Do Angelfish Eat Plants?

Angelfish eat plants. However, their reason for eating plants is not purely for nutrition purposes. They eat plants because they are bored, not adequately nourished, or lack fiber in their diets. They love eating soft plants and plants with delicate leaves in an aquarium.

These beautiful little freshwater tropical fish, native to the Amazon, do well in aquarium tanks with plenty of plant life. The Amazon waters are full of nutrients for angelfish; however, this isn’t always the case in aquariums, so they resort to eating plants to compensate.

Angelfish Eat Plants In Small Quantities

Angelfish can be frustrating for aquarium owners who use plants as an aesthetic feature of their tanks. Although omnivorous, angelfish do not need to eat plants to survive in a tank.

An angelfish will never eat an entire plant but nibble on bits of a plant.

Getting the balance of food right in an aquarium takes trial and error. When your angelfish eat plants, this is one sign that nutrition isn’t optimal.

As omnivores, it is imperative to include protein, fiber, and plant food in their diet.

Although the balance of nutrients is a reason for angelfish to eat aquatic plants, these fish love experimenting and will do so with plants.

Not all fish like the same plants, and owners often question why their angelfish is eating a particular plant.

With angelfish, there generally isn’t a specific reason for choosing a particular plant but more of a general cause.

Group of Striped Angelfish in Front of Grass

Angelfish Eat Plants For Various Reasons

Angelfish have specific dietary requirements, and if they do not get everything they need in their diets, they tend to eat plants.

Mainly, they do not devour plants; however, on some occasions, they have been known to tear at plants.

There are several reasons angelfish may nibble on the plants in your fish tank:

  • They are hungry and need food three to four times per day.
  • The portions you feed them are not big enough. If your fish finish their food in thirty seconds or less, they are not feeling satisfied, and you must increase the amount you feed them.
  • Their diet does not include enough fiber, so adding leafy green plant food will take care of this.
  • They are not getting enough nutrition; ensure you feed them enough protein and amino acids.
  • Their diet originally included vegetables and no longer does. The good idea is to introduce vegetables back into their diet but ensure that the vegetables do not rot and contaminate the water.
  • Angelfish get bored and need company; five to six angelfish in a tank should keep them occupied as they swim in and out of the plants and hide from their companions.
  • Angelfish are curious and may well be experimenting with plants. This behavior takes its course, and they will most likely outgrow it.
  • The tank is overcrowded, and there is not enough food to go around.

There Are Plants That Angelfish Like To Eat

Angelfish are scalars and feed on fine-leafed plants when they lack nutrition.

As omnivores, it is imperative to include protein, fiber, and plant food in their diet. Scalars are fond of eating Duckweed and filamentous algae.

Duckweed Is A Native Free Floating Plant

Duckweed grows in slowly flowing water and is not harmful to fish or other aquatic animals. It floats on the surface of marine tanks and is easy to spot because it’s bright green.

Duckweed is fast growing, so even if your fish eat it, your tank won’t look depleted for long.

Duckweed contains nutrients and is a favored plant food for angelfish. Because of the amino acid content, Duckweed is high in protein, which is ideal for angelfish’s protein requirements.

Filamentous Algae Is Known As Pond Scum

Filamentous Algae generally grows in ponds or fish tanks. This alga is home to macro and micro invertebrates, which angelfish love.

This alga is a chain or link that looks like a carpet. It floats to the top and often causes a problem by blocking light from the tank.

There Are Other Aquatic Plants That Angelfish May Eat

Angelfish are known nibblers, and some types of aquatic plants they enjoy eating more than others. However, they are often adventurous fish who try different plants in various phases of their lives.

Some of these plants include:

Hygrophila is fast growing, so your tank won’t look emptier for long.

Cabomba, also known as Carolina Fanwort, also multiplies to keep up with your fish’s dietary habits.

Plants That Angelfish Won’t Eat

Some plants are tough to chew, and Angel Fish generally won’t eat these.

These plants are:

  • Amazon Sword – this plant originates from the Amazon and is an excellent natural fit for angelfish
  • Java Fern – is slow growing but with large thin, sturdy leaves
  • Watersprite – provides thick foliage with delicate leaves
  • Anubias Nana – is a small hardy plant that thrives in any condition
  • Anacharis – multiplies and helps balance the water in a fish tank
  • Java Moss – absorbs excess nutrients in the aquarium, such as the harmful elements from fish waste
  • Hornwort – hardy plants that clean water and remove harmful nitrates, ammonia, and sulfates
  • Vallisneria – is a rapidly growing plant that does not require much attention
  • Water Wisteria – adds oxygen to your tank and improves water quality

How To Stop Your Angelfish From Eating Plants

There are various ways to stop your angelfish from eating plants:

  • Feed them at least 3 – 4 times per day
  • Make sure that you feed them enough.
  • Consider the number of fish in the tank when measuring out their food.
  • Make sure their diet contains enough fiber
  • Ensure that there are not too many fish in the tank; overcrowding means that not all fish will have enough to eat
  • Use artificial plants in the tank; however, remember that plants regulate the PH balance in the water, so consider this
  • Put plants in the tank that angelfish do not like
  • Make sure there are enough plants for them to hide in
  • Keep at least 5 – 6 fish in the tank


Angelfish eat plants. They are native to the Amazon, and plants are plentiful in the Amazon’s waters. As omnivores, an angelfish’s diet must include protein and fiber. Without proper nutrition, the fish will eat plants to compensate.

Angelfish nibble on plants. When not enough fiber is in their diets, they do not feel satisfied, so they eat aquatic plants. Boredom, hunger, and curiosity are also reasons they eat plants.