Angelfish are an absolute delight to own. Their beauty, drama, and colorful personalities can keep your community aquarium abuzz!

They are easy to care for, feed, and breed, making them desirable to both – beginners and experienced fish enthusiasts.

They are very engaging and playful due to their interactive nature.

For example, they know when they will be fed and gather in a place to grab it immediately. They become aware of human movement in the room, stare back if anyone stares at them, etc.

Originating from South America, they gather near tributaries and thrive in the river basins of Peru, Columbia, Brazil, and Guyana. They belong to the Cichlids family.

Freshwater Angelfish has three species:

  • Pterophyllum Altum,
  • Pterophyllum Leopoldi, and
  • Pterophyllum Scalare.

Of these, only the Pterophyllum Scalareare majorly domesticated.

They are diamond-shaped due to their tall fins.

For them to move freely, taller and bigger tank sizes are required. They thrive in tanks with dense plantations and driftwoods.

All varieties are omnivores. They eat fishes smaller than them, including their own eggs, until they develop a parental instinct.

These peaceful schooling fish become territorial as they grow and bicker with each other while spawning. They become aggressive while breeding.

Until they breed, most of them are difficult to distinguish between genders

They come in a large spectrum of spectacular colors. Let’s take an overview of the different types you can choose.

1. Silver or Common Angelfish

It is the most common type of Angelfish and forms a base for most cross-breeds developed over time.

They have three vertical stripes across their shining silver bodies, starting from their eyes to the beginning of their tails.

The stripe color becomes darker if they are stressed (just like the Koi variant).

They grow up to 6 inches long during their average lifespan of 10 years.

You will find them in most fish enthusiasts’ collections.

2. Tall or Altum, Orinoco, or Deep Angelfish

Belonging to the Pterophyllum Altum specie, they are similar to the Silver Angelfish.

However, the following features set them apart:

  • Bodies are more oval-shaped,
  • Brownish-grey stripes have a white border instead of black,
  • Eyes are always black,
  • Taller bodies, and
  • A slight angle (v-shape) above their mouths

They are the tallest of all varieties and are called the Tall Angelfish.

In captivity, they acquire an average length of 7 inches and a height of up to 9 inches. However, in the wild, they can grow up to 19.6 inches tall!

They are challenging to breed in captivity due to their heights, and their sensitivity calls for specific tank requirements.

Their average lifespan is 10-15 years. They display a black dot on their gill cover when aroused.

Their size and elegant appearance make them the center of attraction in your fish tank.

3. Silver Zebra or Zebra Angelfish

Silver Angelfish with more than three vertical black stripes across their bodies are called Zebra due to their striped look.

The first stripe is on their eyes, while the rest are across the rest of their bodies. Their eyes are black when they are born but turn red for a few as they mature.

Their average size is 6 inches long and 8 inches tall, and their average life expectancy is ten years.

Some may be smaller in size.

4. Zebra Lace Angelfish

They are a mutation of a zebra gene with a dark gene.

Due to the dark gene, their bodies acquire a darker shade with a zebra pattern. They might have a greenish or golden tinge on their bodies.

5. Blue Zebra Angelfish

They are a variant of the Zebra type.

Their bodies are light bluish-silver with a zebra pattern, transparent tails, and semi-transparent fins.

They are 6 inches long to 8 inches tall.

Their catchy looks make them a charming addition to your collection.

6. Albino Angelfish

Their skin lacks color due to a genetic condition. Hence, the name Albino.

They are pure (opaque) white, with transparent fins, a slightly orangish tinge on their upper bodies or mouths, and red or pink eyes.

When light falls on them from a particular angle, you can see pale golden stripes on their sides.

They grow up to 6 inches in size. With an average lifespan is 8-9 years, they live the shortest of all varieties. Breeding them is challenging.

Besides, they have weaker immunity to diseases, making them rare.

Their flaw enhances their beauty and will undoubtedly add flair to your collection.

You will find many hybrid varieties with Albino genes, making Albino a category by itself.

7. Albino Dantum Angelfish

They resemble Albinos, except for the greyish-tinge on their entire body.

A greyish-white body, vertical white stripes, black eyes, and transparent tails and fins make them elegant.

Experience has shown that their pigmentation can change drastically with varying tank environments.

They turn into non-albinos in a darker tank. Under sustained aquarium lighting, they retain their hybrid genes and Dantum look.

