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FAQs about the Pomacanthus Angels: Foods/Feeding/Nutrition

Related Articles: Marine Angels, PomacanthusPomacanthus imperator (Emperor Angel), Pomacanthus paru (French Angel), Pomacanthus semicirculatus (Koran Angel), Pomacanthus maculosus (Yellow-Band Angelfish), 

Related FAQs:  PomacanthusPomacanthus 2, & FAQs on: Pomacanthus Identification, Pomacanthus Behavior, Pomacanthus Compatibility, Pomacanthus Selection, Pomacanthus Systems, Pomacanthus Disease, Pomacanthus Reproduction, Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,   


Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

French Angel feeding strike    9/26/17
Hello WWM team,
I have a 5 inch French Angel in a 200 gallon FOWLR aquarium, and I've had him/her for about 2 years now (came in as a juvenile and has now morphed into an adult). The fish has always been very healthy, and typically eats Spectrum pellets, sheets of nori, and frozen food with gusto. But for the last 3 days the fish hasn't eaten anything, and I can't find any other problems with its behavior. It's not breathing hard, hiding, or scratching
on the rocks. It's just not eating all of a sudden.
<Strange... maybe it ingested something that didn't/doesn't agree with it... A Bristleworm? Gravel?>
I know from your French Angel article that these fish can sometimes go on feeding strikes, especially as they get larger, but this seems odd considering that he's been a great eater for about 2 years now. Any ideas you can offer to help get him back on track would be most appreciated.
<My all-time fave course of action here is to try an open clam or mussel (half the two shells removed); large Angelfishes find bivalves irresistible. If this fish is still not eating, please write me/us in a week re. Bob Fenner>

Blue Ring Angel Will Only Eat Live Clams and Nori        1/13/16
Hi Crew,
I have a blue ring angel that I bought about 3 months ago. I dropped him in a 125 gallon quarantine tank and I never saw him eat anything for over three weeks.
<Yikes; bad... cyanided? Rough handling, damage?>
I offered everything in my arsenal including mysis, NLS pellet, live clam, Nori, angel formula, brine, live brine etc. The fish
finally started to nip at the live rock and live clams after 20 days. I was sure he was ready to check out but since he was pretty large (7 inches)
<Such large specimens should not be collected from the wild; poor adapters>
there must have been enough reserves to get through it. Now the fish aggressively eats Nori on a clip and live little neck clams. The problem is it's been three months and the fish won't even look at any other foods.
<Not good>
I try not feeding the clams and Nori for days and still the fish won't  even look at anything else. There are a few other fish in the tank that it watches consume the food so I figured it would learn.
<Me too>
I have even stuck NLS pellets inside and under the clam meat in the shell and still no interest. Any ideas? I don't want to have to feed live food the next 10 years. The fish looks healthy and normal as an angle should act. It greets me at the front of the tank every time it sees me.
<Well; I'd at least be soaking the clams in a vitamin/HUFA prep. And keep trying other foods! Bob Fenner>

12 Inch Emperor Angel won't Eat      4/12/15
Hi Crew,
<Hey Chad>
I recently purchased a 12 inch Emperor angel that was said to have been in an aquarium the last 5 years. I made the 5 hour drive to pick it up and the store owner said it was eating krill and seaweed but it was stressed out in the 60 gallon tank at the store so I didn't see it eat.
<Might well be>

The fish was alert and acting very normal so I rolled the dice, trusting the fish store.
I have the fish in a 100 gallon tub plumbed into my main system.
Parameters are:
<I'd raise this to NSW strength>

0 ammonia
0 nitrite
20 nitrate
<And not allow this to get any higher>

I have tried to feed Mysis, NLS pellet, Nori, freeze dried krill, angel formula and Marine A pellet over the last 48 hours with no success. The fish will pretty much ignore all of it. Today I went an bought some littleneck clams and broke a couple open and the fish ate them but I still can't get it looking at anything but the clams. Do you have any
suggestions to get this fish eating commercially available food?
<Mmm; I'd just be patient... two days isn't much settling in time. Oh, and I'd soak foods in an appetite stimulant... vitamins and HUFAs... SeaChem Entice>

Needless to say, I don't think this fish came from a home environment and I am going to see how hard it is to get a big wild angel to eat.
<The stress, strain of being moved, unfamiliar setting.... Think of how you feel when traveling; and YOU know where you're going!>
<If the fish doesn't take food w/in a couple more days, I'd move it to your main/display system (really). Bob Fenner>

