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Why Are My Angelfish Fighting? (And What to Do About It)

Why Are My Angelfish Fighting? (And What to Do About It)

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.

You can find angelfish at just about any mall pet store that sells fish. This is because they’re wildly popular for being so pretty.

Angelfish might look sort of delicate because of how gorgeous they are. They’re actually a lot more aggressive than many people realize, though.

It’s said that angelfish are mildly aggressive fish. This means that they might become aggressive or territorial for different reasons.

If you are observing your fish tank one day and see your angelfish fighting, then you might be pretty worried. Why are the angelfish fighting and what can you do to stop it?

Continue reading to learn more about reasons why angelfish might fight each other. You’ll also learn more about angelfish aggression and what types of fish can be placed in community tanks with them.

Reasons Why Angelfish Fight

There are many different reasons why angelfish might start fighting. You have to understand that these fish can be aggressive and territorial.

They aren’t the most aggressive fish that you could choose to buy, but you still shouldn’t underestimate the aggression of the angelfish.

These fish need to be kept in the right environment to avoid issues. It’s also good to have a better understanding of the reasons why they might start fighting.

Below, you’ll see some of the many reasons why angelfish might start fighting. This should help you to know what to look out for.

Later, you’ll learn more about what needs to be done to keep angelfish from fighting. Once you’ve read all of the information, you should feel much more comfortable taking care of these fish.

Male Angelfish Don’t Get Along

One thing that you need to learn right away is that male angelfish don’t get along well at all. If you put two male angelfish in the same tank, then chances are those angelfish are going to fight a lot.

Males are used to competing with each other in nature. In the wild, male angelfish compete for territory, mates, food, and so many other important things.

When you put two males in a confined space, they’re going to just keep going at each other. This can be problematic because the two males will keep fighting until they injure each other.

Sometimes the injuries from these fights will be quite significant. If you don’t want your fish to get hurt, then you’ll need to solve this problem as soon as you can.

If you keep two males in a very small fish tank, it’s even possible that one might kill the other. While this doesn’t happen a lot, it’s not impossible that one of the fish could get killed due to fighting.

Many say that it’s just easier to avoid keeping two male angelfish in the same fish tank. You might be able to get away with doing so if you have a big enough fish tank, though.

Don’t Mistake Mating Rituals for Fighting

You should try to make sure that the angelfish are actually fighting before jumping to conclusions. Sometimes the mating rituals of angelfish will look similar to fighting in certain ways.

When a male and a female angelfish decide to form a mating pair, they’re going to go through certain steps. There will be a lot of fin shaking, and the angelfish might chase each other around a bit.

You might even see the angelfish lock lips and shake each other. This could appear to be violent, but it’s actually a sign that the mating bond has been finalized.

Male angelfish extend their fins and shake them to try to attract female angelfish. The female will then shake her fins in response to the male.

When the two angelfish lock mouths, they will shake each other to signify their bond. This is done carefully enough that it won’t cause damage to any of the fish.

When this occurs, it’s easy for newcomers to think that the fish are fighting. There’s a good chance that everything is fine if you’re looking at a male and a female angelfish interacting.

Breeding Pairs Will Be More Aggressive

So what if the angelfish are fighting with other fish? Are your angelfish teaming up to face off against the other fish in a community tank setting?

In this situation, it’s likely that you can attribute things to the angelfish being more aggressive when mating. When two angelfish are mating, they’re going to feel the need to protect their eggs.

If the two angelfish are in a community tank, then they will feel the need to protect the eggs from the other fish. The other fish in the tank might try to eat the eggs.

The two angelfish will work together to try to keep the eggs safe from harm. They’ll chase away any fish that try to get close to the eggs.

Angelfish will be more easily agitated when they’re protecting eggs. When two fish form a pair, they’ll be permanently more aggressive due to the need to protect their eggs.

Knowing this, it might be good to separate the angelfish from the other fish in the tank. You can put them in a special breeding tank so that they won’t harm any other fish.

If you’re going to do this, then it’s advisable to put them in a tank that will have everything that they need. Then you can keep an eye on things to see how they do with protecting the eggs.

You might wind up having more angelfish to take care of soon enough. This is assuming that everything goes well.

Sometimes angelfish don’t do a great job when they’re inexperienced. These fish get better at protecting eggs as they get older and gain experience.

Not Enough Space for the Angelfish

Perhaps the biggest reason why angelfish will start fighting with each other involves not having enough space. Angelfish really don’t like being placed in cramped spaces.

