Can angelfish live in saltwater tank?


MFK Member
Feb 17, 2009
I'll give you a serious answer, even though your question sounds pretty bizarre to most of us. The Mbuna in the clip you posted are rift lake species. Live in water with a pH in the mid-8's for Malawi and low-9's for Tanganyika. Much easier for a fish adapted to that kind of water to be able to adjust its osmotic balance and survive in saltwater. Angelfish, on the other hand, are Amazon species preferring neutral to moderately acidic water and would have a much rougher time.

When I was a kid, I worked in a fish store. I set up two 10 gallon tanks, side by side, one saltwater with damsels, clowns and a couple other "tough" SW fish. The other was freshwater with swordtails, barbs, an angelfish - typical community tank stock. Each day I took a pint of water from each tank and dumped it into the other tank. I figured I would slowly equalize the two tanks and see if I could eventually keep the salt and freshwater fish in the same tank. Results were predictable. The freshwater fish fared better than the saltwater and survived longer, while the saltwater fish started to darken and hang in the tank corners when the salinity got below 1.015. Long story short, there were a couple short-term survivors, but none of the fish did well enough to keep together. Don't know why the owner let me carry out that "experiment". I'm sure he knew it would never work.


Peacock Bass
MFK Member
Sep 21, 2023
Houston, Texas
Pio29FishL, you should choose what kind of water you want to do (Saltwater, Brackish, or Freshwater) before talking fish. Also, to clarify about saltwater and freshwater fish: Saltwater fish can't live in freshwater, and freshwater fish can't live in saltwater. HOWEVER, salt can be used to treat freshwater fish TEMPORARILY to heal them. But this is not long-term.

When you figure out what kind of water you want to go in your tank, come back, and we'll gladly advise you on tank stocking and anything else you need help with. :)
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