Koi Angel

It's Not All About the Name

Koi angelfish (Pterophyllum Scalare) are not actually a Koi species, so you won’t find them in a Koi pond. Instead, they are angelfish with Koi-like markings. These beautiful tropical fish originated in the Amazon of Peru and Ecuador and have become one of the most popular aquarium fish breeds worldwide.

Four Angelfishes with Orange Markings inside an Aquarium
Angelfish with a White base and Orange and Yellow Markings

Like all angelfish, the Koi angel is a graceful, peaceful fish with an eye-catching appearance and an impressive lifespan of up to ten years under the right tank conditions. Read on to learn more about this famous fish’s appearance, temperament, ideal habitat, compatibility, and care.


The Koi angel is a relatively tall fish with long, delicate fins. While this freshwater fish has been bred to reproduce coloration similar to the Koi, the markings on each Koi angel fish are unique. 

The mottled colors of the Koi angel - black, red, yellow, white, and orange - form intricate patterns on various areas of the body, making these freshwater angelfish truly striking in appearance.

A yellow Angelfish with Black markings and a black fin
Angelfish, both freshwater and marine, have a distinctive form and stunning body colors, making them attractive aquarium fish


Koi angels are generally peaceful fish. They can share a habitat with many other kinds of freshwater fish. Be aware, however, that the Koi angel will eat smaller fish. This is not a result of aggression but simply because the angelfish will eat anything it can fit into its mouth.

While Koi angels are not aggressive fish, they should be grouped singly, as a mated pair, or in six groups. Doing this prevents a dominant fish from bullying its tank-mates.

A blue and black angelfish with 2 orange ones
Instead of being big and flat, an Angelfish's body seems tall and slender


Koi angels are taller than many other freshwater aquarium fish, so they require a tall tank to thrive truly. The ideal aquarium conditions for a Koi angelfish are as follows:

  • At least 30 gallon capacity for an adult pair
  • A temperature of 76-84 degrees Fahrenheit
  • A pH of 6.5-6.9 for wild angel Koi; those raised in captivity can thrive in pH up to 7.8
  • Moderate water flow
  • Fine to medium grade smooth-surfaced gravel substrate
A multi-colored angel fish in an aquarium
Angelfishes are endemic to tropical South America's freshwaters and may grow up to 15 cm in length (6 inches)

The best aquarium environment for a Koi angel also includes plenty of plantlife similar to those of its native habitat, ideally driftwood and large, broad-leafed plants. You can also include floating plants to add shade.


Koi angels are omnivorous, so they will eat most foods typically served to tropical aquarium freshwater fish. They are especially fond of tubifex worms and blood worms but are content to eat flakes, frozen food, and pellets.

You should feed Koi angelfish the amount they can eat in three to five minutes twice a day. Note that the Koi angel is slower-moving than other breeds, so if it is housed with quicker fish, you may need to increase the feedings to three times a day to ensure the angelfish gets enough to eat.

A school of 1 Kind of Angelfish
A group of Angelfish with a White Base and Yellow and Black Markings


Between eight and twelve months of age, Koi angels become mature enough to breed. Female angelfish clean off a flat surface to lay their eggs, then a male fertilizes them. Koi angels will eat their eggs or fry, fertilized or not, so many Koi angel keepers separate the eggs once they have been fertilized.

Frank Salvatore

In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado with a  koi pond.  Since that time I've learned to really enjoy the koi fish and the pond. This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?

About Me

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. In 2015 our family moved into a house south of Denver, Colorado that had a Koi pond. The problem was I knew absolutely NOTHING about koi ponds.

This blog is dedicated to providing helpful hints and information for koi pond hobbyists - as well as those of you who just inherited a koi pond and are thinking NOW WHAT?
Learn More About Me

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