Angelfish and Barbs (Are they compatible?)

In this article, we will understand the relationship between “Angelfish and Barbs”. We will also explain if they can be set up together in a tank and what their tank specificities are.

Angelfish and Barbs

Angelfish and Barbs are very popular among aquarists. When setting up a new freshwater tank it is very important to consider the fish compatibility before putting them together in a community tank. In general, keeping Angelfish and Barbs is not a good idea.

Some Barb species are less aggressive than others and can be considered to be kept with Angelfish. Although, Barbs can typically begin nipping the Angelfish fins and this will require your attention.

Additionally, water parameters requirements, tank needs, and behaviour partially differ between the two groups of fish. Thus, we will understand both, Angelfish and Barbs, requirements and behaviour. And lastly, we will discuss their compatibility.


Angelfish is a very popular fish among aquarium hobbyists. They are very beautiful and bring an awesome look to a freshwater fish tank. The Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches long and 10 inches high. Their lifespan is around 10 years.

Behaviour and Requirements

In their natural habitat, Angelfish are commonly seen in small groups. Although Angelfish are not schooling fish they prefer living with conspecifics. They feel safer when in small groups. If threatened, they can get aggressive towards other species in the community tank.

The water and tank requirements are temperatures ranging from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, pH between 6.5 and 8. Angelfish require a tank with plenty of plants and fine substrate. Some plants as Java Moss and Java Fern are great options for a tank with Angelfish.


Barbs are freshwater fish that have very nice colouration and are very beautiful. Barbs are available in different colours and are nice additions to a community tank.

However, their behaviour can limit which species is most recommended and what are the best tankmates for them. The most common tank Barbs are the Cherry Barb and the Tiger Barb. They differ quite a lot in their behaviours and tank requirements. 

Behaviour and Requirements

Barbs are schooling fish that needs to be in groups of at least 6 individuals. They are very active swimmers and are best suited for well-planted tanks with plenty of space and hiding spots. 

Most of the Barbs are very aggressive and they are famous fin nippers. Thus, it is recommended to avoid long-finned tankmates. The Tiger Barb can get very aggressive towards other species. Although, the Cherry Barb is one of the most peaceful Barbs.

Males are more coloured and smaller than females. In general, Barbs live around 5 or 6 years in healthy tank conditions.

The Tiger Barb enjoys water temperatures ranging from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH between 6 and 7. Water hardness up to 10 dH. They are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. The Tiger Barbs can grow up to 4 inches in length.

The Cherry Barbs require temperatures between 68 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit with pH from 6.5 to 7.5. The water hardness range is very wide, from 5 to 19 dH. They can be fed small shrimp and daphnia. The Cherry Barbs are small fish, when adults they reach up to 2 inches in length.

Can I keep Barbs with Angelfish?

In general, it is not recommended to keep Angelfish and Barbs in the same tank. Barbs are known to be fin nippers, which is an issue as Angelfish have long beautiful fins. 

However, some peaceful Barb species can make good tankmates with Angelfish. It is recommended close observation of the presenting period. If peaceful Barbs are chosen, it is also important to have enough space and hiding spots to avoid chasing and bullying.

Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barbs are not good tankmates for Angelfish. As aggressive fin nippers, they would chase the Angelfish, causing stress and vulnerability to diseases.

Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barbs can be nice tankmates for Angelfish as they are one of the most peaceful Barbs. However, it is important to keep in mind that is necessary to observe their first weeks together closely. Angelfish can chase and bully the Cherry Barbs at the beginning. Thus, introducing them as youngsters would favour a healthier relationship between the two species.

Angelfish top 5 tankmates

Angelfish usually are peaceful fish. However, they can get somehow aggressive towards smaller fish. If you plan to have small species with Angelfish, consider introducing them as youngsters, as they will have not a huge difference in sizes. Large aggressive fish species and fin nippers, such as Tiger Barbs, Goldfish, and Betta fish, are not good tankmates for Angelfish.

The top 5 tankmates for Angelfish are:

–       Rainbowfish;

–       Corydoras Catfish;

–       Dwarf Gouramis;

–       Molly Fish;

–       Platies.

Barbs top 5 tankmates

The top 5 tankmates for Tiger Barbs are:

–       Molly fish;

–       Corydoras Catfish;

–       Zebra Danios;

–       Plecos;

–       Clown Loach.

Some fish are not compatible with Tiger Barbs, they are Goldfish, Betta fish, Angelfish, and Guppies.

The best tankmates for Cherry Barbs are other peaceful and small fish species. The top 5 Cherry Barbs tankmates are:

–       Glass Catfish;

–       Celestial Pearl Danios;

–       Neon Tetras;

–       Gouramis;

–       Platies.

You can also add aquatic invertebrates such as Ghost Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp and Zebra snails.


In this article, we understood the relationship between “Angelfish and Barbs”. We explained why they cannot be set up together in a tank, the exceptions, and what their tank specificities are.

If you have any thoughts or doubts, feel free to drop us in a comment below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Angelfish and Barbs

Can Tiger Barbs live with Angelfish?

No, Tiger Barbs are aggressive and fin nippers. Thus, they would nip the long Angelfish fins. Tiger Barbs should never be tankmates with Betta fish, Goldfish, and other long fins fish. 

Can you put Cherry Barbs with Angelfish?

Yes, differently from other Barbs, Cherry Barbs are not prone to nip fins. Thus, they can make goo Angelfish tank mates. However, it is important to observe and make sure the Angelfish are not chasing and bullying the Cherry Barbs, due to their size difference.

What fish live well with Tiger Barbs? 

The best tankmates to Tiger Barbs are fish with not so long fins, as they are fin nippers. Fast-moving active fish can make good tank mates. It is possible to highlight danios, platies, and catfish. 

What fish can go with Angelfish?

The best tankmates for Angelfish are not fin nippers and non-aggressive species. Some of the fish species that go along with Angelfish are the Rainbowfish, Corydoras Catfish, Dwarf Gourami, and Molly fish, and Platies 

Can I put Guppies with Angelfish?

Yes, Guppies can make nice tankmates to Angelfish. Similarly to Cherry Barbs, Guppies are tiny fish. Thus, it is important to observe if the Angelfish are not chasing and bullying the Guppies.

What Barbs are peaceful?

Some Barbs as Cherry, Gold, Checkerboard, and Pentazoa Barbs are known to have a peaceful behaviour in comparison to the other Barb species. They make nice inhabitants of a community tank and give an awesome look due to their colouration.


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