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FAQs about the Yellow Band (and Asfur) Angels Behavior

Related Articles: Marine Angelfishes, Pomacanthus Angels, Maculosus Angel

Related FAQs: Asfur, Maculosus 1Asfur, Maculosus 2Arusetta Identification, Arusetta Compatibility, Arusetta Selection, Arusetta Systems, Arusetta Feeding, Arusetta Disease, Arusetta Reproduction, Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,  

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care
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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Melichthys indicus, now Asfur Angel...  - 11/15/2012
So Bob,  I took your advice and traded in the black trigger for a 4.5" asfur angel that I'm starting off in my 90g.
<Ahh, a great (and highly likely aquacultured) species... will need about a 300 gal. plus system in time>
  I noticed he has a slight clouding of the left eye.  What should I do to treat this?
<See WWM re. Not likely anything I'd do at this junction. B>
re: Melichthys indicus

Ok thanks
<Welcome. B>
re: Melichthys indicus - 11/15/2012

With good diet and water quality, approximately how many inches per year does this angel grow?
<Couple, three...>
I'll assume I have until he gets 6 inches until I have to move him.

Maculosus angel (4") in a 90gal, erratic beh.    7/20/11
Hope all is well. I had sent you an email about 6 months ago regarding a Maculosus angel (4") in a 90gal. It is now 6 months later and he seems petrified! He never swims at the top and is always darting and acts crazy constantly hiding under rocks.
<... something wrong here... other tankmates harassing it, seeing its reflection in an end panel... just too small a space>
I notice he swims at higher water level and more often when I'm not in the room. Could it take this long at 6 months for an angel to feel comfortable in it's surroundings, or shall I sell him and find him a bigger home?
<Try covering an end panel of the tank with paper/tape. B>
I will be upgrading to a 180 in a little over a year (which is why I purchased him to begin with). I'd really hate to get rid of him but I'd like your feedback on whether or not its too small confines or just an angel that is taking "longer than normal" to acclimate.
... please supply re titles not "Hey"
Nah, he's the boss....he chases everyone when he's active....ok good idea, thank you
Well Bob, just out of curiosity....have you ever seen an angel take 6 months to finally feel comfortable (relaxed/calm) in its surroundings? Or no?
re-send w/ title
Never mind....I just netted him and I'm taking him back to lfs....shouldn't take 3 months let alone 6.
Thanks for your help!

Maculosus Angel beh.    6/7/11
Hey Bob, I wanted to ask you a question about my 4" Maculosus Angel. He has been in my 90g Fowlr now for over 3 weeks and he is still very skittish.
<Takes time... and more space, habitat... areas to get out of view>
The tank is spacious but shall I make it even more spacious and remove some live rock?
<Mmm, maybe... better to have free-standing bommies than a wall>
He is eating well and begs sometimes when I go up to the glass but he seems scared. Is this still normal after almost a month or am I doing something wrong?
Thanks for your advice.
<Sounds about right. B>

Asfur Size question, and comp.   10/1/08 Hello, <Mornin' Ross> I've enjoyed your site for several years now. I have a question that seems simple, but I've had a hard time finding answers in the literature. I have an Asfur Angel. He's been in my one year old fish-only, resin insert 500 gal tank (+180 gal sump with AquaC EV1000) since the start. He survived the Ich that killed a lot of his friends. He's bossy, but tolerated 2 other angels (a smaller Asfur and a Majestic), before the Ich got them. The tank is stable now that I've gotten a temperature controller. He shares it with 3 Chromis, 2 fairy wrasses, a Lyretail Anthias, Lawnmower Blenny, and 2 Heniochus Butterflies. It's pretty empty for a tank that size. <I can imagine> My question: How big will he get? He has grown from 6" when I got him to 9" now. The books say he can hit 15", but I have searched everywhere for an aquarium reference. No one seems to really know how big he'll get in the aquarium. <Mmm, can make a good guess... would grow to an overall length of 15" or so over a number of years, but will be slower as time goes by... Likely an inch or so a year till about a foot... then more like half an inch more in successive years> The reason I ask, is I am considering adding fish now that the tank is stable. I am curious about a queen angel. <Mmm, I would look to other families of fishes other than Pomacanthids... perhaps a leaning toward a biotopic arrangement (other Red Sea life)... Do give a look here: http://wetwebmedia.com/redseafwgv1.htm and the linked files above... I'd be asking about for some of the species of Wrasses, Tangs... found here> I am interested to hear what you think. Ross Kaplan <You have. Bob Fenner>
e: Asfur Size question  10/5/08 Bob Thank your for your response. I looked at the link, and really appreciate your suggestion. It wasn't my plan, but now I think setting up as a "Red Sea Tank" is a great idea! My own dives in the Red Sea were fantastic. I remember seeing schools of Anthias surrounding us. I have been reading your link with great interest. <Ahh! Am sure we could share many anecdotes re visits there> If I go with all Red Sea endemics, should I raise the salinity slightly? Lower the temp? (currently 1.020, and avg. 80F)? Ross <I would raise the spg, at least to 1.025-6, the temp. I'd leave as is. It's actually cooler than this almost year round in the Red Sea. Bob Fenner>

