July 24

Sarah Robertson

Altum Angelfish: The Largest Species of Angelfish

Angelfish are a species of tropical freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae. They are native to South America and distributed throughout the Amazon Basin. Angelfish have been kept as aquarium pets since the 1800s. These beautiful fish are bred in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes.

Many aquarium hobbyists consider Altum Angelfish to be the most attractive fish species. It is also the most prominent member of its genus, with a maximum height (measured from the top dorsal fin to the bottom anal fin) of 38 cm (15 inches). The fish's natural color is silver, but it has three brownish/red vertical stripes and red striations on its fins. The species may also show red spotting and a blueish-green dorsal overcast when mature. When the fish is aroused, it exhibits a black operculum spot.

This article will provide a guide to caring for Altum Angelfish, including aquarium setup and nutrition needed to ensure these fish thrive.

Quick Facts About Altum Angelfish Care 

  • Scientific Name: Pterophyllum sp
  • Common Name: Altum Angelfish
  • Origin: Amazon and Orinoco River Basins, South America
  • Family: Cichlidae
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Temperature: Between 78° and 84° F
  • PH Range: 6.5 – 6.9
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Water Type: Hard
  • Breed Type: Egg Layer
  • Care Level: Easy- Moderate
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
  • Max Size: 15 inches
  • Compatibility: Community Tanks
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Altum Angelfish Size 

Altum Angelfish typically measure 15 inches in height, measured from the top dorsal fin to the bottom anal fin. They also have an overall body length of around 8-10 inches. However, in order for the fish to reach its full size, it needs to be provided with the proper living conditions and nutrition. Genetics can also play a factor in the size of an Altum Angelfish.

Altum Angelfish Lifespan

Altum Angelfish typically have a lifespan of 10-15 years with proper care. To ensure your Altum Angelfish lives a long and healthy life, it must be provided with the right aquarium conditions and nutrition. This includes clean water, a varied diet, and proper tank size. Additionally, regular water changes and tank maintenance are also necessary to keep your Altum Angelfish healthy.

Altum Angelfish

Altum Angelfish Appearance

This species is the largest in its genus and can grow as tall as 38 cm (15 inches) from tip of dorsal to tip of anal fin. Its natural base color is silver, but it has three brownish/red vertical stripes and red striations in the fins. This species may exhibit red spotting and a blueish green dorsal overcast when mature. When aroused, it exhibits a black operculum spot. Characteristic of this species is an acute incision or notch above the nares (supraorbital indention). All true Orinoco Altum specimens show this trait.

Gender Differences

There are a few ways to tell the difference between a male and female Altum angelfish. The first is by looking at their body shape. Male angelfish tend to be thinner and longer than females. Females, on the other hand, are shorter and stockier.

You can easily tell the difference between a male and female angelfish by examining their fins. The male's fins are usually longer and sharper while the female's fins appear shorter and rounder.

Another way to identify the sex of your angelfish is by examining their breeding tubes, which are located on their underside near the pelvic fins. The male's breeding tube will be longer and thinner than the female's.

Altum Angelfish Behavior

The Altum Angelfish is a semi-aggressive fish that, due to its large size, needs plenty of space to swim. It is also known to be nippy, so it's essential to provide hiding spots and places for exploration in their tank. Another point to remember: since these fish are jumpers, make sure your tank has a tight-fitting lid.

Altum Angelfish are mostly compatible with other fish, however it's best to not put them in the same tank as smaller fish as they may see them as prey. You should also avoid putting Altum Angelfish in a tank with fish that have long fins because Altum Angel fish have a habit of nipping.

These fish are relatively peaceful, but it’s essential to provide them with plenty of hiding places and areas for exploration. You should also try to maintain a consistent routine when caring for your Altum Angelfish as this will help keep them from getting stressed or anxious.

Altum Angelfish Care

So long as you understand their needs, Altum Angelfish are fairly easy to care for and have been known to live lengthy lives. To maintain them properly, it is crucial that they have the appropriate tank, diet, and water conditions.

If you're thinking of starting to care for Altum Angelfish, here are some easy guidelines to follow:

Tank Setup

By considering a few key points, you can easily set up the perfect tank for your Altum Angelfish. Be aware of grown size of your fish, how many fish want in total, and which other types peaceful or similar-sized fishes you also would like to keep.

By reading on, you will be informed of everything necessary to set up an ideal tank for your Altum Angelfish. Discover the perfect proportions for your tank size as well as what type of water is most accommodating.

Tank Size

The first step is to set up their fish tank. A spacious and comfortable fish tank that can hold at least 30 gallons of water is important for these types of fish. They need a lot of room to swim and explore, so a smaller tank will not work well for them. In addition to a large tank, you will also need to give numerous places for them to hide and explore inside the tank itself.

