Can Cherry Barbs Live With Angelfish?

Both cherry barbs and angelfish are beautiful fish whose water parameters overlap enough to allow one to enjoy the aesthetic benefits of both fish in a single tank. Although both species may be given mild aggression, given the right tank conditions, they can live together quite peacefully.

Keeping fish aquariums is often as much about the aesthetic as it is for the fish; being able to keep two beautiful species like cherry barbs and angelfish is always a plus. We will provide you with all you need to know about both species and how to create the perfect environment that allows both species to cohabit peacefully.

Can Cherry Barbs Live With Angelfish?

While cherry barbs and angelfish may be wont to display some mild aggression very occasionally, which is mainly related to mating behavior, this does not rule them out as tank companions. If you provide these two fish species with the correct environment, they can get along quite well.

Cherry barbs and angelfish are small to medium-sized freshwater species; they are compatible as tank mates as neither is too big nor too small, so they are unlikely to see each other as food unless they get hungry.

As both species share environmental requirements that overlap sufficiently, they can be kept together as long as they have enough room and foliage to live in.

Group of Cherry Barbs in Front of Plants

Tank Requirements For Keeping Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Having similar environmental requirements is crucial when sharing a tank between two species. Fortunately, as cherry barbs and angelfish are freshwater tropical fish species, they share similar environmental requirements.

These are the following factors to consider when keeping cherry barbs and angelfish together:

  • Tank size
  • Water temperature
  • Water hardness
  • Water pH
  • Aquatic plants
  • Water flow
  • Adequate feeding

Tank Size For Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Tank size is a very important factor when keeping two species together. When it comes to space, more is more, especially when mixing species.

Cherry barbs grow to a size of around two inches in length and have a minimum tank requirement of 25 to 30 gallons as they are schooling fish and need sufficient room to swim in a school of a minimum of five fish.

Angelfish can be kept in pairs or a small school. These fish can grow to a maximum length of seven inches and a maximum height of eight inches; because of this, they are best kept in tanks varying in size from 29 to 55 gallons, although when kept with other fish, the larger size tank option is preferable.

A 55-gallon tank, or larger, will provide more than sufficient space for a mixed tank of cherry barbs and angelfish; opting for a more vertically tall tank will also provide the fish with ample water layers to live peaceably.

Both cherry barbs and angelfish can become a bit territorial, particularly in mating season, so even if either species was kept on its own, there could be a bit of aggression. A larger tank allows for more space so the fish can have their territories and reduces the likelihood of aggressive incidents.

Three Angelfish in Community Tank

Water Temperature For Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Fortunately, cherry barbs and angelfish are tropical freshwater fish and share similar environmental requirements, including water temperature, which will need to be warmer.

Cherry barb optimal temperatures fall between 73°F to 81°F, while angelfish-like water temperatures of between 78°F and 84°F so there is a space of four degrees where they can cohabit quite comfortably.

Water Hardness And PH For Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Both species are from similar environments, so they share a similar water hardness preference of moderate water hardness lying between 5dH and 8dH, which means that both cherry barbs and angelfish like at least a reasonable amount of mineral content in their water.

Water pH follows from water hardness, and cherry barbs and angelfish prefer water with a pH that lies at a more neutral level between 6.8pH and 7.8Ph.

Aquatic Plant Requirements For Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Cherry barbs and angelfish come from river basin environments with a silty graveled bed and overhanging plants and branches that dip or lie in the water. Cherry barbs like to hide in a lot of foliage at all levels, while angelfish like vertically lying foliage. Both species also require a good amount of open swimming areas.

A larger tank is a good option as this will allow sufficient space for foliage and a swimming area for both species.

Water Flow For Cherry Barbs And Angelfish

Both cherry barbs and angelfish like slow-moving water flow as they share similar origins in freshwater rivers. Therefore, a tank with a gentle flow system is perfect for both species to share.

Slow-moving water allows the cherry barbs to easily hide between slowly moving aquatic plant fronds, while angelfish can gracefully move in the water as they are famed for.

Adequate Feeding

The last factor that will impact the ability of cherry barbs and angelfish to be kept together is feeding. Bigger hungry fish will try to eat anything. Although cherry barbs are generally too large to be seen as food by angelfish if the angelfish are very hungry, they may attempt to keep to eat them, especially if the cherry barbs are still young and on the smaller side.

To stop possible predation of cherry barbs by angelfish, it is therefore important to make sure that the fish are well-fed.

If either species does breed, removing the fry to another tank is recommended for safekeeping until they are large enough not to be seen as food by either species, as, unfortunately, whatever can fit in their mouths may become food.


Cherry barbs and angelfish can be kept together as both species share similar tank environment requirements. Both fish are generally peaceful species, providing sufficient space, and they will unlikely become aggressive toward each other.

For the best cohabitation of cherry barbs and angelfish, we would recommend a minimum tank size of 55 gallons or larger, with slow-flowing water of a neutral pH and medium hardness. The tank should have sufficient foliage and a sufficient open swimming area.