June 26

Sarah Robertson

Marble Angelfish: The Ultimate Guide to Care and Maintenance

The marble angelfish is a freshwater fish that is commonly thought to be bred from the Pterophyllum scalare. The freshwater angelfish is most commonly referred to as the silver angelfish by aquarists. These fish fall into the genus known as ‘the Pterophyllum’. They are spread out across many rivers in South America, including the Amazon River basin and its tributaries.

These fish come in a variety of colors, including marble patterns that are created by mottled coloring. Every fish has a unique pattern. The body of the classic marble angelfish is covered in beautiful, unique marbling, with stripes on their fins.

The marble angelfish is a very peaceful fish, and they make great community tank mates. They are best kept with other angelfish of similar size, as well as other peaceful fish. They are not known to be aggressive towards any species. The marble angelfish is a very hardy fish, and is resistant to many common diseases. These fish are very easy to care for, and are a great choice for beginner aquarists. They are readily available and relatively inexpensive. 

If you are thinking about adding a marble angelfish to your home aquarium, read on for everything you need to know about their care and maintenance.

Quick Facts about Marble Angelfish

  • Scientific Name: Pterophyllum scalare
  • Common Names: Silver Angelfish, Freshwater Angelfish
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Size of fish in inches: 6.0 inches (15.24 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gal (114 L)
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8° C)
  • pH: 6-7
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
Marble Angelfish

Marble Angelfish Care

The marble angelfish is a Scalare fish, which are popular among both experts and beginners.

The water conditions in which you keep your marble angelfish is the most important thing to consider when it comes to their care. Correctly maintaining water conditions is essential to the health and wellbeing of marble angel fish.

  • In the wild, these fish live in areas with moderate water currents. So, when setting up their tank at home, you should also create moderate water movement.
  • They require a aquarium that is warmer with a temperature range of 23.9 to 27.8° C.
  • They do best in a slightly acidic environment with a pH range of 6-7.
  • Since they are freshwater fish, they need water that is not too hard. The hardness of the water should be between 2 and 10 dGH.
  • They don't have a substrate preference and do best with a combination of sand and gravel.
  • They also need dim light as they live around vegetation in the wild, where there is less sunlight.

For proper care, you should do a 25% water change every week. When changing the water, it's important to match the new water to the old water conditions as closely as possible. This includes temperature, pH, and hardness.

You should also clean the gravel and vacuum the debris from the bottom of the tank.

Marble Angelfish Size

They typically grow to be about 6 inches long, from the dorsal fin's tip to the anal fin, but they have been known to reach 8-10 inches in some cases.

Marble Angelfish Lifespan

With the proper care, Marble angelfish can live up to 15 years. The average lifespan, however is only 10 years. They show better resistance to changes in water conditions.

Though they are hardy, they still have some specific requirements to do well in a home aquarium.

The level of nitrates in the water can be fatal to your fish if it exceeds a certain limit. By monitoring the conditions of the water, making regular changes, and ensuring that the tank is not overcrowded, you can help to extend the lifespan of your fish.

Marble Angelfish Appearance

These beautiful fish looks amazing in any aquarium with their elegant and stylish coloration.

Females are typically smaller than males. Juveniles have black vertical bars on their bodies, which fade as they mature.

Pterophyllum scalare has many variations due to crossbreeding with other Pterophyllum species.

The inbreeding of different angelfish results in the creation of marble angelfish. However, there is more variation within the marble angel fish population based on their unique colorations and markings. Marbles have small, flattened bodies that give them a diamond-like shape. There are three different kinds of marbles, which will be listed below.

Black marble angelfish:

This particular shade has more of a black color with subtle white and silvery undertones.

Gold marble angelfish:

This fish's color is primarily gold with little black and white retention in the form of stripes or spots.

Blue marble angelfish: 

This type of fish has a blue body with white and black spots.

Apart from the above mentioned types, there are also White Marble Angelfish, Platinum Marble Angelfish, Red Marble Angelfish, Orange Marble Angelfish and Albino Marble Angelfish. The primary distinction between these variations is their coloring. They are named after the colors that dominate their bodies.

As you can see, there is a great deal of variation among marble angel fish. But no matter what their coloring is, they are all absolutely stunning creatures that will add beauty and interest to your aquarium.