They grow up to 6 inches tall.

Rarely found, they make a superb addition to your fish tank.

8. Ghost Angelfish

They lack stripes, spots, or pigmentation due to a genetic condition.

They are similar to the Albino variant, except that the Ghost variant has black eyes.

Besides, the Ghost Angelfish can be dark-toned or light-skinned (without color). Sometimes they develop stripes as they age.

They are commonly found in

Their average size is 6 inches tall to 4 inches long. They can live up to 10 years. 

They are more active but less friendly compared to other varieties.

Their scales glitter under aquarium light from a particular angle, making them a striking addition to any fish collection.

9. Black Ghost Angelfish

The Ghost Angelfish is also a category of Angelfish. Any variety with no skin color or marks, including single-toned skin, is included in this category.

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The Black Ghost variety is stark black with no pattern/marks at all. Non-transparent opaque dark black fins separate them from the Black Veil Angelfish.

Their rare mutations can bring a unique flavor to your community tank.

10. Blue Ghost Angelfish

The Philippine blue ghost fish is opaque white with a bluish tinge, but some blue ghost fish are sky-blue colored with no pattern.

11. Grey Ghost Angelfish

Belonging to the Ghost category, they are easier to find than other ghost varieties.

They have grey bodies with no stripes or marks. But some may get striped as they mature.

12. Veiltail Angelfish

A Veiltail gene is responsible for giving larger fins that resemble a bride’s veil.

Any hybrid angelfish with taller fins falls under this category. It is generally called a veil.

They make a gorgeous addition to any fish collection with their swaying fins. No wonder almost 60% of people prefer to buy a veil variety.

13. Super Veil Angelfish

It is a category of angelfish where both parents have veiltail genes, resulting in super large fins.

Different types of hybrid angelfish are available under this category. They grow slowly and are less

sturdy than other varieties.

14. Marble Angelfish

It is a hybrid variety of the common Angelfish. They do not have stripes.

Instead, they have silver bodies covered with one or more random black spots or marks. The intensity of their pattern depends on the genetic mutation.

Interestingly, each of them has a unique pattern. Fins and tails may be semi-transparent or black, and the eyes could be red or black.

Their average size is 6 inches long to 8 inches tall, with an average life span of up to 10 years.

They are a popular choice for every fish enthusiast due to their unique patterns, contrasting colors, and easy availability.

Owing to the acceptance received by the Marble mutation, experts developed many further cross-breeds, making it a category of Angelfish instead of a type by itself.

You can find many marbled variants like

  • The Gold Marble and its variants listed earlier,
  • The Blue Marbled Angelfish have white and bluish-tinged bodies with black marks,
  • The Black Marbled Angelfish has extensive black mark coverage with nominal silver body portions visible
  • The Marble Veil mutant has taller fins

15. Pearlscale Angelfish

They are a hybrid of two pearly genes.

Their scales are more prominent and resemble pearls, hence the name. This is their distinguishing feature.

The scaly appearance becomes more visible as they mature.

These scales glitter under light from a particular angle, making them shimmer.

Their body colors and patterns vary from plain to striped, dark to light, depending on their genetic mutation. Thus, it is also a category of angelfish.

A few Pearscale variants are listed below:

  • Albino Pearlscale
  • Black Pearlscale
  • Gold Pearlscale
  • Smokey Pearlscale
  • Platinum blue Pearlscale

This shining beauty adds sparkle and lights up any fish collection.

16. Double Dark or Black Angelfish

They are a mix of two dark genes. Hence, they are also called double dark.

The black Angelfish are plain black, with black stripes on transparent fins and tails.

They grow up to 6 inches long and 8 inches tall and have an average life expectancy of 10-15 years.

This black beauty with tall swaying fins will make a unique addition to your collection.

17. Black Veil Angelfish

It belongs to the Veiltail category. It’s a hybrid of a Black gene with a Veiltail gene.

Taller fins differentiate a Black veil from other Black varieties.

18. Black Hybrid Angelfish

They represent the genetic mutation of a Black gene with a Gold, Marble, or Gold gene.

Their bodies are dark black (matte) and may have a random brass (dull gold) color on their bodies due to the Gold gene.

Due to their dark color, no stripes or spots are visible. However, from a certain angle of light falling on them, one can notice a few.

