Hardy and long lived, the beautiful saltwater Angelfish is a highly sought addition to any saltwater tank. A big tank is necessary as these beauties can grow up to sixteen inches. Similar in appearance to Butterflyfish, the Angelfish is distinguished by strong spines in the gill covers. Many species display long extensions of the fins, similar to streamers. They have small mouths and rounded tails. This is a reef fish that rarely goes deeper than fifty meters in the wild. Angelfish prefer to hide in rocks and crevices at night. Some species may be highly territorial, sticking to a single mate, while others may be part of a harem. Saltwater or marine Angelfish are also protogynous hermaphrodites, which means if the dominant male of the harem is removed a female will turn into a functional male. The greatest struggle facing aquarium owners is acclimating their Angelfish to life in captivity. The primary food source for Angelfish is coral which is difficult to duplicate in captivity.
Sub-Species for Aquariums:
Emperor Angel – A stunning circular pattern distinguishes the Emperor Angel from its cousins. The beautiful white and bluish rings on a black body end in a reticulate spotting pattern towards the back of the dorsal and anal fins. Not ideal for beginners, this species is pickier than others. It should be kept in a tank no less than eighty gallons as this species can grow up to sixteen inches. Additionally, you should be sure to have numerous hidey-holes in case the Angelfish becomes moody and aggressive.
Coral Beauty – The hardiest of the Angelfish, this blue and orange beauty is perfect for beginners. It will eat almost anything, though it should be provided with some algae. Coral Beauties can grow up to seven inches and are easy to find.
Lemonpeel – A bright, stunning yellow, the Lemonpeel Angelfish sports baby blue lines around the gills and eyes. Small in comparison to the Coral and certainly the Emperor, the Lemonpeel only grows to about three inches in length. Algae is absolutely necessary to keep the Lemonpeel, making it more difficult to care for than the Coral Beauty.
Flame – Bright red and orange, this Angelfish will certainly light your tank on fire with its stunning color. These fish grow to be about six inches in length and are fairly hardy and easy to keep.
Caribbean Pygmy – With yellow face and bright blue body, the Caribbean Pygmy brings to mind the beautiful ocean waters of the Caribbean. Only three inches in length, this is one of the most difficult and expensive Angelfish to acquire, but is hardy and easy to handle.
Koran – Spotted with tiny freckles of white on a bluish body, the Koran Angelfish is easy to find and easily acclimated to aquarium life. They will happily eat almost anything and can grow to be larger than 13 inches. This is a fish that loves its space, so be sure to give it plenty.
The most important component when caring for Angelfish is to provide a lot of room to grow. They can be space hogs, so be sure there is a lot of room both for them and for everyone else in your aquarium. Unless you are considering pygmy Angelfish, you should look at tanks no less than seventy-five gallons in capacity. A good coral reef should be established before you add Angelfish, with proper circulation and oxygen levels, low ammonia, nitrates and comfortable temperatures in the 70-80 degree range.
Despite their natural diet of coral, most Angelfish are happy to live off a diet of plant and animal food. Flakes will work, as will pellets. Some species require algae, so be sure you know what species you are purchasing and its specific dietary needs. A fun treat for your Angelfish is live food, so consider feeding brine shrimp or clams on occasion, though be careful! Angelfish that enjoy brine shrimp and clams may begin snacking on any other invertebrates you have in your tank!
Size: Up to 16 Inches
Freshwater/ Saltwater: Saltwater
Reef Compatibility: 3
Tank Mate Compatibility: 5
Lifespan: Up to 12 Years