How to Build & Setup a Low Budget Planted Angelfish Aquarium?

Angelfish is a gorgeous marine fish. Freshwater Angelfish exist as well. Freshwater Angelfish are found in South America. They are not an actual angelfish. They are called Angelfish due to the wing-like shape of their fins.








Gold, silver or black


10 Years

Max. Size

6 inches


Omnivorous Diet



Min. Tank Size


Tank Mates

Peaceful fish of similar size

Unlike most of the Cichlids, Angelfish show low hostility. They can live up to 10 years & get mature at an age of 10 months. You can buy them from any local fish shop because they are extremely popular due to their beautiful appearance. They are available at low cost & can live in harsh conditions due to their hard nature.

Angelfish are territorial & they show hostility when protecting their territory.

Angelfish like planted tanks. If you have many fish in an aquarium then Angelfish may hide, but usually they like to swim in the open.

Unlike most of the ordinary fish, Angelfish show love for their babies & they raise them. They protect their eggs & fries until they are 2 months old.

Water Conditions for Freshwater Angelfish:

Angelfish like slow moving warm water. The ideal temperature for Angelfish is from 75 to 82 F. pH range for Angelfish is from 6.8 to 7.

They like fine sand substrate & planted tanks. Make sure you clean your tank more often & keep water clean.

Keep soft & fine substrate in Angelfish aquarium because it will not hurt your fish when they are digging it.

Do not create strong water currents because Angelfish prefer slow moving water. Adding a slow current filter or filter operated using an air pump is better for Angelfish.

Use a timer for aquarium lights & Angelfish needs 8 to 12 hours of lighting every day.

If you keep plants in an Angelfish tank then it will provide a small swamp-like appearance which is similar to their wild environment.

Build a Low Budget Angelfish Tank
Build a Low Budget Angelfish Tank

Angelfish Aquarium Size:

The minimum aquarium size for keeping 2 Angelfish is 20 Gallons. If you want to keep a small community of Angelfish then choose an 80 Gallon aquarium.

If you want to introduce a new Angelfish then it will need 10 gallons of additional water.

Angelfish Tank Mates:

If you want to add Cichlids to your Angelfish tank then choose Discus, Dwarf Cichlid & Bolivian Ram, because Angelfish will not show hostility towards them. Avoid aggressive Cichlids in Angelfish aquariums.

Adding Dwarf Gouramis & Mollies in an Angelfish tank is a good idea. You can add live bearers in the Angelfish aquarium except Guppy because they are very small & Angelfish might eat them.

Do not keep a larger group of Angelfish in one tank because they will be hostile towards mates when eating food & guarding territory. You can keep five to six Angelfish in one tank.

Have a look at tank mates of Angelfish:

  • Discus
  • Dwarf Cichlid
  • Bolivian Ram
  • Angelfish
  • German Blue Ram Fish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Swordtail
  • Live Bearer
  • Molly
  • Kuhli Loach

How to build a stand for a planted Angelfish aquarium:

How to build a stand for a cheap Angelfish aquarium?

This video shows how to build a homemade aquarium stand for an inexpensive planted Angelfish tank:

Step 1:

I have placed four boards for building a top rectangular frame. I have inserted screws in the joints for connecting them. I have attached four vertical legs on the inside for a sturdy finish.

Step 2:

For building the bottom rectangular frame I have repeated the same steps mentioned above. I have placed the bottom rectangular frame on the ground & locked the legs of the top frame inside the bottom & then used screws for a hard finish.

Step 3:

2 more boards are added to each corner to strengthen the stand. It is a simple step & screws are used for fixing it.

Step 4:

Bracing a stand is very important for a hard finish. I am using a level for checking the balance.

How to apply spray paint on tank background and its bottom:

How to apply spray paint on the tank background & its bottom?

This video shows how to apply spray paint on the aquarium background & its bottom.

Step 1:

Applying spray paint on the tank background & its bottom is simple. First it is recommended to clean the tank with cloth & use a glass cleaner for better cleaning.

