13 Colorful Angelfish Compatible Tank Mates

As most readers of my articles now know, I work at a retail pet store in my beloved freshwater fishes section. There are a number of common questions that I expect to hear every day. One of these questions is “what can go with what fish?”

Angelfish Tank Mates

In this section we will cover Angelfish tank mates, the answer to the question of "what can go with Angelfish" is often quite surprising and the variety of fish available, not only in my store but in any good fish store, means that the hobbyist can revive that ‘kid in a candy store’ feeling that we all have when stocking a new tank or adding to an already established aquarium.

Some of the fish listed below might not seem right to some readers because they have been told information by other keepers, just remember this is a hobby and there isn't any set rule of fish only recommendations, what might not work for one keeper may work for another, there are lots of different factors to take on board like tank setup, size, décor and size and age of fish.

However I have tried to come up with the most varied list as possible.

When purchasing new fish try to get roughly the same size as what you already have, and try to get some that will grow to a similar size as adults, some may require moving when coming into maturity.

Dwarf Cichlids

Due to the variety of Dwarf Cichlids, it may be hard to choose one that's right for your tank.

Some people might say that Kribensis are ok, this is, however, a fish that I would say completely depends on the decor of your aquarium because a pair can get very territorial and aggressive so I personally would recommend them, but again some people have had success introducing this fish.

Double Red Agassizi

Apistogramma agassizii

Apistogramma agassizii

Apistogramma agassizii (source)

Upto 4 inches. 

(Other various Agassizi cichlids will do).

Best kept in harems with 1 male to 3 or 4 females

Ram Cichlids

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi male

Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (source)

Upto 3 inches

Beautiful little cichlids with many colorful variations, my favourite being the Golden Ram and the Electric Blue Ram. Best kept in groups.

Tropical Sharks

When choosing sharks to house with angelfish your aquarium needs to be set up properly to accommodate them, for example, lots of open space, a good length aquarium and adequate hiding space. If that's correct then choose sharks of a similar length to your existing fish.

Due to typical shark behaviour, it's best to have areas for angelfish to essentially relax because they can get stressed by the erratic behaviour of the shark.

Albino Shark

Epalzeorhynchos frenatus

Upto 6 inches.

This shark is just the albino version of the Rainbow Shark.

Silver Shark

Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Balantiocheilos melanopterus

Balantiocheilos melanopterus (source)

Upto 14 inches.

Need lots of open space and a large tank to accommodate an adult shoal.

Black Shark

Morulius chrysophekadion

Black Sharkminnow (Labeo chrysophekadion)

Black Sharkminnow - Labeo chrysophekadion (source)

In the wild upto 18 inches

Spends most of its time bottom feeding and living mainly on algae, also removes soft growth from plants.


When selecting Barbs, if you're unsure, ask your local fish store which are placid barb species. Remember even the small barbs can be nasty. Tiger Barbs, for example, are notorious fin nippers and are defiantly no good for angelfish.

Barbs can also get quite large, the Tinfoil Barb listed below can get up to 18inches long and do best in groups of 5 or more, so make sure you can accommodate adults.

Tinfoil Barb

Barbus schwanefeldi

Barbus schwanefeldi

Barbus schwanefeldi (source)

Upto 18 inches

They are avid plant eaters and capable of giant jumps.

Oddessa Barb

Pethia padamya

Odessa Barb Male

Odessa Barb male (source)

Upto 3 inches

When buying try to get a mixture of sexes and roughly 10 fish, you will notice them looking healthier and more natural.


Gourami is an easy one to choose, many hobbyists choose these fish as water parameters are closer to that of Angelfish. There isn't much else to say because the care for both is very similar, the only thing to consider however is bare in mind the species of Angel you have and always ask in the store you got them from the estimated adult size.

Snakeskin Gourami

Trichogaster pectoralis

Trichopodus pectoralis

Trichopodus pectoralis (source)

Upto 10 inches

Become sexually mature at around 3-4 inches, won't even eat the smallest of young fishes.

Dwarf Gourami

Colisa lalia

Colisa lalia

Colisa lalia (source)

Upto 2 inches

Thrives with plenty of light and lots of algae and heavily planted.

Opaline Gourami

Trichogastor trichopterus sumatranus

Female Opaline Gourami

Female Opaline Gourami (source)

Averaging 3 inches

Females should not be prevented from breeding as they are prone to ovary troubles if eggs aren't discharged.

Bottom dwelling fish

This section was an easy one, most bottom dwelling species of fish will be safe from angelfish, it also means that you can house some decent cleaners in your aquarium. Things like the medium to large Plecs will be fine and bottom dwelling catfish like Corydoras will not get bothered by angelfish, nor will they bother them.

Goldstripe Corydora

Corydoras schultzei

Corydoras aeneus

Corydoras aeneus

Upto 3 inches

As with all Corydora there is barely difference within behaviour, bottom feeding fish needing very fine gravel or sand as to not damage barbels.

Bristlenose Pleco

Ancistrus cirrhosus

Bristlenose pleco, female (Ancistrus)

Bristlenose pleco, female Ancistrus (source)

Upto 6 inches

Nothing special to say about the Bristlenose, basic pleco, easy to care for.

Featherfin Synodontis

Synodontis eupterus

Synodontis Eupterus

Synodontis Eupterus

Upto 12 inches

Beautiful delicate looking fish yet very resilient and hardy, there isn’t much needed to know to care for them properly. Best kept in groups and without any other smaller bottom feeders.

Closing thoughts

Angelfish can grow up to 7 inches long and as described in the article are said to be semi-aggressive and this is a list of probably my favourite and other store owners.

I have heard rumours however that if housed with small livebearers and larger tetras that the angelfish will ignore them in maturity. This, however, is disputed and untested by myself and other aquarists.

Before selecting fish that do grow larger, make sure you can house the adults or, (and this isn't recommended by me) are able to rehome them at the store you got them from.

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