Blue Ring Angel feeding 3/16/2009
Hi there,
Sorry to bug you again, but I have a problem with feeding my blue ring angel.
<Sometimes takes a while to train>
I've got 6 green Chromis with the blue ring angel in a 375 gallon fish tank. The angel is about 3 inches. It is eating when it can but the problem I have at the moment is that when I put in the food the Chromis
finish them before the blue ring has a chance. It's been in the tank for about 3 days after quarantine and stuff. How can I get the Chromis to leave some for the blue ring.
<Feed them at either side of the system simultaneously... try some sinking foods for the Angel, use a feeding stick....>
Am feeding the spectrum Thera A pellets 1mm.
<Too small...>
Should I go for a bigger pellets or will the angel learn to fight for the food. I also leave Nori in the tank for it to munch on throughout the day.
Thanks in advance
Thai Pham
<I would use larger and sinking Spectrum... and other foods... But want to relate to you that the Angel is very likely getting a good deal of food from sampling live rock life here. Bob Fenner>

Blue-faced Angel Hello Anthony! <cheers!> THANK YOU for taking the time to reply!  <my pleasure> I didn't want to "lose" the sponge, and both seem to be doing fine in a medium-flow area of my tank. I had asked if someone could identify my fish by a picture, and I finally found one on the WWM website! You guys are awesome - I haven't been able to find anybody else that could identify this angel. <Pomacanthus xanthometopon... AKA the Yellow-faced or Blue faced angel... a magnificent fish> (http://wetwebfotos.com/Home?actionRequest=mediaView&ID=1914) (And also attached) Now for a stupid question - is there a picture of this angel as an adult?  <fishbase.org is a great fish reference...try here: http:// www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm? ID=5662&genusname=Pomacanthus &speciesname=xanthometopon and on our site try here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/Pomacanthus/Pomacanthus.htm The last three picture on our page are a series of color changes for this fish (last one being a terminal adult)> And a listing of what it eats?  <a somewhat delicate feeder yet quite predatory and not even remotely reef safe. Needs a VERY wide variety of foods if it is to survive in captivity. Include meaty foods and greens and at least all of the following: Nori seaweed, Gammarus, Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton, Spirulina. There are some prepared frozen mixes that are good. On our site and in Bob's book there are some great recipes with vitamins too for you to home make a great frozen food. Sweetwater brand plankton (in a jar) is also quite good. Yes... a very wide diet is needed to keep this fish healthy and colorful> Mine seems to like to eat tubeworms :( <that's only the beginning!> and anything "wavy", so I am wondering if I can keep a Xenia without the angel trying to eat it. <unlikely> Also, thank you for the info about the conference. I am not sure if I can attend - I would definitely like to see the exhibits!  <most MACNAs you can see the exhibits without paying the full conference price (may or may not here)... you just cant get in to see the speakers. There are often one day passes too for Saturday which are great!> If I do go, I will definitely stop by to see you! Thanks again, and hope y'all are having a great summer...-Cathy  <best regards! Anthony>

Timid Blue ring Angel Hi, I have a blue ring angel. He is about 6 inches, eats but, I feel he doesn't get enough for his size. He just stays around the medium level of the tank (height) and gets small pieces, because all of the fish at the top are getting the bigger fishes. Is there anyway I can help it come to the top (like helping it feel more like home) so it can get more food? I have had him for 2 weeks. Thanks! <With time he will become more at ease. Patience my friend. -Steven Pro>

