Keeping Guppies with Angelfish – Here Is How - "Angel fish 2" by Sivahari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Keeping Guppies with Angelfish – Here Is How - "Angel fish 2" by Sivahari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.


Keeping guppies with angelfish in a home aquarium is an appealing prospect for many aquarists, combining the vibrant, darting playfulness of guppies with the graceful, serene presence of angelfish. This combination can create a visually stunning aquatic environment, rich in color and activity. However, successfully housing guppies with angelfish requires careful consideration of their differing needs and behaviors. This guide aims to provide aquarists with the knowledge and strategies needed to maintain a harmonious tank, focusing on aspects such as tank requirements, diet and nutrition, compatibility and behavior, and breeding considerations. By understanding these key areas, enthusiasts can enjoy the dynamic interplay of guppies and angelfish, creating a balanced and thriving aquatic ecosystem.

About Guppies and Angelfish

Guppies and angelfish are two of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish, each bringing their unique beauty and behavior to aquatic setups. Understanding their origins, physical characteristics, and behaviors can help aquarists create a harmonious environment for both species.

Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

  • Origins: Guppies are native to the fresh and brackish waters of northeastern South America, particularly in countries like Venezuela, Barbados, Trinidad, and Brazil. They have been introduced to many habitats around the world due to their popularity in the aquarium trade and their ability to control mosquito populations.
  • Physical Characteristics: Guppies are small, vibrant fish known for their dazzling array of colors and patterns. Males are particularly colorful, with large, flowing tails that come in many hues and patterns, while females are larger, less colorful, and have shorter tails. An adult guppy typically measures between 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4-6 cm) in length.
  • Typical Behaviors: Guppies are peaceful, social fish that thrive in groups. They are known for their active swimming and playful nature. Guppies are livebearers, meaning they give birth to free-swimming fry rather than laying eggs. They are prolific breeders, and if conditions allow, they can rapidly increase in numbers.

Angelfish (Pterophyllum spp.)

  • Origins: Angelfish are native to the Amazon Basin, Orinoco Basin, and various rivers in the Guiana Shield in South America. They are found in slow-moving waters, often among dense vegetation or submerged wood, which provides them with excellent hiding spots.
  • Physical Characteristics: Angelfish are known for their striking, laterally compressed bodies and long, trailing dorsal and anal fins, giving them a distinctive, almost triangular shape. They can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length and 8 inches (20 cm) in height. Their coloration varies widely, including shades of silver, black, white, and even blue or red, often with unique patterns and stripes.
  • Typical Behaviors: Angelfish are semi-aggressive and can be territorial, especially during breeding. They are cichlids, a family known for their complex behaviors and intelligence. Angelfish prefer to swim in the middle to upper levels of the tank and can become quite tame, often recognizing their caretakers. They are omnivores, feeding on a mix of plant and animal matter.

While both guppies and angelfish can add beauty and interest to a home aquarium, their differing needs and behaviors require thoughtful consideration to ensure they can coexist peacefully. Successful cohabitation often hinges on providing ample space, proper hiding spots, and attentive care to meet the needs of both species.

Tank Requirements for Guppies with Angelfish

Creating an ideal environment for guppies with angelfish requires careful consideration of tank size, water conditions, and tank setup. These factors are crucial for their health, well-being, and compatibility within the same aquarium.

Optimal Tank Size

  • Minimum Size: A tank of at least 20 gallons (80 liters) is recommended for keeping guppies and angelfish together. This size provides adequate space for both species to swim freely and establish territories.
  • Recommended Size: For optimal comfort and to prevent territorial aggression, especially from angelfish, a larger tank of 30-40 gallons (120-160 liters) or more is advisable. This size allows for a more stable environment and supports a healthier ecosystem.

Water Conditions

  • Temperature: Both guppies and angelfish thrive in warm water, with an optimal temperature range between 76°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C). Consistent temperatures within this range promote healthy immune systems and metabolism.
  • pH Level: Aim for a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. This range is slightly acidic to neutral, which suits both species well and reflects their natural habitats.

Tank Setup

  • Plants: Live plants are highly recommended as they offer numerous benefits, including oxygenation of the water, natural filtration, and providing hiding spots. Dense plantings, especially towards the back and sides of the tank, can help create territories and reduce stress. Suitable plants include Anubias, Java Fern, and Water Wisteria.
  • Substrate: A dark, fine gravel or sand substrate can help highlight the colors of your fish and provide a more natural environment. Angelfish, in particular, may appreciate a softer substrate if they decide to lay eggs.
  • Decorations: Include various decorations such as driftwood, rocks, and caves to provide additional hiding places and enrich the environment. These features can help break the line of sight and reduce aggression among tank inhabitants.
  • Filtration: A high-quality filtration system is essential to maintain clean and healthy water. Both species are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite levels, so a filter that can handle the bioload of the tank is crucial. Ensure the water flow is not too strong, as angelfish prefer slower-moving waters.

Balancing the needs of both guppies and angelfish in a shared tank involves creating a stable, healthy, and enriched environment that mimics their natural habitats as closely as possible. Regular water testing and maintenance are key to sustaining optimal conditions and ensuring the well-being of both species.

Diet and Nutrition for Guppies and Angelfish

A balanced diet is essential for the health and vitality of both guppies and angelfish, each having specific nutritional requirements. Understanding and catering to these needs can ensure both species thrive together in the same aquarium.


