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FAQs about the Regal Angel Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Marine Angelfishes, Regal Angel

Related FAQs: Regal Angels 1, Regal Angels 2, &
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: Regal Angels Identification, Regal Angels Behavior, Regal Angels Compatibility, Regal Angels Systems, Regal Angels Feeding, Regal Angels Health, Regal Angels Reproduction, & Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,   

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Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Another large angel question... stkg./sel. for 220 SPS     7/5/13
Hello Crew,
My name is Andrew and have been keeping reefs for a number of years. I have just recently gotten permission from my better half to set up a 220gallon. 
So here goes nothing. Am i able to have either Pomacanthus imperator or Pygoplites diacanthus
<The Regal; the Emperor gets too large for a 220>
 in a sps only system.
<... may nibble>

Planned stock list other than an angel are as follows 6 Bartlett's Anthias, purple tang, red line wrasse, melanurus wrasse, grey headed wrasse and about ten green Chromis. I have searched and read for hours. I am willing to forgo clams, softies and LPS in order to have one of these fish.
Also are they known to eat chalices.
Thank you,
Andrew Bramlett
<See WWM re compatibility for all you list, propose. Bob Fenner>

Regal Angel Question, then lg. Angel sel.  – 09/24/12
To whom it may concern,
I have read your article below about Regal Angels. I am still interested in trying one. I have a 240 gallon tank with several hundred pounds of live rock and several tangs along with 5 clownfish. I have a dealer in Michigan Tropicorium that has two nice Regals that are feeding well. Unfortunately both are from the Philippines region. If they are eating well should I consider buying one or simply walk away till one from the Red Sea comes in?
<Up to you>
If you get them feeding on Spectrum and provide meaty and green foods should I expect to get a long life span out of one of these fish?
Your article seems to say almost all die.
<Most from the Indo-Pacific do have much shortened captive life spans; but as the years have gone by, a larger percentage (still under 10%), live a year or more. Bob Fenner>
Christopher Faiola
Re: Regal Angel Question – 09/24/12

Thank you for the response. Wow a year is not a very long time to live.
<All is relative, but I agree>
They shouldn't catch them if that is all they live for in captivity.
<There are several notable species used in the trade that on average (or any measure of central tendency) more than half are dead w/in a week of capture... Hence my and others ongoing efforts to offer useful data...>
 I am interested in getting a large angel. Only corals I have in my tank are some leathers. I have lots of live rock and some snails and crabs. Is there an angel fish in particular you would recommend to me that you think would do really well but yet is still pretty looking? Look forward to your reply.
<My fave is a mid-size... the Koran. Please see WWM re Pomacanthid Selection (FAQs). BobF>
Re: Regal Angel Question – 09/24/12

Thank you for the response. A Koran Angel wont bother my leathers I take it?
<Not likely... please... read. B>
Re: Regal Angel Question – 09/24/12

Thank you for the reply. I will check it out.
<Ah, welcome>
Koran – 09/24/12

I have read thru the article on Koran Angels like you have asked me to.
Very nice pictures of them. Now in your article it does mention Adult Korans do eat corals in the wild. What kinds do they typically eat? I like my few leathers a lot in my aquarium. I have a toadstool and a few devils hands. Would they touch those? Look forward to your reply.
<A mix, some times... not often.>
Re: Koran – 09/24/12

Thanks for the reply. How about a Queen Angel or Imperator or French?
Would these species eat my leathers or would you think they would leave them alone? I really am attracted to the colors on the queens. Magnificent colors.
Christopher /> <... Take a guess: Keep reading! B>

Regal Angelfish from New York Aquatic, sel.    6/13/2011
Hi there Mr. Fenner and Crew, I just wanted to share my experience with NY Aquatic. I bought a Regal Angelfish2-3" from Bali a week ago. I wanted to buy him small because I read on your website small ones seem to have the best luck, better then large ones. Before I bought the fish he assured me the fish was eating Mysis and would not sell a Regal Unless it was eating. I freshwater dipped the fish and put him in my tank. I know, no quarantine, but wanted to put as little stress on the fish because he is so delicate.
The fish started eating as soon as it hit the water! Two days later it was new spectrum pellets, brown, red and purple algae! All Ringo (Regal sorry I name all my fish)does is eat! Not only am I extremely happy with the fish, I am also happy with the customer service. Michael emailed a few times asking how the fish was doing. I am sold on Nyaqautic and will only buy fish from him. Jim From Idaho
<Thank you for your report Jim. Bob Fenner>

