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Are My Angelfish Fighting or Mating? (How to Tell)

Are My Angelfish Fighting or Mating? (How to Tell)

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

Keeping angelfish in your home aquarium should be very satisfying. These fish have proven to be popular for many reasons.

They’re among the best beginner fish for freshwater aquariums. You probably won’t have too many problems taking care of them, but sometimes certain things that the fish do will worry you.

For example, you might see the angelfish chasing each other or acting aggressively toward one another. You might have heard a bit about angelfish doing things like that when mating, but it probably seems like the fish are fighting.

Is there a way to tell whether the angelfish are fighting or mating? Or, is it going to be too tough to distinguish what’s going on?

Continue reading to learn more about both fighting and mating in regards to angelfish. This should help you to be a much more informed and confident fish tank owner.

The Angelfish Could Be Doing Mating Rituals

Two Angelfish Locking Lips

Before going any further, you’ll want to know that it’s possible that your angelfish could be doing mating rituals. When a male and a female angelfish form a mating bond, they wind up doing actions that will look like fighting.

You’ll likely see the fish chasing each other around a lot. The two fish will wag their tails at each other, and it’s easy to mistake this behavior for fighting since the wagging can also be seen as aggressive behavior.

Eventually, you might see the two fish lock lips and shake each other. This is an odd thing to see the fish doing when you’re not used to it.

However, it’s something that you’ll likely get used to. Two fish lock lips in this fashion when they are forming a mating pair.

You don’t need to be worried too much if you see the angelfish acting this way. If you see that a male and a female angelfish are doing these actions, then you can safely assume that the two are forming a mating pair.

After some time has passed, you might notice the two fish will start cleaning a specific area of the tank. The female angelfish should be looking for a spot to lay its eggs.

The male angelfish will fertilize the eggs if all goes well, and then the pair will work together to protect the eggs. Angelfish are very protective parents and they will attempt to protect the eggs from other fish.

At this point, you can choose to let the parent fish take care of the eggs themselves or you can try to do it. Removing the eggs from the tank won’t be easy if you didn’t use a breeding slate or a breeding cone, though.

Some people like to take care of the angelfish eggs themselves since angelfish will sometimes choose to eat some of the eggs. Note that caring for the eggs will be tough for many beginners and that it’s likely way easier to let the parent fish do what is necessary.

Angelfish Will Sometimes Fight Each Other

Angelfish Chasing Each Other

It’s very possible that the angelfish in your tank are fighting each other. Seeing two angelfish fighting won’t be unusual in any way.

In fact, you should know that angelfish are considered to be mildly aggressive fish. They have territorial instincts and will sometimes fight with each other over territory or even other matters.

Depending on how things go, angelfish fights can be serious or not too bad. The angelfish might bite at each other or act semi-aggressively from time to time under normal circumstances.

Sometimes, the fighting will be especially bad if the angelfish have more reasons to feel territorial. This is why it’s important to keep the angels in a proper environment where they will be able to thrive.

There’s a lot more to consider when it comes to the topic of angelfish fighting. You’ll want to dig into the details so that you can truly understand what to expect when caring for angelfish.

Will Two Male Angelfish Fight?

Male angelfish actually don’t get along very well. You need to keep this in mind when you’re setting up your fish tank.

Some people might choose to put many different angelfish in the same tank. While this can work out okay under the right circumstances, it can also go horribly wrong.

It’s said that two angelfish should not be placed in the same tank. This is because they will wind up fighting each other all the time.

The male angelfish might wind up injuring each other significantly if kept in the same tank. Issues such as this are exacerbated when you put the fish in a very small tank.

In fact, it’s possible that the angelfish will wind up killing each other. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s more likely to happen if two males are placed in a very small aquarium.

If you do want to be able to keep more than one male angelfish in a fish tank, then you’ll want to get a larger tank. There are some other things that you can put in the tank that might help to mitigate the angelfish aggression that you’ll learn about later, too.

Do Female Angelfish Fight?

Female Angelfish

Female angelfish will indeed fight, but they aren’t necessarily the same as the males. However, you should note that these are still semi-aggressive fish.

A female angelfish is going to have the same territorial instincts in many ways. Knowing this, you’ll want to take precautions when planning out a community fish tank.

You might sometimes notice female angelfish nipping at other angelfish. This is just something that angelfish might do sometimes.

There isn’t much that you can do to keep angelfish from fighting at all, but it probably won’t be a big issue. It isn’t likely that female angelfish will fight enough that it will become a problem.

Will Two Female Angelfish Fight?

Two female angelfish will not fight each other in the same way that male angelfish do. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility for two females to fight each other, but this will likely only be if they have a reason to.

