How Many Angelfish In A 55-Gallon Tank?

How Many Angelfish In A 55-Gallon Tank?7 mins read

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Sydney Perry
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How many angelfish in a 55-gallon tank?
Image from Flickr

If you’re keeping angelfish, you may wonder how many angelfish in a 55 gallon tank is ideal. This is one of the most common tank dimensions, but this species is territorial. Thus, it’s important their habitat reflects this. Furthermore, you may be keeping angelfish for the first time and wondering about habitat.

Angelfish are impressive and majestic fish that come from the Amazon, Orinoco, and other South American rivers. On seeing them, you would be mistaken for thinking they are much larger, especially with their tall and trailing fins. But how many angelfish should be kept together is not just about size, but also about behavior.

This article will go into factors like how many angelfish can you put in a 55 gallon tank (the smallest possible tank) and what else you’ll need to ensure they thrive. So, if you’re hoping to create a habitat that will last for a while, read on.

How Many Angelfish In A 55-Gallon Tank?

The absolute shortest answer to the question of ‘how many angelfish in a 55 gallon tank is ideal?’, is ‘about 5-6’.

This is the optimum angelfish hierarchy number. It creates a stable social group that provides your fish stimuli. however, it isn’t so large that fights can occur over territory. In addition, it’s ideal for the tank’s habitat and filtration.

How Many Angelfish Can You Put In A 55-Gallon Tank At Minimum?

So, most research backs up that the maximum number of angel fish for a 55-gallon (250 liters) tank is 6.

This is a healthy group number although it is a little on the higher side for a tank of this size. Angelfish do need plenty of room to establish a pecking order and nevertheless feel confident in their own territories.

However, what if you want to give your fish plenty of room?

As angelfish are social, how many angelfish should be kept together also depends on a minimum number. For an Angelfish tank, in general, this is about 4.

If lower, the lowest-ranking fish in the hierarchy can get picked on too much. In addition, the fish do not get enough social information, and they may be understimulated.

Don’t be tempted to reduce your number of fish just because you want a smaller tank. 5 is a happy medium number. However, you can raise the tank size to 60 or 65 gallons if you want a group of 6 to thrive.

Common Myths About Angelfish Tank Size

So, if it’s natural to be unsure and ask yourself ‘how many angelfish can you fit in a 55 gallon tank?’, you may also have other questions.

Firstly, there are lots of myths about Angelfish in general. Angelfish are cichlids and people sometimes believe that they are similar to other cichlids like the Oscar fish.

Many cichlids are much bigger, stronger, more active, and predatory. Angelfish do share some qualities with other cichlids. However, they frequently are smaller and relatively – keyword relatively! – peaceful.

Nevertheless, they still need a large enough tank.

Another misconception is that because Angelfish are semi-aggressive, they need to be kept alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Even though they establish a hierarchy and pecking order, this social information is vital to them feeling safe. These social fish sustain a lot of their well-being from the group dynamics. Yes, hierarchies occur, but they also need the closeness of the group to feel safe as this is how they live in the wild. So, as a reminder, here are some optimum tank choice tips for your angelfish habitat.

Angelfish Tank Size Dos And Don’ts

  • DO use a tank that is longer (wider) than it is tall
  • DON’T use a rounded tank
  • DO use lots of decorations, driftwood, and plants to ensure a variety of habitats
  • DON’T forget to add a substrate
  • DO opt for a tank slightly on the larger side if in doubt
  • DON’T expect your Angelfish to coexist in a small space

How Many Angelfish In A 75-Gallon Tank?

How many angelfish in a 75-gallon tank?
Thus the ideal number of Angelfish for this tank is from 6-7.

If you’re not happy with the classic 55 gallon aquarium, you may want something larger.

Although 75 gallons may seem like quite a large increase in tank capacity, it’s always better to space fish out. The question of how many angelfish in a 75 gallon tank is optimum concerns similar factors to a smaller aquarium. The ideal number of Angelfish for this tank is from 6-7.

Remember, a larger school size is only dangerous when it exceeds the tank capacity. However, bear in mind that whenever you add an extra Angelfish, the tank hierarchy becomes more complicated.

Therefore, the greater the ratio of space to fish, the better. This means hierarchical disputes are less likely to break out, and fish can establish a harmonious equilibrium.

Can Angelfish Live In A Larger Community Tank?

Angelfish can indeed live in a larger community tank, but it depends on what else you are housing in that tank. Angelfish come from the Amazon. An Amazonian ecosystem is a great community tank for angelfish and other Amazonian fish!

These can include small Tetras, Pleco Fish and similar bottom dwellers. These are great if you want to add an Algae Eater to your tank.

How to keep Angelfish in a larger community tank:

With added fish, you will have to calculate the extra water you need. This should account for the needs of the other fish, too.

For example, add an extra 30 gallons (114 liters) if you plan to keep a pleco. Pleco fish need to live in a tank that is a minimum of 30 gallons. So if you’re making a larger community tank, the answer to ‘how many angelfish in a 75 gallon tank’ must also account for bottom feeder tankmates.

