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How to Stop Angelfish Bullying (Each Other and Other Fish)

How to Stop Angelfish Bullying (Each Other and Other Fish)
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.

Angelfish are great fish to own for many reasons. They’re easy to take care of overall, and you’re also going to love how nice they look in your fish tank.

If you’ve recently added some angelfish to your community tank, then hopefully things are going well. However, many people wind up having issues with angelfish bullying other fish.

Those who aren’t careful about choosing which fish to put in the tank with the angels might encounter such issues. If your angelfish are bullying each other or other fish, then you likely want to figure out how to get it to stop.

Read on to learn how to stop angelfish bullying. Once you’ve read all of the information, it should be significantly easier to enjoy a peaceful community fish tank.

Angelfish Sometimes Fight Each Other

It isn’t unusual for angelfish to fight each other. Sometimes angelfish will bite at each other or do other aggressive things.

Truthfully, there isn’t anything that you can do to get the angelfish to stop doing things such as this. Angelfish are considered to be mildly aggressive fish, and they can be a bit territorial at times.

There are some steps that you can take to mitigate angelfish aggression. You’ll learn a bit more about many of these options later in the article.

For now, it’s important to learn more about the angelfish themselves. For example, you need to know that male angelfish do not get along with each other very well at all.

If you’re noticing two angelfish fighting a lot in the tank, then there’s a good chance that they’re both males. Male angelfish will be very aggressive toward each other for a number of reasons.

Males will fight over territory, potential mates, and food. If you want the fish tank to be peaceful, then it isn’t a good idea at all to keep two male angelfish in the same aquarium.

Of course, some caveats can help you to have a better experience. A larger tank will give the angelfish more room to move around, and this should make it less likely that the angelfish will bully each other.

It isn’t impossible for female angelfish to fight, but it shouldn’t be as common as male angelfish aggression issues. To have a good experience, you might want to just keep one male and one female angelfish in a tank.

This is especially true if you have a fairly small fish tank that you want to use. If you aren’t able to use a larger tank, then keeping many different angelfish in the aquarium is likely not going to be a practical choice.

What Does Angelfish Aggressive Behavior Look Like?

Two Angelfish Swimming Toward Each Other

You could be wondering what angelfish aggressive behavior looks like. Sometimes it’s obvious when angelfish are bullying each other or other fish.

It’s also sometimes going to be tough to determine what the fish are doing. For instance, you might have heard that angelfish will sometimes lock lips as part of a mating ritual.

This is true because a male and a female will lock lips and shake each other when forming a mating bond. However, it’s also true that fish will sometimes aggressively lock lips when fighting.

If two male angels lock lips, then this is a sign that they’re fighting. This could actually become something that will cause the fish to get seriously hurt.

The males could wind up injuring each other and getting mouth injuries. They will fight in all sorts of ways.

You could see the fish nipping at each other and there also might be a lot of chasing. One fish might ram the other fish.

If you’re seeing the fish act violently toward one another, then you might want to separate them. As mentioned earlier, keeping multiple male angelfish in the same tank won’t always be a good idea.

When you don’t have a big tank for the fish, it’s likely going to be a bad situation. You really need to take the size of the tank seriously when you’re concerned about angelfish bullying and fighting.

Ensure That the Angelfish Have Sufficient Space

Ensuring that the angelfish have enough space to live is going to be crucial. If you don’t want the fish to fight all of the time, then you’ll need to avoid putting them in a tank that’s way too small.

It’s said that angelfish need to have at least ten gallons of space per fish. So if you plan to keep one male and one female angelfish together, then you’ll need to keep them in a 20-gallon tank or larger.

Honestly, it’s much better to keep the fish in a larger tank than a small one. Even a 20-gallon aquarium might be cutting it a bit too close to keep the fish happy.

You might want to put the fish in a 29-gallon aquarium or a 30-gallon aquarium. If your plan is to put the angelfish in a community tank, then you’ll want to pick out a very large aquarium.

Consider how much space the fish that you’re adding to the tank will need. If you fail to keep things such as this in mind, then the angelfish will be that much more likely to bully other fish.

The territorial nature of the angelfish will be much worse if they’re kept in a cramped space. When too many fish are present, they might feel the need to fight or bully them to try to claim the territory for themselves.

Plan ahead and don’t add more fish to the aquarium than you will be able to comfortably fit. It’d be better to start a new fish tank than it would be to overcrowd your current fish tank.

Angelfish Don’t Get Along with Every Type of Fish

An Angelfish in a Community Tank

Another thing to consider is the fact that angelfish don’t get along well with every type of fish. If you plan to put the angelfish in a community tank, then you must put some thought into things.

There are going to be many fish that are too small to put in a community tank with the angels. Angelfish are omnivores and they will definitely eat fish that are small enough to put in their mouths.

It’s also true that some fish will be vulnerable to being bullied by the angelfish. They’re moderately aggressive and might choose to attack certain types of fish.

Before you set the community tank up, you’ll want to ensure that the angelfish will get along with the fish that you want to add. Otherwise, you’ll have significant problems and the angelfish might even injure or kill the other fish.

Of course, angelfish aren’t the toughest freshwater fish out there. There are bigger and more aggressive fish that can easily hurt the angelfish.

If you put the wrong type of fish in the tank with the angels, then they might be the ones getting bullied. It’s just another reason why you must take the time to research things before putting fish in the community fish tank.

Are your angelfish currently bullying other fish or getting bullied themselves? Then you need to make some changes as soon as you’re able to.

You should remove the fish from the community tank and place them in their own tank. Isolating the angelfish might be for the best right now.

