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FAQs about the Imperator Angel 3

Related Articles: Imperator Angels, Pomacanthus Angels, Marine Angelfishes

Related FAQs: Emperor Angels 1Emperor Angels 2, Emperor Angel ID, Emperor Behavior, Emperor Compatibility, Emperor Angel Selection, Emperor Angel Systems, Emperor Feeding, Emperor Disease, Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,  

Most Emperor Angels leave stony and soft corals alone. A Lobophytum colony in N. Sulawesi.

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

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Emperor Angel. Request again... re beh.      8/26/12
Hi, I understand there are many factors that contribute to an Emperor Angel changing colour, but I know it is how old the fish is not what size.
Therefore can you please give me an approximate age they change? Regards, Adam.
<Uhh, search WWM re Pomacanthus imperator... behavior FAQs. B>
Re: Emperor Angel.     8/27/12

I already did before asking.
<Yet you did not see an answer that satisfied you? 4-5 inches overall. B>

stressed emperor stressing me out, ...   11/20/09
Hey guys!
Thanks for all of the great info on your site! I have a question involving my new emperor angel. He's working on his forth day in the tank and the first 2 days he was a perfect lil guy. He was searching the tank,
socializing with tank mates and most important eating. However day 3 he stopped exploring the tank stays behind my decor, until I come in the room to look he will come out and greet me or maybe say what in the world is that thing?! ha-ha, he also stopped eating :(, I am assuming the stress has caught up with him from the move and he is just adjusting but I'm worried about him not eating. He will swim up to the food and look at it but not eat it (I've been trying a variety of foods marine cuisine emerald entrees and top fin pellets for a mixture of foods. I'm also looking to get some sponge for him to snack on). I just want to make sure this is only stress and also the best way to deal with making him feel at home in his new....well home lol.
Thanks for the help
<Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Basic Emperor Angel Care/Reading -- 11/17/2009
Hi! First off I'd like to say you guys have a great website full of information that any hobbyist could use.
<Perhaps its time to really dig in and use it!>
My question is about my new emperor angel fish. I've been looking online for information on them and I just cant really find too much on the guys.
They say emperor's need supplements and mixture of diff foods to enhance there colors, and I just wanted to know if this is really true or not?
<All fish need variety, not just the Pomacanthus imperator -- would you want to eat fast food double-cheeseburgers every day, with no choice on the matter?>
Are there any tips on how to make sure this guy stays as happy and curious as he is right now? Also what foods should I include for all of my fish to keep their immune systems up to help avoid that pesky Ich? My others include a stars and strips puffer, black blenny, and a rectangular Huma trigger. I have a 120 gal tank, any thing will help thanks.
<How much searching did you do here? The Emperor Angel is one of the more heavily written about marine angelfish, as well as one of the most common... Start here:
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feeding.htm
and follow all the subheadings at the top. -JustinN>

Simple question... Lazy, Emperor Angel beh.,  - 08/17/07 i love your site but don't have a lot of time to scroll through every entry. <Umm, then use of the search tool, indices...> I have a beautiful emperor angel in a 125 FOWL tank with protein skimmer, roughly 85 lbs of live rock, live sand, an army of hermit crabs, four azure damsels, (yellowtail blue) a strawberry Pseudochromis and a large yellow-striped maroon clown as well as 4 turbo grazers, a pacific scarlet skink cleaner shrimp and a multiplicity of sand sifting worms and an elephant-nose snail. Chemistry is solid, ph around 8.2-8.4, temp. between 79.4-80.8, strong average at 80.4. The question is, how long does it take for an emperor to change color? <Posted> The one I have is a large juvy, about 4" long and very healthy. The white circles are still very visible, the lighter blue bands are fading, there is some yellow coming through behind but you have to look for it. The base of caudal fin has blue and that emperor orange/brown color, top white strip is strongly developed and pectoral fins are gradually turning from transparent to black rays and tailfin is turning from transparent to translucent which I anticipate will eventually turn yellow. There is also some lightening around the mouth. I have had the fish for about 90 days. I am feeding a mix of spectrum pellets (everyone's favorite), Hikari Mysis shrimp, SF Bay marine cuisine and Hikari Angel formula along with dried green Nori which this fish relishes. There is (or was) an abundance of copepods which this fish chases when it gets bored. Jeff Ranta <Depends on a few factors... some are ...

