Can Angelfish and Goldfish Live Together?7 mins read

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Sydney Perry
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Can angelfish and goldfish live together?
Image from Flickr

Goldfish, especially ornamental Goldfish, and Angelfish have an exotic and sophisticated elegance in their physical appeal, with a peaceful, social, and friendly nature that so many new aquarists find extremely attractive and bold.

Though it may be ever so tempting to house these two species together for their exquisite beauty and similar temperaments, there is much to be discovered regarding their care requirements, and nature to fully comprehend their compatibility as tank mates. Thus, to begin, it is crucial to get to know each species independently and to note that they are from different fish families and have very different origins that have a substantial impact on whether or not they can be housed together.

Angelfish And Goldfish Species Information


Angelfish Species Information
The Angelfish (Pterophyllum), is a freshwater fish that forms part of the Cichlidae aquarium fish species, a species well-known in the aquarium trade. Image from Flickr

The Angelfish (Pterophyllum), is a freshwater fish that forms part of the Cichlidae aquarium fish species, a species well-known in the aquarium trade. Originating from the tropical basin and rivers in South America it consists of three captive-bred species, Pterophyllum Altum, Pterophyllum Leopoldi, and the most popular, Pterophyllum Scalare.

The Angelfish has a laterally compressed body shape, and elongated, triangular-shaped dorsal and anal fins, pertaining to its angelic appeal. Naturally, Angelfish have a silvery color with vertical stripes, though with selective breeding many color species are available today.

The most common species in the aquarium trade are;

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Zebra Striped
  • Black Lace
  • Smokey dark brown and black
  • Half Black and Half Silver
  • Sunset Blush with a striped and stripeless gene
  • Koi with multiple colors
  • Leopard with spots
  • Blue Blush
  • Marbled Silver, Black, or Gold
  • The ghost that is silver and stripeless
  • Black Hybrids
  • Pearlscales with iridescent scales
  • Dark Ghost Black
  • Albino with no dark pigments

Angelfish have a general size of around 6 – 8 Inches (15 – 21 cm), and with proper care a 12-year lifespan in captivity, and 15 years in their natural habitat.


Goldfish Species Information
Goldfish, scientifically referred to as (Carassius Auratus), are from the Cyprinidae family, and one of the most popular aquarium and pond fish species in the trade.

Goldfish, scientifically referred to as (Carassius auratus), are from the Cyprinidae family, and one of the most popular aquarium and pond fish species in the trade. Goldfish originate from Asia where they were initially basic silver Carp species that tended to produce orange, red, or yellow color mutations initially. However selective breeding has led to many different species and color variants usually divided into Common Goldfish, and Ornamental or Fancy Goldfish.

The Common Goldfish consists of three species, the Common Wild Goldfish, Comets, and Shubunkin. Common Goldfish generally have a more elongated and slightly compressed body shape with shorter fins. In comparison, Ornamental Goldfish are rounder and fuller in shape, with longer flowing fins and tails, they are also slightly more sensitive and fragile than Common Goldfish species. There are over 100 species of Ornamental Goldfish in different shapes, sizes, and colors.

Depending on the type of Goldfish, their size will typically be between 4.7 inches (12 cm) and 8.7 inches (22 cm), with larger sizes of 16 inches (41 cm) recorded. Goldfish have a lifespan of between 5 and 15 years which will similarly depend on the species of Goldfish.

A few interesting facts about Goldfish;

  1. They are very intelligent and sociable, and similar can be tamed to a certain degree.
  2. Goldfish have a memory span of over three months.
  3. They can recognize faces and can see four basic primary colors.
  4. Goldfish equally have excellent hearing capabilities.
  5. They are one of the most studied fish species in terms of their Vision and Hearing.

Care Requirements For Goldfish And Angelfish

To better understand the compatibility between Angelfish and Goldfish it is vital to know what their individual needs are.


A tank of around 20 – 30 gallons should suffice for one or two Goldfish to be able to grow to a mature size.

Starting with Goldfish, are hardy aquarium and pond fish, known to be tolerant and prefer cooler water temperatures. They are generally very easy to care for and ideal for beginners, with little fuss, except for some ornamental Goldfish species that are more sensitive. Goldfish are relatively large and will grow to their full size if provided with enough space. According to studies a Goldfish will only grow as much as the size of its environment allows, and Goldfish kept in small aquariums will stay smaller, though it is not recommended.