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be difficult to tell male and female marble angelfish apart. Only those with a lot of experience or an expert eye can point out the differences which are not noticeable to beginners or ordinary people. The sexuality of these fish cannot be identified until they mature, and even then it is difficult to tell.

If the tank conditions are favorable, then it takes 5 to 7 months for the fish to reach maturity. Here are some physical characteristics which can be used to determine the sex of the fish.

  • Males and females of the marble angelfish species can be distinguished by size and body shape. Males are larger with fully circular bodies, while females have smaller, angular frames.
  • While the males have a split front fin, the females possess a smooth one.
  • As they mature, spawning tubes develop on their bellies near the feeler fins. The tubes of males would be sharp and pointed, while the female’s tubes would be shallow, dull, and non-pointed.
  • As males mature, they develop a thick, bumpy forehead with a pronounced crown-like appearance. females have rounded heads without any bumps.
Marble Angelfish

Marble Angelfish Behavior

This freshwater fish is a semi- aggressive species that needs lots of hiding spots and plants in the aquarium. It is a peaceful fish but can become territorial with age, especially when breeding.

In addition, they will eat smaller fish without any hesitation. So, it is better to keep them with fish that are too big to fit in their mouths. Male fishes become highly aggressive when another male enters their territory and will fight until one of them dies. You should therefore keep them in single or in pairs. They are a slow-moving species that prefer to stay in the middle and bottom levels of the tank. They would often be seen hiding behind the plants or in caves.

Marble Angelfish Food & Diet 

Marble angelfish are known to be quite ravenous eaters. In the wild, they primarily consume small crustaceans, larvae, insects, and other fish that they can fit in their mouth. They also consume grassy weeds, which gives them the natural fibers they need to survive. Protein should largely make up their diet in the aquarium. They readily accept any live food as well as frozen foods.

Mysis shrimp, bloodworms and vitamin-enriched brine are all perfect treats for your fish. To maintain a balanced nutritious diet, include pellets and high-quality flake foods in their everyday diet.

Although mosquito larvae are a favorite food of marble angelfish, the fish will overfeed on them if they're offered too often. Too many mosquito larvae can cause health problems for your fish.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your fish 2-3 times a day, in small quantities that they can consume in under 2 minutes. This will help ensure that they're getting the nutrition they need without overfeeding.

Marble Angelfish Tank Mates

Marble angelfishes come from slow-moving streams where there is a lot of vegetation. These areas are also home to many other types of fish. While they can adapt to living in close proximity with other species, when confined in a fish tank, they don't have the same space to roam.

Picking compatible tank mates for Marble Angelfish can be tricky. Their behavior towards other species can change over time, so you need to be aware of potential conflicts before they happen.

Here is the rule of thumb for selecting the tank mates for marble angelfish:

  • Other angelfish species are the best tank mates for marble angelfish.
  • Other freshwater fish that come from slow-moving streams and have a similar diet will also do well as tank mates.
  • Do not put a small, defenseless fish with the marble angelfish as it will likely be eaten.
  • If you're housing semi-aggressive fish with the marble angelfish, ensure your tank is big and has various hiding and open spaces. Keep a watchful eye on the fish tank as marble angelfish are known to have long fins which may trigger the other fishes' predatory nature.
  • Your marble angelfish are at risk if you keep them with aggressive predatory fish. So it is not recommended to house them together.

Below are a few species that can be great tank mates for marble angelfish:

  • Platies
  • Kuhli loaches
  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Bolivian rams
  • Freshwater Catfish
  • Mollies
  • Juvenile common plecos (which become aggressive after maturing)

Marble Angelfish Tank Setup

These Marble angelfishes need a tank that meets specific size requirements. They need an aquarium that offers plenty of swimming and hiding spaces, with depth being a paramount concern.

The most important thing to remember when setting up their tank is making sure the environment makes them feel comfortable and at home. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended for a single specimen of marble angelfish. A 55-gallon tank can offer a comfortable amount of space for a pair.

They need a large and deep aquarium because of their long dorsal and anal fins, which give them a wing-like appearance. So a deeper tank is better than a longer one.

Few other things that you should keep in mind for their tank setup are:


Install a good quality filter as marble angelfish generate a lot of waste. An efficient filtration system should be installed to perform all required types of filtration. Filtering your water is key to preventing nitrates and other toxins from building up.

