Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

The Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia), known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Velvet Dwarf Angelfish, Golden Pygmy Angel, or Aurinatus Angelfish is found in the Pacific Ocean from eastern Indonesia to Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands to Fiji and Samoa. It has also been recorded as far north as Carter Reef off of Queensland, Australia.

Due to their shy, cryptic nature, Golden Angelfish are hard to find and extremely difficult to acquire which is why they are rarely seen by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Golden Angelfish are found in and around the seaward slopes of coral reefs at depths between 10 to 200 feet in areas with heavy live rock outcroppings and crevices that are often surrounded by coral rubble, branching stony corals and heavy sponge growth upon which they graze.   Around northern Sulawesi, they live in stands of Porite coral that have fused columns.

Golden Angelfish are solitary and reclusive and although unconfirmed, are believed to commonly form pairs or harems of 3 to 7 individuals

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

Golden Angelfish have a brilliant burnt orange/red velvet looking body color with yellow edging on the scales and thin, broken,

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

irregular yellow vertical bars running along each side of the body, and a bluish colored ring that circles the eye.   The yellow edging on the scales give it a golden appearance, hence it’s common name.

Centropyge aurantia collected from Sulawesi and the Solomon islands have a more rust colored reddish brown body with the same yellow orange rippled vertical bars. Males and females from all locations are indistinguishable in color variation.

Golden Angelfish are best housed in a reef aquarium environment with at least a 55 gallon capacity tank with plenty of live rock arranged into caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to hide and graze upon.   These reclusive angelfish require very stable water conditions and pristine water quality.   Once acclimated perform 10-15% bi-weekly water changes in tanks up to 55 gallons.   In larger tanks of 75 gallons or more, monthly 20-30% water changes are recommended.

Because of their aggression towards other angelfish species, Golden Angelfish are best housed as a single species, however, they mix well with other peaceful fish like clownfish, anthias, gobies or blennies, especially when they are introduced as one of the first fish into a well established tank.    Golden Angelfish will nip on SPS, LPS, Xenia and corals as well as Tridacnea clam mantles.

Golden Angelfish are believed to be broadcast spawners but because of their cryptic nature, nothing is known about their breeding habits.    Like most angelfish they are hermaphroditic and difficult to breed.

In their natural habitat, Centropyge aurantia are omnivores that feed on detritus, small invertebrates, algae, and sponges.   In a reef aquarium environment, they will require a large amount of live rock to graze on as well as additional offerings of Spirulina, fresh vegetable matter, nori, live sponges, Mysis shrimp, live or thawed frozen brine shrimp, small fish eggs, Herbivore Angel Formula preparations, etc.

Golden Angelfish are often too shy to venture out of their hiding places to accept food and need patience and pampering to get them to eat.  Once they begin eating, they can live for a long time.   Feed them small amounts 3 or more times daily.

The Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia) is relatively rare, very expensive, and seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.   If you do happen upon one, observe it carefully before purchasing it to make sure it is eating and plump.   They are occasionally available online from importers, auctions sites, wholesalers, etc.  Specify “net caught” specimens when ordering your fish.

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),







Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Live Rock Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 73-81°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.0 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3.9″
Color Form: Red, Orange, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 6 to 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

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