Re Angel Compatibility 6/27/10 - 7/22/10
Thanks for the reply.
<You're welcome.>
I may just opt for the Majestic and Scribbled in a 200 gallon system. A guy at a LFS got me somewhat excited about the Regals .
He said he has very good success with the Regals he's brought in and sold in the past couple of years. He will only order ones from the Red Sea, and says that he can acclimate them to eating a particular pellet from New Life? that
supposedly gets them the proper nutrients for long term survival in captivity.
<Yes, a good nutritional food, use it myself.>
Like you, he recommended a tank in the 250-300 gallon range to support these 3 fish. He said he would quarantine the Regal for me for 3-4 weeks and get it eating the pellets, then I could add the other two fish after it has acclimated to my tank.
<Sounds like a great deal if you do not have to pay for it until you take it home.>
It's my understanding that the Scribbled and Majestic aren't as aggressive as most of the other large angels and shouldn't cause too much stress to the Regal, provided the tank is large enough and there is a lot of live rock with hiding places.
<Agreed, depending on your tank size.>
In your experience, what kind of success rate do Red Sea Regals have in terms of acclimation and long term survival?
<My understanding is that they generally fair a little better than the Indo-Pacific species, but will ask Bob for his
input here. James (Salty Dog)><<Compared w/ Pacific individuals much higher. Read here re: http://wetwebmedia.com/RegalASelF.htm
and the linked files above. B>>

Regal Angelfish Help   2/8/10
<Hello Terry>
I would like to start off by saying I'm a big fan of your web site!!
<It is a marvelous thing indeed!>
My wife and I were in a LFS and came across a 5-6 inch Regal Angel fish, extremely good colors and nice and fat.
<Mmmm, have you researched this animal? A dismal survival record. Where did this fish come from? Does this have a grey chest or a yellow one? These are the important questions here, as only individuals with a yellow chest from the Red Sea should be considered. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pygoplites/index.htm>
The LFS said its been there for almost three weeks and was eating on sponges like crazy.
<Yes, is one of its main diets in the wild -- but are you able to provide this? I think not.. This fishes primary foods are Sponges & Tunicates -- a diet you cannot replicate.>
My wife fell in love with it <Oh dear - I've been there....> so we bought it home and placed it in our 180 gal.
<Without quarantine? Madness, and the source of many of my most recent queries 'what can I do now I have Crypt in my main system?'>
I can not get it to eat anything.
<Typical. Did you watch it feed in the shop? A golden rule here, especially w/ fishes that are difficult. Make sure you SEE them eat foods that YOU can provide. On top of this, these fishes are sensitive, and easily bullied, put off feeding by aggressive incumbents. They ought to be one of the first fishes placed, if at all. If you do get him feeding I would try to get him to take New Life Spectrum Pellets long term>
I've tried frozen Angel food with sponge, red, green and brown algae strips, flake food with garlic and clam strips. it doesn't seem to be a bit interested in anything.
<Have you got some good live rock in the system? Maybe some in a sump/ refuge you can 'cycle' in and out? If so, is he pecking it at all, does he look 'interested'? Try tempting it w/ some small opened uncooked cockles. Leave them on the sand bed and try to watch the fish w/out it knowing you are there. But you are going to struggle getting it to feed in this setting as I have just spied your stocking list -- some 'brash' feeders in there. >
I have two Clown Fish, 3-4 inch Powder Blue Tang,
<Mmmm.. a feisty fish, this. Watch it w/ your Angel carefully>
3-4 Blonde Naso Tang, 5-6 Magnificent Fox Face and a small Zebra Eel.
<Ok, but you are right on the limit here, if not already over it. Your Angel will not appreciate the potential water quality issues as time goes by either, Zebra Morays get big and messy, to make no mention of the Lituratus. Please capitalise the names of your fishes as well Terry, as I have just gone through all of these correcting them>
My levels are all at zero, <including nitrate?> ph 8.2-8.4 salinity 1.025 and temp 78-80. Any help would be grateful, I have not tried just adding a sponge b/c I'm not sure which ones are safe since most are poisonous and I would rather wing him off eating just sponge.
<This should have been done already for you at the dealer. I am sorry to say that you are facing an uphill struggle trying to get him feeding in this setting. It is a horrible thing to watch, as a beautiful fish like this starves to death in front of you, but I am sorry to say that is the fate of the vast majority of these. Your wife will not be happy either if she is forced to sit and watch while it happens. Even if you can get him to feed, many die anyway because the types of foods are not suitable. I would talk to your dealer, and try to have him take the fish back at least temporarily if nothing else to get him feeding in a more peaceful setting on a food that you can provide. If he can't do this for you then he should offer you a refund on a fish that is questionable to say the least, and unless feeding well and from the Red Sea, quite simply unethical to sell. Simon.>