missing fin, ala Nemo, Asfur size/beh.  8/10/08 Hi Crew, <Kirk> I just received two new fish yesterday from an online dealer, Acanthurus Sohal and Pomacanthus Asfur. Both are beautiful fish that I hope will flourish in my 8 foot tank. My question is about the Asfur Angel. His right pelvic fin is completely missing. Perhaps happened in being netted? <Mmm, yes> Could it be a deformity at birth? <Possibly, if this is a captive produced specimen. If wild, it would have almost certainly have been consumed> I don't see any scar or remnants of where it used to be. Dumb question I suspect, but any chance this grows back? <Not if "too" missing, no> It doesn't seem to affect his swimming ability, at least not that I have noticed. Should I expect any complications short or long term with this? <I don't think so... I suspect this is a long term loss... that this specimen has well-adapted to the "disability"> Oh, and one more question. I have a book by Nick Dakin (Complete Encyclopedia of the Saltwater Aquarium) that lists the Asfur as topping out at 6 inches, I assume this to be a typo? <Mmm, perhaps... or some sort of assertion re "average maximum length" likely in captive circumstances. Nick Dakin is a good, careful writer, but such "inaccuracies" get by everyone in the writing biz.> This is the close cousin to the Maculosus which gets very large, and FishBase shows the Asfur at 40 cm. <Have seen this fish at this size on many occasions... Does get this large in the wild/Red Sea> Appreciate your time, Kirk <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

MAC angel not eating  2-12-08 Hi! <Bhaskar> I have a large MAC (18") that has suddenly stopped eating. I have had him for over five years now and is the boss of a 1200 (twelve hundred) gallon system. All other fish are doing great. I noticed two weeks ago that there was a small bruise on his head from running into something but that has healed up. The last time he ate (two weeks ago) he ate ten large krill and his stomach is fat. <Mmm... the krill/Euphausiid may be the real issue here... the shells are left on I take it> This is the first time he has gone on a hunger strike. It would be very difficult for me to catch him in such a large tank. He is now hiding most of the time instead of coming out like he always does. He normally eats from my hand. I would hate to lose such a great fish. Any idea what I could do? <Mmm, hope... and switch to better food... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/foodsppt1.htm> Is it possible he will come around on his own? <This is about the only way> How long can a large fish like that go with out eating? <Weeks> Also is it possible he ate too much or ate something and now his faeces is stuck? Anyway to get it unstuck? <Yes... and if the system, fish were smaller... possibly the use of Epsom Salt... in the present circumstances, there's not enough to be gained by adding> There is a small white string coming out of him but I don't think he has parasites as I have not added any new fish in years and no other fish is sick. Please let me know what I can do. Thank you. <No more krill... Bob Fenner>

