Angelfish (Pomacanthidae) are known as some of the most colourful and impressive fish on the reef.

Many species are not reef safe, as they especially target the soft corals and LPS. But by choosing your corals carefully, or by getting specific species of Angelfish, they can be kept in coral aquariums.

There are Angelfish suitable for most aquarium sizes, from Dwarf Angelfish which are well suited to smaller aquaria, to the larger of the species which can be impressively displayed in a larger aquarium.

The demands of the individual species can vary widely. Some are food specialists and require therefore special food, while for others can be difficult to acclimatize, as they live in deep water in the wild. It is recommended that one has a reasonably good knowledge of the different types of food and of treatments of illnesses, if one wishes to keep the larger species.

Apolemichthys

The Apolemichthys genus contains a series of medium sized Angelfish which all have completely different needs. Some species are very hardy and ideally suited to aquaria, whereas others do not do well in captivity, because they have very specific food needs.

These fish are not known to be reef safe, so they are not suited to coral aquaria.

The species in this genus are, on the whole less aggressive than Holacanthus and some of the Pomacanthus species.

Centropyge (Dwarf angelfish)

Centropyge and Paracentropyge (Dwarf Angelfish) are some of the most colourful fish on the reef.

They are popular for aquaria as they do not become so large as other Angelfish species. They grow typically to about 10 cm, but some up to about 18 cm.

They are not normally reef safe. But there are species, with which there is a reasonable chance of success. Most will not eat the coral polyps but will go after the coral produced mucus. This can disturb some LPS, Zoanthus and clams so much so that they will die from it. 

It is hard to predict if a species is reef safe, as there is always a risk when adding Dwarf Angelfish to a reef aquarium.

They live normally on microalgae and detritus. Some species for example. C. loriculus and C. flavissima also eat microalgae as well as green hair algae as part of their diet. Food which includes Spirulina, nori and fresh vegetable matter, are perfect for Dwarf Angelfish.

A. tristis and A. poyroferus closely resemble several species of Angelfish, but they lack the spine on each side of the head.

Chaetodontoplus

Fish in the Chaetodontoplus genus attain a length of 35 cm and are reasonably well suited to aquarium life. Most of the species should have algae as part of their diet, i.e. nori seaweed, spirulina or spinach, but it needs a varied diet, also containing some frozen foods.

It is generally less aggressive than the Holacanthus and Pomacanthus species.
One should only keep several of these fish when the aquarium is very large.

They are not generally reef safe, as in many cases these fish will disturb LPS, tubeworms etc.

Genicanthus (Lyretailed Angelfish)

Genicanthus (Lyretailed Angelfish) are distinguished from other Angelfish by their lyre like tail and in that they hunt zooplankton in the open.

Apart from zooplankton these fish also live of various micro algae, fish eggs and small invertebrates.

These fish are especially good candidates for coral aquaria, as unlike other Angelfish they rarely feed on corals. It can happen that they go for Xenia or similar, but it is normally not a problem.

There is, generally speaking quite a difference between the sexes and go together well as a pair. Females can change into males, even though there may already be a male present. If there already is a male, this "female" can then change back again, if the original one becomes aggressive towards this "new" male.

These fish normally live in deep water, so there is a possibility of injury when being caught. The females are normally better able to cope with this. A clear sign of an injury sustained, is when they cannot stay still in the water but must constantly swim downwards so as not to rise to the surface.

If the fish will not eat or are quite shy, it is good practice to have dimmed light for a while, to aid acclimitization.

Whilst males can be aggressive towards each other, females can happily co-exist even with individuals of other species.
They should all be added to the aquarium simultaneously.

Holacanthus

Angelfish of the Holacanthus family are generally large, attractive and very colourful.

Holacanthus are some of the hardier Angelfish, but they are still vulnerable to parasitic attack and need quality varied food with a good supply of nori and Spirulina.
One must avoid a too protein rich food as this stops them obtaining enough vitamin A

They are not reef-safe, but some of this species can, with a little care, be kept in a coral aquarium.

Holacanthus are known for their aggressiveness, so one must have a large tank to keep these fish. Especially the smaller ones are very quarrelsome.

Generally speaking it cannot be recommended keeping these Angelfish together with other Holacanthus or docile fish in general. Even with others of the Angelfish genus, there is a big risk in keeping them with Holacanthus, but it can be done.

Paracentropyge

Centropyge and Paracentropyge (Dwarf Angelfish) are some of the most colourful fish on the reef.

They are popular for aquaria as they do not become so large as other Angelfish species. They grow typically to about 10 cm, but some up to about 18 cm.

They are not normally reef safe. But there are species, with which there is a reasonable chance of success. Most will not eat the coral polyps but will go after the coral produced mucus. This can disturb some LPS, Zoanthus and clams so much so that they will die from it. 

It is hard to predict if a species is reef safe, as there is always a risk when adding Dwarf Angelfish to a reef aquarium.

They live normally on microalgae and detritus. Some species for example. C. loriculus and C. flavissima also eat microalgae as well as green hair algae as part of their diet. Food which includes Spirulina, nori and fresh vegetable matter, are perfect for Dwarf Angelfish.

A. tristis and A. poyroferus closely resemble several species of Angelfish, but they lack the spine on each side of the head.

Pomacanthus

The Pomacanthus genus of Angelfish, is extremely impressive with their beauty of colours and patterns. They live mostly on most sponges, but also soft corals, tunicates and macroalgae found naturally.

There is typically rather a large difference in the appearance between juvenile and adult.

When properly fed, these fish can grow fast and become very large. In captivity, it can take well over a week for these fish to start feeding. This, because they are not used to catching their own food in the aquarium. It is best to feed them little and often, 4/5 times daily.

As the feeding indications suggest, these fish are not reef safe, but if one chooses the corals with care, it is possible to keep them together in a aquarium.
One may obtain a species specific preparation containing sponges to meet nutritional needs of some species. Thier diet should include algae based foods, i.e. nori seaweed, spirulina, or similar.

Pomacanthus species can be very aggressive, but not to the same degree as the Holacanthus. Thus in a tank with shyer species it is best to add a Pomacanthus last.

They must also not be kept together with Lionfish, Seahorses, Scorpionfish or similar, as they might be nibbled.

Pygoplites (Royal)

There is only one species in the Pygoplites genus and it is known for its extraordinary attractive colours, but they are shy, especially in an tank with bright light. They are not reef safe.

It is a difficult species to keep in an aquarium due to its reluctance to eat in captivity. It is vital that these fish also get Spirulina or nori seaweed, as part of their diet.

Just a moment...
Just a moment...