Category Archives: Saltwater Fish

Lantern Bass Care Guide

Scientific NameSerranus baldwini
DifficultyEasy
Final Tank Size30 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size3"
The Lantern Bass or Lantern Basslet is a small/mid sized fish with a unique personality. They act as a cross between a wrasse and hawkfish, switching between swimming around the tank keeping an eye on everyone to sitting on rocks or substrate. They are mildly aggressive towards other basslets and smaller fish but do not give many other fish issues. They are more aggressive than Chalk Basslets but less aggressive than the harlequin basslet.They are extremely hardy fish that will adjust to life in the aquarium almost immediately.

The Lantern Bass will spend its time roaming the tank while frequently returning to its home, which will be a cavern created by rocks, coral or decorations in the tank. They are fairly easy to breed in the tank but will require a larger aquarium, at least 50 gallons, to be kept in a pair or more. They are quick to eat, rarely get sick and are overall great fish for new and experienced aquarists alike. Especially aggressive wrasse like the six line should only be kept with the Lantern Bass if the tank is over 50 gallons in size. Otherwise the two fish may fight occasionally as their body shapes and behavior are somewhat similar.

Is the Lantern Bass Reef Safe?

The Lantern Bass Is mostly reef safe but they may harass smaller shrimp. Shrimp over an inch and a half or those that can defend themselves like the Coral Banded Shrimp will be fine when kept with the Lantern Bass. Anemone shrimp or sexy shrimp will be frequently become targets as will young cleaner and peppermint shrimp. Shrimp should be well established in the tank before adding the Lantern Bass to ensure their survival. Newly added shrimp are much more likely to be attacked, especially if they are not large.

Corals, clams, starfish, worms and other inverts should all be safe when kept with the Lantern Bass. The basslet may occasionally nip at flowing appendages like those on some starfish but should leave most inverts alone. They do not pick at rocks, meaning small crustaceans that harass corals and clams will not be eaten by the Lantern Bass. This makes pairing them with a tough wrasse a good idea.

Corals and anemones that frequently have fish hosting them will not be bothered by this basslet. Particularly aggressive clownfish may chase the Lantern Bass when they swim close to their anemone however they should not be any actual fighting between a hosting fish and the lantern.

The Lantern Basslets Diet

The Lantern Bass will eat just about any food added to the tank. In the wild they will mostly feed off of small shrimp and small fish. This means they will need a mostly meaty diet with some plant based foods mixed in to replicate the nutrients the shrimp bring to the Lantern Bass’s diet. This can be either herbivore flakes, pellets or gut loaded live shrimp.

A good diet for the Lantern Bass should contain:

  • High quality flake and pellet foods
  • Dried brine or mysis shrimp
  • Live gut loaded brine shrimp
  • Frozen foods
  • Finely cut meaty foods like squid or table shrimp

The Lantern Bass will typically eat either the day or the day after it is added to the aquarium. They are not shy fish and will frequently be one of if not the first fish eating each feeding time. Rotate the types of food you feed to help balance out their diet. Mixing different types of flakes and pellets together can also work. If they do not eat you can entice them using frozen brine or mysis shrimp. If they are still not eating you may need to use live feeder shrimp or freshly cut shrimp. Do not over feed the tank if they are not eating the first two days, as they can go several days without eating.

The Lantern Bass can eat a lot more than most of its tankmates as it develops a larger, more rounded body. They will eat as much as they are fed and may cause issues for smaller, slower feeding fish. Feeding the tank in multiple areas is necessary to keep non competitive eaters fed. When kept with other quick fish normal feeding methods work fine.

Lantern Bass Tank Requirements

Lantern Bass require large amounts of rock work in their aquarium. They will spend a lot of their time swimming between the rocks and will make a cave, over hang or cavern their home. While they will not be bullied without a rock structure to call their home they will be stressed out by not having a territory they can easily claim as their own. This also means you should have at least three open spaces in the rocks for your Lantern Bass to claim. Eels will use a large amount of the rocks and may not be the best tankmate for smaller aquariums.

When first added to the tank the Lantern Bass will quickly swim to the bottom of the tank and find a cavern to hide in. They will usually keep this area as their home for quite awhile and can even turn it into their permanent home. The Lantern Bass spends a lot of their time near the bottom of the tank, only swimming above the middle of the tank to feed. Once settled into the tank they will spend most of their time swimming on patrol around the front of their homes, taking short trips around the tank before returning.

Because of their small size and semi aggressive tank mates the Lantern Bass should not be kept without a tight fitting lid. These lids should have any cut outs covered. Cut outs are usually made around heaters, filtration, powerheads and overflow boxes. As the Lantern Bass is very slender early on they can fit through very small holes. Once they have settled into the tank they may chase other fish upwards, away from their claimed territory that is usually lower in the aquarium. This means fish will be likely to jump for the Lantern Bass’s entire life. They are more defensive of their homes than some other basslets.

As these fish need a lot of low caverns the tank will have plenty of dead zones. These are areas of the tank where there is little water flow and a lot of debris will collect over time. While placing filtration near these can help a lot the tank should have a sand sifting clean up crew member like a sea star, nassarius snails or hermit crabs. Dead zones can also be combated by using multiple, small power heads aimed low, keeping the debris suspended in the water column until it reaches the filtration system.

Lantern Bass Tankmates

Lantern Bass are a mixture of aggressive and peaceful. They will generally not harass any fish in the tank. Those they will harass are usually of similar body, other basslets or fish who occupy the same areas as them. Gobies are prime targets for the Lantern Bass as they slowly hop around their claimed territories. Likewise similarly behaved dottybacks will frequently fight the lantern nonstop. Very small fish are also at danger of being eaten or harassed. All tank mates should grow to be at least two inches. Fish smaller than the Lantern Bass should be well established before adding the basslet to the tank.

The Lantern Bass is commonly preyed upon in the wild by larger fish and should not be kept with predators like groupers, lion fish and triggers. Eels that can fit the bass in their mouths are also not good tank mates as the Lantern Bass spends a lot of its time idling around the caves created by live rocks.

Good tankmates are:

  • Dwarf Angelfish
  • Clownfish
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Chromis
  • Tangs
  • Fairy Wrasse
  • Anthias

The Lantern Bass must be introduced to the tank at the same time and around the same age to form a community or mated pair. Any Lantern Bass added after the first will not be accepted by an individual or group of basslets. If the tank is large enough they will often stay together without fighting. There is little to no risk of problems developing down the line after the basslets have become accustomed to the tank. As they age a single basslet may become the most dominant of the group, transitioning to a male only Lantern Bass. Once this happens it becomes incredibly difficult to add any fish that may have previously been ok with the basslet.

Remember that all inverts should be well established before adding the Lantern Bass to the aquarium. Small inverts will quickly be eaten. Those over an inch and a half are usually safe. Adding large shrimp is risky once the basslet is established. All crabs, including hermits, should be safe to add to the tank at any time.

Lantern Bass Gender & Breeding

The Lantern Bass is easy to pair but not as easy to breed as the Chalk Bass. They are usually hermaphroditic fish, meaning they are both male and female at all times. The only exception is when a particular basslet becomes the most dominant and transitions into a male. Any Lantern Bass purchased under three inches should still be both male and female.

These basslets are able to breed with any pairing as long as they are not both transitioned males. This should never happen in the home aquarium as two Lantern Bass cannot simultaneously be the most dominant fish of the group. Likewise adding an already male basslet to the tank would only result in fighting.

While the Lantern Bass can be seen spawning or mating in tanks as small at 50 gallons they have not been successful raised in the home aquarium. Likewise they are not sold as aqua cultured fish. This means they are not suitable for a home breeding project unless you are willing to be the first successful breeder.

While the Lantern Bass is a known pelagic breeder, as are other successfully bred basslets, they still do not show success in breeding in the home aquarium. Other, similar basslets have been bred and sold through online retailers like Live Aquaria, however they are very rare and usually out of stock, sometime of the more special ones costing over two thousand dollars.

Chalk Bass Care Guide

Scientific NameSerranus tortugarum
DifficultyEasy
Final Tank Size30 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size3"
The Chalk Bass is a frequently overlooked fish that fits in many of the popular saltwater aquarium setups. They only show aggression towards other basslets and smaller fish that they can eat. Otherwise the Chalk Bass is happy to swim in a small section of the tank, taking short laps around to see what is happening. They are friendly towards other Chalk Bass is that are introduced at the same time and will effectively school and pair almost every time. They are one of if not the most forgiving small to midsize fish you can keep in a saltwater aquarium.

Even in the wild the Chalk Bass will frequently spend their time in the same small area in large groups. They are quick to adapt to life in the aquarium, are easy to feed and will even breed without much effort put in by the aquarist. While they may not be the flashiest fish around the Chalk Bass is a solid choice for any fish owner, new or experienced. The only concern you should have is other small fish or basslets in the aquarium.

Is the Chalk Bass Reef Safe?

The Chalk Bass is a model citizen when it comes to tanks with both corals and inverts. They will not harm any shrimp or crabs that are over an inch in size. Smaller shrimp will generally be fine if they were established before adding the Chalk Bass but can still become a target if they never get bigger. Large shrimp like cleaners, peppermint and the coral banded shrimp will all be safe. Crabs should never be threatened by the Chalk Bass, even small hermits.

Corals, clams and starfish are safe when kept with the Chalk Bass. The bass may spend time hanging around the corals or underneath their supporting rocks but should not directly interact with the corals. They also are not likely to eat any of the small crustaceans or worms that can bother corals, meaning you may need another fish to defend the corals like a wrasse. As this basslet chooses a place to spend most of its time it may accidentally starve feather dusters if it chooses to live in the same area and constantly scares the worm into hiding.

Tankmates that host corals, like the Porcelain Anemone Crab and clownfish should not have any issues with the Chalk Bass. They may spend time around the hosted corals or anemone but will not have any reason to fight for control of a specific spot. As the Chalk Bass typically hangs around caverns and other low flow areas they should not end up living above or beside any of these hosted objects.

The Chalk Bass’s Diet

The Chalk Bass is a very quick to eat fish that is almost never picky. They will eat just about any meaty food you place in front of them as well as any prepared foods. If your Chalk Bass is not eating you should look into their health as well as the water parameters and food itself. They are extremely hardy and should not become sick easily, making them the last fish you want to see stop eating.

A good diet for the Chalk Bass should contain:

  • High quality flake and pellet foods
  • Dried brine or mysis shrimp
  • Live gut loaded brine shrimp
  • Frozen foods
  • Finely cut meaty foods like squid or table shrimp

There is nothing special you need to do to get the Chalk Bass eating. Try to rotate the types of food you feed them to help keep a balanced diet. They are not demanding when it comes to nutrition and should do well if fed only one type of high quality flake, but I would still recommend switching foods or creating a mixture to cover more nutrients. As the bass feeds off plankton in the wild, which brings a lot of plant nutrition to the bass, feeding them some plant based foods is a good idea. Small pellets or flakes mixed into the normal feeding will typically work. The Chalk Bass does not typically eat clipped seaweed or macro algae.