Asfury? Hi to all, <Just PF here this AM Steve> I have noticed a new problem in my tank. My three inch Asfur is from time to time chasing (without any contact) my four inch yellow tail Coris wrasse. The wrasse doesn't seem to go out of his way to avoid him so it doesn't appear that he's afraid of him. Is this expected behavior on the angels part? <Well, not knowing how big your tank is, I really can't answer your question. Remember that in the wild, most fish have territories in the yards, even a large tank is a very, very small slice of ocean.> I researched these inhabitants to death before putting them together <Good for you, wish that everyone had your attitude> and I'd hate to think I would have to get rid of one, is this playful behavior or aggression? <Hard to tell, but since the Coris isn't stressing, I'd just keep my eye on them.> The Asfur does chase my Coral Beauty once in a great while as well but leaves everyone else alone. Any thoughts or suggestions, I expect I should keep an eye on things and hope things don't escalate. <Well, if the frequency/intensity of the chasing increases, then you might want to consider relocating one of them, or getting a bigger tank. Hopefully I've given you some things to consider/use. Have a good day, PF>

Mac angel I have a Maculosus angel that's pretty big. When I purchased him, he was about 10" long. Its about 2 years now, he's been in my 240 gallon system. How come he hasn't grown a bit?? I know Macs can get really big . Will he ever get any bigger in my enclosed system?? Thanks, oh he's healthy and has been eating like a horse. Thanks                                     Lee <This may be about as large as this specimen will get in your setting. Psychological factors, metabolite feedback loops... may conspire to limit this specimen. Bob Fenner>

- Asfur Angel Shyness - Regarding Asfur angel fish: is it a shy fish? <Not as a rule, but there is always individual variation.> Mine seems to be hiding a lot. It has only been in my tank for one day. <Well, that explains a lot - do be patient and give this fish some time to feel at home. Imagine being in your home, someone ripping the roof off and transporting you in a plastic bag to another part of the world and plopping you down in a small glass box... you'd be hiding too.>  It is 5" and I have a 55 gallon tank. <This fish will outgrow this tank... do consider a larger system in the near future. Cheers, J -- >

Nervous Red Sea Mac Angel Hi Everyone           Firstly I got to say you guys are the absolute best and I browse the site all the time, I need your advice though, yesterday after much thought I purchased my last fish for my 125 gallon FOWLR, A gorgeous Red Sea maculosus Angel, he or she is approx 5 inches long and in perfect condition, after doing a freshwater dip, I slowly acclimatized him and released him into the tank, only trouble is my 7 inch Lunare seems to intimidate my Angel, Max the lunare never bites the angel but just corrals the angel into a corner, after reading that Macs are hearty eaters I tried feeding with clam, squid, cockle even octopus and also tried to feed Julian Sprung's "sea veggies", My Mac shows interest but as soon as he starts to swim towards the food Max the Lunare swims past him slowly fins flared and my Mac hides, he seems to be picking a little at the food but I really don't think its enough imp worried that he will not eat and I am unsure of what exactly to do, this Angel was very expensive £150, and I'm concerned for his welfare, the only other inhabitant is a 12 inch snowflake moray who is completely docile and well behaved, what can I do? <just let things play out...that angelfish will soon become the king of you aquarium. Don't worry> Is this normal?<yes> Or do I need to remove my Lunare, Please help , I feel like an anxious parent! Thank you Wet Web Media Crew you're the best :-) <keep the lunare in there with the angelfish...they will be fine, IanB> Maculosus Angel Hi Bob, <Hi Nick, MacL here with you this morning!> I have a 75g marine set up fish only.  It's been running for 2years.  Water parameters are the following: Ammonia 0, Nitrates 20-40 ppm, Nitrites 0, Ph 8.2, temp 78F. <Nitrates are a tad high!> I do weekly H2O changes 10gal pre mix (Instant Ocean).  I recently sold my Majestic angel which I had over a year.  For a supposedly shy and difficult fish this one turned out to be neither. <Really individual fish have individual personalities.>  I then had my LFS order a Maculosus Angel with their next Red Sea order.  It came in and looked great 5", adult color, no blemishes, good respiration rate, no flashing, ate like a pig and was swimming all through out the tank. With this being said, Mr. Mac came home with me. <They are amazing fish indeed.> After quarantine, 4wks, he still looked great.  I then put him in the display.  I don't want to crowd the system, so the only other Red Sea endemic is a Pseudo springeri.  Since his introduction he has hid behind some corals (real powder blue ridge skeletons) for a week. now. <That's actually typical.  I have had mine since he was a teeny tiny quarter sized baby and he still spends an amazing time hiding.> He eats fine. A mixture of angel formula, Mysis and blood worms with HUFA, Veggie Pro, Nori, krill. He only seems to come out to eat then darts behind the corals again.  I read that this is a bold fish, it certainly is brilliant. When will it come out to display itself?  <Usually it just takes some time to get comfortable but they will always uses a safety net and hide.> Thanks, Nick

