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Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus) “Bulu Pt.”

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

The Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus) also known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Striped Gopby Cichlid and Tanganyikan Clown Cichlid is endemic to Lake Tanganyika where it is found in the “surge zone” along the shallow surface layers of the rocky shorelines of Zambia and Tanzania where they scrape algae from the rocks with their specialized teeth.

Along with species from Eretmodus, Spathodus, and Tanganicodus; the Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus) belongs to a group of cichlids commonly referred to as gobies or goby cichlids.

Because Horse Nose Cichlids inhabit very shallow rocky areas with strong currents and breaking waves, they have adapted to these conditions by developing long dorsal fins, a compressed body shape, and a non functional swim bladder that allows them to better cope with navigating the strong currents.

Horse Nose Cichlids have underslung mouths that allows them to remain flat against the rocks as they scrape off algae, and an extremely spiny dorsal fin that affords them some protection from birds and other predators that prey in the shallows.

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

Horse Nose Cichlids are sand colored with nine dark vertical bars along their sides.   Several color forms of Eretmodus cyanostictus exist that are dependent on where the specimens were collected.   Individuals collected from Kigoma have more red and orange in their fins than the those collected from the northern part of the lake.

Males and females are identically colored which makes them relatively impossible to sex, however, adult males are generally larger than females and also have slightly longer pelvic fins.

The fry can be reliably sexed up to a couple of days after release with males being a darker brown than females, but the color difference lasts only a few days.

Because Horse Nose Cichlids (Eretmodus cyanostictus) are adapted to living in the highly agitated water along the surge zones in Lake Tanganyika, more carbon dioxide is released into the highly oxygenated water which raises the pH.   These conditions are also required to keep them healthy in an aquarium environment.

Eretmodus cyanostictus are best housed in a brightly lit Lake Tanganyika biotope aquarium setup of at least 55 gallon capacity, with a sandy or extremely fine gravel substrate and plenty of rockwork spaced along the bottom in piles for them to “hop” around.   The rock piles should fill most of the aquarium and be arranged to form caves and crevices all the way to the top of the tank. Strong lighting is necessary to encourage algae growth and a sandy substrate is essential as an aid to digestion for this species.

Because Horse Nose Cichlids are a territorial species, they should not be kept with boisterous fish like Mbuna.   In a community Tanganyikan aquarium, good tankmates include species that inhabit different areas of the aquarium like Cyprichromis, Paracyprichromis, Tropheus, Petrochromis, Simochromis and shell dwellers.

Horse Nose Cichlids can also be kept singly or as a pair.   Once a pair has developed, they will remain together for life. Unless they are housed in a large aquarium, they are somewhat aggressive towards conspecifics.

Because Striped Goby Cichlids need highly oxygenated water to thrive, a good canister or trickle filter, at least a couple of power heads, and a few air stones are required to provide the necessary amount of oxygen.   Regular 20% to 30% water changes are also highly recommended.

Eretmodus cyanostictus are bi parental mouthbrooders that are difficult to breed.   They have a uniquely interesting spawning behavior and have been bred in an aquarium environment.

The best way to breed Eretmodus cyanostictus Gobies is to purchase a group of juveniles and allow them to pair off naturally in a large aquarium.   Because Horse Nose Cichlids mate for life, purchasing an adult male and female does NOT guarantee a pair and will often result in the female being harassed to death.

Once a pair forms, remove the other fish from the tank and place the pair in an aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with some flat rocks for them to use as spawning sites. Place the rocks at varying levels in the tank, set the pH between 8.2 and 9.0, keep the temperature between 77 and 80° F, and provide strong oxygenation.

When ready to breed, the female will select a spawning site on one of the rocks and thoroughly clean it.   The pair will then circle the site rubbing their mouths against each other’s stomachs until the female deposits 1 to 2 eggs that she immediately scoops up into her mouth.

The male has egg shaped spots on his anal fin which attracts the female to them.   As the female turns around to scoop up the eggs, the male shakes his body to release sperm that fertilizes the eggs at the precise moment the female scoops them up and tries to add them to the brood in her mouth.   This process is repeated until anywhere from 10 to 30 eggs are laid and fertilized.

The female may carry the eggs in her mouth for over 2 weeks and will not eat during this period.  When the eggs hatch, the female transfers the fry into the mouth of the male. The transfer will usually occur at the spawning site where 1 or 2 fry will be gently blown out of the distended mouth of the female and picked up by the male, one at a time.   At this stage the fry still have their yolk sacs. The male will incubate the fry for 7 to 14 days before releasing them over a period of several hours into different areas of the tank.   During the incubation period, the male will also cease eating.

Horse Nose Cichlid parents will not eat the eggs or the fry, so unless you intend to breed the pair again, there is no need to remove the offspring into a raising tank. Once the male releases the fry into the tank, they are ignored by the parents and left to subsist on their own.

After the egg sacs are absorbed, the fry will eagerly accept powdered or finely crushed spirulina flakes or baby brine shrimp from the first day.   Like many Tanganyikan species, growth is slow.

In their natural habitat, Horse Nose Cichlids are aufwuchs eaters that graze on algae that they scrape from the rocks in the shallows of Lake Tanganyika.   In an aquarium environment, the food of choice for Eretmodus cyanostictus is a good Spirulina flake, vegetable matter such as blanched spinach, and supplements of live and frozen Mysis or Cyclops.   Avoid feeding adults high protein foods such as meat, shellfish, worms, or brine shrimp at all costs.

The Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus) is an overlooked species that due to their specific requirements and sensitivity is not recommended for anyone but advanced tropical fish keeping enthusiasts. They are occasionally available from specialty tropical fish shops and online from a variety of sources at relatively reasonable prices.

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

Horse Nose Cichlid (Eretmodus cyanostictus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Delicate
Water Conditions: 75-82°F, pH 8.0-9.0, H 10-25°
Max. Size: 3.2″
Color Form: Brown, Blue
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Tanganyikan Community or single species tanks
Origin: Lake Tanganyika, Africa
Family: Cichlidae
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

 

Posted in African Cichlids, Cichlids, Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Lake Tanganyika Cichlids, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Male

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei)

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Male

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Male

The Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Watanabe’s Lyretail Angelfish and Blackedged Angel is found within the waters of the Pitcairn and Society Islands; part of Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean.

Genicanthus are found from Japan to the Philippines, South to New Caledonia and the Austral islands and Melansia, however, they are most often caught and offered to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from the Phillipines, the Coral Sea, and rarely from Melanesia.

The Wantanabe Angel is the smallest of the so called “Swallowtail” angels that seldom exceeds six inches in length.   As their name implies, Wantanabe Angels have long “swallowtail” like filamentous extensions on both caudal lobes of both sexes.

Males have an iridescent pale blue body color highlighted by eight long, thin, black horizontal stripes starting just behind the gill plate that extend from the mid to lower portion of the body, and one horizontal orange stripe at the rear mid-body that extends toward the tail.   The outer edges of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are edged in black.

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Female

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Female

Females also have an iridescent pale blue body color but lack the stripes found in males.  They have unique black bars on the head that joins the eyes and a black band along the upper and lower edges of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins.

A unique trait of Watanabe’s Angelfish and all ten members of the Genicanthus genus of Pomacanthidae, is the prominent sexual dichromatism between the sexes that makes them easy to sex.

Like many marine angelfish species, all Genicanthus angels are protogynous hermaphrodites that begin life as females and have the ability to morph into males.   When held in small groups or harems, the dominant female in the group will often transform into a male.   The process will usually take anywhere from 20 to 40 days to accomplish.

The Wantanabe Angel is a peaceful species that is tolerant of conspecifics and other angelfish species.   In an aquarium environment they should be introduced into the tank first before other angelfish who may not tolerate them.

Wantanabe Angelfish can be housed as singles, pairs, or in small harems of a single male and multiple females, provided the tank is large enough.

Genicanthus watanabei are best housed in a mature deep water reef aquarium of at least 125 gallon capacity with a variety of hard and soft corals and plenty of mature algae covered live rock arranged into caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to graze upon and hide among. They are open water swimmers that require plenty of free swimming space and do best in a dimly lit tank that replicates their deep water habitat.

A chiller is needed to maintain the cool 74° F temperature they prefer.   Like other deep water species, Wantanabe Angels require stable water conditions and pristine water quality to thrive.   The Wantanabe Angelfish is perfectly reef safe with Soft and Hard Corals (including Stony Corals) not likely to be harmed.

Wantanabe angelfish can be housed with other peaceful, non threatening tank mates such as Snowflake Clownfish, small wrasses, Anthias, gobies, chromis, blennies, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, etc.

The Wantanabe angelfish is now being captive bred, however they are pelagic spawners that are very difficult to breed in an aquarium environment.

The Wantanabe angel feeds almost constantly in their natural environment on planktivores, small crustaceans, and algae.   In an aquarium environment they are easy to feed once acclimated and will accept almost anything floating in the water column.

