Koi Angelfish Care | Breeding, Tank Setup, Best Places to buy

Yellow KOI angelfish

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Koi Angelfish Care | Breeding, Tank Setup, Best Places to buy

A Koi Angelfish is a specific species of tropical fish rather, it’s a popular variation of the freshwater angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), which is a species of cichlid. Koi angelfish are selectively bred to exhibit color patterns similar to those found in koi carp, which are ornamental fish often seen in decorative ponds. These angelfish have vibrant and distinctive coloration, with markings resembling those of koi carp, including patches of red, orange, black, and white.


The angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), from which Koi angelfish are selectively bred, is native to the Amazon River basin in South America. Specifically, they are found in the countries of Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving or still waters, such as streams, tributaries, and flooded forests, where they prefer areas with dense vegetation and submerged tree roots.

Koi angelfish, as a variety of angelfish, have been developed through selective breeding by aquarium enthusiasts and breeders over many years to emphasize their distinctive color patterns, reminiscent of koi carp. This selective breeding process has led to the development of various color variations and patterns in angelfish, including the Koi angelfish, which you might find in aquariums around the world. These ornamental fish have become popular due to their beautiful and eye-catching appearance.

appearance and size

Koi angelfish have a distinctive and eye-catching appearance, with color patterns reminiscent of koi carp, which is where they get their name. Their appearance can vary, but here are some common characteristics:

  1. Coloration: Koi angelfish typically have a combination of red, orange, black, and white coloration on their bodies. They may have blotches, stripes, or patches of these colors, often arranged in a way that resembles the patterns found on koi carp.
  2. Body Shape: Like other angelfish, Koi angelfish have a flattened, disk-shaped body with long, triangular dorsal and anal fins that trail behind them. Their overall shape is graceful and elegant.
  3. Size: Koi angelfish can grow to be around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) in length in aquarium settings. The size may vary depending on factors such as genetics, diet, and the size of the aquarium.
  4. Fins: They have long, flowing fins, including a dorsal fin, anal fin, and ventral fins, which add to their graceful appearance. The fins can also exhibit the same colorful patterns as their bodies.
  5. Veil Tail: Some Koi angelfish have a “veil tail” variation, where their fins are even longer and more flowing than standard angelfish, giving them an even more striking appearance.
  6. Scalare Angelfish Base: Remember that Koi angelfish are selectively bred from the scalare angelfish, which is the base species. The color patterns on Koi angelfish can vary widely, so you may find individuals with slightly different combinations of colors and patterns.

Koi Angelfish Care Guide

Caring for Koi angelfish, like any other angelfish variety, requires attention to tank setup, disease prevention, and feeding. Here’s a care guide for Koi angelfish:

Tank Setup:

  1. Tank Size: Koi angelfish need a tank with a capacity of at least 20 to 30 gallons for a pair of angelfish. The larger the tank, the better, as it provides more swimming space and helps maintain stable water parameters.
  2. Filtration: Use a high-quality aquarium filter to maintain clean and well-oxygenated water. Koi angelfish are sensitive to changes in water quality, so regular filtration and water changes are crucial.
  3. Water Parameters: Maintain a temperature of 78-82°F (25-28°C) and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Keep an eye on ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels and ensure they remain at safe levels by performing regular water tests.
  4. Substrate and Decor: Use a soft substrate like sand or fine gravel, as angelfish may dig in the substrate. Provide plants (real or artificial) for hiding places and visual barriers. Driftwood and rocks can also be used for decor.
  5. Lighting: Provide moderate lighting to simulate a natural day-night cycle. Koi angelfish prefer dimmer lighting compared to some other fish species.

Disease Prevention:

  1. Quarantine New Fish: When introducing new fish to your aquarium, quarantine them for a few weeks to ensure they are disease-free before adding them to your main tank.
  2. Regular Observation: Monitor your angelfish for any signs of disease, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or physical symptoms like white spots (indicating ich) or torn fins. Early detection is crucial.
  3. Maintain Water Quality: Clean water is essential to prevent stress and disease. Perform regular water changes and ensure the tank’s filtration system is functioning correctly.


