Can Angelfish Be Kept With Seahorses? Full Compatibility Guide.

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Seahorse aquariums don’t have to be boring, or unattractive with little to no activity. With the arrival of captive-bred seahorses, you can successfully keep them with quite a variety of fish. One popular choice in the aquarium hobby is the angelfish, let’s see if these fish make suitable seahorse tankmates.

Angelfish can be potential tankmates for seahorses given the right conditions. With a variety of different angelfish available there are a few species that can make for great seahorse tankmates. Provided you have the right setup and choose the right type of angelfish they do have the potential to co-exist peacefully. However, you should be cautious since it’s always a risk when introducing semi-aggressive fish to sensitive fish like seahorses.

Angelfish come in an array of colors, sizes, and temperaments. With such a variety there’s always something to suit everyone’s liking.

Whether you looking for a suitable angelfish for a reef tank, community tank, or even just a species-specific seahorse tank.

Chances are you will find the perfect match. Even though they may not be reef safe, they may be some that you can get away with.

Angels are known for being aggressive but there are some that are suitable candidates for seahorses.

These are typically the smaller ones (Centropyge) which are normally more sensible with the aggression being the least pronounced.

This doesn’t make them peaceful fish since there is always a possibility of that aggression showing up every now and again.

But for the best chances of success, the smaller angelfish are your best bet since these fish will complement your seahorses instead of outcompete them should you choose a larger type of angelfish.

After all, you should always proceed with caution when it comes to angelfish since there is always a possibility of aggression, bullying, or other unwanted behavior.

Depending on your risk level you can test this partnership to check if they will blend well to form a peaceful co-existence.

Recommended Angelfish.

Pygmy Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge argi)

Care Level:Moderate
Seahorse Compatibility:Compatible with caution
Max Size:3″
Tank Size:50G
Water Conditions:1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4

The Pygmy Angelfish is also called the Cherubfish, Cherub Angelfish, or Atlantic Pygmy Angelfish. It’s a brilliant sapphire blue with orange/yellow highlights on their face.

It is one of the most popular dwarf angelfish, and also the smallest one. Cherub Pygmy Angelfish are intelligent, active, and hardy as well

These fish make great additions to small aquariums and can be suitable tankmates for seahorses. They are also not as aggressive as other angelfish species.

Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosa)

Care Level:Easy
Seahorse Compatibility:Compatible with caution
Max Size:4″
Tank Size:70G
Water Conditions: 1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4

Coral beauty is another popular choice of angelfish and is known for its beautiful colors and hardiness.

Common colorations include red, orange, or yellow bodies, with edges, fins, and tails of darker blue or different shades of purple.

These fish are beginner friendly without any specific requirements, clean water, a good setup, and a good diet are sufficient for them to thrive.

Even though there are some reports of aggression and territoriality between angels of the same species it’s based on individual personalities.

They can be kept with other fish, invertebrates, and in this case, seahorses but be sure to proceed with caution.

Who knows, you might get lucky and get a good docile angel fit for even reef tanks.

Flame Angel (Centropyge loricula)


Care Level:Moderate
Seahorse Compatibility:Compatible with caution
Max Size:4″
Tank Size:70G
Water Conditions:1.020-1.025, 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4

The flame angelfish is a bold red/orange color with vertical black stripes highlighting the body and horizontal black stripes.

These fish are the smallest of the angel fish species but they add great pops of color to any aquarium.

They are semi-aggressive which means that most of the time they are well-mannered and will get along with other fish however there is a chance of disputes and unwanted behavior.

They can be kept with seahorses but be sure to observe them checking for signs of harassment and bullying.

Successfully Keeping Seahorses With Angelfish.

1. Appropriate Tank Size.

To have a fair chance of successfully keeping seahorses and angelfish you got to have the right setup. This starts with finding the right tank to fit these two marine life.

Both seahorses and angelfish require big tanks with great water capacity.

Seahorses need a larger tank since these tanks provide a better chance for stable water conditions.

Larger tanks are required for seahorses since it provides the best chance of maintaining water quality hence combating their messy tendencies.

Angelfish also require lots of space since they can grow really big. However the more suitable angels aren’t very big, but still need larger tanks to freely move.

Depending on the type of angelfish you would need at least a 50-gallon tank with the right dimension.

Taller tanks, with enough horizontal room, are ideal for both seahorses and angelfish since it accommodates their body types and movement.

Click here for my recommended list of seahorse-approved tanks.

2. Sourcing Captive-bred Livestock.

In the past, it was absolutely imperative to have seahorses in species-specific tanks since the wild-caught seahorses were very hard to keep with little success.

With the arrival of domesticated ponies, It’s now easier than ever to get your hands on some domesticated captive-bred fish that are more adapted to living in captivity.

Captive-bred seahorses have proven to be more hardier, resilient, and resistant than wild-caught ones.

