If you’re interested in keeping saltwater angelfish types as pets, there are many varieties to choose from, but it can be hard to find detailed information on your options.
Angelfish are incredibly popular types of saltwater fish to keep in your home aquarium. There are many different species of angelfish and they come in an assortment of different shapes, sizes, and colors. Saltwater angelfish types come in a wide variety of patterns too, so there are many different types you’re sure to love!
Knowing the types of saltwater angelfish can help you narrow down your options when picking out your next saltwater aquarium addition or deciding on what fish to add to your current tank. So, whether you’re an angelfish beginner or an expert collector, it’s good to know all of your options before adding new fish to your tank.
With this guide, you’ll learn about 12 popular saltwater angelfish types that you’re sure to fall in love with.
A quick overview of saltwater Angelfish
A saltwater angelfish is a big, colorful, and majestic fish. Any onlooker who sees these fish, whether in the aquarium, in their natural environment, or even at home, will be captivated by them.
Aquarium hobbyists ranging from beginners to experts can choose an angelfish species that suits their color, size, and temperament among 100 varieties in the Pomacanthidae family.
The introduction of one of these beautiful fish into the saltwater aquarium should be done with a few considerations in mind.
A major downside of saltwater angelfish is that most of them are not reef-safe. Despite the fact that success rates vary from fish to fish, some hobbyists have been successful in keeping certain species with corals. The angelfish may also start out reef-safe and then gradually develop a liking for corals as they mature.
Potential size is another important factor to consider. Juvenile saltwater angelfish show drastically different colors than their final form and are considerably smaller. The koran angelfish, for example, has been mistakenly purchased as a juvenile before realizing its true size by too many aquarists.
How do I choose the right types of Angelfish?
Choosing the right type of angelfish for your tank can be a daunting task. There are many factors to consider when choosing an angelfish, including size, coloration, and compatibility with other fish in the tank. While some angelfish species may not be appropriate for certain tanks, there are plenty of types that can thrive in just about any environment.
Below is a list of 25 popular saltwater angelfish types you should know that will help you narrow down your choices.
Saltwater Angelfish types
French Angelfish (Pomacanthus paru)
A French angelfish has a circular body that is laterally compressed. With a deep head and a short snout, the creature has a small mouth that holds a number of bristle-like teeth. It is obvious that preoperculum has a spine, while operculum and under the eye do not. A dorsal fin has ten spines and 29 to 31 soft rays, and an anal fin has three spines and 22 to 24 soft rays.
In total, this species reaches a maximum length of 16.2 inches (41.1 centimeters). Juveniles have mostly black coloring, with a vertical yellow band around the mouth and the caudal portion. Its body is covered with curved bands. Yellow margins surround the caudal fin. As in juveniles, adults have mostly black scales with golden-yellow edges. They have a yellow orbit and a white mouth.
Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)
The Queen angelfish, also known as golden angelfish, blue angelfish, or yellow angelfish, is a fantastic beginner fish. They are very hardy and their care requirements are generally easier than other more sensitive types of saltwater angelfish.
The Queen angelfish is a great addition to any aquarium and make an excellent choice for beginner hobbyists. Though they do require some level of maintenance, they are still considered one of the easiest saltwater angelfish to keep in captivity. They can be housed with most other species without worry, but should not be kept with smaller tetras because they could outcompete them.
Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
Often referred to as the Imperial Angelfish, the adult Emperor Angelfish has a bold, blue body covered in yellow stripes, culminating in an orange caudal fin. Two-thirds of the body is covered with a blue-black mask with a vertical band that extends from the pectoral fin.
Sapphire blue highlights the front of this band, while bright yellow highlights the caudal half. It has a white mouth.
Beginning at the tail, the juvenile has circular stripes of white and blue. Though its colors are highly sought after, the adult coloration may not be as impressive or bright in captivity.
As the angelfish transforms from the juvenile to the adult state, there will be a change in color and pattern.
A 220 gallon or larger tank with live rock is needed for the Emperor Angelfish to graze and hide. Furthermore, they feel more secure in deep caves and extensive rockwork. Ideally, it should be kept with small-polyped stony corals and somewhat noxious soft corals. But it will bite at clam mantles and soft corals (sessile invertebrates) and may even nip at clam shells.
