Gold Angelfish

Gold Angelfish are enchanting freshwater fish belonging to the cichlid family. With their striking golden appearance and majestic fins, they have become a beloved addition among aquarium enthusiasts. These gentle fish require moderate maintenance, making them an excellent choice for community aquariums.

An icon to represent level of difficulty to care for a fish type.

Care DIfficulty


An icon to represent temperament.



An icon to represent origin.


South America

An icon to represent size.


6 inches (15 cm)

An icon to represent a fish's lifespan.


10 years

List icon.

Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Gold Angelfish, or Pterophyllum scalare, is a popular freshwater fish originating from the Amazon River basin in South America. You'll usually find them in slow-moving rivers and streams with dense vegetation, which provides both shelter and food sources.

In the wild, Gold Angelfish are most often found in calm, warm waters with an abundance of plant life. These plants not only serve as hiding spots but also as a food source, while the murky waters make their stunning colors stand out. These social fish thrive in groups of at least five, but it's not uncommon to see them in larger groups as well.

Their natural environment features warm, soft, and slightly acidic water. The temperature typically varies between 75 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, and water hardness between 3 to 8 dGH. To create a similar environment in your aquarium, make sure to maintain a consistent water temperature, use a top-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and hiding spots.

By closely replicating the Gold Angelfish's natural habitat and ensuring the right water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a healthy and happy life in your aquarium.

Gold Angelfish are renowned for their striking golden color, complemented by long, elegant fins that gracefully flow as they swim. These beautiful features make them a mesmerizing and eye-catching centerpiece in aquariums. Although they are relatively large, growing up to approximately 6 inches (15 cm) in size, their alluring colors and majestic presence make them an ideal choice for those seeking a sophisticated, vibrant aquatic display. These elegant fish bring a sense of tranquility to observers as they gracefully glide through the tank, making them a highly regarded favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Gold Angelfish can enjoy a lifespan of up to 10 years. As sociable beings, they flourish in groups and are best kept with at least four other individuals. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a spacious, well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots, as well as a diverse diet consisting of high-quality flakes, pellets, and frozen or live foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we've learned more about the appearance and lifespan of Gold Angelfish, in this section, we'll highlight some fascinating facts about these stunning fish that make them stand out in the aquarium hobby. From their striking coloration to their social behavior, Gold Angelfish are full of surprises and are sure to captivate any aquarist.

  • Distinctive shape: Gold Angelfish are known for their unique, triangular body shape, which distinguishes them from other fish species. This distinct shape allows them to maneuver easily among plants and other hiding spots, providing them with an advantage in their natural habitat.
  • Color variations: Gold Angelfish exhibit a wide range of color variations within their species. Some individuals may have a solid gold color, while others may display marbled patterns or even faint vertical stripes. These variations make each Gold Angelfish truly unique and captivating.
  • Social hierarchy: Gold Angelfish are social creatures that tend to establish a hierarchy within their group. Dominant individuals may claim certain territories or resources, while subordinate fish will follow their lead. Observing these interactions can be a fascinating aspect of keeping Gold Angelfish.
  • Prolific breeders: Gold Angelfish are known to be prolific breeders when provided with the right environment and conditions. A breeding pair will lay eggs on a flat surface, such as a leaf or a vertical piece of slate, and diligently guard their clutch until the fry hatch.
  • Versatile diet: Gold Angelfish are omnivorous and will accept a wide variety of food items, including flakes, pellets, frozen, and live foods. This versatility makes it easy for aquarists to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for their Gold Angelfish, contributing to their overall health and well-being.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Gold Angelfish, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their beauty and intricacies in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll provide recommendations on tank setups, ensuring your Gold Angelfish have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their dazzling features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the core components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an appropriate environment for Gold Angelfish and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you move from budget-friendly to high-end setups, you will also have more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Gold Angelfish are social fish and need to be kept in groups or pairs to reduce stress and ensure their well-being. Typically, Gold Angelfish are priced between $6 and $15 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 29-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($60 - $100)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 29 gallons ($25 - $50)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $30)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $50)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: 1-2 Gold Angelfish ($6 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-range setup (around $400 - $650):

  • Tank: 40-gallon breeder aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($100 - $200)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($60 - $150)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($25 - $50)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: 1-3 Gold Angelfish ($6 - $45)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

High-end setup (above $800):

  • Tank: 55-gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($200 - $400)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($100 - $250)
  • Heater: 200-300 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($40 - $80)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($60 - $150)
  • Fish: 1-4 Gold Angelfish ($6 - $60)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please note that these numbers are just recommendations, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish personalities when deciding how many Gold Angelfish to keep in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the previous section, we discussed the recommended tank setups for your Gold Angelfish and other fish. Now that you have a better understanding of what's required, let's dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your aquarium. These steps will guide you through selecting the ideal location for your tank, cleaning and preparing the tank, installing essential equipment, and cycling the water to create a healthy environment for your fish. We'll also cover the proper acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition for your Gold Angelfish and other fish into their new home. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish to flourish in.

