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Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Southseas Devil, South Seas Devil Damselfish, South Seas Devil, Tonga Blue Devil Damsel, Fiji Blue Devil, Fiji Devil, South Sea Demoiselle, or Village Belle, is found in the Western Pacific, from the Coral Sea to the Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish can be found alone, in pairs, or more commonly in small groups in shallow lagoons and offshore coral reefs at depths from 3 to 25 feet where they graze on algae, phytoplankton, and zooplankton.    Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are frequently seen defending small territories as they dart in and out of openings and crevices among the coral reefs in Fiji and Tonga.

Like their closely related cousins Chrysiptera cyanea, the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou) is sexually dimorphic and sexes are easily identified.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Males have a beautiful bright blue body color with a yellow to yellow orange belly, a white tinged chest, and numerous yellow dots on the flanks. They have whitish line on the posterior of the abdomen and a blue dorsal fin. The pelvic and anal fins are yellow, and the caudal fin is blue at the base and yellow towards the posterior. Many adults have a black eye spot at the base and towards the rear of the dorsal fin.

Female Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are similar to adult males but have yellow dorsal fins that become more transparent towards the rear.

Except for the much paler yellow dots on the body; juvenile Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish look identical to adult specimens.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish have the ability to turn almost black when threatened.   After the perceived threat is gone, they return to their electric blue and yellow colors in just a matter of seconds.

Chrysiptera taupou and Chrysiptera cyanea look very similar to each other, but Chrysiptera taupou have the yellow belly and yellow dots on the sides.   Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou) and Blue Damselfish or the Sapphire Devil (Chrysiptera cyanea) were previously regarded by scientests as variants of the same species; which is why tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can still find them in fish stores under the same common name; Blue Devil Damsel.    The fact that their geographical range in the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef overlaps may also lend to the confusion.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are aggressive and are best housed in a FOLR aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity, with a sandy or finely crushed coral substrate and copious amounts of mature live rock arranged into numerous hiding places for them to maintain their territory. They can be extremely aggressive towards conspecifics and will harass much larger tank makes that venture into their territory.   Potential tank mates include angelfish, small groupers, wrasses, butterfly fish, clownfish, pseudochromis, etc. Although they are completely reef safe with corals, they are known to attack smaller invertebrates and slower moving peaceful species.

The Fiji Blue Devil is an egg depositing species that has been spawned in an aquarium environment, however, the fry are extremely difficult to rear.

When ready to spawn, the males will prepare a nesting site in their territory on a piece of clam shell, coral, or some smooth rubble. He will then court a fertile female by rapidly swimming in her vicinity, displaying his brilliant colors. if the courting “dance” is successful, the female will deposit her adhesive eggs on the substrate where the male promptly fertilizes them. The females are picky and will travel from nest site to nest site to review several potential mates before selecting a partner.

Spawning itself is similar to other substrate spawners; the female lays up to 20,000 tiny oval adhesive eggs on the cleaned substrate. The male quickly fertilizes them and aggressively guards the eggs from intruders while aerating them until they hatch out, usually less than a week. The hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish in their natural habitat feed mainly on phytoplankton and zooplankton.   In an aquarium environment with mature live rock; they are not choosy and will readily accept a varied diet of live, frozen, or freeze dried brine shrimp, chopped Mysis shrimp, carnivore and herbivore flakes or pellets, meaty commercial angelfish preparations, and Spirulina based frozen or prepared foods. Small portions that can be consumed within a couple of minutes fed 2 to 3 times a day or more are recommended.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou) are extremely hardy, relatively inexpensive, and mostly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from tropical fish shops and a multitude of online sources at approximate purchase sizes of 1″ to 3″.

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons for singles or pair/ 100 gallons for community
Aquarium Type: FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Fiji, Tonga
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Pair Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Pair Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

The Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Jade Damselfish, Peacock Damselfish, Pavo Damsel, or Blue Damselfish is found across the Indian ocean and is common along the coast of East African to the Tuamoto Islands, north to Taiwan, south to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, and the Coral Sea.

Sapphire Damselfish are frequently found in shoals of up to 30 individuals in and around Acropora corals, in the shallow waters of sandy lagoon reefs, isolated patches of reefs, on coral heads, around jetty structures, and in rubble strewn zones where they feed on filamentous algae and zooplankton. They are a highly territorial species that will refuse to allow other fish in their territory but will quickly seek cover among the heads of Acropora corals when threatened.

Because of their territorial nature, Sapphire Damselfish can always be found in the same general area.   Their territorial nature is also why they are seldom if ever seen in aquariums.

Mostly found at depths between 3 to 60 feet, in Tanzania, Pomacentrus pavo are seldom seen on reefs deeper than 40 feet.   Sapphire Damselfish are a shallow water diurnal species that dart in and out of the corals during daylight hours and shelter among the Acropora at night.   Sapphire Damselfish have the ability to hide in a hole, crevice, or coral head and darken to an almost black color when threatened. After the perceived threat disappears, they quickly return to their electric blue green colors in just a matter of seconds.

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

The base color of Peacock Damselfish is a deep blue green, with vertical blue striations down the body and horizontal blue striations across the face.  All the fins are lined with a light blue stripe, however, the anal fin has a markedly darker blue stripe. Mature individuals have a dark blue or black dot behind the gill.

Although Sapphire Damselfish are often confused with the common Green Damsel (Chromis viridis); the Green Damselfish has a markedly forked tail while the Sapphire Damselfish does not.

Sapphire Damselfish are a great choice for a FOLR or reef aquarium.   They are exceptional hardy, completely reef safe, less aggressive than most other damselfish species, and make a great addition to corals and invertebrates in a reef environment. Their small size also makes them a good candidate for nano reef aquariums.

A small shoal of Sapphire Damselfish can be housed in a mature aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sandy substrate, plenty of aged live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among, and a lot of free swimming space.

Although the Sapphire Damselfish has been commercially bred for the aquarium trade; no successful rearing have been reported in a home aquarium environment.

Like Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus), Pomacentrus pavo are oviparous and form up into distinct pairs before mating.   Male damselfish typically establish a territory and prepare a cleaned surface on a substrate of rubble or coral for the female to deposit her demersal, adhesive eggs.   Once the eggs are laid the male quickly fertilizes them and will aggressively defend them from any intruders.  The fertilized eggs are aerated by the male until they are hatched out.   The tiny hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on the other zooplankton and phytoplankton until they eventually settle to the bottom.

In their natural environment, Sapphire Damselfish graze on zooplankton and filamentous algae.   In a mature aquarium, they will eat any nuisance filamentous algae and zooplankton in the tank and should have additional feedings of fresh, frozen, or freeze dried herbivore preparations, pellets, and flakes. Feeding several small portions daily is recommended.

The Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo) is a relatively rare species that is occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from trans shippers, commercial farms, specialty fish shops, and a variety of online sources at purchase sizes of 3/4″ to 1-1/4”.

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.2 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3″
Color Form: Bright Blue, Black, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin:
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years

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Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera cf. springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

The Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Springeri Damsel, Springer’s Damselfish, Springers Demoiselle, or Royal Blue Damselfish is found in the Western Pacific Ocean, where it occurs in the tropical waters of Indonesia (Moluccas, Flores, Halmahera), the Philippines, and the Solomon Islands.

Blue Sapphire Damselfish are frequently found in small groups along with a similar yellow tailed damsel species over scattered patches corals on the outer coastal reef slopes at depths from 13 to over 100 feet.

Adult Blue Sapphire Damselfish prefer shallower sheltered lagoons and inshore coral reefs with sandy substrates and rich growths of Acropora corals.

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri) Solomon Is.,

Chrysiptera springeri originating within the Solomon Islands are an all blue form that have a brilliant blue body color, a clear tail, black outlined fins, and some scribbly markings on the head. This species is able to turn completely black when stressed, which allows them to evade predation.

A nearly black form of Blue Sapphire Damselfish with incredible blue markings and scribbles on the flank, a light

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri) Philippines

blue outline to the body and fins, and star like blue spots on the head from the Philippine and Molucca Islands also exists. This yet undescribed species is closely related to Chrysiptera springeri and is in the process of getting a name of its own.

Although males in breeding condition appear to have brighter colors, sexual dimorphism is difficult to distinguish with both forms.

Blue Sapphire Damselfish are a semi aggressive species that can be housed in a mature reef tank of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sand substrate, plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, holes, overhangs and caves for them to hide among, and growths of Acropora corals. They become aggressive with peaceful slow moving reef inhabitants but are reef safe with corals and invertebrates.   Adults become more territorial but can be housed with other more peaceful damsel species in a larger reef tank when introduced at the same time. In a large FOLR tank with plenty of live rock and swimming area, its advisable to keep either a single specimen, a proven pair, or a large odd numbered shoal of at least 9 or more juveniles. Smaller groups will suffer individual fatalities.

Although Chrysiptera springeri have not been bred in an aquarium environment; they are being bred on a small commercial scale basis.

Like Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)   Blue Sapphire Damselfish form distinct pairs when spawning. Male damselfish typically establish a territory and prepare a cleaned surface of rubble or coral for females to deposit their adhesive, demersal eggs. Once the eggs are laid the male quickly fertilizes them and will aggressively defend them from any intruders. The fertilized eggs are aerated by the male until they are hatched out.  The tiny hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on the other zooplankton and phytoplankton until they eventually settle to the bottom.

In their natural environment, Springeri Damsels are omnivores that feed mainly on plankton and zooplankton in the water column, algae, and small benthic crustaceans.   In an aquarium environment with plenty of live rock; they thrive on a diet of frozen omnivore preparations, marine algae, brine shrimp, Krill, Mysis, omnivore flakes, and Zooplankton.   Springer’s Damsels are voracious eaters of Flatworms and are purchased by many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts to eliminate them from their reef tanks.   These damsels should be fed small portions three times per day.

Both forms of Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera cf. springeri) from the Solomon Islands and Indonesia are hardy, inexpensive, and not overly difficult to acquire from tropical fish shops and a plethora of online sources at approximate purchase sizes of 3/4″ to 1-1/2″. Both forms are currently being sold as (Chrysiptera springeri).

