22 Different Freshwater Angelfish Types

There are three different distinct species of freshwater angelfish: Pterophyllum Altum, Pterophyllum Leopoldi, and Pterophyllum Scalare. Altum and Leopoldi are predominately the only two freshwater angelfish types that are wild caught since they typically do not breed in captivity, and species of Pterophyllum Scalare are primarily captive bred.

Through selective breeding, aquarium hobbyists have produced many different angelfish varieties of the Pterophyllum Scalare species.

Angelfish are typically much larger in height than length and because of this, aquariums should be relatively deep to provide adequate space for them to freely swim. Aquariums that are within the 40-gallon range will comfortably accommodate a pair of angelfish, and 55 to 80 gallons is ideal for larger communities.

Altum Angelfish

Altum Angelfish (Pterophyllum Altum)

Altum angelfish are the largest species of angelfish, growing upwards of 15 inches in height and 12 inches in length. The bare minimum tank size for these fish to have enough space would be between 125 and 200 gallons.

With three prominent vertical black and brownish stripes, they are easily distinguishable from their close relatives. True altums that have not been bred with Pterophyllum Scalare will have an incision right below their eyes on the ridge of their nose.

Before purchasing altum angelfish you should inquire into whether the Altum’s origins are either wild-caught or captive bred. Wild caught Altums may not eat commercially prepared foods and would require live feedings in this case, while slowly weening them onto frozen and dried foods.

Dwarf Angelfish

Dwarf Angelfish (Pterophyllum Leopoldi)

The dwarf angelfish is not only the smallest but also the most aggressive angelfish species. However, they frequently only chase away fish that swim too closely; as a result, fish with long-flowing fins and slow moving are not ideal tank mates.

A noticeable identifier is a black spot that is found below their dorsal fin in the upper region of their body.

Another angelfish species that are primarily collected in the wild. Since they might not readily accept commercially prepared food, live feedings may be necessary while weaning them onto dried or frozen foods. Finding out where they came from could provide you with the knowledge you need to feed them appropriately.

Zebra Angelfish

Zebra Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Due to their similar features, silver angelfish and zebra lace angelfish are sometimes mistaken for one another. The zebra angelfish has one or two additional black vertical stripes, whereas a silver angelfish has four vertical stripes.

Fish with black pigmentation are substantially less common; retailers rarely have angelfish breeds with this particular phenotype. More frequently, you can find hybrids of silver angelfish and zebras in stores.

Pearlscale Angelfish

Pearlscale Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Pearlscale angelfish is an appropriate name since their pure white body shimmers in light due to their wrinkly scales which reflect light. Albino angelfish do not have a scale mutation, in contrast to its close relative the pearlscale.

This phenotype will not always be pure white. They may possess slight black, blue, copper, and other light-colored hues on their fins. Under the right lighting, these slight off-colors may become more noticeable.

Black Ghost Angelfish

Black Ghost Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Black ghost angelfish are occasionally mistaken for their closest relative, the black hybrid. The difference between the two is that Black Hybrid Angelfish will have a mix of gold and faded black scales, whereas the black ghost is jet black.

This particular angelfish phenotype looks phenomenal in heavily planted aquariums, they will become a centerpiece or the show fish in lighter-themed aquascapes.

Koi Angelfish

Koi Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Koi angelfish and gold marble angelfish are two phenotypes that have comparable appearances. The distinctive distinction between the two is that only the top of the body, the area around the dorsal fin, and the top of the head are frequently orange on the gold marble angelfish, but the koi angelfish will display more orange across their entire body.

This angelfish breed can be rather difficult to find in stores due to its rarity, so if you see one don’t hesitate to bring a pair or two home.

Koi angelfish will look beautiful in most aquascapes, but integrating them into a tank with too many colorful fish may drown out their unique coloration. Fish that are either white, black, or orange will make for excellent tank mates.

Black Hybrid Angelfish

Black Hybrid Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Black hybrid angelfish and black ghost angelfish are two phenotypes that have comparable appearances. The key distinction between the two is that while the black ghost angelfish will be completely black in color, the black hybrid angelfish will have a mixture of copper undertones and black coloration.

This is another angelfish variety that looks phenomenal in heavily planted tanks with a darker substrate.

Blue Leopard Angelfish

Blue Leopard Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

As a blue leopard angelfish matures and reaches adulthood, their markings continuously grow closer together. Additionally, they are one of Pterophyllum Scalare’s rarest phenotypes and might be hard to locate in stores; if you do, don’t hesitate!

Daylight or white lights bring out the blue pigmentation in angelfish while in dimly lit aquariums they may look to be white rather than blue.

Leopard Angelfish

Leopard Angelfish Pterophyllum Scalare

The leopard angelfish is similar to the blue leopard angelfish but without the blue pigmentation, and as they mature and reach adulthood, their markings continuously grow closer together. This phenotype is a result of selectively breeding a combination of smokey and zebra genes.