How Many Angelfish Should Be Kept Together For Breeding Purposes?

How many angelfish should be kept together for breeding purposes?
Angelfish breeders include anything from 4 to 6 fish in their breeding tank in the hopes of finding a matching pair.

Aside from a larger community aquarium, the other environment where you may wonder how many angelfish should be kept together in a breeding tank. You would be correct to think this environment has different requirements!

It’s very hard to tell the sex of Angelfish. So when you wish to breed them you will need to put a group together.

Most Angelfish breeders include anything from 4 to 6 fish in their breeding tank. This gives the best hope of finding a matching pair. This is the optimum number both for breeding and to account for aggression. However, how many fish should be kept together does depend on tank size still. So if you have a smaller tank, play it safe and go for 4.

Fish in general can have a huge number of fry at any one time. Remember, if you include too many fish in your breeding tank, you may end up with more fry than you expected!

Can Male And Female Angelfish Coexist?

The short answer to this is yes. Not only can male and female Angelfish coexist, but generally most Angelfish tanks will have a mixture of both. This is simply due to how difficult it is to sex Angelfish. You will probably find that you cannot tell at first which are male and which are female.

Therefore, you end up keeping a mixture of males and females together. An unexpected side effect of this is that you may eventually see pairs form. You can spot courting Angelfish, in fact, by the fact they will be locking lips and chasing each other.

How Do You Set Up An Angelfish Tank?

How do you set up an angelfish tank?
You may also wish to add some tank mates. If so, you can increase the tank size to around 65 gallons (295 liters) or 75 gallons (340 liters)

Now you’ve chosen your group size, it’s time to set up an Angelfish tank. Essentially you need to allow plants and other parts of the habitat to establish first. Angelfish come from soft, acidic waters that are rich in nutrients and thus they don’t do well in a barren tank.

Some tips for 55 – 75 gallon Angelfish tank setup:

Instead, using specialist aquatic soil and planting this with live plants before covering it with your substrate of choice will allow these plants to establish and contribute to the microscopic tank ecosystem. They also do best at a temperature of roughly 76 to 82 F (25-28 C).

You may also wish to add some tank mates. If so, you can increase the tank size to around 65 gallons (295 liters) or 75 gallons (340 liters) if you want to add a small school of Tetras, Rasboras, or other tankmates. In general with these small fish, one gallon per fish is a good rule of thumb. Alternatively, for larger tankmates, you can calculate the minimum tank capacity for them and factor this into your initial tank setup.

What Is The Smallest Tank Size For Angelfish?

The absolute minimum size for an Angelfish tank would be around 50 gallons (227 liters) for a group of four, although this is not recommended, it is merely doable. It is always better to opt for a richer, more stimulating environment. How many angelfish should be kept together will depend on this too, as bored fish are more likely to respond to overcrowding with stress.

Having a smaller tank can be detrimental to lower-ranking Angelfish. Science has found that subordinate members, when environmental conditions are stressed, tend to feed less than higher-ranking members. So, if you want all your fish to be well-fed, ensure you have a spacious tank and a rich environment for them.

How Does Angelfish Social Hierarchy Work?

Angelfish social hierarchy work
Angelfish choose their positions in the hierarchy based on factors like strength, speed, and size.

Caring for Angelfish is impossible without understanding their social hierarchy. How many angelfish can you put in a 55 gallon tank without hierarchal disputes? The answer depends on lots of factors. Angelfish choose their positions in the hierarchy based on factors like strength, speed, and size. In addition, they feel safest when they understand the hierarchy and their place in it. Subordinate fish, for example, tend to spend more time in the company of subordinates.

However, even though this may sound unpleasant, consequences only break out in overcrowded and poor water conditions. This can look like Angelfish fighting, nipping fins, and chasing each other.

What does aggression look like in a 55 gallon angelfish tank?

How do you tell this from healthy hierarchical behavior? You will notice that in a tank that has enough space is one where all fish are confident. Therefore, how many angelfish you can put in a 55 gallon tank also depends on if the tank is enriched and there are many separate territories. In these environments, chasing behavior rarely escalates. Instead, it will be in response to distinct stimuli. These can include fish pushing to get food, establishing themselves in the hierarchy.

Simply add more food to a different part of the tank to ensure all fish get fed. You will also see fish establish territories. For example, Angelfish are very individual and one may prefer to be near a particular set of plants. So long as there is no excessive chasing, your fish will be fine with a small amount of hierarchical behavior.

Are Angelfish Schooling Fish?

Angelfish are group fish and do often hang out in a shoal, but they are not schooling fish in the way Danios, or Tetras are. Generally, how many angelfish in a 55 gallon tank is ideal should be calculated to accommodate diverse shoaling.

Schooling refers to all fish swimming in unison in the same direction. Shoaling is a much looser term and refers to when fish swim together. Angelfish really need this social group. However, depending on the shape of your tank, you may also see them swimming in a line.