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef (With Caution) or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-82°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 2.3″
Color Form: Blue, Black
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indonesia, Philippines, Eastern Asia
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 – 6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Marine Jewelfish, Jewelfish, Caribbean Jewel Damsel, Bluespot Damsel, or Yellowtail Damselfish are found in tropical Western Atlantic waters and ranges from Florida, throughout the Caribbean to the Bahamas, south to the coast of Panama.

A similar species, Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus, found in the Indo West Pacific is referred to as the Pacific Jewel Damsel.

The Jewel Damselfish is a demersal species that is found on inshore and offshore reefs at depths from 1 to as deep as 200 feet during daylight hours.  At night they are often found sleeping in caves, crevices, and among staghorn corals.  Adults are usually found in the very shallow waters of coral reefs, near the top of the outer edges where there are caves, ledges, holes, and abundant growths of fire coral.

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Juvenile Jewel Damselfish have a black to dark blue gray body color, with scattered electric blue dots that become smaller as the fish grow into adulthood. They have a translucent caudal fin that turns bright yellow as the fish ages.

Young adult and adult Jewel Damselfish differ so significantly in terms of body color, that researchers believed

Adult Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Adult Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

the adult and young adult forms were two distinct species.   Adults have a dark yellow brown body, with darker edged scales, and a bright yellow caudal fin.  Young adults are violet colored with blue spots on their back and transparent caudal fins.  They are a hermaphrodotic species that cannot be easily sexed visually.

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus) share the same range and feed on the same benthic microalgae as Stegastes dorsopunicans and Stegastes planifrons.

Juvenile Jewel Damselfish are less aggressive than adults and can be housed in an aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sandy or coralline substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, crevices, holes, and overhangs for them to hide among, and plenty of free swimming space.

Adult Jewel Damselfish or Yellowtail Damselfish are no doubt the most aggressive of all Damselfish and should be kept alone, or in a FOLR aquarium with substantially larger and more robust species.   Adults require a much larger aquarium of at least 120 gallon capacity with the same live rock and swimming requirements as juveniles.

Although they are perfectly reef safe and will not harm corals in a reef aquarium; they will intimidate, bully, and attack smaller, more peaceful reef fish species normally housed in that environment.

Jewel Damselfish have been bred in an aquarium environment as well as commercially for tropical fish keeping hobbyists.

Like Blue Velvet Damselfish; the spawning cycle of Yellowtail Damselfish typically begins at sunrise and lasts approximately one hour.   During the spring tides between a full and new moon, male Microspathodon Chrysurus begin establishing their nesting sites around a cleaned off section of smooth rock, shell, or piece of coral.   The male then courts the female with a “dance” until one accepts him as a mate.   Males frequently spawn with several receptive females which deposit their adhesive eggs on the cleaned substrate until the male fertilizes them.   Males will constantly aerate the fertilized eggs and carefully remove infertile or diseased eggs as they guard the nest.   A single female can lay in excess of 20,000 demersal eggs which hatch out the morning of the sixth day of incubation.

Unlike most other species of Damselfish, total clutch cannibalism by parental males has been observed in Yellowtail Damselfish and has been confirmed by gut analysis.   The decision to stop providing care and canonicalize a clutch of offspring by the male could be to reallocate time and energy to attract more mates; or to increase the growth rate or survival of the parents who are in poor condition.   Most of the Microspathodon chrysurus clutches that disappear are young, small, first day clutches.

In their natural habitat Adult Jewel Damselfish are selective feeders that graze on a blue-green algae called cyanophytes.   Juveniles are typically carnivores that gradually change their feeding habits throughout their development.   As young adults, they primarily feed on animals like nematocysts and zooxanthellae.

In an aquarium environment with plenty of mature live rock in the system, Jewel Damselfish should be fed a variety of meaty foods like vitamin enriched shrimp, Mysis, brine shrimp, krill, scallops, clams, plankton, or a frozen omnivore preparation. They will also readily accept flake and pellet foods. Its always best to feed several small portions throughout the day.

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus) are extremely hardy and available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from tropical fish shops and a multitude of online sources.   Juveniles are more commonly available at a purchase size as Mediums: 2″ to 3″.

 

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons for single or pair/ 120 gallons for community
Aquarium Type: Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Very Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Black, Electric Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Aggressive Fish Only
Origin: Western Atlantic
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Pair Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

 

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

The Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Japanese Damselfish, Javanese Devil Damsel, Blue Streak Devil, Blue Streak Damselfish, Java Damselfish, and Bluebanded Damselfish are found in the Western Pacific Ocean from Indonesia to the Philippines, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and Fiji.

Blue Velvet Damselfish are mostly found in shallow lagoons and coral reef flats around heads of Acropora where they shelter at depths between 1 to 15 feet. A diurnal species, they are very active during the day and shelter in the corals to avoid being eaten by predators at night.

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

Juvenile Paraglyphidodon oxyodon have a dark blue to almost black body color, with one large white to yellow vertical stripe in the middle of the flank, and 2 to 3 small light blue to blue green stripes running from head to tail.  Adult Paraglyphidodon oxyodon lose their georgous colors and are mostly brown to grayish black.

Because of their tenaciously aggressive personalities and large adult size; Blue Velvet Damselfish are great additions to aggressive FOLR aquariums with larger species.

Although they will not harm corals or sessile invertebrates, Blue Velvet Damselfish will quickly intimidate and bully the more peaceful species normally housed in a reef aquarium environment.   A single specimen can be housed in as small as a 30 gallon tank, but an aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sandy or fine coralline substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among, and plenty of free swimming space is recommended.

Successfully housing Blue Velvet Damselfish increases dramatically when they are provided with plenty of live rock and swimming room to establish and adequate territory in the aquarium.  The shelter provides a sense of security that reduces aggression towards other members in the tank.   Keeping this in mind, Blue Velvet Damselfish will easily coexist with large Angelfish, larger Tangs, Triggerfish, Eels, Sharks, and even small Groupers in a large Fish Only Live Rock (FOLR) community environment.

Because they are easily susceptible to ich and other diseases; this damselfish species requires stable, pristine quality water parameters in order to thrive, remain in good health, and remain disease free.

Paraglyphidodon oxyodon have not been bred in an aquarium environment.   In their natural habitat, males establish a territory near a rock, shell, or piece of coral and clean it for a nesting site. The male courts the female with a type of “dance” until she accepts him as a mate. Females then lay their adhesive eggs on the cleaned substrate and the male fertilizes them. The male will remove any infertile eggs and guard the nest while constantly aerating the eggs until they hatch out.   During the reproductive process that usually lasts about 20 minutes, a single female can lay up to 20,000 eggs which take from 3 days to a week to hatch. Males frequently spawn with several females. The hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton for up to 50 days before finally settling to the bottom.

Blue Velvet Damselfish are aggressive omnivores that in their natural habitat feed primarily on filamentous algae and zooplankton. In an aquarium environment they should be fed a variety of meaty foods with vegetable based foods and marine algae in their diet. They are aggressive feeders that will consume a wide variety of commercial fresh, frozen, and freeze dried preparations such as Mysis shrimp, Spirulina, brine shrimp, Prime Reef, Angelfish Formula I & II, etc.   Feed them what they can consume in a couple of minutes several times a day rather than a single feeding.

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon) are extremely hardy and readily available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from tropical fish shops and a multitude of online sources at approximate purchase sizes of Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/4″; Medium: 1-1/4″ to 1-3/4″; Large: 1-3/4″ to 2 -1/2″.

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons for single or pair/ 100 gallons for community
Aquarium Type: Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Black, Blue, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Aggressive Fish Only
Origin: Western Pacific, Indonesia, Fiji
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

 

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Female Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Female Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Female Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

The Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Blue Devil Damselfish, Orangetail Damselfish, Orangetail Blue Damselfish, Red tail Australian Damsel, Blue Demoiselle, Sky Blue Damsel, Sapphire Devil, Devilfish, Hedleys Damselfish, Cornflower Serteant Major, and Blue Devil.

Blue Damselfish are common throughout Indo West Pacific waters along the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean, on the northern portion of the Great Barrier Reef from Western Australia to New Guinea, the Solomon, Mariana, and Caroline Islands, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, and the Ryukyu Islands.

Chrysiptera cyanea have also been reported from Palau and Yap in Micronesia, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.

The Blue Damselfish can usually be found among areas of densely growing stony corals and coral rubble in the clear, sheltered lagoons, subtidal reef flats, and protected inshore reefs at depths between 1 to 35 feet or more.

Divers have found Blue Damselfish alone, in pairs, and in small groups or “harems” around lush coral growths in the shallower waters of lagoons, sheltered bays, and the outer reefs along the coastline where they quickly retreat into the coral when threatened.

The Blue Damselfish has the ability to darken to an almost black color when threatened.   After the perceived threat is gone, they return to their electric blue color in just a matter of seconds.

Blue Damselfish are a dichromatic species.  From the majority of locations in their range; female Blue Damselfish are an electric blue color, lacking any yellow or orange coloration.   Females collected from Japan and the Philippines are also completely blue but have a black ocellus on the lower posterior part of their dorsal fin, and nearly translucent fins.

Male Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Male Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Adult male Blue Damselfish across most of their range have a blue body but develop a yellow to yellow orange tail and a splotch of yellow orange on the nose.

Males from Japan and the Philippine Islands have a dark blue body with dark black margins on their blue fins.   Females from Japan and the Philippine Islands have a bright blue body, with clear to translucent fins, and a black spot at the base of the last dorsal ray.

Male Blue Damselfish are commonly referred to by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Orangetail

Male Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Male Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Damselfish, Orangetail Blue Damselfish, or Blue Devil Damselfish.   Specimens obtained from tropical fish stores are often juveniles that have not matured into their adult colors.

Because they pose no threat to corals, Blue Damselfish make a great addition to reef tanks.   Albeit they may eat an occasional copepod, they normally ignore corals and any large or small invertebrates.

Although a 30 gallon minimum aquarium size is recommended for keeping a single Blue Damselfish or a mated pair; we recommend at least a 55 gallon capacity tank, with a sand or fine coraline substrate, plenty of mature live rock arranged into overhangs, crevices, and caves for hiding among, and substantial areas of free space for swimming.