Baby Blue Angel Greetings Boys, <Hallo... Sailor!> Just some help on how fast this baby will grow. I work at a pet store and am considered the Marine expert,  <we all have our faults... we forgive you> however I don't think my 8 years makes me an expert by far.  <you have valid and important experience... and none of us our experts. All aquarists are pioneers :) > Especially considering how often I email you guys :) . Anyway, on our order we ordered a Med. (3-4") Navarchus angel which I have taken care of and kept more than healthy before. However, we got sent a baby blue by mistake which they did not charge us for and said we could have,  <very cool> this was a first from Quality Marine for us.  <I like Quality Marine very much... a very good wholesaler overall> All good I suppose. This blue angel is extremely beautifully colored and healthy looking, the first potential problem however was that he was only about 1.5" long, NOT a good fish size.  <agreed> But in the last 3 years I have been good at getting hard to keep fish to eat (a Moorish Idol being my pride and joy at home). The little guy was put into a tank of mine and not at the store, I didn't want him in a community tank until I new he would eat and until he got some size to him. And like I hoped, that night he was eat, I was surprised as hell. He enjoys seaweed select, formula 1 and 2, brine shrimp and even took a few flakes on the 4th day.  <please don't feed brine shrimp to any fish that you hope will survive longer than a year...heehee. It is truly a hollow and useless food (adult brine). Its a shame that fish respond so well to it... like Americans to fast food!> He is without flaw and I am VERY pleased with him. Now for the question, the only free tank I had in my personal possession with 5 months of cycling on it was a 72gal bow front. How fast do blues grow per month and what is the minimum tank they will need to flourish?  <he'll be fine in this tank for about a year> I am thinking 155gal minimum but I think for a fish that will reach a bit over a foot at least 250 to make him happy.  <agreed on the latter> In my opinion a fish should be given what it needs to feel at home. <indeed...saltwater fishes have been shown to need length of tank more than water volume to prevent stunting and premature death> Kinda like the Betta problem. A Betta will survive in a 5gal jar, BUT will he be happy?  I prefer to go with the happy size so I always encourage our customers to get more than what they need. There is nothing that makes me happier than to see a fish that is happy. Thanks for the help men. John M. <let me suggest that you feed this fish a diet rich in meaty foods while it is young for faster growth and as it is natural (small Blue angels are cleaner fish that eat parasites off other fishes). So... no brine shrimp, but any freeze dried foods and especially thawed frozen Gammarus and Mysid shrimp, Pacifica plankton and shredded krill. Best regards, Anthony>

Blue Line Angel in small quarters Hello fellows, <Good morning to you!> I have a few questions if you'd kindly answer. I received yesterday a blue line angel from the Marine Center. The fellow told me it should do just fine in my 55 live rock system. <Wow, kind of small for such a large fish. I would not recommend any large Angelfish in anything under 90 gallons.> It would appear quite large for that to me, but I have no choice. The individual in question is a good 5 or 6 inches in length, beautiful, alert, and slightly skinny possibly as a result of shipping. Randy at Marine Center told me it was eating well for a month there. He also said he wouldn't expect it to eat anything for a week or so in its new home. Is this the norm? <Not for me. I would expect any healthy fish to eat in a few days.> Should I be comfortable with this? <I would begin offering various foods the day after introduction.> He said Mysis shrimp should be taken by the end of the week and other foods as well. Is this a hardy fish? <Generally, a hardy Angelfish, although the stress over confinement in this small tank may prove too much for this individual.> I was told it was. Do you have any experience with it? <Yes, a great fish, slightly under appreciated in the trade/hobby for more exotic looking species.> Sorry for the rambling length of this letter. I just really want the fish to do well, due to the fact it is amazing and all. LOL. Thanks, Brian <You can read more about this species here: http://www.wetwebmedia. com/marine/fishes/angels/index.htm http://www.wetwebmedia. com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm I would look for a larger tank or another home for this specimen. -Steven Pro>

Juvenile Chrysurus 27 Jul 2005 I have a juvenile Chrysurus angel that is probably about the size of a quarter. I didn't mean to get him so small.<Hi Brandon, MacL here with you today. No worries on the size as long as we can get past the barrier of getting him to eat.> I ordered him on the net from Marine Center, so I know the fish was properly cared for. That said, I've had him for about 2 to 3 weeks. He hasn't eaten any prepared foods, and that includes live brine. He is constantly picking at the rocks however, showing somewhat of a feeding response. <If he is constantly picking he is probably eating copepods found in the rocks. He is more than likely getting enough to sustain him but unless you have a way to refill what he eats or you reseed the tank with pods he will eventually wear out the supply. There are many places that you can buy pods to restock or you can use this time to get him eating other things. One of my new favorites is www.seapods.com. A new business that sells beneficial pods to help replenish.> There are no fish in the 125G tank to pick on him. <Does that mean there are no other fish at all or just that no one there will pick on him? Often they can learn to eat other foods based on examples from other fish.> He has now developed a large white clump on his left pectoral fin. It looks very large, too large to be Ich. <Sounds to me like it might be Lymphocystis, you might check the site to determine if it is. If so good water conditions should take care of the problem.> I'm worried that his immune system may be compromised from not eating. <Perhaps just a bit stressed from being a small tyke and shifted.>  Any ideas of what to feed when live brine won't work? <Lots of stuff might appeal to him. He might eat mussels cracked open. He might eat Mysis either frozen or live. Did you contact the marine center to ask them what he was eating while there. I have had a lot of success with fish not eating by putting garlic on the frozen foods. Seems to encourage them to eat.> He chases it, only to look and not eat. <Good luck, MacL> Thanks.

