Marble Angelfish – All You Need To Know - "Marble angelfish (Pterophyllum)" by Mr.Angelfish is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Marble Angelfish – All You Need To Know - "Marble angelfish (Pterophyllum)" by Mr.Angelfish is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Introduction to Marble Angelfish

Marble angelfish, scientifically known as Pterophyllum scalare, are captivating freshwater fish that have captured the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts around the world. These graceful creatures are cherished for their striking appearance and elegant demeanor, making them a highly sought-after addition to home aquariums. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of marble angelfish, exploring their physical characteristics, habitat, care requirements, and more, to help you better understand and appreciate these aquatic gems.

Physical Characteristics

Marble angelfish are renowned for their distinctive and enchanting marbled coloration, which lends them their name. Their body shape is truly one of elegance, with elongated, laterally compressed bodies that give them a graceful and almost angelic appearance. Here are some key physical features of marble angelfish:

  • Marbled Patterns: The most prominent feature of marble angelfish is their marbled or variegated coloration. The marbling can vary widely, with combinations of black (for example black marble angelfish), silver, white, and even hints of yellow, orange and gold (the gold marble angelfish), creating unique and intricate patterns that make each individual fish one-of-a-kind.
  • Dorsal and Anal Fins: Marble angelfish possess long, flowing dorsal and anal fins that gracefully extend from their bodies. These fins add to their aesthetic appeal and are often characterized by streaks or patterns that complement their marbled coloring.
  • Size: These fish can reach an adult size of around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters), making them suitable for moderately sized aquariums.
  • Body Shape: Their body shape is flattened laterally, with a dorsal and ventral fin that gives them an overall triangular outline.
  • Long Fins: The elongated, trailing dorsal and anal fins give them an almost ethereal appearance as they gracefully glide through the water.

Marble angelfish’s unique combination of marbled patterns and graceful physique makes them a striking addition to any aquarium, and their behavior and care requirements make them an interesting and rewarding species to keep and observe. In the following sections of this article, we will further explore their care guidelines, feeding, and other aspects that contribute to their popularity in the aquarium hobby.

Aquarium Setup for Marble Angelfish

Creating an appropriate and comfortable environment for marble angelfish in your aquarium is crucial for their well-being. These fish thrive when their habitat closely resembles their natural surroundings in the Amazon River basin. Here are some essential guidelines for setting up a suitable aquarium for marble angelfish:

  • Tank Size: A spacious tank is essential for marble angelfish due to their graceful and elongated bodies. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons (120 liters) is recommended for a small group of angelfish, but a larger tank is preferable. The extra space provides them with ample room to swim and establish territories.
  • Water Quality: Water quality is paramount for the health of your marble angelfish. Keep the following parameters in mind:
  • pH Level: Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral pH level between 6.5 and 7.0 to mimic their natural habitat.
  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature within the range of 78-82°F (25-28°C) to replicate the warm waters of the Amazon.
  • Filtration: Invest in a reliable filtration system to keep the water clean and maintain stable water conditions. Canister filters or sponge filters work well.
  • Substrate and Decor: Marble angelfish will appreciate a natural-looking substrate and decor. Consider the following:
  • Substrate: Use fine-grained sand or smooth gravel as the substrate, as this closely resembles the riverbeds they inhabit in the wild.
  • Plants: Incorporate live plants such as Amazon sword, Java fern, and Anubias. These plants provide hiding places and create a lush, natural environment.
  • Driftwood and Rocks: Arrange pieces of driftwood and smooth river rocks to mimic their native environment. These also offer shelter and territorial boundaries.
    • Lighting: Provide moderate lighting to support the growth of live plants and create a comfortable, well-illuminated space for your angelfish.
  • Tank Mates: Choose tank mates carefully, as marble angelfish can be territorial and may show aggression toward smaller fish. Consider compatible species like tetras, gouramis, and corydoras catfish.
  • Maintenance: Regular water changes are essential to maintain water quality. Perform water tests to ensure that pH, temperature, and water hardness remain within the recommended ranges.
  • Breeding Conditions: If you plan to breed marble angelfish, provide flat surfaces, such as broad leaves or a vertical breeding slate, for them to lay their eggs on. Adjust the tank conditions, including temperature and water quality, to induce breeding behavior.

Mimicking the natural habitat of marble angelfish in your aquarium not only ensures their well-being but also allows you to observe their natural behaviors and vibrant colors. Providing a spacious, well-maintained tank with appropriate water conditions and decor will help your marble angelfish thrive and flourish in captivity.

Diet and Feeding

Feeding marble angelfish a well-balanced diet is crucial to their overall health, coloration, and vitality. In the wild, they are omnivorous, consuming a variety of foods. To ensure their well-being in your aquarium, consider the following dietary guidelines:

