Last Updated: March 22, 2023 by Flora Gibbins
Angelfish and guppies are two fish species you can count on to liven up your aquarium, thanks to their radiant colors and personalities.
Most beginner aquarists often wonder why the guppies and angelfish combination is not more common, leading them to ask, “Can you keep angel fish and guppy fish in the same tank?.”
The short answer is you can, but you shouldn’t. Read on to understand why angelfish and guppies do not make good tank mates.
What You Need to Know Before Considering Keeping Angelfish and Guppies in the Same Fish Tank
Species compatibility is the most critical factor to consider before you decide to keep different fish species in the same aquarium.
Most fish species know their place in the food chain in their natural habitat, thus avoiding unnecessary conflict. However, it is an entirely different story in the aquarium setting. The confined space means that territorial behavior becomes even more pronounced. Consequently, a pairing consisting of docile and aggressive fish will almost always yield tragic results.
That is not all. Before attempting to put different fish species in the same aquarium, you must also consider each fish’s natural habitat. Needless to say, if they originate from vastly different habitats, the pairing won’t work.
Diet is another critical factor to consider. Your pairing is more likely to work if your fish have similar diet requirements, as that will mean less hassle when feeding them.
As you can imagine, larger fish will always require lots of space to thrive. Consequently, if you want to keep larger aquarium fish such as angelfish with other fish species, you’ll need a very large tank to keep both species happy.
With that said, let us now look at how these factors affect the pairing of guppy fish with angel fish.
Guppy Fish vs Angelfish: Temperament, Behavior, and Size
The first thing you need to know before attempting to keep guppies and angelfish together is that they have extremely different temperaments and behaviors, making them less than ideal tank mates.
Guppies are peaceful fish that can get along with other fish species. The gorgeous guppies are also community fish, meaning they must be part of a school or shoal to survive. This makes sense since the tiny and docile guppy would be easy prey for any aggressive fish in the wild.
However, being part of a school drastically reduces the chances of an individual guppy falling prey to a larger fish.
On the other hand, angelfish are a far cry from the shy and friendly guppies. In the wild, angelfish are mildly aggressive. This aggressiveness usually stems from the angelfish’s territorial nature. But since there are virtually no space constraints in their natural habitat, angelfish are less likely to attack other fish.
The limited space in an aquarium makes angelfish some of the worst neighbors a smaller fish can have. Angelfish simply do not like sharing their space with others. Consequently, their territorial instincts kick into high gear when in a fish tank, causing them to be incredibly aggressive.
As you are well aware, most territorial disputes often end with the larger animal winning. If the animals are similar in size and temperament, they are less likely to fight, opting to come to a peaceful resolution instead.
Guppies are fun-sized, rarely measuring more than 2.4 inches in length. On the other hand, Angelfish might as well be behemoths compared to guppies. They can grow to be more than 6 inches long and 8 inches wide!
Problems Arising From the Differences Between Angelfish and Guppies
As you can imagine, keeping guppies and angelfish in the same aquarium is bound to result in a few problems. They include:
Stressed Out Guppies
As mentioned earlier, while angelfish might have a relatively calm temperament in their natural habitat, it is an entirely different story in a community aquarium.
Angelfish are a territorial species, meaning they immediately seek to establish dominance in the tank. These fish are not foolish either; they will not start a fight with an adversary who can fight back.
Unfortunately, guppies are helplessly outsized by the angelfish. Consequently, the latter will keep bullying the former, resulting in a lot of stress for the guppies.As you might well be aware, stress is one of the leading contributors to illnesses and death in guppies.
Needless to say, keeping angelfish and guppies together is a surefire way of ensuring your guppy fish do not have a good quality of life.
Angelfish Devouring Your Baby Guppies and Guppy Fry
Being omnivores, angelfish can eat both plant and animal matter. This means that guppies that are small enough to fit in an angelfish’s mouth will find themselves on the menu.
As you can imagine, that spells doom for smaller fish, baby guppies, and guppy fry. Full-grown angelfish will eat small adult guppies, baby guppies, and guppy fry, while young angelfish will feast on the fry.
While guppies are prolific breeders, the stress that the angelfish will cause them will result in much lower birth rates, severely reducing the guppy fish population in the tank.
Considering the risks involved with keeping guppies and angelfish together, you will have to invest heavily in a tank setup that mitigates those risks.
Since the territory is typically the main cause of the guppies/angelfish conflict, it would only make sense that increasing the available space inside the tank will reduce the risk of conflict between these two species.
Nevertheless, that is easier said than done. By themselves, angelfish require a very large tank – at least 50 gallons – to thrive. If you plan to keep them together with guppy fish, you’ll need a humongous tank, to say the least (at least 120 gallons).
As you can imagine, the costs of purchasing and maintaining such a tank are quite significant. What’s more, you’ll also need to add lots of aquarium plants and decor to give the guppies a place to hide.
Nonetheless, even with the largest fish tank in the world, you can never be sure that your guppies will be safe from angelfish.
As a result, you might need to take further precautions, such as getting a tank divider or even a separate tank in case peaceful cohabitation proves to be impossible. Needless to say, all this will stretch your budget to its limits.
What are the Best Tank Mates for Angelfish?
Guppies are compatible with most fish species. On the other hand, Angelfish can only live with a certain type of fish.
Since Angelfish tend to be bullies when in a community tank, the ideal tank mate is one they cannot bully. This means that the fish should be about the same size as an angelfish so that the latter can think twice before instigating something. As such, avoid smaller fish.
The tank mate should also have a strong temperament, but not too aggressive that they turn the tables on the angelfish and start nipping at their fins.In short, the ideal angelfish tankmate should be a community fish that doesn’t mind sharing a tank with other fish species but will defend themselves if they have to.
Alternatively, you can simply choose bottom-dwelling fish as tankmates for angelfish. This is because angelfish spend most of their time in the middle and top of the aquarium, rarely venturing to the bottom. As such, there’s minimal risk of altercations between angelfish and bottom dwellers.
In light of the above, some compatible angelfish tank mates:
- German blue ram cichlids
- Corydoras catfish
Many other fish species can make excellent tankmates for angelfish; the rule of thumb is to choose species that are unlikely to bully or be bullied by angelfish.
Is it a good idea to keep guppies and angelfish in the same tank?
No, keeping guppies with angelfish will always result in a bad quality of life for the guppies.
Which are the best tank mates for angelfish?
The ideal tankmate for angelfish is a species that is less likely to get into a fight with the angelfish. That means it should have a similar size and temperament as the angelfish. Bottom-dwelling fish make good tankmates for angelfish, too.
Can angelfish eat adult guppies?
If they could, they would. While it is highly unlikely that an angelfish will eat an adult guppy, it will stress it to death.
Angelfish and guppies make excellent aquarium fish, thanks to their spectacular colors and finnage. Unfortunately, these fish do not make good tank mates, largely due to the angelfish’s territorial behavior.
The good news is that several other tank mates are compatible with angelfish, meaning you don’t have to keep your angelfish alone. As for guppies, you can keep them with any fish that does not bully them.
Do you have any questions? Please do not hesitate to reach out.