Maculosus angel I took your advice and added a 6" maculosus angel to my 125. At the same time, I put in a new, large piece of fake coral to disrupt the two fish that are in the tank ( a black durgeon and panther grouper, both about 6" long). My maculosus was eager to get out of the bag and after a 3 minute freshwater dip, I put him in. He has been hiding behind the fake coral ever since he got their, I decided to turn the light on after 4 hours, he still only comes out for a few seconds at a time. He seems physically fine and he has no trouble fending off the grouper's aggressiveness. Should I be concerned? Should I feed him or let the tank go unfed for a day. What can I do to coax him out?  He seemed fine in the pet shop, he even came right up to my finger when I pointed too him and looked me straight in the face. I really love this fish and I want his life to be as easy as possible. Any advice would be appreciated. Yaron >> Leave the fish alone.... it will be fine. Bob Fenner
Maculosus angel
this isn't a question, just a thank-you note. I LOVE MY MACULOSUS ANGEL. He is so friendly and curious and fun and beautiful and makes the whole tank a better place. I was kinda settling on him after I spoke to you about the personifer. But I am so happy I followed your advice and bought him instead. This is a great fish that commands your attention immediately and keeps your interest for a long time. He's eating three different kinds of foods (dried seaweed, shrimp, and frozen seaweed- formula two) already and is just great. Thank you for recommending this wonderful fish. - Yaron >> Outstanding! Glad you find the species (and this specimen) as worthy as I. Your friend in fish, Bob Fenner

Mac attack Hi Bob, After reading your rave reviews of this species in your book, and on the WetWebMedia page, I went out and bought one last night. He looks like a great buy; he nearly jumped out of the water and into the LFS guy's hand when I asked to have him fed, and he's quite gorgeous.  <A good sign of health> FYI, the shop also had about ten baby tank raised specimens. They were about the size of a quarter and cute as all heck. Are these starting to hit the market in larger amounts?  <Yes, the species is being cultured in the Far East> I have a quick question and observation for you. I acclimated the angel and introduced him to my tank in the dark of night last night, as per the common recommendation. I had turned all of the tank lights off about an hour before hand, so all of my other fish were asleep when he went in, and since it was dark and late, I didn't change any of my aquascaping. As a bit of background, before this fish, I hadn't added any livestock to the tank for about six months, so the social order was pretty well established. When everyone woke up this morning, and noticed the newcomer, there was a whole lot of chasing and nipping going on (even by my Naso, the pussycat of the tank). When I went home for lunch today, it looked like things were pretty much back to normal, but the Angel is still mostly in hiding, inside a pyramid of LR. Do these fish usually start out timid, or has this one been harassed a bit too much?  <The fish is no doubt fine... a new social order is being established... no problem> Should I now go ahead and rearrange the setting, or do you think everything will cool down in another day or so? <Too late... leave all as is> > As a quick observation that you may appreciate, it seemed that the other red sea fish that I have didn't seem to bother him much at all, compared to the others. Even the current alpha fish of the tank, a 11" Sohal tang seemed only curious at worst. Hopefully this will hold true for the future, as I'm planning on phasing the tank to a red sea biotope... > Thanks, Dan > > Yes to all... the lack of aggression by Red Sea animals.. is normal. Please take a look at the Red Sea Section of the v.1 Fishwatcher's Guide posted on the site: www.wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner, visiting and writing/photographing the section on the Maldives, I.O.