The Chalk Bass is very quick to feed and may cause issues for slower moving fish. They can get fairly fat and do not stop eating after they have had their fill. To try and feed slower moving fish you should feed the tank in multiple areas and use sinking pellets to reach the fish lower in the tank. The Chalk Bass should not be harassing other fish away during feeding time unless they are unfamiliar fish that look similar.

Occasionally the Chalk Bass will grow much larger than expected. Sometimes this is due to the fish being labeled incorrectly but other times it is simply a large Chalk Bass. If they become exceedingly large you may need to move them to a bigger tank. They can create serious issues as they require more food than a small tank should have, creating a large bioload for a small tank and eating large amounts of food before their smaller tankmates can get to any of it.

Chalk Bass Tank Requirements

The Chalk Bass will almost immediately settle into the tank, as a new fishes behavior is similar to their established nature. Once freed into the tank the bass will quickly swim downwards in the tank, seeking refuge in the rockwork. Often the first picked cave will be their permanent home or at least one of the main places they spend their time. They are not easily bullied and should settle in within a day. When multiple are introduced to the tank at the same time they should stick together, instantly forming a school or mated pair depending on how many you have.

These fish absolutely need rocks in their aquarium. While they are not easily bullied they will want to spend the majority of their time swimming between rocks and hanging out just in front of their homes like an eel or jawfish would. This behavior will continue throughout the Chalk Bass’s life and will be present even if they are by far the most dominant fish of the tank. Without any rocks to claim their home the Chalk Bass will either roam the tank looking for somewhere to stay or settle into a corner of the tank.

The minimum tank size for the Chalk Bass is 30 gallons. Due to their small swimming areas they can be kept in even smaller tanks, but this may cause stress or aggression depending on how much the Chalk Bass leaves their rocks. They will try to keep other fish out of their rock work but do not usually harm any fish that swims through their home.

The Chalk Bass is not a common jumper but may do so due to the shorter tanks they are kept in. They are commonly sold very small, around an inch in length and fairly skinny. As they are long slender fish, especially when young, a tight fitting lid should always be on their tank. Small holes and cut outs like those around power cords and filtration tubing should be covered or filled in. Likewise any overflow boxes should be well guarded so that the Chalk Bass cannot jump in and get stuck.

Having a lot of caverns in a small tank will usually create dead zones or low flow zones that collect a larger amount of debris than the rest of the tank. The Chalk Bass does not eat any of this detritus. As they also do not harm any sand cleaning inverts or hermit crabs it is not too difficult to keep the sand clean in a Chalk Bass tank. If you are keeping larger sand moving inverts like sea stars or bristle worms you may want to secure your live rock in place with adhesive of zip ties. You can also use multiple small powerhead to keep the water moving evenly throughout the tank.

Chalk Bass Tankmates

The Chalk Bass is not picky about its tankmates. They will do well with most smaller community fish as well as mid sized semi aggressive fish. The only things that you should not be keeping with them are similar looking fish, other basslets or very small fish that a larger bass could eat.

Likewise avoid significantly larger fish like triggers or lion fish that can easily hunt down the Chalk Bass. Even small aggressive fish like damsels or certain clownfish will attack the Chalk Bass. Try to stick to semi aggressive temperament fish or large peaceful fish.

Good tankmates are:

  • Dwarf Angelfish
  • Clownfish
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Chromis
  • Tangs
  • Fairy Wrasse
  • Anthias

Keeping multiple Chalk Bass is easy to do but must be done right off the bat. Adding in any additional basslets after the Chalk Bass has settled in will not work and will see the newer basslet harassed constantly by the existing Chalk Bass. When added at the same time they will form a group without any clear hierarchy. A school will generally hang around the same area of the tank. The more of them there are the further they will be willing to stray from their home. In larger tanks this can lead to amusing situations where the Chalk Bass form a chain from their home with the individual fish watching each other leading all the way back to their home.

Inverts that start off small should be added to the tank before the Chalk Bass as the bass will eat small shrimp and may bother small crabs. Once the invert has settled into the tank and has gotten to at least an inch in size the Chalk Bass should lose most of its interest in the invert.

Chalk Bass Gender & Breeding

The Chalk Bass is one of the best fish for new aquarists when it comes to breeding and pairing. They are very fast to form communities and do not fight amongst themselves for dominance. They are hermaphroditic fish, meaning they are both male and female at all times. There will be no dominant male, even if one is much larger than the others.

This rare condition also means that any two Chalk Bass that are kept together can be bred as a mated pair would be. The main difference between them and other fish is there is no effort required to get the pair. This can even be a nuisance to saltwater aquarists who wish to have two Chalk Bass but do not want them to breed.

Breeding the Chalk Bass is very easy even in a 40 gallon aquarium. They only need to be well fed, have a consistent light schedule, good water parameters and a secure home. As these requirements are the same as having a good aquarium the Chalk Bass will frequently be found breeding without the owner even trying to encourage them.

Chalk Bass are pelagic spawners, meaning they will swim to the top of the tank before releasing their genetic materials and swimming off, leaving the eggs to float freely in the water. In the aquarium this will lead to the eggs quickly being eaten or sucked into the filtration system. Fry that hatch in the aquarium are also likely to be eaten by any of the fish in the tank, making an unintentional extra Chalk Bass unlikely. To successfully breed and raise the Chalk Bass fry you should remove the eggs from the tank using a container of tank water, adding the removed eggs to an existing tank set up to raise the fry. These should be fed plankton, phytoplankton, rotifers and small copepods after a few days.

It is important to remember that newly raised Chalk Bass cannot be added to the same tank as their parents. Unless the fry managed to hatch and survive in the same tank as their parents the new bass will be harassed and chased non stop. They can sometimes be mixed together by moving the old and new bass to a new tank at the same time or rearranging the tank while also adding in the new Chalk Bass. Doing these will put the smaller young Chalk Bass at risk.

Purple Dottyback Care Guide

Scientific NamePseudochromis porphyreus
DifficultyEasy
Final Tank Size30 Gallons
DietCarnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size3"
The Purple Dottybackis a beautiful fish that most aquarists will skip right over. They are small bullies that are persistent in harassing anyone too weak to stand up to them. Adding them to a tank that was not built with them in mind is a quick way to have the existing fish wiped out as the Purple Dottyback becomes established therefore more aggressive. Only try to keep them, a single dotty back, if you are 80% sure they will not harm any of the fish in your aquarium. Even in larger aquariums these little fish can be a big problem.

In the wild we can frequently see the Purple Dottyback swimming in decent sized schools around coral reefs and large rock structures. They will typically stay around a few selected homes, hiding inside caves and coming out to feed. This makes them highly suited to aquarium living as that is exactly what they do in our homes. They are quite hardy and will survive the trip to most aquariums when provided proper care and a good starting diet of live foods. Once they become established they are very easy to care. They can survive as the first fish of a new tank, however this will make them very aggressive towards any new additions to the tank.

Is the Purple Dottyback Reef Safe?

The Purple Dottyback is reef safe. They do not attack small shrimp, crabs or other inverts like starfish, worms or cucumbers. They will go after very young or small worms that are born in the tank but should not harm anything that has been established for awhile.

As for coral the Purple Dottyback typically lives around bright and colorful corals. As its body is made to blend in with these bright settings they do not eat or destroy their camouflage and will happily swim around corals without picking at them or stealing food from the corals. They will even benefit the corals as they eat small worms or pods that would otherwise harass the corals.

One of the main issues they can run into is dealing with clownfish who host an anemone. The Purple Dottyback is very aggressive and may not like the clownfish chasing them away every time they swim by the anemone. Keep an eye on the two fish and remove an overly aggressive dottyback if they are harassing a clownfish that hosts an anemone. It is much more difficult to get a clown anemone combo than a lone colorful fish.

The Purple Dottybacks Diet

The Purple Dottyback is a fairly easy to feed fish. They are carnivorous fish that do well when fed a mixture of high quality flake food, pellets and occasionally live foods like brine shrimp, which can even be gut loaded to increase their nutrition. The more variety you keep in their diet the more colorful they will be. As the age, get stressed or become deficient in some nutrients their color will fade, so a good diet is something easy we should focus on.

A good diet for the Purple Dottyback should contain:

  • High quality flake and pellet foods
  • Dried brine or mysis shrimp
  • Live gut loaded brine shrimp
  • Frozen foods
  • Finely cut meaty foods like squid or table shrimp

These fish do better when fed frequently rather than large feedings. The Purple Dottyback can eat as many as 5 meals a day, which helps simulate their constant feeding habits in the wild. The easiest way to keep them fed is to do two big feedings for the tank and have automatic feeders drop in supplementary foods in between the feeding times. As the Purple Dottyback is a very quick feeder they should get a good amount of the food before other fish move in to get food they may not need. They will do fine when fed two or three times a day but may show loss of colors if they are not able to hunt small foods in the tank like copepods, bristle worms or other tiny crustaceans.

One of the bigger issues the Purple Dottyback faces is their picky nature in new tanks. When first added they are unlikely to eat most foods and can often starve to death before their owner can get them to eat. The easiest way to combat this is using live foods like phytoplankton, brine shrimp or small worms. You can also add bags of copepods to the aquarium, however these are rather costly and will be eaten by most small fish that are kept with the dottyback.

Once they are eating prepared foods it is a good idea to use occasional herbivore foods mixed in with their meaty diet. They do not need a lot of the nutrition that herbivore foods have, so only the occasional few flakes or pellets do great as a low cost supplement. Keep an eye on the herbivore food when feeding the Purple Dottyback as they may simply spit the food back out and never eat it. IF this happens every time you should stop feeding them the herbivore foods.

Finally be careful when adding them to existing tanks that have non competitive eaters. Slow moving fish or those that are easily scared away may have trouble getting food around the Purple Dottyback and can easily wither away if their inability to feed goes unnoticed. Feeding the tank in multiple areas at once can help combat this issue, however in smaller tanks there may not be enough space to keep the fish feeding in separate areas.

Purple Dottyback Tank Requirements

The Purple Dottyback is quick to make a new tank its home no matter how it is set up. The require no less than a 30 gallon tank, with a longer tank being more preferential than a tall tank. They enjoy tanks with a large amount of live rocks to swim in between and hide in when they feel frightened. They will swim around all levels of the tank and around every existing fish, invert and coral. In the wild they will spend a good amount of time in the caverns created by live rocks, being very aggressive towards those who try to enter the caves.

The importance of live rock in the Purple Dottyback’s aquarium cannot be overstated. They will typically hide in these from predators and will feel much more secure with them in the tank, even if there are no predators. Additionally the dottyback is quite aggressive towards fish its own size. They will likely need the live rock to protect them from the dottyback. The most effective way to decrease aggression using live rocks is to divide the tank into multiple sections, breaking the line of sight between the fish.

Both the Purple Dottyback and any fish it chases are high risk jumpers. A tight fitting lid is absolutely necessary to keep them in the tank. All small holes, like those around power cords, overflow boxes and heaters should be covered. Likewise be sure that any overflow box has teeth keeping the fish out of the box and cannot be hopped into.