Blue Damselfish can also be housed in a community FOLR tank as one male and several females, as several juveniles, with other damselfish species, or in combination with other semi aggressive species like triggerfish, dwarf angels, dottybacks, puffers, larger angelfish, and species that can hold their own.

Keeping several juveniles, or a lone male with several females in a 30 to 55 gallon tank can be successful, provided plenty of mature live rock arranged into hiding places is available, and the fish are introduced last and at the same time.

A minimum of a 100 gallon aquarium is recommended for a mixed, semi aggressive, reef or FOLR community tank.

Because Blue Damsels will always develop their own territory and defend it against any fish in the vicinity; its best NOT to house them with the following less aggressive species unless the aquarium is at least 100 gallons in capacity and has plenty of aged live rock for hiding among: Centropyge angelfish, small juvenile butterflyfish, peaceful gobies, blennies, cardinalfish, firefish, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrassesr, mandarins, seahorses, pipefish, anthias, clownfish, etc.

Chrysiptera cyanea are compatible with the following fish and corals:  Moderately aggressive fish, dottybacks, 6-line & 8-line wrasse, damselfish, tangs, large angels, large wrasses, Anemones, Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs, LPS corals, SPS corals, Gorgonians, Sea Fans, Leather Corals, Soft Corals (tree corals and Xenias), Star Polyps, Organ Pipe Corals, Sponges, Tunicates, Zoanthids, Button Polyps, Sea Mats, Decorative Shrimp, Crabs, Snails, Starfish, Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms, Clams, Scallops, Oysters, Amphipods, Copepods, and mini Brittle Stars.

The Blue Damselfish is a substrate spawner that will readily spawn in reef tanks.   They have been bred in an aquarium environment, however, the eggs and larvae are quite small, subject to predation in the tank, and the fry are extremely difficult to rear.

To entice a female, the males prepare a nesting site in their territory with some smooth rubble or a piece of clam shell near the entrance. About a day prior to spawning, each female will visit all the males in her colony to search for the fittest male to mate with.  When she decides on a potential mate, she will stop swimming, face upwards and flash a light ring around each eye to solicit inspection of the nest site.   The male then initiates a courting dance trying to impress the female.   The females are picky and will travel from nest site to nest site to review several potential mates before selecting one.

Early the next morning, the female will immediately spawn with the largest male who has put on the best dance.   If another female decided on the same male, she will wait at the entrance to the nesting area for her turn to spawn.   Several females have been seen waiting at one nest site to spawn with the same dominant male.

Spawning itself is similar to other substrate spawners; the female lays up to 20,000 tiny oval adhesive eggs on the smooth walls and ceiling of the structure. The male in between batches quickly fertilizes them and will aggressively and fearlessly guard the eggs from intruders until they hatch out in 3 to 7 days.   Note that brittle stars, serpent stars, wrasses, and crabs will eagerly eat the eggs and fry of Blue Damselfish.

The hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on the other zooplankton and phytoplankton for up to 50 days before settling to the bottom.   Damselfish can take from 2 to 3 years to mature into adults.

Because of the inexpensiveness of this species, the vast majority of Chrysiptera cyanea are wild caught for the aquarium hobby.

In their natural habitat, Blue Damselfish are omnivores that feed on plankton, algae, and small benthic crustaceans.   In an aquarium environment with plenty of live rock; they thrive on a diet of frozen omnivore and herbivore preparations, marine algae, brine shrimp, Krill, Mysis, omnivore flakes, and Zooplankton.

Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea) are probably the best selling marine species in the United States. They are extremely hardy, inexpensive, and readily available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from tropical fish shops and a multitude of online sources at approximate purchase sizes of 1″ to 2″.

Although many beginning hobbyists use them to cycle their tanks; we do not condone this practice.  Its much easier and faster to cycle a marine aquarium with mature live rock.

 

Female Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)

Female Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons for single or pair/ 100 gallons for community
Aquarium Type: Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-84°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3.4″
Color Form: Blue, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indo West Pacific waters
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Amboina Damselfish, Amboina Demoiselle, and Pallid Damselfish are found throughout tropical marine waters of the Indo Pacific from northwestern Australia, down to the North Central coast of New South Wales.

Pomacentrus amboinensis have been recently recorded in Tonga in addition to their range from Indonesia to Vanuatu, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Scott Reef (in the eastern Indian Ocean) and New Caledonia.

The Ambon Damsel is an active, semi aggressive species found found in the lagoons, coastal reefs, passages, and outer reef slopes of its range at depth from 6 to 130 ft.  They normally frequent sandy areas around corals, rock outcrops, and other types of protective shelter where they feed on algae and zooplankton.

Adult Ambon Damsels are normally found in small groups of one mature male and several females.  The primary duty of the male is to guard a nest site on the sea floor for the harem of females.  Juvenile Ambon Damsels can easily join the groups of females, which is probably why some adult males retain the appearance of juveniles; to sneak into the harems of dominant males. Once a suitable nesting site is staked out by the dominant male; females rarely migrate far from the area.

Like most marine angelfish; Pomacentrus amboinensis is a protogynous species that begin life as females and can later turn into males.

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Adult Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

The Ambon Damsel has a light yellow to pale mauve body color with darker margins on the scales, a dark spot at the top of the gill cover and another spot at the base of the pectoral fin.  The head has pink to blue blotches.

Juvenile Ambon Damsels have an eye spot on the rear of the dorsal fin that the majority of fish lose as they

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Juvenile Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

grow into adults, however, some adult males do retain the ocellus.

Ambon Damselfish are able to recognize UV facial patterns of other fish and when constantly threatened by predators are able to reduce the size of their eyes, and increase the size of the eyespot on their dorsal fin to evade predation.

The Ambon Damselfish is a hardy species that can be housed as groups of 5 or 6 individuals, in a reef or FOLR aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity, with a sandy substrate, plenty of swimming area, and live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs.   Multiple damselfish species can be housed together but only in a larger aquarium with much more live rock to break up territorial spats.   Its also important to introduce them into the tank at the same time to minimize aggression.

Ambon Damsels have been bred in an aquarium environment.   A male with several females will prepare a nest on the sandy sea floor and pair off during breeding. The fertilized eggs adhere to the bottom substrate where they are guarded and aerated by the male.  The .03 inch larvae grow quickly in their nest and between 19 to 21 days are .43 to .51 inch.    The larvae live a pelagic existence until they become juveniles.

The diet of the Ambon Damselfish in their natural environment is primarily algae and Zooplankton.  In an aquarium environment they readily accept algae, brine shrimp, Krill, Mysis, omnivore flakes, a variety of frozen food preparations, and Zooplankton.

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis) are available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from a variety of fish shops and online sources at reasonable prices at approximate purchase sizes: Small: 1/2” to 1”; Medium:1″ to 1-1/2″

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-79°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3.5″
Color Form: Black, Pink, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indo Pacific, northwestern Australia to New South Wales
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

Tiger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

Tiger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

The Tiger Conch (Conomurex luhanus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Strawberry Conch or Sand Tiger Conch is found throughout tropical Indo Pacific waters; like the Great Barrier Reef and southern reefs of Papua New Guinea.

The Tiger Conch is in the Strombidae family and is a true conch that is often found among corals in sandy, clay, and muddy substrates from the tidal zone, to as deep as 35 feet or more, where they graze on algae and detritus.   They are most frequently found in shallow beaches just below the low tide line. As they mature, they move into deeper water and only return to relatively shallow waters, where quality food sources are more abundant, to deposit their eggs.

Juvenile Conomurex luhanus are often found in large colonies of the same size or class, that remain together for long periods.   Mixed age colonies of Tiger Conch that are still separated by age and class within the colony also form up in the same areas for long periods, but remain separate from juvenile colonies.

iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

The external color of the Tiger Conch can be white with an orange, brown to tan pattern of blotches, or completely brownish white.  The shell interior is usually a rich orange, red or pink color, with a black or chocolate brown inner lip border.   The shell interior may also be slightly grooved with fine thread like lines (lirated).

Tiger Conch have a whorled, thick, heavy, spindle shaped shell that is sometimes covered with a horny periostracum.   Because of the relatively unusual conoidal shape of its shell, and its deep, easily distinguished stromboid notch; the Tiger Conch is freuently mistaken for the cone snail.

Unlike other marine snails in the Strombus family that slowly crawl along the sandy bottom, Tiger Conch thrust themselves off the sea floor in a leaping motion with their modified foot to move around the sea floor and escape predators.   Compared to other marine snails, Conomurex luhanus are considerably more evolved.   They have complex eyes on sensory tentacles at the end of long, independently moving eye stalks that they use to detect predators and nearby food.   When injured, the eye stalks can regenerate.   They sift their food from the substrate using a thick, trunk like proboscis

Like the Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis), the Tiger Conch is best housed alone in a mature FOLR or reef aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with plenty of deep sandy substrate for them to sift through and feed among.   They spend an inordinate amount of time cleaning and sifting the sand bed and will often disappear under the substrate for long periods of time; sometimes months.   Their sand sifting will not harm beneficial sand micro fauna or disturb bacterial micro zones in the sand bed.

Male Tiger Conchs can be territorial towards other males of its own kind, especially when housed in a small aquarium, however, they are peaceful towards other tankmates.

Strawberry Conchs have great appetites and will quickly clean up algae, detritus, and leftover food in the bottom of the aquarium.   When sufficient food is not present in the substrate, they tend to climb the sides of the tank and on live rock searching for food.   Because of their appetite, only a single individual is recommended for a small 30 gallon tank.

Like other invertebrates, the Tiger Conch is sensitive to high levels of nitrate and cannot tolerate copper based medications.

Tiger Conch have been bred in an aquarium environment.

When ready to copulate, male Conomurex luhanus extend a spade like, brownish black penis on the right side of the foot.   Large groups of males and females congregate in deeper water on the sea floor to compete for copulating opportunities.   Fertilization is internal and when reedy to reproduce, the male mounts the female from behind and clings to her shell using his foot.   Placing the anterior portion of his shell over her shell lip, he is then able to insert his spade like penis into the siphon notch of the female.

After fertilization has occurred, females lay a long, adhesive, tubular egg mass in the sand or attached to pebbles or rocks in the shallower waters of the reef.   The continuous tubular egg mass is folded back and forth on itself into a compact, oblong mass that holds several thousand eggs, and often reaches a length of several feet.