Chrysurus Angel Help  10/4/05 Hi, <Howdy> Oliver Lucanus suggested I drop you an email (Gwen Grignon, one of my staff, also thinks the world of you). <Mmm, and don't know if Gwen Loiselle is still in your employ (one of the retail outlets), and likely we know of each other through my wife, Diana... who distributed Knop Products in N. Am... oh, she is saying that she dealt with Dionne (sp?)>   We have, in our shop and all ready for a customer, a large Chrysurus angel.  We've had him for almost a month, though he has yet to eat.  He spits out everything we try to feed, including (in no particular order): - frozen and freeze-dried krill - brine shrimp - Mysis shrimp - fresh clams - fresh mussels - live sponge from Florida - Nori soaked in garlic, Entice, Selcon - freshwater japonica shrimp - button polyps <I see> We are getting desperate.  He is in a 100 gallon holding tank.  He started off alone, but we've since added in a yellow tang in hopes that the tang will 'show him how to eat'. <Good idea, technique... I use genus Abudefduf damsels...>   Shortly after arrival here (via Quality Marine), he got sick with a parasite looking more like Oodinium than ick, which we treated with Formalin bathes in his aquarium (he was not moved, we just brought him back on system afterwards) with quick, positive results.  There is no other medication in the system, and all other fish in the system are healthy. We are willing to try anything to get this poor creature to eat.  Do you have any ideas? <A few... you don't mention vitamin supplementation... this addition can really stir feeding at times... on the food, directly to the water... Zoe, Selcon, Microvit... And freshly opened shellfish... like the mussels you mention above... with the shell still on... And, as odd as this may seem, jellyfish (live or preserved), which this angel species consumes quite a bit of in the wild. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Best regards, Brent Mills Big Al's - Montreal, Canada

Pomacanthus arcuatus (Gray Angelfish) 3/28/08 Hi folks, I recently had emailed you guys to ask about an adult gray poma that wouldn't eat. You suggested I try New Spectrum food, got some, it didn't work either. This angel is still in a 55 gallon quarantine tank, all levels are excellent - even the nitrates barely show up. Here's the thing, it has been over 3 weeks and I have not seen this fish eat anything. I have tried that spectrum food, Mysis, brine, bloodworms, formula one, prime reef flake, Nori, smashed carnivore formula on a piece of coral - nothing. He swims toward things sometimes but literally moves his head out of the way. I have seen food hit him in the mouth - nothing. He is in a tank with several damsels ( they keep the tank cycled ) and a Hawkfish. They all eat like pigs and I was hoping the angelfish would learn from them - nope. How long can a fish go without eating or at least not eating in front of me? <About as long as you have had him now, hopefully it is still alive.> There is live rock in the tank but it doesn't have much growing on it besides I have never seen him pick at the rock. This is getting frustrating since I have kept several more difficult angelfish. I currently have a 7 year old Japanese Swallowtail and a 3 year old Majestic. I raised an Emperor from juvie to adult and actually gave him to a friend with a 220 gallon tank so he'd have more room, I had him for over 5 years. <Great.> In the last 20 years I have raised angels from juvenile to adult many times, had a pair of Coral Beauties for 4 years ( even spawned once) so I am no novice. And that is my frustration, why is this fish so picky and what else can I try to get a feeding response? I am out of tricks. I really don't want to see this fish die although he doesn't seem to be getting thin yet. Thanks for any advice. <As you probably know, the Gray Angelfish isn't one of the easiest to acclimate, especially being adult size. Seems like you have tried all the foods that would entice him to eat, but unfortunately he is not. This is just one of those fish that refuses to acclimate. Probably too late now, but improving the purity of the water will sometimes trigger a feeding response. One of the best ways is by use of Chemi Pure in the system and/or frequent water changes. This has worked for me a few times. James (Salty Dog)> Rob Syracuse, NY

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
New eBook on Amazon: Available here
New Print Book on Create Space: Available here

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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