What are the predators of angelfish?

In this blog we will discuss predators of angelfish.This blog will give you an idea about predator-prey relationship too.This comprehensive guide will give all the information related to angelfish predators.


In this blog

  • What are the predators of angelfish?
  • What is predator-prey relationship?
  • Are freshwater angelfish predators or prey?
  • List of predators of angelfish
  • How do angelfish hunt their prey?
  • Other threats to angelfish
  • How do angelfish protect themselves from their predators?
  • What is the effect of predation on prey?  
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

What are the predators of angelfish?

Large and bigger fish are the main predators of angelfish.Their predators include sharks and barracudas.

Their thin, laterally compressed body allows the angel to shimmy among the corals, making it easier to escape from predators on large reefs.

Angels are like all other small freshwater fish have predators. Angelfish is also a prey fish for other fish too.

What is predator-prey relationship?

It refers to the interactions between two species, where one species is the hunted food source for the other.The eating organism is called predator and the eaten organism is prey.

Predator and prey populations react dynamically to each other.In predation,one organism kills and consumes another species. 

Predation prolongs lifespan, promotes the reproduction of predator killing organisms, and provides energy to damage prey, which is the organism being consumed.

Are freshwater angelfish predators or prey?

Angelfish are ambush predators, i.e they are carnivores that traps their prey through strategies that utilize stealth, temptation, or surprise elements and prey on small fish and large invertebrates.

But angelfish get caught by large fish too in their natural habitat and this cycle keeps going on,sometimes they are ambush predators and sometimes they get preyed on by other dominating predators too.

List of predators of angelfish

There are basically four biggest predators of angelfish in the wild habitat and they are sharks,barracudas,larger fish and marine mammals.


  • Kingdom:Animalia
  • Phylum:Chordata
  • Class:Chondrichthyes
  • Subclass:Elasmobranchii
  • Infraclass: Euselachii
  • Superorder:Selachimorpha

Sharks live in most marine habitats and can be found in beautiful tropical coral reefs, deep waters, and even under the ice of the Arctic Ocean.

Sharks are adapted to live in different aquatic habitats at different temperatures. Some species live in shallow coastal areas, while others live in the deep, seafloor, and open ocean.

Sharks sense the drifting odor of distant prey, swim upstream using the lateral line,a tactile system that senses the movement of water, and aim at close range using vision, lateral line, or electrical reception.

Sharks can smell blood from about a quarter of a mile away. When humans smell something in the air, it’s because the odor molecules have been dissolved in the moist lining of their nasal passages and sharks smell no different underwater,except that the molecules are already dissolved in seawater.

Sharks have very sharp teeth and rely on slicing and shaking their heads to strip off chunks of meat, so they don’t have to chew with all their might.


  • Kingdom:Animalia
  • Phylum:Chordata
  • Class:Actinopterygii
  • Order:Istiophoriformes
  • Family:Sphyraenidae
  • Genus:Sphyraena

Barracuda,or cuda, is a large predatory fish with radiant fins known for its intimidating appearance and ferocious demeanor. Barracuda is a marine fish named by Constantin Samuel Rafinesque in 1815. 

It lives in tropical and subtropical oceans throughout the world, from the eastern border of the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, the western border of the Caribbean Sea and the tropical Pacific. Barracudas live near the surface of the water, near coral reefs and sea grasses.

Barracuda is a ferocious opportunistic predator, relying on surprise and short bursts of up to 27 mph or 43 km / h  to overtake prey.They kill and consume larger prey by tearing chunks from their prey. 

Their silvery, elongated bodies make it difficult for prey to detect them, making them even more difficult to see when viewed from the front. Barracuda relies heavily on eyesight when hunting.

When hunting,they tend to notice anything that has unusual colors, reflections or movements.When barracuda targets the intended victim, its long tail and corresponding anus and dorsal fin move quickly to attack its prey before it escapes.

Barracuda generally attack a school of fish, first speeding up the head and biting with the jaw.

Larger fish

Fish larger than angelfish can attack them,as they are larger in size and will have a great bite force and special hunting ways to prey on angelfish.

Angelfish get intimidated by the appearance of large fish and get easily attacked by them.

Large fish tend to eat smaller fish because it allows them to get more energy from one food instead of eating lots of smaller pieces of food.

Marine mammals

Marine mammals feed entirely underwater and can hunt, catch, and ingest food underwater.They make sure to catch prey rather than swim away before swallowing it. 

