Angelfish Species (Pterophyllum Scalare)
The Angelfish is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the hobby, and is known by almost all fish keepers. Ideally suited to larger, moderately planted aquariums, angelfish can become prized specimens in the right environment.
The name 'angelfish' relates to the fishes appearance rather than its nature, as being part of the cichlid family, its behaviour is sometimes far from angelic! Providing you are aware that angelfish can sometimes be a little aggressive, but not unmanageable, a pair or shoal of angelfish can make a great addition to a community aquarium.
AngelFish Species Part of the Cichlid Family
Angelfish are part of the Cichlid family, although they appear very different from a 'typical' Cichlid, if there is such a thing. The genus name of the angelfish, 'Pterophyllum', roughly translated from the Greek language, means 'winged leaf', relating to its tall, laterally compressed shape, and gliding motion.
There are three distinct species; P. scalare, P. altum, and P. leopoldi. The most common of these is P. scalare, which can be found in a wide range of captive bred forms, and is the focus of this article, although captive bred specimens are most likely an indistinct cross between species. P. altum, or the Altum Angel, is a taller fish, and the largest species, growing up to 25cm tall (including fins) and 18cm long. Altum angels make stunning specimen fish, although it is not uncommon to see normal angels sold as Altums, so be wary when purchasing. P. leopoldi are very rarely seen for sale and in contrast to altums, are more elongated, and if you are used to seeing normal angelfish they can look oddly stretched.