Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare) are enchanting creatures that have long captured the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts around the world. With their striking appearance, resembling graceful angels gliding through the water, and intriguing behaviors, they have become a sought-after addition to freshwater tanks. To maintain their health and vibrancy, one must consider an essential question: “What do angelfish eat?” Understanding their dietary needs is crucial to providing a well-balanced and nourishing diet that promotes their overall well-being in the aquarium environment. Let’s explore the various food options that cater to these majestic fish and delve into the benefits of each.

About Angelfish

Angelfish are one of the most popular and iconic freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby. Their elegant appearance, graceful movements, and interesting behaviors make them a favorite among hobbyists worldwide. Let’s delve into their appearance and behavior in the aquarium setting:


Angelfish have a distinct and striking appearance that sets them apart from other freshwater fish. They are known for their triangular-shaped bodies with elongated, pointed dorsal and anal fins, resembling the wings of an angel, which is how they got their name. Their bodies are laterally compressed, giving them a sleek and streamlined appearance.

The most prominent feature of angelfish is their long, flowing fins. The dorsal and anal fins are extended, and their caudal (tail) fin can be either rounded or slightly forked, depending on the variety. Their pectoral fins are relatively large, resembling delicate veils.

In terms of coloration, angelfish display a wide range of patterns and shades. Common color variations include silver, black, white, and various shades of yellow, orange, and red. Their bodies may be adorned with vertical stripes, marbling, or spots, depending on the specific breed or strain.


In the aquarium, angelfish exhibit fascinating behavior that captivates hobbyists. Here are some notable behaviors:

  • Social Structure: Angelfish are generally peaceful when kept in pairs or groups, but they can be territorial and aggressive during breeding or when housed with other fish of similar size and shape. It’s essential to provide them with ample space and suitable tank mates to minimize conflicts.
  • Breeding Rituals: Angelfish are known for their elaborate breeding behaviors. During courtship, the male and female form pairs and engage in intricate dances. They clean flat surfaces (such as broad leaves, rocks, or aquarium glass) to prepare for spawning. Once the eggs are laid, the parents become fiercely protective of the offspring.
  • Vertical Swimming: Angelfish are unique in their swimming behavior, as they prefer to swim vertically, moving up and down the water column. This vertical orientation showcases their majestic fins and enhances their angelic appearance.
  • Intelligence: Angelfish are relatively intelligent for freshwater fish. They can recognize their owners and may even show some degree of responsiveness to their presence outside the tank.
  • Community Tank Compatibility: While angelfish can coexist with other peaceful community fish, certain precautions should be taken to prevent fin nipping. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping species, as their long fins can be tempting targets for some fish.

Angelfish are prized for their stunning appearance and captivating behavior in the aquarium hobby. To ensure their well-being and showcase their natural elegance, it’s essential to provide them with a spacious tank, compatible tank mates, and a varied diet. So, what do angelfish eat?

What Do Angelfish Eat and What Should You Feed Them?

So what do angelfish eat? Angelfish are omnivorous, which means they have a varied diet that includes both plant matter and animal protein. Providing a well-balanced diet is essential for their overall health, growth, and vibrant coloration. Here are some food options and their benefits for feeding angelfish:

Flake or Pellet Food

  • Flake or pellet food specifically formulated for tropical fish is a convenient and widely available option. Look for high-quality fish flakes or pellets that contain a balanced mix of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • These foods usually offer a good source of protein, which is essential for angelfish growth and muscle development. Additionally, they are enriched with vitamins and minerals to support the fish’s overall health and immunity.
  • Feed angelfish flakes or pellets two to three times a day, giving them an amount that they can consume within a few minutes.

Live Foods

  • Live foods are highly nutritious and mimic the natural diet of angelfish in the wild. They can include live brine shrimp, worms, daphnia, and mosquito larvaes.
  • Live foods are rich in essential proteins, fats, and amino acids, promoting excellent growth and breeding condition in angelfish.
  • Offer live foods as a treat or supplement to their staple diet. They can be fed once a day or a few times a week, depending on the availability and your preference.

Frozen Foods

  • Frozen foods, such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, are a convenient alternative to live foods. They are often available in most pet stores and offer similar nutritional benefits.
  • Frozen foods are rich in protein and easy to store. They can be an excellent source of dietary variety and can help maintain the fish’s interest in their food.
  • Feed frozen foods as a supplement to their staple diet, one to two times a week.

Vegetables and Plant Matter

  • Angelfish also benefit from consuming plant matter. You can offer blanched vegetables like spinach, zucchini, peas, or lettuce leaves. These vegetables should be softened by boiling them for a short period before feeding.
  • Plant matter provides fiber and essential vitamins that support the fish’s digestive health and overall well-being.
  • Offer vegetables once or twice a week to complement their protein-rich diet.

Freeze-Dried Foods

  • Freeze-dried foods, such as freeze-dried bloodworms or brine shrimp, can be used occasionally as a treat. They offer the convenience of long shelf life and can be rehydrated easily.
  • While freeze-dried foods retain some nutrients, they may not be as nutritious as live or frozen options. Therefore, use them sparingly and not as the primary food source.

Remember to observe your angelfish while feeding to ensure they consume the food within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and health problems for the fish. Providing a varied diet that includes a mix of high-quality flakes, live or frozen foods, and occasional plant matter will keep your angelfish healthy, active, and displaying their vibrant colors throughout their life in the aquarium.

What Do Angelfish Eat?
What Do Angelfish Eat?

How Often Should You Feed Them?

When you’re asking the question about what do angelfish eat, you should also consider frequency. The frequency of feeding angelfish depends on their age and life stage. Here are some general guidelines for how often to feed them:

Juvenile Angelfish (Up to 3 months old)

  • Juvenile angelfish have fast metabolisms and require more frequent feedings. They should be fed small amounts of food 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Offer them foods appropriate for their size.

Young Angelfish (3 to 6 months old)

  • As angelfish grow and mature, their feeding frequency can be reduced slightly.
  • Feed young angelfish 2 to 3 times a day, providing them with a varied diet

Adult Angelfish (6 months and older)

  • Adult angelfish can be fed 1 to 2 times a day.
  • Continue offering a balanced diet

It’s essential to avoid overfeeding angelfish, as this can lead to health problems and water quality issues in the aquarium. The amount of food you provide in each feeding should be consumed by the fish within a few minutes. If there is excess food left uneaten, it can decompose and negatively impact the water quality.

Observing your angelfish’s behavior can also help determine if they are getting the right amount of food. Healthy angelfish are active, alert, and have a good appetite. If they appear sluggish, show signs of bloating, or have a decreased appetite, it might be an indication of overfeeding or an underlying health issue.

Consistency is crucial in their feeding routine. Try to establish a regular schedule, and if you need to adjust the feeding frequency, do so gradually to allow the fish to acclimate to the changes. Providing a well-balanced diet and proper feeding regimen will contribute to the overall health and longevity of your angelfish in the aquarium.


As omnivores, angelfish have a varied diet that includes both plant matter and animal protein. So, to answer the question “what do angelfish eat?” – they thrive on a balanced diet consisting of high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen options such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and occasionally blanched vegetables. Feeding them 2 to 3 times a day during their juvenile stage and gradually reducing to 1 to 2 feedings daily as they mature will support their health, vibrant coloration, and overall well-being in the aquarium environment. Remember, proper feeding practices and providing a diverse diet contribute to the longevity and enjoyment of these majestic fish in your aquarium.