If you try to keep angelfish in a fish tank that is too small for them, then you’ll have a bad experience. These fish become stressed when they don’t have enough room to live, and this makes it more likely that the fish will get sick.

It also agitates them and makes them feel the need to fight with other fish over territory. Two angelfish might fight each other due to a lack of space, and sometimes the fish might even significantly hurt each other.

You need to make sure that you have enough space in your home for a big enough fish tank. If you don’t, then you probably shouldn’t be purchasing angelfish for your home aquarium.

It’s said that each angelfish is going to require ten gallons of space. Typically, people like to keep angelfish in pairs, and this means that a 20-gallon tank will be the minimum when you wish to care for two fish.

You’re probably going to be better off giving the fish more space than they actually need, though. Many enthusiasts say that keeping two fish in a 29-gallon tank will be the best situation.

If you want to keep more fish than this in the tank, then you’ll need an even larger tank. Consider how much space each fish needs so that you can avoid stressing the fish.

The Angelfish Are Stressed

When angelfish experience stress, they might become more agitated than usual. Sometimes, this might lead to the angelfish fighting with each other or other fish.

There are many different things that will cause angelfish to feel stressed. One of the most important things to keep an eye on will be the water parameters.

You must ensure that the pH balance of the water stays in the right range. It’s also important to keep the water temperature in the right range or the fish could get sick.

The pH balance of the water is supposed to remain between 6.8 and 7.8 when caring for a standard freshwater angelfish. You’ll want to keep the water temperature between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dirty water has the potential to negatively impact the fish as well. If you aren’t doing regular water changes, then the water might be way too dirty for the angelfish.

Remember that you’re supposed to change 15% of the water each week. It’s also fine to change 25% of the water biweekly, but doing things weekly will likely be the safest bet.

You might not realize this, but loud noises can scare and stress the angelfish. This means that placing the fish tank right by your television or stereo system will not be recommended.

It’s also not wise to place the aquarium in the noisiest parts of your home. The fish will be far less stressed if you keep the aquarium in a peaceful part of your home.

Of course, a lack of space will cause stress to the fish as mentioned earlier. You want to take all of the factors that can make fish stressed and try to reduce them as much as possible.

There Is a Lack of Hiding Spots in the Aquarium

Angelfish will fight each other more often if they aren’t able to get away from each other. You know that a lack of space in the fish tank will cause angelfish to fight over territory.

You should also know that not having places to hide in the tank will make it so that the fish feel like they have no choice but to fight. This is why it’s imperative to have aquatic plants and other hiding spots for the fish in the aquarium.

Aquatic plants will help angelfish to feel much more comfortable in the fish tank. There are plenty of great plants that you can put in the fish tank that will make a significant difference.

When the fish need to get away from each other, they’ll be able to retreat. They can hide among the plants in the aquarium so that they won’t have to fight.

Plenty of different plants such as Jungle Val will be perfect for helping angelfish to hide. Amazon Sword will also be a popular option that will look great in your aquarium.

It’s a good idea to include other hiding spots such as rocks with crevices and other such things. If you give the angelfish plenty of hiding spots, then they might be able to avoid fighting more often.

You should help the fish to avoid fighting to the point of injuring each other. Plus, aquatic plants can add to the aesthetic appeal of the fish tank.

How to Stop Angelfish From Fighting

When it comes to stopping angelfish from fighting, it’s mostly going to be about making practical choices. You need to give the angelfish the right type of environment where they won’t feel the need to fight.

The most important thing to take care of is the fish tank itself. You want to put the fish in an aquarium that is large enough for them to live happily in.

You might need to buy a larger fish tank so that the fish will not fight so much. If you do your best to give the fish a large tank, then you’ll probably have a better experience.

It’s also good to consider whether having two males in the same tank is the right call. If you don’t have enough space for a large fish tank, then you should likely avoid putting two males in the same aquarium.

Another thing to consider is whether you have hiding spots. Hiding spots in the tank will help to mitigate the angelfish fighting issue.

If the angelfish can go hide among the aquatic plants, then you won’t have to worry nearly as much. The fish might choose to get away from each other instead of fighting it out.

Reducing issues with stress factors will be positive as well. Ensure that the water parameters are kept in the right range and do your best to keep the water clean.

Can Angelfish Be Kept in a Community Tank?

Yes, angelfish can be kept in a community tank setting. You just need to do your best to ensure that you pick good tank mates for the fish.

