The freshwater Angelfish is a colorful fish from South America. It is not a true Angelfish but a cichlid. Gouramis are also a popular freshwater aquarium choice.
Can Angelfish and Gourami live together in the same tank? To answer the question, we discuss the temperaments, habitats, and diets of these two species.
Not all fish behave the same. There will be differences among species and even among individuals of the same species. Some are peaceful, while others are semi-aggressive or aggressive.
The temperament of a given species will determine their behavior towards other fish in the same tank. A peaceful fish may easily coexist with other species in the same tank.
Semi-aggressive and aggressive fish need careful consideration before being placed together with other fish.
These beautiful fish are not as aggressive as some other cichlids but are still not peaceful. They form small schools and will occupy the middle level of your aquarium. They become quite territorial as they grow older and mature.
They’re not very social, even with members of the same school. Angelfish will form small hierarchies and fight to defend their positions. They don’t interact much with each other, save for competition and mating. You will not see cooperative foraging or coordinated swimming with Angelfish.
Angelfish are interesting because they’re one of the few fish that care for their young. Females will fiercely defend their eggs from any predators, including other Angelfish. They protect their hatchlings and fry up to two months.
There are over 100 different species of Gourami, and their temperaments will vary. Dwarf Gouramis are generally peaceful. Some of the larger Gourami, like the blue and gold, are semi-aggressive. All Gourami males will display aggression towards other males. However, when housed with other, more aggressive fish, Gouramis become timid.
Some Gouramis are surface swimmers, but most will be all over the tank. They’re not a schooling fish, but still like to move in small groups of about five to six fish. The males are very territorial. For this reason, when keeping a group of Gourami, it’s best to have only one male and several females.
Depending on species, some Gourami males will build bubble nests in floating plants. They will then carry the female’s eggs to the nest. They care for their fry until they can swim freely. In other Gourami species, males do not care for their young. All Gourami females have a tendency to eat their own eggs.
(You can also try keeping gouramis with guppies.)
Habitats and Tank Requirements
Each species of fish comes from a unique habitat and ecosystem. It is best adapted to survive in those specific conditions. To keep your fish happy, your tank needs to mimic its natural habitat as much as possible. It will keep your fish healthy and let it live longer.
It’s important to check the requirements for each species you plan to keep. Some species cannot live in the same tank because they require different habitats. Water pH, temperature, and plant life are all crucial details.
Angelfish are tropical fish native to South America. They are generally found in the Amazon River and its tributaries. They inhabit the slow-moving streams and swamps within the Amazon river basin. The waters are warm, ranging from 75 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit and acidic. They contain little to no salinity and are soft.
These fish are found in swampy conditions with lots of aquatic vegetation to hide in. They like spots with a fine sandy substrate. They’re usually found in clear water at depths where light can reach them.
Angelfish Tank Requirements
Freshwater Angelfish will do best in warm water kept at 75-82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH can be between 6.8 and 7. These fish are not used to high water flow, so there is no need to generate a strong current. Low flow aeration or an under-gravel filter will work best.
Angelfish like to dig, so substrate needs to be soft to prevent damage to their scales and fins. Fine sand or mud will work well. They also need 8-12 hours of light per day. You can use any aquarium light that mimics the sun.
To simulate their natural swamp environment, you’ll need some aquatic plant life. The best plants are those native to the Amazon river. Anacharis and the Amazon Sword plant are good choices. If you can’t get hold of those, try Java moss or Java fern. Floating vegetation like duckweed is not a good idea, as it blocks out light.
You also need to make sure you have enough space in your tank. One Angelfish requires at least 10 gallons of water. But give a pair of Angelfish at least 30 gallons to minimize aggression.
(You could also try keeping angelfish with guppies too!)
Gouramis are found all over Asia and have also been introduced to other parts of the world. They prefer shallow, slow-moving waters and can be found in lowland marshes and swamps. Some will inhabit rivers and lakes too.
The waters are warm, with temperatures ranging from 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. They are slightly acidic and contain little to no salinity.
They can be found in areas with varying substrates, from soft sand to gravel. They can often be found in waters with free-floating swamp vegetation and low light levels.
Gourami Tank Requirements
These may vary according to the individual species. In general, Gouramis are quite hardy and undemanding. They will tolerate conditions that differ somewhat from their native waters.
A water pH of 6.8-7.8 will work well. Keep the water soft and warm at 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Gouramis prefer slow-moving water, so there is no need to generate a strong current. A medium-powered water filter is enough.
Gouramis are not particular about substrate, so this doesn’t play a huge role. If keeping them with other fish, choose the substrate to suit your other species. Gouramis generally prefer lower levels of lighting. Provide an aquarium lamp, dimmed slightly, for about 8-10 hours per day.
These fish have plenty of free-floating vegetation in their natural habitat, so you need to replicate this. Sturdy aquatic plants like Java fern and Vallisneria will work. Finer-leaved plants like Hornwort will also suit nicely.
Dwarf Gouramis can be kept in tanks as small as 10 gallons. Add at least 5 gallons for each additional fish. In general, a 30-gallon tank or larger is best. Large Gourami, like the Kissing Gourami, will require 55 gallons.
(Have you ever thought about keeping angelfish and discus together?)
Tank conditions and diet are the two things that determine how healthy your fish is. Giving your fish the right food in the right quantities will go a long way. Improper feeding may stunt growth, weaken immunity, and even cause illness or death.
Angelfish are omnivores but primarily feed on small, live prey. In nature, they’ll eat larvae, bugs, rotifers, and smaller fish. They don’t eat much plant material. They require a high-protein, high-fiber diet.
They should get most of their nutrition from live prey, even in the aquarium. Tubifex worms, live water fleas, and brine shrimp are good options. You can also give high-protein pellets or flakes. Fiber intake can be supplemented by blanched vegetables like spinach and zucchini.
These guys are big feeders and need to be fed twice a day. For mated pairs that you plan to breed, up this to four times daily.
These fish are omnivores, although a few species, like the Kissing Gourami, are more herbivorous. In nature, they’ll eat plants and insects.
In the aquarium, they’ll eat virtually anything. You can feed them live and frozen foods, such as brine shrimp and blackworms. Gouramis will also enjoy vegetables like cooked peas and lettuce. Fish flakes are also a good source of balanced nutrition.
Feed your Gouramis once or twice a day. Let them eat as much as they can in about 2 minutes. Keep the diet varied for the best results.
(Want to know more about keeping angelfish and neon tetras together?)
How to Make it Work?
Angelfish and some species of Gourami will frequently get along nicely in the same tank. Dwarf Gouramis, in particular, make excellent tankmates for Angelfish. Their habitats are similar enough that you can tweak your tank to work well for both.
Here’s a checklist for the basics:
- Keep your water temperature at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a medium-powered water filter to keep the water flow slow
- Water pH needs to be maintained at 6.8-7.
- Both species prefer soft water, so keep it soft.
- Use any standard aquarium light for about 8-10 hours per day
- Angelfish like to dig, so use a soft and fine substrate. Fine sand or mud will work.
- Gouramis prefer lower levels of light, so provide a little floating vegetation. Vallisneria and Hornwort are good examples.
- Angelfish will like the Amazon Sword plant and Java Fern.
- Fish flakes will suit both species. Supplement with live and frozen foods and vegetables for variety.
Calculate your tank size according to the number of fish that you want to keep. Introduce the more peaceful Gourami first, then the Angelfish afterward.
Angelfish and Gouramis can live together and usually get along quite nicely. They have similar tank requirements and diets.
There are plenty of other great tankmates for freshwater Angelfish too. Check out our other articles for more tips on combining different species.