Angelfish and mollies are two of the loveliest tropical fish you can own. Mollies come in many varieties and colors, however, there are some you should avoid such as balloon mollies. Angelfish are just as their name implies: serene and colorful, and a real joy to look at. But can they live together as tankmates? This article will tell you all you need to know.
Can Angelfish And Mollies Live Together?
So can angelfish and mollies live together? YES! As long as the right requirements are met you’re definitely going to be able to keep angelfish and mollies together. As you’re about to find out there are some important requirements however, such as tank size and other tank requirements.
Fish are varied in their behavior. Some fish are peaceful, meaning they will not bother other tankmates. Other fish are semi-aggressive, or flat out aggressive. It is important for fish keepers to know temperaments of fish because it will determine how that fish behaves toward others in the tank.
An aggressive or semi-aggressive fish placed with peaceful fish is not a good idea as it can lead to stress among other tankmates.
Angelfish are beautiful and not as aggressive as some other types of cichlids, but they are not peaceful fish. Angelfish are schooling fish and hang around near the mid-level of the aquarium. They are territorial as they get older.
These fish are not social, but they are one of the few species who will take care of their fry. Females will defend the eggs against any threats, including other angelfish.
Mollies are peaceful fish and do very well in community tanks. These little fellows can become aggressive, however, if they are surrounded by tank mates that are aggressive in nature.
You should offer as large of a tank as you can to ensure each fish has its own space to move around, hide and relax if necessary.
Mollies are social fish and will school together. Shoals should consist of mostly females as males can harass and subsequently stress out female mollies.
(If you’re not sure about angelfish, you can also try keeping your mollies with goldfish.)
Habitats and Tank Requirements
Fish are varied in that they come from different habitats and ecosystems in the wild. Your job is to recreate these natural habitats as best you can, as it promotes good health and long life for your fish.
Before adding any species to your tank, make sure you check out the requirements of each species you plan on keeping. You may not be able to add a fish to your tank because of its pH requirements, plant needs, or desired temperature.
Angelfish are South American natives. They can be found in the Amazon River as well as its tributaries. They do best in warm waters that are 75F to 82F, acidic, and lacking in salinity. This water is also soft.
Angelfish are found in swampy areas that contain lots of vegetation, which is perfect for hiding. A sandy substrate is best for them. They prefer clear water where the light shines through and reaches them.
Angelfish Tank Requirements
For your freshwater angelfish, keep tank temperatures at 75F to 82F. Ideal pH is 6.8 to 7 (Here’s everything you need to know about angelfish pH requirements). Keep water flow to a minimum, as these fish in the wild prefer swampy and slow-moving streams. You can make use of an under gravel filter or low-flow aeration to achieve water conditions the angelfish is used to.
Angelfish are diggers. Thus, make the substrate nice and soft, so their fins and scales don’t end up damaged. You can use mud or fine sand to achieve this. Offer the angelfish 8-12 hours of light each day. Find an aquarium light that acts as the sun.
Aquatic plant life helps achieve that natural swamp setting. Amazon sword plants and anacharis are two great choices because they are native to the Amazon river. If those are not available, try Java moss or Java fern. Avoid duckweed as this blocks the light angelfish love so much.
Tank size also matters, so make sure you have ten gallons of water for one angelfish. The bigger, the better- more space helps minimize aggression.
(Another great tank mate for angelfish are discus!)
Mollies are small fish native to South and Central America, but they can also be found in North America. They can be found mostly in freshwater streams, but you can also find them in brackish coastal seawaters and swamps.
The molly is fantastic in that it is a versatile and hardy little fish; it has a tolerance for many different water conditions and is tolerant of brackish water and elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide.
They love to be in shallow areas of streams and rivers, where the substrate is sandy, and rocks sit on the top. These waters also have plenty of plants, which the molly uses as a place for hiding, reproduction, and resting. The rivers are in zones where the weather is tropical, so light is plentiful, and plant growth is constant. Waters are slow-moving and warm.
Molly Tank Requirements
Mollies of all types need at least a ten-gallon tank to thrive, but the bigger you can go, the better- some species of molly such as the dalmatian molly require at least 30 gallons to thrive. Water temperatures for the molly are best at 72F to 82F.
You should provide a sandy substrate along the bottom of the tank. Even though the molly won’t hang out down there too much, the substrate is good for adding plants, which mollies enjoy. pH is best at 6.7 and 8.5. Regular aquarium lighting is fine for these fish to thrive. (Here’s a guide on the ideal pH for mollies.)
Taller plants are recommended for the molly, but it is really up to the fish keeper. Mollies love all sorts of plants and use them as a place for resting and hiding. Mollies should also have access to rocks or aquarium caves where they can rest and relax away from other tankmates.
Some molly keepers will say it is necessary to make waters slightly brackish. This is not a requirement; mollies in the wild have varied habitats. Plus, some tankmates such as angelfish prefer waters with lower salinity, so this is not necessary for good angelfish keeping.
(If you do plan on keeping your mollies in brackish water, guppies will often make great tank mates for this.)
Lastly, make sure the filtration and water flow is slow. These fish enjoy slow-moving water, so filtration should not be strong.
A proper fish diet is beneficial in many ways. Your fish will grow properly, recover from injuries that happen, and their body will function well. They will enjoy better coloration and a happier attitude when they are adequately nourished.
Angelfish are omnivorous fish. They mostly feed on larvae, rotifers, smaller fish, and bugs. A diet that is high in protein and high in fiber is important for good angelfish health.
Live prey should be the main source of food for the angelfish. You can offer tubifex worms, brine shrimp, and water fleas. Flakes and high protein pellets are also a good idea. Blanched veggies such as zucchini and spinach make great fiber supplements for your fish. Twice per day feeding is a good idea; mated pairs need four feedings per day.
Mollies are omnivores. They enjoy small invertebrates in the wild plus algae and plants. You can offer veggies like zucchini, spinach, and lettuce. Flakes and pellets are a great way to provide baseline nutrition to your molly.
Mollies also enjoy eating live and frozen foods. Bloodworms and brine shrimp are two great options. We recommend using frozen foods as it minimizes the risk that a parasite will be introduced to your tank.
Your molly should be fed two times per day, in small amounts.
How to Make It Work?
- Opt for an aquarium light that mimics the sun as angelfish love to be in the light, whereas mollies do not need special lighting.
- Maintain water pH at 6.8 to 7.
- Keep temps between 75F to 82F.
- Use a sandy substrate and install plenty of plants, especially Amazon Sword plants and/or Java fern or Java moss.
- Plan for at least a 30-gallon tank; go bigger if you can.
- Feed blanched veggies like zucchini and spinach, flaked foods or pellets, and live/frozen foods. (Frozen foods are recommended as they have a lowered risk of parasites entering your tank).
- Angelfish are less peaceful than mollies, so add the mollies first and then the angelfish after.
- Offer plenty of hiding places like aquarium caves where fish can go to relax and get away from one another if needed.
- Make sure filtration and water flow are kept to a minimum as both species enjoy slow-flowing water.
- Both fish are livebearers, so care should be taken to help breeding pairs care for their newly birthed young. Angelfish care for the fry themselves; meanwhile, a baby tank should be set up for the mollies.
Angelfish and mollies are two great species of fish that make great tank mates. Both of these species love soft substrates, hiding in plants, and eating foods like bloodworms and veggies.
They do have a difference in personality but providing an adequately sized tank that has lots of opportunities for hiding and plenty of space to move around will ensure comfort and a stress-free life for everybody involved, including the fish keeper!