As the Purple Dottyback lives in high flow areas in the wild they are used to living with high currents that must be imitated using powerheads or wave makers. Using a single powerhead in a small tank with a large amount of live rock is likely to create low flow zones where most of the tanks debris will collect. You can either combat this with a second powerhead or take advantage of it by placing your filtration around there, hoping it will remove the debris before it can settle onto the floor. Caves will always collect debris and there is very little you can do to combat that other than have a clean up crew of sand sifting inverts and crabs.

Purple Dottyback Tankmates

The Purple Dottyback should only be kept with small semi aggressive fish who will not be bullied by them. Adding them to tanks with meek fish like gobies, dragonets and blennies is always a bad idea. They will be bullied frequently and will suffer either from attacks, stress or starvation as they are unable to eat around the dottyback. Also avoid any bright purple fish with long bodies that look similar to this dottyback. They will quickly be bullied no matter their aggression level.

Likewise large, aggressive fish can quickly harass the Purple Dottyback as they are very small and colorful fish. Large fish like groupers will easily eat the dottyback and aggressive, colorful wrasse will quickly kill a Purple Dottyback if they get on their nerves.

Good tankmates are:

  • Dwarf Angelfish
  • Clownfish
  • Cardinalfish
  • Chromis
  • Fairy Wrasse
  • Anthias
  • Damselfish

Keeping two of these fish together is not ideal. The Purple Dottyback is quick to go after similar looking fish and will not tolerate other members of the Pseudochromis family.

They should not harm any established inverts no matter how small but will feed on young worms or crustaceans. This makes them a decent pick for tanks that are having an increasing amount of worms or pest amphipods.

Purple Dottyback Gender & Breeding

There is no way to differentiate between a male and female Purple Dottyback. Additionally they do not breed in the home aquarium. This is hard to understand as their most similar looking dottyback, the orchid, is very easy to breed even in the home aquarium. A big part of them not being bred is their extreme aggression towards others of their kind, making pairing them nearly impossible for the average aquarist. Even a suitable pair of Purple Dottybacks are likely to fight to the death even if they were captured together in the wild.

It is a very common story for people to keep a young pair of Purple Dottyback together for awhile only to have one wind up dead. As they get older they will always fight. Having them both become established while young makes neither of them willing to back down.

Blue Ring Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NamePomacanthus annularis
DifficultyMedium
Final Tank Size200+ Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size12"
The Blue Ring AngelFish, also known as the Annularis Angelfish, is a great mid sized angelfish that does not bring as much aggression as some of its larger family members. They have a bright coloration and dramatic color change from juvenile to adult. They can be territorial when established in the tank so consider adding them either last or near the end of filling your aquarium.

These angelfish will spend a lot of their time swimming around the tank and travel a lot more than other angelfish. They do not spend much time in one place. This makes them a good display fish and often the center of attention in the aquarium. They will limit what you can put in the tank so be sure to read about their tankmates and reef compatibility before adding them to your aquarium.

An important note is that these angels require a strong amount of lighting, almost coral strength, to remain in good health. They use these powerful lights to aid them in digestion. Low lighting tanks will put a lot of strain on the fish, reducing their lifespan and coloration. Dim tanks can even make them slowly turn blind, which is visible through clouded eyes and slower movement.

Is the Blue Ring AngelFish Reef Safe?

The Blue Ring AngelFish is not reef safe but is more reef safe than some of the larger angelfish. They can only be kept with small polyp stony corals, known as SPS. They will eat most large polyp corals as well as many corals that have no defenses. Noxious corals do well when kept with the Blue Ring AngelFish but should still be monitored. Leather corals will sometimes be fine with the Blue Ring AngelFish but they should be heavily monitored as well.

Worms, such as feather dusters and flat worms, will be under constant threat from the fast swimming Blue Ring AngelFish. While they do not typically fight off worm infestations they will go after both large and small worms occasional. Likewise clams, oysters, scallops, sponges and starfish are all targets from this angelfish. Overtime the Blue Ring AngelFish will pick at these organisms until they starve to death or are killed and eaten. Tanks with established clams should not consider adding an angelfish no matter their previous behavior. As they age they will become more likely to nip at the fleshy mantels.

Anemones can be kept if they are hosted by a large aggressive clownfish. Be sure the clown is hosting the anemone and not just spending some time near it before adding the angelfish.
Do not add the Blue Ring AngelFish to any reef tank unless you are willing to lose coral or are absolutely sure none of the corals in the tank are their targeted foods.

Blue Ring AngelFish Diet

The Blue Ring AngelFish is quick to accept just about any food. In the wild they will feed on encrusting organism like Truncates, sponges algae and zoo plankton. To replicate their wild diet they will need to be fed a mostly herbivore diet with plenty of foods consisting of sponge. This is frequently sold as angelfish food in standard pet stores and should be marked in mixtures sold in specialty shops. Many aquarists will make their own formula to feed the angelfish, which is just a mixture of foods made in bulk that can easily be fed to the tank.

A good diet for the Blue Ring AngelFish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Spirulina
  • Live Sponge
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp

In a mature tank with a large amount of live rocks the Blue Ring AngelFish should be fed two or three times. They will get some additional nourishment from the rocks growing algae and the small crustaceans living on the rocks. The meals should consist of however much food the tank can eat in five minutes, sometimes less if you are feeding large pieces of food that they can eat quickly. When feeding the angelfish it is important to feed their herbivore food before feeding any meaty foods. They prefer the meaty foods and will avoid the herbivore foods when given the choice, however they absolutely need the nutrition that the herbivore diets provide.

it is much easier to keep difficult fish fed by using specially made foods such as new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula. This is similar to a custom made formula an aquarist would make at home for their aquarium. Buying it can save a good amount of time and effort, however it may not be tailored specifically for your tank. Consider the other fish in the aquarium before deciding to invest in a formula that may or may not be suited for them. In most cases the NLS formula is a good choice.

Seaweed is a popular feeding option. It is cheap, available in many grocery stores and has a lot of nutrition that can be difficult to get the angelfish otherwise. Additionally it is a fun food that you can put wherever you like in the tank, drawing the angelfish into plain view without having their food blow around the tank. To add even more value to the seaweed, which is typically sold dried, you can add liquid supplements and vitamins. A popular choice is Selcon, a vitamin b12 and c supplement that can be found on amazon.

The Blue Ring AngelFish loves meaty foods but again should be fed a mostly herbivore diet. If they are being picky at feeding time you can feed them gut loaded live brine shrimp. This will entice them to eat while still giving them the nutrition they would usually miss out on when eating meaty foods. These shrimp are more difficult to feed, as you will usually need to support a colony of them in a second tank.

Blue Ring AngelFish Tank Requirements

The Blue Ring AngelFish requires good water parameters to stay healthy. While they are hardy when it comes to illness and tank transferring they are quick to see health declines when water quality is ignored. Aim to replace at least 20% of the tanks water each month or 10% every other week. Adding in water as it evaporates does not count towards the water change. If the tank is especially large without having maximum fish capacity or has corals you can reduce the water change to only 15% each month. Macro algae will also help keep the water levels stable but can become invasive and give your tank a weedy look if not properly managed.

If you plan on keeping them in smaller tanks as they grow you need to be mindful about when you move them to a new tank. Keeping the Blue Ring AngelFish in a tank that is too small for them can quickly stunt their growth as they adjust from being in the open sea to a small aquarium. Try to move them to their main tank once their adult coloration is just about finished and in at least a 100 gallon tank until then. Keep in mind the smaller aquarium the juvenile is kept in the more aggressive they will be, especially if it does not have a territory of its own to defend.

Angelfish are not bothered too badly when switching to a new tank. They adjust very quickly and should not have any adverse health effects. Ensure their new tank has algae on the rocks, unclaimed rock work and open feeding areas to ensure they move in and can begin eating quickly. If they are having trouble finding a home to call their own the Blue Ring AngelFish will be less likely to eat. This is especially true with some of the more aggressive tankmates they can be kept with. These angels do not stick to one part of the tank so any open spaces will be acceptable to them. The only place they do not spend too much time is right on the sand bed at the bottom of the tank.

For large tanks with no or few rocks you may need a slightly larger aquarium. While keeping rocks out of the tank does increase the overall swimming area it reduces the number of territories. This can be very problematic with both aggressive and passive tankmates. The larger than required aquarium is a great way to combat the increased aggression a lack of rocks creates.

The Blue Ring AngelFish is often sold quite small and will be much more jumpy in its young age. They should be added to tanks with tight fitting lids. All holes over half an inch should be covered. Commonly missed spots would be areas around the over flow box, heaters and filtration tubes or power cords. Once the angelfish has gotten to its adult size and mindset it is unlikely to jump and can be kept in an open top aquarium. Keep in mind that open top aquariums will have dramatically increased evaporation rates.

Blue Ring AngelFish Tankmates

The Blue Ring AngelFish is the opposite of most angels in that it starts out very aggressive and becomes more passive as it ages. This creates an issue as they are often kept with smaller, more peaceful fish when young. Additionally they are too small to be kept with the fish who should be larger and established before introducing the Blue Ring Angelfish. If you are able to get a transitioning angelfish, shown by a mixture of color between juvenile and adult, then you may be able to add them directly to their final tank with the proper aggression tankmates. Adults can also be added to the main tank without much fear of harassment.

Only large shrimp and crabs over an inch in size should be kept with these angelfish. Young shrimp, sexy shrimp and small, soft shell crabs are at risk. Hermits can be flipped over and picked out of their shell by the angelfish, but this behavior is a coin toss. Either hermit crabs are completely safe or absolutely not safe with a specific angelfish.

Good tankmates are:

  • Large clownfish
  • Lionfish
  • Tangs
  • Basslets
  • Squirrel fish
  • Groupers
  • Some Butterfly Fish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Aggressive wrasse

Trying to keep them with other angelfish is not recommended in any tank under 250 gallons in size. Additionally they should not be kept with any angelfish of similar coloration. A mated pair can be kept however this is difficult to achieve without purchasing an already existing pair of Blue Ring AngelFish. Larger angelfish are likely to fight with this angel as the blue ring is too aggressive to be dominated by larger angels in most cases.

Introducing them much smaller, either the blue ring or the second angel, may reduce the risk of aggression as long as they are not bullied immediately after adding them to the tank. Placing see through barriers in the tank can also help the fish get accustomed to one another even if they are initially aggressive. If they stop showing aggressive tendencies with a barrier in place it is likely they will not fight once the barrier is removed.

Eels will do well when kept with this angelfish if the tank has plenty of caverns created in the rocks. Both the eel and angel will be swimming between the rocks. Having other fish who also use caverns may make the rock work too crowded. If you wish to keep an eel try to pick out fish who will avoid swimming inside the rockwork. You can also use PVC piping to make tunnels under the substrate that only the eel will swim through.

