Angelfish Lifespan – How Long Do They Live For?

Angel Fish Lifespan

Pterophyllum Scalare is one of the most popular freshwater aquariums. These species come from South America and the Amazon River, and they are quite hardy fish and simple to keep in your aquarium, even if you are a beginner.

But how long do angelfish live?

On average, angelfish can live to be ten to twelve years old, and they may endure for much longer in ideal conditions.

This article will give you every tip you need to care for your angelfish and help it live longer.

How Long Do Angelfish Live in the Wild?

In the wild, Angelfish can live for up to 15 years. They have a longer lifespan than captive-bred angels.

This is because the wild angelfish have pure genes in them that help them to live longer.

How Can You Improve Angelfish Life Expectancy?

1. The Right Habitat

Angelfish are native to tropical South America, including much of the Amazon river system.

In the wild, angelfish live in fresh and salty water, frequent dark places with lots of seaweed and coral.

To allow your freshwater angelfish to thrive longer, try to mimic their natural habitats when designing their environment. 

For example, provide them with many places to hide, like caves and overhanging plants. And don’t forget to include some driftwood for them to nibble on too!

2. Choose Breeding Quality Angelfish

Another thing to keep in mind is the genetics of your fish. While you can’t accurately assess angelfish genetics, a few tips can help you choose the best possible breed quality.

After all, if they come from a lousy lineage, they will be more prone to diseases and deformities even if you provide proper angelfish care.

Therefore, if you want your freshwater angelfish to live a long time, purchasing them from reputable dealers or breeders is recommended.

Before buying one, try to do some background research on where your freshwater fish comes from and who the breeder is.

Avoid cheap deals at all costs because they likely have poor genetics that shortens their natural average lifespan.

3. Tank Conditions

Temperature and pH Level

The first thing you need to know about angelfish water parameters is that they live in water that isn’t too cold or warm.

Try to maintain a temperature of 72 °F (22 °C) and keep the water pH level between 7 and 8 with a hardness level of 10–20 °dH.

Tank Size

Angelfish are very active and like to swim a lot, so keep them in a large tank with plenty of room to swim, or they might get stressed and become more aggressive.

As a role of thumb, a single angelfish needs at least 10- 20 gallons. For instance, if you have a pair, the right tank size will be around 30 to 55 gallons.

Water Circulation

All freshwater fish need clean water to live. When you regularly clean their tank, you’re helping reduce the chance of your angelfish getting sick and contracting diseases.

So, it is essential to keep the tank well-filtered because this will ensure proper tank cleaning to help your fish live comfortably.

When it comes to keeping angelfish, the best tank filters would be the hang on the back filter, the basic HOB filter, or the Square Sponge filter.

Remember, Clean Water = Longer Lifespan

Light Requirements

In the wild, angelfish gets about 10 hours of lighting per day, and as we mentioned before, the best way to prolong the angelfish’s lifespan is to imitate its natural habitat.

Creating a dark environment is also essential, especially for the night or nocturnal angelfish.

This will allow your fish to get the right amount of sleep and rest to stay healthy throughout their lifespan.

One good tip is to buy a UV sterilizer if your aquarium doesn’t have enough natural sunlight or you have a smaller tank.

UV sterilizers help remove disease-causing microorganisms from the water and help keep your angel fish healthy and happy.

4. A Quality Angelfish Diet

Your fish is what it eats. As we mentioned earlier, angelfish is more active than the typical saltwater fish.

For this reason, it’s important to provide your tropical fish with high-quality food by feeding them at least twice daily.

Feeding them the right amount will provide them with the nutrition and energy they need to stay healthy and playful.

Brine shrimp is a good example of a highly nutritious food for your Pterophyllum Scalare. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and essential amino acids such as lysine, which are crucial for fish health.

Ensure you feed them a varied diet that includes high-quality live food, pellets, frozen foods, flakes, and frozen treats when the mood strikes.

Additionally, freshwater angelfish naturally love seaweed. In fact, they eat lots of it in the wild.

So if you want to improve your freshwater angelfish diet, supplement their natural diet with dried seaweed sheets.

This is a great way to increase the nutritional value of their food while also giving them something that tastes great.

5. Suitable Tank Mates 

Angelfish is known to be a semi-aggressive fish. For this reason, if you have a community tank, you should look closely at the freshwater angelfish tank mates.

If your community tank contains larger fish or aggressive species, they can bully the angelfish and eat their food.

Additionally, angel fish require adequate swimming space, and crowding the tank with many tank mates will stress them out.

So, if you want your angelfish to live longer, you must choose tank mates who aren’t too aggressive or very large so that they bully your fish and make it unhappy.

6. Monitor for Diseases

As in the case of any pet, your fish require some love and care to keep them disease-free.

Angelfish are prone to many diseases, including:

  • Cloudy eyes
  • Marine velvet
  • White spots
  • Pop Eye
  • Columnaris
  • Hole In The Head
  • Flexibacter

So, if your freshwater angelfish show signs of disease or other physical abnormalities, don’t hesitate to take them out of the tank to get a proper diagnosis by an experienced veterinarian.

Another crucial tip for keeping your angelfish healthy and preventing the spread of diseases is to conduct daily dips on them.

Daily dips for 10 to 20 seconds will help protect your fish from parasites and disease-causing microbes that can shorten their lifespan.

When doing this, it’s essential to use chlorine-free water at room temperature or cooler.

Finally, it’s important to do regular health checkups. And if you are serious about keeping them healthy, you may need to schedule regular visits to the vet and pet store for supplements, medicine, and even special food.

Here is a youtube guide on how to care for your angelfish.