In addition to having a large quantity of live rock in the aquarium for them to graze upon, a varied diet rich in Mysis shrimp, marine plankton, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, finely chopped crustaceans, Spirulina, marine algae, and a high quality commercial angelfish preparation fed multiple times daily will keep Genicanthus watanabei in good condition.   Frequent small feedings are recommended for this species.

Although the Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) is seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts, they can be occasionally found in specialty fish shops and ordered online from importers, wholesalers, retailers, and collectors at relatively reasonable prices for deep water species.    There are usually waiting lists for this species at purchases sizes from: Small 1 1/4″ to 2-1/2″ Small/Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3″ Medium 3″ to 4″; Medium/Large: 4-1/4″ to 5-1/4″ Large 5-1/4″ to 6 ” at current prices from $150.00 to $350.00.

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Male

Wantanabe Angel (Genicanthus watanabei) Male

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deep water Reef
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult to acclimate
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Orange, Blue, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Pitcairn and Society Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 2-5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

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

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

The Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Japanese Angelfish or Japanese Pygmy Angelfish is another rare species found in relatively large concentrations in Southern and Central Japan, and in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Midway and Kure.

The Interruptus Angel is a relatively peaceful species that in nature grows up to 6 inches in length and frequents areas in rocky reefs where boulders covered in heavy algae growth are found at depths ranging anywhere from 25 to over 200 feet.

Interruptus Angels have an orange body color covered with purplish, neon blue spots (more like freckles) that become larger towards the tail, and a bright yellow caudal fin.   The larger blue spots become more purple towards the caudal fin and the upper and lower portion of the body towards the rear of the fish morph into purple .

Juvenile Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Juvenile Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Juvenile Interruptus Angels have a black ocellus on the posterior portion of the dorsal fin margined in blue.

Female Japanese Angelfish have blue speckles across the entire bod; while males predominantly on the face.

The vibrant shades of pink and purple, littered with speckled blue dots make the Japanese Angelfish one of the most visually appealing and sought after species in the aquarium trade.

Centropyge interruptus are protogynous hermaphrodites that are born female.   As they mature, when they are about 5 inches in length, the dominant female will change sex to become a male.   The process usually takes approximately 20 to 40 days.

Although the Interruptus Angel can be relatively peaceful in a community aquarium with no other dwarf angelfish, it is best housed in a well established deepwater reef aquarium of at least a 70 gallon capacity with a variety of large polyp stony corals, a few deepwater Acropora species, and plenty of mature, algae covered live rock arranged into caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to hide and graze upon.

The lighting in the tank should be dimmed to replicate their deepwater habitat and a chiller is required to keep the maximum temperature in the tank under 74° Fahrenheit.   Like other deepwater species Interruptus Angels require very stable water conditions and pristine water quality to thrive.   Once acclimated, at least monthly 20-30% water changes are recommended.

Japanese Angelfish can be housed with other peaceful, non threatening tankmates such as Snowflake Clownfish, small wrasses, anthias, gobies, chromis, blennies, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, etc.

Although the Interruptus Angel is not considered reef safe; frequent feeding will keep it from nibbling on stony and soft corals, and have it spending time grazing on bits of algae growing on the live rock in the tank.

Interruptus Angelfish are protogynous hermaphrodites that have been bred in an aquarium environment and are now being captive bred.    They are pelagic spawners that in their natural habitat are typically found in pairs on rocky reefs around rich growths of algae.

Males will usually spawn with individual females at dusk.  The pair rise up into the water column where the male encourages the female to release her eggs. The pair join belly to belly and their eggs and sperm are released into the water column.   The eggs rise toward the surface where they become part of the plankton chain and receive no parental care.

In their natural deepwater habitat, Interruptus Angels graze on algae, bethnic invertebrates, and sponges.   In an aquarium environment they are excellent browsers of microalgae and detritus, but they also require frequent feedings of a variety of meaty frozen foods including Mysis, fortified brine shrimp, etc.   Pellets and flake foods containing Spirulina are also eagerly accepted.

Underfed specimens will begin nipping at clam mantles, sea anemones, LPS corals, and some soft corals such as zoanthids.

The Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus) is a rarely collected species that is seldom encountered by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts however, if you should luck out and find one for sale, expect to pay anywhere from $ 3,000.00 or more.   The prices below are for captive bred Interruptus Angelfish:

Medium: over 1.5-2.5″ = $4,000.00
Large: over 2.5-3.5″ = $4,500.00
X-Large: over 3.5-4″, = $5,500.00

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

Interruptus Angel (Centropyge interruptus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult to acclimate
Water Conditions: 66-74°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 6″
Color Form: Orange, Purple, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Southern Japan, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Kure and Midway Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 2-5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

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

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

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

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

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

Juvenile Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Juvenile Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

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

The under body is a pale white color.

 

 

 

Female Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Female Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

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

The underbody is a pale white to cream color.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

Adult Spotted Angel (Genicanthus takeuchii)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

The Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Blackspot Angelfish, Black Spot Angelfish, and Ocellated Angelfish ranges from the Admiralty Islands, Caroline Island, Central Pacific, Wallis Island in French Polynesia, Guam, Johnston Atoll, Fanning Island in Kiribati, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Society Islands, and various United States Minor Outlying Islands.

They have also been reported in scattered localities from Holmes Reef in the Coral Sea and the West Central Pacific at depths from 15 to over 50 feet.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish are an extremely rare species that frequently inhabit the clear lagoons and outer reefs of their range, usually around areas with a lot of rubble and dead corals where they graze on algae.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

The Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish is a shy, reclusive, secretive, seldom seen species that has a pale yellow to almost white body color, with a large black spot that covers the base of the pectoral fin and a black, false black eye spot (ocellus) circled in white, on the rear part of the dorsal fin.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish are believed to be abundant in their range but because of their cryptic nature, seeing one is a matter of pure luck and capturing one would be like winning the lottery.

In the aquarium trade Centropyge nigriocella are even more rare and expensive than the deepwater Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei).   To date only three specimens have been known to be collected alive, with the latest specimen from Vanuatu being the second one collected from that area.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish should be housed in a mature reef aquarium of at least 90 gallon capacity with plenty of live rock and dead corals arranged into caves, overhangs, and crannies for them to graze and hide among.   Being a shallow water species, they can be housed with anthias, gobies, chromis, and other smaller non aggressive species.    Because they live in a reef environment, pristine water quality is mandatory along with regular water changes.

Although nothing is known about the breeding habits of Centropyge nigriocella, they are believed to be egg scatterers and assumed to follow the same breeding habits.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish are omnivores that feed mainly on algae.   In an aquarium environment they should be provided with a large quantity of mature live rock as well as feedings of Algae, Brine Shrimp, Frozen Foods, Mysis shrimp, and Angelfish formulas.    Because they are grazers, they should be fed small portions at least 3 to 4 times daily.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella) are extremely rare in the aquarium trade and exceedingly expensive when offered for sale.   The last 1.7 inch specimen captured from Vanuatu was sold in Japan for a little over $16,000.00.

The reason some fish species fetch exorbitant prices is because of their isolation in distribution, the depths at which they live, or both.   The reason Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish are so expensive is because they are so cryptic and rarely seen in their natural habitat.   Capturing an elusive species this small is simply a matter of luck.

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

Blackspot Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nigriocella)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 90 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef with rubble rock
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 77 °F – 82.4 °F, 8 to 12 dKH , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 2.36″
Color Form: Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species; peaceful tankmates
Origin: Central Pacific
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

 

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

The Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Narc Angelfish or Deep Reef Pygmy Angel is an elusive deepwater species found in the Eastern Central Pacific Ocean of Rarotonga, Cooks Islands and more recently discovered over 700 miles away in the deep waters of Tahiti.

The Narcosis Angelfish is closely related to Colin’s Angelfish (Centropyge colini) in form and behavior, and is found singly or in small groups at depths from 360 to over 420 feet.

Like Colin’s Angelfish, the Narcosis Angelfish is a shy, reclusive species that prefer living among rocky vertical drop offs in caves, overhangs, and crevices where they can easily hide when threatened.   They are frequently observed swimming upside down with their bellies tight to the ceiling of a cave or overhang.

They will often hang in a head down position with their dorsal spines extended to ward off larger predators.   The black dots flanking their sides apparently look like large eyes to fish eating predators.

The first known Narcosis Angelfish ever collected was by Richard Pyle around the Cook Islands at a depth of 330 to 340 feet.

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis) have a strikingly bright yellow body color with a single jet black spot on either side of the fish, a tall body profile, and prominent dorsal fin spikes that are quite sharp.   Males are believed to be slightly larger than females and cannot be distinguished by color.

In the unlikely event you are able to acquire a Narcosis Angelfish, they are best housed in a well established deepwater reef aquarium of at least a 70 gallon capacity with a variety of large polyp stony corals, a few deepwater Acropora species, and plenty of live rock arranged into caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to hide and graze upon.

The lighting in the tank should be dimmed to replicate their deepwater habitat and a chiller is required 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.