Aquarium Hood:

It is necessary to prevent the fish from jumping out of the tank.


They don't have any specific requirements for lighting but moderate lighting is ideal. You can install a roof-mounted lighting system on the aquarium.


Sand or gravel substrate with some rocks and driftwood is perfect for them.


They prefer live plants in their tank but can also do well with artificial plants. The tank should have plants with submerged leaves or expanded, dense branches around the inside peripheries. The leaves and branches of the plants provide shelter and resting places for your fish. There should be an open area in the center of the tank for fish to swim.

Water Parameters:

The water should be of good quality with a pH between 6 and 7, and a temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

With the proper setup, your marble angelfish will be happy and healthy for many years to come!

Marble Angelfish

Marble Angelfish Breeding

The marble angelfish is a product of inbreeding Pterophyllum scalare. Therefore, it shares all the same physical qualities as the silver angelfish, including mating instincts.

South American freshwater angelfishes typically form nuclear families when they pair off. A nuclear family is a group consisting of a male and female with some or no children.

Depending on the living conditions, Marble Angelfish reach maturity between 6 to 12 months old.

Here are some tips on how to breed your own marble angelfish:

  • First, you need to have a male and female that are of breeding age and in good health. If you’re not sure whether your fish are ready to breed, ask your local fish store or consult a professional.
  • You will also need to have a separate breeding tank that is at least 20 gallons in size. The tank should be set up with soft, acidic water and plenty of hiding places. To induce spawning, you can add live foods or use a clay pot as a cave.
  • Once the female lays her eggs, she will likely eat them so it’s important to remove her from the tank. The male will then fertilize the eggs and guard them until they hatch, which takes about two weeks.
  • The fry will be very small and need to be fed infusoria or live baby brine shrimp until they are big enough to eat regular food.

Clean and clear water is necessary for these fish to spawn. If the water is not clean, they will not spawn, even if they are paired up. In addition, a diet that is balanced and high in protein would be favorable.

The water temperature and acidity levels are key to trigger fish spawning. The desired spawning water is warmer and more acidic than what is typically found in the wild. Please see the specific conditions below.

  • Temperature: 27 to 29 degrees Celsius
  • pH : About 6.5
  • Hardness: 5 dGH

After the conditions for breeding are met, spawning will commence. The female fish would lay hundreds of eggs on a flat surface like submerged broadleaf or branches; typically ranging from 100 to 1000.

After the female lays her eggs, the male would then follow and fertilize them. However, over time due to commercial inbreeding of these fish, their natural instinct to guard the eggs has diminished greatly.

The parents can eat their own eggs. If you don't want this to happen, you need to provide a hatching surface for the eggs, like a shallow cup or plate that can be removed later.

Breeding marble angelfish can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to be prepared and do your research beforehand. With proper care and dedication, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish.

Marble Angelfish Fry

Once the fry are born, they are very small and need to be fed either infusoria or live baby brine shrimp until they mature enough to consume regular fish food. These fry are also very delicate and sensitive to changes in water quality. It is important to do daily water changes of at least 10-15% to ensure the fry's survival. The fry will also need to be sorted by size every few days as the larger fry will eat the smaller ones.

As the fry grow, their color patterns will start to develop. Once they reach adulthood, they can be kept in a tank with other angelfish or fish of similar size. However, it is important to note that adult marble angelfish may start to show aggression towards each other if they are not kept in a large enough tank.

Marble Angelfish Diseases

Marble Angelfish are susceptible to the same diseases that other freshwater fish can get. In order to prevent your fish from getting sick, it is important to practice good tank maintenance and to quarantine new fish before adding them to your existing tank.

Some of the symptoms to look out for include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Gasping for air at the surface of the water
  • Listlessness or lethargy
  • Spots or lesions on the body
  • Excess mucus production

If you notice any of these symptoms in your fish, it is important to take them to a vet or qualified aquarium professional as soon as possible.

Common diseases that affect marble angelfish include:

Marble Angelfish Popeye Disease

The infection known as Popeye disease causes fluid to build up behind the eyes of marble angelfish. It can be caused by swimming under unsafe water conditions and, even though it has a very low chance of resulting in death, it can damage the eye and cause blindness.

Common symptoms of Popeye disease in angelfish include:

  • Protruding or cloudy eyes
  • Ruptured eyes that can cause irreparable damage to vision.

