Smoke Angelfish Care Guide: Tank Setup, Breeding, Disease Prevention and More…

smoke angelfish

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Smoke Angelfish Care Guide: Tank Setup, Breeding, Disease Prevention and More…

The smoke angelfish, also known as the smokey angelfish, is a popular and attractive aquarium fish. It belongs to the angelfish family (Cichlidae) and is scientifically classified as Pterophyllum scalare. The “smoke” in its name comes from its distinct coloration, which is characterized by a smoky or dark gray body with a subtle iridescence.

These angelfish are known for their graceful appearance and distinctive, elongated triangular shape. They have long fins, including flowing dorsal and anal fins, which add to their elegant appearance. The smoke angelfish is a variant of the common angelfish and is selectively bred for its unique coloration.

In aquarium settings, they are usually kept in pairs or groups, and their tank should provide plenty of swimming space along with hiding spots. Proper water conditions, including appropriate temperature and pH levels, are essential for their well-being.

Key Characteristics of Smoke Angelfish

Certainly, here are some key characteristics of the smoke angelfish:

  1. Coloration: Smoke angelfish are known for their distinct smoky or dark gray coloration. The body often has an iridescent sheen that adds to their appeal.
  2. Body Shape: They have a characteristic triangular body shape, with long, flowing fins. The dorsal and anal fins are particularly prominent, contributing to their elegant appearance.
  3. Size: Adult smoke angelfish typically grow to a size of around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters). It’s essential to provide them with an aquarium that accommodates their size.
  4. Behavior: These angelfish are generally peaceful, but their behavior can vary. They may become territorial, especially during breeding. It’s advisable to keep them in pairs or groups to minimize aggression.
  5. Habitat: In the wild, angelfish are found in the Amazon River basin and its tributaries. They inhabit slow-moving waters with dense vegetation and submerged branches.
  6. Tank Requirements: A well-planted aquarium with plenty of swimming space and hiding spots is ideal for smoke angelfish. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral water conditions with temperatures ranging from 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius).
  7. Diet: Smoke angelfish are omnivores. They can be fed a varied diet, including high-quality flakes, pellets, live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.
  8. Breeding: These angelfish are known to form pairs for breeding. During breeding, they may become more territorial, and it’s essential to provide a suitable breeding environment with flat surfaces for egg attachment.

Understanding and meeting these characteristics will contribute to the well-being and longevity of smoke angelfish in captivity. Always ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information when caring for any aquarium species.

Smoke Angelfish Care Guide

Tank Setup:

  1. Tank Size: Aim for a tank size of at least 20 gallons for a pair of smoke angelfish. Larger tanks are preferred for groups.
  2. Water Conditions:
    • Temperature: Maintain a temperature between 75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius).
    • pH Level: Keep the pH level slightly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.5.
    • Water Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is suitable.
  3. Substrate and Decor:
    • Use a soft substrate like sand or rounded gravel.
    • Provide hiding spots with driftwood, rocks, and live or artificial plants.
    • Ensure open swimming spaces and avoid overcrowding the tank.
  4. Filtration:
    • Use a reliable filtration system to maintain water quality.
    • Angelfish appreciate moderate water movement, so choose a filter that provides this without creating strong currents.


  1. Varied Diet:
    • Offer a balanced diet that includes high-quality flakes or pellets.
    • Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
    • Feed them 2-3 times a day, providing an amount they can consume in a few minutes.
  2. Avoid Overfeeding:
    • Overfeeding can lead to health issues and water quality problems.
    • Monitor their feeding habits and adjust the quantity accordingly.

Disease Prevention:

  1. Quarantine New Fish:
    • Always quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.
  2. Clean Water:
    • Maintain excellent water quality through regular water changes and proper filtration.
    • Avoid sudden changes in water parameters.
  3. Observation:
    • Monitor your angelfish regularly for any signs of illness, such as changes in behavior, appearance, or appetite.
  4. Treatment:
    • If you notice any signs of disease, promptly isolate the affected fish and treat them in a separate quarantine tank.
    • Consult with a vet or experienced aquarium professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember that each fish is unique, and individual preferences or health conditions may vary. Regular observation and attention to their specific needs will contribute to a healthy and thriving aquarium environment for smoke angelfish.