Narcosis Angelfish can be housed with other non threatening tankmates such as Snowflake Clownfish, small wrasses, gobies, blennies, Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, etc.   As long as they are the dominant fish in the tank and plenty of live rockwork arranged into overhangs and caves is provided, other peaceful deepwater angelfish can also be safely kept with Centropyge narcosis.

Because Narcosis Angelfish have a fondness for sessile corals such as some Fungiids species like Cycloseris and Fungia, and some Chalice Corals like Echinophyllia, Echinopora, and Mycedium; they are not considered reef safe.   However, when well fed, infrequent nipping on healthy Chalice corals is not usually detrimental.   Fungiids however take longer to recover.

Although Narcosis Angelfish have not been bred in an aquarium environment, they are believed to be pelagic spawners that in their

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

natural habitat form pairs or have small harems of 3 to 7 individuals.   Males will usually spawn with individual females at dusk. The pair rise up into the water column where the male encourages the female to release her eggs.   The pair join belly to belly and their eggs and sperm are released into the water column.   The eggs rise toward the surface where they become part of the plankton chain and receive no parental care.

Narcosis Angelfish are omnivores and although their natural diet is unknown, they will accept a wide range of angelfish foods. They need substantial quantities of mature live rock in their tank to graze upon in addition to 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.

They do well on frozen Angel Formula and Formula II once acclimated and should be fed at least 2 to 3 times a day. The challenge to maintaining this species is to first get the fish acclimated and then keep it interested in eating food.   Keeping the aquarium lighting low during feeding sessions will help avoid startling the fish.

Like all deepwater species, Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis) are incredibly rare to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and when available fetch huge sums of money.   The Narcosis Angelfish is more expensive than the Peppermint Angelfish (Centropyge boylei).   Both of these “twilight” species have sold for five figures or more.   A specimen in 2012 sold for a bargin price of $4,999.00 and was snatched up in seconds.    Most rare deepwater species are sold directly to the Asian market where they realize top dollars from aquariums and rare tropical fish collectors.

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

Narcosis Angelfish (Centropyge narcosis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult to acclimate
Water Conditions: 72-74°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3.5″
Color Form: Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Cook Islands, Tahiti
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5-7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

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Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

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

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

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

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

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia)

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

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

Golden Angelfish (Centropyge aurantia),

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini) Pair

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini)

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini)

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini)

The Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Colin’s Pygmy Angelfish, Colin’s Angelfish, and Cocos-Keeling Angelfish is a rare, shy, deepwater, pygmy angelfish found from Indonesia in the Western Pacific, to Fiji in the South Pacific.

The Blue Back Angelfish is a very shy, rarely seen species that is usually found alone, in pairs, or in harems of 3 to 6 individuals hanging upside down in caves, crevices, and steep walls at depths between 60, to over 300 feet.   They seem to be scattered throughout the Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean including; Papua new Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Palau, Guam, Marshall Islands, the Philippines, north to Ogasawara Islands and Cocos-Keeling, south of Java.    The first specimen was collected in the Coos-Keeling Islands in the late 70s.

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

Colin’s Pygmy Angelfish has a predominately bright yellow body with a large blue to purple colored saddle like area on the back and spiny part of the dorsal fin, and a blue ring around the eye.

Males are slightly larger than females and are indistinguishable by color, but like most other Centropyge species, Centropyge colini start their adult life as females.   Over time, the larger and more dominant individual in a small group or harem will change sex; sometimes within a few days, up to a couple of weeks to become a male.

The Blue Back Angelfish looks similar to the Purplemask or Venusta Angelfish (Centropyge venusta) from the West Pacific. Both have the bright lemon yellow body color with blue to purple above; but the blue in the Purplemask Angelfish extends into the tail fin and the yellow extends upward to just behind the eye to break up the blue with a triangular band.

Centropyge joculator (Coco’s Pygmy Angelfish or Yellowhead Angelfish) was discovered at the same time and location as the Blue Back Angelfish and often share the same deepwater habitat.   Centropyge joculator is yellow in front, blue on the back, and has a yellow caudal fin.

In the wild, divers frequently find Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini) sharing their deepwater overhangs and caves with Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata), Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) and Yellowhead Angelfish (Centropyge joculator).

Blue Back Angelfish are difficult to maintain in an aquarium environment.   A single specimen requires a well established deepwater reef aquarium of at least 70 gallon capacity with a large amount of live rock arranged into plenty of nooks, crannies, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among when they feel threatened.   They require plenty of natural foods growing on the live rock, dim lighting to replicate their deepwater cave environment, cooler water temperatures (which means that an aquarium chiller is mandatory) and pristine water quality, which means frequent water changes.

Colin’s Angelfish are rather delicate and although they can be housed in a fish only aquarium with other peaceful species like chromis,

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

wrasses, etc. they do best in a reef tank setting, however; like other pygmy angels, they may nip at stony coral polyps, zoanthids and clam mantles.

The majority of Blue Back Angelfish will not usually bother noxious soft corals, sea anemones or mushrooms, and in many cases gorgonians, polyps, and green star polyps, but each individual has it’s own personality.

The Blue Back Angelfish has been bred in a laboratory in Oahu Island, Hawaii.   They are pelagic spawners that in their natural habitat form pairs or have small harems of 3 to 7 individuals.   Males will spawn with individual females usually at dusk.   The pair rises up into the water column where the male encourages the female to release her eggs. The pair join belly to belly where both release their eggs and sperm into the water column.   The eggs rise to the surface and become part of the plankton chain and receive no parental care.

The larvae raised in Hawaii were fed cyclopeeze and marine algae rich crushed flake foodss, micropellets, and artemia nauplii.

Blue Back Angelfish are omnivores that need substantial quantities of mature live rock in their tank to graze upon in addition to 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.

They do well on frozen Angel Formula and Formula II once acclimated and should be fed at least 2 to 3 times daily. The challenge to maintaining this species is getting it acclimated and then keeping it interested in food. Keep the lighting low during feeding sessions to avoid startling the fish.

The Colin’s Angelfish or Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini) occasionally makes its way into the hobby and becomes available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts at high prices.   The 2 to 3 specimens that appear per month sell at around $500.00 per individual, almost immediately. Avoid purchasing them from exporters in the Philippines or Indonesia unless you have a guarantee that the fish are hand caught.   Both countries still allow the use of cyanide fishing methods.

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

Blue Back Angelfish (Centropyge colini).mp4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Difficult to acclimate
Water Conditions: 76-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3.5″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Western Pacific to Fiji
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5-7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

The Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Black Banded Angelfish, Bandit Angelfish, Black Banded Angelfish and Black and White Banded Angelfish is a rare species found along the outer deep water ledges outside of the reefs in the Hawaiian and Johnston Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Black & White Bandit Angelfish are a shy, reclusive, deep water species that inhabit the caves, overhangs, crevices’, and rocky ledges found in faster moving waters at depths up to 500 feet.   Although they are occasionally seen as shallow as 50 feet; they are considered a deep water species.

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

The Black & White Bandit Angelfish has a distinctive, almost pearlescent white body color with a broad black band accented by a narrow white band above that runs from the nose of the fish to the top of the caudal fin.

The lower part of the anal and rear of the caudal fins have a broad black band edged with white.  The body color above the band is a slightly darker, almost light gray color.   Below the band the body is a shimmering, pearlescent white color.  The result is a spectacular, eye catching “masked bandit” like appearance.

Holacanthus arcuatus are virtually impossible to sex but like many angelfish, they are Hermaphroditic and can change gender from female to male when necessary.

Because the Black & White Bandit Angelfish is collected from depths often well below 50 feet, they are subject to decompression sickness when brought to the surface too quickly.   Depending on the depth, decompression can take up to several hours to accomplish, which is why some divers use needles to puncture the air bladder of the fish to allow a faster surface when specimens are collected deep.   When not done properly, this can cause infections in the fish.

Black & White Bandit Angelfish are best housed as a single specimen in a well established deep water reef aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity with plenty of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to graze and hide among when they feel threatened.   The larger the tank, the easier they will be to care for. Their deep water habitat requires cooler water temperatures, pristine water quality, and a fast flowing current; which means that an aquarium chiller, several powerheads, and regular water changes are mandatory.   Because they come from a low light environment, dim lighting is also recommended until the fish can be acclimated to normal lighting levels.

Black & White Bandit Angelfish are shy and generally easy going with other species, however, they can be quite aggressive with other angelfish and other species of about their same size.   Good tankmates include smaller, peaceful species like Anthias, chromis, blennies, etc.    They do well in reef tanks but will naturally nip on live coral and sponges.

Professional breeders have found this species extraordinarily difficult to breed, but to date, there have been no reports of tropical fish keeping enthusiasts breeding Black and White Bandit Angelfish in an aquarium environment.

In their natural deep water habitat, Black & White Bandit Angelfish hide in caves and overhangs where stony and soft corals grow.   They are omnivores that feed on filamentous sponges, tunicates, benthic algae, weeds, invertebrates, and fish eggs which is why they can easily starve in captivity.