Another uncommon phenotype, the patterns are usually inconsistent and random. Specialty angelfish breeders spend a great deal of time and effort in producing the most desirable patterns.

Blushing Angelfish

Blushing Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

The term “blushing” refers to their distinctive pink gills, which are more pronounced while they are young and gradually fade as they get older. With a white body and occasionally an orange tint, generally on its upper half, these characteristics are frequently comparable to those of Gold Angelfish and Albino Angelfish.

Blushing angelfish may come in many different variations with small amounts of black, orange, and blue pigmentation.

Ghost Angelfish

Ghost Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

With characteristics closely resembling the albino angelfish, it does not have pink eyes but rather a prominent black stripe running across its eyes. Although they lack the body stripes that are present in wild silver angelfish, ghost angelfish have a similar complexion.

When the correct lighting conditions are present, ghost angelfish may occasionally exhibit blue pigmentation, creating the impression that their scales are blue.

Albino Angelfish

Albino Red Eye Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

The albino angelfish has a white body with translucent fins, red eyes, and occasionally a very slight orange color on the top of its body. This colorless phenotype is the outcome of two recessive albino genes being present.

This phenotype looks best in darker-themed aquascapes with plenty of rocks and driftwood located throughout the tank.

Halfback Angelfish

Halfback Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

In contrast to smokey angelfish, halfback angelfish have a dark black hue in the back half of the fish with a distinct border. Two recessive half-black genes are also present in this phenotype, which makes them rather uncommon.

Most halfback variants are not true halfbacks, their color patterns are typically random and inconsistent.

Blue Angelfish

Blue Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

The rarest phenotype is found in blue angelfish, a recessive mutation that is quite recent and whose origins are unknown. It is made up of two recessive genes and enhances iridescence in all strains while significantly reducing the storage of carotenoid pigments.

The price of this fish considerably increases the more prominent the blue coloring is. It takes a lot of time and effort for specialty breeders to preserve this trait through selective breeding.

Chocolate Angelfish

Chocolate Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

In some cases, smokey angelfish, a different phenotype, are referred to as chocolate angelfish which contains two copies of the smokey gene. With the exception of their head, these phenotypes have a dark, frequently inconsistent, black and brownish color all over their bodies.

In natural-looking aquascapes with driftwood and aquatic plants, this phenotype may seem like it would blend in but it looks rather beautiful.

Smokey Angelfish

Smokey Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

The smokey angelfish only has one smokey gene, as opposed to the chocolate angelfish’s two. Their fins and the rear of this phenotype display black and grey patterns, while the rest of their body has softer colorations.

This angelfish variation will look great in rock aquascapes with other similar or darker-colored species of fish. Any brightly colored show fish or schools of fish would act as the centerpiece of your aquarium.

Black Lace Angelfish

Black Lace Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

When an angelfish carries both the dark gene and the wild-type gene of the silver angelfish, black lace angelfish are the result. This phenotype contains three vertical stripes similar to the silver angelfish, with an extremely darkened complexion.

This particular angelfish breed looks phenomenal in heavily planted aquariums, and black lace angelfish will become a centerpiece or a show fish in lighter-themed aquascapes.

Silver Angelfish

Silver Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

The original wild variety of silver angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare) has three vertical body stripes that extend between the dorsal and anal fins, one in the middle, and one across the eyes. Red eyes and some coloring on their upper side are features that the majority of wild types exhibit.

These fish can still be found swimming in the wild. All other freshwater angelfish types and variations of the Pterophyllum Scalare are essentially the silver angelfish’s descendants.

Gold Angelfish

Gold Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

In contrast to the gold marble angelfish, gold angelfish display an entirely white with an orange and yellow hue, usually far more noticeable in color are their head and dorsal fin. Due to the recessive nature of the gold gene, two copies are necessary for this phenotype.

There are not many species of fish available in the aquarium hobby with yellow pigmentation. If you are looking for a more brightly colored angelfish, this phenotype would make a great addition to your tank.

Gold Marble Angelfish

Gold Marble Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

A gold or yellowish upper body typically on their head contrasts with the main body’s mixture of black and white coloring on gold marble angelfish. In certain cases, the entire body exhibits this gold/orange patterning. They are among the most popular angelfish on the market and come in a wide variety.

Throughout many years of selective breeding, there have been many angelfish varieties that have lost their distinguishable vertical stripes often associated with the angelfish species.

Pink Angelfish

Pink Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

This genetically modified pink angelfish was developed by Taiwanese biotechnologists in 2012 as part of a collaboration between Jy Lin, a private biotechnology business, National Taiwan Ocean University, and Taiwan’s Academia Sinica.

The pink angelfish variant is the newest phenotype of angelfish, and if you’re looking for a species that is brightly colored, look no further!

Clown Angelfish

Clown Angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Both the zebra and the stripeless genes are present in equal amounts in clown angelfish. This phenotype has white and silver undertones with inconsistent patches of black stripes and dots throughout their entire body.

If any additional colors are present, they might be a hybrid of different angelfish varieties since clown angelfish only display white and black coloring.

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