There are two types of Angelfish, the freshwater and the
marine. The freshwater Angelfish are tropical and are
commonly used to populate aquariums as pets. They are
cichlids from the genus Pterophyllum. The marine Angelfish
are from the family Pomacanthidae.
Angelfish possess strong personalities, and are known to be
somewhat of a bully towards other fish. All cichlids are
known for this behavior. They like attention and will come
towards the glass when a person is present or swim to the
top of the water at feeding time.
Angelfish were among the first tropical fish to be brought
to America and they are very popular as pets. They were
taken to Europe in 1820. In 1930 Angelfish were bred in
captivity for the first time, in the United States.
Angelfish have flat, round bodies with long trailing dorsal
and ventral fins. Each of the fins is almost as long as the
body. Angelfish can grow to as long as six inches (fifteen
Here is a list of freshwater species of Angelfish and their
- Black - solid ebony
- Black Lace - black, but sporting wide light to dark stripes
- Blue Blushing - grey in color, outlined in black Young fish
can have a red marking under the eye. This variety becomes
darker or lighter according to the fish's emotion.
- Blushing - a shade of white, with golden markings on the
head. Young fish can have a red marking under the eye.
- Golden - a light shade of yellow
- Koi - red and white, with patches of gold or black. Young
fish may have red under the eye
- Marble - swirls of silver and black on the body, black
markings on the fins and some have gold patterns on the head
- Pearly Gold - a dazzling shade of gold
- Silver - silver bodies and black vertical markings. Markings
can be dark, light, solid, or broken
- Smoky - silver on one half and dark gray or black on the other half
- Veiltail - very elongated fins, and they can be in many
- Zebra - a black body with white stripes
Freshwater Angelfish come from South America in the Amazon
River. They usually take shelter in the bulrushes. They tend
to congregate together into big crowds but they can separate
at will. Because they are flat they have no problem crowding
They swim freely outside of the bulrushes to play and
socialize. When a predator appears they swim back to the
safety of the bulrushes. Bulrushes form a very good defense
against most predators, making a barrier between the
Angelfish the predator.
Angelfish in captivity require a large and tall aquarium
tank, and which variety of Angelfish you get will determine
what type of water, fish and food you will need. The minimum
size for a fish tank for a pair of Angelfish is twenty
gallons. If you intend to get more fish than just Angelfish
be sure that you get fish that are compatible with them, as
Angelfish are aggressive and have been known to kill and eat
other tank denizens.
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