Most specimens will eventually adapt to tank food in an aquarium that contains substantial amounts of live rock with marine algae for grazing.   They should also be provided supplemental feedings of live or frozen meaty angelfish preparations that include sponge as the main ingredient. San Francisco Bay and Ocean Nutrition brands both have frozen formulas that contain these ingredients.   Live foods such as freshly chopped seafoods and vitamin fortified shrimp will usually spike their appetites and get them to start eating.

Because of the difficulty in collecting from their deep water environment, the difficulty in acclimating, and extreme difficulty in breeding captured Black & White Bandit Angelfish in captivity; the vast majority of Holacanthus arcuatus are captured in the wild and can cost tropical fish keeping enthusiasts anywhere from $800-$1000 or more.    Although they are occasionally available from importers, wholesalers, and retailers online by special order; make sure that you can inspect this fish carefully before purchasing and can be guaranteed that it is eating in captivity.

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

Black & White Bandit Angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Extremely Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 7″
Color Form: Black, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Hawaiian and Johnston Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 2 to 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

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Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) Female

Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus)

Bellus Angels (genicanthus bellus)

Bellus Angels (genicanthus bellus)

The Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Ornate Angelfish is found at depths of 300 feet in the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, as well as the Phillipine Island chain as far east as Tonga.

Although the Bellus Angelfish is not considered a dwarf angel, it is one of the smaller species of angelfish.

Genicanthus bellus are one of the few sexually dimorphic species of angelfish.

Males and females both have long tapered “swallowtail” like tails that taper into the body.

Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) Male

Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) Male

Males have a predominantly gray colored body with orange dorsal fins and an orange to yellow stripe running along the lateral line.   The dorsal, ventral, and top and bottom of the caudal fin is edged in purple and blue, with baby blue and black features on the face and lips.

Female Bellus Angelfish are blue, black, and white to gray with horizontal black, white, and blue lines along the body that transition into vertical

Bellus Angel (genicanthus bellus) Female

Bellus Angel (genicanthus bellus) Female

stripes at the head.  The dorsal and ventral fins are black; edged in blue, and red to orange depending on the locale where they are collected.

Like many angelfish species, Bellus Angelfish are hermaphroditic and are able to change their sex from female to male.   Males will often change back into a female when no females are present in the tank.

The Bellus Angelfish is a peaceful deep water species that is rather difficult to maintain in an aquarium environment.    They are best housed in an aged, dimly lit, deep water reef aquarium of at least 70 gallon capacity for a single specimen; or 125 gallon capacity for a pair or group.   They require a large amount of live rock in the tank arranged into overhangs and caves for them to hide amongst when they feel threatened and a moderate amount of water flow.

Although a single male can be housed with a harem of several females in a large aquarium; it is best not to keep more than one male in the system. Genicanthus bellus are reef safe and can be maintained with corals, Tridacna clams, and most inverts.   Some suitable tankmates include blennies, gobies, Chromis, clownfish, butterflyfish, eels, and small lionfish.  Ornate Angelfish are generally peaceful, but it is not a good idea to keep them with angelfish of the genus Genicanthus.

Acclimating this species can be aided by initially keeping the aquarium dimly lit, and then gradually increasing the lighting to normal over a period of several days.

Genicanthus bellus are open water egg scatterers that are difficult to successfully breed in an aquarium environment.   Although several tropical fish keeping enthusiasts have seen Bellus Angelfish regularly spawning in very large aquariums, rearing the larvae has been extremely difficult.   To date, no successful rearing of larvae have been reported.

In their natural environment, Bellus Angelfish are omnivores that feed primarily on zooplankton and marine algae.   In an aquarium environment, they require large amounts of aged live rock to graze upon along with regular feedings of live or frozen Mysis, brine shrimp, shellfish, dried algae, Spurilina, and other greens.   A varied diet with several feedings daily will help keep them healthy.

The Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) is not common in the aquarium hobby however tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can get them from specialty fish shops and online from auction sites, importers, and several retailers.     Because they are collected in deep water environments, they always demand a hefty price when available.

Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) Female

Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus) Female

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons for one; 125 gallons for groups
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 72 – 79°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 7″
Color Form: Black, Blue, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef safe
Origin: Indonesia
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

 

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Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

The Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei) regarded by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Holy Grail of saltwater fish, is a dwarf deep water species of pygmy angelfish found in the eastern central Pacific around the Cook Islands and Rarotonga in depths between 160, to over 400 feet.

A shy species that hides amongst the rocks and rubble of reef cliffs and most often seen between 300 and 400 feet, the Peppermint Angelfish (Centropyge boylei) was first discovered by Charles Boyle around the Cook Islands.    They may be more widespread, but because of the difficulties of sampling deep reef environments, their precise distribution remains unknown.

During a trip made this February to Moorea, a moderately sized island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in French Polynesia, Dave Pence took the only known video of the Peppermint Angelfish in it’s natural habitat at a depth of between 330 to 360 feet.

The video (above) also shows a few undescribed species of Chromis, a couple of anthias species (Pseudanthias privitera and P. ventralis), and the beautiful Bellus angel (Genicanthus bellus), another rare deep water species.

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish get their name from their brilliant red to red-orange body color, five vertical white lines along the body that go through the dorsal and rear half of the ventral fins; and yellow highlights in the white face and chin.    Fully grown adults are small and only reach a length of about 2-3/4″.

Males and females appear indistinguishable, but like most other Centropyge species, Centropyge boylei are believed to start their adult life as females.   Over time, the larger and more dominant individual in a small group or harem will change sex; sometimes within a few days, up to a couple of weeks to become a male.

Because the Peppermint Angelfish is so rare in the aquarium trade, not much is known about its diet or aquarium care, however, a couple of specimens have been successfully housed like other deep water species of this genus.

Peppermint Angelfish do best in a well established reef aquarium of at least 70 gallon capacity with a large quantity of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among when they feel threatened.   Their deep water habitat requires cooler water temperatures, which means that an aquarium chiller is mandatory to maintain a water temperature of about 72°F.    Because they live in a low light environment, dim lighting is also necessary.    Peppermint Angelfish assumedly do well with other deep water tankmates from the Cook Islands such as Ventralis Anthias, etc.

Although a reef setting is optimal, underfed Centropyge boylei will nip at clam mantles, large polyp stony corals, sea anemones, and some soft corals such as zoanthids. Most fish will not eat the coral polyps but instead go after the coral produced mucus.

Angelfish will generally leave Bubble corals, Star polyps, Disc anemones, Hammer corals, and most SPS corals alone, so it is possible to maintain a mixed coral aquarium with dwarf angelfish.

Although Peppermint Angelfish are believed to be broadcast spawners; nothing is known about the breeding habits of this species.

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

In their natural deep water habitat, Peppermint Angelfish feed on microalgae and detritus.   In an aquarium environment, they will require a large amount of live rock to graze on with a variety of copepods as a natural food source and additional offerings of Spirulina, fresh vegetable matter, nori, Mysis shrimp, Calanus, live or thawed frozen brine shrimp, small fish eggs, Angel Formula, etc.

If there is not sufficient algae on the live rock for Centropyge boylei to graze on, they must be feed more frequently with supplements of algae rich foods e.g. Spirulina. Once they begin to eat, they will feed on a variety of foods and leave the corals and clams alone.

Although Peppermint Angelfish are not considered a rare fish in their natural habitat, they are almost nonexistent in the aquarium trade.   This is because of the difficulty in collecting specimens.   They are only located in depths of 160 feet or more where only trained scuba divers can reach them.   They are small, shy, elusive, and quickly dart into the rocks when threatened making them difficult for divers to catch, and because they also need to be decompressed as they are brought to the surface, they demand high prices when they are captured.

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei) specimens that have entered the tropical fish keeping hobby the United States were extremely expensive.   The least expensive specimen we have seen was priced at $18,500.00 and the highest price paid was reported to be $30,000.00.

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy when acclimated
Water Conditions: 68-74°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 7.9 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.027
Max. Size: 2.75″
Color Form: Red, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Indonesia, Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

Nahacky's Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)5

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

Nahacky's Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)5

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi) is a rare deep water species of pygmy angelfish that is found only at the Johnson Atoll, west of the Hawaiian Islands at depths between 85 to 250 feet.

Although a single stray Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish that was collected in 1989 in the seaward slopes of the Neritic zone in the Hawaiian Islands has led tropical fish keeping enthusiasts to believe that their range is much more extensive than reported; the difficulties of sampling deep reef environments makes their precise distribution unknown.

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish inhabit the coastal ocean which is also known as the Neritic zone, coastal waters, or sublittoral zone which is slightly above the drop off of the continental shelf and extends to depths to 330 feet.    Because of the abundant sunlight of sunlight and nutrients in this zone, it is where the majority of corals and marine fish species in our oceans reside.

The Abei Angelfish is the deepest living species of dwarf angelfish found in this zone at a depth of 600 feet, but Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish and several other species also enjoy deeper water in the 80 to 250 feet range.

