Freshwater Angelfish Fact Sheet

Common Name:

Freshwater Angelfish

Scientific Name:


Wild Status:

Least Concern


Swamps, flooded areas


Peru, Colombia, Brazil


Crevices, burrows

Life Span:

10 years


6 inches long

Cool Facts:

  • Found in the Amazon Rainforest in South America
  • Extremely popular in the pet trade. Very hardy if taken care of correctly.
  • Males and females are not dimorphic, meaning their bodies look almost identical.
  • Are known to be territorial with each other if kept in small spaces.
  • Omnivorous. They will eat other animals such as insect larva, shrimp, and smaller fish. On occasion, they also digest plant matter.
  • Can be found in many different colors in the pet trade.


These fish are distinct and easy to spot in many aquariums located in people's homes, restaurants, and classrooms. Angelfish are taller than they are long, unlike most other fish which have long profiles. These fish can be found in the rainforests of South America, but also live in other nearby areas like rivers and swamps. Typically, angelfish have long stripes going upwards. These patterns help them blend in with the longitudinal plants that surround them. In captivity, they require large tanks as they can grow to be 6 inches long and tend to be territorial, often fighting and injuring each other. pH levels, temperature, and cleanliness must be closely monitored in order to avoid long term health issues. Being from South America, they require warm temperatures of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to their unique looks, interesting colors, and difficulty breeding (due to males and females having very similar bodies), they are not often sold as feeder fish. Because of this, they are only ever seen as pets.

Taxonomic Breakdown:

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Cichliformes Family: Cichlidae Genus: Pterophyllum Species: P. scalare

Conservation & Helping:

This species is not considered endangered and thankfully does well in captivity. Were they to become a protected species, there would be enough in captivity to preserve the species.

For Teachers and Educators


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