  • Step #1: Choose the perfect spot for your aquarium, making sure it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Ensure the surface is level and sturdy enough to support your filled tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions and place the empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Next, clean the tank by rinsing it with clean water (avoid using soap or chemicals) to remove dust or debris. Wipe the inside with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear, then spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank, creating a slight slope towards the back for visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before filling the tank with water, plan the layout of your aquarium, including the position of equipment like heaters and filters. This will make it easier to set up and maintain the tank in the long run. Install the heater and filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're using a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before adding water.
  • Step #4: Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and plants to create hiding spots and a visually appealing environment, ensuring there are open swimming areas for your fish. When decorating the tank, be careful to arrange driftwood, rocks, and plants in a way that won't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also anchor plants to driftwood or rocks to help them stay in place.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. Place a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to prevent disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, following the manufacturer's instructions. Consider using a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent day and night cycle, which is essential for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer in an easily visible location.
  • Step #6: Top off the water, leaving space between the water surface and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Turn on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. During the cycling process, you can add a bacterial starter culture to speed up the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the tank. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and water parameters are stable, slowly acclimate your Gold Angelfish and other fish to the tank's conditions before introducing them. Begin by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Afterward, open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Continue adding small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adjust to the new water chemistry gradually. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding any unnecessary stress or exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once all the fish are introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding schedule, providing high-quality food in appropriate amounts for your fish species. Perform regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Observe your fish closely for any signs of stress or illness, especially during the first few weeks after introduction. Be prepared to take action if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking advice from an experienced aquarist.

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup tips, you can create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Gold Angelfish and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To keep your Gold Angelfish healthy and happy, it's important to maintain specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's a breakdown of what to aim for:

  • Temperature: Keep the water between 76°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Aim for a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, but they can tolerate minor fluctuations if changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water (1-12 dGH) is ideal, though they can adapt to slightly harder water.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and maintain nitrate levels below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate lighting with shaded areas and plants to prevent stress.
  • Water movement: Moderate water flow is best, mimicking their natural slow-moving habitat.

Make sure to test your aquarium water regularly and perform necessary water changes to keep the environment stable.

Routine Water Maintenance

Water changes are crucial for a healthy Gold Angelfish tank. They help remove excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a suggested routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-25% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness regularly.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Clean the substrate during water changes.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Treat tap water with a water conditioner before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Ensure new water is similar to the tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Give your fish time to adjust to new conditions after water changes.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider the following to ensure the health of your fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Keep track of how long your aquarium lights are on each day, aiming for a consistent 8-10 hour photoperiod. Too much light can lead to excessive algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim live plants to maintain their health and appearance. Remove any dead leaves or plant matter to prevent water quality issues.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 4-6 weeks. Avoid replacing all filter media at once, as this can disrupt the beneficial bacteria and lead to water quality issues.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Gold Angelfish are omnivores and require a diverse diet. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Flakes and pellets: Use high-quality flake or pellet food designed for angelfish.
  • Frozen and live foods: Offer brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia as occasional treats.
  • Vegetable matter: Provide blanched spinach, zucchini, or cucumber for added nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed modest portions two to three times a day, and avoid overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Gold Angelfish may experience stress from various sources, such as poor water quality, aggression, or unsuitable tank conditions. Identifying and addressing these stressors is vital for your fish's health and well-being:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep an eye on your Gold Angelfish for unusual behavior like hiding, lethargy, color loss, or rapid breathing, which may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the ideal parameters and conduct regular water changes to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Make sure your Gold Angelfish aren't being harassed or attacked by other fish
    by other fish and remove any aggressive tank mates if needed.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your fish.

While Gold Angelfish are generally hardy, they can be susceptible to some common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): A prevalent parasitic infection causing white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and appetite loss. Treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: A bacterial infection that leads to frayed or discolored fins and tail. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection causing a yellow or brownish velvet-like coating on the fish's body. Treat velvet disease with anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: A condition where fish have difficulty swimming upright. Treat swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas, and consider using an antibacterial medication if needed.

