Dragonfin Angelfish:  Specie Info, Care Guide and Tank Requirement

The Dragonfin Angelfish (Apolemichthys arcuatus), with its elongated dorsal fin resembling a dragon’s wing, is a stunning and popular addition to freshwater aquariums. These captivating fish are known for their elegant movements, vibrant colors, and unique finnage.

Want to know everything about the amazing Dragonfin Angelfish? This guide makes it easy! We’ll teach you how to care for them, what kind of tank they need, and everything else you need to know. 

Quick Overview: Dragonfin Angelfish

Scientific name:Apolemichthys arcuatus
Size:Up to 6 inches
Lifespan:5-10 years
Temperament:Territorial, peaceful with other fish
Tank Size:Minimum 20 gallons
Water pH:7.0-8.0
Water Temperature:75-82°F (24-28°C)
Diet:High-protein, high-fibre diet, live foods, flakes/pellets, occasional vegetables
Tank Mates:Tetras, barbs, other angelfish
Breeding:Relatively easy, separate breeding tank, parents care for fry
Common Problems:Fin rot, Ich, swim bladder disease, stress, aggression

Natural Habitat of Dragonfin Angelfish

Dragonfin Angelfish originate from the Amazon River Basin in South America, where they inhabit calm, slow-moving waters with dense vegetation. In the wild, they live in small schools and exhibit a territorial nature, especially during breeding season.

Dragonfin Angelfish schools are readily discovered in the lakes of Dragonblight and Borean Tundra. 

But to catch the Dragonfin Angelfish, your best bet is to go fishing at Lake Indu’le in Dragonblight, which is just northwest of Moa’ki Harbor. It’s pretty easy to find once you know where to look. The trick to increasing your chances of catching these beautiful fish is to have a fishing skill of 380 or higher. If you want an even better shot at success, use special items that can boost your fishing skills.

Dragonfin Angelfish Physical Appearance

Silver Dragonfin Angelfish

Body Shape

The Dragonfin Angelfish boasts a compressed, disc-shaped body, typical of angelfish. It has long, flowing fins that add to its elegance and grace.

The most distinctive feature of this fish is its elongated dorsal fin, extending well beyond its body, resembling a flowing flag or the wings of a dragon, hence its name. The pectoral fins are long and pointed, while the anal fin mirrors the dorsal fin in shape and size.  The pelvic fins are small and threadlike. The caudal fin, or tail fin, is large and deeply forked and pointed, providing powerful propulsion.

Dragonfin Angelfish have a small, pointed mouth located at the tip of their snout. Their eyes are large and expressive, often with a dark iris and a bright ring around the pupil.

The scales are small and smooth, giving the fish a sleek and streamlined appearance.


The Dragonfin Angelfish displays a captivating range of colours, depending on the variety.

Common colors include silver, gold, black, white, and various shades of orange, yellow, and blue. Many varieties exhibit striking patterns, such as stripes, spots, and marbling. The fins often showcase contrasting colors, further enhancing their visual appeal.

Some Dragonfin Angelfish even possess iridescent scales that shimmer in different light conditions.


Dragonfin Angelfish can reach a maximum size of approximately 6 inches (15 cm) in length.

However, they just reach around 4-5 inches (10-12 cm) in captivity. Females tend to be slightly smaller than males.

Dragonfin Angelfish Care Guide

Tank Requirement

  • A single Dragonfin Angelfish requires a minimum tank size of 20 gallons.
  • For each additional Dragonfin Angelfish, add an extra 10 gallons of tank space.
  • Consider future growth when choosing a tank size.
  • Tall tanks are ideal for Dragonfin Angelfish because they provide ample swimming space vertically, mimicking their natural environment.
  • Long tanks are also suitable as they offer sufficient horizontal swimming space.
  • Avoid square or shallow tanks as they restrict their movement and can lead to stress.

Water Parameters

  • Water Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C) 
  • pH Level: 7.0-8.0 
  • Water Hardness: 5-15 dKH 
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm 
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm 
  • Nitrate: Below 20 ppm

Perform regular water changes (25% weekly). Use a reliable water test kit to monitor water parameters regularly. Adjust water parameters gradually if necessary.

Filtration and Aeration

  • A powerful canister filter is recommended for Dragonfin Angelfish tanks.
  • The filter should be rated for a tank larger than the actual size to ensure efficient water circulation and filtration.
  • Maintain the filter regularly and replace filter media as needed.
  • Dragonfin Angelfish require well-oxygenated water.
  • An air pump and airstone can be used to provide additional aeration, especially in densely planted tanks.
  • Ensure the air pump is quiet and does not disturb the fish.

Decor and Substrate for Dragon Angelfish

Live plants are beneficial for Dragonfin Angelfish tanks as they provide oxygen, reduce stress, and offer hiding places.

Choose plants that are suitable for the water parameters and lighting conditions of the tank. Some good options include Java moss, Amazon sword plants, and Anubias.

Smooth rocks, driftwood, and caves can provide hiding places and add visual interest to the tank. Avoid sharp objects that could injure the fish.

Arrange the decorations in a way that creates open swimming space for the fish.

Fine sand is the best substrate choice for Dragonfin Angelfish tanks, It is soft on their fins and helps maintain good water quality. Avoid gravel or other sharp substrates that can injure the fish also Regularly siphon the substrate to remove waste and debris.

Lighting Requirements

Dragonfin Angelfish prefer moderate lighting. Aim for an ideal lighting duration of 10-12 hours per day.

Use full-spectrum LED lights to promote plant growth and enhance the natural colors of the fish. Avoid bright or direct sunlight, which can stress the fish and lead to algae growth.

