Cannibalism is common among aquatic species. So, do angelfish eat other fish?
Yes, angelfish eat other fish. They eat any fish that can easily fit in their mouth. Angelfish usually attack other fish if the living conditions aren’t ideal. To prevent angelfish from eating other fish, you can provide ample hiding places, sufficient diet, enough space, and keep same-sized fish.
Let’s now understand why and when angelfish eat other fish and how to prevent them from doing so in more detail.
Do Angelfish Eat Smaller Fish?
Angelfish eat any small fish that can fit in their mouth. It’s their natural behavior in the wild for survival.
Angelfish are opportunistic feeders. They look upon small fish as a food source rather than as tankmates.
Angelfish mainly eat fish that are smaller than themselves when they’re hungry, or their diet is inadequate.
So it’s crucial to feed angelfish sufficiently so that they don’t look upon smaller fish as a food source.
Fish such as tetras are part of their regular diet in the wild.
Since tetras are comparatively smaller than angelfish, adult angelfish snack on the diminutive tetras.
Angelfish also eat fry, eggs, and larvae.
When Do Angelfish Attack Other Fish?
There’s a common belief that fish attack and eat other fish if they aren’t sufficiently fed.
But this is untrue. There are numerous reasons for fish to attack each other.
Though angelfish are not very aggressive, they can attack other fish in certain circumstances.
Given below are some prominent reasons for angelfish to attack other fish.
1. Space Constraints
Angelfish grow pretty big compared to other fish, such as guppies and tetras. So they need ample space in the tank.
Angelfish can become aggressive when there’s not enough space in the tank, and their free movement is restricted.
Space constraints can occur due to overcrowding in the tank or if the tank size is small.
In either case, it leads to stress which further triggers aggressive behavior in angelfish.
2. Territorial Dispute
Every fish, including angelfish, need a private space to feel secure.
There’s significantly less space in a home aquarium for every fish than in their natural environment.
They live in close proximity to each other in an aquarium.
Angelfish don’t like their private space being invaded.
So angelfish can get aggressive toward other fish to guard their space when the other fish try to invade their territory.
Indications of fighting with other fish over territorial disputes include hitting with tails, chasing, nipping, and staring.
3. Food Scarcity
Food scarcity is another reason for angelfish to become aggressive. Every living creature needs food to survive.
Angelfish become competitive when the food is scarce.
They display aggression to compete for food and start attacking each other.
Stress is one of the primary factors for angelfish to become aggressive.
Stress can occur due to overcrowding, lack of adequate food, poor water quality, incompatible tankmates, illness, unstable water parameters, etc.
A stressed angelfish will exhibit aggression toward other fish in the tank, including their own kind.
This can lead to ugly fights and severe injuries in extreme cases.
5. Incorrect Male To Female Ratio
Angelfish can become aggressive during the breeding season.
Aggression mainly occurs if there are too many fish of the same gender.
If you house too many male angelfish with fewer females, it will lead to competition for mating rights.
Male angelfish will resort to fighting for asserting dominance over the female.
They can get badly injured if the fight gets out of control.
What Fish Can’t Live With Angelfish?
Not all fish can live in harmony with each other.
It’s vital to choose the correct tankmates for your fish so that all of them can live happily.
Since angelfish are not very aggressive, there’re many compatible tankmates for them.
However, you need to avoid housing some fish species with angelfish.
When we talk about fish that you shouldn’t house with angelfish, there are two things to consider.
First, the fish species that are an easy meal for your angelfish. Secondly, fish that can harm your angelfish.
Let’s discuss both of these in more detail.
Fish That Get Eaten By Angelfish
Any small fish like neon tetras that can easily fit in an angelfish’s mouth should be strictly avoided.
Due to the natural hunting instincts of angelfish, they will look upon smaller fish as a food source.
Since they are accustomed to eating smaller fish and crustaceans in the wild, smaller fish are easy prey and delightful meal for angelfish.
Fish That Can Harm Angelfish
Angelfish have long flowing fins. Some fish like barbs, and some tetra species like to nip fins.
So avoid keeping any fin-nipping fish with angelfish.
Even bettas shouldn’t be housed with angelfish.
Bettas tend to attack any fish that even slightly resembles them. They’re also territorial.
Lastly, you shouldn’t house angelfish with highly aggressive fish such as oscars, jaguar cichlids, and redhead cichlids.
These fish can easily bully angelfish and make their life miserable.
How to Prevent Angelfish From Eating Other Fish?
Angelfish are known to eat smaller fish due to their natural instincts.
Another factor that makes angelfish behave aggressively is stress.
They can become territorial and start eating other fish in the tank under distress.
So it’s essential to ensure that they get a conducive environment to avoid stressful conditions.
Given below are some ways to prevent angelfish from eating other fish.
- Angelfish grow pretty big. So they need ample space in the tank. The tank should be large enough to accommodate all fish in order to avoid territorial disputes.
- Provide ample hiding and resting places such as plants, rocks, caves, decorations, etc., in the tank. It will ensure that the smaller fish can hide from angelfish and feel safe.
- Feed a balanced and nutritious diet to angelfish. A well-fed fish is less likely to eat other fish in the tank.
- Avoid overcrowding the tank. Overcrowding can lead to space constraints and result in territorial disputes.
- Maintain ideal water parameters in the tank. It will ensure that the angelfish don’t get stressed. A happy fish is always calm and doesn’t fight with tankmates.
- Avoid keeping small-sized fish that can easily fit in the angelfish’s mouth. It’s vital to choose the correct tankmates in a community tank.
- Place the tank at an appropriate place where there’s not much noise or movement. Loud noise can stress angelfish, making them feel threatened. They may panic and start looking at tankmates as a threat and attack them.
- Observe the tank and separate the angelfish that are getting aggressive.
Do angelfish eat their fry?
Angelfish don’t eat their fry unless they are stressed. Once the fry start free-swimming, they are usually safe with their kind.
However, angelfish do eat their eggs. It takes a few spawning cycles for them to learn and exhibit parental skills.
Although angelfish don’t eat their fry, they can be easy prey for other bigger fish in a community tank.
Do angelfish eat each other?
Angelfish usually don’t eat each other. However, they fight with each other over territorial disputes and during mating.
They fight by head butting and biting one another. When such a fight goes out of hand, it can harm them severely.