Can Angelfish and Discus Fish be kept together?

Did you know Angelfish can happily coexist with Discus Fish? Angelfish and Discus Fish are both types of cichlid. Discus fish are known for being peaceful, timid, and sensitive, whilst Angelfish are known for being semi-aggressive. So how can the two possibly coexist?

Fortunately, this is possible, but only in a large enough tank, and how many angelfish in a 55 gallon tank can work does depend on other tankmates. Unfortunately, a 55 gallon tank pretty much rules out discus fish. But how many angelfish in a 75 gallon tank is ideal can vary, and can potentially include discus.

With they have sufficient space, both types of fish keep themselves to themselves. That’s why it’s possible to keep the two together. In fact, it’s a very logical pairing if you want a large Amazonian ecosystem.

Likewise, you can keep some smaller Amazonian cichlids with them such as the Electric Blue Ram Cichlid. The fish that it’s best to avoid are larger predatory Cichlids like the Oscar and Jack Dempsey. These can easily bully, harass, and even feed on your Angelfish.

How Do You Acclimatize Angelfish To Their New Tank?

After you have established the tank and let the filter run for a few wells or even up to a month to allow bacteria to colonize the filter, you can add your fish. This is often a time of increased aggression, as the hierarchy is still forming. 

You will most likely bring them home in a plastic bag, so all you need to do is float this on the top of the tank until the water temperature inside and outside the bag is the same – this part normally takes about an hour.

Then, you can allow your fish to swim out of the bag by opening it and creating a big enough gap.

This is much gentler on your fish than opening the bag and pouring them in. NEVER allow your fish to feel a temperature shock or receive too much stress. It’s unfortunate, but many fish can even die from this.

After all your fish have swum out, remove the plastic bag.

  • Overcrowding And Disease

One reason it’s important to prevent overcrowding is because it stresses the fish. This can in turn make them more susceptible to disease. Stress can be both behavioral and physical. However, studies have found for many fish that stress makes them more vulnerable to a whole host of diseases. In terms of this, how many angelfish can you put in a 55 gallon tank does depend on how clean you keep it too.

How Can I Tell My Angelfish Have Formed A Stable Group?

Apart from hierarchical behavior, how can you tell that your fish are happy, confident, and have formed a stable group?

One of the best signs to look out for is that they are swimming after each other. You will often see Angelfish swimming in a line occasionally. Another favorite pastime is drifting in a group between plants, driftwood, and other tank decorations. This shows they feel calm and at ease. However, social hierarchy can change, especially after significant environmental changes such as movement to a new tank.

In addition, observe your fish’s behavior at feeding time. If there is minimal competition for food, rest assured that the group is settled in. Some competition can be natural. However, too much, and it may be that your fish have not yet acclimatized themselves. If it lasts even longer, you have a bullying issue on your hands…

Bottom Line

Female Angelfish
Building and establishing a successful community tank is about much more than just the specific tried and tested quantities of fish, although these are important. Image from Flickr

Building and establishing a successful community tank is about much more than just the specific tried and tested quantities of fish. Furthermore, how many angelfish in a 55 gallon tank is ideal refers to many setups, no tank is the same, and there are lots of variants. However, this article should have told you some of the most common ones.

Fish keeping is not linear. Instead, it is about understanding all your fish’s unique needs and environments as well as how they interact. This is so your Angelfish can live successfully together – and with other tankmates, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my Angelfish tank is overcrowded?
One of the best ways of telling whether your Angelfish tank is overcrowded is whether there are any significant conflicts between your fish. If you see fish chasing each other in a way that looks like harassment and does not stop, this is a really good sign your tank is overcrowded. However, cloudy water and fish getting sick can be another sign of overcrowding. This can cause dangerous pollutants like nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia to build up in the tank. Another sign things are not right can be color change in your Angelfish In this instance, it’s best to upgrade to a larger tank as soon as you.
How many gallons of water per Angelfish is ideal?
Ideally, anything between 10-12 gallons (approx 38 liters) of water is ideal per Angelfish. This is how a tank of 55 gallons is calculated to hold approximately 5 Angelfish. Remember that more is generally better (within reason). Thus, although such a tank theoretically holds 6 fish, this means there is less water per individual Angelfish.
How much does it cost to set up an Angelfish community tank?
Considering that a basic 55-gallon aquarium itself can cost up to 200 USD, setting up an Angelfish community aquarium can easily reach over 500 USD once you factor in fish, plants, gravel, filtration, plants, and other decor, depending on how extravagantly you wish to decorate it. As a result, it’s best to plan in advance.
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Sydney Perry

Sydney Perry has loved fish since she was a child and has enjoyed keeping many varieties over the years, ranging from black moors and shubunkins to betta fish. As a lover of nature and of Japanese culture, her dream tank is an Iwagumi aquascape, combining fish with carefully crafted aquatic landscapes in miniature.