Juvenile Emperor Angel   2/3/07 I love your site and was hoping you could give me some pointers on caring for a very small emperor angel (~1 inch). <Wow, this IS tiny> I know that you do not recommend acquiring such a young specimen, but it is my only option. Because I live in Guam, the only way for me to get fish (that are legal and healthy) is to catch them myself (with a permit, of course). <Neat... adds even more dimensionality to the aquarium/aquatics experience, eh?> Once emperors reach a few inches long, they leave the reef flat for deeper water. <Yes> Sadly my resources and expertise exclude me from collecting fish beyond the reef, and for some reason my wife doesn't think a nice aquarium is a good justification for drowning ( the currents around Guam can be very strong and unpredictable). <Yes... have been there> All of this said, I can find a small juvenile at night, during an extreme low tide. As you may be aware, live rock is illegal in Guam in order to protect the reef. I strongly agree with this law, but I fear it will make it even tougher to keep a little angel fed. <Mmm, I would look into (largely) making your own... collecting the "rubble" on the beach, placing a small bit of "live sand" in this system... to inoculate the rubble/skeletons... In a few months... Voila!> I have a well established 80 gallon FOWOLR with one blue damsel, one false clown, and some hermit crabs. I currently feed: marine pellets, frozen Mysis, frozen brine, Formula II, fresh spinach, and  finely chopped prawns (only when we are having them for dinner). <Ahh!>   I know the cards are stacked against me, but if I were to try to keep a tiny angel in this system, what could I do to increase its chances?   Thank you so much for your time and expertise,   --Caplan <As you have done, and I have suggested (with the rock)... along with your care in making small bite-sized bits of the foods listed, offering them a few times a day... Bob Fenner>

Imperator Query More Q's, and thanks for all of the previous info. We are interested in setting up a tank for a Pomacanthus imperator. I've had several tank sizes recommended to me as well as reading about different tank sizes in several books. I've read and been told any where from 100 being the min up to 500gal. A 100 gal. seems kinda small for a fish that can get sooo big. I don't have room for a 500gal. in my house, do I need a bigger house? :) I wouldn't be surprised if I did, LOL. This has left me uncertain of what size I should purchase. Also, we are setting up a new sump for our old 100 gal FO. The tank has been moved to a spot where we have to put the sump in a closet on the opposite side of the wall behind the tank. We were thinking about using a shelving rack in the closet. On each shelf would be an 27 gal. Rubbermaid bin. Each bin would have something different in it, one would be a DSB, below that would be a bin with macro algae, LR and so on, each being gravity fed starting from the over flow box and down through the consecutive shelves then pumped back up in to the tank. Does the crew see any problems with this type of set up? Thanks again, SHAUNA >>>Hello Shauna, Pomacanthus imperator reaches an adult size of 15" or so in the wild. Captive specimens tend to top out at around 10 to 12" usually. However it takes some years for them to get anywhere close to this size. This is still a large fish though when eventually it does attain these proportions, and considering how active it is, say compared to a grouper of the same length, we need to consider it's space requirements. I think Scott Michael tends to err a bit in favor of the aquarist for his minimum tank sizes in a few places, if that's the book you're referencing. A great book, and he knows his stuff. I just think his minimum tank sizes need to be bumped up a bit for some of the large fish, especially for some of the larger angels. I would say that long term, you shouldn't consider any tank smaller than a 180 gallon. They grow at a slow, steady pace, so If you get a juvenile, it will live in smaller quarters for several years (say a 120 gallon) before you need to upgrade his tank. Ideally, I'd say purchase a 240 or 300 gallon tank (or larger) if you have the means. Regarding your other plans, aside from weight considerations and the need to have VERY strong shelves - sounds good for the most part. I would however question the functionality of such a small DSB in any system, let alone one this large. Regards Jim<<<

Adult Emperor Angel with HLLE <howdy> I have an adult Emperor Angel (about 6") that I think has HLLE. About a week after I purchased him I say a large bump (about the size of half a peanut) on his head (above his eye). The next day it was smaller but had something that looked like 3 small white worms coming out of it. I thought it might be a parasite but the next day they were gone and there were holes left. <not likely parasites at all... infected nonetheless> It has been just 4 or 5 hole for about a week. It seems to be getting better with a diet of sponge but should I do anything else. Thank you very much, Andy <I fear that this fish was not put into a proper quarantine tank first. Else, these issues are easily treated there. Now in the display, we are somewhat handicapped. There's not a whole lot to treat in this case (ineffective in systems with substrate and a risk to killing the biological filter). Please do continue to feed well and do research and establish a QT tank ASAP. Best of luck! Anthony>

