Apolemichthys trimaculatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Apolemichthys trimaculatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Apolemichthys trimaculatus - (Cuvier, 1831)
Common name Threespot Angelfish
Family Pomacanthidae - Apolemichthys
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 26.0 cm (10.2")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 1100 l (290 gal)
Hardiness Average
Suitable for aquarium Experience, preparation and extra care required
Reef safe Not reef safe
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards similar species

Food

Mostly
  • Other invertebrates
  • Soft coral
  • Large polyp stone coral (LPS)
Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Macroalgea (Eg. seaweed / nori)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
  • Larger crustaceans (Shrimp, crabs...)
  • Sponges

Difficult to keep

It is recommended that this species be kept by experienced aquarists as it requires specialized food for its continual survival.

Can nibble at clams

This species sometimes nibbles at clams including Tridacna species.

Well established aquarium with algae

These fish should be kept in a well run aquarium where they can "graze" algae from rocks and stones.

If there are insufficient algae on the rocks, it is important to feed more frequently and supplement with algae rich food e.g. Spirulina. 

Acclimitises best as a juvenile

This species will better acclimatize to the aquarium`s condition if introduced, when young.

Very small individuals can be very delicate.

Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Hiding places

This species requires places to hide, especially when newly introduced into the aquarium.

Docile

This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Initially shy

This species can be very shy when first introduced into a new aquarium.

More aggressive fish can be introduced after this species has acclimatized.

Tips for keeping Angelfish

It is possible to keep various different sizes of Angelfish in the same aquarium, but it means that one must choose species with care and that the conditions in the tank are optimum.

Here are some suggestions to increase the chances of success:

Choice of species
It is important not to choose species that are too similar, the greater the variance, the larger the chance of success. It is also advantageous to choose fish of different sizes. Two young Angelfish of the same same size and pattern for example are a bad idea. One should of course avoid the most aggressive species.

Order of introduction
It is a good idea to make a wishlist and choosing the order so, that the least aggressive are introduced first. When adding similar sized Ange fish it works best if they are introduced simultaneously.

Space
There should be enough space in the aquarium, but it is difficult to give specific advice. Of course there are exceptions to the table below as to just how big a tank should be in order to stand a good chance of success. Space itself is not enough, there should also be sufficient hiding places so the fish do not have to fight over these.

100 gal (400 liters): Several small Angelfish (<15cm) can live together.

240 gal (900 liters): Several medium Angelfish (< 20cm) can live together.

400 gal (1500 liters): Several large Angelfish (<25cm) can live together.

Food and water quality
It is always helpful to give the fish a varied diet, so they can withstand the occasional stress situation when for example new fish are introduced. Water quality must also be very high, so that the fish do not get stressed for that reason either.

Corals suitable for an aquarium with Angelfish

It can be a challenge to keep corals together with Angelfish, since the latter eat most soft corals and LPS. Especially Zoathus are swiftly eaten by the larger species.

It is however possible to build up a mixed coral aquarium with Angelfish. If some of the following corals are choosen there is a good chance the Angelfish will leave them alone; Hammer corals, Bubble corals, Star polyps, Disc anemones and others.
Most of the SPS corals can be kept with Angelfish.

Genus description (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.

Family description (Pomacanthidae)

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.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Indo-West Pacific: East Africa south to 28°S (Ref. 33390) and east to Samoa, north to southern Japan, south to Australia.
English common names Three-spot angelfish, Three spot angelfish, Threespot angelfish
Danish common names Blålæbet kejserfisk
German common names Gelber Dreipunktzwergkaiserfisch
French common names Poisson-ange trois taches, Poisson-ange à trois taches, Poisson ange à trois taches

References and further reading

About references

Niels K. 2014. Private conversation - saltvandsforum.dk - (Danish)
Scott W. Michael. 2004. Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes (Reef Fishes Series Book 3) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Bob Fenner. Marine Angelfishes, Family Pomacanthidae - Wet Web Media - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Best Angelfishes For Marine Aquarium Use - Wet Web Media - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Ultimate Angelfish Aquarium; An amazing and challenging collection of marine angelfishes - Wet Web Media - (English)
Collection of links to additional information - Wet Web Media - (English)
Reef Central. 2009. Keeping more than one emperor angelfish together - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

Tags

docile shy, herbivore, algae eater, eats tridacna, angel, tag_kejser
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