Planted Tank Enthusiast
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA
I've kept angels for quite a while now and it really comes down to personality. I've had some that couldn't care less who their tank mates are and one male who was determined to kill any other male it came across. Right now I keep 3 mated pairs in my 110 and there is still some aggression when they're about to spawn but it has not gotten worse than some fin nipping/ripping. I also keep them with a whole host of tetras (big and small), gouramis, barbs, rainbow fish, etc. In the 4-5 years I've had this bunch they have yet to show any interest in my other fish except to shoo them away from their eggs. Don't ever keep them with male bettas, but they're fine with female ones.
From my experience with angels you can keep:
-a group of angels the same size
-a group of female angels in various sizes (most of the time but not all)
-a group of large angels and a group of small angels.
-one big angel and many little ones
The majority of the time, unless you get an extremely aggressive angel, big angels couldn't care less about little ones. Its the ones that are almost the same size, a little bigger or a little smaller, that cause problems when you go to introduce them. If you do get an extremely aggressive angel in your group, TAKE IT BACK! It is absolutely not worth the trouble, even if its the most beautiful and entertaining out of the bunch. If you have to have him, keep him alone as he is not going to suddenly change his mind and get along. I tried Everything to get my big male a**hole angel to get along before realizing that he's not going to change just because I want him to. It took my other male, his victim, months to recover and he almost died many many times.
When you introduce a new angel you should always rearrange the tank a bit to break up any territory lines and either add angels exactly the same size or much smaller. Little angels are not a threat, angels the same size are an even match, and ones a little bigger or smaller are a big threat to their territory.
Normally, the best way to buy angels is in a group, usually about 6. The idea is that you will raise them together and they'll hopefully pair off. The only concern is that they will get BIG as they grow, the veils can get about 12 inches with their fins, so you need to have space for them. Angels also need more space up and down to accommodate those long fins, which means tall tanks as opposed to the long low ones most planted tank people prefer.
In the wild these guys are awesome hunters, they lie in wait and then zoom out and catch little fish. However, you'll quickly learn that they grow fat and lazy in captivity. As long as they're well fed, an angel is not gonna go after that neon tetra (being as it requires them moving their lazy arses) when they know blood worms and flakes await them if they're patient. If you try and starve them, like to ready their appetite for medication, those neons might start to look appealing but most of the time its just not worth their effort. They also seem to get lazier as they get older.
If you do decide to get some, they make fantastic pets but be prepared to make a commitment to them. If you keep them properly, these guys will easily live to 10+ years so be sure you can commit to them or find them a new home if need be.