These captive-bred ones are great when kept with other suitable fish and the chances of compatibility are much higher.

When shopping for seahorses make sure you find a reputable breeder who has experience in breeding the hippocampus species

Always look for healthy specimens ones without infections and parasites. These seahorses shouldn’t present with white open wounds, swelling, discoloration, or any other unusual appearance.

Even though angelfish aren’t domesticated (I may be wrong) it’s important to source healthy angels who have successfully transitioned to living in captivity.

These ones come fully weaned and adapted to the living conditions of a tank allowing for greater chances of compatibility.

3. Hiding Spaces/ Hitch posts.

To make this co-existence work you need to make some customizations to cater to the needs of the potential inhabitants.

Hiding places is important for angelfish since it gives them the option to seek refuge whenever they are stressed or threatened.

You can create these safe havens (crannies and crevices) by using rock and other materials to form intricate centerpieces that are stable and firm enough to house them.

Seahorses also love their own space and often find places to rest. These places of rest are known as hitching posts where they find suitable stationary objects and wrap their prehensile tail around them.

This helps them remain anchored and at rest while hiding from the rest. You can create these safe spots by using suitable coral, macroalgae, marine plants, or even artificial objects.

Creating these individual safe havens is a great way when trying to ensure peaceful co-existence within an aquarium.

In these individually pleasing areas, you will have tankmates enjoying their own territory unphased by other inhabitants.

You can also create zones within an aquarium that will work by attracting yet separating tankmates from each other hence reducing the possibility of conflicts within an aquarium.

4. Target Feeding.

Angelfish are omnivores feeding on both plants and meat. This together with their swift movement can create some kind of competition when it comes to feeding.

Seahorses are passive feeders and can be easily outperformed by even the slightest competition. The only way to ensure these ponies are fed properly is by target feeding.

Target feeding allows hobbyists to ensure that each seahorse gets enough to eat without overfeeding or underfeeding the tank.

It makes it possible to keep seahorses in a community tank with more active fish that would generally out-compete them for food.

The aquarist can personally deliver each mouthful with the use of a turkey baster to the seahorse while keeping more aggressive specimens at bay.

This is a great way of dealing with food competition if you want to succeed in keeping angelfish with seahorses.

This way of feeding makes it possible for you to group other more active feeding fish with seahorses which was once not even possible.

Benefits Of Keeping Angelfish.

1. Algae is a common problem in saltwater aquariums but the addition of an angel will help get rid of algae, keeping it under control.

They also help consume leftover mysis which is an existing problem in seahorse aquariums. This ultimately helps maintain water quality providing ideal conditions for them to thrive.

2. Their bright robust colors help make an aquarium more aesthetically pleasing, hence promoting good coloration for seahorses. Seahorse tanks can be a bit boring and basic but with these additions, they are sure to add personality.

3. They bring a lot of activity to a somewhat sedentary aquarium. As a result, the aquarium will have more interaction beaming with diversity.

4. They help get rid of algae which normally attaches to the exterior of seahorses.

This grooming is somewhat of a privilege that many hobbyists may not know of since they are mostly concerned about whether or not their seahorses are safe without realizing the benefits.

5. Once this pairing occurs successfully, both seahorses and angelfish can live in a mutually beneficial environment.

Potential Risks You’d Incur.

1. Angelfish are omnivores and they are known for nipping on corals and algae. By introducing these fish to your aquarium there is a risk that these guys can damage/consume corals.

2. Angelfish are semi-aggressive, this means they are normally very pleasant and welcoming but they also have limits. They can display aggressive behavior towards other fish when threatened or by the introduction of new arrivals.

3. There is also a possibility of stress, typically with seahorses since they can become stressed by other fast-moving tankmates. However captive-bred seahorses can handle stress better with the possibility of adapting.

If not stress can become chronic which can lead to the decline of a seahorse since their immune systems respond unfavorably to trauma and stress leaving them in a compromised state.

4. When there are many tankmates within the same aquarium there is always a possibility that diseases are transferred.

Both seahorses and angelfish are susceptible to certain diseases which they can spread to other tankmates. Always stock healthy specimens and quarantine them before they are introduced to the system.

5. Like with most active fish, when kept with sedentary fish like seahorses there is always a chance of disputes and possible injury.

This mostly affects the weaker contestant aka the seahorse and this can be potentially fatal in worst case scenarios.

Final Thoughts.

Angelfish and seahorses are great saltwater creatures that can make good tankmates under the right circumstances.

A while ago this partnership wouldn’t even be an option but now it’s become possible to keep active fish with docile fish like seahorses.

You must be cautious though since these are semi-aggressive fish and they can retaliate if they are put in a position to.

Overall I think you have a good shot in achieving peaceful co-existence should you try to pair these two remarkable marine fish.

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