The Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare is a graceful disk shaped cichlid. Though it was named for the marine angelfish, it bears little resemblance to these fish or even to any other fish in the Cichlid family. This fish is rather diamond shaped or leaf-like in appearance. It has a rounded body that is greatly compressed laterally accented with long, triangular dorsal and anal fins. Its genus name Pterophyllum is very descriptive of its appearance as this term actually means "winged leaf". It is also known as the Silver Angelfish, Freshwater Angelfish, and Common Angelfish.
These are some of the most attractive fish and very popular with both the beginner and the long-time aquarists. In the wild they are found with black bars on a silver colored body. But there are also some mutations found in nature as well where these fish are without bars, are solid black, and have lace forms.
The Angelfish are considered a community fish, but they are cichlids. Consequently they may not be as sociable with smaller fish. They will school peacefully when they are young but tend to pair off and become more territorial when they are older. Being a bit timid, they can be frightened by shadows and fast movements. They will feel most at home and comfortable in a warmer aquarium that has hardy plants placed around the inside perimeter, has some rocks and roots for retreat, and has an open area in the center for swimming.