Marine angel fish are a type of perciform fish that belong to the family Pomacanthidae. Found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and mostly western Pacific Ocean, the family contains seven genera and approximately 86 species. They should not be confused with the freshwater angel fish which are tropical cichlids of the Amazon River basin.
Below are just some of the beautifully coloured species of Marine Angel Fish:
The Flame Angel Fish, (Centropyge loricula), is a marine angelfish and is part of the family Pomacanthidae. The flame angel fish is found in tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean at depths of between 15 and 60 metres. It grows to a maximum length of up to 15 centimetres. Its diet consists mainly of algae.
The flame angel fish is found in clear lagoon and seaward reefs from the lower surge zone to a depth of 60 metres. The flame angel fish is a secretive fish by nature and stays near shelter where it forms harems of around 3 to 7 individuals.
Their colouration is bright orange-red with a vertical elongate black blotch and 4 or 5 bars on the sides. The posterior part of the dorsal and anal fins with alternating short purple-blue and black bands. Specimens from the Marquesas lack the vertical black bars.
The flame angel fish has been reared in captivity and is frequently exported through the aquarium trade.
The Lemonpeel Angel Fish (Centropyge flavissima), is an omnivorous marine angelfish. It is also referred to as the Dwarf or Pygmy Angelfish. Lemonpeel Angel Fish are found in the Indo-Pacific region, however, several of these fish have been reported to inhabit the reef near He’eia Pier in Kaneohe Bay in Hawaii.
Lemonpeel Angel Fish are small fish sometimes misidentified as the Herald’s Angelfish (C. heraldi). However, the Lemonpeel Angel Fish has a distinct chrome yellow body, a blue ring around the eye and dark-blue edges on the vertical fins whereas the Herald’s have a slightly orange tinge instead.
Young Lemonpeel Angel Fish have a large black eyespot on the side of the body, which is often edged with blue. Adult Lemonpeel Angel Fish grow to around 5 inches long.
Lemonpeel Angel Fish like to hide and their habitats need to provide plenty of shelter. Their diet consists mainly of algae. In captivity, they prefer to be housed in reef tanks only.
The Rock Beauty Angel Fish (Holacanthus tricolour), is a marine angelfish found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Georgia, United States, Bermuda and the northern Gulf of Mexico to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Rock Beauty Angel Fish swims at depths of between 3 and 92 metres. Adults grow to a length of up to 35 centimetres.
The Rock Beauty Angel Fish inhabits rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas. Juveniles are often associated with fire corals. It feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.
Colouration of the front of the body is yellow and the remaining parts of body, dorsal fin, and the front of anal fin are black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow. The front margin of the anal fin and edge of the gill cover are orange. Their eyes have bright blue upper and lower part on the iris.
The young Rock Beauty Angel Fish measures around a half inch in length and are entirely yellow except for a blue-edged black spot on the upper side of the body posterior to the midpoint. During their growth, the black spot soon expands to become the large black area covering most of the body, the dorsal and anal fins that are distinctly present in the adults.
The Emperor Angel Fish (Pomacanthus imperator), is a species of marine angelfish that is a reef-associated fish, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans from the Red Sea to Hawaii and the Austral Islands. Juvenile Emperor Angel Fish have a dark blue base colour with electric blue and white rings.
Adults have yellow and blue stripes and black around the eyes. It takes about four years for an Emperor Angel Fish to acquire its adult colouring. Emperor Angel Fish grow to 40 centimetres in length. Juvenile to adult transition may not fully occur when they are kept in an aquarium.
The Bluegirdled Angel Fish (Pomacanthus navarchus), is found in the Indo-Pacific: Indonesia to Papua New Guinea, north to the Philippines, south to Rowley Shoals and the southern Great Barrier Reef including Palau and Yap in Micronesia.
Bluegirdled Angel Fish inhabit coral rich areas of clear lagoons, channels and protected outer reef slopes.
The Bluegirdled Angel Fish grow to a maximum size of 28.0 centimetres. They are reef-associated and non-migratory and swim to the depth range of 3 – 40 metres.
Juvenile Bluegirdled Angel Fish are black with light blue curve vertical stripes on the sides. Adults are bright yellow on sides and back, dorsal and caudal fins, with numerous blue spots; head and ventral portion of the body, pectoral and pelvic fins are dark blue with numerous light blue spots on the posterior portion of the anal fin and the adjacent caudal peduncle area. Narrow light blue streaks run across the face from below the eye and on the area just behind the head. Fins are edged light blue. The Bluegirdled Angel Fish diet consists of sponges and tunicates.