  • Aquarium – Goldfish do not need to be kept in groups though they do enjoy the company of other Goldfish. A tank of around 20 – 30 gallons should suffice for one or two Goldfish to be able to grow to a mature size. Water temperatures of between 65 to 75 °F (18 to 24 °C) are preferable for a thriving Goldfish, with pH levels of between 6.5 to 8.0. Goldfish can be kept in a pond or unheated aquariums given that the temperature does not drop below these parameters. In an aquarium, a fine or medium gravel or sandy substrate is ideal, with rocks, caves, PVC Pipes, and other types of décors as hiding spots and enrichment. Synthetic or live plants are ideal. More robust Live plants are suitable for Goldfish that may tend to occasionally snack on plants. Keep in mind Goldfish produce plenty of waste, and for such reasons need a good filter that has a moderate current.
  • Feeding – Naturally an Omnivore Goldfish feeds on both plant and meat-based foods. A healthy diet will include quality fish flakes or pellets, blanched green vegetables, and proteins such as blood worms, brine shrimp, or insect larvae. Goldfish are prone to digestive issues as they age so try to include foods lower in proteins, starch, and sugars.
  • Temperament – The Goldfish is known to be a very social, intelligent, and friendly fish, becoming relatively tame, and taking an interest in their human companions. However, they are prone to becoming territorial during spawning season and tend to nip at other fish with long-flowing fins.
  • Breeding – Not to go into too much detail, but with proper nutrition and water parameters Goldfish will mature and easily breed in your tank. They are not the best parents and will resort to eating their own young, thus breeding Goldfish is a delicate, and labor-intensive endeavor, only to be attempted with knowledge and understanding.


Are freshwater angelfish easy to keep?
Angelfish requires a bare minimum of 30 gallons in tank size per single fish, with 20 gallons extra per additional Angelfish.

In contrast to Goldfish, angelfish are likewise hardy and very easy to keep, though they do need higher, more tropical climates to thrive in.

  • Aquarium – Angelfish requires a bare minimum of 30 gallons in tank size per single fish, with 20 gallons extra per additional Angelfish. They thrive in a well-planted tank with open space and more filtered light and need a clear indication of day and night. Water temperatures of between 26 to 30 degrees Celsius (75 – 86 Fahrenheit) are essential and a pH ranging between 6.0 and 7.5 is ideal. As they do not produce as much waste, a hang-on back filter is sufficient, with a lighter current. As Angelfish do forage on the bottom of their tanks, a smoother, medium-sized gravel is essential as substrate. Generally, a lush and more natural tank environment with live plants and a few hiding spots is preferred, as there are enough open areas for swimming. When choosing décor and plants it is vital to ensure that they have no sharp edges or rough surfaces, as Angelfish may easily suffer physical damage.
  • Feeding – Though said to be omnivores, it has been observed that Angelfish do prefer more protein-rich foods. They tend to feed from all areas, top, bottom, and center of the tank, and they similarly require fiber in their diet to prevent digestive upsets. A balanced diet of quality flakes or pellets, blanched vegetables, and proteins including bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, ground beef liver, and insect larvae is ideal. Algae wafers are similarly an essential snack.
  • Temperament – With their elegant and peaceful demeanor, Angelfish are still a part of the cichlid family that has a reputation for showing slight aggression. Angelfish are notorious for eating smaller fish, and anything alive that will fit in their mouth. They can become territorial during breeding season, though for the most part, they are known to be peaceful and friendly.
  • Breeding – In comparison to Goldfish, Angelfish are nurturing parents that will take care of their eggs and young, except for new and more anxious parents that may on occasion eat their eggs or young. Angelfish select a single mate to pair off from a social group and claim a territory that they will protect aggressively if needed to lay their eggs and care for their fry.

An important factor about both Angelfish and Goldfish that was not mentioned is feeding amounts. Goldfish will overeat and become bloated, whereas excess Angelfish food may cause waste in your tank, thus it is vital only to feed enough for them to eat within 2 – 3 minutes, twice a day.

Common Health Issues Found In Angelfish And Goldfish

In terms of common health conditions, Common Gold fish tend to be more resilient than Ornamental Goldfish, and Angelfish, though they are mostly all prone to the following typical health issues;

  • Fin Rot – As a result of an injury or Ammonia burns fish may get an infection known as fin rot that spreads throughout the fins and eventually the body. Fin Rot is treated by separating the ill fish into a clean water tank and using an antifungal or antibacterial solution.
  • Ich – A parasite that causes white spots on your fish, especially the gills, also known as White Spot disease. It is common in poor water conditions and fish under stress. Ich is treated by improving water conditions and separating the sick fish, as it is contagious.
  • Swim Bladder Infection / Dropsy – If noticed that a fish struggles to stay upright or swim it may have an infection in the swim bladder (organ helping fish float), which can either be fungal or bacterial. Depending on the infection it can be treated with antibiotics and quarantine in pristine water conditions, with proper nutrition.
  • Digestive Issues – Angelfish need fiber in their diet to help with digestion. Both Angelfish and Goldfish are prone to digestive issues such as bloating and irritable bowels, thus a proper diet is advised, with adequate fiber.

Can Goldfish And Angelfish Live Together

Can goldfish and angelfish live together
Angelfish require much warmer water temperatures than Goldfish

As noticed throughout many platforms Goldfish and Angelfish alike are the two most favored freshwater fish species chosen by both beginners and more advanced aquarists. They have a general pleasant nature and attractive appearance that makes them interesting, and aesthetically pleasing to keep.