The eggs hatch out in 4 to 6 days into free swimming veligers that drift among plankton in the ocean currents for several weeks before finally settling on the sea floor.   Tiger Conch are a fast growing species, with some members in the Strombidae family growing from a minute larvae, to a quarter pound semi adult in as little as one year.

Conomurex luhanus are benthic omnivores that feed primarily on marine algae, detritus, and any organic matter found in the substrate. In an aquarium environment with plenty of deep sand as a substrate, they eat algae, detritus, and any leftover foods they can find on the bottom of the tank.   Because of their huge appetites, they will quickly clean a tank of every bit of detritus and require additional supplemental feedings of small pieces of fresh fish, dried seaweed, omnivore pellets, and high quality frozen foods with vegetable and organic matter.

Tiger Conch (Conomurex luhanus) are popular with tropical fish keeping enthusiasts for reef and FOLR tanks to aerate the substrate and rid their tanks of excess algae, detritus, and uneaten foods.

They are seasonally available online from a variety of retail sources at reasonable prices at approximate purchase sizes: in Australia 1.5″ to 2.55″ $2.70 to $8.70; in the Philippines 2.14″ to 3″ $2.60 to $8.60.

iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

iger Conch (Conomurex luhanus)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Established Reef or LRFO
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 73-80°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3.1″
Color Form: Orange, White, Yellow/Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef Compatible
Origin: Indo Pacific, Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea
Family: Strombidae
Lifespan: 4 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the West Indian Fighting Conch is found in southeastern Florida, Bermuda, the Caribbean Sea, and south as far as Brazil.

Although the Fighting Conch sea snail is found on sandy, clay, and muddy bottoms, in areas within the tidal range at depths between 2 to 33 feet, divers have recorded them as deep as 180 feet.

The Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis) is a peaceful, medium to large growing sea snail similar in appearance to the Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus).

The West Indian Fighting Conch has a relatively heavy solid shell with a large, well developed body whorl, a small, short, pointed spire, and a characteristic stromboid notch.  The shell has 8 to 9 whorls that each have a single row of small spines that become larger toward the last whorl, however, in some areas of collection; the spines are less conspicuous and even absent. The white interior aperture is long and slightly oblique and they have a sickle shaped operculum.

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Although the interior of the Fighting Conch shell is usually white; shell colors vary from salmon pink, to cream or yellow, to light or dark orange. The front portion of Strombus pugilis has a dark purple stain that characteristically differentiates this species from the Florida Fighting Conch (Strombus alatus).

The Fighting Conch is a suitable addition to any home reef aquarium, where it will use its excellent sand sifting abilities to clean and aerate the substrate.

Like the Tiger Conch, a single Fighting Conch is best housed alone in a mature FOLR or reef aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with plenty of deep sandy substrate for them to sift through and feed in.

Male Fighting Conchs can be territorial towards other males of its own kind, especially when housed in a small aquarium, but they are normally peaceful towards other tankmates.

They have huge appetites and will quickly clean up algae, detritus, and leftover food in the bottom of the aquarium.   When sufficient food is not present, they are also known to eat marine plants. Because of their enormous appetites, only a single Fighting Conch is recommended per 30 gallon tank.   Like other invertebrates, the Fighting Conch is sensitive to high levels of nitrate and cannot tolerate copper based medications.

The Fighting Conch has been successfully bred in an aquarium and controlled laboratory environment.

In their natural habitat they reproduce throughout the year on silty sand at depths between 9 to over 60 feet.   Mass orgy like copulations of multiple individuals have been recorded on silty sand bottoms with long (up to 36 feet) egg masses, with an estimated 264 embryos per 2 cm, littering wide areas of the bottom.

The egg masses of Strombus pugilis gathered from depths of 3 to 60 feet were hatched out and veligers fed natural cultures of phytoplankton.   The initial stage of development where the Strombus pugilis larvae feed mainly on plankton is quite long.   Juveniles fed on several species of algae that naturally appeared on the sides of the tank and on the live rock that was in the tank.   After 121 days juvenile Strombus pugilis grew to a length of .84 inches.

Strombus pugillis are benthic omnivores that feed primarily on marine algae, seagrasses, detritus, and any organic matter found in the substrate. In an aquarium environment with plenty of deep sand as a substrate, they sill eat algae, detritus, and any leftover foods they can find on the bottom of the tank.   Because of their huge appetites, they will quickly clean you tank of every bit of detritus and require additional supplemental feedings of small pieces of fresh fish, dried seaweed, omnivore pellets, and high quality frozen foods with vegetable and organic matter.

The flesh of Fighting Conch is edible and in traditional Brazilian medicine is used to treat sexual impotence by local fishermen who usually boil them.   Their decorative shells are also sold in local markets as souvenirs.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts keep the Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis) in reef and FOLR tanks to aerate the substrate and rid their tanks of excess algae, detritus, and uneaten foods.   They are readily available online from a variety of retail sources at very reasonable prices at approximate Purchase Sizes: in Asia and Tonga 1″ to 2″; in the USA 2″ to 4″.

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

Fighting Conch (Strombus pugilis)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Established Reef or LRFO
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 71-78°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 4″
Color Form: Orange, White, Yellow/Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef Compatible
Origin: Caribbean Sea, Florida, south to Brazil
Family: Strombidae
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

The Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Blue Mauritius angelfish are an exceptionally rare pygmy species found only in the Western Indian Ocean; specifically the Mauritius, Reunion Island, and farther north, Aldabra in the Seychelles Islands.

The Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius) is an elusive deep water species found darting among the many crevices and cavees along the vertical walls of the outer reef slopes at depths from 165 to 330 feet or more.   Recently, a specimen was collected off the Eastern coast of Madagascar in only 49 feet of water; which leads to the possible expansion of their territory to the entire coastline of Eastern Madagascar.

To date, only single specimens have been observed along the deep outer reef slopes occasionally feeding on algae.   This may indicate that that the principal breeding populations are located even deeper than 330 feet.

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

As the name implies, Blue Mauritius Angelfish have a dark purplish blue body color, with a yellow mouth, breast, and a bright yellow tail. Their dorsal and anal fins are a deep purplish blue color edged in bright blue, and they have dark purplish blue to black spots on the face that in some specimens morphs into a vermiculated mask, that is particularly outstanding.

Color has no bearing on sex and it is surmised that males are larger than females.

Like all Centropyge species, juvenile Centropyge debelius start life as unsexed individuals that morph into females as they become adults. The largest or more dominant female within a small group will change sex, and within a few days to a couple of weeks become a male.

The few Debelius angelfish that have been collected are being successfully maintained in FOLR and reef aquariums of at least 70 gallon capacity with plenty of mature live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs to mimic their deep water reef slope habitat.  It has been reported by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts who have kept this species to be just as hardy as any other dwarf angelfish in its genus.

As a deep water species, the lighting in the tank should be dimmed to replicate their deep water habitat and a chiller is recommended to keep the maximum temperature in the tank under 74° Fahrenheit.   These reclusive angelfish require very stable water conditions and pristine water quality. Once acclimated, at least monthly 20-30% water changes are recommended.

Debelius angelfish have been bred in an aquarium environment.   Compared to other angelfish in the genus Centropyge, Debelius larvae are much more difficult to raise.  Of the 14 pygmy Debelius angelfish bred to date, the larval period lasted a minimum of 110 days, which is the longest larval phase for the species cultured to date.  The larvae were successfully raised from captive spawned eggs on a diet of wild copepods and artemia for 110 days at a water temperature of 77-79F .   Like adult Centropyge debelius, juveniles are very robust but require cooler water temperatures less than 77°F over long periods to thrive.

Like other angelfish in the genus Centropyge, Debellius Angelfish are omnivores that graze mostly on algae, sponges, and detritus. In a reef tank or an aquarium with plenty of aged live rock, they will accept a wide range of angelfish preparations.

In addition to substantial quantities of mature live rock in their tank to graze upon, they should be given a variety of fresh and frozen Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, Krill, Cyclops, meaty crustaceans like clams or shrimp, and commercially prepared foods enriched with marine algae, sponges, and spirulina. Once acclimated, they should be fed at least 2 to 3 times a day.

Because of its rarity, elusiveness, remote location, and the many logistical difficulties of reaching them in its natural habitat, it should come as no surprise that Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius) are incredibly rare and not normally seen in the U.S. aquarium trade.

Although most rare deep water species like Centropyge narcosis, Centropyge nahackyi, Centropyge hotumatua, etc. are sold directly to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the Asian market where they fetch huge sums of money; Centropyge debelius has still only been rarely available to Japanese collectors, and then only at extremely high prices.

A specimen in 2012 sold for a bargain price of $4,999.00 and was snatched up in seconds. Another specimen was offered for sale in 2018, in Germany, by Dejong Marine Life, for an astounding $18,000.00.

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

Debelius angelfish (Centropyge debelius)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-79°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.027
Max. Size: 3.5 – 4″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Mauritius, Aldabra, Reunion, Seychelles Islands, Madagascar
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Professional

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Adult West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

Adult West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

Adult West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

The West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the African Angelfish or Guinean Angelfish is found in the warmer sections of the eastern Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa.   Its range extends to the Cape Verde and  São Tomé islands, from Senegal to the Congo estuary, and in the Mediterranean in Valletta Harbor, Malta.

West African Angelfish are found alone, in pairs, and in small groups in clear shallow waters over rocky reefs at depths between  3 and 130 feet where they graze on sponges, algae, jellyfish, soft corals, tunicates, and plankton.

Around the Cape Verde islands, West African Angelfish are often found as the dominant species in large, mixed species shoals.

Juvenile West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

Juvenile West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

Juvenile West African Angelfish are a beautiful dark blue color with a wide vertical white band in the middle of the body, a yellow to yellow orange face and tail, and thin light blue vertical bars on either side of the eye.    As  they grow to around 2 inches in length they begin to change into their adult colors.

The vibrant dark blue body color gradually turns into a yellow orange to olive green color, the white vertical bar on the flanks widens and turns into a more yellowish color, and the caudal peduncle turns almost black.    Adults often retain the yellow markings on the edges of the dorsal and anal fins and develop a dark ocellus behind the operculum.

