How Long Do Angelfish Live?


How Long Do Angelfish Live?

Freshwater angelfish have been an aquarium staple for decades. So long that the vast majority of them are captive bred. This is a relief as most wild caught angelfish tend to be more sensitive and much harder to keep.

But what about the lifespan of these elegant fish? Just how long do angelfish live and how can we maximize their years as pets?

How Long Do Angelfish Live?

Freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) reach sexual maturity fairly quickly. They are capable of breeding at around 6 to 12 months of age. While they are just a few inches long at this stage, your angelfish will continue to grow as they age.

Angelfish will live anywhere from 10 to 15 years once fully grown. Their exact lifespan depends on a number of factors. The genetics of your angelfish, the food you feed, the water conditions, how much stress they receive from tank mates…All of these influences affect how long angelfish live.

Choosing High Quality Angelfish

One way you can help maximize the lifespan of your angelfish is to choose healthy fish of good quality. This means knowing what to look for when shopping at pet stores. 

People sometimes let pet store employees choose whichever fish seems easiest to catch when buying new pets. But this is a great way to end up with a slow and sickly pet that dies in a few weeks.

Observe not only the angelfish you want to buy but also the other fish in the tank. How healthy do they all look? Do you see large numbers of fish with ich or fin fungus (contagious diseases that angelfish are prone to).

Do any look too thin or have frayed fins, missing eyes or scales, dull colors, twisted body parts, or any other signs of poor care? If so, it’s best to avoid that tank or store entirely. 

When in doubt ask to see a group of angelfish feed. Healthy fish rarely refuse food and will act perky and move quickly to eat.


How Do I Care for Freshwater Angelfish?

Once you’ve brought home your freshwater angelfish you will need to provide them with the best care in the form of clean water and a variety of good food. Here are some care tips to help your angelfish live for a decade or more!

Angelfish Tank Size

The first place to begin is choosing an aquarium that’s spacious enough for your angelfish. These are medium-sized fish that will grow 6 to 8 inches long and as tall – or even taller. 

Angelfish can live in smaller aquariums when young. But adults should be kept in tanks no smaller than 40 gallons. With 55+ gallons being even more comfortable for them.

Water Conditions for Angelfish

Water quality is just as important as tank size for angelfish. These fish have been bred for generations in captivity. So they are much more resilient than their wild ancestors when it comes to tolerating conditions they don’t favor.

But you will still add years to an angelfish’s lifespan by providing them with soft, acidic water conditions (pH <7.0). In their native Amazonian River habitat the water is low in dissolved mineral content. The loads of live and dead plant matter also adds high levels of tannin content to the water, increasing the acidity. 

You can add driftwood to the tank, which will slow-release tannins and humic acids. If your tap water is especially hard, you might even add peat moss to the filter compartment. Just do so carefully since too much peat will cause the pH to swing very fast!

Last, don’t forget the water temperature. As tropical fish that live close to the equator, Angelfish thrive in a year-round temperature range of 78-82℉. Increasing the temperature to 82-86℉ induces them to spawn and helps them fight off diseases like ich.

What Do Freshwater Angelfish Eat?

Freshwater angelfish are carnivorous cichlids. So they don’t eat aquatic plants or algae. But they do enjoy the aquatic insects, small shrimp, fish fry, and other animals found among them. Their diet should include a protein rich fish food blend and a blend of frozen invertebrate-based foods.

Brine shrimp, blood worms, daphnia, mosquito larvae, and tubifex worms are some of their favorite foods. Live and frozen food also contain extra fat and proteins. These, along with the right water conditions, encourage angelfish to spawn!


Freshwater angelfish are elegant fish that have little of the aggressive temperament of other cichlid species. So long as you provide them with warm, well-filtered water and a good selection of food, you can expect them to live anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Choosing the healthiest angelfish from the onset will also help you succeed with this aquarium fish species! Thanks for tuning to learn how Long Do Angelfish Live!


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