Regarding the species and care information that has been mentioned, it is clear that Goldfish and Angelfish come from different regions, and have vastly different water parameter requirements, even though in a few aspects they are similar.

With that said, it is NOT recommended to keep Goldfish and Angelfish in the same aquarium because of the following reasons;

  • Temperament – Goldfish enjoy the company of other Goldfish, though they are not schooling fish whereas Angelfish prefer to be kept in groups that will pair off as adults. Both Angelfish and Goldfish are peaceful in general, though Angelfish become very territorial when breeding. Goldfish are similarly prone to eating smaller fish and will have no trouble eating smaller Angelfish, or Angelfish fry.
  • Aquarium Conditions – Angelfish require much warmer water temperatures than Goldfish, and if kept together either the Goldfish or the Angelfish will be in sub-par water temperatures, causing illness and in some cases death. On the other hand, they can tolerate similar pH levels. Angelfish prefer a well-planted aquarium with much vegetation and preferably indirect and filtered light, whereas Goldfish enjoy more open spaces and light.
  • Tank Size – Generally Goldfish need a much larger tank than Angelfish, and can survive in outdoor ponds. Angelfish can never survive in an outdoor pond.
  • Tank Maintenance – Goldfish produce enormous amounts of waste in comparison to Angelfish. Angelfish are extremely sensitive to dirty water conditions and may not be able to handle the strong currents of a powerful filtration system as required by Common Goldfish.
  • Diet – Goldfish are generally more prone to digestive issues than Angelfish, and Angelfish need a higher protein-based diet, which can be problematic during feeding time. On the other hand, they are both omnivores with similar dietary requirements.

Thus, as can be seen throughout many studies and attempts at housing Angelfish and Goldfish together, one of the greatest issues is water temperatures, and water conditions which will affect either one of the species negatively.

How Can I Keep Goldfish With Angelfish?

In theory, there have been emergencies noted where Goldfish and Angelfish need to be kept together, though this arrangement is only temporary and never a permanent solution.

If necessary, you can follow these steps to safely house Angelfish and Goldfish together for a short period;

  1. The temperatures of the tank should be maintained at the lowest possible, tolerable temperature for Angelfish, which is between 20° C to 24° C (68° F to 74° F).
  2. Try to keep Goldfish with a group of Angelfish as Angelfish become territorial when breeding.
  3. Feed Goldfish and Angelfish in separate areas of the tank as Goldfish can be overeager during feeding time.
  4. Try to feed Angelfish in the mid-section of the tank and Goldfish on the surface.
  5. Keeping small young Angelfish with larger Goldfish, or small young Goldfish with Large adult Angelfish is ill-advised, as both species may resort to eating smaller fish.

Best Tank Mates For Angelfish And Goldfish

Concluding from the information and resources gathered so far, it is imminent that Goldfish and Angelfish do not make suitable tank mates, and should rather not be housed together. There are a few much better options in tank companions for both Goldfish and Angelfish, that will thrive together;

Compatible Tank Mates for Goldfish

Compatible tank mates for goldfish (Rosy Barbs)
Rosy barbs are cute little fish that shoal together quite well. Image from Flickr

After quite a few studies have been performed regarding Goldfish species compatibility with other fish species, it has been established that the best tank companion for a Goldfish is another Goldfish. Keep in mind that it is advised to keep Common goldfish species together, and not with Ornamental Goldfish species, as they are much more fragile and have long flowing fins that can be inviting to Common Goldfish. Regardless, there are still a few other species that can thrive in the same environment as Goldfish;

  • Rosy Barbs.
  • Giant Danios.
  • Banded Corydoras.
  • Hillstream Loaches.
  • Larger Snail Species.

Compatible Tank Mates For Angelfish

Like Goldfish Angelfish are social and tend to shoal, thus similar peaceful fish species can be kept with Angelfish. It is however vital that you stick to non-aggressive species and small slow species that may become prey to Angelfish. Angelfish mostly become aggressive and territorial when breeding, and changing around a few things in your tank will ideally calm down the situation.

A few good tank mates include;

  • Bottom feeding Corydoras Catfish or Plecos.
  • Harlequin rasboras.
  • Neon Tetras.
  • Cherry Barbs.

To Conclude

It is evident that though Angelfish and Goldfish could essentially survive together, one or the other will not thrive, and can become stressed or ill. Water temperatures are one of the main factors as to why Angelfish and Goldfish are not compatible tank mates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are my Angelfish Kissing or Fighting?
“Kissing” is pecking behavior usually seen between two males establishing dominance. In the case of a pair, there will be more gills flaring, and the male will nip at her gills and not her mouth.
What Does Tail Slapping Mean?
Tail slapping is a sign of aggression rather than wanting to mate. Usually, a  male and female pair will perform a slight bow when they are flirting with each other, rather than tail slapping.
Are Angelfish Aggressive Towards Discus Fish?
Angelfish are generally peaceful; however, they can become especially aggressive when breeding or during feeding time and may tend to pick on Discus fish.
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