Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

The Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Takeuchii’s Swallowtail Angelfish and Takeuchi’s Angelfish is an extremely rare species found only in the Ogasawara Islands at depths below 120 feet, and more recently, the Northern Marian Islands in the Northwest Pacific Ocean at depths between 49 and 65 feet.

Multiple male and female specimens were discovered outside the Ogasawaras, Japan in the nearby Northern Marian Islands by Andrew Gray at shallower depths from 50 to 65 feet.

Second in rarity only to the Ballina angelfish (Chaetodontoplus ballinaehe), the Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii) is an open water plankton feeder that inhabits the outer reef slopes of deep water coral reefs and prefers swimming around scroll corals at depths mostly below 140 feet.

The Spotted Angel is one of the largest of the “Swallowtail Angels” and in their natural habitat can grow to almost 14 inches in length.   In an aquarium environment, males will seldom exceed 10″ in length.

Juvenile Takeuchii’s Swallowtail Angelfish (below) have a unique spotted honeycomb (leopard like) appearance.

Juvenile Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Juvenile Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult males have a grayish white body color with six to eight boldly striped black horizontal bars along the body, and large black spots on the dorsal and caudal fin (hence it’s name).

The under body is a pale white color.




Female Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Female Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Female Spotted Angels have a grayish white body color with a distinct black, scribbly like pattern on the upper body and tail, giving it a mostly peppered like appearance.

The underbody is a pale white to cream color.

Both sexes have a long tail that tapers into the body giving it the “swallowtail” appearance.

In the wild, Spotted Angels have been known to hybridize with the Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish (Genicanthus semifasciatus).

Spotted Angels are a peaceful species that can be safely housed with other peaceful deep water blennies, gobies, anthias, etc. provided plenty of hiding places are available.

Because of it’s size, the Spotted Angel is best housed in a very large, aged, deep water reef aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity, with a sandy substrate and a substantial amount of aged live rock for them to hide among.   They are considered to be reef safe and can be housed in either a reef or fish only aquarium.   

If you ever luck out and acquire a Spotted Angel, acclimation and aquarium temperature are primary concerns.

Like other deepwater angelfish, this species  requires pristine water quality and water temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees F.; which means that along with regular water changes, a reef filtration system with a chiller is necessary to maintain water parameters.

To date Genicanthus takeuchii has never been bred in an aquarium environment.

In it’s natural habitat, the Spotted Angel is an open water plankton feeder.   In an aquarium environment, like many others in this genus, they should be fed a varied diet of live or frozen meaty foods that includes fortified brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and commercial angelfish preparations.    Small portions should be offered several times daily.

Because the Ogasawara Islands are a Japanese marine reserve and the northernmost Marianas and their outlying Islands are very remote and incredibly difficult to reach; the Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii) is unlikely to be available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the near future. If you ever find one, expect to pay a hefty sum.

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)









Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 68 °F – 73 °F, 8 to 12 dKH , pH 8.0 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.026
Max. Size: M 9.8″ F 8.7″
Color Form: Gray, Black, White
Diet: Omnivore (Planktivore)
Compatibility: Deepwater Reef, peaceful tankmates
Origin: Marcus Island and the Ogasawara Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Professional

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