Juvenile West African Angelfish are best housed in a FOLR aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity with plenty of aged live rock for them to graze on, arranged into crevices, overhangs, and caves for hiding.   They can be territorial as they grow but can be housed with other species of the same size and temperament.  They should not be housed with other angelfish in the same genus or with similarly colored species.    Adults require an aquarium of at least 250 gallon capacity when housed with other like sized species.

Because Holacanthus africanus are known to nip at soft and LPS corals, small invertebrates, and tridacnid clam mantles; they are not considered good candidates for reef tanks.

Some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have reportedly been able to successfully keep them in a large reef tank (over 500 gallons) with with small polyped stony corals and species like Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. that produce a noxious chemical defense.

West African Angelfish have not been bred in an aquarium environment.

Guinean Angelfish primarily omnivores that in their natural habitat feed on marine algae, a variety of sponges, jellyfish, soft corals, tunicates, and plankton.  In an aquarium environment with plenty of mature live rock, their diet should include additional vegetable matter such as Spirulina, marine algae, with meaty items, and high quality angelfish preparations that include sponges. Feed them at least three times daily.

West African Angelfish are a rare find for tropical fish keeping enthusiasts but are occasionally available online from a variety of retail sites at high prices.   They are sold at the following approximate purchase sizes:

Juvenile Blue: 1″ to 2″, Changing: Small 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″; Medium 2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″; Large 3-1/4″ to 4-1/2″, Adult: Small/Medium 2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″; Medium: 3-1/4″ to 4-1/4″; Medium/Large: 4-1/4″ to 5-1/4″; Large: 5-1/4″ to 6-1/4″.

Prices range from around $ 265.00 to $1,125.00.

Adult West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

Adult West African Angelfish (Holacanthus africanus)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72 °F – 78 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 18″
Color Form: Blue, Green, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Australia, New Guinea, Western Pacific, Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 20 years
Experience Level: Intermediate

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Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

The Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides) is found in the Western Indian Ocean from Delagoa Bay in Mozambique, southwards along the coast of South Africa as far as Knysna in the Western Cape.

Although their main distribution is the shallow reefs off Durban and Umkomaas in South Africa and Madagascar; individuals have also been found in parts of northeast Africa, and between the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Adult Old Woman Angelfish are commonly found in congregations of 20 to 30 individuals along the shorelines and shallow rocky reefs at mid to surface water depths between 15 to 100 feet where they feed on algae, sponges, benthic invertebrates, sea squirts, worms, and occasionally plankton at or near the surface.

Juvenile Old Woman Angelfish are usually found in shallower waters and often in tidal pools.

Juvenile Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Juvenile Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Adult Old Woman Angelfish are colored a metallic bluish gray to bronze/brown on the front two thirds of their body, with a pale blue gray triangular area on their posterior just in front of their black tail.   They have short dorsal and anal fins.

Juvenile Pomacanthus rhomboides have a mainly black body covered with thin, concentric, light blue and white lines. Juvenile Old Woman Angelfish are much more colorful, almost indistinguishable from juveniles of Pomacanthus annularis, and frequently misidentified by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Semi Adult Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Semi Adult Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Juvenile Old Woman Angelfish are best housed in an aged FOLR tank of at least 150 gallon capacity with plenty of aged live rock arranged into crevices, overhangs, and caves for hiding.  Although they can be housed with other species of the same size and temprament, do not house them with other angelfish in the same genus or with similarly colored species. Adults require an aquarium of at least 250 gallon capacity when housed with other like sized species.

Because Pomacanthus rhomboides are known to nip at soft and LPS corals, small invertebrates, and tridacnid clam mantles; they are not considered good candidates for reef tanks.   However, a few tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have reportedly been able to successfully keep them in large reef tanks (over 500 gallons) with with small polyped stony corals and species like Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. that produce a noxious chemical defense.

The Old Woman Angelfish is an egg scattering species that has not been bred in an aquarium environment. A few have been successfully bred by professionals.

Old Woman Angelfish are omnivores that feed on marine algae, sponges, sea squirts, other bethnic invertebrates, small crustaceans, tunicates, and plankton.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a varied diet of quality marine flakes, pellets, Nori sheets, Mysis, fortified brine shrimp, and frozen angelfish preparations containing sponge matter.

Dry foods should contain algae as the main ingredient. Feed them small portions three to four times a day after they have been acclimated. This reduces the risk of browsing on corals and other inhabitants that may be in the tank.

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides) are extremely rare in the aquarium trade undoubtedly because their range does not overlap with the main areas of Africa’s coast where ornamental tropical fish are normally collected.

Juveniles may be available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from online retail sites and African based trans shippers on a back order basis, but we have not yet found any source for them in the hobby.

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

Old Woman Angelfish (Pomacanthus rhomboides)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 73°F – 82 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.0 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max. Size: 18.25″
Color Form: Black, Brown, Gray
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Western Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 15-25 years
Experience Level: Intermediate

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Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi) also known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the King Angelfish is an exceptionally rare species endemic to the east coast (Indian Ocean) of South Africa (Natal) and Mozambique.

Tiger Angelfish are primarily found in the Western Indian Ocean off of South Africa between Kosi Ban and Aliwal Shoal, Mozambique.

Because Tiger Angelfish are primarily found in only a small geographic area that exists in a protected marine area, they are extremely difficult to collect and rarely seen in the aquarium hobby.

Apolemichthys kingi inhabit the rocky offshore seaward reefs at depths between 35 to over 150 feet where they have been observed feeding on sponges, crustaceans, and tunicates.   Adults are believed to attain a length of 10 inches and are found in the deeper, colder waters of their range with high populations of sponges.

Juvenile Tiger Angelfish seem to prefer shallower, warmer waters.

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish have a partially white lower body color with numerous irregular black lines on the upper yellow portion of the body.  They have a small black spot to the rear of the eyes and gill plate, and a black tail edged in white.

Juveniles have a large black spot circled in yellow on the darker portion of the upper rear body that is lacking on adults.

A single Tiger Angelfish is best housed in a well established FOLR aquarium of at least 225 gallon capacity with plenty of aged live rock for grazing that is arranged into crevices, overhangs, and caves for them to hide among.   Because they will nip at soft and LPS corals as well as tridacnid clam mantles, they are not good candidates for reef tanks.

Not much is known about the husbandry of Tiger Angelfish however, being shy and one of the least aggressive angelfish, their care should be similar to others in the Apolemichthys genus.

To date, nothing is known about the mating habits of Apolemichthys kingi.

In their natural habitat, Tiger Angelfish feed on sponges, marine algae, crustaceans, and tunicates. In an aquarium environment with plenty of aged live rock with sponge growth, they should be offered a wide variety of frozen foods including mysis, fortified brine shrimp, angelfish preparations containing sponge matter, and marine algae pellets or flake foods containing Spirulina. Feed them small portions two to three times a day after they are acclimated.

Because they are only found off the coast of South Africa and Madagascar, the Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi) is a rare find in the aquarium hobby and seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.   A couple of online suppliers had Tiger Angelfish listed on their “wish lists” from $750.00 for a large specimen, to <3″ = $7,000.00; 3-4″ = $5,000.00, 4″+ = $4,000.00.

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

Tiger Angelfish (Apolemichthys kingi)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 225 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Mildly-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 68°F – 80 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.0 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max. Size: 8.25″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: South Africa, Kosi Ban and Aliwal Shoal, Mozambique
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Unknown
Experience Level: Expert

 

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Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Semicircled Angelfish, Blue Angelfish, Zebra Angelfish or Halfcircled Angelfish, is found in the Indo West Pacific Ocean around Timor, Bourou, Waigeo, Indonesia, and Port Praslin, New Ireland Island, and Bismarck Archipelago in Papua New Guinea.

From the eastern coast of Africa, its range extends from the southern Red Sea coast of Sudan, as far south as South Africa. In the Indian and Pacific Oceans; it ranges east to Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa; north to southern Japan, and south to Australia.

Around Australian the Koran Angelfish is widespread from the Houtman Abrolhos of Western Australia, around the coast to as far south on the eastern coast as Sydney.  Jeveniles have been collected as far south as Merimbula.

In the northeast Indian Ocean, Pomacanthus semicirculatus have been reported at Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and in the Tasman Sea; Lord Howe Island.

Since the late 90s, there have also been sporadic reports of Koran Angelfish sightings off the east coast of Florida and the west coast at Oahu, Hawaii.

Koran Angelfish are found on sheltered coral rich reefs at depths between 3 and 150 feet where they graze on algae, sponges, and tunicates.    Adults are normally found alone or in pairs around coastal reefs where there are plenty of hiding places, especially around wrecks.

Juvenile Koran Angelfish prefer sheltered areas in shallower areas of the reefs.

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Adult Koran Angelfish have a brownish green body color with blue edged scales that give it a speckled look over the body and tail. The body color becomes darker at the rear of the fish. The yellow green head has sapphire blue colored margins around the gills and eyes. The dorsal and anal fins in adults have long trailing filaments, and except for the plain yellow pectoral fins; the rest of the fins are edged in sapphire blue.

Like other Pomacanthus members; the juvenile coloration is much different from adults.

Juvenile Koran Angelfish have a dark, blue black body covered with narrow concentric white and bright

Juvenile Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Juvenile Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

light blue semi-circles. The relatively straight stripes at the head of the fish become curved as they approach the base of the caudal fin.

When Juvenile Pomacanthus semicirculatus grow to around 3 to 6 inches in length, they begin to gradually morph into the adult colors.

Male Koran Angelfish are larger, more pale than females, and have a higher dorsal fin and longer anal fins tha

n females. Fertile female Pomacanthus semicirculatus will normally have a more swollen belly.

The Koran Angelfish is best housed in an aged FOLR aquarium of at least 250 gallon capacity with large amounts of aged live rock for hiding among and grazing on slime algae and cyanobacteria.    They need plenty of swimming space and because they nip at soft and stony corals, invertebrates, and clam mantles; are not good candidates for a reef aquarium.

Although some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts manage to successfully keep Pomacanthus semicirculatus with small polyped stony corals and species like Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. that produce a noxious chemical defense; reef tanks are definitely not recommended. Even in a large reef aquarium, they will pick at both hard and soft corals, as well as clam mantles.