Since angelfish are mildly aggressive, they’re going to bully certain types of fish. This can be problematic, and you’ll want to be careful about which types of fish you put in a fish tank with the angels.

You should also know that angelfish are omnivores. They will eat smaller fish so long as they can fit in their mouths.

This means that you absolutely cannot put small fish in the tank with angelfish. If the fish are too small, then they will just be devoured by the angelfish.

Angelfish are by no means at the top of the food chain. There are larger and more aggressive fish that people like to keep in aquariums.

You must avoid putting larger and more aggressive fish in the community tank with the angels. If you make the mistake of putting the angels in a tank with a large bully fish, then the lives of the angelfish could be in danger.

This shouldn’t scare you away from putting angelfish in a community tank. It simply shows you that you need to put some thought into what you’re doing.

You’re going to be able to find good tank mates for the angelfish. This should make it possible to create a community aquarium that you will be truly proud of.

Which Fish Are Good Tank Mates for Angelfish?

There are all sorts of fish that will be able to be put in a community tank with the angelfish. The angelfish shouldn’t fight these fish under normal conditions.

Swordtails are often said to be among the best tank mates for angelfish. They can stand up to the aggression of the angelfish, and it’s likely that the two will get along swimmingly.

It’s also nice because the swordtails are very colorful. They should look really great in the fish tank alongside the angelfish.

Dwarf gouramis are some of the coolest fish that you can pick to put in a community tank. These fish are really good at getting along with angelfish, and they’re a joy to observe in your home aquarium.

Guppies are an option if you put them in a community tank with juvenile angelfish. If the angelfish get used to seeing guppies in the tank from a young age, then they shouldn’t see them as prey.

Corydoras catfish will be an even more practical addition to the community tank. These fish hang out near the bottom of the tank and they’re very peaceful overall.

Of course, there are many other fish that you can consider adding to the tank. You’ll just have to do a bit of research to see which fish you’re interested in purchasing for your community aquarium.

The angelfish will work well in a community tank when you put thought into things. So long as you’re putting in the effort, you’re likely going to have a good experience.

Are Angelfish Right for You?

After learning more about angelfish and how they fight, you might be wondering whether angelfish are right for you. Fighting certainly does seem like a problem.

If you don’t want to put up with the drama, then you might choose to go with a more peaceful fish. This is a fine decision, but you shouldn’t shy away from angelfish just because they can sometimes be a bit aggressive.

These fish aren’t that aggressive when compared to other popular aquarium fish with aggressive personality traits. If you prepare properly, then you can mitigate aggression issues quite nicely.

Angelfish might not be right for you if you don’t have a lot of space, though. Since these fish do better in larger tanks, they won’t do so well if you try to cram them in small ones.

They definitely won’t fit in fish bowls, and you’ll need to have aquariums that are tall and wide for them. Angelfish have somewhat tall bodies when compared to other fish of the same length.

These fish can be great ones to own, but it’s up to you to decide if they’re right for you. They’re easy to take care of overall, and they’re pretty to look at.

If you only have room for a small tank, then perhaps going with smaller fish that are easy to care for will be a better bet. Just consider your situation and then make a decision about what you would like to do.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned that there are quite a few reasons why angelfish might choose to fight. These are mildly aggressive fish that will sometimes become territorial.

If you aren’t keeping the angelfish in a good environment, then it might make the fish more territorial. This is especially true if the angelfish are being kept in fish tanks that are too small.

Angelfish abhor being placed in cramped fish tanks where they don’t have enough room to move around freely. They absolutely will fight each other and other fish over territory.

Male angelfish will fight each other when placed in the same tank as well. The males don’t get along well, and this might be a good reason to avoid keeping multiple male angelfish in the same aquarium.

Issues such as this won’t be nearly as pronounced if you have a larger fish tank. Always try to use the biggest fish tank that you can so that the angelfish will have more than enough space.

Another thing to know is that you should try to avoid stressing the fish. Stressed fish might be more irritable, and this could lead to more fighting.

If you’re having issues with angelfish fighting other fish in a community tank, then you might need to check to see if the two types of fish are compatible. You could have made a bad choice when picking fish for your community aquarium.

Always be sure to put fish in a tank with fish that they are compatible with. Incompatible fish will fight, and it can sometimes lead to certain fish getting killed or even devoured.

Remember to put hiding spots in the fish tank as well. Aquatic plants can help to give fish places to hide so that they can get away from the other fish instead of fighting.