The name Pomacanthidae comes from the Greek words poma (cover) and akantha (thorn). This name relates to the fish because they are known for their spines on their gills.
Marine angelfish are different from Pterophyllum, also known freshwater angelfish. They originate from the rivers in South America and the basins of the Amazon and Orinoco. Marine angelfish have rounded fins. Freshwater angelfish have triangular fins.
There are 88 species of Pomacanthidae. All of them are bony and have spiny dorsal (top) fins and soft bottom fins. Spines are found on top of their pelvic fins. Their large pectoral fins help them to steer effectively while swimming in the seas. Aside from these common features, colors, patterns, and sizes differ immensely between species.
The gray angelfish are the largest of all angelfish. They can measure to about 24 inches. The Centropyge is the smallest. At most, they reach 6 inches in length. The average size of an angelfish is between 8 to 12 inches; Angelfish that grow in their natural habitats are usually larger than those in aquariums.
50 million years ago salt water fish first appeared on earth. They have remained in the oceans ever since. Their long history enabled them to evolve into the various angelfish forms that exist today.
If you want to breed your angelfish, you have to prepare and create space for the many fish to come. Breeding angelfish creates many fish. They will need to be transferred into a larger aquarium. Saltwater fish are born females and if dominant, become males. If male angelfish lose their dominance, they become females. You do not need to distinguish the difference between the fish genders. Fish choose their genders depending on what is needed for the situation.
Some fish species find a mate and stay with them, but in some species a male mates with several females. Different species should be kept away from angelfish while they are breeding, because they tend to become territorial.
Marine angelfish eggs float in water full of plankton until they hatch. Eggs are easily consumed this way so fish that eat plankton should not be present in the aquarium at this time.
When young, a diet of plankton is recommended for angelfish. When older, they like to feed on tunicates, hydriods, sponges and beyozoans (these include seasquirts, jellyfish, animals found in seaweed). It is hard to care for certain species because they will only eat specific foods. An example are Holocanthus angelfish, they only eat fish food made of sponge.
An aquarium with algae in it is good for angelfish care because they enjoy eating it. Larger angelfish eat small crustaceans. They can be kept in the aquarium as extra food for your angelfish.
Suitable Tank Mates For Saltwater Angelfish
Angelfish are a territorial species. They don’t necessarily do well with any other fish in the same tank, even if they are of the same species. One fish per tank is best. Different species of angelfish should not be put in the same tank, unless the aquarium is large.
If you want to keep different types of fish in the same tank, start with the other fish and add the angelfish last. This will make sure the angelfish do not claim all of the territory as there own. It also makes sure the angelfish do not think the other fish are intruders.
Tolerance of other fish depends on the size of the angelfish. Smaller angelfish are usually not aggressive and can live with other fish. They make great tank mates with Blennies, Gobies, Anthias, Butterflyfish and similar species.
Larger angelfish are known to be more aggressive when it comes to keeping them with other fish. If they are kept with other fish, make sure the other species they are being kept with are on the aggressive side as well so the angelfish don’t harm the other fish. Groupers, Damsels, Eels, Triggerfish and Tangs make good additions to angelfish tanks.
When angelfish are younger, it is easier to keep them with other species. This is because at a younger age, they are not territorial yet. When they grow up and start fighting their tank mates, consider moving them to a different tank.
Angelfish Life Span
A typical saltwater angelfish lives up to 15 years with proper angelfish care. As they grow, their apperance can change (colors and patterns). Many fish owners enjoy watching their angelfish change.