Are Angelfish Cichlids Fish? Find Out Here

Angelfish are freshwater fish with several features and behaviors that make them unique. They are possibly the most recognized or known freshwater fish in the aquarium.

Angelfish are cichild fish which contain around 2,000 species, These cichlids show aggression, especially during spawning or pair-off season, and they won’t hesitate to feed on smaller fish.

Are Angelfish Cichlids Fish

What Kind of Cichlid is an Angelfish?

The angelfish, also known as Pterophyllum, is a freshwater fish species that belong to the cichlid family. It is similar to other cichlids, but it is slightly different in terms of cichlid structure and behavior.

The angelfish have shapes similar to other cichlids; they are significantly laterally compressed. Some angelfish have stripes, while some have beautiful plain body color. Angelfish are hardy fish and can survive in harsh conditions, unlike other cichlids that need brood care.

Cichlids are naturally aggressive fish, which means they attack fish and are also territorial. Unlike other cichlids, angelfish are not very aggressive; they only display aggression towards one another. It is also not surprising for the fish to display aggressive behavior during spawning or pair-off.

Can Cichlids Live With Angelfish?

It is advisable to keep similar fishes of the same family together because they are likely to have the same or similar requirement, temperament, and other factors they require for survival. Keeping similar fish in the same tank will also help you reduce the level of aggression in the tank as the fish will be compatible with each other. Another advantage that aids the compatibility of similar fish is that the fish will feed on similar food and only have a slight variation in what they eat.

Cichlids Live With Angelfish

Angelfish belong to the cichlid family, which means it is an excellent decision to keep them with other cichlids in the same tank. Although cichlids are usually aggressive, they will do well with other cichlids as long as you meet their required environmental conditions. It will also stress you less to have fishes that feed on similar food in the same tank.

Although it is good to have cichlids and angelfish in the same tank, you also have to be careful of the cichlids you put together with angelfish. Some large cichlids are not compatible tank mates of angelfish as they can become aggressive and hurt them. Smaller cichlids are good tank mates, but Oscars and some other larger family members tend to be incompatible with angelfish.

Best Cichlids Fish to Introduce to Angelfish Tank

You can keep your angelfish with several cichlids, and you have to make the right choice when picking them. Here are some cichlids that will make a good tank mate for your angelfish.


Discus, also known as Symphysodon, belongs to the cichlid family and are popular freshwater aquarium fish due to their behavior, shape, patterns, and bright colors. These fish are highly social and can do well with several fishes in their tank, including angelfish. They also require similar water conditions as angelfish, which makes them compatible tank mates with angelfish.

Although discus are quite challenging to take care of as they require frequent water changes and extreme care, angelfish do not mind the water changes and care. And that makes angelfish compatible with them.

Dwarf  Cichlids

dwarf cichlids

Dwarf cichlids got their names from their small size that does not exceed 10 centimeters. Like angelfish, dwarf cichlids like to stay in shallow or slow-moving water. They are bottom-oriented fish and are not active swimmers making them less aggressive and suitable for angelfish.

Ensure to keep females in the same tank because it will help reduce the aggressiveness of the fish. They are a perfect pick for angelfish as they are tolerant of other fish and will likewise look after themselves against larger species.

Bolivian Rams

Bolivian rams

Bolivian rams are colorful, easy-going, and peaceful fish. They are not bothersome and are quite shy, leaving other fish to their activities. Bolivian rams are good tank mates and will do well in the community tank as they like to be on their own.

These fishes will lighten your aquarium with funny swimming behaviors and striking colors as they have positive attributes. These fishes grow to about 3.5 inches and are very easy to care for. Bolivian rams are compatible with other freshwater fish, including angelfish.

These fishes are quite different from other cichlids as they do not bully other fishes; they are relatively peaceful and timid. They are not picky eaters, so they will eat anything edible, which makes them suitable tank mates of angelfish. Bolivian rams are also bottom feeders and will make good tank mates for angelfish.

Are Angelfish a Schooling Fish?

You cannot classify angelfish as typical schooling fish, but you can see them as social fish. They are highly social and will do better in groups than singly. They can as well do well individually in tanks.

It would be best if you put these fish in a community tank or put them together with other fish. Also, it does not mean they are schooling fish; it means they like to stay in groups even though they can do well singly in their tank. You can refer to them as social fish rather than referring to them as schooling fish.

Can I Keep One Angelfish in a Community Tank?

If you intend to keep one angelfish in a community tank, you can because it is possible. Although angelfish like to stay in groups because of their social behavior, they can also live singly in tanks. But you have to keep compatible tank mates in the same tank to avoid the display of aggression.

When choosing tank mates, you should stick with docile companions like catfish, mollies, and tetras. There are also other compatible tank mates for your angelfish that can live within a community tank.


Although angelfish have slightly different personalities and attributes from other cichlids, they are also part of the Cichlidae family. They are not very aggressive and will do well in community tanks. They will again do well with other cichlids in the same tank.