Out of all the fish that live on shallow reefs, marine angelfish are the most colorful and beautiful. They are a member of the pomacanthidae family and they can be found in the tropical parts of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans. There are approximately 86 different species of marine angelfish.
These types of angelfish resemble butterfly fish and they have compressed bodies and vibrant colors. But they are a bit different because of their preopercle fins that cover the gill area. Marine angelfish have extended anal and dorsal fins. They have large rounded pectoral fins and very small mouths. Gray angelfish are the largest of all the angelfish species and they can grow to reach 23 inches in length. The smallest are the centropyge and they only grow to 5 inches lengthwise. The average length of an angelfish is around 10 inches long.
If a person was to include marine angelfish to their aquarium, it would most likely be a smaller type of the species. They seem to do the best in most saltwater aquariums. But the biggest of this species are usually caught as food and eaten. This probably is not a good idea because these types of fish are known to have consumed toxins that form on the algae and seaweed. This food borne illness is called ciguatera poisoning. The illness causes diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and gastrointestinal problems.
If you were to go diving near a reef occupied by marine angelfish, you would have no problem seeing and identifying them. They are known to swim right up to divers. Most angelfish stay in the shallow waters near coral reefs. They hide in cracks and crevices during the night. While mating, some types of angelfish will have the same partner for life. In other types of these fish, there is only one male who mates with several females. Most younger angelfish spend most of the day as cleaner fish.
Marine angelfish are protogynous hermaphrodites. This means that they are capable of reproducing without a male. If the male in the group is removed, a female can step in and act as a male. These fish also have black stripes to indicate the sex. For example, males of this species have these strips and females do not. As the fish get older, flacks can appear on the back area. This means that they have a higher social ranking than the other members of the group. Much like bees, there is a queen angelfish. She also has signature colors indicating that she is in fact the queen. This fish is known to be very inconspicuous and shy and hides when she becomes startled.
When it comes to keeping marine angelfish in your aquarium, you should only have one per species. These fish are very territorial and if you place more than one in a tank, they will fight. These fish feed on tunicate and sponge. You can purchase angelfish prepared food from your local pet store but these fish are picky eaters. You may have to try several different types of food before you find on that the fish likes. It can be difficult to get the fish to eat the prepared food but if the fish learns to like the food, it can live for long period of time. Some angelfish can live for over 20 years.
Angelfish need to be placed in an aquarium that has a constant temperature of 78 degrees. You should also choose the right companion fish for them. Eels, parrotfish, butterfly fish and anglers seem to be the best fish to accompany the marine angelfish.