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish prefer living in small groups or harems along the seaward slopes of the continental shelf close to collections of rubble where they hide among the crevices and overhangs.

Nahacky's Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi) is a beautiful deep water species that is colored a vibrant dark blue on the upper half and mostly yellow on the lower half of it’s body.   It has several squiggly black and bright blue lines over the eye, a bright yellow tail, and a black anal fin edged with bright blue. Except for possibly size, there are no obvious differences between sexes.

Like all Centropyge species, Centropyge nahackyi start their adult life as females.    Over time, the larger and more dominant individual in a small group or harem will change sex; sometimes within a few days, up to a couple of weeks to become a male.

Understanding that size is the main difference between sexes, many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts place a small and larger specimen together to develop breeding pairs. Usually in just a couple of months, one of the two fish will change sex to accommodate the other.

Should the need arise, a reversal of this sex change is also possible, but it requires weeks to months for the change to occur.

Because Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish is so rarely seen in the aquarium trade, not much is known about its diet or aquarium care, however, a couple of Japanese specimens are housed like other species in this genus.

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish do best in a well established aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a large quantity of live rock arranhed into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among when they feel threatened.    A reef setting is optimal however, like other pygmy angelfish, Centropyge nahackyi has a tendency to nip at clam mantles, sea anemones, large polyp stony corals, and some soft corals such as zoanthids; especially when underfed.

Although Centropyge nahackyi are believed to be broadcast spawners; nothing is known about the breeding habits of this species.

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish are omnivores that require a sufficient amount of live rock in their aquarium for them to graze on, and live or frozen small meaty items such as live sponges, fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and flake foods offered several times a day.

Because Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi) is a deepwater species found only at the Johnston Atoll at depths where sharks are abundant; only two or three specimens have been imported at ridiculously high prices to aquariums in Japan.    Listed as NT (near threatened) on the Red List, it is unlikely that any specimens will be available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the United States.

Nahacky's Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

Nahacky’s Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge nahackyi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 70 – 79°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.0 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max. Size: 3.6″
Color Form: Black, Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Johnston Atoll
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

The Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei) is a super rare dwarf deep water species of pygmy angelfish that have been found from Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia to Palau in depths between 300 to 600 feet.

Abei Angelfish are believed to be much more widespread, but because of the difficulties of sampling deep reef environments, their precise distribution remains unknown.

To date, Abei Angelfish are the deepest living species of pygmy angelfish known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.   They were first sighted by a deep water submersible operating around Palau at a depth of 600 feet, and have since been photographed and collected by divers with rebreathing apparatus at depths between 300 and 450 feet.

The Abei Angelfish that were collected in Palau were found in the crevice’s and overhangs of a very steep limestone slope with accumulations of limestone reef rock rubble at a depth of 390 feet.

Centropyge abei are not common at Palau, and although only 8 solitary individuals or pairs were observed during a total of 40 dives made to those depths, it is likely that some of these sightings were of the same fish.

The silhouette of the Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei) closely resembles Centropyge colini.    They both have a small face with large forward placed eyes and a high flat dorsal fin that is substantially shorter and more arched than in most other pygmy angelfish.

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

The Abei Angelfish has a yellow body, a black head, back, and dorsal fin, with a white caudal fin.   Adults have a broad white bar just before the dorsal fin which gives them a mask like appearance.

Juveniles have a less developed white head stripe, black mask on the face, and white stripe at the base of the tail.

Although most tropical fish keeping enthusiasts consider the Abei Angelfish to be the rarest fish in the world, it is definitely one of the rarest and most elusive species of dwarf angelfish.

Centropyge abei are so rare, that only a few specimens have ever been photographed.    Until the recent Australian specimen made it’s way into Blue Harbor in Japan, the single live Abei Angelfish that has been on display for over a decade at the Waikiki Aquarium in Hawaii has been the only source for images of this species.

The Abei Angelfish can assumedly be housed like other pygmy angelfish in a large reef tank setting.   Because they are a deep water species, they require dim lighting and probably a chiller system to maintain the cooler water parameters.   Since there is no likelihood of ever obtaining one of these rare fish, aquarium maintenance tends to bee a moot point.

Abei Angelfish are omnivores that evidently do well in an expertly maintained aquarium environment.

The small Blue Harbor specimen is already well acclimated to his aquarium life and eats a variety of aquarium foods with gusto including live and frozen brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, etc.

Although Centropyge abei are believed to be broadcast spawners; nothing is known about the breeding habits of this species.

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei) are not currently available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts unless you happen to be extremely wealthy and lucky.   The very few specimens ever collected mostly out of Australia, sold for astronomical, five digit sums.

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

Abei Angelfish (Centropyge abei)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Unknown
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 68-69.8°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3.6″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Indonesia, Palau
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

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

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Many Banded Angelfish, Barred Angelfish, and Multibar Angelfish are found in the East Indian Ocean, Australia, Indonesia, East Pacific, and Central West Pacific Oceans specifically from the Cocos-Keeling Atoll to the Society Islands, north to the Yaeyama Islands, and south to the Great Barrier Reef.

Multibarred Angelfish are collected from caves and crevices that they inhabit in depths from 60 to 230 feet where they feed on small crustaceans, algae, sponges, tunicates and other benthic inverts.

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish are deeper bodied than most angelfish and have a white body color with eight full vertical black bars that become a bright yellow toward the lower portion of the body.   The caudal fin is translucent at the edge and between white speckled with black, and the pectoral fins are bright yellow. The white tips of the anterior dorsal fin are pointed to the posterior.

Juvenile specimens have fewer bars and can be identified by a distinctive blue ocellus on the back of their dorsal fin that fades as the mature.

Like most dwarf angelfish, they are Hermaphroditic and can change gender from female to male when necessary.

Paracentropyge multifasciata is a shy, social, reclusive species that is one of the least aggressive members of the genus.

Although Multibarred Angelfish are often housed in a single species reef tank environment; they can be kept in pairs or in larger groups when provided with a large enough aquarium.  They are often housed with surgeonfish, butterfly fish, and other less aggressive tank mates.

A single Multibarred Angelfish requires an aged aquarium of at least 70 gallon capacity, with plenty of hiding places and live rock for grazing.   A well aquascaped reef setting with a large amount of cured live rock arranged into shelters, archways, overhangs, and hiding places will provide enough grazing area for the microalgae growth necessary to maintain the health of this fish.

Multibarred Angelfish are constant grazers that may gradually erode some of the reef structure.   When not fed properly, they may begin feeding on polyps, soft corals, and clam mantles.  This species particularly enjoys nibbling on Tridacna clams and for this reason is not considered to be entirely REEF SAFE.

An “aged aquarium” that is at least 6 months old will normally have a substantial growth of algae to provide the necessary diet to feed your angelfish.

Paracentropyge multifasciata is a deeper water species that is used to dim lighting.   They are very sensitive to transport and difficult to acclimate.

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Keep the tank lighting very low or dim for several days and gradually increase it when introducing new fish to the reef.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so regulator water changes are mandatory.   In an aquarium of 70 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended. Because Multibarred Angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

Multibarred Angelfish are broadcast spawners that live in harems with one dominant male and several females.   After a lengthy mating ritual, they release their fertilized gametes into the water column where they eventually fall to the bottom where they receive no parental care.   The small (0.7mm) eggs hatch out after 16–18 hours and the larvae have a pelagic phase of up to 50 days after which they become benthic and metamorphose into juveniles.   Being a protogynous hermaphrodite, Multibarred Angelfish are born as females and as they grow, the larger the most dominant fish will transform into a male.

In their natural habitat, Multibarred Angelfish graze on algae, small crustaceans, sponges, tunicates, and other benthic inverts.   In an aquarium environment they can be a finicky eaters.   If there is insufficient algae on the live rock, they need to be fed more frequently with algae rich foods.    They can be weaned onto a variety of live, frozen, and prepared algae rich foods like live sponges, Artemia, Mysis, mussels, fresh oysters, and pelleted foods or flakes.  Once acclimated and eating, they lose their shyness and often become somewhat territorial.   Being grazers, they should be fed 2 to 3 times daily.

Although Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata) are not considered RARE, they are seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts. They are difficult to ship and although they arrive in fish shops in relatively good health, they usually are kept in sterile quarantine settings without live rock.   Being finicky eaters, they will not usually accept frozen or prepared foods and will often degrade healthwise.   Because this species requires an increased level of care, they are quite pricey.

Approximate Purchase Size for Paracentropyge multifasciata is: Small 2″ to 3″, Medium 3″ to 4″, Large 4″ to 5″

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

Multibarred Angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Cautiously Reef Compatible
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Semi-Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 4.7″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef w/Caution
Origin: Indonesia, Marshall Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: to 8 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Expert

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela”)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Although the Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus) or Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish is said to be found throughout much of South America from Colombia and Trinidad in the north, to as far south as the Río de la Plata drainage on the border of Uruguay and Argentina; true Corydoras aeneus “venezuela” are collected from a few river systems in the central and southern parts of Trinidad Island, in the West Indies.