  1. Diet: Koi angelfish are omnivores. Provide a varied diet that includes high-quality flake or pellet food specifically designed for angelfish. Supplement their diet with frozen or live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.
  2. Feed in Moderation: Avoid overfeeding, as excess food can lead to water quality issues. Feed your angelfish 2-3 times a day, with only what they can consume in a few minutes.
  3. Vegetable Matter: Include some vegetable matter in their diet, such as blanched spinach or cucumber slices. This provides essential fiber and nutrients.
  4. Food Size: Ensure the food size is appropriate for your angelfish. They have small mouths, so choose food that is easy for them to consume.
  5. Occasional Fasting: Periodically fasting your angelfish for a day can help prevent digestive issues and improve overall health.

Breeding Guide

Breeding Koi angelfish, like other varieties of angelfish, can be a rewarding but somewhat challenging endeavor. Here are the steps to successfully breed Koi angelfish:

1. Select a Breeding Pair:

  • Start by selecting a healthy and mature breeding pair. Look for angelfish that are at least 8-12 months old, as they have reached sexual maturity.
  • Choose fish with vibrant colors and well-defined patterns, as these traits are often passed down to their offspring.

2. Provide a Breeding Tank:

  • Set up a separate breeding tank, typically smaller than your main aquarium, with a capacity of around 20-30 gallons.
  • Use a sponge or box filter to provide gentle filtration to avoid strong water currents.
  • Place a layer of fine substrate, such as fine gravel or marbles, at the bottom of the tank for the eggs to adhere to.

3. Conditioning the Breeding Pair:

  • Feed the breeding pair a nutritious diet of high-quality food, including live or frozen foods, to ensure they are in optimal condition for breeding.
  • Gradually increase the temperature in the breeding tank to around 80-82°F (27-28°C) to simulate the conditions of the Amazon basin during the rainy season. This increase in temperature can stimulate spawning.

4. Inducing Spawning:

  • Provide flat, vertical surfaces for the angelfish to lay their eggs. You can use slate, smooth rocks, or specially designed breeding cones or tiles.
  • The breeding pair may begin to clean and defend their chosen spawning site.

5. Courtship and Spawning:

  • Angelfish engage in a courtship ritual that includes swimming together, fin displays, and touching each other. This can last for several days.
  • When the female is ready to spawn, she lays eggs on the chosen surface while the male fertilizes them. This process can continue for several hours.

6. Caring for Eggs and Fry:

  • Once the eggs are laid, the parents typically guard and fan the eggs to provide oxygen and prevent fungal growth.
  • After a few days, the eggs hatch into fry. At this point, the fry will absorb their yolk sacs for nourishment.

7. Raising Fry:

  • Once the fry have absorbed their yolk sacs and become free-swimming (usually within a week), you can start feeding them with newly hatched brine shrimp or a suitable powdered fry food.
  • Maintain pristine water quality in the breeding tank and perform regular water changes.

8. Separating Fry:

  • As the fry grow, you may need to transfer them to a separate rearing tank to prevent overcrowding and aggression among siblings.

Where to buy and average price

Koi angelfish are relatively popular among aquarium enthusiasts, and you can find them for sale at various sources. Here are some common places to buy Koi angelfish and an approximate price range:

  1. Local Fish Stores (LFS): Many local fish stores carry a variety of angelfish, including Koi angelfish. Prices can vary based on factors such as size, coloration, and the region in which you live. On average, you might expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $15 per fish, but it can be more or less depending on the quality and rarity of the specimen.
  2. Online Retailers: There are numerous online retailers and specialized aquarium websites that sell Koi angelfish. Prices may range from $5 to $20 or more per fish, with the cost influenced by factors like size, coloration, and the reputation of the seller. Be sure to factor in shipping costs when buying online.
  3. Aquarium Shows and Auctions: Some aquarium clubs and societies organize shows and auctions where you can find Koi angelfish. These events may offer high-quality fish, but prices can vary widely based on the specific fish and the demand.
  4. Breeders: You can also buy Koi angelfish directly from reputable breeders. Breeder prices can vary, and high-quality fish with desirable coloration and patterns may be more expensive. However, buying from a breeder can ensure that you’re getting healthy and well-cared-for fish.
  5. Aquarium Hobbyist Forums and Classifieds: Some aquarium hobbyist forums and online classifieds may have members offering Koi angelfish for sale. Prices can vary widely, and you may be able to negotiate with the seller.

Keep in mind that the prices can vary significantly based on factors like the specific coloration, size, and the reputation of the seller. Higher-quality specimens with more vibrant and well-defined patterns may command higher prices. When purchasing Koi angelfish, make sure to choose healthy fish from reputable sources to increase the chances of success in your aquarium. Always research the seller’s reputation and inquire about the fish’s health and any relevant breeding or care information.

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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