Are Angelfish Cichlids

If you like to keep fish in aquariums or are an avid Aquarist, you might wonder, ‘Are angelfish cichlids? This article is for you if you need clarification on these two names and to help differentiate them.

In this article, we will explore the characteristics of Angelfish while comparing their similarities & differences. You will get the ultimate answer to the question: ‘Is angelfish a cichlid’ and why do people think they are the same but different?

We will also discuss how they are closely related but pose completely different characteristics, features, and behavior patterns. But before I tell you all this, let’s begin with the first question: are angelfish cichlids?

Are Angelfish Cichlids?

Are Angelfish Cichlids?

Angelfish is a popular & widely recognized group of freshwater fish that belongs to the Cichlidae family. Even though they are often referred to as Angelfish, they are a type of cichlid.

As cichlids, Angelfish share some common characteristics with other members of the cichlid family, like parental care for their fry (young fish), complex social behaviors, and the ability to breed relatively easily in captivity.

The Cichlidae family is an extensive group of freshwater fish encompassing a wide range of fish with diverse sizes, shapes, & colors. Angelfish are among the most popular freshwater aquarium fish due to their elegant appearance & interesting behavior.

So you should know that Angelfish are native to South America, particularly in the Amazon river basin, and famous for their distinctive triangular, laterally compressed body & long flowing fins.

Also, note that they can have their specific requirements and can be a bit more challenging to keep than some other cichlid species, particularly when setting up a tank & water quality.

Also, you must provide them with a suitable environment. To know more about Angelfish being cichlids, find out & the reasons why Angelfish are cichlids and their similarities with differences.

5 Reasons Why Angelfish Are Cichlids

5 Reasons Why Angelfish Are Cichlids


If you look at both species from a taxonomical standpoint, you will find Angelfish being scientifically classified under the family of chichlade. As I told you earlier, the Cichlidae Family is an extensive group of freshwater fish encompassing many species with diverse sizes, shapes, & colors.

The classification of the Angelfish family is also based on their anatomical features, genetic similarities, and evolutionary relationship. Plus, if you look at this classification, you’ll find a framework for understanding the relationship between different species, including Angelfish.


If you look at both the species from the behavior traits points, you will find that Angelfish exhibit certain characteristics similar to cichlids. You should know that Angelfish are also known to be territorial and may display aggressive behavior if unwanted or unfamiliar circumstances occur, especially during breeding or when defending their spawning site.

Also, you should know that Angelfish are known to establish and defend that territory and engage in territorial disputes with other fish. You should know that they are also known to eat small animals.

To learn more about Angelfish eating small fish, consider reading our article: ‘Do angelfish eat other fish?’. Like many other species, Angelfish have also demonstrated parental care by guarding their eggs and fry.

You should know that Angelfish are diligent in protecting & nursing their offspring until they are independent, which behavior is commonly observed among cichlids. To know more about this, consider reading my recent article on stages of angelfish eggs & fry stages. 


Yes, reproductive strategies also contribute to the classification of Angelfish as cichlids. You should know that Angelfish are also egg layers that release eggs into the water during spawning.

To facilitate successful reproduction & breeding, Angelfish are known to typically form monogamous pairs with a male & female partnering up to breed. The pair engages in courtship rituals, including elaborate displays & territorial behavior.

This kind of courtship behavior is similar to those seen in other cichlid species, underscoring their classification within the Cichlidae family.


Suppose you pay attention to the morphological features of Angelfish. In that case, you will have noticed them having distinct physical characteristics compared to other species while posing several common traits in the cichlids.

You should know that these angelfishes share features, including a single nostril opening on each side of their head, fused jaws forming a strong bite, and a laterally compressed body shape.

These kinds of morphological characteristics overall contribute to the classification of Angelfish as cichlids. It also reflects angelfish revolutionary adaptation within the family. To know more about the adaptation of Angelfish as freshwater fish, consider reading my article on ‘Are angelfish freshwater‘; If yes, ‘How angelfish adapted as freshwater fish.’


Lastly, the evolutionary history of Angelfish also supports the classification family. The cichlids family is believed to have originated in Africa and then spread out to other regions worldwide.

If you take a look at the exact lineage & ancestors of Angelfish within the cichlids family, you will find many things still being investigated. Studies suggest angel fish might have descended from species native to the Amazon River basin in South America. This kind of evolutionary connection further strengthens the classification of Angelfish as cichlids.


Now you know that Angelfish is a type of cichlid, but they pose distinct physical characteristics & behaviors that set them apart from other species. I have given my best to give you a proper understanding of similarities & differences between Angelfish and cichlids to help you make an informed decision when setting up their tank and choosing compatible tank mates.

Also, ensure that you pay attention to the water parameters requirement for keeping Angelfish and cichlids. You should never try to keep other cichlid species together as they’re bad tank mates for Angelfish and may lead to conflicts & territorial disputes.

It is best to house them with peace-loving best tank mates for Angelfish rather than keeping them with aggressive nipping species. I can guarantee that you will be captivated by the elegance of Angelfish or the diversity of cichlids because both provide a delightful and captivating addition to any aquarium.

Therefore if you encounter an angelfish next time, you can confidently identify it as a cichlid and appreciate its unique quality, making them a remarkable fish. This article has helped you learn valuable insights on the question: are angelfish cichlids?

If yes, please consider sharing it. Your share will help many people learn about the question ‘Are angelfish cichlids’ and if yes, why?. Do check my other helpful guide on angelfish care & facts. See you in the next post, till then, take care & goodbye.