- White Blotches on Emperor Angel - Hello. <Hi.> I am desperately trying to sift through all the info. on the web about angels. I have a 3.5 inch juvenile imperator angel who has white blotches to his pattern. Does not look like anything attached as it would with an Ich type disease. He is eating and swimming about. My nitrates, nitrites, ammonia and salinity are all good. His eyes are clear. Is this just the beginning of his metamorphosis or is it a disease. <Sounds to me like an exhibition of the night/fright pattern on this fish. Typically shown when in an overall bad mood or nighttime. Not sure what your fish might be responding to, but have seen these blotchy patterns often enough on newly arrived or stressed fish. Do look for sources of stress in your tank, perhaps do a couple of large water changes to try and improve its mood.> Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Heather <Cheers, J -- >

P. Imperator in Reef tank 1/26/04 HI guys......got a question for ya.....currently I have a reef tank with an imperator angel in it (a deadly but awesome combination of course) <Not necessarily.  I have the same and have had next to no problems (it has only bothered Zoanthids), although mine is still a juvi.> and I am  wondering what kind of corals you would recommend to keep with him that he will leave alone.  Currently I have a couple of small leather corals, assorted small mushroom rocks and a star polyp rock.  I am going to rule out SPS altogether assuming these will be picked at, along with most LPS corals as well. <Actually, I would consider SPS to be the safest.  Zoanthids and Xeniids are probably pretty risky as are non-aggressive LPS like Trachyphyllia, Lobophyllia, Blastomussa.  Aggressive LPS like Catalaphyllia and Euphyllia are probably moderate risk.  Most softies are probably 50/50.  The fish will look for the most meat with the least work and least sting.> I want to keep the tank as stocked as possible without buying the imperator a 40 dollar meal.  I bought a flower pot coral today, but I am taking him back tomorrow..........I know, kick me in the butt, impulse buys are the worst, this beauty is better of where he belongs.....in the  ocean...........Thanks for the help.............Jonathan <A good choice to return the Goniopora, not only for it's lack of suitability in captivity in general, but moderate risk with your emperor.  Best regards!  Adam>

Imperator Angel Hi there, I have been asking every fish site if they knew, or could even guess how long I takes to when you first see changes in the juvenile, to reach full coloration or the adult? <Changes to full at 3-4 inches standard length in general... a bit longer for more Indian Ocean to Red Sea specimens>   seems that no one knows, but I have been looking for an answer for quite some time now, so if you have any info I'd love to hear. Thank You, Ryan Satow <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angel sick? Hello, I just bought a 4-5 inch juvenile coloured Emperor angel a couple days ago and he's just beginning to feed on brine shrimp and Mysid and if there is any other nutritional food that I should be feeding him please tell me.<I would feed your angelfish a mixture of foodstuff...such as Nori-which can be purchased at a grocery store. I feed my angelfish Lifeline (green for herbivores) and I also soak all foodstuff in vitamins.>My problem is that I've noticed an oval shaped brownish faded sore about 1 cm in diameter and from a certain angle it kind of pokes out a little, but not that much. I have heard of white blotches that these guys get when there changing, but I'm not sure if its the same thing. Is this nutritional or a skin disease?<It could be a environmental disease...A picture would help greatly. BTW.. test your water and give me your results.. pH.. nitrates, nitrites, ammonia. SG--Good luck, IanB> Please help me I love these guys sooo much. thanks

Emperor Angel fish disease? Hi, I just bought a 4-5 inch juvenile coloured Emperor Angel 3 days ago and I noticed a brownish pink discoloured spot on him about 1 cm in diameter. I am not sure if it is from transporting or if its a disease? Thanks <Did the spots look like the ones on the fish at this link? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/viraldislymph.htm If so your problem is a viral infection called Lymphocystis...If this is your problem please read the FAQ's that appear on the Lymphocystis page. Do keep in mind this is an environmental disease, so If it is a new fish I would not be too concerned. Good luck, IanB>