Pygoplites diacanthus... sel.  -01/30/2008 Hey, guys -- back again with another question. I was just at one of my LFSs and they have had a gorgeous blue-bellied Regal Angel (Pygoplites diacanthus) for about a week or so now. I saw it when I first came in and avoided it like the plague since it was a fresh delivery. Well, upon my return, the fish looks plump, aware of it's surroundings and even ate frozen food in my presence. It didn't eat a TON of it since it had been fed in the morning, but it ate a fairly large piece and picked at some off the bottom. Well, I took the angel in. The price was right, the fish was eating, and they said it was a Solomon Islands catch. <sounds good> What's the odds of a Regal that's eating to live a good long life? I'd assume pretty high odds. <If well cared for, yes. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/Pygoplites/ I must say that I'm very happy to acquire it as I was the guy who emailed you about the Blue-face that ended up being a juvenile Six-Banded angel. This fish, if it lives, will be a much nicer centerpiece to my 180G display. <congrats on the find, good luck> Jonathan P. <Best, Sara M.>

Pygoplites diacanthus article question... sel.  3/1/07 http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pygoplites/ The Regal Angelfish, Pygoplites diacanthus I just read this article and was wondering if it was written long time ago and if things have maybe changed since then? I was looking for some dwarf angels and bought this fish from DrsFosterSmith's  LiveAquaria.com actually.  After reading your article I'm thinking about cancelling the purchase now.  I have time too since they are snowed-in they won't deliver for a week. <Mmm, just looked at my files... First wrote in 7/95, last updated 8/04... The ones from further into the Indian Ocean/Red Sea are okay hardy-wise... the grey chested ones from the western Pacific... Dismal in historical survivability. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pygoplites diacanthus article question...  3/1/07
I'll ask them this.  Really disappointing if LiveAquaria is selling something they shouldn't.  I thought they were supposed to have a good reputation.  They charge a lot of $$ money too. <I am in agreement with your action. I too have had a high opinion of the company. Perhaps this is a simple mistake. Bob Fenner>
Re: Pygoplites diacanthus article question...  3/1/07
http://www.liveaquaria.com/diversden/ItemDisplay.cfm?ddid=17002&siteid=20 They're selling another one now.   This one says Solomon Islands.  What is Western Pacific? <You're joking?> You mean like Hawaii? <What? This is in the Central Pacific>   Or does it go all the way down to right around Indonesia and the Solomon's are really right on the dividing line between W.P. and the Indian ocean? Seems like the Indian Ocean is sort of around Australia very tightly and south of that only. <... BobF>