If you’re keeping the fish in a small space, then they might feel the need to fight. Otherwise, it’s considered to be pretty easy to keep multiple female angelfish in the same tank.

If you want to put female angelfish in your fish tank, then you should be able to do so without worrying quite so much. They will still be mildly aggressive, but they won’t constantly go at each other like the male angelfish.

That being said, most people do decide to just keep angelfish in mating pairs. It might not seem practical to put more females in the tank than males.

This is especially true if you want to breed the fish. You want each fish to be able to find a mating partner.

There are options, of course. You could try getting a bigger fish tank so that the males won’t fight each other as much.

Some people will choose to keep multiple fish tanks and give each set of angelfish their own space. You can decide what you want to do after thinking about all of the factors that will impact the experience.

How Can You Stop Angelfish From Fighting?

Platinum Angelfish in a Freshwater Aquarium

Now that you know that angelfish will fight each other, you’ll probably want to know how to stop it. You can’t keep angelfish from being aggressive toward each other completely, but you can make it less likely that they will fight a lot.

Keeping things relatively peaceful in the fish tank will be about giving them an environment where they can thrive. This starts with ensuring that the fish have enough space to live.

Angelfish hate being placed in cramped tanks where they don’t feel comfortable. It’s said that each angelfish requires a minimum of 10 gallons of space.

This means that the smallest tank that you should own when keeping two angelfish will be a 20-gallon fish tank. Ideally, you’d want to keep the two fish in a larger tank than this to give them more room to enjoy.

Some enthusiasts say that you should keep two angels in a 30-gallon tank to enjoy optimal results. Of course, the more fish that you want to keep in the tank, the larger the fish tank should be.

This includes other fish that you might want to put in a community tank. You have to consider how much space each fish is going to need, and it’s imperative to avoid overcrowding the aquarium.

The Water Parameters Matter

You’re also going to want to keep the water clean and safe for the angelfish. If the angelfish become stressed, then they might be more likely to fight.

This is also a worry because water quality issues can make the fish sick. If you want to keep your angelfish alive and healthy, then you need to pay attention to the water.

The temperature of the water should remain between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. While the angelfish can tolerate slightly lower and higher water temperatures, you want to keep things in the right range so that they stay in the best condition possible.

You’ll also need to monitor the pH balance of the water. This number needs to stay between 6.8 and 7.8 for the angelfish.

Keep the Tank Clean

Keeping the water clean is another important factor. You want to be sure that you’re cleaning the tank and doing weekly water changes.

Change 15% of the water weekly to keep things in good condition. Some people choose to change 25% of the water biweekly, but it’s likely easier to get into the habit of doing things weekly.

Try Using Aquatic Plants

Placing aquatic plants in the aquarium might mitigate aggression issues, too. This will give the fish a place to hide when they’re feeling threatened or annoyed.

Instead of having to stay and fight the other fish, the option to run away will be there. You can put many different types of live plants in the fish tank that will help the angelfish to avoid fighting.

Some of the most popular types of aquatic plants for angelfish tanks include Jungle Val and Amazon Sword. You can get these plants from a local pet store that sells fish or you can buy them online.

Angelfish Also Fight Other Fish

Angelfish in a Community Tank

As you might expect, angelfish will also fight other fish. If you choose to keep angelfish in a community fish tank, then you’ll want to be careful about which fish you’re putting in there with them.

There are going to be some fish that will make good tank mates for the angels and others that won’t do well at all. Since angelfish are semi-aggressive, you need to choose compatible fish that can withstand the aggression of the angels.

Thankfully, there are many incredible options such as corydoras catfish, dwarf gouramis, and swordtails. You can even put fish such as guppies in a community tank with angelfish if you do it while the angelfish are juveniles.

Of course, there are some fish that will bully the angelfish in a community tank setting. Putting fish that are too big and aggressive in the tank will cause the angels to get hurt.

This is why you must do your research before setting up a community tank. You always have to do your best to determine that all of the fish in the tank are going to be safe.

Final Thoughts

Now you know more about angelfish fighting and mating. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell whether two fish are fighting or if they’re going through mating rituals.

If the two fish in question are male and female, then there’s a good chance that they’re forming a mating bond. When two fish act this way, they will eventually form a mating pair after locking lips and shaking each other.

Of course, angelfish will also fight each other quite a bit. This is especially true when it comes to two male angelfish.

Male angelfish don’t get along and they will just keep coming at each other. It isn’t recommended to keep male angelfish in the same tank unless you have a very large tank where they can stay away from each other.

Since angelfish are mildly aggressive, they will also fight other fish. It’s going to be important to put some thought into what fish you place in a community tank with them.

Otherwise, the angels could wind up eating or hurting some of the fish that you choose to buy. Knowing this ahead of time will allow you to do the research so that you can have a good experience.