Eventually, you’ll be able to take steps to put the angelfish in a community tank with other fish that they will get along with. For now, you just want to take the right steps to keep the angelfish from getting hurt or hurting other fish.

Choose Good Tank Mates

Tiger Barbs and Angelfish in a Community Tank

Choosing good tank mates for the angelfish will be imperative. If you want to keep the fish from bullying other fish (or getting bullied by bigger fish), then you must put some thought into what fish can go into the tank with them.

Angelfish actually make great community fish tank members, but they’re not going to be able to be put in with just any fish. Taking a bit of time to find the right tank mates will ensure that you have a smooth experience.

There are a large number of great options that you can look into. Dwarf gouramis are known to be some of the best tank mates for angelfish.

Corydoras catfish are very peaceful and the angelfish will leave them alone in a community tank setting. Swordtails are some of the most popular tank mates for angelfish, and they can add a lot of beauty to the tank due to how colorful they are.

Guppies can make good tank mates for angelfish if you put the guppies in the tank with juvenile angelfish. These are just some of the many fish that might work out well for your community tank.

Remember to look up compatibility information for each fish that you intend to add to the community tank. This should allow you to stop bullying issues so that you can just enjoy the community tank without having to worry so much.

Any bullying that occurs in the fish tank should be minor. The angelfish will still be territorial and mildly aggressive sometimes, but you can expect the fish that you added to be able to get along with the angels or put up with them well enough.

Put Aquatic Plants in the Fish Tank

Putting aquatic plants in the fish tank will help to keep the angelfish aggression issues in check. You see, the angelfish need places where they can go and hide sometimes.

Your angelfish might fight with each other from time to time. If they have places where they can go to hide and get away from each other, then the fights won’t be quite so bad.

This is also important in a community fish tank setting. You need to have options for the angelfish and the other fish so that they can get away when necessary.

There are also decorations that you can place in the fish tank that will serve the same purpose. Many people like to place various types of rocks in the fish tank.

You’ll be able to find many great types of aquatic plants for the fish tank as well. Jungle Val and Amazon Sword plants are among the most popular types that are commonly chosen for angelfish aquariums.

These plants can really help the angelfish to feel more at ease. They like utilizing plants for many different reasons.

It’s common to see angelfish swimming through plants and hiding in plants. They use plants for mating purposes as well since females often lay eggs on or near aquatic plants.

You’ll also enjoy the plants for aesthetic purposes. You can make your fish tank look that much nicer if you put the right live plants in the aquarium.

It should be easy to get nice plants for your fish tank at your local aquarium store. You can also order many different plants online if you’d like to go that route.

Avoid Stressing the Angelfish

pH Test Strips for Aquarium

You want to try to avoid stressing the angelfish for many reasons. Stressed fish are going to be more likely to encounter health issues.

It’s also true that stressed fish might start to act more aggressively. If your angelfish are very stressed, then they might fight each other or be bad tank mates for other fish.

You will also need to be worried about the angels having issues with compromised immune systems. This can make them more prone to getting infections and experiencing various types of illnesses.

The important thing to remember is that stressing the fish will be bad. You can avoid stressing them by taking care of them properly and ensuring that they’re kept in a healthy environment.

As you might expect, the water parameters need to be kept in check. When you’re caring for angelfish, it’s important to keep the pH balance of the water in the right range.

You’ll also need to monitor the temperature of the water. If the temperature of the water gets too cool or too hot, then that can be bad for the fish.

Always remember to keep the temperature of the water between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH balance of the water should remain between 6.8 and 7.8.

Dirty water will cause the fish to feel stressed. Your water can get dirty for a number of reasons, but the most common one involves not changing the water often enough.

You’re meant to change 15% of the water on a weekly basis. If you’ve been lackadaisical when it comes to changing the water, then that could easily cause your fish to be stressed, and they might start acting weird because of it.

Do your best to get in the habit of cleaning the tank often and changing the water weekly. You’ll have a better time keeping the angelfish happy and healthy.

Keeping the fish tank in a very noisy spot can make it more likely that the fish will become stressed. Don’t put the fish tank right next to a stereo system or TV since it can cause the fish a lot of stress.

Another thing to avoid involves people tapping on the glass of the fish tank. Little kids often do this to try to get the attention of the fish.

This actually causes the fish to experience a lot of stress. If you have children, then ensure that they know not to tap on the glass of the fish tank since it scares the fish.

You’ll want to avoid turning the lights off and on, too. This can scare the fish and cause them to make rash decisions.

Final Thoughts

Now you know a lot more about what you should do to try to protect the angelfish. You want the angelfish to get along as much as possible, but you’ll need to take steps to try to make that happen.

Angelfish will indeed fight each other and bully each other. You might not be able to stop the angels from acting this way completely, but you can mitigate the bullying.

One of the most important steps to take is to ensure that the angelfish have enough room. You must put the angelfish in a fish tank that is large enough for them to be comfortable.

They’re mildly aggressive fish that will also be territorial. When they don’t have enough space, they’re going to be much more likely to start fighting.

To avoid these issues, you’ll want to make sure that you have enough tank space before purchasing the fish. Buy a fish tank that is large enough and ensure that you have enough room in your home to accommodate the tank.

You’ll also need to think about what type of fish you’re putting in the tank. Some fish are going to be incompatible with the angelfish.

The angelfish will bully certain fish, and they might even eat some of the fish that you want to put in the community tank. Conversely, the angels could get bullied if you put them in a tank with a much larger and more aggressive fish.

Do your best to take all of these things into account to avoid having problems. You should be able to do a better job of keeping the fish healthy and happy so that you can enjoy them for a long time to come.