Although a small tank is easier to take care of, there are more benefits that come with owning a large fish tank. The fish not only have more space to swim but also live in water that's quicker to stay clean and consistent- which is important because even a tiny difference in water quality can stress them out or make them sick.

Water Quality

Given that Altum Angelfish are very responsive to changes in their ecosystem, it is key to closely monitor water quality for their care.

There are a few things you need to keep an eye on when caring for your fish, namely the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Ammonia and nitrites should always be at 0ppm (parts per million), while nitrates should ideally be below 20 ppm. Another thing to monitor is the pH level of the water, which should stay between 6.5 and 6.9

Doing weekly water changes is crucial to keeping the water quality high. As a general guide, change out 30% of the water each week.

One way to keep your water quality high is by using a filter. A good filter will remove waste and toxins from the water, keeping it clean and healthy. It's important to choose a filter that's the right size for your tank so that it can do its job properly.

A protein skimmer also helps maintain water quality by removing organic waste before it breaks down and releases toxins.


To keep your pet fish healthy and comfortable, it is important to maintain a consistent water temperature. These fish prefer water that is 76-82 degrees Fahrenheit, so using a dependable aquarium heater is key in maintaining the ideal conditions. Rapid changes in temperature can be dangerous for these creatures, so it imperative to do so gradually by raising the temp a few degrees each day until you reach your goal.

Altum Angelfish

Tank Decor

A few things to keep in mind when decorating their tank: these fish need plenty of hiding spots. This can be achieved by using live plants, caves, and other decorations.

Some good choices for easy-to-care live plants that provide shelter for your fish include java fern, anubias, java moss, hornwort, and water sprite. Not to mention, they also help support the local ecosystem by filling the water with oxygen. If you don't want to use live plants, plastic ones can work just as well; though clean them regularly to prevent them from leaching toxins into the water.

It's important to remember that these fish enjoy swimming on all levels of the tank, which means you'll need decorations extending from the bottom to the top. Some good choices include driftwood, rocks and caves. Remember to avoid using any decorations with sharp or rough edges as these could injure your fish.

Lastly, you need to pick a substrate. For an Altum Angelfish tank, your best bet is a sandy substrate; that way, their delicate fins won't get damaged as easily.

As for lighting, these fish do well in tanks with dim light. You can recreate this by using an aquarium hood with a low-wattage bulb or by placing floating plants around the tank to diffuse the light.

Tank Maintenance

Although it takes some effort, keeping a healthy fish tank is not difficult. There are daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks that need to be completed.

Daily Basis:

  • Feed your fish the right amount of food
  • Check ammonia and nitrite levels to make sure they're at 0 ppm
  • Skim off any debris from the surface of the water

Weekly Basis:

  • Change 25% of the tank water
  • Clean out any decorations, like rocks or driftwood, to prevent them from leaching toxins
  • Vacuum the gravel to remove any buildup of debris

Monthly Basis:

  • Change 50% of the tank water
  • Clean out the filter and replace any carbon or other media as needed

Yearly Basis:

  • Complete a thorough cleaning of the entire tank, including all decorations and the filter (replace the filter media if needed)
  • Test water parameters to make sure they are still in the optimal range

Following these simple steps will ensure that your fish have a happy and healthy home. And with proper care, Altum Angelfish can live for up to 15 years.

Note: Always condition the water before adding it to the tank. Water conditioners help eliminate chlorine and other toxins that can be harmful to your fish. Also, make sure you're using a dechlorinator specifically made for aquariums!

Altum Angelfish Diet

As Altum Angelfish are omnivores, in the wild their diet typically consists of small insects, crustaceans, and algae. When kept as pets in an aquarium however, their diet can be supplemented with:

Pellets and Flakes: These provide a well-balanced diet and are easy to feed.They are typically made up of a variety of ingredients, including fish meal, plant matter, and vitamins.

Fresh Foods: In addition to pellets and flakes, you can also feed your Angelfish fresh foods like brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, and blanched vegetables. These are an excellent way to provide them with the necessary nutrients they need for a long, healthy life. However, do not overfeed them as this can lead to health issues.

Frozen Foods: These are a great option for providing your fish with a variety of food. Sometimes getting fresh food can be difficult, so frozen foods are a good option to have on hand.

Vegetables: In addition to their regular diet, you can give your fish vegetables like zucchini, spinach, and peas. Remember to blanch or cook the vegetables first, though. If you don't, it will be hard for your fish to digest them.