Blue Ring AngelFish Gender & Breeding

There is no visible difference between male and female Blue Ring AngelFish. It is likely that juveniles will be female however it is impossible to be sure a purchased angelfish has not begun the transition to male. If you wish to pair or breed fish the Blue Ring AngelFish is not a suitable candidate.
As they mature the angelfish will undergo a dramatic color change, exhibiting three main stages. As a juvenile they will be black with electric blue stripes running up and down their body and face but not onto their fins. Their tails will be translucent.

Once they begin transitioning to their adult coloration their body will start to turn brown and blue curved stripes will develop on their body. These blue rings will extend to their fins and face. They will hold onto their electric blue stripes for a fed months and slowly fade them out. Once they are only brown with dark blue rings on them their coloration has reached adult hood and they are considered fully adult. They will reach sexual maturity before this happens, however the coloration is how they are labeled.

Emperor Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NamePomacanthus imperator
DifficultyMedium
Final Tank Size200+ Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size15"
The Emperor Angelfish is one of if not the most well known angelfish kept in marine aquariums. They have a strikingly rich coloration with three main colors of yellow, blue and black. They will stand out in any aquarium no matter the background due to this exotic coloration. They can be a bit more challenging to keep than other angels outside of the Pomacanthus family but are well worth the effort.

Their body is somewhat elongated. Combine this with their stock build and they cannot turn quite as quickly as other fish. This makes them have a more flashy appearance when they turn around. As they are fairly dominant and territorial you can expect them to flair their fins and spines frequently without harming any fish in the aquarium. They enjoy spending their time around the rocks of the tank, looking to graze throughout the day on any algae, sponges or LPS corals.

The get quite big, often over 15 inches in the wild, but usually staying under 14 in the aquarium. They should not be kept in tanks under 200 gallons unless you are planning to move them to bigger tanks as they grow. Keeping them in smaller tanks that they can survive in will stress them out, increasing aggression and the risk for illness. They are not exceptionally tall like some other angels and are quite maneuverable. This allows you to keep a large amount of rock with caverns, over hands and cave systems that smaller fish enjoy. Those that are big enough for the Emperor Angelfish to swim through are likely to be used frequently. Despite their dominance they enjoy hiding in the rocks and watching other fish swim by. Overall they have a lot of different moods/behaviors and are interesting to watch throughout the day.

Is the Emperor Angelfish Reef Safe?

They are not reef safe fish. They will eat just about any LPS, large polyp stony coral, as well as clams, oysters and sponges. Some aquarists will have success in keeping them with clams but the clam will always be at risk of nipping. The Emperor Angelfish feeds on their fleshy mantels and even a once a month attack can damage the clam, making it close up and slowly starve itself.

LPS corals will be under threat at all times and are grazed on just as commonly as algae. Only extremely noxious corals will be avoided. Anemones are sometimes safe in the same aquarium and will always be safe if they are hosted by a larger clownfish. Small clownfish may even be able to protect the anemone or at least dissuade the Emperor Angelfish from bothering it. This is a risk as the emperor may not tolerate the territorial behavior of the clownfish.
Leather corals and sea fans will also be under constant threat, as will feather dusters and worms. Shrimps and crabs will be left unharmed if they are over an inch and a half in size. This mostly means you cannot keep tiny decorative inverts like the sexy shrimp along side the Emperor Angelfish. Starfish will be safe but those with extremely long, flowing appendages may get nipped at a few times.

If you are unsure of the corals in your tank I would not suggest adding this angelfish to your tank. The loss of well established corals would not be outweighed by adding a single fish, no matter how beautiful they may be. It should be a simple task to identify the corals you have in the aquarium before adding an angelfish to your tank. You can then weigh the risks and rewards of adding the angel to your own aquarium.

Emperor Angelfish Diet

The Emperor Angelfish in the wild will spend a lot of its time grazing on corals, algae and sponges. They will also eat meaty foods like clams and other encrusted organisms. To replicate this in the home tank we should be feeding them a mostly herbivore diet with mixed in meaty foods like chopped meats, clams, live shrimp and seaweed attached to rocks or walls.

A good diet for the Emperor Angelfish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Gut loaded live shrimp
  • Clams or oysters
  • Spirulina
  • Chopped squid
  • Spinach or uncooked broccoli

Angelfish in general will need a decent amount of sponge based foods, which are typically sold as angelfish food. The Emperor Angelfish is not quite as dependent on sponges as other types of angelfish but should still have a decent amount added to their diet. Always feed their herbivore food before feeding any meats to ensure they get the nutrients they need. The Emperor Angelfish will be much quicker to eat meaty foods and will ignore plant based food, even sponge based foods, when both are fed at the same time.

An easy way to ensure their diet is well rounded is to use specially made foods like the new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula. Combined with high quality flakes, pellets and sponge based foods the Emperor Angelfish should be getting a good range of nutrition that they would be lacking with standard tropical fish flake foods. It is not advised to only use one type of food, even special blends so be sure to mix them up and keep multiple types of food. Three or four bottles along with the occasional meaty food is a good example.

Angelfish are frequently fed seaweed, which is a cheap and easy to feed food that provides them with a fair amount of nutrients. It is a good way to have them eating on display as you can stick the seaweed to the aquariums glass walls or any live rock you want them to hang around. Additionally the seaweed is typically sold dry, allowing us to use liquid nutrients to supplement any deficiencies the Emperor Angelfish may have.

The two things to remember about seaweed is their storage and removing seaweed from the tank. The air around the aquarium will typically be more humid than usual due to evaporation. Either store the seaweed away from the tank or in a container that will not let the seaweed suck in the humidity. All seaweed should be removed from the tank one hour after adding it. Uneaten seaweed will start to dissolve, fouling the tank water quickly. This is a big deal for the Emperor Angelfish who is highly dependent on having good water conditions to survive.

These angelfish are fairly competitive and should have no trouble eating around their tankmates. If anything they may cause trouble for the other fish, often preventing smaller, slow swimming fish form getting enough food. To combat this you can feed the tank in multiple areas at the same time, forcing the angelfish to pick an area to feed in.

Emperor Angelfish Tank Requirements

These angels, despite their large size enjoy swimming into caverns, in between and behind large rock structures. They are fairly maneuverable and will find their way into caverns they do not seem to fit into. Avoid making caverns with sharp points that the Emperor Angelfish may cut their scales on. It is unreasonable for every cavern to be large enough for them to swim into without touching the side, but they will learn which holes to swim into and which they cannot on their own. Just avoid ones that can hurt them and they will enjoy the rockwork you create.

In the wild they will spend a good portion of their time hovering above corals, sponges and various live rock with algae. Try to keep enough space above your live rocks for the Emperor Angelfish. They will not be afraid to touch the waters surface when trying to swim over rocks, which can give an interesting display in open top tanks. However this runs the risk of jumping as they touch the top of the water and grow accustomed to swimming so close to the surface. If you do have rocks near the top either have a tight fitting lid or keep the peaks of the rocks in the middle of the tank so they cannot easily jump out of the tank on accident.

The Emperor Angelfish does not use the sand in any way and can be kept in bare bottom tanks. Keep in mind that sand is typically a large home for beneficial bacteria and will help keep the tanks water more stable. If you do forego any type of substrate you may need to perform more frequent or larger water changes. They will typically need at least 30% of their water changed per month, which can be done all at once or twice a month in smaller amounts. Corals and macroalage will also reduce the need for water changes, but these are difficult to keep with this angelfish.

While the Emperor Angelfish handles tank transferring well they can easily be hurt when captured by nets. Their spines and gill covering spines are easy to catch on mesh materials. Damaging their gills can frequently lead to death where as their dorsal fin spines will cause a lot of stress and pain if they are torn on a net. Instead you should use a large container or bag to capture the angelfish. This can be done with either traps or just generally herding them in the direction of the container but can be tricky to do, as the Emperor Angelfish will typically avoid new objects in the tank.

Emperor Angelfish Tankmates

The Emperor Angelfish does well with similarly aggressive fish but should not be kept with other angelfish. Even much more docile angels are likely to be harassed by the emperor when swimming around the tank. Aggressive angels like the French Angelfish and queen will usually fight with the Emperor Angelfish and should not be kept together unless you have a large tank and a lot of experience with aggressive fish. Even then you should have a second tank ready to accept a rejected angelfish or be ready to return the angel. Keep in mind multiple tank transfers become increasingly stressful and will leave the removed fish in poor health even if no damage was done to them in the tank.

Corals and worms are always at risk when they are in the same tank as the Emperor Angelfish and should only be kept with extreme caution. Several of the SPS corals, especially noxious ones will be fine but should still be monitored. Worms are almost always targets and should not be kept. Small shrimp under one and a half inch are not safe and should also not be in the aquarium along side the Emperor Angelfish. Hard shelled crabs should be fine.

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Pufferfish
  • Basslets
  • Triggers
  • Squirrel Fish
  • Snappers
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Wrasse

If you do choose butterfly fish be sure they are not too docile, as a weak willed butterfly fish can easily be harassed by the Emperor Angelfish. Stronger fish like triggers and puffers will not be in danger but can be chased off on occasion by an angry emperor. When this happens you can often hear the angelfish make a grunting noise, almost like a pig. It can be heard around 19 seconds in this video.

Eels make for good companions to the Emperor Angelfish as they will typically take residence in caverns that the angel would not be able to fit into anyways. Young Emperor Angelfish will sometimes pick slime off of eels, which can bother the eel but should not cause any damage. Eels are unlikely to hunt the emperor even when they are young unless they are exceedingly aggressive such as the Tessalata Eel.

Emperor Angelfish Gender & Breeding

There is no discernible difference between male and female Emperor Angelfish other than a slight varition in their facial mask. In females the lines around their mask is sometimes more grey than a males blue mask lines. This is not visible until they are much older, making pairing them a difficult task. Additionally they will not tolerate other Emperor Angelfish in their tank and a larger male will likely harass a smaller female. To keep a pair a large tank over 250 gallons is required to help reduce aggression.

As the Emperor Angelfish ages they change color completely. As a juvenile they will be black covered with electric blue stripes all across their body. Their fins will be a light blue. Eventually the top of their body will begin to show signs of yellow as their body slowly shifts over to the blue and yellow body that is expected from the Emperor Angelfish. This should take just over two years or around 40 months from their birth. This long and intense transformation is one of the main reason people are so keen on keeping them.

Unfortunately these angels are not bred in captivity. This keeps their purchase price high, as they are not found in large quantities in the wild. They are not at risk of endangerment so it is not harmful to their population to support wild collection of them. These fish will often live for 15 to 20 years in the home aquarium when properly cared for and are not typically caught using harmful chemicals that we often see with smaller fish.

Queen Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NameHolacanthus ciliaris
DifficultyMedium
Final Tank Size200+ Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size18"
The Queen AngelFish is an absolute gem in the home aquarium. They are beautiful fish that act as their name suggests. The Queen AngelFish can frequently be seen overlooking the other fish in the tank and asserting their dominance over the rest of their tank mates. Anything that is more dominant than the queen is typically a threat to them, making them always be the center of any tank they are in.