A diet of marine algae, Spirulina, mysis, frozen shrimp, high-quality angelfish preparations, or other meaty foods should be fed to the fish.
Gray Angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus)
Gray Angelfish have gray bodies and blue polka-dots on their caudal, dorsal, and anal fins, which is why they are also known as grey angelfish or gray black angelfish. There is a clear, silvery-gray tone on the face. Juveniles have yellow stripes on black backgrounds.
As an adult, the Gray Angelfish can reach a length of 50.8 cm (20 inches). Therefore, it requires a tank with a capacity of 250 gallons (946 liters) or more. A large amount of live rock should be present in the tank so that the fish can hide and graze. An angelfish of this species is prone to nibbling soft corals and clam mantles (sessile invertebrates).
The diet should be varied with the inclusion of Spirulina, marine algae, mysis or frozen shrimp, as well as high-quality angelfish preparations.
Depending on its size, the Small Juvenile will have the markings of a juvenile or may be color shifting from a juvenile to an adult, while the Medium will be a sub-adult, and the Large will be an adult coloration.
Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus)
There are many different types of angelfish, but one of the most popular is the Flame Angelfish. This type of angelfish is considered a dwarf angel and can grow up to four inches in length. It has a slender body and will also have a flat head that it uses for hunting prey.
The Flame Angelfish lives in the Indian Ocean around Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.
Flame Angelfish is by far the most popular of the Dwarf Angelfish family due to its bold red/orange color and vertical black stripes along the body and caudal portions of its dorsal and anal fins.
A 70-gallon aquarium must include lots of hiding places, live rock for grazing, and prey options, like invertebrates, sessile invertebrates, and clam mantles, for Flame Angelfish. If a flame angelfish is released in a peaceful community, it can cause disputes among residents.
Although they can be comfortable in an aquarium, they should live with fish from different genera and in an already established aquarium. If Flame Angels are exposed to over 0.15 ppm of copper, it can be deadly for them.
With male and female Flame Angelfish indistinguishable from one another, these hermaphrodites are quite hard to breed in captivity.
This flame angelfish prefers pre-prepared angelfish products, marine algae, mysis, and frozen shrimp to any other diet.
Blueface Angelfish (Omacanthus xanthometopon)
There is a marked difference in the coloration of the adult and juvenile Blueface Angelfish, known as Blueface, Yellowface, or Yellowmask Angelfish. Juveniles have black, white, and sapphire blue vertical stripes covering their bodies.
Once the juvenile reaches about five inches in length, it begins to morph into its adult version, which has pale yellow with blue-green scales and a yellow pectoral fin. There are mottled blue spots on its face, and a yellow mask stretches from eye to eye. A dorsal fin eye spot can also be found at the caudal end.
The ideal environment will include a minimum 220 gallon tank with multiple hiding spots and plenty of live rock for grazing.
Generally poor at living on reefs, the Blueface Angelfish regularly nibbles on stony corals, soft corals, and clam mantles. If it is the largest fish in the tank, the Blueface Angelfish can become territorial, so it is best kept as an only angelfish.
There should be a variety of meaty items as well as Spirulina, marine algae, and high-quality angelfish preparations as its diet. You should feed your fish three times a day at least.
Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosus)
Coral Beauty Angelfish are the perfect addition to a reef tank. They are peaceful and can be kept with other fish in a smaller aquarium. Coral Beauty Angelfish will feed on small invertebrates, crustaceans, and algae that grow on live rock.
Known as the Two-spined or Dusky Angelfish, the Coral Beauty Angelfish is very common on the Great Barrier Reef. There is a deep royal blue coloration on the body and head, highlighted with an iridescent orange to yellow coloration. Taking care of Coral Beauty Angelfish is easy.
There must be plenty of hiding spaces and live rock for grazing in a 70 gallon or larger tank. Known for nipping at soft and stony corals (sessile invertebrates), the Coral Beauty Angelfish is not a good reef dweller.
Unless otherwise specified, Coral Beauty Angelfish should be fed spirulina, algae, and high-quality angelfish preparations, along with frozen shrimp and other quality meats.
