Regal AngelFish Care Guide

Scientific NamePygoplites diacanthus
Minimum Tank Size150 Gallons
Water Parameters72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025
The Regal AngelFish is a difficult addition to the marine aquarium. They have a particular diet, are non too hardy and are quite pricey. Only consider adding this fish if you are ready for a challenge or have a significant amount of experience running large aquariums.

This angelfish fits in well with other large fish due to its semi aggressive nature, but is best bought small and added to the tank early on. They are more resilient early on in their lives, with old Regal AngelFish being less likely to survive shipping stress.

The reward for keeping the regal is its active personality and flashy coloration. Even when young the regal shows plenty of yellow color with light blue stripes creating a striped body. Both their anal and dorsal fins feature a strong blue color with yellow or orange stripes running along them. The back of their dorsal fin is mostly blue with their tail fin being completely yellow. Pictures do not do the Regal AngelFish justice, as it is an absolute treat to see them swimming across the tank.

If at all possible research how your particular seller obtains their fish. Some angelfish are still captured using harmful chemicals that will make them live much shorter as well as make them less likely to accept food.

Is the Regal AngelFish Reef Safe?

These angelfish are somewhat reef safe but do create some issues depending on what they are kept with. They will pick at large polyp corals and those that do not defend themselves with any sort of chemicals. They do well with small polyp corals and noxious soft corals. This means the tank should be filled with either little polyps the Regal AngelFish will not pick at or toxic corals that most fish would never pick at.

As for inverts and members of the clean up crew, the Regal AngelFish is very unlikely to harass or pick at any who are of sufficient size. Small, newly added shrimp may be picked at so it is highly advised to either add these early on, before the angle fish or to pick out large shrimp to add to the tank. Crabs and snails should be completely safe from the Regal AngelFish and can be added any time after the angelfish is in the tank. Crabs and snails should be lowered onto a surface, as larger fish may nip at them as they fall to the bottom, thinking they are part of a feeding.

One of the bigger concerns when keeping the Regal AngelFish is their interaction with clams. They are commonly seen nipping at clam mantles, causing the clams significant stress. Keeping the angelfish well fed throughout the day will reduce their tendency to nip at clams and corals, but the risk will always be present. If you have an existing clam or multiple clams you should be ready to transfer either the clam or Regal AngelFish out of the tank if the angelfish causes trouble.

Regal AngelFish Diet

One of the difficulties when keeping this particular angelfish is their eating habits. They are picky eaters and many aquarists will have trouble getting them to eat anything at all. It is essential to ask the sellers if the Regal AngelFish is eating before buying them. If you are purchasing them from a local fish store you should ask to see the fish eat before buying them. You may even ask to buy the fish but keep it at the store, watching it eat a few times before moving the fish to your own home. If they are not able to eat at the fish store for several days, it is highly unlikely they will eat after being transferred to your home aquarium.

Additionally many owners will find that even when their angelfish is happy to eat their food they are just too oblivious to notice it. To fix this issue a medium to large fish should also be in the tank, one that makes a show of eating and is hard for other fish to miss. A common choice here would be a larger clownfish, as they rarely leave their areas. If the Regal AngelFish sees a clownfish darting around they are likely to notice the food they are striking and join in on the feeding.

A good diet for the Regal AngelFish consists of:

  • Fresh shrimp
  • Chopped table shrimp
  • Seaweed | Nori
  • Pro-V Gelatin food
  • Mysis shrimp
  • High quality flake and pellets
  • Prepared Herbivore foods
  • Spirulina
  • Foods containing sponges

The Regal AngelFish is not a competitive eater and will have trouble eating in a tank with many quick fish. They will do best with slow moving foods. Seaweed, which is also known as nori, strapped to a rock or clipped to the wall is an easy way to feed them. Likewise the frozen gelatin food will have a similar consistency to sponges in the wild. This entices angelfish and is a good solution for Regal AngelFish who won’t eat.