They do this by sucking food deeper into their mouths, retracting their tongue when prey is in their mouth.They only dive for a few minutes and swallow their prey whole in the water or bring larger catches to the surface where they shake them into manageable pieces.

Echolocation is important for marine mammals,because it helps them to move and feed in the darkness of the night, in the deep waters that are difficult to see, and in muddy water. Beluga whales, sperm whales, dolphins, porpoises and other whales are known to echolocate.


Birds are another common predator of angelfish.Various types of birds will eat angelfish when they find one.Kingfisher is one of the most common predators of angelfish.

How do angelfish hunt their prey? 

The first spine of the dorsal fin extends from its head and serves as a fishing pole.The appendages at the end are called bait and when shaken it looks like a wriggling worm. Prey fish attracted to this bait are swallowed by the angelfish.

Other threats to angelfish

There are other threats too, which can harm angelfish and these threats can actually decline their population and can destroy their habitats too.

Human exploitation

Humans exploit angelfish for fishing practices,catch and release practice,trophy hunting and sometimes for feeding too.This behavior can stress them and will also decrease their original population in the wild.

Aquarium trade

Fish get caught for aquarium trade,as it’s a very big business.Wild caught fish are bred in captivity and then transported to aquarium stores.This process of catching them till transportation can stress them to the core.

Fish need proper water parameters, the same environment like their natural habitat to thrive in aquarium conditions and if they don’t get exact conditions they may die early due to the stress they perceive in aquarium conditions.

Climatic conditions

  • Climate change affects fish and their habitats.High temperatures affect the number of wild fish, migration patterns and mortality.
  • Fish eggs and larvae can also be directly affected by increased acidification.
  • Habitats of freshwater fish species are exposed to the threat of global warming, primarily due to rising water temperatures and a rise in global average temperature of 3.2 degrees celsius threatens more than half of the habitat of one-third of all freshwater fish species.

How do angelfish protect themselves from their predators? 

  • Angelfish gill lid has a secret weapon in the shape of a sharp thorn that they use to protect themselves  on the reef from their predators.
  • Angelfish are basically flat and thin like pancakes, So they can slip through coral reef crevices and narrow holes. In this way, they can escape predators or get nutrients from algae and other plants. 
  • Different fish protect themselves using a variety of techniques.
  • Some use their colors to camouflage themselves from predators and some fish form schools of hundreds or thousands of small fish to protect themselves from predators.
  • Other sets of fish use their five senses and have thorns and poison to defend themselves from enemies.
  • Schooling is one of the main ways that many fish help protect themselves from predators.
  • Special receptors located on the sides of the body can pick up small changes in water pressure, which can be caused by a sudden change in speed or direction of another nearby fish.

What is the effect of predation on prey?

Predation has a strong selective effect on prey, which develops adaptations to predators such as aposematism, alert calls and other signals, camouflage, well-protected species mimicry, defensive thorns and chemicals.


  • The predator-prey relationship is also essential to help maintain, increase, and stabilize the biodiversity of a particular ecosystem. This is because a single species is kept under control by the species that uses it for food.
  • Angelfish cannot cope with strong currents in the water and their natural enemies are large species of fish and humans.
  • Predatory fish are super carnivorous fish that actively hunt other fish or aquatic animals such as sharks, billfish, barracuda, and salmon. 
  • Sharks have a sharp sense of smell, blood happens to have a very attractive scent, and even a small amount of scent diluted in a large amount of water,but sharks also use sensory receptors along their sides to detect their prey.
  • Barracuda use a different feeding pattern, slamming prey with extreme body speed and completing the attack with a powerful cutting bite to capture large prey.
  • The researchers found that barracudas handle large prey through a series of powerful bites and quick sideways shaking their heads.
  • The size of the fish is not just important for the fish to prey on the angelfish. If the fish are aggressive, territorial, and cannibal, they will prey on  milder angelfish. If  they have a chance, they will kill and eat.
  • Angelfish can defend themselves from danger and harm.The gills have a sharp spine that helps protect them.A sharp spine can also protect them from large animals and fish. 

Frequently asked questions

Are angelfish endangered species?

No, angelfish don’t come under the endangered category.

What is concealment? 

Some marine life protects itself by hiding. One form of concealment is mimicry. This allows the fish to blend in and camouflage around.