Mistakes That Can Shorten Angelfish Lifespan

1. Your Angelfish Is Lonely

Although angelfish can live alone, they can become depressed quickly when they’re by themselves.

This will lead to a reduced appetite, which can then lead to health problems that will shorten their lifespan.

Therefore, you should keep them with their own kind or at least with a partner. Thus, they’ll feel secure and distressed.

2. Your Tank Is Dirty 

Even though angelfish are relatively tough fish, they’re still sensitive to water quality.

Food leftovers, waste, and uneaten fish food can quickly pollute your tank and create ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to fish, while nitrates can promote the growth of algae.

Also, a dirty tank provides the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow. These bacteria can cause diseases in fish that can be difficult to treat.

3. The Water Flow Is Too Strong 

Angelfish come from South American tropical regions, such as much of the Amazonian river system with quiet, slow-moving water.

As a result, a strong water current will make them become weary quickly, and the powerful flow of water will reduce their lifespan.

4. Aggressive Tank Mates

Keeping angels with large predator fish like Oscars, tiger barbs, and green tiger barbs in the same tank will keep them constantly on edge.

With this constant anxiety and pressure, your angelfish lifespan will become significantly shorter.

5. Not Aerating Your Tank Enough

When the dissolved oxygen in the aquarium water reduces, the fish start to experience breathing problems.

With more fish in the tank, and with less aeration, this problem can start to develop quickly and cause mass fish death.

Diseases That Can Cut Your Angelfish’s Life Short 

1. Dropsy 

Dropsy occurs as a result of an underlying infection, and it’s usually caused by a bacterium that affects the fish’s kidney function, causing fluid to build up inside the body.

Some signs of dropsy are: 

  • Lack of appetite
  • Rapid gill breathing 
  • Scales sticking out 
  • Protruding eyes 
  • Bloated stomach 

2. Ick 

Ick is an infection caused by a protozoan parasite. It appears as tiny white dots scattered over the fish’s body.

This disease is caused by polluted water, and it’s easily spread from one fish to another.

Some of the ick symptoms:

  • White spots across the body 
  • Faded colors 
  • Folded fins 
  • Lack of appetite 
  • Panting 
  • Fish rubbing its body against different surfaces 

3. Hexamita (Hole-in-the-Head Disease)

Hole in the head disease is the most dangerous disease for angels. This disease is caused by parasites that affect the fish’s lateral organ and skin on its face and head.

Some signs of Hexamita are:

  • Appetite loss 
  • Faded colors 
  • Lesions on the head 
  • White, stringy feces 

4. Fin Rot 

Fin rot is caused by a bacterial infection that starts at the base and slowly makes its way to the tips of the fins.

Some signs of fin rot are: 

  • Shredded fins 
  • Strange swimming pattern (in later stages)
  • Milky white blotches 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Did My Angelfish Suddenly Die?

There are many reasons why your angelfish died. It could be because their tank isn’t properly set up for them, they don’t have enough food to eat, their water isn’t properly circulated, or even bad genetics.

Overall, if your angelfish has a shorter lifespan than normal and doesn’t seem sick, it’s most likely due to how they’re cared for.

Before you consider replacing your angelfish with another one, ensure you’re doing everything right.

Start by improving the tank conditions and ensuring they’ve got enough of the right food to eat and clean water.

Do Male Angelfish Live Longer Than Females?

Regarding angelfish, there’s really no difference between male and female fish in terms of lifespan, and they should live around the same time without any problems.

However, as with other fish species, it’s not uncommon for males to fight one another, and sometimes the loser won’t make it.

If you notice your angelfish fighting or having problems, you may want to separate them into different tanks.

How to Tell Angelfish’s Age?

The only way to tell an angelfish’s age is to look at its eyes. The larger the eyes, the older the fish is.

How Long Do Freshwater Angelfish Live?

In general, freshwater angelfish live for around ten years. However, it’s possible to extend their life by another 2 to 5 years if you provide them with the appropriate care.

How Long Do Dwarf Angelfish Live? 

Unfortunately, dwarf angelfish don’t live very long. They can only live for 5-7 years if you provide them with proper care and a suitable diet.

How Long Do Emperor Angelfish Live?

Emperor angels are long-lived fish that can live for up to twenty years in captivity.

How Long Do King Angelfish Live?

King angelfish enjoy an average lifespan of 15-20 years.

How Long Do Flame Angelfish Live?

In captivity, flame angelfishes live for about 5-7 years. However, providing a good habitat and food can increase their lifespan by a couple of years.

How Long Can Angelfish Live Without a Filter?

The lifespan of an angelfish without a filter is about 12 hours. However, if the aquarium is properly maintained, it can endure for longer.

In contrast, if the aquarium is not clean, your fish would die even before 12 hours.

Which Tank Mates Should an Angelfish Live With?

Angelfish are peaceful fish that can live with other peaceful community fish.

Some good tank mates for angelfish include:

  •    Corydoras Catfish
  •    Bolivian Rams
  •    German Rams
  •    Kribensis Cichlids
  •    Cherry Barbs
  •    Kuhli Loaches
  •    Bristlenose Pleco
  •    Common Plecos
  •    Platies
  •    Mollies
  •    Yoyo Loach
  •    Tetras

Last Words

The lifespan of your angelfish is completely up to you. If you want them to live longer, you must do the right things for them consistently.

For instance, if you are serious about angelfish care, you must perform regular health checkups on their water quality, diet, genetics, etc., every week.

In the end, we really hope you have enjoyed this article as much as we did. If you still have any questions about angelfish, please share them with us in the comment section below.