Marble Angelfish Dropsy

Dropsy is an infection caused by a bacterium that commonly resides in aquariums. However, if the immune system of your angelfish becomes compromised, it can cause problems.

The infection could cause the fish's kidneys to stop working well, which would make thefish build up fluid.

Symptoms of angelfish dropsy are as follows:

  • A puffy face and bulging eyes.
  • Scales that are sticking out
  • Frequent, fast breathing through the gills.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

There is no hope for angelfish that have caught dropsy in its advanced stages.

If you manage to catch the disease in its incipient stages, adding antibacterial medication to their food and treating angelfish in a separate tank, which contains Epsom salts (⅛ teaspoons to 5 gallons ratio) can help draw out some of the excess fluid.

Marble Angelfish Velvet Disease

Velvet Disease is an infection caused by the parasite Piscinoodinum. This disease affects fish by forming a cyst beneath the skin, which eventually erupts and causes serious health problems.

Symptoms of velvet disease in angelfish include:

  • Sometimes, the body is coated in golden cysts (or green or brown ones).
  • Excessive slime production
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fish rubbing its body against objects in the tank

Due to a weakened immune system, fish who contract velvet disease are also susceptible to secondary infections. As a result, the symptoms of other diseases may present themselves alongside the symptoms of velvet disease.

Marble Angelfish Ich / Ick 

Ich, also known as White Spot Disease, manifests itself as small white spots on the body of the fish. Ich is a protozoa that attacks freshwater fish, and usually does so when the water conditions are poor or there has been a sudden change in temperature. Ich can also be introduced to a tank via plants or other fish that are already carrying the parasite.

The disease is deadly if left untreated, so it is essential to get medical help as soon as possible.

These are some of the symptoms that may mean your angelfish has Ick:

  • Unusual white patches appearing on your angelfish's body.
  • The fish in the tank are trying to remove their spots by rubbing against objects.
  • Fins that have been folded
  • When spots are located on the gills, fish have great difficulty breathing.
  • Loss of appetite and swimming in an erratic, aimless pattern.

Marble Angelfish Hexamita (Hole-in-the-Head Disease)

Hexamita, often called Hole-in-the-Head disease by aquarium enthusiasts, is brought about the uncontrolled growth of a typical freshwater fish parasite. If left untreated, the disease will result in the death of your angelfish.

Symptoms of the disease hexamita in angelfish are:

  • Fading colors
  • Loss of appetite
  • White, stringy feces
  • Lesions, or sores, on the head.
Marble Angelfish

Marble Angelfish Fin Rot

Angelfish fin rot is a bacterial infection that commonly appears in freshwater aquariums when water conditions are less than ideal. It starts by attacking the fins and gradually moves to the base.

Dirty tanks are often the cause of Marble Angelfish fin rot, as they provide a home for Flavobacterium Columnare, Pseudomonas, or Aeromonas bacteria.

Some of the signs your angelfish has fin rot are:

  • Fins that look like they've been shredded.
  • It becomes more difficult to swim as the disease progresses.
  • If the disease progresses, other body parts will become milky-white.

Marble Angelfish Gill Flukes

Gill flukes are parasitic infections of a fish's gills and skin. They often result from stress or poor tank conditions. Parasites can enter the skin of fish and create ulcers and infections.

The following are indications that your angelfish has gill flukes:

  • Red, inflamed skin
  • Issues with breathing
  • Gills look like they have been cut or chewed
  • Excessive mucus production
  • Fish rubbing its body against objects

Marble Angelfish Anchor Worms

Though they are called 'worms,' Anchor Worms are actually small crustaceans that burrow beneath the scales and into the flesh of fish.

Symptoms of angelfish anchor worm disease:

  • Redness, ulcers, and inflammation commonly occur where crustaceans have embedded themselves into the body of your fish.
  • Worms that are red or white-green in color and at the base of fins.
  • Difficult breathing
  • Rubbing against objects

Marble Angelfish Mouth Fungus Disease

Angelfish mouth fungus is brought on by Flavobacterium columnare, which is a gram-negative bacterium. It's commonly found in aquariums, and usually doesn't bother fish. However, since they're opportunistic bacteria, if your angelfish has any cuts or wounds, the bacteria will enter its body. The fish with a weakened immune system are especially vulnerable to this type of infection.