Once the Regal AngelFish is eating their diet should be slowly expanded. Getting them to eat a wide variety of foods will make them healthier and more colorful, both of which are noticeable on the angelfish. Feeding them a single food, unless it is a blend of others, will likely result in loss of color and a shorter lifespan.

Regal AngelFish Tank Requirements

While many will tell you it is fine to keep angelfish in tanks as small as 50 gallons this is absolutely not true. They may survive but unless you have absolutely perfect water conditions nonstop then you can expect the Regal AngelFish to have a short life in these smaller aquariums. If anything these smaller tanks can be used to house juveniles, however they do not transfer to new tanks well and should be placed in their final tank as soon as possible. This is also what makes them appear so fragile of a fish. They are not sickly and do not die easily, it is just getting them settled into the tank that is such a difficult task.

If a quarantine tank is used it should be no less than 20 gallons for a very small angelfish and 35 for larger ones. When using the display tank to house a new angelfish you may need to treat the entire tank. This uses much more medicine and risks killing off existing beneficial bacteria and inverts. Both decisions have trade offs. If you have an existing tank that you will add the Regal AngelFish to then you should use a quarantine tank. If you are starting a new aquarium you can use the display tank to monitor the angelfishes health.

Their inability to adapt later in life means they should be added to the tank first for a few different reasons. The biggest reason is to use their display tank as an isolation tank. While they are not prone to many sicknesses they can bring in sickness to the rest of the tank. Additionally they are not too quick and can be bullied by existing fish in the tank, especially while they are young. Once established the Regal AngelFish will do just fine defending itself from other semi aggressive fish.

The tank itself should have a large amount of live rocks, preferably dividing the tank into a front and back with several passages to pass form one side to the other. This creates a lot of territories which will help them deal with their semi-aggressive tankmates. These rocks should not make the sides of the tank into small spaces where the angelfish has any difficulty turning. This is one of the main reasons larger tanks are needed. When kept in tanks under 100 gallons they will either have too few rocks or too little space to swim.

While they are not particularly jump prone fish the aquarium should have a tight fitted lid with no holes that they can escape through. Additionally make sure they are not able to get into the overflow box. Many juveniles have thin bodies which can pass right through the grates of larger overflow boxes, trapping them inside.

Regal AngelFish Tankmates

The Regal AngelFish is best kept with mid sized semi aggressive or peaceful fish that will not harass them. Additionally fast swimming fin nippers will tear at the angelfishes long, flowing fins. Do not keep any aggressive fish with them. Eels are acceptable once the Regal AngelFish has gotten used to the tank and is not able to fin inside the eels mouth.

Good tankmates are:

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

They can be kept with other angelfish but only with caution. The way the interact with one another will be nearly random but is often only harmless flaring. Some owners will call this jousting, where the two angelfish will swim quickly at each other, flaring their fins but swimming away before coming close to each other.

Remember that many of these fish are quite large, meaning the tanks fish capacity will be quickly taken up. This is another reason for large tanks. When kept with a variety of other large fish the Regal AngelFish makes an absolutely gorgeous centerpiece. The will do fine with just a few tank mates as long as there is some fish to alert them to feeding time. Additionally larger tanks will create less tension between fish.

Regal AngelFish Gender & Breeding

The Regal AngelFish is not bred in the home aquarium but can occasionally be seen spawning in large tanks over 150 gallons. This will consist of a pair of angelfish swimming up to the top of the tank before releasing their genetic material. Their eggs will float on the top of the tank, quickly being sucked up by filters, overflow boxes or eaten by other fish. If you wish to try and rear fry you will need to be on constant vigilance and scoop out any eggs as quickly as possible. Doing this may scare the angelfish and discourage any further breeding.

Unfortunately is is basically impossible to find the gender on these angelfish. The male may have slightly stronger coloration and females will be slightly bigger. These are difficult to discern by eye, making it just a guessing game. The only real way to get a pair without guessing is to buy an already established pair of Regal AngelFish.

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