A varied diet is essential for keeping them healthy and preventing deficiencies, so offer a range of foods and see what they take to most. As with any pet, pollution is an issue – make sure to remove uneaten food from the water.

Only feed your live food sources foods that are small enough for them to eat. This way, you can avoid giving them anything too big which could choke them, or too small where it might escape and pollute the water supply.

You can ensure your Altum Angelfish are getting the best live food possible by culturing it yourself. To do this, set up a small aquarium with a few fish or shrimp. Once the culture is established, you can then add it to your main tank.

Altum Angelfish Diseases

Altum Angelfish are susceptible to a variety of diseases, so it is important to keep an eye out for any signs of distress. Some common diseases that can affect your Angelfish include:

  • Ich: Ich, more popularly known as White Spot Disease, is a protozoan that appears on fish in the form of white dots. The number one cause of ich among angelfish is usually a swift temperature change in their water or stress caused by other fishes. However, placing plants or other similar fish into an inadequate tank can taint all the angelfish and result in Ich. If gone untreated, this disease has a high chance of causing fatalities among affected fish, so taking immediate action is key.
  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is a bacterial infection of a fish's fins caused by unclean water conditions, such as high levels of ammonia or nitrite. Additionally, fin rot can occur if the fish are kept with other fishes that nibble at their fins, which results in physical damage. If left untreated, fin rot will spread to the fish's body and be deadly.
  • Dropsy: Dropsy, a condition often found in fish which is characterized by swelling from an abundance of fluids, can have several causes such as kidney failure or infections. Antibiotics might help the fish recover; if not, then the only option left would be to put it down.
  • Velvet Disease: Velvet disease is a fish infection that causes them to develop a velvet-like coating as a result of poor water conditions, new fish, or plants. To treat this, quarantining the fish and treating them with copper sulfate should do the trick.
  • Angelfish Hexamita: Aquarists should be aware of a disease known as Hexamita, or Hole-in-the-Head Disease. This disease is caused by a rapid multiplying parasite, and if left untreated can kill your angelfish and spread quickly to other fish in freshwater aquariums. To quarantine infected fish, you can raise the water temperature gradually until it reaches 90°F –9, or treat the aquarium with salt.

Symptoms of Disease in Angelfish

These are a few key symptoms to look out for in your angelfish when it comes to diseases:

  • White spots on the body
  • Sores or ulcers on the body
  • Redness or inflammation
  • Frayed fins
  • Missing fins
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Loss of appetite
  • lethargy or swimming irregularly

If you notice any of these symptoms in your angelfish, it is important to take action immediately. Quick treatment offers the best chance for a successful recovery.

How to Prevent Disease in Angelfish

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your angelfish remain healthy:

  • Quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank.
  • Keep your tank clean and free of debris.
  • Do not overfeed your fish.
  • Monitor the water parameters closely.
  • Remove any sick or dead fish from the tank immediately.


If you observe any of the aforementioned symptoms in your angelfish, it is crucial that you take action right away. Early detection provides greater chances of successfully treating the disease.

Various treatments are available for diseases that affect angelfish, including:

  • Quarantine: If you have a fish that falls ill, one of the best things you can do is to put it in its own tank - we call this quarantining. This action will help stop the disease from infecting other fish and let you keep an eye on how your fish is feeling.
  • Antibiotics: Fish commonly take antibiotics to treat bacterial infections. They can receive them through food or water, or veterinarians can inject them directly into the fish.
  • Copper Sulfate: Copper sulfate is an effective treatment against Velvet disease and should be added to the quarantine tank at a concentration of 0.15-0.20 ppm
  • Salt: To treat Hexamita and other parasitic infections, add salt to the quarantine tank at a concentration of 0.3%.
  • Raising the Temperature: If you suspect your fish has a Hexamita infection, raise the water temperature gradually until it reaches 90°F (9°C).

Altum Angelfish Breeding 

There are a few key points to remember when breeding Angelfish: feeding them well and allowing them to choose their mate. It can be tricky to tell the difference between male and female fish, so giving them free choice may be your best bet. Another way you can distinguish males from females is that female's eggs will make her abdomen swell just before they hatch.

Before you breed your angelfish, it is necessary to condition them first. Conditioning your fish involves preparing their bodies and the tank for breeding through changes in diet and environment. The entire process usually takes 4-8 weeks. To begin conditioning your angelfish, improve their diet by adding more protein and live foods. Additionally, make sure the water parameters (like pH levels) in the tank are good for breeding conditions.

Before they mate, parents work together to clean a proposed site - this could be anything from a leaf to slate. Once the female is ready to lay her fertilized eggs, she does so in rows. To improve their chances of survival, both parents take turns cleaning off any dirt or rot that might threaten the health of the eggs.

