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Angelfish are beautiful freshwater and tropical aquarium fish commonly bred in captivity by most aquarists. 

But does that restrict its growth? Here’s where you’ll find the most relevant answer to this question. 

Today, we’ll be highlighting the different types of angelfish, their common (adult) sizes, and minimum aquarium size requirements. We’ll also talk about how they grow in the wild and the common angelfish tank sizes.

Before that, let’s address the elephant in the room: how big do angelfish get? So, dive right in!

Ideally, angelfish can grow up to six inches long, so they should be kept in a fish tank with a capacity of at least 20 gallons. A larger tank offering a larger capacity would be even better. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that this fish species tends to grow taller rather than longer. So, while investing in a fish tank, ensure that it’s more tall than wide. 

That being said, it’s now time we take a deeper dive into the different types of angelfish, their sizes, and the ideal fish tank size for each.

Koi Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Koi Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), usually bred for its mottled black and white color combination. 

How big do koi angelfish get? The adult Koi Angelfish grows up to 6 inches long and 8 inches wide during its lifespan of 10 years.

For it to breed, you’ll need to house a number of freshwater Koi in the same tank. So, it’s better to get a well-planted aquarium having a capacity of at least 30 gallons. This will give them ample space to move around freely in the slightly acidic yet soft water. 

When you notice them pairing up, switch to a tank of 40 gallons for each pair, but for a group, you’ll need a larger aquarium.

Altum Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Altum Angelfish (Pterophyllum altum) is among the largest angelfish species that grows up to 7 inches in length during its lifespan of 10 to 15 years. These fish are very tall, and with their extensive fins, they measure 9 inches in height.

So, to accommodate Altum Angelfish’s size, we’d suggest a 55-gallon fish tank. This will provide your angelfish ample room to swim around freely, but if you’re planning on breeding a pair or group of them, a larger tank of more than 60 gallons would be required.

Coral Beauty Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa) grows up to 4 inches in size, which is among the smallest types of angelfish. That’s why it’s commonly known as the hardiest dwarf marine angelfish.

Now, these fish are easy to care for, but they don’t breed well in captivity. Moreover, despite being peaceful in nature, they tend to get aggressive with other saltwater angelfish when bred in a smaller tank. That’s why it’s advisable to get a large tank of 30 gallons or more for them to thrive.

Bicolor Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Bicolor or Two-Color Angelfish (Centropyge bicolor), known for its yellow and royal blue coloration, is another dwarf angelfish. The Bicolor Angelfish grows up to 6 inches in size and are extremely aggressive, making them difficult to breed in captivity.

You can only keep one fish per tank; if you wish to breed a pair or a community, an extremely large aquarium will be needed. A tank of more than 30 gallons should be ideal for this species; just ensure that it isn’t a reef tank.

Black Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The stunning Black Angelfish breeds well in captivity and the adult can grow up to 6 inches in size with their thin fins extending the length of their body. 

This species is a bit aggressive in temperament, so you’ll need to keep them in a big fish tank. We’d suggest a 30-gallon (minimum) aquarium; the bigger, the better.

Dwarf Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Dwarf Angelfish are mild-tempered, marine fish that can grow up to 4 inches in captivity. They adapt well even with other angelfish species, so you can keep them in the same aquarium.

Just make sure you choose a large fish tank of 55 gallons or more to accommodate and allow them to move around freely.

Emperor Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator), native to the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Austral Islands, and the Pacific Ocean, has an average lifespan of over 20 years. So, you can expect your emperor angelfish to grow up to 12 or 15 inches in captivity. But it’s important to keep them in an extremely large tank with a capacity of around 125 gallons. 

To breed a pair, we’d suggest an aquarium of 180 gallons or more; after all, these fish require plenty of swimming space. You could also include rocks and reefs to provide them with hiding areas.

Flame Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) is among the most popular dwarf angelfish, which grows up to 4 inches in size. For the fish to thrive, you’ll need to keep them in a 30-gallon live rock tank. But if you wish to include corals, you’ll need a 100-gallon tank.

Golden Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

Next, we have another hardy dwarf angelfish commonly known as the Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia). The simple yet stunning fish is fairly small, growing up to only 4 inches in length. 

Even then, you’ll need a 55-gallon tank as they require more space to swim and places to hide. But the good thing is that they are peaceful tank mates, allowing you to breed other angelfish species in the same tank.

Lamarck’s Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

Lamarck’s Angelfish, aka Freckletail Lyretail Angelfish (Genicanthus lamarck) is among the hardy fish species, which can grow up to 10 inches in size. They serve as excellent candidates for reef tanks with a capacity of 100 gallons or more

Moreover, these fish are peaceful tank mates, so they can be bred with other fish types. Just make sure you don’t keep any small fish or docile planktivores, such as flasher wrasses and fire gobies, in the tank as angels tend to chase after them.

Marble Veil Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

The diamond-shaped Marble Veil Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches in length and 8 inches in height. That’s why they need to be kept in tall tanks with a capacity of 30 gallons or more. And if there are two or more of them, you’ll need a larger aquarium. 

Being peaceful tankmates, you can breed these angelfish with other freshwater fish. Just ensure that there are no small fish present in the tank as they tend to eat them.

Platinum Angelfish Size And Ideal Tank Size

Platinum Angelfish (Pterophyllum sp.), originally derived from Golden Angelfish, is selectively bred in aquariums. They can grow up to 6 inches in size when kept in a large 30-gallon tank. 

It’s best to keep them in pairs in small to medium-sized aquariums. However, you can also breed six or more of these fish in larger fish tanks.

You might also be interested in: How Long Do Angelfish Live?

How Big Do Angelfish Get In The Wild

Angelfish are the most popular tropical aquarium fish species native to South America. But when allowed to grow in the wild, rather, their natural habitat in the Amazon River Basin and Orinoco Basin, these fish can grow up to 10 inches long and 12 inches tall (or even bigger). 

The easy availability of natural food sources like brine shrimp, bloodworms, crustaceans, white worms, and insects contribute to the bigger growth. Plus, they get more space to swim around freely in the wild.

Common Angelfish Tank Size

When small, measuring just 1 or 2 inches in size, Angelfish can comfortably live in a 20-gallon tank along with fish of the same or different kind as they aren’t too aggressive. But as they grow, you’ll need to replace it with a 30 to 55-gallon tank, depending on the different kinds of angelfish.

It would be even better if you could get a 75 to 100-gallon tank, especially if you wish to breed a group of six or more common angels. A larger aquarium with a community of angelfish will help them choose their mates.


That brings us to the end of this brief informative guide on angelfish. Like most aquarium fish, the freshwater fish from the Cichlidae family can be bred easily in captivity. But they thrive more in the wild owing to the availability of more open space and natural food.

Even then, they can grow quite tall in a fish tank, provided you meet the minimum tank size requirements for each of its kind. That said, always keep in mind that it’s better to get a large aquarium than a smaller one.

On that note, we’ll take your leave. Just make sure you consider factors like water quality and fish food besides tank size to help your angelfish grow even bigger!

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Jeff Colt

Jeff Colt

Hello, I'm Jeff- an aquarium enthusiast with over 25 years of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish, including koi, goldfish bettas, cichlids and more! For me: Aquariums are like jello - there's always room for more!

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