Spotted angelfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Spotted Angelfish is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for the intermediate fish keeper. They are not too difficult to care for, but they are also not as easy as some of the other beginner fish.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Spotted Angelfish care. You will learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

Spotted Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) are native to the Amazon Basin in South America where they can be found throughout Peru, Brazil, and Colombia.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a sandy or muddy bottom. This is because they spend a lot of time looking for food near the bottom of the river or lake.

Spotted Angelfish are omnivorous, which means they will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, their diet consists mostly of small insects, crustaceans, and other invertebrates.

The most notable feature of the Spotted Angelfish is, of course, the spots on their body. These can be any color but are usually some shade of black, brown, or red. The spots are used to help the fish camouflage themselves in their natural environment.


Spotted angelfish

The Spotted Angelfish is a beautiful freshwater fish that is easily recognizable thanks to its unique coloration.

The body of this fish is mostly white with large black spots dotting their sides. The spots on the males are generally larger and more defined than the spots on females.

This species also has a long and thin dorsal fin that starts about halfway back on their body. The dorsal fin has a slight curve to it and is dotted with small black spots.

The Spotted Angelfish also has a small and stubby anal fin as well as a forked caudal fin. Both of these fins are also dotted with black spots.

The pectoral fins of this fish are long and thin. They start close to the gill plate and extend back to about the middle of the fish’s body.

The ventral fins of the Spotted Angelfish are also long and thin. They start just behind the gill plate and extend back to about the same point as the pectoral fins.


Spotted angelfish have a lifespan of about 5-10 years. However, like all animals, their lifespan can be greatly impacted by the quality of care they receive. Poor water quality, for example, can shorten their lifespan significantly.

The good news is that, with proper care, these fish can thrive in captivity for many years.


Spotted Angelfish are one of the larger species of freshwater angelfish, with a full-grown size of around 6-8 inches. Because of their size, they require a fairly large tank with plenty of swimming space.


Tank Size

Spotted angelfish need at least a 50 gallon tank. If you want to keep more than one fish, you should add an additional 20 gallons for each fish.

It’s important to give these fish plenty of space to swim since they’re such active swimmers. They also like to be in groups, so keeping them in pairs or schools is ideal. A larger tank will also allow you to keep more tank mates if you’re interested in creating a community tank.

Water Parameters

The Spotted Angelfish is a freshwater fish that is found in the Amazon River Basin in South America. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving waters with a sandy substrate and plenty of vegetation.

Spotted Angelfish are a peaceful species that is well suited for a community aquarium. They do best in a planted tank with plenty of hiding places.

The following water parameters are recommended for keeping Spotted Angelfish:

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.6
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The inside of the tank is important for any fish, but it’s especially crucial for angelfish. These fish spend a lot of time hiding and seeking shelter, so you need to provide them with plenty of places to do so.

That being said, you don’t want to go overboard with decorations. Too many places to hide will just lead to more aggression and stress in the tank.

We recommend a moderate number of plants (real or fake), some driftwood, and a few rocks. This will give them plenty of options without making the tank feel too cramped.

The substrate is relatively unimportant for this species. They’re not known to be heavy diggers, so you can use whatever you’d like. Just avoid anything that’s too sharp or jagged.

Common Diseases

The spotted angelfish is a fairly hardy and disease-resistant fish. They don’t often fall ill, and when they do it’s usually something that can be easily remedied.

The most common disease that affects this species is ich. This is a parasites that affects many different types of fish, and it’s fairly easy to spot.

The telltale sign of ich is the presence of white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish. If you notice this then you should take immediate action.

There are plenty of ich treatments available, and most of them are very effective. However, the sooner you act the better. If you wait too long then the ich could spread and become much more difficult to treat.

Another thing to look out for is hole-in-the-head disease. This is a fairly common disease that affects many freshwater fish, and it’s especially common in angelfish.

This disease is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. It will present itself as one or two holes in the head of your fish.

While it’s not usually fatal, it can be quite unsightly. It’s important to act quickly if you notice this disease so you can get it under control.

Behavior & Temperament

Spotted angelfish are one of the more aggressive freshwater fish. They are known for being nippy and territorial. They are also known to be finicky eaters.

In the wild, these fish live in harems. This means that there is one male angelfish with several females. The male is the only one that breeds with the females.

In the home aquarium, it is best to keep only one male and two or three females. If you have more than one male, they will fight for dominance. The same is true if you have more than three females.

When it comes to food, spotted angelfish are not as finicky as some other fish. They will eat most types of food, including flake food, pellets, and live food.

Tank Mates

Spotted angelfish are a semi-aggressive species. They can get along with other fish, but they may also harass tank mates that they perceive as weaker.

For the most part, these fish will leave other fish alone. But if there’s aggression in the tank, they may join in on the fun.

The best tank mates for spotted angels are those that can hold their own. This includes other semi-aggressive fish and even some aggressive species.

Some compatible tank mates include:


Spotted angelfish are a little more challenging to breed than some other species, but it’s definitely doable with some patience and preparation.

First, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 30 gallons and filled with soft, slightly acidic water. Then, add some live plants and a few pieces of driftwood for hiding places.

Next, you’ll need to find a group of healthy adults. It’s best to have at least six, with two males for every female.

When you’ve found your group, acclimate them to the breeding tank slowly. Then, feed them a variety of live foods. This will help to bring out their colors and get them in the best possible health for breeding.

Once the fish are acclimated and well-fed, you should start to see some courting behavior. The males will chase the females and try to entice them to lay eggs.

When the female is ready, she’ll lay her eggs on a piece of driftwood or a plant leaf. After she lays the eggs, the male will fertilize them.

Once the eggs are fertilized, the parents will guard them until they hatch. This usually takes about two weeks.

When the fry hatch, they’ll be very small and vulnerable. It’s important to remove the parents at this point, as they may eat the fry.

The fry will need to be fed very small live foods at first. You can gradually increase the size of the food as they grow.

With some patience and care, you should be able to successfully breed spotted angelfish.


The Spotted Angelfish is a beautiful freshwater fish that is perfect for the beginner aquarist. They are easy to care for and are very hardy fish. With a little bit of care, you will have a beautiful addition to your aquarium that will thrive for years to come.