Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

The Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus) is also known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Cream Angelfish, Indian Yellowtail Angelfish, Smoke Angelfish, or Yellowtail Black Angelfish is found in the Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and the east coast of Inda in the Western Indian Ocean.

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish have a dark brown face, brown to black tipped scales that give it a spotted appearance, and a broad black margin on the dorsal and anal fins that is edged or outlined in a silvery white colored line.    The yellow caudal fin and pectoral fins are edged in white.

Juveniles have a black vertical stripe that starts at the base of the dorsal fin, goes through the eye, and ends at the throat which diminishes with age.

A single Xanthurus Cream Angelfish is best housed in a mature tank of at least 75 gallons with plenty of live rock arranged into overhangs, crevices, and hiding places for them to graze upon and seek refuge. Cream Angelfish will become overly aggressive toward their own kind when kept in a tank that is too small or does not have sufficient live rock hiding places. They are also aggressive to other species that are added to the tank after they have staked out their territory.

Because Xanthurus Cream Angelfish will nip at sessile invertebrates, stony corals, and clam mantles, they are not considered to be reef safe.   Larger crabs, shrimps, and snails are normally safe but small shrimp and all other types of corals will be consumed. Even juvenile Cream Angelfish will pick and eat Xenia, Anthelia, and other soft polyp corals as well as the stony corals and zoanthids.

Although Apolemichthys xanthurus are moderately hardy and one of the easiest of the Apolemichthys genus to keep, they can be picky eaters and difficult to acclimate. A varied diet and lots of mature live rock with lots of algae, sponges, and tunicates goes a long way towards acclimating picky eaters.

Water quality is essential to all marine residents, so regulator water changes are mandatory. In an aquarium of 100 gallons or over, 20% monthly water changes would be considered normal maintenance. Because Xanthurus Cream Angelfish are constant grazers, water changes should NOT include scrubbing algae off of the interior of the aquarium.

Apolemichthys xanthurus are happiest with a moderate amount of water movement and moderate lighting. They are an active species that will hang at all levels of the tank.

Except for males being larger than females of the same age, Xanthurus Cream Angelfish are hermaphroditic and have no distinguishing features that differentiate males from females.

The Xanthurus Cream Angelfish is a broadcast spawner.    Their courtship usually starts just before sunset.    The male will swim above the female, tilt his body with extended fins, and await a response from the female.   When she is ready, the female will swim towards the area that the male has designated as their spawning site.  The pair will swim higher up into the water column as the male nuzzles the female’s belly until both simultaneously release their gametes into the water column for fertilization.

Although Xanthurus Cream Angelfish are classified as omnivores, in their natural habitat they are primarily herbivores that spend their time grazing on algae, sponge material, tunicates, and small amounts of copepods found in the rocks.

Like other marine angelfish, they should have a varied diet that includes Spirulina, marine algae, mysis, frozen shrimp, a high quality commercial angelfish preparation, and a variety of other meaty items.

Many Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus) are collected from Sri Lanka 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, usually under $100.00 at approximate purchase sizes from 1-1/2″ to 4″.

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)

Xanthurus Cream Angelfish (Apolemichthys xanthurus)









Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Highly Aggressive
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: 6″ – 8″
Color Form: Black, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Not Reef Compatible
Origin: Western Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced

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