They are not fragile or hard to keep fish but their diet and personality can make them challenging if your tank was not designed with them in mind. They will destroy coral tanks, deprive themselves of nutrients when fed meat and cause a lot of fighting if there is anything in the tank they do not agree with. If you want to keep the queen you need to be ready to serve.

Is the Queen AngelFish Reef Safe?

These are almost as non reef safe a fish as you can get. They are quick to pick at all except toxic corals that can defend themselves. Even then they will likely do some harassment and inhibit the corals while trying to graze. All other corals will be eaten very quickly no matter how well fed the angel is.

Small inverts vary with the Queen AngelFish. Small crabs and shrimp over an inch and a half are typically safe. Sexy shrimp may be in danger as well as any young shrimp. All worms are under threat when kept with this angelfish and should not be kept in the same tank. This includes feather dusters and tube worms.

Clams, oysters and scallops will be picked at until they starve or are eaten. The same goes for starfish, sponges, anemones and sea fans. The Queen AngelFish should only be kept in tanks without corals, or a FOWLR, fish only with live rock, tank. Do not keep the queen with any corals, soft inverts or worms you are not willing to lose.

Queen AngelFish Diet

The Queen AngelFish shows its difficulty during feeding time. In the wild adults will feed entirely on sponge, rarely picking at tunicates and corals. To replicate this a mostly plant based diet is necessary for them. All prepared foods should either have sponge or spirulina, which is an algae supplement with a lot of nutrition. In the aquarium they will accept just about any foods and love to eat meaty foods. This behavior quickly leads them to illness through nutrition deficiencies.

A good diet for the Queen AngelFish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Spirulina
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp

The key to getting the Queen AngelFish to eat a proper diet, especially when housed with carnivorous fish, is to feed them only herbivore and sponge based foods until they are done eating, about five minutes. After that you can feed the rest of the fish their meaty foods. By this time the queen should have had its fill of food and will not eat much if any of the meaty foods. Feeding the foods along side one another will result in a nutritional deficit.

When choosing high quality foods special mixes like the new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula are a solid, easy to work with option. They add in a lot of difficult to mix in nutrients. This makes keeping the Queen AngelFish healthy, their main difficulty, much easier. Other foods should still be offered to the queen to help keep their diet varied and well rounded. Sponge based pellets are frequently sold as angelfish food, making it easy to pick out their normal store foods.

In this video a young Queen AngelFish is seen eating seaweed that has been clipped onto the aquariums glass. IT can also be tied to rocks in the tank but should not be allowed to freely float in the tank. As it is torn apart it will quickly dissolve and dirty the tank water. By holding it in place we ensure the fish will eat most of the seaweed while also making it easy to remove the parts they do not eat. All uneaten seaweed should be removed from the tank one hour after it is added. As the seaweed is sold dried it will begin to break down after an hour of being under water, especially when in a high flow area. Red seaweed dissolves faster than green seaweed but offers different nutrients. Try to use both red and green seaweed.

Gut loaded live shrimp are difficult to keep in stock but are great for enticing picky Queen AngelFish into eating. The shrimp can be fed whatever it is you wish to pass onto the queen but will also be eaten by the other fish in the tank. Their primary use is feeding the angelfish when it is kept in a quarantine tank and shows no interest in prepared foods or seaweed. Gelatin like foods serve a similar purpose but are easier to use. The issue with them is they are harder to notice and can dirty the water unlike live shrimp.

Queen AngelFish Tank Requirements

In the wild the Queen AngelFish will spend most of its time at least 7 feet under water. In the home aquarium they are typically at or below the middle of the tank, only going into the top section to feed or when quickly swimming across the tank. To keep more than one angel the tank should be no smaller than 220 gallons and have plenty of open space for the two angels to swim through.

As they require large tanks and should be the last fish added to the tank a matured tank should be ready and waiting for the Queen AngelFish. The tank should have a strong beneficial bacteria colony, consistent aeration, no carbon issues and a few caverns created by rocks or decorations. The younger the incoming queen will be the more hiding places the tank should have. As they grow to be highly dominant fish the tankmates the Queen AngelFish will be housed with should be decently sized and aggressive. Small passive fish will be bullied even by a juvenile queen.

Many aquarists will start off the Queen AngelFish in a smaller tank then they end up in. This keeps the queen safe from larger, more threatening fish if they are too small to be paired with them at the time of purchase. These tanks should still be decently sized, at least a 55 gallon for when they are under 5 inches in size. Keep in mind this is not even a third of their maximum size and it is not possible to get away with a smaller tank. When kept in less then a 200 gallon tanks adult Queen AngelFish will almost always harass their tankmates. They need larger tanks to feel comfortable around other fish, especially the larger aggressive ones they are typically kept with.
When they are full sized the Queen AngelFish has no troubles with spares to no rocks in the tank. It is when they are young that they depend on the rocks for protection. Try to make sure there are at least three unclaimed caverns, over hangs or cracks between the rocks when housing a young queen. Adults will still swim between rocks and may enjoy them, but they are not always necessary. Likewise they will do fine in a bare bottom tank with no substrate.

Young queens are very territorial and will chase away other fish. This is especially true when kept in a smaller tank with tankmates they are not expected to stay with such as peaceful wrasse or gobies. When kept with similarly aggressive fish the queen may be scared into jumping while they are still young. These tanks housing juveniles should have tight fitting lids with no holes big enough for the queen angelfish to fit through. Likewise in tanks where they may bully other fish the jump risk will go up. Once they are bigger and have been added to the final tank you can expect to never see any jumping from the queen. They are very dominant fish that are not typically scared or chased by other fish.

Queen AngelFish Tankmates

The Queen AngelFish is quick to harass smaller, weaker fish. They absolutely cannot be kept with anything of peaceful temperament or of significantly smaller size unless you are ok with them being chased on sight. This includes larger fish like peaceful butterfly fish or anthias. Likewise slow moving fish like lions, scorpionfish and frog fish should not be kept with this angelfish. Worms, starfish, anemones, scallops, clams, oysters and sponges are all under threat and should not be housed with this angelfish.

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Basslets
  • Squirrelfish
  • Snappers
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Large wrasse

Other angelfish can occasionally be kept with the Queen AngelFish but should only be attempted with caution. The two angelfish should have a barrier in between them until they have been observed for a few days. It should be quickly apparent if one is darting at the other and being generally aggressive. If they do not seem too aggressive you can remove the barrier and let the two angelfish meet. You should have a second tank ready to accept an angelfish if the two do not get along. Remember to establish the other angelfish first, as the queen is not tolerant to new angelfishes once it has become established.

Remember that their tankmates will be quite large, taking up the water to fish ratio fairly quickly. There is very little room for extra fish in 200 gallon tanks so only pick out fish you truly want and not just fish that do fine with the queen. Eels are an excellent choice as they will not be harassed and are typically target fed. This allows you to feed both the angel and the eel exactly what you want without the other getting in the way of feeding. Again, be sure the eel is established before adding the angel. Additionally keep in mind that young angelfish will occasionally pick off excessive slime from the eels body. The eel will either accept or be scared by this action, but it should not be harmful to the eel.

Queen AngelFish Gender & Coloration

While it is known that the Queen AngelFish is usually found in pairs in the wild, they do not breed in the home aquarium. The genders are not usually noticeable. In general the males will be larger than the female, but this is not usually accurate as the larger fish could just be older or have had a better diet.

As a juvenile the Queen AngelFish will have a larger blue back half of their body and a dark blue stripe alone their eye with light blue stripes on the end of their eye stripe. Their body will have several more of these thin light blue stripes going across most of their body, stopping just before their fins. Their pectoral fins will always be a bright yellow, as will their tail fins. Their dorsal and anal fin will have a dark blue outline.

As they mature the blue will fade away, only remaining on a few scales giving them a speckled look. A brilliant yellow coat of scales will cover their body, leaving only a blue outline around their body and a few stray marks on their face. Again their pectoral and tail fins will be a solid yellow with no outline or highlights.

Blueface Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NameHolacanthus tricolor
DifficultyMedium
Final Tank Size200+ Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size15"
The Blueface Angelfish is a beautiful fish that should only be added to tanks that are created with them in mind. They do not do well as a side fish and cannot be added to tanks with large amounts of coral. While they start out small and passive they will quickly grow and increase their overall aggression towards other fish, They do not typically tolerate other angels in the tank and are a danger to slow moving fish like sharks.

They will spend a great deal of time looking at and between rocks for any sort of food they can find. Other than that they will swim from place to place, observing the tank from several different locations, almost like a hawkfish. They will generally stay below the middle of the tank and do not have as much difficulty turning in tight areas like other, taller angelfish do.

Is the Blueface Angelfish Reef Safe?

They are not reef safe and will eat most corals. Some soft corals or leather corals, such as finger corals and trees can sometimes be kept in the same tank but should be monitored heavily. Noxious or toxic corals are avoided by the angel and should be kept without issue. Large polyp stony corals, known as LPS, and zoanthids will quickly be eaten by even well fed Blueface Angelfish. Tanks with a large variety of corals should not consider adding this angelfish unless they are certain to not target a single type of coral present in the tank. Even then I would not suggest adding an angelfish to the tank.

Shrimp over an inch and a half in length should be fine as should shelled inverts. Clams, scallops, sponges and starfish all should not be kept with the Blueface Angelfish as they are sure to harass them to death if not outright eat them. Worms can be kept with caution but will be targeted if they angelfish becomes hungry. As they often demand three or four meals a day this can be difficult to avoid.

In short they should only be added to specifically set up tanks if you wish to keep them with any sort of coral.

Blueface Angelfish Diet

As with other angelfish the Blueface Angelfish should be fed a diet with sponge based foods added in frequently. They are omnivores but should be fed more herbivore food than meaty food.

A good diet for the Blueface Angelfish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Chopped Squid

As they are roaming grazers the Blueface Angelfish should be fed three or more times a day. Again a large portion of this food should contain sponge and not be too meaty of a diet. Like spoiled children the Blueface Angelfish will seek out the tastier meaty foods and deprive itself of important nutrition their body needs. A diet with too much meet will give them health issues and shorten their lifespan.

High quality blend of food such as new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula are essential when keeping the Blueface Angelfish. Other methods, such as gut loading feeder shrimp are also good ways to help round out their diet but requires a lot more effort than using a high quality food. Combined with flake and pellet foods and their diet becomes a lot easier to manage.

Seaweed is easy to feed and can be either tied to rocks or clipped to the glass. If torn and fed like normal flake foods other fish will bite and spit out the flakes, leaving the seaweed to fall to the bottom of the tank and pollute the tank. Remember to store seaweed away from the tank in a dry area. When kept near an aquarium the dried seaweed will absorb moisture from the humid air the tank creates. This leads to faster degradation of the seaweed and makes it quicker to dissolve in the tank. All uneaten seaweed should be removed one hour after it has been added to the tank.

While young they are not too competitive when eating. Around aggressive fish they may find it difficult to eat enough food. Once they reach maturity they will easily eat as much as they like and may keep other fish from eating. For this reason it is important to feed in different areas of the tank.

