile.

If a male dies or is removed from the leadership of his group by an external force such as illness then it’s possible that the next zabra angel in line for power could turn into a male.

Possible Diseases and Prevention

White Spot Disease

Zebra Angelfish are susceptible to the same diseases that affect other saltwater angelfish in captivity, particularly if their habitat is disrupted or they are housed with unsuitable tankmates.

The most common disease affecting tangs and angelfish is white spot disease, also known as Marine Ich, Saltwater Ich, and Crypt.

The most prominent signs of Marine Ick include constant scratching that leads to a large number of white patches.

Marine velvet

The velvet disease, Oodinium ocellatum (also known as Amyloodinium ocellatum or Branchiophilus Maris), is a flagellate that affects fish.

Marine Velvet symptoms include:

  • Peppery covering and hooked fins
  • Respiratory difficulties (breathing rapidly as seen by frequent or rapid gill movements)
  • Eye cloudiness
  • Possible weight loss


Parasites on aquarium fish kept in tanks with live rock or in a reef tank are notoriously hard to get rid of.

Zebra angels infected with parasites will show the following symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Scratching on rocks or decorations
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Discoloration
  • Weight loss

Metronidazole and other anthracyclines are effective and safe in the treatment of a variety of protozoan and anaerobic bacterial infections.

Also, you can raise the temperature of your tank gradually for external parasites to at least 82° F (28° C) since this will prevent the parasite from completing its life cycle.


How Big Do Zebra Angelfish Get?

Zebra angels can grow up to 10 inches long.

What Is the Difference Between Male and Female Zebra Angelfish?

The main difference between male and female zebra angelfish is their size. Males are larger and more aggressive, while females are smaller and more docile.

What Do Zebra Angelfish Eat?

Zebra angels are omnivores and will eat a variety of food, including live, frozen, and flake foods.

How Many Eggs Do Zebra Angelfish Lay?

Females can lay up to 1000 eggs which will hatch in 3-4 days. The fry will be free swimming in around a week.

What Is the Minimum Size for a Zebra Angelfish Tank?

The minimum tank size for a zebra angelfish is 30 gallons.

Last Words

Zebra angels are a beautiful and popular saltwater fish that make a great addition to any aquarium.

They are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things to keep in mind, such as their minimum tank size and their diet.

With proper care, your zebra angel will thrive and provide you with years of enjoyment.

We hope you enjoyed reading this and found it helpful. If you have any questions that were not answered here, please feel free to ask in the comments below.