Large Angels are among the most popular fish for the home saltwater aquarium, and most marine angelfish adapt well to captivity. The diet of Large Angels consists of microalgaes, macroalgaes, sponges, and zooplankton. Angelfish are some of the most colorful and uniquely patterned species of saltwater aquarium fish – for many aquarium hobbyists, these fish are the reason they start a saltwater tank. Not only are these fish beautiful to behold, but they are also a joy to keep in the home aquarium. Many species of saltwater angelfish are very hardy by nature and they often adapt well to life in captivity. Saltwater angelfish belong to the family Pomacanthidae which contains over 80 different species.
These fish are found primarily in the shallow reefs of tropical regions in the Atlantic and Indian oceans as well as the western portion of the Pacific. This group of fishes is known for its brilliant colors and unique patterns which set them apart from other saltwater species and make them stand out in the reef environment. These fish are very similar in appearance to butterflyfish but they can be distinguished by the strong spines present in their gill covers – angelfish are also generally more adaptable to captivity than butterflyfish. Most angelfish species exhibit laterally compressed bodies with small mouths and large pectoral fins. Many species also have long extensions streaming out from the dorsal and anal fins. Though size varies according to species, the average size is between 8 and 12 inches for most angelfish.
The largest species of angelfish, the Gray angelfish (Pomacantus arcuatus) can reach a length of 24 inches at maturity. In the wild, angelfish generally stick to shallow reef environments, rarely venturing more than 150 feet deep. Most angelfish are diurnal, feeding during the day and hiding among the rocks and crevices in the reef at night.
Though angelfish can be very hardy in the home aquarium, it is important that the tank environment is set up to their preferred specifications if you want them to thrive. To start, you must have the aquarium up and running for at least 3 months before you add your angelfish to ensure that the nitrogen cycle is fully established in the tank. You will still need to perform routine water changes during this time to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels in your tank under control.
For your angelfish to get a healthy start in your tank, you ought to provide them with a healthy environment and that starts with maintaining high water quality in your saltwater tank. Aside from a fully cycled tank and high water quality, saltwater angelfish have a few other preferences you should know about. While these preferences may vary slightly from one species to another, most angelfish prefer reef tank environments and the size may depend on the species. Small species of angelfish may only require a tank size around 50 gallons while medium and large angelfish require 100 gallons of tank capacity or more.
Providing your angelfish with a large tank will help to diminish aggressive tendencies and it will improve your chances of success in keeping angelfish. Before you purchase any angelfish, take the time to research the specific species you are thinking about getting so you can cater your tank conditions to the needs of that particular species. It is important that you strike the right balance in salinity, pH, temperature and other aspects of water chemistry in order for your angelfish to thrive.