Do Angelfish Eat Algae?

Angelfish are freshwater fish indigenous to South America. In the wild, they eat mostly meat, with plants and algae forming a minor part of their diets. Angelfish are popular fish for aquariums, and owners should feed them a similar high-protein diet. They also enjoy algae wafers supplements as a snack.

Angelfish are not too fussy about their meals and feast on different food categories. These include flakes and pellets high in protein, live food, frozen versions of live food, freeze-dried meat options, small quantities of plants, and algae wafers.

Do Angelfish Eat Algae?

The scientific name for angelfish is Pterophyllum. All species originate from rivers in the Guiana Shield, the Orinoco Basin, and the Amazon Basin of South America.

Angelfish are omnivores but require a high-protein diet to keep them in tip-top shape. When establishing an angelfish aquarium, it’s always best to try to emulate the food that they eat in their natural habitats.

In the wild, these fish come to the surface or feed at mid-levels of the water, feasting on small fish, invertebrates, insects, worms, larvae, shrimp, and anything else meaty in their paths. They also include a small portion of plants and algae in their food sources.

Despite algae not being the primary food source for angelfish, algae contain many nutrients. It has a content of protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Angelfish should have a good combination of plant- and animal-based food.

In the wild, they eat their fair share of meat. They need vitamins and minerals to flourish, and a single food type can’t satisfy all their dietary requirements.

Very Cloudy Aquarium Water due to Algae Overgrowth

What Should Angelfish Eat In Aquariums?

Angelfish in an aquarium will do well if they eat well; a varied diet is necessary for this purpose. Although they may eat a little algae in the wild, it’s not a significant food source for them.

In an aquarium, they may not take more than a nibble of it now and then, especially if they have enough meat on their menus. They do like the algae wafers, though.

Tropical flakes and shrimp pellets are good dried fish options because they are high in protein.

It’s also good to give them meat to mimic what they would eat in their natural habitat. Examples would be guppies, shrimp, and different types of worms,such as mealworms and bloodworms.

It’s essential to ensure that live food is free of parasites and bacteria so as not to poison your angelfish.

You can also purchase frozen worms, shrimp, and guppies and thaw them when necessary. This minimizes the chances of bacteria and parasites.

Although angelfish eat mostly meat, they do eat some plant foods to balance their diets. You can add some plants to your tank that they might munch on.

They also eat small amounts of cut vegetables, such as lettuce, and algae wafers can be used as a supplement.

How Often Should You Feed Angelfish?

You can feed your juvenile fish three to four times a day; they need more live food than their elders. It’s essential that live food is as fresh as possible to reduce the risks of being contaminated with parasites and bacteria.

Older fish only need feeding twice daily, with freeze-dried food and pellets. They also relish live food or its frozen version, but you should stick to a strict feeding routine, or they may become overweight.

Take care not to overfeed your angelfish, as this can aid the excessive growth of algae in the tank. Excess food drops to the bottom of the tank and decomposes, causing an excess of phosphates in the water.

Fish waste also speeds up algae growth.

Can Algae Wafers Cause Algae To Bloom In The Tank?

The answer is yes and no. Algae wafers consist of treated and dried algae. It is not live algae that can bloom.

However, algae wafers can assist indirectly in algae growth. Algae uses nitrites and nitrates to grow, which can develop from decaying food.

If you’re overfeeding your angelfish, and the wafers sink to the bottom of the tank and decay, they will produce nitrates and nitrites, indirectly encouraging algae growth. Make sure any uneaten food is removed from the tank.

Don’t Rely On Angelfish To Control Algae

Every aquarium owner will have to face algae issues at some stage. It is normal, and even healthy, to have some algae growing in your tank. But an excess can look ugly and be unhealthy for plants and fish.

Although there are various fish species known as algae-eaters, you can’t rely on them to control algae bloom in your aquarium. This also applies to angelfish because although they eat some algae, they don’t fit into the abovementioned category.

Algae flourishes on three ingredients; light, water, and nutrients. It becomes out of control if any of these factors are in excess and can harm your angelfish and the tank plants because it deprives them of vital nutrients.

Neither angelfish nor algae-eating fish can control the algae growth in an aquarium.

How To Control Algae In An Angelfish Aquarium

There is a difference between having small amounts of algae in the tank that the angelfish can eat and having an overgrowth of it. Here is a short list of how to better control it.

  • Reduce lighting. Don’t place your tank in direct sunlight, as it encourages algae growth. Ensure that artificial lighting is not too strong, and only use it for eight to ten hours daily.
  • Feed the fish less.
  • Do regular water changes.
  • Test the aquarium water to determine if phosphate levels are too high.
  • Clean the algae on the sides of the tank when visible.
  • Add fast-growing plants, which will be an additional food source for the angelfish, and deprive algae of excess nutrients.
  • Add some algae-eating fish. They help a little, although the aquarist must do most of the work.


What a complicated answer to a straightforward question! Yes, freshwater angelfish eat a small amount of algae in the wild and perhaps a little in an aquarium. It is rich in nutrients but doesn’t make up a huge part of their diets. Their primary food source is meat of various kinds, so aquarists should try to feed their angelfish in a similar pattern to the way they eat in nature.