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Angels and Apistos?

Jonathan Aquair

5 Year Member
I recently purchased a 75 gal. tank (48in x 18 x 21L) and, as an apisto nut, I'm not going to miss an opportunity to make another colony tank!

Since this will technically be a "show-tank" I was wondering what fish I could use as upper-tank swimmers. I would love to get some Angels and smaller dithers (rasboras/boraras), but I'm a bit worried for the classic Cichlid Territory Wars. If not angels, what dither might you recommend (preferably <1.5in).

The tank will look like a scaled-down version of this tank with 3-6in of leaf litter and some Echinodorus/Vallisneria


Active Member
5 Year Member
My preference would be Nannostomus eques, but then I'm biased as I like them. They're pretty small, with small mouths (although I've seen them wolf down who;e bloodworm. They hardly ever leave the upper layers and were the only ones that were allowed in the breeding territory of my A. panduro, possibly due to the fact they remain up there. If not, maybe some of the dwarf pencilfish but as I've never kept these I couldn't really advise. I'm just thinking of ones that are from the same continent though (probably because most my fish are S. American). If you don't particularly want to breed many apistos then any of the Paracheirodon genus - neon, green neon or cardinal tetra would look amazing in this setup. I have them with my A. panduro in my blackwater setup and they look great in the blackwater and love it when I put new leaf litter in (possibly even spawning in it).

Mike Wise

Staff member
5 Year Member
Since you aren't planning to breed fish in this tank, I guess that angelfish and apistos would work. Angels aren't really bottom dwellers and apisto rarely get more than 30cm/1' above the bottom, so territories are different. Just realize that angels are much larger than apistos and some individuals can become fairly aggressive. As for other schooling fish, I would suggest one of the medium size tetra species like Bleeding Hear/Blood-spot Tetra. Really small tetras, etc. occasionally end up being eaten by angels.


You can put apisto and angels with no problems. I saw that apisto are more aggressive than angels, they can fight with one (much larger) angel side by side sometimes with no victims. The only time when angels are aggressive is when they got eggs/fry, but if the tank is large enough there will be no problem.


Active Member

Here's my experience:

I originally bought two angels and a pair of agassizii's for my 75 gal. The male was not only defensive, but aggressive too. He liked to chase the two angels around the tank. To combat this, I got two more angels. This made the Agassizii a little more cautious and it curbed the aggression pretty quickly. The agassizii then tended to stay in the brances where the angels were too big to get in.

Two of the angels pair off, thus drawing the territory line down the middle of the tank. After my first batch of angelfish fry (scalare) went zero dark thirty one night, I took out the two outcast angels, and the apisto still kept to his own business.

In this tank I have 7 pristella tetras too, but they tend to stay out of the way of the bigger/meaner fish.
i have a macmasteri female in a community tank with angels tetras and others..i only have 1 but your talking a colony ...one thing i have to watch out for is if my apisto gets food... my angels are beast at eating lol i seen one of them eat a 50gr frozen cube in two bites idk how but it did..


New Member
I have five large Angels with my four Agassizzii's in a 65 tall (48x12x24) with no issues, now two of the Angels have paired off and still no issues. My dither fish are Serpae and Emperor Tetras with four Peppered Cory's doing cleanup duty.