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Are Angelfish Cichlids? (And Can They Live Together?)

Are Angelfish Cichlids? (And Can They Live Together?)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Angelfish have long been considered to be some of the best pet fish that you can purchase. You might have some of them in your tank already.

If you’re just beginning to learn about angelfish, then you’re probably trying to find out as much as you can about them. It’s good to learn about their care requirements, but you might be interested in learning specific information about the classification of the species.

For instance, you could be wondering whether angelfish are considered to be cichlids or not. Are these fish cichlids or are they categorized as something else entirely?

Keep reading to learn about what angelfish are. You’ll also get some other interesting information about angelfish so that you can feel truly informed about these popular aquarium dwellers.

Angelfish Are Considered to Be Cichlids

Yes, angelfish are considered to be cichlids. They belong to the cichlid family of fish, and this is a rather large family of fish.

There are more than 1,600 known types of cichlids as of the time of writing. This means that there could be many more types of cichlids out there that scientists and researchers will discover in the future.

Cichlids are a type of fish that can be found in tropical waters. Many people eat these fish as food, and they’ve also proven to be popular as pet fish in aquariums.

You’ll find many different types of popular cichlids being sold in pet stores. Angelfish are the most common and the most popular overall, but you might have a few other cichlids in your community tank if you’ve been buying fish for quite some time.

Cichlids Are Usually Somewhat Aggressive

Something to know about cichlids is that they usually seem to be fairly aggressive. This isn’t always the case, but most cichlids that you will find will be at least mildly aggressive.

Angelfish fall under the mildly aggressive category. As such, they will sometimes choose to bully other fish in a community tank setting.

This doesn’t mean that angelfish can’t thrive in a community tank, though. These fish actually do quite well when you put them in a tank with the right tank mates.

They’re peaceful enough that they won’t bother many different types of fish. You just have to do a bit of research so that you put them in the tank with the right type of fish.

Many other cichlids will be much more aggressive than angelfish. There are other somewhat peaceful varieties of cichlids that you might want to look into for your community tank, though.

Can Angelfish Get Along With Other Cichlids?

If you’re thinking about putting angelfish in a community tank with other cichlids, then it’s good to take a step back and think. You can’t put the angelfish in a tank with just any other fish and expect things to be okay.

There are other cichlids that angelfish will get along with well enough. For example, keyhole cichlids are well-known for being pretty good tank mates to angelfish.

They generally stay around the bottom of the fish tank while the angelfish swim near the middle or toward the top. Plus, these fish generally won’t bother each other.

Other cichlids that can get along with angelfish in a community tank include ram cichlids and kribs. You have options if you really want to keep angelfish with other cichlids in a community tank setting.

That being said, there are some cichlids that won’t get along well with angelfish. You don’t want to put larger fish that will bully the angels in the aquarium since that will lead to bad results.

What About African Cichlids?

African cichlids will be poor choices to put in community tanks with angelfish. You see, these fish are much more than just mildly aggressive.

It’s true that African cichlids are very pretty and interesting fish to own. However, they’ll be better off being placed in their own tank away from the angels.

If you were to put angelfish and African cichlids in the same tank, then they would wind up hurting the angels. They’re bigger and more aggressive than the angelfish, and this could lead to the death of your angels if you aren’t careful.

Other large and aggressive cichlids should also be avoided. For example, Oscars are considered to be great fish to own, but they’re another example of cichlids that will wind up beating up the angelfish.

If you care about the angelfish and their survival, then you must pick better tank mates for them. Angelfish need to be in a safe environment to thrive.

Angelfish and Aggression

You have already learned that angelfish are considered to be mildly aggressive fish. This doesn’t mean that you completely understand what that means.

Will angelfish choose to fight other fish? Under certain circumstances, will angelfish fight each other?

Yes, angelfish will fight and get territorial from time to time. Sometimes the territorial nature of the angelfish will be bad, but it usually won’t be too rough if you’re giving the angelfish what they need to thrive.

Angelfish are much more territorial when they don’t have enough space. If you try to cram too many fish into a small fish tank, then you’ll be more likely to see the angelfish fight for territory.

It’s said that each angelfish needs at least ten gallons of space. They honestly like having more space than that, though.

Giving the angelfish as much space as you can will be a good idea. This will ensure that they will be able to feel as happy as possible.

Angelfish still might fight each other and other fish sometimes. You’ll need to look out for issues between male angelfish.

Two males placed in the same fish tank are going to fight a lot. This will be a problem unless you have a very large fish tank.

Some people choose to avoid putting two male angelfish in the same tank because of this issue. You can keep multiple males in the same aquarium if you’re giving them enough space, but this might not be practical for everyone.

To keep angelfish from bullying other fish, you’ll want to pick fish that can withstand the mildly aggressive nature of the angels. There are many fish that work great in community tanks with angelfish.

Good Tank Mates for Angelfish

There are all sorts of excellent tank mates for angelfish that will be worth considering. If you want to ensure that you have a community tank that has a variety of different fish, then you’ll be able to find many fish that will get along with the angelfish well enough.

Corydoras catfish are among the most common angelfish tank mates. These fish stay near the bottom of the tank and they’re very peaceful overall.

Angelfish won’t bother corydoras catfish, and they’ll add a lot of charm to your aquarium. Another good option will be swordtails since they get along with angelfish and they’re very colorful.

Guppies can live alongside angelfish so long as you have the guppies in the tank when the angelfish are in the juvenile stage. Dwarf gouramis are some of the best tank mates for angelfish since they can easily withstand the mild aggression of the angels.

What About Tetras?

Tetras probably seem like an appealing fish to put in your community tank. You might not want to put them in an aquarium with angelfish, though.

You see, angelfish are known to eat many different types of tetras. Many tetras are small enough for angelfish to fit in their mouths, and this means that they won’t survive long in a community aquarium with angels.

Small tetra fish such as neon tetras will not be able to live alongside angelfish. Some tetras that are larger might be fine, but you’ll need to check compatibility on an individual basis.

Many people just avoid putting any types of tetras with angelfish as a general rule. There are certainly better tank mate options.

If you want to take care of tetras, then it might be best to put them in a separate tank. Remember that not all fish are meant to go together.

Final Thoughts

Learning more about angelfish should help you to have an easier time caring for them. These fish are indeed considered to be cichlids, but they aren’t compatible with all other types of cichlids.

Many cichlids such as ram cichlids and keyhole cichlids will make good tank mates for angelfish. Others such as African cichlids will be too large and aggressive for the angels.

You always want to take the time to pick out logical tank mates for the angelfish. Putting them in with very large, aggressive fish will never end well.

Conversely, you don’t want the mildly aggressive angelfish to hurt fish that are smaller than them. This means that it’s imperative to do a bit of research so that you can pick good tank mates for the angels.

Luckily, there are lots of amazing options to consider. Dwarf gouramis, corydoras catfish, and swordtails are considered to be some of the best tank mates for angelfish.

Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident about having a good time caring for angelfish now. Do your best to look after them and enjoy how much color and life they add to your aquarium.

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