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Similarly patterned specimens have been collected in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela but the huge geographical range appears to be of the many similar looking distinct taxa; not of a single species.

Because it is the only member of the genus that occurs on the island of Trinidad, only Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish collected from this locale are  considered true Corydoras aeneus “venezuela”.

For several decades thousands of specimens traded to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in the aquarium hobby were sold as Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish; however, the vast majority were farmed in commercial facilities throughout the world.    True Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” are rarely available to importers, and when they are, they rightly demand very high prices.

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish are facultative air breathers that possess a modified, highly vascularised intestine that has evolved to allow the uptake of atmospheric oxygen and aid their survival in oxygen depleted environments.   This is why you will occasionally see them rising to the surface of the aquarium to gulp in air.

They possess stiffened pectoral fin spines that are capable of piercing human skin and inflicting a painful “sting”, so care should be exercised when handling them.

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

The Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela”) is a natural geographic color variant of the popular Bronze Cory Catfish.   Mature Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” develop an increasingly bright orange coloration along its back which creates a striking contrast to the metallic blue green colors along the sides of the fish.

Males are slightly more intensely colored than females.   Sexually mature Females grow larger than the males and have a broader and noticeably rounder body; especially during spawning when the females are gravid.

Like most Corydoras, Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are a peaceful, gregarious, species that should be maintained in groups of at least 4 to 6 individuals.  They do well in most nano aquariums and are compatible with dwarf cichlids, angelfish, larger shrimp, and most other peaceful ornamental species.  They may chase and prey on some of the smaller shrimp species.

Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are best housed in a densely planted aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate, a rock or two, and some driftwood roots for the fish to hide among.   As long as regular maintenance is performed and sudden water changes are avoided, Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela” are adaptable to most tropical freshwater conditions.

The Red Sailfin Venezuelan Cory Catfish are bred in a similar fashion to many other Corydoras species.    Place several specimens in a breeding tank and allow them to pair off.   If possible, use a ratio of 2 males per female in the breeding tank.   Condition the fish for spawning and when the females are visibly gravid, perform a 50 to 60% water change with cooler water and increase the water flow and oxygenation in the tank by placing a powerhead in the aquarium.   Repeat this daily until the fish spawn.

The eggs are usually deposited on fine leaved water plants, a spawning mop, a smooth river rock, or most often on the aquarium glass where they are fertilized by the male.  Once spawning is completed, most breeders will remove either the eggs or the adults from the tank.  Eggs can normally be removed by gently rolling them up the glass with a finger and placing them in a rearing tank with the same water as the spawning tank.

At this point most breeders add a few drops of methylene blue or Indian Almond leaves or an alder cone to prevent fungus from developing on the eggs.  The eggs will hatch in approximately 3 to 4 days. The fry will absorb their egg sacs and are free swimming in approximately five days; at which time they can be fed baby brine shrimp, mircoworms, or finely crushed flake foods.

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish are foraging omnivores and are easy to feed in an aquarium environment.   They will accept most sinking dried foods and enjoy live, frozen, or freeze dried bloodworms, Tubifex, brine shrimp, etc. To keep them in optimum condition and color; they should be given a varied diet and under no circumstances be expected to survive on left overs from other aquarium residents.

The TRUE Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus “Venezuela”) variant is seldom available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and usually demand a very high price.   Check specialty tropical fish shops, online catfish forums, direct importers, and auction sites for availability.  They are usually 3/4″ to 1-1/2″ in size when available for purchase.

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

Venezuelan Red Sailfin Cory Catfish (Corydoras aeneus Venezuela)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 70-80.5° F, dKH 2-15, pH 5.8-8.0
Max. Size: 2.9″
Color Form: Blue green, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Community tanks
Origin: island of Trinidad
Family: Callichthyidae
Life Span: Up to 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Catfish, Corydoras, Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

http://mycbforum.com/videos/Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi).mp4

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi)

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi)

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi)

The Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi) is a popular deep water species known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Cherub Angelfish, Cherubfish, Pygmy Angelfish, or Atlantic Pygmy is found in the Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, Florida, and the Bahamas.

http://mycbforum.com/videos/Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi).mp4

http://mycbforum.com/videos/Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi).mp4

The Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish has a dark royal blue body with a yellow to orange colored face and throat.   The edges of their dorsal and ventral fins are edged in black and powder blue outside, and the trailing edges of the dorsal, ventral, and caudal fins have horizontal black bars.

There is no reliable way to differentiate between sexes except that males may be larger than females.

Like most dwarf angels, Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish are all born as females.   As they grow the larger, the most dominant fish in a group will transform into a male.   Should the male die, the next in line in the hierarchy will then turn into a male.

Keeping several juvenile specimens together is the best way to obtain a mated pair.  It usually takes about two to three months for females turn and pair up.   Watch for aggressiveness during this time period.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish are a pugnacious, omnivorous species that can be quite aggressive with others of their own kind.   They are best kept separate from other angelfish when housed in an aquarium environment.

Although it’s best not to keep Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish with fish of the same genera; they can be introduced as juveniles into an aquarium of significant size with a substantial amount of live rock with enough grazing areas for each dwarf angel to stake out their own territory.    Introducing multiple specimens into the tank at the same time may help with aggression levels, but they will quickly establish a pecking order.   Remove individuals that get bullied or overly pestered.

Because Centropyge argi grow to only 3″ in length, they can be successfully housed in a 30 gallon tank, however, they are best kept in an aged aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity or larger; especially if you are keeping a mated pair or a small group of this species.    An “aged aquarium” should be at least 6 months old to provide the necessary algae required to feed your angelfish.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish do well in a typical reef setting with large amounts of live rock arranged into shelters and hiding places. The live rock should provide enough grazing area for microalgae growth that is necessary to maintain the health of the fish, but because they are constant grazers, Atlantic Pygmy angelfish will eat away at some of the reef structure and are NOT considered reef safe.

You should expect nipping on soft corals, stony coral polyps, sessile invertebrates, and clam mantles.    This species loves to nibble at clams, especially the Tridacna species.

Because water quality is essential to all marine residents, regulator water changes are mandatory.  In an aquarium of 30 to 55 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended. In aquariums over 100 gallons, a 20% monthly water change is considered normal maintenance. Water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the tank.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish have been bred in captivity but raising them is extremely challenging.   The aggression and fighting can be dealt with, but raising the larvae with the proper microscopic foods to feed them is the most difficult part.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish are protogynous hermaphrodites that practice harem breeding.   A small group of juveniles raised together will form a hierarchy and the largest most dominant fish should eventually turn into a male.

Being pelagic spawners, the male and female will rise to the top of the tank where the pair release the fertilized eggs into the water column.  The eggs are carried by the water column to the bottom where they hatch out into very small larvae in about 20 hours.  The larvae will survive on their yolk sacs for 2 or 3 days but then need to be fed microscopic algae which may or may not be present in the tank.   Tall breeding tanks are recommended for obtaining best results.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish are algae grazers that require feeding 2 to 3 times per day.    They do best on a varied diet of spirulina, marine algae, mysis, brine, or frozen shrimp, high quality angelfish preparations, and other meaty items.   This is in addition to the live rock already present in the aquarium.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi) are relatively common to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and are available from fish shops, importers, online auction sites, and a variety of online retail sources at reasonable prices.

http://mycbforum.com/videos/Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi).mp4

http://mycbforum.com/videos/Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi).mp4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Not Reef Compatible
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-82°F, 8 to 12 dKH , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3″
Color Form: Orange, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species
Origin: Western Atlantic, Bahamas
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

The Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Flame Angel, Flaming Angelfish, Red Angelfish, and Japanese Pygmy Angelfish was first discovered in the Society Islands in the Pacific Ocean.   They range throughout Western and Central Pacific waters including Belau, Tahiti, the Hawaiian, Marquesas, Marshall, Christmas, and Ducie Islands, as well as the Great Barrier Reef and Pitcairn group of Islands.

Most tropical fish keeping enthusiasts agree that because of their beauty, hardiness, and relatively non aggressive personality, the Flame Angelfish beyond a doubt the most popular dwarf species for novice and expert aquarists.

In their natural habitat, Flame Angelfish live in small groups of three to seven individuals.   They prefer stony coral reefs in clear lagoons where they congregate at depths of 15 to 82 feet along the outer slopes of the reef.

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) have the typically oval body and rounded fins that most dwarf angelfish posses.   Their stunning colors and markings vary somewhat depending on where they are collected.

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish generally have a vivid red to red orange body color with black vertical stripes on their sides and bright blue tipped dorsal and anal fins.

Flame Angels collected in the Central Pacific around the Marshall Islands are colored an intense red with thicker black vertical bars along the body.

The Christmas Island varieties normally have a more red orange body color with thin, narrow vertical black bars along the sides.

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

The Flame Angels collected from Cebu are red orange with blurred black bars and a tint of yellow in between the bars.

The rarely collected Flame Angels from Tahiti have a blood red body with very little to no yellow.