Too shy Maculosus Greetings bob, Got a fishy problem for you, Gordon; that's my Pomacanthus maculosus, he's about 5" long, and in his adult colours, eats me out of house & home, been living with me for 8 months, Gordon never catches any diseases, he's as tough as old boots (as if you didn't know) but there's one problem! " he's a nervous wreck" he hides most of the time, when I feed him he watches me drop the food in, then, when I back off he darts though the water grabs the food and returns to his hide, all in a flash! (hence the name Gordon!) I thought he'd get out of this in time, don't you think its unusual for this species of angel fish! <You're right, unusual> apart from giving him valium, any ideas as what I should do bob. <Try the tried and true "ditherfish" here... a small grouping of perhaps a Chromis damselfish species will have that Gordon out in a Flash... In the ole days we used to use Deskills (not trimaculatus) for this same task or Abudefduf (Sergeant Majors) for acquainting wild caught, otherwise shy fishes into being more outgoing... it works> Like the site and your book, many thanks, <Ah, great to read, Bob Fenner> Geoff. from England.

More Asfur questions Hi, Bob, Still enjoying my juvenile Asfur. We've discussed him off and on and you were instrumental in my decision to try him. After some observations, just had some behavior questions for you. <Okay> I'm wondering if either these are deeper water fish or if the juveniles are especially shy and generally only active at dusk and dawn? <Not deepwater... a few meters to tens of meters is where I've encountered sub-adults, adults... and very infrequently juveniles... the latter especially hide, associate with the reef> My juvenile has settled down and is fairly active when the MH are off but when these are on, he is almost always hiding in the LR. I understand these are fairly flighty angels but I'm hoping/expecting that he will be out more as he gets older. Just want to seem him more; he's a beauty ;-) <I understand. Lot of organisms try to eat them in the wild> This one has a fair amount of gold on his dorsal fin. I recently noticed some whitish (possibly light yellow) spots on his ventral fin. They are present and identical on both sides so it looks more like color change to me than stress or disease. <Not disease> Hard to tell; he doesn't stay put for a good look. I wasn't expecting white or gold in that place for an adult Asfur, though. He has a yellow tail so I'm pretty sure he is an Asfur and not a Maculosus. Guess they can vary a fair amount? <Appreciably... more has to do with nutrition and water quality than within-species variation.> Thanks for any thoughts or comments, Marc <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Maculosus Angel Bob, <author/friend Anthony Calfo in your service> Why are Maculosus Angels so [passive]?  <this is not at all typical for this species. They are normally quite assertive like most Pomacanthus angels> My friend and I both have one. They are very shy, and get scared easily, hiding behind a rock, even when you just walk by the tank. <I'm guessing they were bought from the same source, which may explain their behavior due to shipping/handling duress> Mines about 9 in. He eats, barely, being more scared. My show emperor angel. Now the first day, I put him in my main system, he was swimming around, and eating right away. With the maculosus angel, I believe that ALL of them act this way, because my friends Mac shows the same behavior. What's up with that? <two fish do not offer a fair representation of the species, bud. And their tankmates are also a great influence. If the Emperor that you mentioned above was in the same tank, it would not only be irresponsible/inappropriate but the reason for the behavior. Large tangs and triggers would do the same for example. More complicated than a standard dynamic behavior for the species. Food for thought. Anthony>

