Silver Angelfish

Silver Angelfish are captivating freshwater fish that belong to the cichlid family. With their impressive silver hue and majestic fins, they have become a favorite among aquarium hobbyists. These elegant fish require moderate maintenance, making them a suitable choice for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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South America

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6 inches (15 cm)

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10 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Silver Angelfish, or Pterophyllum scalare, is a popular freshwater fish originating from the Amazon River basin in South America. You'll usually find them in the tributaries of the Amazon, which flow through Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

In the wild, Silver Angelfish are most often found in slow-moving, vegetated waters with an abundance of plant life. These plants not only serve as hiding spots but also as a food source, while the dark riverbeds create a stunning contrast with their shimmering silver color. These social fish thrive in groups and should be kept in a spacious aquarium to allow for free movement and interaction.

Their natural environment features warm, slightly acidic water. The temperature typically varies between 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 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 high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and driftwood.

By closely mirroring the Silver 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.

Silver Angelfish are celebrated for their striking silver body color and graceful, elongated fins. These breathtaking features make them an irresistible and eye-catching centerpiece in aquariums. Although they are relatively large, reaching up to approximately 6 inches (15 cm) in size, their regal appearance and tranquil nature make them an ideal choice for those seeking a serene, sophisticated aquatic display. These elegant fish bring delight to observers as they gracefully glide through the tank, making them a treasured favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Silver Angelfish can enjoy a lifespan of up to 10 years. As social beings, they thrive in groups and are best kept with other peaceful or semi-aggressive fish species. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a densely planted aquarium with abundant hiding spots, as well as a diverse diet consisting of premium flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

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

  • Majestic Fins: Silver Angelfish are known for their impressive, elongated dorsal and anal fins, which give them a regal appearance. These fins are not just for show, as they help the angelfish maneuver and maintain stability in slow-moving waters.
  • Intelligent Creatures: Silver Angelfish are considered one of the more intelligent fish species, with the ability to recognize their owners and learn routines, such as feeding times. This intelligence also makes them more responsive to changes in their environment and more likely to interact with other tank inhabitants.
  • Selective Breeding: Over the years, aquarists have selectively bred angelfish to produce various color patterns and fin shapes, but the Silver Angelfish remains the closest in appearance to their wild counterparts. This selective breeding has led to a wide array of angelfish varieties in the aquarium trade.
  • Parental Care: Unlike many other fish species, Silver Angelfish exhibit parental care for their offspring. Both parents take turns guarding their eggs and fanning them with their fins to ensure proper oxygenation. After hatching, the parents continue to protect their fry until they are capable of fending for themselves.
  • Social Hierarchy: Silver Angelfish establish social hierarchies within their groups, with a dominant individual often emerging. This hierarchy helps maintain order among the group and ensures that resources, such as food and shelter, are distributed efficiently.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Silver 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 Silver Angelfish have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their stunning 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 Silver 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. Silver Angelfish are typically priced between $10 and $20 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 ($50 - $90)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 29 gallons ($25 - $50)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($20 - $35)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($25 - $60)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($15 - $25)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($25 - $50)
  • Fish: 1-2 Silver Angelfish ($20 - $40)
  • 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: 55-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($100 - $200)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($80 - $200)
  • Heater: 200-300 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($30 - $60)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($60 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($50 - $100)
  • Fish: 2-4 Silver Angelfish ($40 - $80)
  • 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: 75-90 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($250 - $500)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($150 - $300)
  • Heater: 300-400 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($50 - $100)
  • 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 ($40 - $80)
  • 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 ($80 - $200)
  • Fish: 4-6 Silver Angelfish ($60 - $120)
  • 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 Silver 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 Silver 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 Silver 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 ideal spot for your aquarium, ensuring it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Make sure 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 Silver 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 Silver Angelfish and other fish flourish in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To keep your Silver 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 75°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.5, but they can tolerate small 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 Silver 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

Silver 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 or other large tropical fish.
  • Frozen and live foods: Offer bloodworms, brine shrimp, or mysis shrimp 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

Silver 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 Silver 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 Silver 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 Silver 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 Silver 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 Silver Angelfish can be a rewarding experience for hobbyists. Follow these steps to breed Silver 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 (1-4 dGH) and include vertical surfaces like slate, PVC pipes, or large-leafed plants for the fish to lay eggs on.
  • Step #2: Select healthy, mature male and female Silver Angelfish for breeding. Males have a more pointed and elongated ventral fin, while females have a more rounded and shorter ventral fin.
  • 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: Introduce the pair to the breeding tank and observe them for signs of courtship and spawning behavior. The female will lay eggs on a vertical surface, and the male will follow to fertilize them.
  • Step #5: Care for the eggs and fry by removing the breeding pair after spawning. Eggs will hatch within 48-72 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming after several days. Feed them newly hatched brine shrimp 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 Silver Angelfish can be a rewarding experience for dedicated hobbyists. Patience and the right conditions are key to success.

Recommended Tank Mates

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

  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Tetras
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Plecos
  • Rainbowfish
  • Loaches
  • Rasboras

Remember to avoid large, aggressive fish like large cichlids, oscars, and predatory species, as they may harm or stress the Silver Angelfish. Always observe the behavior of new fish and ensure they don't cause stress or aggression towards the Silver Angelfish.


In summary, Silver Angelfish are a captivating species of freshwater fish known for their elegance and relatively easy care. These fish require specific water parameters, a well-balanced diet, and a suitable environment to thrive in captivity. However, with the right conditions, they can live up to 10 years and be an excellent addition to any aquarium. When selecting tank mates, it's crucial to choose peaceful and non-aggressive species to ensure a harmonious community. Breeding Silver Angelfish can be a rewarding experience for dedicated hobbyists, and patience and ideal conditions are key to success. Overall, Silver Angelfish are a stunning and graceful species that can enhance any aquatic display with their striking appearance and graceful movements.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Silver Angelfish?

When setting up a home for Silver Angelfish, a 55-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a pair. Opting for a larger tank is even better, as it helps keep water conditions stable while offering plenty of room for your fish to swim.

How many Silver Angelfish should be kept together?

It is generally recommended to keep Silver Angelfish in pairs or small groups. However, you need to ensure that the aquarium is large enough to accommodate the number of fish and provide enough space for each individual.

What water parameters do Silver Angelfish require?

Silver Angelfish thrive in water temperatures between 75°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 3 and 10 dGH.

What do Silver Angelfish eat?

Silver 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 Silver Angelfish compatible with other fish?

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

How long do Silver Angelfish live?

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

How do I breed Silver Angelfish?

Breeding Silver Angelfish can be a rewarding experience. Use a separate breeding tank, create suitable conditions, and introduce healthy, mature male and female fish for spawning.

Do Silver Angelfish require a planted tank?

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

Can Silver Angelfish change color?

Indeed, Silver Angelfish can undergo color changes as a result of several factors, such as stress, illness, or alterations in water conditions. If you observe your Silver Angelfish experiencing a loss of color, it's important to examine the water parameters and keep a close watch on their health.