Queen Angelfish

Scientific NameHolacanthus ciliaris
Common Name(s)Queen Angelfish, Blue Angelfish or Yellow Angelfish
OriginCaribbean
Temperature Range72-78°F
Water ParametersdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Adult Size1ft 6in
DietOmnivores

Fun Facts:

1. Sometimes these fish mate with Blue Angelfish creating a hybrid, though this is quite rare.

2. Unlike other species of angels, there’s evidence that these fish mate for life. They will swim to the surface as a pair and release their eggs and sperm instead of laying eggs on the ocean floor like some other species of angelfish.

3. Queen angelfish start out as extremely undeveloped larvae that float near the surface. After absorbing the yoke sac, they feed on plankton.

Species Overview:

The Queen Angelfish has an absolutely striking color profile with a vibrant yellow background and fluorescent violet accents. It’s very loosely related to the Blue Angelfish and they’ve even been known to mate in the wild.

Though they are quite beautiful and an extremely popular aquarium angel, these fish are a fair bit more difficult to keep than their relatives. They require specific water conditions and a specific diet, and can easily fall ill. They’re notoriously aggressive, but unlike other angels, there’s evidence that they mate for life, so it is possible to keep two of the same species as long as they’re of the opposite sex. Their mating cycle is interesting, and it’d be easy to cull offspring if needed since this particular species spawns at the surface rather than laying eggs on the seafloor. The offspring start out as extremely underdeveloped larvae, lacking any real anatomical structures like fins and even a gut. The offspring exist on a diet of plankton and algae after absorbing their yolk sac. After about 4 or 5 weeks, they begin to develop into juveniles and act as cleaners. These fish are incredibly fragile though, so overpopulation is not a problem.  

Since they can grow to be quite large, these fish require a tank of at least 150 gallons. It is highly recommended that they be added last to an already well-established aquarium as they can be aggressive. The adults do eat reef, so they are absolutely not compatible with reef systems. They shouldn’t be kept with other species of angel either, though they might be compatible with the Blue Angelfish with which they’ve been known to mate. Provide adequate shelter and cover so they have somewhere to hide. The juveniles will eat algae and parasites, but they do still require a meaty diet, like frozen shrimp, spirulina, and plenty of sea sponges. They should be fed at least three times a day.

These are beautiful fish but they are considerably fragile when compared to other angels. They’re not recommended for the casual or inexperienced aquarist. Their specific diet and water conditions do require a fair amount of upkeep and attention, so beware when purchasing juveniles. It’s best to start out with a less aggressive angel, in order to have some experience before attempting to keep these wonderful fish.

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