19. Black Lace Angelfish

They represent the genetic mutation of a Black gene with a Gold, Marble, or Gold gene.

Their bodies are dark silverish-black or golden-black with black vertical stripes.

The dorsal fins are dark black, whereas the other fins and tails are transparent with black lines.

They are friendlier than other varieties, making it easy for beginners to add them.

They grow up to 8-10 inches on average, but can acquire a height of 14 inches too. They are less active than other varieties and prefer to stay in the same place for a longer time in the tank.

They are sensitive to a noisy environment since it disturbs their laid-back routine. The color of stripes intensifies if they are stressed.

Relatively rare to find, they make an expensive addition to your collection.

20. Blue Angelfish

They are silverish-blue in color, with vertical black stripes on their bodies and transparent tails and fins.

They have three black vertical stripes, while the Blue Zebra has more stripes.

Their average height is up to  6 inches tall.

They look sparkling blue under the tank light from a particular angle, adding a glamorous shimmer to your community tank.

21. Blushing Angelfish

They have pure white shining bodies like Albinos, with no stripes. However, their pink gills set them apart from the Albinos.

The pink gills are prominently visible in their younger years, giving them a blushing look.

Their fins and tails are transparent.

They grow to an average of up to 8 inches tall and 6  inches long.

This blushing, fairy-like angelfish is a stunning piece to own.

22. Chocolate Angelfish

They are born when both parents have smokey genes. A miraculous mutation that makes them rare to find.

Their bodies are dark chocolate brown, giving them their name. Their dorsal fin and head may have a shiny copper tinge.

See also  Black Moor Goldfish: A Beginner’s Care Guide

Would you like to add this rare fish to your collection?

23. Gold Angelfish

This variety originated from a masked gene mutation in a group of black lace fry.

They are bright silvery with black eyes and a golden hue, which is more prominent on their upper body and the top portion of their dorsal fin. Their tail and other fins are transparent. They have no stripes.

Some might have a prominent golden color with a silver hue on their upper body and dorsal fins.

They grow up to 6 inches tall to 4 inches long and have an average life of up to 10 years.

They are a true treasure to own and make a precious addition to any home aquarium.

24. Gold Veil Angelfish

They are a variant of the Gold Angelfish with tall fins.

They grow up to 8 inches tall and 6 inches long.

Gorgeous swaying fins on their silver and gold-colored bodies make them aesthetically profound and highly sought after.

25. Gold Marble Angelfish

They are born when their parents have the same golden marble genes, or one has a gold marble gene, and another has the gold only gene, in the same genial order.

They are almost similar to the Gold Veil variety, except that they have a random black dot(s)/mark(s) anywhere on their body.

They inherit a mix of gold, white and black. Black is in the form of a dot(s)/mark(s). Few may have black stripes on their fins or tails randomly.

They grow up to 6 inches and can live up to 12 years.

They make an unusual addition to your tank.

26. Silver Gold Marble Angelfish

They are a mutation variant of the Gold Marble variety. A hybrid of the golden marble gene with any other wild angelfish.

However, they lack the golden color and are silverish-grey. Random black dot(s)/mark(s) on their bodies add to their beauty.

They make a beautiful addition to your community tank.

27. Gold Marbled Veiltail Angelfish

Another fascinating variant of the Gold Marble variety, they have taller fins due to their mutation.

They typically grow 6 inches long to 8+ inches tall. Their tall swaying fins add a dash of elegance.

The red color seen under their eyes in earlier years disappears as they mature.

They are a fabulous addition to any fish collection.

28. Koi Angelfish

This breed replicates the colors of the famous Japanese Koi fish.

They have no stripes. Their bodies are silver with a prominent golden orange color on their heads and eyes. Fins and tails are generally transparent.

The red patch under their eyes disappears as they mature. The coloration of silver, golden orange, and black can vary. Some may have black transparent fins and tails and posteriors too.

Some may have a random patch of black, confusing them with the Golden Marble variety. However, a prominent dash of golden orange or gold patch on their heads distinguishes them easily.

The intensity of the golden orange color on their heads increases if they are stressed.

They grow up to 6 inches long and 8 inches tall and have a lifespan of up to 10 years.

A brilliant fusion of colors makes them an envious addition to any fish collection.

The following table lists a few hybrid Koi variants.

