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Holacanthus Genera Marine Angel Fish





The angelfish family contains some of the most graceful and colorful fish. They are beautiful, smart and hardy. These fish are compressed and disc-shaped marine fish. They belong to the Order Perciformes and Suborder Percoidei and members of the Family Pomacanthidae (Angelfish). It contains about 80 species in 9 genera. Some grow to a length of about 45 cm.


All angelfish are thought to be protogynous hermaphrodites, that is, females can change into males if needed. They are solitary swimmers and prefer shallower waters in the range of 6-50 feet, but few species occur in deep water of about 150 feet deep. Some live in groups with the male controlling one to four females. Most of them experience dramatic color and pattern changes from the juvenile to adult stages. Most of the species are found in Indo-Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

They spend most of their time in searching food, and feed upon algae, sponges and tunicates. There are some species that feed throughout the day. Some of the larger fish from this genre, tend to become bullies, especially in small aquaria. Some of the species like to move slow and are docile tankmates.

When they are in aquariums, you may feed them with most of the already prepared foods in the market, like frozen meaty foods, along with some greens (Spirulina is their favorite). Some additions of microalgae like fresh Caulerpa mexicana and Caulerpa prolifera helps prevent Head and later line erosion (HLLE).

The first species of Holacanthus to be maintained was Holacanthus ciliaris, the Queen Angelfish which is of about 12 inches.

They hail from the Tropical Western Atlantic in the depths of about 200 feet and primarily feeds upon sponges. It’s temperature range is 71-82 degrees F. The adult specimen is recommended because of it’s beauty. When paired with blue damsels, they add some additional color and movement. They may be given live or frozen fortified brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, foods, containing sponge, flake foods containing Spirulina, and even pieces of fresh broccoli and fresh Caulerpa to feed.

Another Tropical Western Atlantic species enjoyed in aquariums is Holaconthus tricolor, the Rock Beauty who grows upto 8 inches.

It is found among deep reefs and drop-off areas feeding on the dense growths of sponges. It’s temperature range is 72-81 degrees F. They are not sustainable in captivity generally. It’s diet consists of meaty foods including brine/mysis shrimp, foods containing sponges and flake foods containing Spirulina. It can go well with damsel fish, gobies, goatfish, and wrasses, in aquariums.

Another such species is Holacanthus Bermudensis, the Blue Angelfish of about 15 inches.

The Blue has the same traits as the Queen and needs the same level of care. It’s tankmates can be Male Bird Wrasse, Emperator Angelfish, Clown Triggerfish and some assorted damsel fish.

The other Holacanthus species is Holacanthus Passer, the Passer or King Angelfish. It can attain a length of about 14 inches.

This hails from the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This goes well only in a 180 gallon tank along with surgeon fish and damselfish. It feeds on same food as the other species mentioned above.

Holacanthus limbaughi, also known as Clipperton Angelfish is rare and quite expensive species.

It hails from Clipperton Island located in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. It’s natural diet consists mainly of crustaceans, sponges, tunicates, and some algae. It has a temperature range of 70 to 77 degrees F.
Only one species is good per aquarium.

It is better to make them the last fish placed in the aquarium because of it’s belligerent nature. They are quite inquisitive creatures and need adequate shelter (boulders and cave-like structures) for them to investigate.