Blueface Angelfish Tank Requirements

While the Blueface Angelfish is quite large they will often act as a smaller angel. This means they spend a great deal of time swimming between rocks and hiding in caverns. As they age these behaviors will be less common but should still occur. The larger the gaps between the rocks the more likely an adult angel will spend their time hiding between them. By making most of the cracks and corridors in view from the front of the tank we can maximize how much we can see the angel. Likewise leaving large expanses behind rock structures can lure the angel out of sight. Keep this in mind when arranging your tank.

For juveniles a decent amount of rockwork is recommended to help keep them safe and stress free. Once they have fully matured you can expect them to stay out of the rocks for the majority of their time, but this will not be for the first few years of ownership.

It is recommended to purchase the Blueface Angelfish as young as possible. The smaller they are the easier it will be to bring them into your tank. Smaller angels can easily be kept in mid sized quarantine tanks. This keeps illness from the main display tank and also reduces the amount of medicine you will need to treat any sickness they may have. Additionally when adding medicines to the display tank you run a large risk of killing off the built up beneficial bacteria as well as inverts in the tank. This is especially true with copper based medicines.

Due to their hardy nature the Blueface Angelfish can frequently be transferred between tanks, making them easier to keep healthy. This will also allow you to keep them in a smaller tank while new additions establish themselves in the main display tank. This is important as the angel should be the last addition to any tank. Otherwise they can show an extreme amount of aggression towards new fish. This can easily be seen at feeding times.
Even a large puffer fish avoids an agitated Blueface Angelfish. Note the grunting noise just after 20 seconds, which the angelfish uses to warn other fish.

Box shaped tanks are usually the best bet for these angels, as they prefer to have a large amount of turning space and open areas. In the wild they will spend a lot of their time hovering over large reefs with nothing directly to their sides. They will only seek cover in the rocks when looking for safety. Otherwise large, well established adult will usually be free swimming in the tank on full display.

Blueface Angelfish Tankmates

The Blueface Angelfish has a mixed amount of aggression in them. When they are the biggest fish in the tank you can expect them to be aggressive and territorial, making life difficult for any smaller fish or angel in the tank. If something larger than the Blueface Angelfish is present the angel will be much more docile and act as a community fish.

On the other hand these larger, more aggressive fish should not be anything predatory or a fish that commonly hurts angels. This includes other large angels like fully established French Angelfish. Even in larger tanks it is common for extreme aggression to come out between multiple large angels. Those above 250 gallons are sometimes able to keep two angels but they should always be monitored closesly. Lionfish and groupers should not be kept with the blue angel.

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Basslets
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Wrasse

Clownfish that are hosting any anemone should be larger breeds of clownfish. Anemones are generally not safe with the angel but can be kept in the same tank when a strong enough clownfish is hosting them. If you have both a clown and anemone and the clown does not spend a significant amount of time around the anemone you should not expect the clownfish to protect it from the angel.

The Blueface Angelfish can be a threat to other tank mates. Small and mid sized shrimp are usually safe as long as they are larger than the sexy shrimp. Generally any invert over an inch and a half should be safe if they are already established in the tank. Newly added shrimp may be harassed or out right attacked when they are first added to the tank.

Scallops, clams and starfish are all at risk when kept with the Blueface Angelfish. They will frequently nip at long appendeges, fleshy mantels and any soft, exposed areas that are similar to corals. Sponges are food for the angel and will always be eaten, even when well fed.

Worms like flat worms and feather dusters are frequently under threat but may survive in the same tank. Caution should be used when keeping these together, as the angel can strike them quickly and may change its attitude towards these existing inverts as they age. As worms, other than the feather dusters, are exceedingly hard to remove from a tank you should be prepared with traps to remove the worms or have a tank ready to accept the Blueface Angelfish if they begin hunting worms.

Blueface Angelfish Coloration & Breeding

The Blueface Angelfish shows no differences between gender. Both their colors and size remain identical as they age and can only be paired by randomly putting two together and hoping for the best. This should only be done by extremely experienced aquarists with large tanks that can support two of these large fish as well as a second tank to accept a rejected pairing.

One of the big draws of these angels is their beautiful coloration. Juveniles will have a distinct black body with both blue and white stripes running vertically across their entire body. All of their fins will exhibit a strong blue flair along the edges. Their eyes will be completely black. They will strongly resemble a young blue girdled angelfish but can be differentiated using their white stripes and blue and black dorsal fin.

This video shows a juvenile 45 seconds in, which looks nothing like their matured coloration.

As they age their body will start to change colors as small as four inches but can take longer to do so. The change will be gradual as their body goes from a black to dusty grey with yellow accents becoming apparent. A large black spot will remain on the end of their dorsal fin. Their body will become more yellow over time, with some scales remaining black. This gives them the speckled look we see in adults. Their face will remain the dusty grey color and their eye should develop a yellow outline near the end of their color shift.

Unfortunately the Blueface Angelfish is not bred in the home aquarium. This contributes to their higher price. Thankfully wild caught angels are quite hardy and will live very long lives when properly cared for.

Rock Beauty Angelfish

Scientific NameHolacanthus tricolor
DifficultyMedium
Minimum Tank Size125 Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size8"
The Rock Beauty Angelfish, which as the name states is a great looking fish with strong coloration, gets a bad reputation from a lot of aquarists. They enjoy swimming between rocks and will follow around their tankmates. When young they can often be seen nipping at other fish, picking off scales, slime and parasites. This act looks extremely aggressive to the uninformed aquarist and keeps many people from ever purchasing one of these great angels.

It is important to note that the Rock Beauty Angelfish is quite timid and can easily be bullied by larger fish. Small fish, like damsels or territorial clownfish can also get the better of the rock beauty. Aggressive tankmates will keep this angel in hiding, leading to poor health and a short tank life. In reality they should mostly be kept with peaceful fish that will not attack fish who wander into their territory.

Is the Rock Beauty Angelfish Reef Safe?

These are not really reef safe fish. Angelfish spend a lot of their time grazing on algae, sponges and corals. The Rock Beauty Angelfish is much more likely to pass over corals in search of sponges, but will turn on corals when they are hungry. As they usually want three to five meals a day they will be hungry at least once before a scheduled meal. In this time they will pick at soft corals and those with large polyps. Noxious corals or very hard corals can be kept with the rock beauty but should still be monitored. For tanks with existing coral it is generally not a good idea to add an angelfish, even one as small as this.

Fish who host corals may defend them from the Rock Beauty Angelfish but they cannot always do this. Overtime the angelfish will eat the coral until it dies from stress or is entirely eaten. Additionally this will create a lot of tension between any hosting fish and the angel.

Unlike some of the larger angelfish the Rock Beauty Angelfish is not as hostile to shrimp, snails or other inverts. They are still likely to hunt worms or pick at feather dusters. Shrimp do well when kept with this angel as long as they are not undersized. Skunk cleaners will clean the rock beauty and crabs will not be harassed.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Diet

Their diet is the hardest part of keeping the rock beauty. Like most angelfish the rock beauty will spend a lot of its time grazing on corals, algae and sponges. This angelfish however needs more sponge than most other angels. So much so that we should be adding in sponge including foods whenever possible. This makes keeping the Rock Beauty Angelfish with carnivorous fish quite difficult as the angel will go for as much meaty food as they can, reducing their over all health by missing out on much needed nutrition.

A good diet for the Rock Beauty Angelfish would contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp

Avoid frozen, non enriched foods like mysis or brine shrimp unless you are trying to entice the rocky beauty to eat. They cannot afford to be eating a mostly meaty diet and may become too spoiled by tasty frozen shrimp to eat their sponge based foods.

With foods like panta nouri and frozen angel formula available at aquatic retailers it is not too difficult to get sponge rich foods that the Rock Beauty Angelfish will eat. They will be more costly than normal prepared foods and should be fed as supplements to the tanks normal diet. This will only work if the prepared foods you are using have a decent amount of sponge mixed into them, which is not uncommon in high quality herbivore/omnivore pellets and flakes. Thankfully the rock beauty is not as large as some of its Holacanthus family members, meaning it will not need as much of these more pricey foods.

Even when using specialized foods it is not a good idea to keep angelfish on one or two types of food. Even high quality blended foods such as new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula should have other foods mixed and fed to the tank. Using multiple colors of seaweed is an easy way to ensure angelfish get the nutrition they need. The two main colors fed to angels are green and red seaweed, with some specialty shops selling brown seaweed. Green seaweed is stronger than red letting it stay solid in the tank for longer. This makes it more suited to being clipped to the wall or the aquarium rocks. Red seaweed is more dry and brittle making it more suitable to active feeding. Both seaweed types can be soaked in liquid nutrients to enhance the angelfishes diet. Be wary as over soaking foods can add a strong smell to them and may make fish not eat them.

Dried seaweed is easy to find in the Asian food section of supermarkets and keeps well for long periods of time. It may be labeled as nori. Dried seaweed should be stored in dry areas.

It is important to remove any uneaten seaweed after one hour, even if it is secured to the wall or rocks. After awhile the dried seaweed will break down which will cause an excessive amount of waste to be added to the water column. Red seaweed is quicker to dissolve and both will break down quicker when placed in a high flow area.

Take care not to feed the tank too much meaty food. The Rock Beauty Angelfish is quicker to accept meats than plant or sponge based foods. This will lead to deficiencies that can reduce color and shorten their lifespan. On the other hand meaty foods are useful for stubborn angelfish that are refusing to eat. Live, gut loaded feeder shrimp do a great job of enticing hungry angelfish and can be fed highly nutritional foods, passing nutrients along to whatever eats them.

Being smaller than a lot of other angels the rock beauty is decently quick and should not have any trouble getting food when the tank is fed. The only fish who may keep the Rock Beauty Angelfish down during feeding would be much larger angelfish like the queen or french angelfish.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Tank Requirements

Being a smaller angel means the Rock Beauty Angelfish does not need a massive tank with rock work centered around their movements. They do well swimming in and out of tight caverns but will also enjoy large open spaces in which they can easily turn. When creating caverns try to avoid using any sharp rocks as they can scratch the angels long fins and tall body.

Traditional mid sized quarantine tanks should be used when bringing in the Rock Beauty Angelfish. They are not too susceptible to transferring stress and should remain healthy while in isolation. The main concern when keeping them in quarantine is getting them to eat, however this is fairly easy by using frozen foods or gut loaded feeder shrimp mixed in with sponge containing pellets. Small pieces of seaweed clipped to the wall also work well as they stay suspended and give the angel plenty of time to decide to eat.

When adding them to the tank be mindful of its tank mates. The Rock Beauty Angelfish will typically seek out an unused area of the tank, often an overhang or large cavern to claim as their home. If there are none unclaimed in the tank they will swim around the lower half of the tank.

Keep in mind that the Rock Beauty Angelfish is often sold at a very small size. It is much more likely to jump than larger angelfish, especially when added later on in the tank. A tight fitting lid with all holes covered is required when first adding the angel. Commonly missed spots are cut outs around the overflow box, filtration and heater power cord. As they grow more accustomed to the tank and aggression subsides they will lose almost all of their jump risk.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Tankmates

These angelfish are a bit more meek but will still defend themselves from most semi aggressive fish. They can be kept with some peaceful community fish as long as they are not too small. Aggressive tank mates should only be kept with caution. Even small damsels can bully them and will do so if there is not adequate space for both of them to form territory.

