Altum Angelfish

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Altum angelfish


Native to Colombia and Venezuela, where it can be found in the upper Rio Negro and tributaries of the upper Rio Orinoco including the Rio Inírida and Rio Atabapo.


7 inches in length, but can be 12+ inches tall.

Aquarium Size:

300 litre/65 gal. The aquarium needs to be tall due to the potential height of the fish.

Preferred water conditions:

  • Temp: 28 – 32°C
  • pH: 4.8 – 6.2, this fish will not do well in less acidic conditions
  • Hardness: Up to 5dGH, very, very soft


Primarily carnivorous, Altum Angelfish are often wild-caught and will initially only accept live foods. It is possible to wean them onto frozen food but this can take time. Wild caught Altums can prove to be extremely difficult to feed. Tank bred specimens will often accept a wider variety.


Altum Angelfish are relatively peaceful when compared with other South American Cichlids, and to other species of Angelfish, however, they can be territorial and show aggression towards tank mates, particularly when breeding. Tankmates should be large enough not to be considered food.


Sexing Altum Angelfish can be extremely difficult. Males tend to be larger and occasionally develop a nuchal hump on the head. Females are rounder in the belly.

Sexing is easiest when preparing to spawn. The male breeding tube is thin and pointed, the female has a slightly thicker stubby breeding tube.


Altum Angelfish have proved very difficult to breed in the aquarium. They require very soft water with virtually undetectable dissolved minerals and a low pH.

When they do breed an area is selected and cleaned by the pair, usually a flat surface or leaf. The female will then lay eggs on the surface and the male will pass over and fertilise them.

Altums tend to be better at parenting than Scalare Angelfish and do pick it up much quicker.

For more detail see our article on breeding Angelfish in our blog.


Angelfish make a stunning addition to the aquarium. Due to the potential height of the fish, a taller aquarium is necessary to allow them room to grow.

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