Do not keep Koran Angelfish with other angelfish species or smaller fish like gobies, clownfish, or blennies unless the tank is very large.

Koran Angelfish pairs have been observed spawning in a similar manner to Cortez Angelfish.  The spawning process begins around sunset with males congregating along the sandy bottom waiting for the arrival of the females.   Each male will swim toward and above their female and flutter their bodies in short jittery motions until the female is ready to spawn. When ready, the female will extend all of her fins and rise to the surface with the male moving below her belly to nuzzle it with his nose. As the pair quiver and swim in spirals toward the surface, they simultaneously release white clouds of sperm filled gametes.

A single female Koran Angelfish will scatter in excess of 10,000 eggs for the male to fertilize during each session and during a full spawning cycle a single pair can produce millions of fertilized eggs. The planktonic eggs drift with the current in the water column and hatch around 20 hours after spawning. After hatching, the finless fry live off their yolk sack until it is completely absorbed, at which point they drift down to the bottom of the reef and begin to eat small zooplankton.

Koran Angelfish are an omnivorous species that in their natural environment feed on sponges, tunicates, algae, corals, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks.   In an aquarium environment with large amounts of aged live rock, they should be given a varied diet of Spirulina, marine algae, high quality angelfish preparations, and mysis or frozen shrimp at least three times a day.

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus) are popular with tropical fish keeping enthusiasts, especially as juveniles. They can be ordered online from a variety of sources like Saltwaterfish.com at the following approximate purchase sizes; Juvenile Small: 1 1/4″ to 2″; Juvenile Small/Medium: 2″ to 2 1/2″ Juvenile Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3″ Juvenile Medium/Large: to 3 1/2″ to 4″; Juvenile Large: 4″ to 4-1/2″; Changing Medium: 2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″; Changing Large: 3-1/4″ to 4-1/4″; Changing XLarge: 4-1/4″ to 5-1/4″; Adult Small: 2-1/2″ to 3-1/2″; Adult Medium: 3-1/2″ to 5″; Adult Large: 5″ to 7″ Show Size 7″ to 9″

Depending on size and where they are collected from, Koran Angelfish cost anywhere from $60.00 to over $360.00.

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

Koran Angelfish (Pomacanthus semicirculatus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 250 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72 °F – 80 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.0 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 16″
Color Form: Black, Blue, Orange, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Australia, New Guinea, Western Pacific, Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 20 years
Experience Level: Intermediate

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Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Ear Spot Angelfish or Goldtail Angelfish are found on coral reefs in the western Indian Ocean, South Africa. Its range extends to the Comoro Islands, Madagascar, and northeast to the Seychelles.

Adult Chrysurus Angelfish are found on shallow coral and rocky reefs with lush growths of coral at depths between 3 to 100 feet where they graze on sponges, crustaceans, zooplankton, and tunicates along the bottom. Juveniles consume large amounts of algae and are found in much shallower water.

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Adult Chrysurus Angelfish are similar to juveniles in coloration.

They have a dark blackish brown body with white vertical bands covering the sides and uneven bright sapphire blue bands covering the head, belly, and anal fin. They have a black spot on the upper portion of the body behind the eye, a darker face than juveniles, and as their name implies; a bright yellow tail edged in blue.

Juvenile Chrysurus Angelfish have a paler, more orangey face and a white bar on the caudal peduncle that

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

develops when the fish reaches about 1.5 inches in length and disappears in adulthood. The tail of juveniles is clear in coloration until they reach 3 to 4 inches in length when it gradually turns a bright yellow rimmed in blue.

Like other angelfish, Chrysurus Angelfish are hermaphroditic with no distinguishing characteristics to differentiate males and females.

For reasons unknown, very few Chrysurus Angelfish or Goldtail Angelfish are collected for tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the United States.

The Chrysurus Angelfish (Goldtail Angelfish) is best housed in an aged FOLR aquariumof at least 250 gallons with large amounts of aged live rock for grazing and arranged into hiding places. They need plenty of swimming space and because they nip at soft and stony corals, invertebrates, and clam mantles, are not considered reef safe.

Although some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts manage to successfully keep Pomacanthus chrysurus with small polyped stony corals and species like Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. that produce a noxious chemical defense, reef tanks are definitely not recommended.   Even in a large reef aquarium, they will pick at both hard and soft corals, as well as clam mantles.

When stressed in a fish only live rock tank, the Chrysurus Angelfish will make an unusual clicking sound.

Little is known of Chrysurus Angelfish biology other than that they are monogamous, difficult to breed, and have not yet been bred in an aquarium environment

In their natural habitat, Chrysurus Angelfish graze on marine algae, sponges, crustaceans, zooplankton, and tunicates. In an aquarium environment, they need plenty of aged live rock for grazing and a balanced diet of Spiurlina, marine algae, a quality frozen marine angelfish preparation with sponges, and meaty items like mysis, shrimp, clams, Krill, etc.   They do best when fed small portions at least three times daily.

The Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus) also referred to as the Goldtail Angelfish or Ear Spot Angelfish, is not commonly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts. Although few are collected, some are available from trans shippers, specialty tropical fish shops, and online from importers and wholesale suppliers at the following approximate Purchase Size:

Juvenile: Small 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″; Medium 2-1/4″ to 2-3/4″; Large 2-3/4″ to 3-1/2″; Sub Adult: Small 2″ to 2-1/2″; Medium 2-1/2″ to 3 1/4″; Large 3- 1/4″ to 4 1/2″; Adult: Small 2-1/4″ to 2-3/4″; Small/Medium 2-3/4″ to 3-1/4″; Medium 3-1/4″ to 4″; Medium/Large 4″ to 5″; Large 5″ to 6″; X Large 6″ to 7″; XX Large 7″ to 8″; Show Size: 8″ to 10″

Prices range from $400.00 to over $1500.00 depending on size.

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 250 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 13″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Coastal Southern Africa, Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 15 years
Experience Level: Intermediate

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Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus) are widely distributed in the Eastern Pacific from Puerto Peñasco, in the northern Gulf of California of Mexico south to Peru, and Mexico, the Sea of Cortez. As a vagrant from southern California; it has also been recorded in the Galapagos Islands, Cocos Island, and Malpelo Island.

Cortez Angelfish are found at depths between 20 to over 165 feet where they appear swimming mostly in pairs or grazing on algae, sponges, tunicates, bryozoans, hydroids, and fish eggs taken from the substrate.   They are active during daylight hours (diurnal), but like many reef dwellers seek shelter in crevices where they reside during the night.

The solitary and highly territorial juvenile Pomacanthus zonipectus are often found in tidal pools after the midsummer spawn, from August through November.

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Adult Cortez Angelfish have a generally gray brown body color.   The rear half of the body is covered with a matrix of crisscrossing lines that become yellowish green in the tail. There is a pale gray section in the middle of the flanks with a large yellow arc to the rear of the pectoral fins, and a bright yellow saddle across the nape of the fish. Although the muted brown gray coloration is not as spectacular as other members of their genus, they are a hardy graceful fish that stand out in larger aquariums.

Juvenile Cortez Angelfish have dark black bodies with six vivid yellow bands running vertically from the

Juvenile Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Juvenile Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

mouth down to the base of the caudal fin. The dorsal and pelvic fins are accented with bright blue margins and in between and parallel to the yellow bands are electric blue bars.

Because of their beautiful juvenile coloration, Cortez Angelfish are highly sought after by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Due to their large adult size, aggressiveness, and the fact that they are not reef safe; juvenile Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus) are best housed in a large fish only live rock (FOLR) aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity, with copious amounts of aged live rock for grazing and arranged into numerous hiding places.   Adults require a tank of at least 500 gallon capacity and preferably larger if you house them with other large species.  Keeping them with other angelfish or species that look like angelfish is not recommended.

Although some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have managed to successfully keep Cortez Angelfish with Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. and other sturdy corals that produce a noxious chemical defense, reef tanks are definitely not recommended. Even in a large reef aquarium, they will pick and nip at both hard and soft corals, as well as clam mantles.

The Cortez Angelfish expels a good amount of waste which impacts the aquarium’s filtration system.  Their aquarium should have strong mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, strong water currents, and plenty of dissolved oxygen in the water.

A quality protein skimmer, wet/dry filtration system, and additional power heads for current movement is highly recommended along with regular bi monthly partial water changes.

Cortez Angelfish appear to be monogamous and have not yet been bred in captivity.   In their natural habitat, spawning takes place at sunset from midsummer to early autumn.

Cortez angelfish pairs have been observed spawning in a similar manner to King Angelfish.   At dusk, males will congregate along the sandy bottom to wait for the arrival of the females.  Each male will swim toward and above their female and flutter their bodies in short jittery motions until the female is ready to spawn.   When ready, the female rise with the male moving below her belly to nuzzle it with his nose. As the pair quiver and swim in spirals toward the surface, they release their gametes in unison.

During a spawning cycle a single pair can produce millions of fertilized eggs. The planktonic eggs drift with the current in the water column and hatch around 20 hours after spawning.   After hatching, the finless fry live off their yolk sack until it is completely absorbed, at which point they drift down to the bottom of the reef and begin to eat small zooplankton.

In their natural habitat, Cortez angelfish feed items taken from the substrate; primarily sponges, tunicates, algae, bryozoans, hydroids and the eggs of fish.   In an aquarium environment they need in addition to plenty of aged live rock with for grazing; a balanced diet of Spiurlina, marine algae, a quality frozen marine angelfish preparation with sponges, and meaty items like shrimp, clams, Krill, etc. They do best when fed small portions at least three times daily.

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus) are popular with tropical fish keeping enthusiasts but because of their specialized diet and large size are not common in the aquarium hobby.   They can be ordered online from a variety of sources at the following approximate purchase sizes: Tiny: Up to 2″, Small: Over 2-2.5″, Small / Medium: Over 2.5-3.5″, Medium: Over 3.5-4.5″, Medium / Large: Over 4.5-5.5″, Large: Over 5.5-6.5″, Extra Large: Over 6.5-7.5″, Extra Extra Large: Over 7.5-8.5″, Show Size: Over 8.5-10.5″, Jumbo: Over 10.5″

Prices range from $120.00 to over $400.00 depending on size.