Inverts will generally be fine when kept with the Rock Beauty Angelfish. They are not likely to nip at anything over an inch in size. The exception would be feather dusters, which the angel may confuse for corals and take bites at. Most other worms should get along just fine with this angel. Keep in mind the larger, more aggressive tank mates you might select may go after exposed worms or small shrimp.

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Peaceful tangs
  • Basslets
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Peaceful wrasse

The Rock Beauty Angelfish is not usually aggressive itself and works more as a community fish for semi aggressive fish. They can be seen harassing smaller fish occasionally, which can stem from their desire to clean tankmates by picking of parasites, slime or loose scales. Naturally this will stress much smaller fish. Large fish like tangs, other angels or butterflies will have no issue being cleaned. Eels will also be accepting of excessive slime being removed from them. This picking is what makes many people think they are aggressive fish who continually nip at their tankmates. In reality they are quite meek and can easily be bullied out of their tank. As they age this behavior becomes less common

Aggression in angelfish can be seen when they swim close to another fish and tip over near them. This makes them look especially large and will usually cause the other fish to swim away. While it does not cause any physical harm it can cause a lot of stress for fragile fish like blennies or dragonets. Small aggressive fish are likely to push away the angel or ram them, stopping the Rock Beauty Angelfish from repeating their aggressive displays.

Unlike other angels the rock beauty can spend a lot of time swimming through small holes in the rock work. This makes them a bit less compatible with eels. If you plan to keep them together you should have a lot of rocks with open caverns for both the eel and angel to swim through. Eels should not be a danger to the Rock Beauty Angelfish unless they have a history of hunting fish already established. The angel is no more targetable than any other fish.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Gender & Breeding

Male Rock Beauty Angelfish will have slightly extended tips on their dorsal, anal and pectoral fins. They will also be slightly larger than their female counterparts. Females will have abrupt ends on their fins. As for coloration their is no difference between male and females.

In the wild they will keep a harem of two or three females to one male, with only one of the females breeding with the male. The two Rock Beauty Angelfish will slowly rise in the water column next to one another before releasing their genetic material. A female will typically lay over 25000 eggs per spawning. These eggs will rise to the waters surface and be carried by the waves, hatching in about 15-20 hours.

While we understand how they breed in the wild, breeding the Rock Beauty Angelfish in the home aquarium has not been successful as of yet. They do reach sexual maturity when they are only four inches and size, making them a suitable size for mating in a large tank.

They are one of the easier to pair angelfish. A Rock Beauty Angelfish purchased under three inches in size should still be female. When paired with an established, sexually mature male a female should not begin the transition to male. As they are not an aggressive angel there should be little to no aggression when keeping them in the same tank.

Queen Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NameHolacanthus ciliaris
DifficultyMedium
Minimum Tank Size200 Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size18"
Queen Angelfish are a staple in the aquatic world. Their large body, stunning colors, long flowing fins and lazy gaze are all easy to observe qualities aquarists have come to know and love. They will only bring difficult to the tank if brought in at the wrong time or when paired with other dominant fish. Otherwise they are easy to keep and hardy fish that do well in most large aquariums.

When looking at angelfish it is key to remember their maximum size. Like goldfish they will grow much larger than most people have ever seen them. Then queen itself will easily break a foot in size in just about any aquarium. When well cared for and after several years in the tank they can reach one foot and six inches, almost as big as a ten gallon tank. Know that setting up a tank to keep a fish this large will not be cheap.

Is the Queen Angelfish Reef Safe?

The Queen Angelfish is not reef safe. They will pick at both stony and soft corals, especially ones with large polyps. Some noxious corals might survive when kept with the queen but they are likely to be harassed a few times and suffer poor health. For most reef tanks with a plethora of corals the Queen angelfish is a hard pass. Even when well fed they will graze on corals throughout the day.

As for inverts the Queen Angelfish is quick to hunt any soft shelled inverts but is likely to leave hard shelled ones alone. Cleaner shrimp are sometimes at risk but usually get by due to their beneficial relationship with large fish. Crabs and snails will usually be fine, however small crabs that can be eaten whole are not safe.

This angelfish is not one to actively hunt worms, meaning bristle worms, tube worms and feather dusters should all be ok when kept with the queen angelfish. Feather dusters may have a pass or two taken at them but should ultimately settle in and be ignored by the angel. The reasoning for this is they will look similar to corals with their large filter feeding feather. Unlike corals they will be able to hide themselves if the angel comes for a bite. The longer the Queen Angelfish goes without eating the more likely they are to start hunting worms in the tank. They should not be expected to combat worm problems like wrasse will.

Scallops, oysters and clams are all unable to be kept with the angelfish. When angels find these mollusks they are quick to pick at their fleshy mantels, causing the mollusc to close itself until the angel leaves. While the molluscs do have plenty of eyes and other means of seeing the angelfish coming, they are not always quick enough to close in time and will likely have parts bitten off of them. If kept with an angelfish long enough they will be closed far too often and slowly starve to death.

Queen Angelfish Diet

Angelfish will always bring a certain difficulty when it comes to keeping them well fed and healthy. They are continual grazing fish who should be fed no less than three times a day. Even in larger aquariums with a healthy amount of algae they should be fed two or three times a day. Additionally they will need a different diet than the majority of other fish.

The Queen Angelfish is a omnivore that is able to eat both plant based foods as well as meaty foods. This means they will accept generally anything offered to the tank, even meat only diets that large carnivorous fish will be accustomed to. However they should not be fed a diet of primarily meaty foods and instead should be fed mostly plant based foods with only the occasional offering of meaty foods. This is difficult to do in a large tank with carnivorous tank mates.

A good diet for the Queen Angelfish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp
  • Clams

When fed a primarily meat based diet you can expect a couple of health issues to arise in angelfish. For the Queen Angelfish these would be cloudy eyes, dusty or fading colors and an overall shorter lifespan. They are highly dependent on nutrients that are found in plant based foods and do not need a large amount of meaty foods. In this sense they are similar to children that would much rather get sick eating tasty food instead of eating a healthy, well rounded diet.

This does not mean we can feed the angelfish only one type of food. Even when something as specialized as new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula is used, the Queen Angelfish should still be fed a couple other food sources. The most important of these would be seaweed, which can be injected with more nutrients before being added to the tank. Seaweed is often found in the Asian foods sections in grocery stores, sometimes listed as nori. This will be a roasted or dried seaweed that can be kept for extended periods of time. It is a cheaper source of nutrition which is perfect for angelfish. Sea weed comes in three colors, with red and green being the more important of the three. Alternating between the two colors is recommended. When using the red sea weed you should be quick to remove it once the fish are done eating. It is much quicker to dissolve than green sea weed and can quickly add debris to the tank, lowering the quality of the water. Sea weed should always be removed one hour after it is added to the tank. It can then be dried and fed a second time.

When adding nutrients to any food it is important to let the food sit awhile before feeding it to the tank. Liquid nutrients will be quick to seep out of the food if it has not been soaking for awhile. Dried foods should not be stored near the aquarium, as they will soak up some of the humidity an aquarium inevitably makes.

If the Queen Angelfish is refusing to eat small amounts of meaty foods should be fed first. Clams and frozen or freshly cut shrimp are great for enticing them into eating. Once the angel starts striking at food you may add plant based foods to the tank. The will be much more likely to strike at these foods after they have begun feeding.

The Queen Angelfish is quite tough when it comes to territorial disputes and should not be bullied away from feeding time. They are still slow fish and may have some difficulty getting food if not enough is introduced to the tank at once. Keep an eye on how feeding goes and adjust where you feed the tank and how much is fed at once to ensure the angelfish gets a decent meal while not leaving too much food to rot inside the aquarium.

Queen Angelfish Tank Requirements

Queen angels are quite large and like to dart quickly and suddenly. They need a large tank with open space all over the aquarium. They do like to be around live rock with lots of algae growing on the rocks. A popular choice for live rock formations when keeping the queen is to have a large central mountain of rocks with small caverns created throughout the rocks. This allows the smaller fish plenty of space to swim around and in between the rocks while not impeding the Queen Angelfish. If multiple peaks are created by rocks adding a large, flat rock to the top can create an overhang that even a large fish like this angel can use for cover and create a comforting home.

Poor choices for rocks would be large walls that divide the tank without wide spaces to go around these walls. The Queen Angelfish will always like to swim around the tank and keep an eye on the other fish. No space, other than small caverns, should be off limits to the queen. This also means no path ways should be so small that the angelfish cannot turn around at certain points. Having small gaps that they frequently swim through will increase their risk of disease as they scrape their scales on rocks.

When purchased small, under three inches, a small quarantine tank is invaluable. The Queen Angelfish is typically a quite hardy fish that should not be sickly or dying when brought in healthy. This does mean that sicknesses are less noticeable on them. For this reason they should always be placed in a quarantine tank and monitored for at least a week before being added to the tank. Their large, flat bodies make parasites, flutes and ich very easy to spot. Additionally they will be going into a large tank which would take a tremendous amount of medicine to treat. By using a much smaller quarantine tank we can quickly and easily treat the Queen Angelfish before introducing them to their final display tank.

This angel needs to be added to the tank last. They will almost always be the most dominant fish in the tank and will not be accepting of any future addition. Even young Queen Angelfish can be bullies to newly added fish once they have become established in the aquarium. While the aggression may not be obvious to aquarists, the fish in the tank are very quick to react and swim away from an aggressive angel. The most common threat can be seen in this video below, where an angel gets close to a fish and turns sideways, flaring their fins. This makes the angel especially large and intimidating.
Do note how this tank has very little in the way of rocks. This is actually quite a bit closer to what the angelfish is used to, as they will commonly float above reefs and swim downwards only to pick at corals, inverts and sponges. They are not the most accustomed to larger rock work but will do well if rocks are used in a non restrictive formation. The benefit that will be lost when not keeping rocks is the loss of surface space that algae can grow on. Queen Angelfish are happy to be constantly grazing on this algae, but the lack of rocks can be supplemented in their daily feeding.

Queen Angelfish are not typically jumping hazards. Due to their large body and often complete domination of the tank very little will startle them. Additionally they are unable to fit through many of the holes left around equipment cut outs left in the top of the tank. Many aquarists will even keep angelfish in completely open top aquariums. Be aware if you choose to do this you will likely see an increase in water evaporation, which can lead to higher salinity levels and overall water degradation if the lost water is not managed properly.

Queen Angelfish Tankmates

When keeping the Queen Angelfish it is more important to set up the other tankmates before adding in the queen. Even juvenile queens can be quite aggressive ot newly added fish. This is why it is so heavily recommended to add them to the tank last.

When picking their tankmates a minimum size and aggression should be kept in mind. Anything that remains under 3 inches in size should not be kept with the queen unless it has at least a semi aggressive temperament. While they do not typically hunt small fish they will certainly make it difficult for something small and peaceful to coexist. Small, aggressive fish like damsels are perfect examples of a little fish that can force the queen away when they need to.

