Pterophyllum scalare, commonly known as Angelfish, is a popular freshwater fish that is native to the Amazon Basin in South America. Angelfish are known for their unique shape and graceful swimming, which has made them a popular addition to many home aquariums. In this article, we will explore the details of Pterophyllum scalare, including its appearance, natural habitat, behavior, reproduction, lifespan, diet, and how to care for them in a home aquarium.


Pterophyllum scalare has a distinct triangular body shape that is flattened laterally. The fish can grow up to 15 cm (6 inches) in width (body size) and 30 cm (11.8 inches) in height (fins included) and has a unique color pattern that makes them a beautiful addition to any aquarium. They have a silver body with vertical black stripes that extend from the dorsal fin to the base of the tail. Their fins are long and flowing, and they can be either black or white in color. Additionally, there are various color variations that have been bred, including gold, black, and silver.

Natural environment

Pterophyllum scalare is native to the Amazon Basin in South America, where they inhabit slow-moving rivers, streams, and flooded forests. They prefer soft, slightly acidic water with a temperature range between 24-30 °C (75-86 °F) and a pH range of 6.0-7.5. The natural habitat of Angelfish is densely vegetated, and they prefer a planted aquarium environment that provides them with ample hiding places.


Pterophyllum scalare is a peaceful fish that can coexist with other non-aggressive fish species. They are not schooling fish, but they prefer to live in pairs or groups. In the aquarium, they can be territorial and will establish their own space. Angelfish are also known for their unique swimming style, which involves a slow, graceful glide through the water.


Pterophyllum scalare is an omnivorous species that feeds on a variety of foods, including live or frozen foods, flake food, and pellets. They also enjoy vegetable matter, such as spirulina or blanched spinach. It is essential to provide a balanced diet to maintain the health of the fish.

Keeping an Angelfish

To care for Pterophyllum scalare in the home aquarium, it is important to provide a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitat. A tank size of at least 200 liters (53 gallons) is recommended for a pair of Angelfish. The water temperature should be maintained between 24-30°C (75-86 °F) and the pH should be between 6.0-7.5. It is also important to provide a good functioning filtration system and maintain a weekly water change routine to keep the water quality high. Angelfish are sensitive to poor water quality and can develop health issues if the water conditions are not optimal. Yet, it is a hardy species, meaning if you correct the non-optimal water parameters in time they will be fine.

Scientific nameStonogobiops yasha
Type of aquariumFreshwater
SizeUp to 15 cm / 6 inches in width and 30 cm in height / 11,8 inches
RegionNative to the Amazon Basin in South America
Ideal tank sizeAt least 208 liters / 55 gallons for a group of 4-6 fish and preferably a tall tank with a minimum water level at 50 cm / 19,7 inches
Ideal water temperature24-30 °C / 75-86 °F
pH6.0 – 7.5
sG1.023 – 1.027
DietOmnivorous, with a diet consisting of both plant and animal matter, including flake or pellet food, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other small insects and crustaceans
SchoolingNot a schooling fish, but do better in groups of 4-6 individuals. They are not aggressive towards other species, but may become territorial towards their own species during breeding. The angel fish can demonstrate aggression towards their own as well as other species, especially when other fish enter their territory.

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