Dragonfin Angelfish Diet and Feeding Habits

Dragonfin Angelfish are omnivores, requiring a varied diet rich in both protein and plant matter. They need a diet containing a high protein content to support their growth and development. Aim for protein sources that make up 60-70% of their total diet.

Fiber plays a vital role in maintaining digestive health and preventing constipation. Include high-fiber vegetables like blanched spinach or zucchini in their diet.

Offer a diverse range of food items to prevent nutritional deficiencies and ensure they receive all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Recommended Foods include; 

  • Brine shrimp
  • Tubifex worms
  • Daphnia
  • Blackworms
  • Bloodworms
  • Mysis shrimp
  • High-quality fish flakes or pellets specifically formulated for angelfish
  • Spirulina flakes
  • Vegetable-based flakes
  • Blanched spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Peas

Feed Dragonfin Angelfish 2-3 times daily. Offer small amounts of food at each feeding. Avoid overfeeding, as it can pollute the water and lead to health problems.

Sprinkle the food on the water’s surface or use a feeding ring to prevent uneaten food from contaminating the water.

Watch your fish during feeding time. If they appear disinterested or have difficulty eating, adjust the food type or quantity accordingly.


The average lifespan of a Dragonfin Angelfish is 5-10 years in both captivity and wild with proper care.

Tank Mates for Dragonfin Angelfish

Dragonfin Angelfish, while generally peaceful, can be territorial and require careful selection of tank mates. Choose peaceful fish that won’t harass or bully the Dragonfin Angelfish. Avoid fish small enough to be eaten by the Dragonfin Angelfish. Select fish with similar activity levels to avoid stressing each other. Ensure all chosen species have similar water parameter requirements.

Here’s a guide to choosing compatible species and understanding their social behavior:

Species Compatible Dragonfin Angelfish

  • Tetras: Cardinal Tetras, Neon Tetras, Black Skirt Tetras
  • Barbs: Cherry Barbs, Harlequin Rasboras, Tiger Barbs
  • Corydoras Catfish: Peppered Corydoras, Bronze Corydoras, Albino Corydoras
  • Loaches: Kuhli Loaches, Zebra Loaches
  • Other Angelfish: Choose angelfish of different sizes and colors to minimize territorial behavior.
  • Ram Cichlids: Bolivian Rams, German Blue Rams
  • Mollies: Sailfin Mollies, Black Mollies, Dalmatian Mollies

Species to Avoid Pairing Dragonfin with in the tank

  • Aggressive Fish: Cichlids (except Ram Cichlids), Tiger Barbs, Bettas, Goldfish
  • Fin Nippers: Tiger Barbs, Silver Dollars
  • Large Fish: Oscars, Jack Dempseys, Pacus
  • Bottom Dwellers: Plecos (some species)

Breeding Dragonfin Angelfish

Dragonfin Angelfish are relatively easy to breed in captivity, making them a popular choice for hobbyists. Here’s a guide to identifying breeding pairs, creating the right conditions, and caring for the fry:

Identifying Male and Female Angelfish

  • Females have a rounder body, especially around the abdomen, while males are more slender.
  • A small pointed protrusion develops between the anal fin and the tail fin of both sexes during breeding season. In females, it is wider and blunter, while in males, it is thinner and more pointed.
  • During breeding season, both sexes develop small white bumps on their foreheads called nuptial tubercles. These are more prominent in males.
  • Males will often display their long dorsal fin and chase females around the tank. Females will typically clean the breeding site and become more receptive to the male’s advances.

Spawning Behavior and Care for Fry

Once the breeding pair is ready, the female will clean a surface, such as a flat rock or a large leaf, to prepare for spawning. The female will lay her eggs in rows on the prepared surface, and the male will fertilize them.

Both parents will guard the eggs and fan them with their fins to keep them oxygenated. They will also remove any dead or infertile eggs. The eggs will hatch in 2-3 days, and the fry will be free-swimming in another 3-4 days.

Initially, the fry will feed off their yolk sac. Once they are free-swimming, feed them infusoria or baby brine shrimp until they are large enough to eat crushed flakes or pellets.

Perform small, frequent water changes to maintain water quality and prevent the buildup of waste.

Common Health Challenges and Solutions

Despite their relatively hardy nature, Dragonfin Angelfish can encounter various health issues and challenges. Here’s a guide to identifying signs of stress, potential diseases, and troubleshooting tips:


Stress Signs

  • Clamped fins
  • Hiding behavior
  • Loss of appetite
  • Erratic swimming
  • Pale or dull coloration
  • Gill flaring

Causes of Stress

  • Poor water quality
  • Incompatible tank mates
  • Overcrowding
  • Insufficient hiding places
  • Changes in water parameters
  • Introduction of new fish

Solution for Stress

improve water quality, remove incompatible tank mates, reduce overcrowding, provide more hiding places, maintain stable water parameters, and quarantine new fish before introduction.

Offer a nutritious diet to promote good health and reduce stress susceptibility.

Consider adding aquarium salt to the water (follow dosage instructions carefully) to improve gill function and reduce stress.

Diseases and Treatment

Common Diseases

  • Fin Rot
  • Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)
  • Swim Bladder Disease
  • Dropsy


  • Fin Rot: Treat with antibiotics or antifungal medication.
  • Ich: Raise the water temperature and use medication specifically formulated for Ich.
  • Swim Bladder Disease: Epsom salt baths, dietary changes, and antibiotics in severe cases.
  • Dropsy: Often fatal, but treatment with antibiotics and improving water quality may be attempted in some cases.

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Edet Ubok-Obong
Edet Ubok-Obong

Edet Ubok-Obong is an experienced Writer with a deep passion for Gardening, Fishing and home improvement. He shares his knowledge of these fields through this website.