The most common symptoms of angelfish mouth fungus are as follows:

  • Tattered fins
  • Breathing too quickly
  • Fluffy, off-white threads resembling cotton at the face, gills, or mouth
  • In advanced cases, sores and lesions can form.
  • Excess of mucus being produced on the head or gills

Marble Angelfish Virus Infection

The angelfish virus infection, often called "angelfish AIDS," is a serious and deadly disease that can kill your fish in as little as two days after they contract it. This disease is quickly contracted and easily transmitted between fish.

Symptoms of angelfish virus infection include:

  • Tiredness, low energy
  • Fins tucked against the body
  • Excessive slime production
  • Fish are usually found at the bottom of the tank.
  • A slightly upturned nose

Marble Angelfish Cotton Wool Disease

This disease is often caused by factors such as an overcrowded tank, low water temperatures or poor water conditions.

The following are symptoms of angelfish cotton wool disease:

  • There is a translucent layer expanding on the skin of the fish
  • The body may appear to have bloody edges, as though blood is seeping through the skin.

Marble Angelfish Swollen Bellies

If your Angelfish have swollen bellies, this may be a symptom of dropsy. However, besides dropsy, there are other conditions that can cause angelfish to look like they have a big stomach or are bloated:

  • Sign of kidney problems: A cyst, infection or lesions are possible causes for an angelfish's belly to swell.
  • Spawning: When the female angelfish is ready to lay her eggs, her belly will start to swell.
  • Poor digestion: Because angelfish have slender bodies, they often experience constipation from inadequate digestion.
  • Internal parasites: There are various internal parasites that can cause a bloated appearance.

Because of this, an angelfish with a swollen stomach might not be sick (for example, they may simply be getting ready to spawn), but it’s crucial to observe the situation and see if there are additional symptoms of disease.

If you're unsure about the reason for your angelfish's swollen belly, be sure to speak with a specialist.

Marble Angelfish


How Big Do Marble Angelfish Get?

Marble angelfish can grow to be about 6 inches long.

How Long Do Marble Angelfish Live?

Under proper care, marble angelfish can live for 10 years.

What Do Marble Angelfish Eat?

Marble angelfish are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including algae, small crustaceans, and zooplankton.

What is a Marble Angelfish?

A marble angelfish is a type of saltwater fish that is native to the Indo-Pacific region. Its marble like coloration makes it a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

What Genes Are Used for Platinum Blue Marble Angelfish? 

The genes for platinum blue marble angelfish are a combination of black, blue, and white.

What Happens When You Cross Breed a Marble Angelfish and a Blue Angelfish?

The result is a blue marble angelfish.

How Many Marble Veiled Angelfish in 30 Gallon?

We recommend no more than 2 marble angelfish in a 30 gallon tank.

Are Marble Angelfish Aggressive?

The behavior of these fish largely depends on the type of tankmates they are put together with.

They are peaceful when they are still juvenile, but upon maturing, they tend to naturally pair up and become territorially aggressive. They attack other members of their species because those individuals are perceived as a threat to their territory. Don't put the small peaceful fish in the same tank as the marble angelfish.

Where Can I Buy Marble Angelfish?

Today, the market for captive-bred freshwater angelfish species is booming, with more and more varieties of these fish becoming available. The marble angelfish are usually easily available from fish stores or online. Due to its captivating colors and pattern, the demand for this fish is high in the aquarium trade.

Final Thoughts

Marble Angelfish are a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium. With their unique color patterns and peaceful nature, they are a popular choice among fishkeepers of all levels of experience. Although they are not the easiest fish to breed, the process can be rewarding for both you and your fish. With proper care and dedication, your marble angelfish will thrive and bring you years of enjoyment.

They are omnivores and their diet should consists of both meaty and vegetable foods. A good quality flake food or pellet food can be the basis of their diet with supplemental feedings of frozen or live foods. Juveniles are known to be more peaceful than adults, but all marble angelfish should be kept in tanks with plenty of hiding places to reduce stress.

When choosing tankmates for your marble angelfish, it is important to remember that they can be aggressive towards other fish, especially those of the same species. It is best to avoid keeping them with smaller fish or fish that are not compatible in size. With a little research and care, your marble angelfish will be a beautiful and low-maintenance addition to your aquarium community.

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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