Smoke Angelfish Breeding Guide

Breeding smoke angelfish can be a rewarding experience. Here’s a guide to help you with the breeding process:

1. Tank Preparation:

  1. Separate Breeding Tank:
    • Set up a separate tank for breeding purposes. A 20 to 30-gallon tank is suitable.
  2. Water Conditions:
    • Maintain water conditions similar to the main tank but with slightly warmer water (around 80 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 to 28 degrees Celsius).
    • Ensure soft to moderately hard water with a slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0 to 7.0).
  3. Decor:
    • Provide flat surfaces for egg attachment. A smooth rock or broad leaves of plants work well.
    • Include hiding spots to reduce stress.

2. Pairing:

  1. Selecting a Pair:
    • Choose a mature and healthy pair. Angelfish often form monogamous pairs.
  2. Conditioning:
    • Feed the pair a nutritious and varied diet to condition them for breeding.
    • Increase the frequency of feedings.

3. Breeding Behavior:

  1. Courtship:
    • The male and female will engage in courtship behavior, including swimming together and “cleaning” a chosen site for spawning.
  2. Egg Laying:
    • The female will lay adhesive eggs on the chosen surface while the male fertilizes them.
  3. Parental Care:
    • Both parents may take turns guarding and fanning the eggs to prevent fungus growth.
    • Remove other tank mates to reduce stress on the breeding pair.

4. Fry Care:

  1. Hatching:
    • Eggs typically hatch in 24 to 36 hours. The fry will initially attach to the breeding surface.
    • After a few days, they become free-swimming.
  2. First Foods:
    • Feed the fry with specialized fry foods, infusoria, or finely crushed flakes.
    • Gradually introduce larger foods as they grow.
  3. Water Changes:
    • Perform regular small water changes to maintain water quality.

5. Transition to Main Tank:

  1. Growing Out:
    • Once the fry are large enough and can fend for themselves, you can consider moving them to the main tank.
  2. Observation:
    • Watch for signs of aggression from other tank mates and be ready to separate if necessary.


  • Patience is Key:
    • Breeding can take time, and not all pairs will be successful on the first attempt.
  • Provide Proper Nutrition:
    • Ensure the breeding pair and fry receive appropriate and nutritious food.
  • Observation and Intervention:
    • Regularly observe the breeding pair and intervene if there are signs of aggression or if the fry are in danger.

Breeding angelfish requires careful attention to water conditions, proper nutrition, and monitoring the behavior of the breeding pair. Be prepared for multiple attempts, and always prioritize the well-being of the fish throughout the process.

Best Places to Buy Smoke Angelfish

Finding the best places to buy smoke angelfish and determining average prices can depend on your location and the availability of specific breeds or varieties. Here are some general recommendations:

1. Local Fish Stores (LFS):

  • Advantages:
    • Provides the opportunity to inspect the fish in person.
    • Local stores may have knowledgeable staff to guide you.
  • Average Price:
    • Prices can vary widely, but you might expect to pay around $5 to $15 per angelfish, depending on factors such as size, color, and variety.

2. Online Retailers:

  • Advantages:
    • A wide variety of choices, including different color variants.
    • Convenient if local options are limited.
  • Popular Online Retailers:
    • Websites like LiveAquaria, Aquatic Arts, and That Fish Place often carry angelfish.
  • Average Price:
    • Prices may range from $5 to $20 or more per fish, depending on factors mentioned earlier.

3. Aquarium Clubs and Events:

  • Advantages:
    • Local aquarium clubs or events may have hobbyists selling fish.
    • You can interact with breeders and enthusiasts directly.
  • Average Price:
    • Prices may vary, but it could be comparable to or slightly lower than local fish stores.

4. Specialty Breeders:

  • Advantages:
    • Specialized breeders may offer unique color variants and healthy fish.
    • You may receive guidance on specific care and breeding requirements.
  • Average Price:
    • Prices from specialty breeders may range from $10 to $30 or more per fish.
Smoke Angelfish Care Guide


  1. Quality Over Price:
    • Prioritize the health and quality of the fish over the price.
  2. Check Reviews:
    • Before making a purchase, check reviews of the seller or retailer to ensure they have a good reputation.
  3. Quarantine New Fish:
    • Regardless of where you buy them, it’s advisable to quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank.
  4. Research Local Options:
    • Explore local fish clubs, forums, or social media groups for recommendations on reputable local breeders.

Prices can vary based on factors such as the angelfish’s size, color, and breeding. Always research the specific needs of the variety you’re interested in and ensure you’re purchasing from a reliable source that prioritizes the well-being of the fish.

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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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