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

Cortez Angelfish (Pomacanthus zonipectus)

 

 

 

 

 

 
Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: FOLR – Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74 °F – 82 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.0 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max. Size: 18″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Eastern Pacific, Mexico
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Experience Level: Intermediate

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Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

The Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae) is one the more common species of miniature sea slugs found throughout warm and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Carribbean, and Mediterranean seas.

In North America, the Berghia nudibranch is one of the most commonly sold Aeolid nudibranchs in the fish keeping hobby. Huge populations are annually collected from the Florida Keys and sold to reef keepers to rid their tanks from pesky aiptasia anemones.

In their natural habitat, Berghia stephanieae are natural predators of the Aiptasia anemone which is their only diet.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts prize the Berghia nudibranch because they are harmless to corals and will effectively remove the worst infestations of aiptasia anemones from a reef tank.

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

The Berghia nudibranch is a small sea slug that is readily identified by its white or semi translucent body and conspicuous head with two long tentacles (chemoreceptors) that are used to test food.   Behind the tentacles are rhinophores, that look like the two oral tentacles, but are visibly shorter, and help the nudibranch detect distant food sources in the environment.   The light sensory eyes of Berghia stephanieae are normally located behind the rhinophores, and are are capable of rudimentary vision.

The multiple protrusions or tassels at the back of the Berghia nudibranch called cerata, are an extension of their digestive system; facilitate oxygen exchange, and act as a defense mechanism to the slug. The nematocysts they contain are absorbed from the consumed Aiptasia anemones they feed on.

The Berghia nudibranch absorbs immature stinging cells from Aiptasia anemone and allows them to mature within itself, making it capable of releasing the cerata containing stinging cells at will to ward off aggressive predators.

Through symbiosis, Berghia nudibranch are able to hold (zooxanthellae) the same photosynthetic symbiotic algae found in corals, that they get from ingesting Aipasia, and use it for short periods as an alternative food source.  However, for long term survival, they require an ample supply of Aiptasia to survive.

The Berghia nudibranch is best housed in aged reef tanks with infestations of Aipasia, plenty of live rock for them to hide among, and low to moderate water flow.  Because they thrive in small colonies and are more effective at eliminating Aiptasia in groups, it is highly recommend to introduce at least 3 to 8 individuals into a 50 gallon reef tank at one time.

Do not keep them with large aggressive species like wrasses or carnivorous shrimp which may pick at them or eat their eggs.   Butterfly fish, Long Nosed Hawkfish, Filefish, Camel shrimp (Rhynchocinetes durbanensis), Coral banded shrimp, Sally lightfoot crabs, Arrow crabs, and Emerald crabs are known to prey on Berghia nudibranchs. Peppermint shrimp and Boxer Crabs (Lybia tesselata) can also pose a threat.

Berghia nudibranchs are fragile marine invertebrates that need proper acclimation to their new environment.

Float their container in your reef tank or sump for 15-20 minutes to acclimate water temperature.

Using a drip acclimation kit, drip aged aquarium water into the container at a drop rate of about 5 to 10 drops per second for an hour.

Instead of isolating each individual, place the Berghia nudibranchs in groups on a live rock 2 to 3 inches from Aiptasia anemones, away from heavy current in the tank.

Berghia stephanieae are hermaphrodites and will readily breed in an aquarium environment when sufficient Aipasia anemone are present. Because each nudibranch has both male and female reproductive organs, two are required for mating an fertilization of the eggs.

Berghia nudibranch reach maturity at two months of age.  They usually lay their eggs on the underside of a live rock, under a large live coral, macroalgae, and occasionally on the wall of the aquarium.  The eggs are laid into the form of a spiral strip called egg ribbon with an average of 50 to 80 eggs per strip.

A single adult is capable of producing over 1000 eggs in a single egg ribbon every one or two days. The eggs hatch out in about 10 to 14 days with the newly hatched offspring emerging as free swimming veliger larvae. The 200 micron size larvae turn into 600 micron sized juveniles in as little as 48 hours and will live up to a year with a constant food source. Because of their specific food requirements, competition for food plays a huge role in the breeding of Berghia nudibranch.

Berghia stephanieae are specialist predators that feed exclusively on Aipasia anemone that often plague saltwater reef aquariums. In the absence of predators, Berghia are able to cure any Aiptasia problem without disrupting the health and stability of your reef tank. Without a sufficient population of Aipasia, the sea slugs will eventually starve to death.

Instead of letting your population of Berghia nudibranchs die from starvation, pass them along to other tropical fish keeping enthusiasts who need them.   A lot of reef keeping hobbyists who are battling with problem Aiptasia in their reef tanks may not be privy to how easy it is to eliminate an infestation; so selling or giving away some Berghia is handing them the solution on a golden platter.

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae) are in high demand from tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and can be obtained from specialty fish shops, Nudibranch forums, and a variety of online sources at costs between $8.00 to $30.00 for a single specimen.

One Berghia nudibranch per 10 gallon of water is recommended for Aipasia infestations in reef tanks.

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

Berghia nudibranch (Berghia stephanieae)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Established Reef
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Relatively hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 1.5″
Color Form: White, Creame
Diet: Specialty Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef Compatible
Origin: Atlantic Ocean, Carribbean, Mediterranean
Family: Chromodorididae
Lifespan: 1 year
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Invertebrates, Nudibranchs, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (0)

Passer Angelfish School (Holacanthus passer)

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

The Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the King Angelfish, are widely distributed throughout the Eastern Pacific and ranges from the Gulf of California to Peru, and as far west as the Galapagos Islands.

Passer Angelfish are frequently found hiding between large crevices, overhangs, and caves in rocky tropical reefs they frequent at depths from 12 to 100 feet.   Adults prefer the middle to bottom layers of the water column where they feed on sponges, zooplankton, sessile invertebrates, tunicates, and several species of benthic microalgae.  They are active during daylight hours (diurnal), but like other reef dwellers seek shelter in crevices where they reside during the night.

Juvenile Holacanthus passer are occasionally collected in tidal pools and are often found in channels, bays, and along the shallower inshore reefs where they establish cleaning stations and perform as cleaner fish, removing ectoparasites from a wide range of other fish species.

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

Adult Passer Angelfish have a predominately dark blue body with a white vertical stripe extending about two thirds down the body from the dorsal to the pelvic fin.  The caudal, pectoral, and ventral fins on females are yellow. Males have white ventral fins with yellow caudal and pectoral fins. The dorsal fin is edged in yellow.

Male Passer angelfish are usually larger than females and have white pelvic fins.   Adult females are smaller and have yellow pelvic fins.

Juvenile Passer Angelfish have more orange on the body with one bright white stripe extending from the

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

dorsal to the pelvic fins, and multiple bright blue stripes over the rest of the body.   The caudal fin is bright orange to yellow and the pelvic fins are yellow.   The fins are edged in deep blue.

Passer Angelfish are a hardy and very aggressive species.  They will attack other angelfish and passive species like anthias, batfish, tilefish, butterflyfish, and stationary or slow moving species like frogfishes, lionfish, and scorpionfishes.   They will also nip on sessile invertebrates, stony corals, clams, and most soft corals.   They have been known to nip at the eyes of sharks, possibly mistaking them for coral polyps.

Because of their large size (over a foot in length), aggressiveness, and the fact that they are not reef safe; juvenile Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) are best housed in a large fish only live rock (FOLR) aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity, with copious amounts of aged live rock for grazing and arranged into numerous hiding places.   Adults require a tank of at least 500 gallon capacity and preferably larger if you house them with other large angelfish.

Although some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have managed to successfully house Passer Angelfish with Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. and other sturdy corals that produce a noxious chemical defense, reef tanks are definitely not recommended.

Passer Angelfish are aggressive enough to hold their own in a large aggressive community tank with triggerfish, puffers, groupers, and other large, aggressive species.   We do not recommend attempting to keep Holacanthus passer with other large angels.   They quickly become dominant and abusive to smaller or more docile tankmates, especially angelfish that are lower on the social hierarchy.

Passer angelfish have not yet been bred in captivity.   In their natural habitat, breeding takes place daily at sunset from April to November, and peaks in October and November.

Passer angelfish are monogamous and at dusk, several males will congregate along the sandy bottom to wait for the arrival of the females. Each male will swim toward and above their female and flutter their bodies in short jittery motions until the female is ready to spawn.  When ready, the female will rise with the male moving below her belly to nuzzle it with his nose.   As the pair quiver and swim in spirals toward the surface, they simultaneously release their gametes.

During a spawning cycle a single pair can produce upwards of ten million fertilized eggs, averaging about 25,000 to 75,000 daily.   The fertilized eggs drift with the current in the water column and hatch around 20 hours later.   After hatching, the finless fry live off their yolk sack until it is completely absorbed, at which point they drift down to the bottom of the reef and begin to eat small zooplankton.   The entire spawning event lasts for approximately 30 minutes.

In their natural habitat, Passer Angelfish feed on sponges, zooplankton, sessile invertebrates, tunicates, and benthic microalgae.   In an aquarium environment with plenty of aged live rock, their diet should also include Spirulina, marine algae, Mysis shrimp, meaty foods, and a high quality angelfish preparation that includes sponges. They do best when fed small portions at least three times daily.

Because they require sponges and tunicates as a food source and will often not accept prepared foods, even ones that contain sponges or tunicates as ingredients; Passer Angelfish have a well deserved reputation for being difficult to keep.

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) or King Angelfish are popular with tropical fish keeping enthusiasts but because of their specialized diet and large size are not common in the aquarium hobby.    They can be ordered through specialty fish shops and online from a variety of sources at the following approximate purchase sizes; Juvenile: Small 1″ to 1-3/4″; Medium 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″; Adult: Small: 1-3/4″ to 2-1/4″; Small/Medium: 2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″; Medium: 3-1/4″ to 4″; Medium/Large 4″ to 5″; Large: 5″ to 6″; XLarge: 6″ or larger.

Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

King Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72 °F – 78 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 14″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Eastern Pacific to Peru, Galapagos Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

 

Posted in Angelfish, Featured Articles, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

French Angelfish Pair (Pomacanthus paru)

French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

The French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the French Angel or Black Angelfish is found in tropical western Atlantic waters along the coasts of North and South America from New York, through the Carolinas, down to Brazil; and the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean; and the Antilles. It is also found in the eastern Atlantic in the area of Ascension Island and St. Paul’s Rocks.

