Altum Angelfish (Pterophyllum altum)

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Altum Angelfish

Altum Angelfish

Pterophyllum altum

132 Litres (35 US G.)

12.7-17.8cm (5-7 ")




4.8 - 6.2

25 -31 °C (77-87.8°F)

1-5 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-10 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Altum Angelfish, Orinoco Angelfish


South America: Amazon River basin, in the upper Negro River drainage; Orinoco River basin, in tributaries of the upper Orinoco River (Inírida and Atabapo rivers) to Puerto Ayacucho.


Extremely difficult. Look for a slight Cichlid hump on the male, although it's not always accurate. The best way to sex is to look at the breeding tubes on a pair when they are spawning. The male's breeding tube will be much smaller than the female's.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Best kept in a single species or specialized "Guyana shield or Orinoco Blackwater habitat" aquarium containing species of the same habitat. Other species within this habitat: Satanoperca daemon, Guianacara sp., Uaru fernandezyepezi, Mesonauta insignis, Dicrossus filamentosus, Apistogramma iniridae, L128, L200, Paracheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon bentosi rosaceus, Hemigrammus rhodostomus, among others. Note that smaller fish such as Paracheirodon axelrodi will as a rule be eaten.


Will take most foods but prefers live/frozen such as bloodworm and brine shrimp supplemented with high quality Cichlid pellets.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice a day.

Environment specifics[edit]

Although the Altum isn't a long fish it is very tall with dramatically elongate fins, in fact the Altum can be twice as tall as it is long, this must be taken into account when housing this fish. A low bioload is recommended and as high as a D.O. level as can be provided. pH should be within 4.0-5.5, a GH of 50-70ppm and DH 1-2.
Tank decoration should consist of medium to coarse grain white river sand (1-2mm), bogwood simulating tree roots in water, stones. Plants are optional and you should take into account that it is hard to maintain plants in such water conditions.


A usually peaceful Cichlid, can become feisty and aggressive during spawning.


Their cousin the Pterophyllum scalare can sometimes be mislabelled as an Altum, however, they can be distinguished by looking at the pre-dorsal profile and the size and number of stripes, however, since there appear to be several other Pterophyllum that fall within Altum and Scalare, identification can be tricky. There's also a form found around Peru which has prominent spots on the flanks.



Altums in natural habitat

External links[edit]