  • High-Quality Flakes and Pellets: A high-quality flake or pellet food formulated for freshwater tropical fish is a good staple diet for marble angelfish. Look for options that are specifically designed to meet the dietary needs of angelfish.
  • Live and Frozen Foods: To mimic their natural diet and promote optimal health, offer live and frozen foods as supplements. Suitable options include:
  • Brine shrimp: A favorite among angelfish, brine shrimp is an excellent source of protein.
  • Bloodworms: These are a nutritious and protein-rich choice.
  • Daphnia: Small crustaceans like daphnia provide variety and essential nutrients.
  • Tubifex worms: These can be fed occasionally, but be cautious about the source and quality to avoid introducing diseases to your tank.
  • Vegetable Matter: While marble angelfish are primarily carnivorous, they will benefit from occasional vegetable matter in their diet. Offer blanched vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, or spinach. This provides essential fiber and nutrients.
  • Feeding Frequency: Feed your marble angelfish 2-3 times a day, but be mindful not to overfeed. Offer an amount of food that they can consume within 2-3 minutes per feeding. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and obesity.
  • Observational Feeding: Pay attention to your fish’s feeding behavior. If they appear uninterested in a particular food, try different options to provide variety and ensure they get the necessary nutrients.
  • Breeding Diet: If you plan to breed marble angelfish, consider enhancing their diet with more protein-rich foods in the weeks leading up to breeding. This can help condition them for successful reproduction.
  • Water Quality and Feeding: Maintain proper water quality as poor water conditions can affect the appetite and overall health of your angelfish.

Remember that the dietary requirements of marble angelfish may vary from one individual to another. Some fish may prefer certain types of food over others. By offering a diverse and balanced diet, you can ensure that your angelfish receive all the essential nutrients they need for optimal growth, vibrant coloration, and overall well-being. Regular observation and attention to their specific preferences will help you provide the best diet for your marble angelfish.

Marble Angelfish – All You Need To Know - "Marble angelfish (Pterophyllum)" by Mr.Angelfish is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Marble Angelfish – All You Need To Know – “Marble angelfish (Pterophyllum)” by Mr.Angelfish is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.


Selecting compatible tankmates for your marble angelfish is essential to maintain a peaceful and harmonious aquarium environment. Marble angelfish are generally peaceful but can become territorial, especially when breeding. Here are some compatible tankmate options:

  • Tetras: Many tetra species, such as neon tetras, cardinal tetras, and rummy-nose tetras, are excellent companions for marble angelfish. They are small, peaceful, and add a lively schooling dynamic to the aquarium.
  • Corydoras Catfish: Corydoras catfish, like the bronze corydoras or panda corydoras, are peaceful bottom-dwellers that get along well with marble angelfish. They also help keep the substrate clean.
  • Gouramis: Some gourami species, like the honey gourami or pearl gourami, can coexist peacefully with angelfish. Be cautious with larger gouramis, as they may become territorial.
  • Discus Fish: Discus fish share similar water parameter requirements with angelfish and are often considered compatible tankmates. They add to the visual appeal of the tank with their vibrant colors.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Dwarf cichlids, such as ram cichlids, can coexist with angelfish if there is enough space and hiding spots. However, monitor for territorial behavior.
  • Peaceful Community Fish: Peaceful community fish like rasboras and hatchetfish can make good tankmates. Their non-aggressive nature complements the temperament of marble angelfish.
  • Snails and Shrimp: Snails and shrimp, like nerite snails or Amano shrimp, can be introduced for their algae-eating abilities and to create a diverse ecosystem within the tank.
  • Avoid Aggressive or Territorial Fish: Steer clear of aggressive or highly territorial fish, as they may provoke your angelfish. Some examples include large cichlids, aggressive barbs, or fin-nipping species like tiger barbs.
  • Breeding Considerations: Keep in mind that marble angelfish can display territorial behavior during breeding. During this time, it’s advisable to separate them from other tankmates to prevent aggression.
  • Tank Size: Ensure your aquarium is of adequate size to accommodate both your angelfish and their tankmates. Having sufficient space can help reduce territorial conflicts.

When introducing new tankmates, closely monitor their interactions and be prepared to separate any fish that display aggression. Providing plenty of hiding spots, plants, and decor can help reduce stress and competition for territories. A well-thought-out community of compatible tankmates will create a visually appealing and harmonious aquarium for your marble angelfish.


In the world of aquarium keeping, marble angelfish, with their mesmerizing marbled patterns and graceful presence, stand out as a favorite among enthusiasts. These captivating fish, scientifically known as Pterophyllum scalare, offer a delightful and rewarding experience for aquarists who appreciate their beauty and intriguing behaviors.

Creating a suitable environment for your marble angelfish is essential to ensure their well-being. By mimicking their natural habitat with a spacious tank, the right water conditions, and appropriate decor, you can help your angelfish thrive and reveal their full potential. Remember the importance of maintaining stable water quality, as this plays a pivotal role in their health.

When it comes to their diet, offering a balanced selection of high-quality flakes and pellets, along with live and frozen foods, helps keep your angelfish healthy and vibrant. Their omnivorous nature allows for a variety of food choices, but be attentive to their individual preferences and adjust their diet accordingly.

When choosing tankmates for your marble angelfish, opt for peaceful species that share similar water parameters. Tetras, corydoras catfish, gouramis, and other peaceful community fish make excellent companions. Be mindful of potential territorial behavior, especially during breeding, and have a plan in place for separation if necessary.

Ultimately, the world of marble angelfish in your aquarium is a journey filled with beauty, curiosity, and the joy of observing their natural behaviors. As you provide a comfortable and enriching habitat, feed them a well-balanced diet, and select compatible tankmates, you’ll create an aquatic world that showcases the elegance and charm of these remarkable fish. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a newcomer to the hobby, the allure of marble angelfish is sure to captivate your heart and enhance your underwater oasis.