  • Dietary Needs: Guppies are omnivores with a tendency towards plant-based foods. Their diet should consist of a mix of high-quality flake food, vegetable matter, and occasional protein sources.
  • Types of Food:
    • Flake Foods: Choose high-quality flakes that are rich in plant content.
    • Live or Frozen Foods: Brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are excellent for providing protein. These should be given sparingly as treats.
    • Vegetable Matter: Spirulina flakes, boiled vegetables (e.g., zucchini, lettuce), or algae wafers can supplement their diet.
  • Feeding Schedule: Feed guppies small amounts 2-3 times a day, ensuring they can consume all the food within a few minutes to prevent overfeeding and water quality issues.


  • Dietary Needs: Angelfish are omnivores with a higher requirement for protein. They thrive on a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter.
  • Types of Food:
    • High-Quality Flake or Pellet Foods: Select formulations designed for angelfish or cichlids, which will have the necessary protein content.
    • Live or Frozen Foods: Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and blackworms are favored by angelfish and can help enhance their coloration and vitality.
    • Vegetable Matter: Though they prefer animal-based foods, incorporating some vegetable matter or algae-based foods can provide a well-rounded diet.
  • Feeding Schedule: Angelfish should be fed 2-3 times daily, with portions they can finish in about three minutes. Overfeeding can lead to health issues and degrade water quality.

Ensuring Adequate Nutrition for Both Species

  • Diverse Diet: Offer a variety of foods to meet the nutritional needs of both guppies and angelfish. This approach helps ensure that all fish receive the necessary nutrients for growth, coloration, and immune health.
  • Separate Feeding Strategies: Since angelfish are larger and can be more aggressive at feeding times, ensure guppies are also getting their share. You can do this by feeding in different areas of the tank simultaneously or using feeding rings to distribute food evenly.
  • Monitor Health and Growth: Regularly observe your fish for signs of good health and adjust the diet as necessary. Healthy fish should have vibrant colors, be active, and show steady growth.
  • Water Quality Management: Overfeeding can quickly lead to poor water quality. Regular water tests and maintenance are crucial to remove excess food and waste, keeping the environment healthy for both species.

Balancing the dietary needs of guppies with angelfish requires attention to detail and a commitment to providing a varied, nutritious diet. By catering to the specific needs of each species, aquarists can promote harmony and health within the community aquarium.

Compatibility and Behavior

Guppies and angelfish can coexist in the same aquarium, but their compatibility depends on several factors including tank size, layout, and the individual temperaments of the fish. Understanding their behaviors and territorial tendencies is key to creating a harmonious environment.

Social Behaviors and Territorial Tendencies

  • Guppies are highly sociable and peaceful fish that thrive in groups. They are not territorial and generally do not show aggression towards other fish. Their vibrant colors and active swimming patterns make them a lively addition to the community tank.
  • Angelfish, on the other hand, are semi-aggressive and can exhibit territorial behavior, especially during breeding. They belong to the cichlid family, known for their complex social interactions and occasional aggression.

Potential Issues

  • Size and Predation: One of the main concerns when keeping these species together is the size difference; adult angelfish can view small guppies, especially the fry, as prey due to their natural predatory instincts.
  • Aggression: During breeding, angelfish become more territorial and may show aggression towards smaller, more passive fish like guppies.

Minimizing Aggression

  • Tank Size: A larger tank (40 gallons or more) provides more space for each species to establish territories, reducing competition and aggression.
  • Tank Layout: Design the aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and visual barriers using plants, rocks, and driftwood. This helps break the line of sight and gives guppies places to retreat if pursued by angelfish.
  • Provide Vertical Space: Angelfish prefer vertical spaces due to their body shape, so include tall plants or decorations to cater to this preference.
  • Group Dynamics: Keeping guppies in groups helps distribute any potential aggression, and maintaining a balanced ratio of angelfish can prevent dominance issues.
Keeping Guppies with Angelfish – Here Is How - "Angel fish 2" by Sivahari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Keeping Guppies with Angelfish – Here Is How – “Angel fish 2” by Sivahari is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Breeding Considerations

Breeding introduces additional challenges, especially with prolific breeders like guppies and the potential for angelfish to eat guppy fry.

Managing Guppy Population

  • Separation: Consider using a breeding box or a separate breeding tank for guppies to control breeding and protect the fry.
  • Population Control: Be prepared to manage the guppy population through rehoming or by providing adequate space to prevent overcrowding.

Protecting Guppy Fry

  • Fry Refuge: Create dense plant areas or use breeding grass where fry can hide. Floating plants also provide shelter for guppy fry at the surface.
  • Separate Care: For optimal survival rates, removing the fry to a separate, species-specific nursery tank until they are large enough not to be considered prey is advisable.

Angelfish Breeding

  • Monitoring: If angelfish begin breeding, monitor their behavior closely. They can become highly territorial and aggressive towards tank mates, including guppies.
  • Breeding Tank: Using a separate tank for breeding angelfish can prevent aggression and protect both the angelfish eggs and fry, as well as the other inhabitants of the community tank.

Successfully keeping guppies with angelfish requires careful planning and monitoring. By addressing their compatibility issues and breeding considerations, aquarists can enjoy the diversity and beauty these species bring to the aquarium while minimizing potential conflicts.


Successfully keeping guppies with angelfish represents a rewarding challenge that requires a thoughtful approach to aquarium management. From ensuring the tank environment meets the needs of both species to providing a balanced diet and managing their social dynamics, the harmony of a mixed-species tank hinges on the aquarist’s dedication to understanding and catering to the diverse needs of these fish. With the right conditions, guppies and angelfish can coexist peacefully, offering aquarists a captivating view into an underwater world of vibrant colors and fascinating behaviors. This guide has outlined the essential steps to achieve this balance, aiming to empower enthusiasts with the knowledge to blend the lively world of guppies with the majestic realm of angelfish in their home aquariums.