All slow moving inverts should be avoided. snails may be safe due to their shell, however this will vary on a fish by fish basis. If they are determined enough a Queen Angelfish can get at snails too. For clean up crew you will need wrasse and crabs. Cleaner shrimp may be ok with the angel if they are large and established in the tank first. Coral banded are able to be kept with mixed results. As they are quick to throw off their arms and escape aggressive fish coral banded shrimp may find themselves over stressed and without large arms to defend themselves.

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Basslets
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Damselfish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Wrasse

While you may house the Queen Angelfish with other angels you will need to ensure the tank is much larger than either of the two require. The other angelfish should be established a fair amount before adding the queen, but not so established that they bully the queen to death before it can become established itself. Remember the tankmates we pick for angelfish are quite large and will quickly take up a lot of the fish space our tanks offer. Only pick fish you want for the final tank and keep fish you only slightly want out of the tank. This will let you add other fish as desired without over crowding becoming an issue.

French AngelFish Gender & Breeding

There as not been any success in home breeding the Queen Angelfish. In the wild they are seen in pairs, mating only with their partner. They are thought to form a long lasting relationship that extends throughout their entire lifetime.

Forming these pairs is difficult, as their is no way to really know the difference between the two genders. While they will change coloration as they age the angelfish shows no difference in colors pattern or body shape. Male Queen Angelfish will only be slightly larger than females. Knowing which is larger is only possible if you also know exactly how old each angelfish you wish to pair is. The only sure way to get a pair of queens in your aquarium is to purchase two that have already been together and add them to the tank quickly. There is a chance that this transitional time may cause the two angel fish to unpair and fight once they start to establish themselves in their new tank.

French Angelfish Care Guide

Scientific NamePomacanthus paru
DifficultyMedium
Minimum Tank Size200 Gallons
DietOmnivore
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
AggressionSemi-aggressive
Size15"
The French AngelFish makes for a lovely addition to large aquariums. Their tall, eccentric fins give them a fancy appearance that is only heightened as they swim around the aquarium. They are quite large however, shaped like a large dinner plate and will not fit in most aquariums. You should only consider the French AngelFish if you have a tank 200 gallons or more. Additionally the tank must have a lot of open space, both wide and tall. This means tanks around 250 or 300 gallons are often more suitable to this angelfish.

The main reason a French AngelFish is kept is to be a stunning display fish. They are typically quite hardy and not hard to keep alive in an appropriate aquarium. They swim in short bursts without much body movement. This gives viewers ample time to admire their amazing coloration and patterns. As they age these patterns will shift throughout three different stages. More on this at the bottom of the page.

It is essential to remember how large this fish gets. Many French AngelFish are sold under two inches in length. As juveniles they are still stunning and hard to resist for many aquarists. This leads to them being kept in an aquarium that is far too small for them. For reference a standard 10 gallon aquarium is 20″ by 10″. This angelfish would have difficulty turning around in a tank of that size once it has fully grown and may even have their dorsal fin sticking out of the top. However at 2″ when purchased it would not be surprising to find them in a tank around that size. While it will take them several years to get to that size you should still be planning ahead before buying one. A large marine aquarium is significantly more expensive than a small one.

Is the French AngelFish Reef Safe?

These are almost as non reef safe a fish as you can get. They will eat most inverts, including decently sized shrimp and snails. Just about any coral, even some noxious corals will still be harassed and eaten. Corals without any toxins will be eaten almost undoubtedly. If you plan to keep any form of corals then the French AngelFish should be avoided. They are relentless and will continue to pick until nothing remains.

Their dangers extend to clams, oysters and scallops. The French AngelFish will pick at them multiple times throughout the day, either eating them or causing them to close up until they starve to death. Even when fed five times a day the angelfish will still harass corals or inverts non stop. The only things that may be safe are hosted corals protected by well established fish.

In case anyone missed out: The French Angelfish is 100% not reef safe. Do not even try to add any corals to established well fed french’s. They will just see the addition the same as a clipped bit of seaweed. Corals are far too expensive to be used as food.

French AngelFish Diet

While many angels will eat whatever the tank is fed, the French AngelFish is far more used to eating almost entirely plant life. In the wild they can be seen grazing almost the entire day, swimming from rock to rock picking at corals, sponges and rocks. They do best when fed a lot of algae, seaweeds and various plant based foods.

A good diet for the French AngelFish should contain:

  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • High quality plant based flakes and pellets
  • Foods made with sponge
  • Algae flakes, pellets and wafers
  • Occasional meaty foods, such as gut loaded live shrimp

Their feeding is one of the main difficulties of keeping the French AngelFish. They should be fed four times a day. This can be reduced to two or three when kept in a massive aquarium with plenty of rocks, algae and several seaweed clips to help recreate the grazing lifestyle they have in the wild. When kept with multiple fish who will eat seaweed and algae they are unlikely to get enough food around the tank and should be fed at least four times a day.

Feeding only one or two types of food is not ideal for the French AngelFish unless they are a high quality blend of food such as new life spectrum, NLS, marine fish formula. Even then other foods should be offered to the angelfish on a regular basis. A good way to do this is to buy multiple colors of seaweed from the grocery store. They are found in the Asian food section as nori in green, red and sometimes brown coloration. Green is the most common but you should alternate between green and red. These can be cut and clipped to the side of the aquarium or rocks.

Remove any uneaten seaweed after one hour of adding it to the tank. When left for too long it will dissolve and dirty the tanks water excessively. To add nutrients to your fishes diet you can add liquid vitamins to dried seaweed before placing it in the tank. If doing this give the vitamins awhile to soak into the seaweed before adding it into the tank. Do not store the seaweed near the aquarium. It will soak up moisture and can grow mold if it does. Keep it in a dry area or an air tight bag.

The French AngelFish loves meaty foods and will usually eat them quickly. This includes live feeder shrimp, frozen brine or mysis shrimp as well as carnivore prepared foods. These foods should only be fed sparingly or to entice the French AngelFish into eating. Too much meaty foods will create a lot of deficiencies in their diet and lead to poor health.

Overall they are not competitive eaters and feed best when foods stick to the rocks or sand bed. They will slowly hover around their foods, moving in to nip at it occasionally. When fed foods in the water column around competitive fish the French AngelFish can be expected to get little to no food.

French AngelFish Tank Requirements

The main point has already been made in the introduction but should be reiterated here. They need a large tank with open spaces for them to swim freely and be able to turn. Tight corridors will cause them stress and may have them tear their fins or scales by rubbing against rocks. Additionally breeder tanks are not usually suitable. Only those which are above twenty five inches in height should be considered for an adult. Younger French AngelFish can be kept in smaller tanks but should have a larger aquarium ready and waiting for them.

Quarantine tanks are often a great choice for this angelfish. As they are often moving into large aquariums and can be hard to catch it is important to treat any sickness before adding them to the main tank. They are not particularly sickly fish and should not bring in any more sickness than others. They will do fine grazing on any wall clipped foods and should pick at any algae offered to them in the quarantine tank. If they do refuse food while in quarantine, after a reasonable window of time, you should try feeding using live feeder shrimp that have been fed highly nutritious plant based foods. This should entice the angel into eating while also giving them the nutrients they need.

Thankfully they are not too affected by transferring tanks and should adjust to the display tank quickly. When newly added to the tank they will avoid most of their tank mates but should soon find their own territory. This will usually be a save or overhang created by large rocks. If there are no available spaces then they will simply swim above and around the rocks, looking for space they can claim as their own.
Large rocks should be placed around the tank with plenty of big flat rocks at the top of the other rocks. This will help create a system of caverns and caves for fish to swim through. For fully grown French AngelFish these will need to be quite tall caverns but not especially wide. You can also choose to have little to no live rocks, creating an open environment. This will give the tank much more water volume and sand space. As the angelfish is not usually hiding in its claimed territory this is often preferred as it makes housing their tall bodies much easier.

The French AngelFish is not prone to jumping and will only do so a few times in its life. A lid should be on the aquarium to keep them in the tank but they are unlikely to fit through any holes made in the tank by overflow boxes of various equipment. Many aquarists will choose to have entirely open top aquariums for their angle tanks, however I would advise against this as it rapidly increases heat transfer and evaporation.

French AngelFish Tankmates

The French AngelFish is a very tough fish that will not have issues defending itself from other semi aggressive fish. They can often become the dominant member of the tank, creating a hierarchy with them overlooking the rest of their tankmates. Other fish may chase them away from heavily defended areas, such as hosted corals or created dens.

They should not be kept with any inverts or corals as they will always eat them sooner or later. Hard shelled crabs and snails may be safe but it is still a gamble to keep them with the French AngelFish. Smaller ones may be eaten entirely while larger ones can be continually harassed

Good tankmates are:

  • Clownfish
  • Tangs
  • Basslets
  • Butterfly Fish
  • Surgeon Fish
  • Eels
  • Wrasse

Other angelfish will generally be fine with the French AngelFish when kept in a large enough aquarium. As long as the fish does not harass them directly you can expect to see very little aggression out of this angel. The aggression they do show is often seen by them swimming nearby and turning sideways near the other fish. This makes them look large and threatening, often making the other fish swimming away. This behavior is not too noticeable if you aren’t looking for it.

When picking out tank mates it is important to keep their size in mind. The large fish that generally accompany angelfish will quickly take up the aquariums fish capacity, making it easy to over crowd the tank. Generally you want the French AngelFish to be the largest fish in the tank unless you have an especially large aquarium. Eels are a great addition to their tanks as the angelfish does not need the rock space that an eel will be inhabiting and will not try to eat the same foods as the eel.

French AngelFish Gender & Breeding

There is no way to tell the gender of the French AngelFish. They will display the same coloration as each other throughout their life. Additionally they will not breed in the home aquarium unless you have a massive one. If you do wish to have a pair of these angelfish you will need to raise one angelfish and add another one several months down the line. This will allow the first angelfish to become dominant and transition into male while ensuring the other does not change from a female.

Any French AngelFish which is purchased to be female should be bought as young as possible. Once they are able to transition into males they can do so in under three weeks. Picking any non small French AngelFish will almost always result in a male, making pairing them with an existing angelfish impossible. They do not change genders from male to female.

To breed the French AngelFish will swim together near the edge of their home around sunset. They will then both swim upwards at least 7 feet before releasing their genetic materials. This has been seen in private aquariums, with some particularly determined people succeeding. This will often involve using hormones in the water to encourage a breeding reaction among the angelfish, making the process not something that can happen on its own. Additionally male angelfish will often interrupt other angelfish breeding.

The eggs will float to the top of the tank and should be scooped out immediately in a water holding container. The use of a net can damage the eggs. These eggs should then be placed in a separate tank with identical water parameters. The eggs should hatch within two days and should be fed planktonic foods until they can move over to rotifers and algae. The time they will remain on planktonic foods is unknown, so close monitoring of the fry’s feeding is necessary for successful rearing.