Marine Angelfish

Updated: Jan 23, 2021

Marine Angelfish:

Scientific Name: There are 7 genera of Marine Angelfish and they belong to the family Pomacanthidae. Details of the Scientific name and their Common name are given under the section ‘Varieties’.

Marine Angelfishes belong to the family Pomacanthidae. They are aggressive and could be territorial with regard to mates, eggs and food. They are the most sought after fishes, are brightly coloured and distinct patterns observed. The sea water salinity is 35 ppt. Marine angelfishes are found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and mostly western Pacific Oceans.

General Body Shape: Freshwater angelfishes are more triangular in shape but Marine Angelfishes are quite similar to Butterfly fish. These marine angelfishes have a laterally compressed body and differ from Butterfly fish as they have spines over part of their gill covers. The name Pomacanthidae means “spine cover” in Greek. They have laterally compressed bodies. Marine angelfishes are vibrant in color, strikingly patterned.

Marine Angelfishes are readily identified by their unusual, angular shape of the bodies. Their dorsal and anal fins slanted a bit backwards and a streamer like extensions, caudal fins are much smaller than Freshwater Angelfishes. The largest species - Pomacanthus arcuatus (Gray Angelfish) may reach a length of 60 cm / 24 inches and members of genus Centropyge do not exceed 15 cm / 5.9 inches.

Habitat: They are found on coral reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. Most species live in shallow waters, less than 20 meters deep. In captivity, the ideal tank conditions vary depending on the marine angelfish variety. While setting up a tank, salinity, water hardness, oxygen, size of tank and water filtration system specifications requirements must be met accurately to ensure a good experience for the fishes and for us who are viewing them.


Genus: Apolemichthys.

Species: Apolemichthys arcuatus (Bandit Angelfish), Apolemichthys armitagei (Armitage Angelfish), Apolemichthys griffisi (Griffis Angelfish), Apolemichthys guezei (Reunion angelfish), Apolemichthys kingi (Tiger Angelfish), Apolemichthys trimaculatus (Threespot Angelfish), Apolemichthys xanthopunctatus (Goldspotted Angelfish), Apolemichthys xanthotis (Yellow-ear Angelfish), Apolemichthys xanthurus (Yellowtail Angelfish).

Genus: Centropyge

Species: Centropyge abei (Abei’s Angelfish), Centropyge acanthops (Orangeback Angelfish), Centropyge argi (Cherubfish), Centropyge aurantia (Golden Angelfish), Centropyge aurantonotus (Flameback Angelfish), Centropyge bicolor (Bicolor Angelfish), Centropyge bispinosa (Twospined Angelfish), Centropyge boylei (Peppermint Angelfish), Centropyge cocosensis (Cocos pygmy Angelfish), Centropyge colini (Cocos-Keeling Angelfish), Centropyge debelius (Blue Mauritius Angelfish), Centropyge deborae (Blue Velvet Angelfish), Centropyge eibli (Blacktail Angelfish), Centropyge ferrugata (Rusty Angelfish), Centropyge fisheri (Orange Angelfish), Centropyge flavipectoralis (Yellowfin Angelfish), Centropyge flavissima (Lemonpeel Angelfish), Centropyge heraldi (Yellow Angelfish), Centropyge hotumatua (Blackear Angelfish), Centropyge interrupta (Japanese Angelfish), Centropyge joculator (Yellowhead Angelfish), Centropyge loriculus (Flame Angel), Centropyge multicolor (Multicolor Angelfish), Centropyge multispinis (Dusky Angelfish), Centropyge nahackyi (Nahacky’s Angelfish), Centropyge narcosis (Narc Angelfish), Centropyge nigriocella (Blackspot Angelfish), Centropyge nox (Midnight Angelfish), Centropyge potteri (Russet Angelfish), Centropyge resplendens (Respleandent Angelfish), Centropyge shepardi (Mango Angelfish), Centropyge tibican (Keyhole Angelfish), Centropyge venusta (Purplemask Angelfish), Centropyge vrolikii (Pearlscale Angelfish).

Genus: Chaetodontoplus

Species: Chaetodontoplus ballinae (Ballina Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus (Bluespotted Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus conspicillatus (Conspicuous Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus chrjsocephalus (Orangeface Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus dimidiatus (Velvet Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus duboulayi (Scribbled Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus melanosoma (Black - velvet Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus meredithi (Queensland Yellowtail Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus mesoleucus (Vermiculated Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus niger (Black Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus personifer (Blueface Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus poliourus (Greytail Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus spetentrionalis (Bluestriped Angelfish), Chaetodontoplus vanderloosi (Vanderloos Angelfish).

Genus: Genicanthus

Species: Genicanthus bellus (Ornate Angelfish), Genicanthus caudovittatus (Zebra Angelfish), Genicanthus lamarck (Blackstriped Angelfish), Genicanthus melanospilos (Spotbreast Angelfish), Genicanthus personatus (Masked Angelfish), Genicanthus semicinctus (Halfbanded Angelfish), Genicanthus semifasciatus (Japanese swallow), Genicanthus spinus (Pitcairn Angelfish), Genicanthus watanabei (Blackedged Angelfish).

Genus: Pomacanthus

Species: Pomacanthus annularis (Bluering Angelfish), Pomacanthus arcuatus (Gray Angelfish), Pomacanthus asfur (Arabian Angelfish), Pomacanthus chrysurus (Goldtail Angelfish), Pomacanthus imperator (Emperor Angelfish), Pomacanthus maculosus (Yellowbar Angelfish), Pomacanthus navarchus (Bluegirdled Angelfish), Pomacanthus paru (French Angelfish), Pomacanthus rhomboides (Old Women Angelfish), Pomacanthus semicirculatus (Semicircle Angelfish), Pomacanthus sexstriatus (Sixbar Angelfish), Pomacanthus xanthometopon (Yellowface Angelfish), Pomacanthus zonipectus (Cortez Angelfish).

Genus: Holacanthus

Species: Holacanthus africanus (Guinean Angelfish), Holacanthus bermudensis (Angelfish), Holacanthus ciliaris (Queen Angelfish), Holacanthus clarionensis (Clarion Angelfish), Holacanthus limbaughi (Clipperton Angelfish), Holacanthus passer (King Angelfish), Holacanthus tricolor (Rock Beauty).

Genus: Pygoplites

Species: Pygoplites diacanthus (Regal Angelfish)

Breeding: All Marine Angelfishes are known to be protogynous hermaphrodites. In other words if a dominant male of a harem is removed, a female could turn into functional male. As the animal ages, based on internal or external triggers, the fish shifts its sex to become a male. Protogyny is the most common form of hermaphroditism in fishes. These fishes are pelagic (open sea) spawners with a sudden spawning burst, both buoyant eggs and sperms are simultaneously released into open water. The eggs float freely till hatching and there are high chances of these eggs being eaten up by planktonic feeders.

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