Step 2:

Clean the bottom of the aquarium using soapy water. I have used Krylon Fusion as a spray paint because it has a fine attachment to the glass. I have successfully painted the bottom of the aquarium.

Step 3:

Repeat Step 2 for spraying the back of the tank. Wait till the paint dries before you can add water to the tank.

Steps for making a low budget planted tropical tank for Angelfish:

How to Build & Setup a Low Budget Angelfish Aquarium?

This video shows how to create a low price planted tank for Angelfish.

Step 1:

Substrate is very important for plants because it covers the roots & helps in fixing plants. Fish like digging & searching for food in the gravels & they usually uproot plants so if roots of the plants are covered in substrate then it will avoid fish from uprooting them. It is recommended to add soft & fine substrate in Angelfish aquarium because Angelfish like digging, & might get scratched if the substrate is sharp.

I am using the following substrate for making an inexpensive planted aquarium for freshwater Angelfish:

  • River stones (used for filling areas where I don’t want to keep plants)
  • 3mm Brown Aquarium gravels
  • 6mm White Aquarium gravels
  • AquaEarth Aquarium Soil

I am using four types of substrates for my Angelfish tank. I have used river stones for covering regions that are not occupied by live plants. I have added AquaEarth Aquarium soil in areas where I want to keep live plants. I have filled the middle region with 6mm white gravel. I have covered the aquarium soil with 3mm brown substrate.

Step 2:

Live plants are very important for fish because they absorb byproducts of ammonia. Fish waste releases ammonia, & good bacteria breaks down ammonia into nitrites & nitrates. Nitrate is less toxic than nitrite, & nitrite is less toxic than ammonia. If aquariums have an abundance of nitrates then it is dangerous for fish. Aquarists change 35 percent water every week for reduce nitrates but if you have live plants in an aquarium, then they absorb nitrates which help in the growth of plants. Also, fish like to rest in the leaves & roots of plants, & plants help stressed fish & fries in hiding. I have added multiple plants to my aquarium that are beneficial for the health of fish & helps in cleaning aquarium water.

For building a low budget planted Angelfish aquarium, I am using the following live plants:

  • Water Wisteria
  • Rotala
  • Bacopa
  • Java Fern

Water Wisteria:

Water Wisteria is a fast-growing plant with beautiful greenish leaves. It is used for controlling ammonia, nitrites & nitrates.

Bacopa Monnieri:

Bacopa Monnieri needs simple care. It is a durable & bright green plant. Fish can rest on its leaves, & it provides hiding places for stressed fish & fries.

Rotala Rotundifolia:

Rotala Rotundifolia is a very hardy plant with green / red leaves, & it grows fast. It is a beautiful plant & it provides natural filtration.

Java Fern:

Java Fern is glued to the driftwood. It is a popular plant with green leaves. It attaches itself to structures. Java Fern grows slowly in aquarium water.

I have trimmed stem plants in my other aquariums & I am using them in the Angelfish aquarium to save money. Stem plants are easy to propagate & grow.

I have attached Java Fern to driftwood which is kept in the center of the aquarium. No free plants are used in this project, but the chosen plants need simple maintenance & you can easily propagate them by cutting the stems of the plants, & planting them in an Angelfish aquarium.

Step 3:

All of the tank mates I am keeping in my Angelfish aquarium are peaceful. They show variation in colors & provide a charming outlook to the community aquarium. Feeding fish is fun & I love offering them different varieties of diets. Below you can find a list of fishes that I am keeping in my Angelfish aquarium:

  • Angelfish
  • German Blue Ram Fish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Swordtail
  • Kuhli Loach

Step 4:

Community aquariums need a heavy-duty filter for perfect cleaning. My aquarium uses a cheap homemade tank filter which uses mechanical & biological filtration media for best cleaning. My filter is not producing much water currents because Angelfish prefers slow moving water.

I am using led lights that consume less power but provide bright lighting. Many plants are growing in my aquarium so they need artificial lighting. Do not keep your tank in sunlight because it can help in the growth of algae. Also do not leave lights on for longer periods of time because algae grow quickly.

I hope you would have liked my simple tutorial about setting up a cheap planted tank for Angelfish. 

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