Pygmy Angelfish (Centropyge argi)
Also known as the Cherubfish or Atlantic Pygmy Angelfish, the Pygmy Angelfish is a type of saltwater angelfish. The color of its face is sapphire blue with orange highlights.
A 55 gallon or larger aquarium with a number of hiding places and live rock is required to successfully keep Pygmy Angelfish. They can grow up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length. There are also reports that it nips at polyped stony corals and clam mantles.
Due to the aggressive nature of the Pygmy Angelfish, it is highly recommended not to keep more than one male fish in a tank because they may fight each other to death. The Pygmy Angelfish has been successfully bred in captivity, and its breeding pair may be kept in captivity.
Regal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus)
Known as the Regal Angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus requires a lot more maintenance than other angelfish. Because of this, it is recommended to introduce it first so that it can take over its territory. The fish should be kept in a tank with at least 125 gallons of water, plenty of hiding places, and live rocks.
Occasionally, the Regal Angelfish will nip at large-polyped stony corals and soft corals. However, it will not bother many noxious soft corals.
Regal Angelfish are characterized by vertical striations running down their bodies. Their colors include blue, white, yellow, or orange. There are typically blue/gray breasts on Regal Angelfish from the Indo-Pacific, Coral Sea, New Caledonia, and Tahitian regions; on the other hand, yellow breasts can sometimes be found on Regal Angelfish from the Maldives and the Red Sea.
It is more likely that specimens with this coloration are mature enough to reach a length of at least four inches (10.1 cm). Juvenile fish will have “False Eye Spots” on the dorsal fin, but these will fade as they mature.
The Regal Angelfish found in the Maldives, Fiji, Coral Sea, Red Sea, and Tahiti are generally well-behaved and easy to care for, and they fit better into home aquariums than those found in the Indo-Pacific waters.
King Angelfish (Holacanthus passer)
Also known as passer angelfish or Holacanthus passer, the king angelfish is the largest of the angelfish in the family Pomacanthidae, growing to a maximum size of 14 inches (35 cm) and a weight of five pounds. It is easily identified by its bright orange body with two black stripes and a large blue dorsal fin.
The king angelfish can be found in shallow water near coral reefs, but are most common near the surface. They are considered reef fish because they use rocky structures for protection and for finding food. They feed mainly on smaller fishes and crustaceans. Their usual lifespan is about 15 years.
Potter Angelfish (Centropyge potteri)
Potter Angelfish are among the most popular saltwater angelfish types. They are small to medium-sized fish and can grow up to 4 inches (10.1 cm) in length. Their bright orange bodies are covered with thin blue-to-black vertical stripes.
Pectoral and pelvic fins have orange to bright yellow margins and vivid blue dorsal, caudal, and anal margins. In males, the middle of the body has a wider blue area that extends to the belly. Blue deepwater morphs with black or purple stripes have black to burgundy stripes, occurring below 60 meters (200 feet) in depth.
Chrysurus Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus)
Chrysurus Angelfish, also called Ear Spot Angelfish or goldtail Angelfish, are uncommon aquarium inhabitants because few are collected for aquariums. There are white stripes running vertically across its body that are mottled brown.
A dull yellow rim is outlined in sapphire-blue around the tail, which has several bright sapphire-blue stripes. When they are young, their tails are clear until they reach 3 to 4 inches, when the coloration begins to change from clear to yellow.
Goldtail Angelfish or Ear Spot Angelfish, is one of the most popular angelfish for the aquarium. It can be found in many different colors, with the most common being blue, yellow, and silver. They are very intelligent and easy to keep as long as they have plenty of room to swim. They can grow up to 13 inches (33 cm) in length so make sure you have a large tank for them!
In addition to having multiple hiding places and a large amount of live rock for grazing, the Chrysurus Angelfish requires an aquarium with a capacity of at least 220 gallons. The Chrysurus Angelfish is not a good reef dweller and is prone to nibbling on soft and stony corals, as well as clam mantles, but it can be kept with some soft corals and small-polyped stony corals.
An unusual clicking sound is made by Chrysurus Angelfish when stressed. There are no characteristics that distinguish males from females of this angelfish, as it is hermaphroditic as other angelfish, so breeding is difficult in an aquarium.