Shy Asfur Angel Hi, Bob, <<Bob is away diving, JasonC here standing in...>> Thanks for your earlier advice regarding an asfur angel in a reef tank. Based partly on that, I acquired a 3 inch juvenile asfur 3 weeks ago. I feed a mix of frozen (Formula II, Angel, brine), flake (formula I and Spirulina) and Caulerpa. He eats but mostly darts from the LR then hides the rest of the time in the LR. In my experience, even the shy fish settle down after a few weeks but he is still quite skittish. Your book and web resources suggest that the Asfurs are a little flighty. Will he settle down and become more visible in time? He is a beauty but I hardly see anything of him. <<if it helps, I can completely sympathize. I placed a two inch adult Majestic angel about three months ago, and I don't get to see much of it for the same reasons. I find the longer I try to acclimate my face to it - stay frozen in front of the tank, don't wear my watch [shiny/flashy] I get to see it more often. So... I know what you are saying. I'm thinking this is due to their size [food size in the wild] and new conditions. Both of those situations will improve as they get used to their surroundings. So neither of us have anything to worry about. As an aside, I can see you read up - I read up too - we both knew it could be like this, yes?>> The only other large fish in the tank is a purple tang which is an inch larger than he is. Nothing seems to be pestering him, although he is out so little, it is hard to know for sure. <<give it time - lots of time - months, it WILL work out. These fish are making a huge adjustment, why just the other day they were out in the ocean, now they are a continent away. It takes me a week to recover from a "pond jump"...>> Due to an unfortunate crack in my acrylic tank, I will be swapping my tank in about a month. My plan is to hold the asfur in a 45G tank with the tang, a flame angel and a few smaller fish, for 1-3 months while the big tank settles out and any cycling caused by the disturbance settles out. Since I need to tear down the old tank, I have been contemplating re-arranging the LR and was specifically wondering if you thought a layout with more swimming channels might help my asfur. <<I'm a really big fan of the layout Bob presented in his book, [shameless plug, if you don't have it you should put in on your Christmas list] essentially two big islands of live rock - stacked so each has caves, etc. I've found this to be the best thing I ever did in my fish-only, and every couple of months I rearrange it into two islands, just differently shaped/stacked. Helped a lot with territory issues, lot's of places to swim around/beneath/between/behind as fish enjoy doing.>> My tank is 72" by 30" by 22" high. My current layout is two arcs of LR set against the back wall with a lot (10 to 20 inches) of swimming space all in front. It has plenty of caves but only one long swim channel. I like one of the layouts you showed in your book that has two facing triangles since that provides lots of loops for the bigger fish. However, it will be more difficult to construct so I am hesitating to commit to this. However, if you think it might make a material difference for my large fish, that would probably tip the balance in favor. <<ahh... there we go, no need for the shameless plug. Try this, you won't be disappointed, it is incredibly appealing to the eye - well, mine anyway. The fish do seem to like it though and this is probably more important - also better for water circulation. Think about the wire-tie trick to bond the larger pieces together if you don't have any big foundation pieces.>> Thanks for any help! Marc <<Good luck. Cheers, J -- >>
More on the Shy Asfur Angel - Questions about Clown Fish
Hi, Jason, <<good n'you?>> Thanks for the info. I'll just give the angel time. <<sounds good>> Unfortunately, my tank tear-down won't help his acclimatization but it is unavoidable. <<happens>> I will go with the LR arrangement with lots of channels. <<it's your picture so paint the way you want!>> Instead of the two triangle layout in Bob's book, I was thinking of three (yes, I do have the book; just picked it. Great book; Bob should publish another ;-). I think three triangles might be easier to construct in a 72" tank. <<My FOWLR is 75 and I could only fit two...>> Plus I can make one of the triangles an anemone "bommie." <<fair enough.>> As for clowns, I did check the table on the web page, very handy. Of the H. crispa commensals, what do you think of A. frenatus or A. Percula in terms of aggressiveness? <<If I were to pick one, I'd say the Percula would be friendlier.>> I'd like a clown pair but I don't want them to rule the tank. Or a false Percula? Regarding the ocellaris, is it reasonable to get 3-4 small tank raised and host them together? <<my favorite choice, best chance of getting a tank-raised, durable specimen. Only problem with these is that they require some of the more difficult anemones, BUT... in a large carpet, sure three or four might co-exist. I'd still think two would be better - but no guarantees as to whether they pair up.>> I assume one will eventually turn female but will she then pair up and drive out the two remaining ones or will she keep a harem? <<don't know so much about this, you may want to obtain, if you haven't already, the Joyce Wilkerson Clown book which is a very detailed guide to breeding clownfish and other clownfish fun>> BTW the asfur has been captive for most of his life. He was "larval reared", spent a few months at the LFS, spent 9 months in a hobbyist tank, was returned for eating xenia, spent another 2 months at the LFS then I bought him. Seems healthy all be it skittish. <<well, then at least you know he'll be a strong one. I'd guess then the skittishness is from all the moving around - kind of like a shelter dog. Give it time. I'm sure all will be fine.>> Thanks,
<<Cheers, J -- >>

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

by Robert (Bob) Fenner
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