Table 1 – Types of Koi Angelfish (AF)
Hybrid Koi name Description
Red Cross of Blushing AF and Koi AF. Red-colored scales with yellow and black marks
Veil Taller fins
Pearlscale Pearl-like scales on the body (nobbly)
Super Red Dark red scales on the body and golden color the head
Orange Body has light orange scales with a dark orange color on the head
Blushing They have red gills, gold and silver body with golden-orange tinge on the head
Red Devil Hybrid of Super Red/Red Koi AF and Common AF. Their head is yellow colored
Ghost Their bodies are silver-white (no color) and their heads have a golden yellow dash
Albino Cross of Albino AF and Koi AF. They have pink or red eyes and a golden patch on their heads
Blue Sky blue bodies, and random black spots with a golden patch on their heads

29. Leopard Angelfish

They are a hybrid of the Zebra and Smokey types of genes.

This unique mutation causes a pattern of many irregular, random spots (and no stripes) covering their black and golden-yellow bodies, explaining their name.

Unless the tank lighting matches their natural environment, their spots will fade.

If the spots fade, they will look hazy, turn black, and may develop a blue patch on their heads.

They grow up to 6 inches long to 8+ inches tall and have a life expectancy of 10 years or more.

Their unusual pattern makes them a proud addition to any community aquarium.

30. Blue spotted or Blue Leopard Angelfish

A blue metallic hue on their bodies differentiates them from the Leopard variant.

However, this blue color becomes visible only as they grow, making it impossible to differentiate them earlier.

They are rare, making them a lucky catch for your community tank.

31. Smokey Angelfish

They are a hybrid of a preponderant smokey gene with any other wild variety and have a darker skin color.

Their stripe(s) are blurred, giving them a smokey look.

They are dark silverish-grey with a blurry greyish vertical stripe running from the center of the dorsal fin.

The stripe pattern on each side of their bodies is different. Their bodies become darker in color as they mature.

Their front bodies are bright silvery with pale golden stinge from their heads to the start of the dorsal fin.

The rear portion of the body usually takes a darker greyish shade and can even be plain black at times, depending on the mutation.

They have a life expectancy of up to 10 years.

Any of the angelfish can be cross-bred with a dominant smokey gene to have a smokey version (like the Golden Marble smokey, Leopard smokey, etc.)

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32. Chocolate Smokey Angelfish

This variant is born when both parents have a moderately predominant smokey gene.

The later parts of their bodies have dark chocolate-colored patches or are entirely brown, while the frontal portions are dark silver.

33. Smokey Blue Angelfish

They are a smokey hybrid variant with a bluish silver body and a dark grey smokey pattern.

34. Blue Chocolate Smokey Angelfish

This smokey hybrid has a fusion of chocolate, greenish-blue to blue, and dark silver colors on its body, with a smokey pattern.

The fins and tail are semi-transparent and have light blue lines. The posterior portion of the body is chocolate in color.

35. Diamond Panda or Panda Angelfish

Their bodies have distinct white and black colors, resembling the well-known panda bear.

They have no stripes. Very few black marks, pure white bodies, and black eyes differentiate them from other varieties.

Their fins and tails could be white, black, semi-transparent, or a combination of all three.

Their average size is 6 inches long. Fins are tall, giving it a diamond shape found in most Angelfish.

It’s difficult to find and adorable to own. Just grab it if you find one.

36. Platinum Angelfish

They are a relatively newer mutation in the market.

Silver white bodies with a light turquoise hue (blue or green) and black eyes differentiate them from others.

Their fins are semi-transparent white with a light blue or green shade, whereas their tails are transparent. Their natural shine

They grow up to 6 inches long and 8 inches tall.

This simple and elegant beauty makes a majestic addition to your collection.

37. Fluorescent or Glowing Angelfish

A team of Taiwanese researchers and academicians in Taiwan created this variant after three years of research. They displayed it at an international expo conference in Taiwan in 2012.

It is the first genetically engineered fish.

A fluorescent gene from outside was injected into the Angelfish’s reproductive organ to develop this never seen pink angelfish.

A buyer offered $100000 for a single fish at the event. However, since field tests were pending, they did not sell.

Developers have reserved patent rights to sell or breed this variant, making it expensive and commercially rare to find to date.