Prevent diseases in Gold Angelfish by maintaining excellent water quality, avoiding overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.


Breeding Gold Angelfish can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience with the right setup and conditions. Follow these steps to breed Gold Angelfish:

  • Step #1: Create a suitable breeding environment with a separate 20-gallon or larger breeding tank, a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.0, and a temperature of about 80°F (27°C). Maintain soft water (1-5 dGH) and include hiding spots like plants and spawning sites such as vertical surfaces for the fish's comfort.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature male and female Gold Angelfish for breeding. Males have a more pointed genital papilla, while females have a more rounded one. You can also observe their behavior during courtship.
  • Step #3: Prepare the breeding pair with a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for several weeks to help them build strength and energy.
  • Step #4: Encourage spawning by introducing the pair to the breeding tank and maintaining the appropriate water conditions. The female will lay her eggs on a vertical surface, and the male will fertilize them shortly after.
  • Step #5: Care for the eggs and fry by removing the breeding pair after spawning. Keep the breeding tank in a dimly lit area, as the eggs and fry are sensitive to light. Eggs will hatch within 48-72 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after several days. Gradually increase the lighting duration as the fry grows. Feed them infusoria or liquid fry food initially, then gradually introduce crushed flake food.
  • Step #6: Monitor the growth and development of the fry, and separate them by size if needed to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Gold Angelfish can be a rewarding experience for experienced hobbyists. Patience and the right conditions are key to success.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are the top 10 recommended tank mates for Gold Angelfish:

  1. Dwarf Gourami
  2. Harlequin Rasboras
  3. Corydoras Catfish
  4. Platies
  5. Zebra Danios
  6. Bolivian Ram
  7. Plecos
  8. Amano Shrimp
  9. Kuhli Loaches
  10. Mystery Snails

Keep in mind that it's crucial to avoid aggressive fish such as large cichlids, tiger barbs, or any predatory species, as they may cause stress or harm to Gold Angelfish. Always monitor the behavior of new fish and ensure they don't exhibit aggression towards the Gold Angelfish.


In summary, Gold Angelfish are an attractive and popular species of freshwater fish known for their hardiness and ease of care. To ensure their well-being in captivity, these fish require specific water parameters, a balanced diet, and a suitable environment. When properly cared for, they can live up to 10 years and make a great addition to a community aquarium. When choosing tank mates, it's essential to select peaceful and non-aggressive species to maintain a harmonious community. Breeding Gold Angelfish can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for experienced hobbyists, with patience and ideal conditions being key to success. Overall, Gold Angelfish are a striking and fascinating species that can enhance any aquatic display with their beauty and captivating behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Gold Angelfish?

A minimum of 30-gallon tank is recommended for a pair of Gold Angelfish, but a larger tank is even better, as it helps maintain stable water conditions and provides ample swimming space for your fish.

How many Gold Angelfish should be kept together?

Gold Angelfish are not schooling fish, but they do appreciate the company of their own kind. Keeping a pair or a small group of Gold Angelfish can encourage social interactions and natural behavior.

What water parameters do Gold Angelfish require?

Gold Angelfish thrive in water temperatures between 76°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C), a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, and soft to moderately hard water with a hardness between 5 and 13 dGH.

What do Gold Angelfish eat?

Gold Angelfish are omnivorous and require a varied diet. Feed them a mix of high-quality flake or pellet food, along with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.

Are Gold Angelfish compatible with other fish?

Yes, Gold Angelfish are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Ideal tank mates include rasboras, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How can I differentiate between male and female Gold Angelfish?

Males have a more pointed genital papilla, while females have a more rounded one. You can also observe their behavior during courtship to determine their gender.

How long do Gold Angelfish live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Gold Angelfish can live for 8 to 10 years.

How do I breed Gold Angelfish?

Breeding Gold Angelfish can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience with the right setup and conditions. Prepare a separate breeding tank, maintain appropriate water conditions, and select healthy, mature male and female Gold Angelfish for breeding.

Do Gold Angelfish require a planted tank?

While not strictly necessary, a planted tank is highly recommended for Gold Angelfish. Live plants provide hiding spots, improve water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely resembles their native habitat.

Can Gold Angelfish change color?

Yes, Gold Angelfish can undergo color changes as a result of several factors, such as stress, illness, or alterations in water conditions. If you notice your Gold Angelfish experiencing a loss of color, it's important to examine the water parameters and closely monitor their health.