Pygoplites diacanthus  - 10/28/06 Crew, <Dan> Good evening.  I have been researching Pygoplites diacanthus and I have a few questions about them.  I would like to add one to my 200g tank.  The tank is lightly stocked with plenty of live rock.  I understand that these fish usually have a poor survival rate, but I have heard of success stories. <Yes... more so with specimens of "about the right size", from further into the Indian Ocean...>   My tank has been up and running with no prob.s for over two years now.  I also understand that they will fare much better with plenty of live rock and hiding spaces.  My question is; how to quarantine this fish in a 20g QTank with no live rock?   <No reason why such a specimen can't be placed in isolation with LR...> Should I purchase and cure live rock just to put in the Qtank? <Could/can use from your main/display tank>   I always used aged water from the tank for the Qtank, but will this fish survive for a month in the small barren Qtank? <Can move... dip along the way if "things" go sideways>   Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.  Thank you for your help in this matter and all the other thousands of questions that you answer.  Keep up the good work. <We're trying. Bob Fenner> Thanks again, Dan

Solomon Island Regal Angel ... sel.  6/29/06 Hello crew, <Eric> I found this fish on the internet, a Solomon Island Regal Angel.  The seller of this fish claims: "A simply gorgeous and hardy Angelfish that does well in most reef tanks. They eat all types of food and are exceptionally beautiful---a great fish to keep!!!" http://www.pacificeastaquaculture.com/Detail.aspx?ID=2913 <The ole Doc Mac co.> I am not total sure on this fish, but I was under the impression that they were hard to keep and didn't accept most fish foods. <... depends> Is this Solomon Island Regal Angel different than the one discussed on your webpage at http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pygoplites/index.htm Thanks for your help. Your site has really helped me and my tank. Eric V <I am much more inclined to encourage you to buy such species "close to home" where you can be self-assured of health, behavior, particularly that the animals are feeding on foods you intend to offer. And I stand by my general statement that Pygoplites are much hardier coming from further west... in the Indian Ocean, best from the Red Sea. Bob Fenner>

Regal Angel Hey WWM Crew, I'm the guy who used to ask you guys questions on my little 25G like every week but now I've upgraded to a 100G coral tank with hard corals e.g. Acros, Montis, frogspawn, Hammers and a couple of softies from my old tank. Now I have no fish and one hell of a copepod collection. My tanks been set up for about 8 months and I've had no ammonia  for a VERY LONG TIME!!! I've decided that my tank's a little empty so I want to get a Regal Angel to add a bit of life...I've been doing my research and I've read that RA are notoriously difficult to keep... but I really want ONE big show fish for my tank and all the people that I have spoken to recommend one of these fish.  I've grown up quite a lot in terms of experience and I feel that I can keep one of these fish alive. The RA that I've been looking at getting is eating pellets and is doing really well and if I do get one of these fish I'll be sure to give it a VERY varied diet as to provide the correct nutrition.  Now if I where to get one of these fish and its eating and I put it into my tank with all my corals, would it eat my corals if I feed it a lot of the correct stuff and if it where to eat my corals what corals would it eat? <Steven, I suggest you read the info on the link that I will give you. It will help you better understand the needs of these fish. If you are new in the hobby, the regal wouldn't be my first choice. So please read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/  James (Salty Dog)>

Regal Angels Bob I have been keeping marine fish for over 30 years I have had my own store. I have always wanted to keep or try to keep regal angels and Platax pinnatus. I just moved my collection of angels to a 210 gal and everybody is happy and doing fine except my regal angel. I have lost three trying to get them to eat. The other angels don't really bother them. I would see them take a little frozen brine but not enough to keep them alive (any ideas?) <Try one from further (west) into the Indian Ocean, if you can from the Red Sea... much more likely to accept foods, live> I am converting their old 80 gal bow front to a reef tank and am wondering if a pinnatus all by its self would survive. <Doubtful... most all refuse food... some positive correlation with starting small (less than hand-size) and force-feeding initially... see articles by Jay Hemdal re> If you have any advise on getting it to eat that would be great! Also after the bat is comfortable and secure and eating could I introduce a regal to that tank (I wouldn't care if eats some coral or picks at my live rock) Its so docile could it mix with the pinnatus? <Not in this small system> Thanks Kirt <Bob Fenner>