Their entire bodies are fluorescent pink with a white outline and transparent fins and tails. A small red patch under their eyes magnifies their beauty.

They glow in normal light due to their genetic formation. Fluorescent pink bodies turn fluorescent green at night.

Not much is published about their attributes, behavior, care, or breeding.

Owning this breathtaking beauty would be a dream come true for any fish enthusiast.

38. Redcap Angelfish

Rare type of hybrid.

They have shining silver bodies with no stripes or marks. A reddish-orange patch runs from their mouths and eyes to the start of the dorsal fins.

A lack of gold and black colors and marks sets them apart from the Kois.

It appears as if they are donning a red cap on their white bodies, giving them the name. Their eyes are red. Fins and tails are transparent.

They grow 6 inches long and 8 inches tall in size.

A  bright combination of colors makes them alluring. Don’t think twice if you find one!

39. Red Devil Angelfish

They get their name due to the dark reddish-orange colored bodies resulting from a genetic mutation.

Some may be reddish-orange on most of their bodies, with less white or gold coverage.

They lack stripes. A few may have random black spots. Fins are semi-transparent with a dash of black, and tails are semi-transparent black. They have black eyes.

They grow up to 6 inches long during their lifespan of 10+ years.

Rare to find, they bring flamboyance to your home aquarium.

40. Leopoldi or Dwarf or Teardrop or Roman-nosed Angelfish

Belonging to the PterophyllumLeopoldi specie, it got its name from King Leopold III of Belgium, who had sponsored the expedition in which they discovered this variety.

It is the smallest of all varieties, hence the name Dwarf. Their mouths are longer and curve slightly more outward, giving them the name Roman-nosed.

It can be easily distinguished by a black dot on its top portion, under its dorsal fin, between the 2nd and 3rd vertical stripe.

Their size can be from two to four inches long and less than 5.9 inches tall.

They are the most aggressive of all varieties.

Another variety (PterophyllumDumerilii) is often traded as dwarf fish in the market. Always look for the distinguishing dot mark to ensure you are buying a real dwarf.

41. Half-black Angelfish

Half-black gene is generally latent. But when both parents have half-black genes, this variety is born.

Their frontal portions are silver with stripes, but their later or posterior portions are plain black.

They are sensitive to their surroundings. Whether or not a fry will turn out half black depends on the tank environment.

Their average size is 6 inches long.

Difficulty in breeding and special tank requirements make them unsuitable for beginners.

42. Clown Angelfish

They have an intricate pattern of random greyish or black marks on their silver bodies, which is rare to find.

Tails are transparent, and fins are semi-transparent. Their eyes could be red or black.

Their average size is 6 inches long to 8 inches tall. They live up to ten years.

The pattern of each fish is unique, just like human fingerprints. They are more peaceful than other types, but hard to find.

Their peculiar appearance will make a distinctive addition to your community tank.

43. Cobalt Blue or Philippine Blue Pinoy

Philippine blue (pb) is a passive gene.

They are a hybrid of the Dark and the pb gene or of two pb genes.

As a result, their bodies acquire light (silver) or dark (black) colors, but what sets them apart is a  random and prominent shade of green on their bodies.

They grow 6 inches long.

Their vivid color combination can make a mesmerizing addition to any fish collection.

Conclusion

Nature has benevolently endowed Angelfish with fascinating colors and patterns. They are one of the most beautiful captive fish.

Any aquarium without these tall, fin-swaying fashionistas is incomplete.

Their beauties have intrigued breeders and hobbyists alike, whose unending enthusiasm and curiosity have given us many variants.

Do not get overwhelmed. Each type has a unique feature that separates it from the rest.

You will surely be able to identify most of them after reading this article. Also, let’s be prepared to welcome newer variants. 43 and still counting…😊

About the Author

Victoria Lamb

Victoria is a freshwater aquatics specialist, fish keeper, and amphibian enthusiast. She has had more than 6 years of experience caring for aquariums and keeping several fish species, and her home boasts of 3 aquariums and a garden pond. Her goal is to educate fish owners on raising healthy and happy aquatic pets.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK (2014-2018)

Writing Experience

Victoria has done ghostwriting for many aquarium and pet websites in the past. She has also worked for Canada's largest natural health magazine- ALIVE, with 300,000 monthly circulations as a freelancer. She had six published articles on animal behavior and welfare during her graduation for her thesis.

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