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) frequent relatively shallow coral and rocky reefs where they can be seen singly or in pairs grazing on sponges, algae, corals, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians, and tunicates.

Despite their large size, French Angelfish seldom venture deeper than 15 feet; often in the vicinity of sea fans, however, they have been reported at depths between 9 to over 300 feet.

French Angelfish are highly territorial and will aggressively defend their territories from other angelfish, among other species.   Adult French Angelfish are monogamous and are almost always found in pairs grazing on the reef or defending their territory.

Juveniles Pomacanthus paru are often found in channels, bays, and along the inshore reefs where they establish cleaning stations and perform as cleaner fish, removing ectoparasites from a wide range of other fish species.

French Angelfish are active during the daylight hours, but like other reef dwellers seek shelter in a designated hiding spot where they return every night.

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

Adult French Angelfish  have a dark dusky blue black body color with yellow scale margins that extend along the sides, around the eyes, and up to the dorsal fin.  They have a pale dusky blue face with eyes ringed in bright yellow and mouth rimmed in white.   The base of the pectoral fin, lower gill cover, and trailing tip of the dorsal fin  is highlighted in yellow.

The French Angelfish is a protogynous hermaphrodite;  females can change their sex to become a male when no male is present.  There is no reliable way to determine the differences between males and females.

Juvenile French Angelfish have three vertical yellow bands over a black body background.  As they grow, the

Juvenile French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

Juvenile French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

yellow bands break up into the dappled appearance of the adults.  Juveniles are often misidentified as other species.

Because of their large size and the fact that they are not reef friendly, juvenile French Angelfish are best housed in a large fish only live rock (FOLR) aquarium of at least 100 gallon capacity with copious amounts of aged live rock for grazing and arranged into hiding places.  Adults require a tank of at least 250 gallon capacity, preferably larger.

French Angelfish will quickly dominate a tank and pick at soft and stony corals, clam mantles, other crustaceans in the tank, and smaller fish.    Although some tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have managed to successfully house them with Cladiella spp., Lamnalia spp., Litophyton spp., Sinularia spp. and other sturdy corals that produce a noxious chemical defense, reef tanks are not recommended.

Potential tank mates for French Angelfish are Blennies, Rabbitfish, Butterflyfish, Wrasses, Surgeonfish, and Triggerfish.  Slow moving or sedentary fish, especially if they resemble a rock, coral, sponge, or anything like food, should be avoided.

French Angelfish have been bred in an aquarium environment.  In the wild breeding takes place from April to September.   Shortly before dawn, bonded pairs move to the deepest parts of the reef and chase each other around in short bursts.   The pair will rise up into the water column and swim with their vents almost together until the female releases her eggs and the male, his sperm close to the surface.  A single female will produce anywhere from 25,000 to 75,000 eggs each time she breeds.   The fertilized eggs drift with the current and hatching around 20 hours later.   The fry remain with the plankton until they reach approximately 15mm in length, and then drift down to the bottom of the reef.

In their natural environment, French Angelfish graze on algae, sponges, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians, hydroids, corals, and tunicates.   In an aquarium environment they should be provided with plenty of aged live rock to graze on with Spirulina, marine algae, an occasional high quality frozen angelfish preparations with sponge matter, and Mysis or frozen shrimp.   They do best when fed small portions at least three times daily.

French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru) are available online from a variety of tropical fish keeping suppliers at the following approximate purche sizes; Juvenile Small 1″ to 1 1/2″; Medium 1 1/2″ to 2 1/4; Adult Small: 3″ to 3-1/2″; Medium: 4″ to 5″; Large: 6-1/2″ to 7″; Extra Large: 7″ to 7-1/2″

Prices range from under $250.00 to over $500.00 for large adults.

French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

French angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 250 gallons
Aquarium Type: Mature live rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72 °F – 78 °F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 24″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not reef safe
Origin: Western Atlantic Florida to Brazil; Gulf of Mexico; Caribbean Sea
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 10-15 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (0)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

The Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

The Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Turban snail, Mexican Turbo Grazer, Trochus Snail, Gulf Turban, Eastern Pacific Turban, Wavy Turban, or Top Shell Snail is a ravenous algae eater native to the Gulf of California off the coast of Mexico.  Their range extends from Cedros Island, Baja California to Peru; including the Galapagos and Tres Marias Islands.

Mexican turbo snails are commonly found along coral reefs in the mud and sand substrates of the intertidal zone under and attached to rocks and dead corals where new growths of fresh algae is most abundant. They can also be found in the crevices of reefs and boulders where they find refuge from predators.

Among it’s preferred habitat, moderately exposed coral reef shore, the optimum depth for Mexican Turbo Snails is from 2 to 33 feet, and infrequently as deep as 40 feet.

Juvenile Turbo fluctuosa prefer living in sandy bottom substrates of shallower intertidal reef flats and in fine rubble bottoms near growths of moderately exposed coral.

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

The Mexican Turbo Snail has a thick, domed, spiral shaped shell that consists of five rounded (with angled shoulder) whorls, and can grow to over 2 inches in size.   The base is slightly convex with an oval operculum.  Their eyes (detect motion and light) are located directly behind their two small tentacles.

Although Mexican Turbo Snails are found in a variety of colors; reddish brown, light brown, orange, olive green, orange with white/cream and dark brown mottling are the most common.

Mexican Turbo Snails are gonochoric (separate male and female individuals), without any external sexual

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

dimorphism.

Mexican Turbo Snails (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus) are excellent scavengers that have a ravenous appetite for algae, especially hair algae.   They are highly esteemed by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts for their service as “clean up crew” members and are one of the most popular marine snails in the hobby.

Although Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus are not very shy; they are peaceful, slow moving, and non aggressive.   When attacked by aggressive fish or crabs, they simply hunker down inside their shell or bury themselves in the sand.

The reef safe Mexican Turbo Snail is best housed in a well established reef aquarium with a sandy or fine gravel substrate and plenty of aged live rock for them to graze on arranged into hiding places with sufficient room for them to roam.   In addition to being the best algae eaters and scavengers in the hobby, these snails are great at aerating the sandy substrate in your tank.

They also do well in a live rock fish only tank with peaceful tank mates like dwarf shrimp and small, non carnivorous fish.

Mexican Turbo Snails are compatible with Pederson Cleaner Shrimps, Sexy Shrimp, Red Fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius), Peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), Skunk Cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), and snails like Bumble Bee Snail, Fighting Conch Snail, Cerith snails, Margarita snails (Margarites pupillus), Astrea Turbo Snails, Trochus Snails, etc.

Mexican Turbo Snails are frequently sold as members of clean up crews that will remove algae and clean the aquarium glass in your tank, however, because of their large adult size, they are not climbers like other smaller shelled species.   Like Astrea snails, Mexican Turbo snails have a hard time righting themselves once they are knocked upside down and often need help from their owners.  This is why they should not be housed with orange Claw Hermit Crabs (Calcinus tibicen).   These crabs have a preference for occupying Astraea and Mexican Turbo snail shells, making them easy prey for an upside down snail. Coral banded shrimp can also be a bit too dangerous for these snails.

The Mexican Turbo Snail is a nocturnal species that becomes most active during low light and night time conditions. Their grazing activity picks up at dusk, continues throughout the night, and stops just before dawn. They will start grazing in the tank after the lights are turned off and regardless of the time of day, become active a few hours after being kept in darkness.   Despite their slow moving pace, they cover surprisingly large areas in their search for algae during their foraging activities.
Juveniles and smaller specimens are better climbers and usually more active than adults.

Like other invertebrates, the Mexican Turbo Snail is sensitive to copper and high nitrate levels. Like all marine fish, they require slow acclimation over 2 to 3 hours using the drip method.

The Mexican Turbo Snail is a broadcast spawner that reaches reproductive maturity at 6 – 8 months with fertilization taking place at night in the water column.   The male initiates spawning and the female spawn in response to the presence of seed in the water. (Click Here) Females release over a million unfertilized eggs (oocytes) over a period of 5 to 10 minutes. The eggs are fertilized (contaminated) with a transparent mucus, floating in the seawater that will eventually clear up in the tank.   Corals and other filter feeders quickly eat the particles that cloud the water.

Hatching occurs approximately 12 to 24 hours after fertilization, after the larvae reach the planktonic phase. The larvae come out as free swimming veligers and remain so for approximately 3 to 5 days before settling onto the reef substrate to begin grazing on fine filamentous algae and microorganisms.

The snail larvae gradually metamorphose to the crawling stage in 6 to 8 days.

The mortality rate for the fertilized eggs is very high and only a few will survive to become adults.
Fertilization, larval development, and larval metamorphosis is suppressed at salinities lower than 30‰.

In their natural habitat, Mexican Turbo Snails prefer feeding on algae and seaweed as well as cyanobacteria and diatoms in the sand. In an aquarium environment, they will feed on hair algae, slime (filamentous) algae, brown macroalgae, diatoms, cyanobacteria as well as any leftover shrimp or fish foods pellets, flakes, Spirulina wafers, frozen foods, etc. in the tank.

When sufficient food levels are not present in the aquarium, supplement their diet with vegetable based tablets or flake foods.

The Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus) is a common saltwater species that can be purchased almost anywhere at a cost of less than $1.00 to $5.00 each, at purchase sizes between 3/4″ to 2″.   They are frequently sold online to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as members of “cleanup crews” for reef tanks at even lower prices.

Due to the extreme heat in Mexico from July to September, Turbo fluctuosa are not normally harvested and are often not available for purchase. Astraea Turbo Snails (Lithopoma tectum) or the more sensitive Margarita snails (Margarites pupillus) make ideal substitutes during these periods.

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

Mexican Turbo Snail (Turbo fluctuosa, Turbo fluctuosus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Aquarium Type: Established Reef or LRFO
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 70-73°F, dKH 8 to 16, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 2″
Color Form: Light brown, reddish-brown, greenish, or orange with whitish and dark brown mottling
Diet: Specialty Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef Compatible
Origin: Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Lesser Antilles
Family: Astraeinae
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Featured Articles, Invertebrates, Mollusks, Saltwater, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

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