Regal Angel- Seeking source for Maldives or Red sea? - 2/17/03 Where does a company called ERI obtain most of their Regal Angelfish? Please respond back soon. Thank you. <Like most wholesalers, they have sources all over the world and can literally get them from 4-6 locales and perhaps three times as many collectors. Availability changes from week to week. If you are pursuing a specific race as we recommended before, you will need to consult your dealer who can see and choose the locale of the fish ordered from their stock list. As a warning, it is not uncommon in the industry from fishes not listed by locale to come fro the Philippines (and now Indo too). These are often the cheapest of the choices... and are not listed because of their reputations for weakness or drug-caught symptoms. Ask your pet store to simply order a Maldives or Red sea listed specimen. Please also spend several more weeks or longer researching the captive care of this very challenging fish. Anthony>

Regal Angel... picking the right kind 2/16/03 IM REALLY INTERESTED IN BUYING A REGAL ANGEL, HOWEVER I DO UNDERSTAND HOW HARD THEY ARE TO TAKE CARE OF. <Actually... the problem with them is a matter of dietary deficiency... most are obligate coral polyp feeders> I HAVE A FRIEND WITH A PET SHOP THAT CAN ALMOST GUARANTEE GET THIS FISH TO EAT. <This is a common misconception about Regal angels and other challenging fishes. The problem is not getting them to eat. Many or most will eat in captivity with a skilled aquarist acclimating them. The problem is that they do not survive (!) on captive foods. They hang on for a few months... even a year or two for some before dying of a dietary deficiency. We do not/will not recommend this fish for captivity for casual aquarium keeping> FOR THE PAST 10 YEARS OF MY FRIENDSHIP SHE HAS PURCHASED SEVERAL OF THESE FISH AND HAS NEVER HAD ANY PROBLEMS GETTING THIS TYPE OF ANGEL TO FEED. <Agreed... and if he's had one live 3 or more years then that's the man to talk too... seriously <G>.> IF I HAVE IT FEEDING WELL ON SEVERAL KINDS OF FOOD WHAT ARE ITS CHANCES FOR SURVIVING? <Actually... if you really admire the fish and are willing to set up a species tank... with a good bit of live rock... and let it mature for at least 6 months without any fishes in it to develop sponge and algae growth... then I can recommend that you specifically get a Maldives Orange-throat Regal... or... a Red Sea Regal angel. From these locales, they have been demonstrated to eat more algae and non-coral matter and actually survive long-term in good hands. If you get a cheap-o common Regal angel (Philippines, Indo, unspecified... essentially: without the citron/orange throat/breast)... then you have my assurance that it will die within a year, if not weeks> HAVE YOU EVER OWNED ONE? <yes... on good advice from a friend to get the Maldives variety> PLEASE RESPOND BACK SOON. THANK YOU. <best of luck. Anthony> * note: please be sure to avoid typing in SOLID CAPS when posting a message to anyone via e-mail (hard to read, courtesy, etc) Thanks.

Check out my Gray-bellied Regal Hi Robert, If you get a moment please check out my regal angel flick: http://www.snoopy.org/fish3/fishfeed.mpg Last November I had a wipeout when I was on a business trip. (Eheim 2229 died and 1 powerhead went out). It killed my old Maldivian regal angel and I was very sad. Took me a while to stock the tank back up and I found a gray bellied regal @ the LFS. Took a chance and I must say it's a miracle. Just want to share my delight with you. -Johnson Wu <There are always the few that make it through the collection and shipping, but they are the extreme minority. Do keep us posted on your fish and how it does long-term. -Steven Pro>

