French Angelfish

Scientific NamePomacanthus paru
Common Name(s)French Angelfish, Black Angelfish
OriginCaribbean
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size24in
DietOmnivorous, Sponges

French Angelfish Facts:

1. Juveniles run “cleaning stations” at sea fans, cleaning other fish with their pelvic fins. They attract potential fish by fluttering their striking bodies. They’re so specialized that fish will line up for their services!

2. French Angels are fished for consumption, and said to be quite delicious.

3. They can live up to 15 years.

Species Overview:

The French Angel is a semi-aggressive species that hails from the Caribbean. This is a particularly striking angel with its stark contrast of yellow on black, and it makes for a wonderful ornamental fish.  Its diet is composed primarily of sea sponges as an adult, but they also enjoy parasites, and nibbling at reef in the wild. The juveniles are especially interesting, running symbiotic cleaning stations where they clean and eat parasites off of other fish.

Because these fish can grow to be quite large, it’s important to start out with a large tank. They need at least 250 gallons to begin with, but if you are planning to have a large community, keep in mind that they’re somewhat aggressive so the more space they have, the better. They can become territorial when kept with smaller species, so it’s recommended to keep them with larger species of fish, or alone. In the wild, they can be found in pairs, but not all species of angels will get along, so keep that in mind when building a community.

Juveniles and adults have different habits but both are active during the day looking for food. These make excellent community fish, provided they aren’t the largest species, and will help keep other fish clean of parasites. The juveniles in the wild are highly specialized and spend their days staking out the perfect location for some parasitic delights, making them excellent maintenance fish. As they grow older, they will need to be fed a varied diet of angel food, spirulina, and frozen meaty morsels like shrimp three times a day. However, unlike other angels, their adult diet will need to contain a significant amount of sea sponge or equivalent. In the wild, sponges make up 70% of what they eat as adults.

Though the juveniles are somewhat more interesting than the adults in behavior, these fish do have quite a long lifespan if properly cared for. When building a habitat, be sure to include large covered spaces where they can stake their claim because they do eventually grow to be quite large and prefer to sleep under cover. As juveniles they also need open spaces where they can interact with other fish, so sprawling fan-like structures are a must. Because they’re active during the day, there’s plenty of opportunity to watch them at work. French Angels are a fantastic species if you want to create an active, diverse community at home. Keep in mind though, as they get older, their behavior does change, and they may be a little less cute, but they’re no less beautiful.

Posted on August 19, 2014 and filed under Saltwater Fish.