Specimens collected from the Hawaiian Islands are generally larger and have a deeper, more vibrant red body color than fish from the Indo-Pacific region, which are more red orange.   A slimmer deep water variety is also occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Fish collected in the Marquesas tend to possess a few to no bars, except for a black blotch just behind the gill cover.

The fin edges on all varieties of Flame Angelfish are colored an almost fluorescent, deep bluish purple.

All Flame Angelfish are born female and as they grow, the larger, most dominant fish will transform into a male.   The less dominant fish in the group remain as females. Should the male die or is removed from the tank, the next dominant fish in the hierarchy will become a male. It usually takes about two to three months for females turn and pair up.   To determine which Flame Angelfish in your tank is a male, look for the fish that is larger with bigger blue streaks on the dorsal and anal fins.

Although Flame Angels can be kept with corals and invertebrates, they may nip at large polyp stony corals, zoanthids, tridacnid clam mantles, and occasionally some soft coral polyps.   Keeping them well fed will usually cut down on their desire to feed on corals.

Flame Angelfish can be housed in a community tank with other semi aggressive species such as anthias, clownfish, tangs, wrasses, and other dwarf angelfish, but they are happiest when kept as mated pairs in small groups.,

A single Flame Angelfish can be housed in an aged 30 gallon tank with a substantial amount of live rock, but when corals, a pair, or a small group of angelfish are present; an aged tank of at least 100 gallon capacity with a large amount of live rock arranged into shelters and hiding places is recommended.    They do best in a typical reef setting with large amounts of live rock that provide enough grazing area for microalgae growth which is necessary to maintain the health of the fish.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so regulator water changes are mandatory. In an aquarium of 55 to 65 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended. In an aquarium of 100 gallons or over, a 20% monthly water change would be considered normal maintenance.   Because Flame Angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

Flame Angelfish are happy with any amount of water movement and moderate lighting.   They will hang at all levels of the tank.   Also, be aware that Copper in any amount is lethal to this species, so do not use any copper containing decorations or tubing in the system.

Although it is extremely difficult to breed Flame Angelfish in an aquarium environment, several varieties of Centropyge loriculus have spawned successfully in captivity.   Keeping several juvenile specimens together is the best way to obtain a mated pair.

Flame Angelfish are pelagic (egg scatterers) that rise up through the water column at dusk, releasing both eggs and sperm in a cloud.    To encourage spawning, keep your fish in as deep a tank as possible and artificially simulate the natural day to night diurnl environment by gradually turning off the aquarium lighting over a set time period, every day.   Timers are the easiest way to simulate the diurnal environment.

The fertilized eggs drift to the bottom of the tank where they hatch in just under 24 hours.   After hatching, the small larvae require microscopic algae within 24 to 36 hours to survive.  Because raising the fry is so difficult, a great deal of prior preparation is required to adequately feed them.   The larvae will only eat certain kinds of live foods. They will not eat rotifers and baby brine shrimp are to large for them to eat, however, they may eat copepods.

Flame Angelfish are algae grazers that in an aquarium environment require a diet of Spirulina, marine algae, mysis shrimp, brine or frozen shrimp, high quality angelfish preparations, and other meaty items.   They should be given 2 or 3 small daily feedings.

Because Flame Angelfish requires more algae and seaweed in its diet than most other angelfish; substantial amounts of live rock are also needed in the tank to provide enough beneficial macro algae growth for the fish to graze on.    Aged live rock also benefits the larvae when a successful spawning takes place.

Most varieties of Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) are relatively common and are available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from fish shops, importers, online auction sites, and a variety of online retail sources at modest prices.   Other varieties like the rarely available Tahiti variant can fetch a hefty price.

Because it’s not unusual for Flame Angelfish to be shipped with pre existing parasites or other diseases, it is highly advisable to keep them in quarantine for a few days before introducing them into a reef system.

Approximate purchase sizes are: Small: 1″ to 1-1/2″; Medium: 1-1/2″ to 2-1/2″; Large: 2-1/2″ to 4″.

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible with caution
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, 8 to 12 dGH , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 4″
Color Form: Yellow, Blue, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species
Origin: Indo-Pacific as far north as the Hawaiian Islands
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5-7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

 

 

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

The Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Half Black Pygmy Angelfish or Pearlscale Angelfish is found in the in the Western Pacific from Japan to the Great Barrier Reef; including the Christmas Islands.

Most Half Black Angelfish sold in the aquarium trade are taken from Indonesian and Indian Ocean waters.  Because they are less aggressive than other dwarf angelfish species and more likely to behave themselves among other residents; tropical fish keeping enthusiasts consider them an excellent addition to mixed species and reef aquariums.

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Centropyge vroliki as the name implies are half black.   The front part of their body is covered with light gray to pearl colored scales that fade into a deep black coloration that covers the back portion of the body.   The anal, caudal, and rear half of the dorsal fins are outlined in a bright baby blue color and the entire black and white pattern is accented by a yellow to yellow orange coloring.

Half Black Angelfish posses an orange ring around the eye, an orange blotch in the middle to the rear of the gill cover, and yellowish accents on the pectoral and front half or the dorsal fins.   Males are indistinguishable from females.    Because Half Black Angelfish are well known for cross breeding with Eibli and Lemonpeel angelfish, some beautiful and interesting hybrids are occasionally seen in the hobby.

Provided with enough space, Dwarf Half Black Angelfish are generally peaceful and behave themselves in a community environment, however, when crowded they can become feisty and aggressive, especially with members of their own species and with similar looking fish.

When Half Black Angelfish are housed with larger or more aggressive fish and get bullied; they quickly become passive, lethargic, and may even act more peaceful. They do best in a tank with plenty of swimming room and live rock arranged into places where they can quickly hide, especially when there is more than one dwarf angelfish in the same aquarium.

Although a single juvenile Half Black Angelfish can be housed in an “aged” 30 gallon tank, they do much better in an aged aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity, or even larger; especially if you are keeping a mated pair of this species.   An “aged aquarium” should be at least 6 months old and have a substantial growth of algae to provide the necessary diet to feed your angelfish.

A well aquascaped reef setting with a large amount of cured live rock arranged into shelters, archways, overhangs, and hiding places will provide enough grazing area for the microalgae growth necessary to maintain the health of the fish, however, adult Half Black Angelfish are constant grazers and will slowly eat away at some of the reef structure making them not entirely “reef safe”. When not fed properly, they often begin feeding on polyps, soft corals, and clam mantles.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so regulator water changes are mandatory. In an aquarium of 55 to 65 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended. Because Half Black Angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

Although Half Black Angelfish have been bred in an aquarium environment, their larvae are extremely difficult to raise.   All angelfish are born as females and as they grow the larger, the most dominant fish will transform into a male.

The best way to obtain a mated pair is to keep several juvenile specimens together.   It usually takes 2 or 3 months before a female will turn into a male and pair up.   Becomes the larger fish turns into a male, making a pair is possible by purchasing a larger Half Black Angelfish and keeping it with a smaller one.   Within a few months they will usually assume their roles as male and female.   Their mating ritual is similar to that of the Lemonpeel Angelfish which they readily cross breed with in the wild.

Centropyge vroliki is well known for cross breeding with Centropyge eibli (Eibli Angel) and Centropyge flavissima (Lemonpeel Angel) which both make good tank mates if they are added to the aquarium at the same time.

In their natural habitat, Half Black angelfish graze on algae and feed on small crustaceans that hide in the algae.   Juveniles are predominately plankton eaters that switch to a microalgae and crustacean diet as they become adults.   In a well established aquarium environment with plenty of cured live rock, Centropyge vroliki are good eaters that can be fed spirulina flakes, omnivore pellets, leafy greens, frozen mysis shrimp, and other meaty crustaceans like clams and shrimp.   Feed 2 to 3 times daily.

Although juveniles are considered fairly safe for reef tanks, as they grow they can develop a taste for soft coral polyps, brain corals, zoanthids, and clam mantles.  Keeping them well fed will usually avoid this problem. Half Black Angelfish will not bother crabs or shrimp in a reef tank.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can obtain Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki) from fish shops, importers, online auction sites, and a variety of online retail sources at relatively reasonable prices.    Approximate purchase sizes online will vary from Small: 1″ to 1-3/4″; Medium: 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″; to Large: 2-1/2″ to 4″.

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

Half Black Angelfish (Centropyge vroliki)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Cautiously Reef Compatible
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: 4″
Color Form: Black, Pearl
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species
Origin: Indonesia
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 12 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (0)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as False Lemonpeel Angelfish, Golden Angelfish, Yellow Pygmy Angelfish or Yellow Angelfish are a common dwarf species that range from Central Pacific to Western Pacific waters.   It is found in the Pacific Ocean from Taiwan to the Tuamoto Island, and from Southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef.

Found throughout the South Pacific, Heralds Angelfish are often misidentified and sold as Lemonpeel Angelfish.

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Typical of all dwarf angelfish, Herald’s Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi) have a small, elongated, oval shaped body and rounded fins.   They have a bright yellow body color with a darker colored area just behind the eye.

