Bolivian Rams with Angelfish: Can They Live Together?

Have you ever observed the Bolivian rams in the company of other fish? Angelfish are perhaps the best tankmates for Bolivian rams. After keeping the two fish together for over two years, I found that Bolivian rams and angelfish can live together peacefully.

Bolivian rams and angelfish are compatible tankmates and can live together peacefully. They are both freshwater fish and thrive in nearly the same water conditions. Both fish might be aggressive when breeding but plants and pebble substrate in the tank can reduce their aggression significantly.

If you want to add angelfish as tankmates to Bolivian ram cichlids, use a minimum tank size of 55 gallons or even bigger. A larger tank is essential if the fish will breed because thy both can get aggressive when bred in a smaller tank.

Besides, Bolivian rams and angelfish need a lot of playing and swimming space.

Can Bolivian rams be kept with angelfish?

Yes, you can keep Bolivian rams with angelfish together. Both are peaceful but need a lot of swimming space. If you are keeping Bolivian rams alone, the smallest tank to use is 30 gallons. However, a 55-gallon tank is the best tank size for keeping them together. Also, add some plants and some rocks to your aquarium to provide hiding places for the fish.

Bolivian Ram with Angelfish

Bolivian rams are peaceful and easy-going fish, and they live peacefully with angelfish even though angelfish can be aggressive if not given enough space. The tank setup for the two species should be enough to keep them safe from each other.

If you want your fish to be happy and healthy, allow them enough space to play and swim freely. Bolivian rams also love digging the sand to find worms. Therefore, ensure you add fine sand substrate or small stone pebbles at the bottom of the tank.

Place a log, wood, or plants (live or artificial) inside the tank. These will lessen the time the two fish species see each other, thus lowering aggression. The plants also provide good hiding places and breeding grounds for the fish.

Here are some things that make Bolivian rams and angelfish compatible tankmates:

Bolivian rams and angelfish thrive in similar water conditions

Bolivian rams and angelfish are freshwater fish that originate from South America. They can thrive in soft to acidic water, at a ph of 6.0-7.5. 

Angelfish thrives at aquarium water temperatures between 78°F and 84°F, while Bolivian rams require a temperature of 72°F and 79°F. 

Therefore the two fish species can fit into each other’s tank conditions without stress. I’d recommend you get a good aquarium water test kit and use it to monitor the conditions of the water to keep your fish happy.

They eat the same food

Bolivian rams and angelfish are omnivorous fish, eating plants and flesh. If you keep the two fish species together, give them foods like shrimp pellets, tropical granules, and worms. 

However, they have different feeding habits. Angelfish tend to feed on the surface or mid-level of the tank, while Bolivian rams feed at the bottom of the tank. 

Bolivian rams and angelfish’s different eating habits ensure that they don’t get aggressive towards each other during meal times.

Bolivian rams and angelfish need a lot of tank space

Bolivian rams and angelfish are not aggressive swimmers. They only need a larger fish tank to establish their territories. 

If you keep the two fish species in a small aquarium, the angelfish might fight the Bolivian rams because they lack enough space to establish their territories. 

A bigger tank is also essential when they are breeding. It helps the Bolivian rams and angelfish protect their young ones.

Generally, Bolivian rams and angelfish will live together peacefully if you keep them in a 55-gallon tank or more.

Care requirements for Bolivian rams and angelfish

Caring for the two species together is quite easy. 

The following are their care requirements:

  • Use a filter to purify their water: Angelfish and Bolivian rams need clean water and oxygen to live healthy and happy lives. Although angelfish don’t need a filter, you might want to use one for your cichlids.
  • Ensure the water is calm: Bolivian rams and angelfish do not like strong water currents. Like in their original habitat, ensure your aquarium is calm.
  • Perform weekly water changes: Change 30% of the water every week to reduce nitrate and nitrites levels in the water.
  • Clean and maintain the tank twice a month: Bolivian rams are prone to bacterial infections such as ich. Clean your fish tank at least twice every month. Meanwhile, separate any sick fish from the healthy ones and treat them with anti-bacterial water until they recover.  
  • Feed Bolivian rams and angelfish once or twice a day: Do not overfeed the fish. Overfeeding can alter the water chemistry pretty fast and kill your fish. Also, balance their diet with vegetables and flesh. 
  • Monitor the water temperature frequently: Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature and ensure it’s always between 72°F and 79°F (22°C and 26°C). Also, use a pH kit to ensure your fish have a water pH of 6.0-7.8.
  • Place your aquarium in a place with low lighting: Bolivian rams and angelfish do not need too much lighting. Too much light accelerates algal growth, which could use all oxygen in the water and kill your fish. They prefer partial light and shade.

See also the recommended tank size for angelfish.

Common problems

When keeping the two species together, there are problems that you are likely to encounter.

Here are some of the common problems:

Fish aggression

You might not notice that angelfish are a little aggressive in the tank. Always check up on your fish daily and note any aggressive behavior. 

The two fish species are also aggressive during breeding. Move the pregnant ones to a different aquarium to give them their own space and reduce tension in the main aquarium. 


If you keep male and female fish of both species in a small aquarium, they will constantly chase each other to mate. 

The Bolivian rams and angelfish will breed fast and overcrowd your aquarium. If you have a small fish tank, keep the male fish separate from the females.

Water quality

Clear water is not always clean water. Bacteria, parasites, and algae cells are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye except under a microscope. 

Poor water quality can make Bolivian rams and angelfish vulnerable to diseases. Prolonged imbalance in the water chemistry increases toxins that can kill your fish overnight.

More About Angelfish


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