Pygoplites/Reef Question Thanks for your reply. I'm now comfortable with my Coralife 10,000K NO. Will try to consider CF but it is hard to obtain 5500 or 6500K. After thinking through your reply and going through your FAQs, I've come to the conclusion that the problem with my larger tank is either coral competition, (soft coral chemical warfare) or the bio-balls in my wet dry filtration producing nitrates. Will keep you posted after thorough investigation.
<Does seem likely>
was just wondering if in your part of the country, does aquarist have problems keeping the Regal angel alive. I've gone through many web sites and they always label it an impossible fish, next to the Moorish Idol. So far, I believe only "John Tullock" (hope my memory never fail me) was able to keep it alive and hand feed   the fish as featured in the aquarium frontiers web site.
<The Pacific ones are mostly lost... probably 80-90% within a month... the Indian Ocean, Red Sea ones do much better... probably a good half live past three months... easily distinguished I'm surprised as I've kept this beauty for almost 2 years without problems. Here's my secret.  Choose a healthy and small specimen, preferably not more than 3 inches. The first two specimen, which is about 6 inches,  only lived for 1 week.  There must be live rock or decor to keep this fish calm in the first few days/weeks. My specimen only emerged out of the LR after 10 days to look for food.  Food is a big problem but the secret is in "Sanjay's" recipe. I modified it a bit and mainly use Squids, fish, leafy vegetables inclusive of stalk and V8 juice and blend them together, freeze it and the corals always perk up when I feed the fishes. Lastly, I must admit that the Red sea version of the Regal angel is definitely a much nicer than the ones from Asia. Hope this will encourage more aquarist to keep this beauty.;
<Thank you for this, will post in FAQs on the WWM site. Bob Fenner>

Regal angel Ok, maybe I'm nuts but you say in at least two places on your web site that the regal angels from the red sea are "easy to medium" while else where you wouldn't even try them. I too have heard this. If this really is true, I would  like to know a red sea Regal's requirements in a home aquarium. Specifically, would a 4-5" one do well my 125 tank, it has been established for exactly 6 months and currently has a Maculosus angel, black durgeon (both at 5-6" w/the angel being larger than the trigger) and a panther grouper at about the same size who will in all probability be given to a friend. I've got an A-miracle filter and Venturi skimmer. Other tank mates would be a Sohal and purple tang added over the next 6 months. It has no live rock but the rock and fake coral that is in it has a nice layer of algae. I currently feed frozen prawns, angel formula, frozen shrimp, dried seaweed, frozen silver sides, and formula two. I feed twice a day on a rotation of different meaty foods but always angel formula and seaweed. I do 15 gallon water changes every 2 weeks with aged mixed water and baking soda. Tank temp- 80F, pH at 8-8.3, ammonia and nitrite- 0, nitrate at 12.5ppm (sometimes a little more), salinity is at 1.025 for the Maculosus angel. Would a red sea regal do well in this set up? I've have not had disease problems in this tank and I believe it is mostly due to the fact that I have chosen hardy fish and administer fresh water dips before putting a fish in. Would the regal and Maculosus get along? <no> Should I do more frequent water changes for the regal, I could step it up to weekly water changes? How aggressive is the regal? My current fish are moderately aggressive. Should I consider any new foods for the regal? I currently feed twice a day, once at 5:30PM and then again at 9PM, should I feed more often? Should I just not bother with this fish?  Once again, I defer to your priceless knowledge and wish to share (your book is perhaps the real reason as to why I haven't had problems - Yaron Aronowicz >> Let's not get too carried away in the discussion of the Regal (Pygoplites)... as you should definitely just stick with the Maculosus in this system as a/the one large marine angel. The Regals from the Red Sea would do okay in all likelihood in the setting described... and they are not aggressive. Bob Fenner

Regal angel fish I was wondering why the regal angel fish is included in the restricted list?  Is it that this fish has trouble eating etc.? Thanks >> Hmmm, I don't compile the list, but do have some idea of why this marine angel (Pygoplites diacanthus) may well be there: Historically the vast majority don't live in captivity... the ones from the Philippines in particular have dismal survival records... more than 90% dead in a month of collection... Why? Who knows. Most die mysteriously... from stress? Many refuse to eat... However, seemingly contradictory experiences can be found with the same species collected further into the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea... some of these are GREAT feeders, hardy and more beautiful than their Indo Pacific conspecifics.... At any length, I would only suggest the Regal for advanced hobbyists with large, established reef systems, starting with small specimens (4-5" overall length)... and coming from the I.O. or Red Sea. Bob Fenner 

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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