They lack the blue ring around the eye and dark blue accents around the gills and fins that Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus) possess.

Male Herald’s Angelfish have black on the face and in some areas, have darker anal and dorsal fins.  Mature males normally have more pointed dorsal and anal fins and often develop a dark area behind the eye that may contain yellow spots.

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

A unique variant of Heralds Angelfish from the Coral Sea area of the Great Barrier Reef called the Yellow and Black Heralds Angelfish or Woodhead’s Angelfish is occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

In the Coral Sea area of the Great Barrier Reef, the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and the Philippines, this species is colored bright yellow with a jet black horizontal band or stripe edged in blue on the top rear half of the dorsal fin.   Some specimens also have a black saddle on the back and others posses both attributes.

Originally believed to be a different species described as Centropyge woodheadi and named Woodhead’s Angelfish; it is now considered to be a color variant.

Herald’s Angelfish are active, interesting swimmers and can make a colorful addition to an established marine aquarium.   Like all dwarf angelfish, they are peaceful with all other marine fish except other dwarf angels.   It does well in a community aquarium with peaceful or semi aggressive fish provided it is added to the tank close to last.

Herald’s Angelfish can be highly territorial and become extremely aggressive when housed with other dwarf angels and towards fish with similar coloration or shape, especially the Lemonpeel Angelfish.

If you must try to breed them or keep a pair or a trio, a very large aquarium of at least 150 gallon capacity with a huge amount of live rock is necessary to provide enough grazing territory for each fish.

A single Juvenile Herald’s Angelfish can be housed in an aged aquarium as small as 30 gallons, provided a sufficient amount of live rock is present for them graze on micro algae and hide among when threatened.

Although Centropyge Heraldi can be kept in a 30 gallon tank; as they grow, they do better when kept in an aged aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity or larger.   An “aged aquarium” should be at least 6 months old to provide all the necessary algae required to feed your angelfish.

Heralds Angelfish are easier to keep than Lemonpeel Angelfish and do best in reef settings with substantial amounts of live rock arranged into shelters and hiding places. Large amounts of live rock are needed to provide enough grazing area for microalgae growth that is necessary to maintain the health of the fish.

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Like Lemon Peel Angelfish; Heralds Angelfish will nip away at some of the reef structure, especially large polyped stony corals and clam mantles, but in general they are not too destructive, especially with noxious corals.

The neat thing about this angelfish is their desire to eat detritus and micro algae, both of which are unwanted in a reef tank.   They will completely ignore non-sessile invertebrates such as shrimp and crabs and will also help control several types of algae and diatoms in the tank.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so a good filtration system and regulator water changes are mandatory. In an aquarium of 55 to 65 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended. In an aquarium over 100 gallons, a 20% monthly water change would be considered normal maintenance. Because Heralds Angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

As of this date, Centropyge Heraldi have not been bred in an aquarium environment.

In their natural environment, Herald’s Angelfish are egg scatterers, and like all Centropyge angelfish have similar spawning rituals.   The male will normally court several females. A pair will circle each other and when ready to spawn will swim upwards in the water column to fertilize the eggs.   After the eggs are fertilized by belly to belly contact, they free float until they are mature enough to settle into the substrate and hatch into larvae.   The larvae are given no parental supervision or protection.

After spawning, the pair will rush back to the bottom where the male will chase the female for a short time and then move on to the next receptive female.

Herald’s Angelfish are algae grazers that feed mainly on algae, small crustaceans, and worms that may be hiding in the algae.   In an aquarium environment, to supplement the natural algae growth on your live rock in the tank, they should be offered a diet of Spirulina, marine algae, Mysis, brine, or frozen shrimp, high quality angelfish preparations, and other meaty items.    Feed them what they will consume within a few minutes 2 to 3 times a day.   Without herbivore foods in their diet, angelfish can develop blindness in just a few months

This dwarf angelfish is often sold as part of a “cleaning crew” to control the green algae Crunchy Hair Grass of the Boodlea genera, several Green Hair Algae Derbesia species including Derbesia marina, Diatoms, Green String Lettuce, some other hair like algae, and the Sea Lettuces Ulva ridida and Ulva lactuca. It is also known to eat red slime algae including two species of the Oscillatora genera.

Herald’s Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi) are sometimes available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in pet shops and on line from importers, online auction sites, and a variety of online retail sources at reasonable prices.

Heralds Angelfish (Centropyge Heraldi)

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible With Caution
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-82°F, 8 to 12 dGH , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 4″
Color Form: Yellow, Black
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species
Origin: Western Pacific, Central Pacific
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

The Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus) Marshall Islands

The Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Dwarf Lemonpeel Angel is found throughout Indo-Pacific oceans however, specimens have been reported inhabiting the reefs in Kaneohe Bay off Oahu, Hawaii as well as off the coast of Florida.   They are not endemic to the Hawaiian Islands or Florida and their presence is thought to be due to illegal releases of unwanted aquarium residents into these inshore waters.

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

The Lemonpeel Angelfish has a uniform yellow body color with a blue ring around the eyes and dark blue accents around the gills and edges of the dorsal, ventral, and caudal fins. Juvenile Lemonpeel Angelfish have a large black eyespot on the side that is often edged with blue.

All angelfish are born as females and as they grow the larger, the most dominant fish will transform into a male.   Should the male die, the next in line in the hierarchy will become a male.

Keeping several juvenile specimens together is the best way to obtain a mated pair.  It usually takes about two to three months for females turn and pair up. Watch for aggressiveness during this time period.

Lemonpeel Angelfish are often confused with Herald’s Angelfish (Centropyge heralde) which have a yellow to yellow/orange body color and lack the blue accents around the eyes and fin edges.

Lemonpeel Angelfish are an aggressive, omnivorous species that are best kept separate from other angelfish when housed in an aquarium environment.   They do well with other reef fish but should be closely monitored when initially introduced.

Although it’s best not to keep Lemonpeel Angelfish with fish of the same genera; they can be introduced as juveniles into an aquarium of significant size with a large amount of live rock to create enough grazing areas for each dwarf angel to stake out their own territory.

Although Centropyge flavissimus can be initially housed in a 30 gallon tank, they are best kept in an aged aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity or larger; especially if you are keeping a mated pair or a trio of this species.   An “aged aquarium” should be at least 6 months old to provide all the necessary algae required to feed your angelfish.

They do best in a typical reef setting with a large amount of live rock arranged into shelters and hiding places.   Large amounts of live rock will provide enough grazing area for microalgae growth which is necessary to maintain the health of the fish, but because they are constant grazers, Lemon Peel Angelfish will eat away at some of the reef structure and are NOT considered reef safe.   You should expect soft corals, stony polyp corals, sessile invertebrates, and clam mantles to be slowly destroyed by Lemonpeel angelfish over time.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so regulator water changes are mandatory.  In an aquarium of 55 to 65 gallon capacity, a 10% to 15% bi weekly water change is recommended.   In an aquarium over 100 gallons, a 20% monthly water change would be considered normal maintenance.   Because Lemonpeel angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

Lemonpeel Angelfish are pelagic (egg scatterers) and although they are extremely difficult to breed, they have been bred in an aquarium environment.

They require a deep tank, stable lighting, warm pristine water quality, and sufficient food for the emerging larvae. Centropyge flavissimus need a water temperature of 79 to 83 degrees F for 14 to 16 hours a day and at least a 20 inch deep tank to allow room for their spawning ritual.

Lemonpeel Angelfish reproduce by external fertilization.   They perform a “dancing” ritual and release their eggs and sperm simultaneously at dusk.   As they dance, they rise up into the water column and release their eggs and sperm near the surface of the water.   This spawning behavior can be encouraged by artificially simulating the natural dusk light cycle.

The eggs fall to the bottom where they hatch in just under 24 hours.   After hatching, the small larvae require microscopic algae within 24 to 36 hours for their minute mouths.   Because raising the fry is so difficult, a great deal of prior preparation is required to adequately feed them.   The larvae will only eat certain kinds of live foods. They will not eat rotifers and baby brine shrimp are to large for them to eat, however, they may eat copepods.

Lemonpeel Angelfish are algae grazers that in an aquarium environment require a diet of Spirulina, marine algae, mysis, brine or frozen shrimp, high quality angelfish preparations, and other meaty items. They should be given 3 small daily feedings.

Because the Lemonpeel Angelfish requires more algae and seaweed in its diet than most other angelfish; substantial amounts of live rock are needed in the tank to provide enough beneficial macro algae growth for the fish to graze on.

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus) are relatively common in the hobby and tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can obtain them from fish shops, importers, online auction sites, and a variety of online retail sources at reasonable prices.

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

Lemonpeel Angelfish (Centropyge flavissimus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Not Reef Compatible
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-80°F, 8 to 12 dGH , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 5.5″
Color Form: Yellow, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Single species
Origin: Indo-Pacific oceans
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 11 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

Posted in Angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish, Saltwater, Tropical Fish Keeping, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (2)

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