Tim's Tropical Fish






Altum Angelfish

South American Cichlids

Altum Angelfish, Pterophyllum altum

The Altum angelfish originates from the waters of the Rio Orinoco in Venezuela. They are also known as the Deep Angel due to their height.  They are considered one of the most beautiful angels, but are more difficult to keep than the common angelfish, pterophyllum scalare. They are also difficult to find in pet stores, as they are usually wild caught. Unlike the common angelfish, the Altum has not been bred into a variety of colors and fin variations. The Altum has vertical black stripes and a silver/brown background. There is an indentation or notching at the eyes, giving a pointed appearance to the mouth. The banding helps them hide easily among long stemmed plants. The Altum is much larger than the common angelfish and can reach 15 inches tall.

The tank for Altums must be large and deep due to their size. Large, long stemmed plants are recommended to enhance the Altums vertical appearance and to provide hiding places. The water should be very soft and peat filtration is recommended. Open swimming spaces should also be provided. Although Altums are peaceful, they can also be territorial. Some open swimming spaces should be provided. The substrate should be large, smooth gravel to ensure their mouths are not cut when gravel is picked up. Temperatures in the tank are best at the higher end of their range.

Altums are not a great community fish, but larger tetras may successfully be kept with them. As they are mainly obtained in the wild, live foods will be preferred. They will eat live and frozen brine shrimp, granular fish food, and live and frozen blood worms.

Altums can develop black spot disease, which produces small black spots over their body. It can be treated with Black Spot Control from Aquatronics. Avoid using copper sulfate for any Altum disease.

Breeding Altums will be difficult. Pairs can be determined by observing behaviour of larger groups. Soft water will be essential. Parents will guard their young, but other fish should not be present in the breeding tank.

Comments by Gillian: I have an angel and she likes flakes, freeze dried bloodworms, frozen bloodworms, and frozen mysis shrimp. And she's a total glutton and seems to be always hungry!! Many angels are like this I think, so it can be easy to overfeed them.

Altum Angelfish, Pterophyllum altum
Scientific Name: Pterophyllum altum
Family: Cichlid
Temperature: 25 - 30 C; 77 - 86 F
pH: 5.0 - 6.2
Size: 18 cm; 7 inches
Life Span: 15 years
Breeding: Difficult, Egglayer


Other Angelfish, Corydoras, Gouramis, Plecos, large Tetras

Guppies and Neon Tetras are eaten by Angelfish.

50% of our readers indicate that Discus are compatible with Angelfish.