Just as parents take care of their children and ensure they are well equipped to fend for themselves before leaving the nest, Altum Angelfish mate for life and work together to raise their fry. However, sometimes under stress or due to other outside factors, breeding pairs will consume eggs as well as any small fish nearby. Because of this exception to the rule, some commercial breeders have had adjust their methods in order accommodate these situations. To hatch your eggs, place the leaf or slate on which they were spawned in a container with water from the original tank. Then, add an air stone so that there is a stream of bubbles for circulation and cleaning. Adding fungicide will kill any fungus present and prevent fungal infections.

Newly born fish, called fry, are easy pickings for predators. That's why many breeders put them in tanks with lots of places to hide until they're big enough to defend themselves.

Altum Angelfish Fry Care

Although it is easy to care for Altum Angelfish fry, there are a couple of steps you should take to ensure their well-being. Hiding places are crucial for them; live plants or pieces of driftwood work great. In addition, feeding them a healthy diet is essential; live brine shrimp or daphnia works well for Altum Angelfish fry. You'll need to change the water regularly and remove any ammonia or nitrates to keep the habitat clean. Patience is also key; Angelfish can take up to 12 months before they're fully grown, so don't get discouraged if their growth rate seems slow.

Frequent Questions

Why is the fish named Altum angelfish?

Altum Angelfish is named after the Latin word "Altus," which means deep. It refers to their ability to swim in very deep waters and make use of the resources they find there.

How big do Altum angelfish get?

Altum Angelfish can reach a maximum size of 15 inches. They usually grow to a more manageable 12-13 inches in captivity.

Are Altum angelfish easy to pet?

Altum Angelfish may be challenging to keep, but with proper care and maintenance, they can thrive in captivity. They require an aquarium of at least 55 gallons with a pH level between 6.5-7.5 and a temperature between 75-86°F (24-30°C). Additionally, providing them with enough hiding places is important so that they will feel secure and comfortable in the tank. With regular maintenance, quality food, and a good environment, Altum Angelfish can live a long and healthy life.

What is the difference between Altum and Scalare angelfish? 

Altum Angelfish are larger in size and more elongated than Scalare Angelfish. Additionally, Altum Angelfish are native to the Amazon basin while Scalare Angelfish originate from coastal rivers. The two species have different colorations as well; Altum Angelfish tend to be silver with blue markings while Scalare Angelfish can come in various shades of black and yellow. Finally, Altum Angelfish can tolerate colder water temperatures than Scalare Angelfish, so they are better suited for cooler aquariums.

What do you feed Altum angelfish?

Altum Angelfish should be fed a variety of foods, including live brine shrimp and daphnia, freeze-dried krill, worms and other frozen seafood items. They also appreciate plant matter such as spirulina flakes or greens like blanched spinach. To ensure their health and longevity, it is important to provide them with a balanced diet.

Ultimately, Altum Angelfish are beautiful and unique fish that require the right conditions to thrive. With proper care and maintenance, they can be a wonderful addition to any aquarium!

How do you breed Altum Angels?

Breeding Altum Angels can be a rewarding experience, but it requires patience and dedication. First, you need to find a compatible pair of adults that have been conditioned for breeding. Then, you must create the right environment; this should include dim lighting and plenty of hiding places such as caves or plants. Finally, once the eggs have been laid, the parents should be removed from the tank and the eggs should be allowed to hatch in peace. Once hatched, you can feed them with a diet of small live foods such as baby brine shrimp or daphnia until they are ready for regular fish food. With proper care and dedication, it is possible to successfully breed Altum Angels in captivity!

Where are Altum angelfish found?

Altum Angelfish are found in the Amazon basin, primarily in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. They inhabit areas with slow-moving or still water such as flooded forests and backwaters.

Summing Up

Altum Angelfish are beautiful fish that make great pets. They are easy to care for and can live for 5-10 years with proper care. These fish need a clean environment, plenty of hiding places, and a healthy diet. They are known to be the largest species of Angelfish and are native to the Amazon basin. Because the Altum gene makes these fish more vulnerable to sickness, it is crucial they have a clean tank. The best diet for an Altum Angelfish includes pellets, flakes, and live foods; though feeding them a variety of food ensures they get proper nutrients. Only give them as much food as they can eat in 2-3 minutes and take out any leftover bits so it does not dirty the water. Because Angelfish are delicate, it's important to change their water and clear out any ammonia or nitrates regularly to maintain a healthy environment. Also, have faith; even though they can take up to twelve months to fully mature, don't get discouraged if their growth rate appears slow at first. So what are you waiting for? Go buy an Altum Angelfish today!

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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