How big is big (Emperor Angel) and cleaner shrimp tankmates  12/12/03 Good Evening- <same to you!  Adam here by the way.> I have an adult Imperator Angel, approximately 6-7" long, that I've had for 4 years, having raised it from a juvenile.  When I first got it, I had it in a 125 FOWLR, but after reading Bob's advice, bought a 180 where it has been for the last 2 1/2 years. <Congrats on your success with this fish, and kudos for having the dedication to upgrade it's home!> The tank has about 125# of LR, with 7 assorted and much smaller tankmates.  While I have no desire to get rid of him/her, how will I know if it's outgrown the tank?  It does seem very happy and is doing quite well. <You have largely answered your own question.  After four years, you know your fish and your success is a clear indication of your skills.  As long as the fish isn't showing signs of stress, I wouldn't worry too much.  As your fish approaches it's full grown size of 15" or so, you may have to remove some live rock to improve swimming room or start thinking about larger quarters again, but that should be a while down the road.> At some point, will it stop growing and just maintain it's size based on the tanks size or can I expect it to continue getting bigger? <You have fallen for the oldest and greatest fish keeping myth.  Regardless of tank size, fish will continue growing until they reach their natural full grown size unless water quality, nutrition or disease enter as limiting factors.  You do have some time though as most fish grow more slowly as they get larger.> Thanks for the advice.  I couldn't think of how to do a search in the archives, or I would have started there. <always a pleasure.> Are there some fish that don't get along with cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)?  I have had quite a few disappear over time and have always thought it was the angel, however during the day it seems to leave them alone if they are out cruising around.  Other possible candidates are maroon clown or hippo tang? <Any predatory fish could potentially turn on a cleaner shrimp, especially if they get a bit too hungry, and all of the fish that you mentioned could be suspects.  If you only had the shrimp for a short period of time, I would look to poor handling or rough acclimation first though.> Andy

Imperator Angels Hi, I was reading a book on Angels and they said that Juvenile Emperor Angels rarely attain the full adult colors as they do in the wild is this true because I was really looking forward to getting a 4 incher. Thanks <Mmm, what reference did you see this in? It has been my considerable experience that if they live, all Pomacanthus imperators go through "the change"... more rapidly (at a smaller size) in captivity than the wild... often somewhere twixt 3-4 inches in length. Bob Fenner>
Re: Imperator Angels
I read it in a book called MARINE FISHES and it said that they will change into the adult colors but it wont attain the same brilliance as in the wild. <"Brilliance" is a subjective evaluation in my estimation... well-cared for Imperators in captivity look just as nice as wild ones. Bob Fenner>

Emperor Angels I have a 72 gallon tank with 2 damsels and I have kept other angels including Korans, Queens, Coral Beauties and the only ones I couldn't take care of is those Rock beauties. <sometimes Holacanthus tricolor is hardy and other times they die for no apparent reason>I was thinking on trying out a juv 4 inch Emperor Angel. <they are normally pretty hardy fish, but if you have a hard time keeping angelfish alive I strongly recommend you leave these fish at your LFS> So with my experience with those angels do you think that I could take care of one of these? thank you <Probably not, sounds like you are a very inexperienced aquarist, you need to keep hardier fish such as groupers, eels, certain species of wrasses and then graduate to angelfish especially large angelfish such as the Pomacanthus imperator...which grow to around 15"-in the long run this fish will be much too large for your small aquarium, Good luck, IanB>

-Tossin' in an Imperator- hello, My LFS has a very healthy 5" adult Imperator Angel in stock now.  They have had it for 3 weeks now.  I am wondering how you think it would do in my tank.  I have: 3-4" Harlequin Tusk 3-4" Naso Tang 2-3" Yellow Eye Kole 2-3" Blue Cheek Trigger They are all housed in a 180 gallon tank.  I have about 200lbs of rock in the system, about 120lbs in the tank.  Any input would be great, even if you believe it is possible by removing one of the other fish. <I think it should work out, so long as neither the Naso or the trigger have become too aggressive. I would suggest a month or longer quarantine and fattening up before adding the angel. Be sure it's eating before you buy it!!! Good luck. -Kevin> Thanks, Jesse

- Emperor Angel Size - Thanks again, One final question, I know this is a bit hit and miss but how big should I expect the emperor to get. Does the fact that I have had him since he was literally 3/4 of an inch make any difference?? <Well, in the wild these fish are honkers... almost 18" - but in your system, and especially because you've had it since it was small, it probably won't get any bigger than 10" or so.> Thanks. <Cheers, J -- >

Emperor with HLLD >Good afternoon folks at WWM, >>Greetings. >After exhausting all resources I am finally breaking down to ask you a question.  First, let me start by giving you a brief description of my problem.  I have an emperor angel that has developed a serious condition of HLLD.  It is to the point that his entire face is almost completely pitted as well as his lateral line.  I have followed all suggestions found in all your related articles but nothing seems to be working.   >>It would be helpful to have an outline of what suggestions have been tried, to what extent, as well as timeline.  In any event... >My tank is a 90 gal. FO, up and running for about 3 years, with some ornamental corals, one small piece of LR and about 2-3" of LS.  Filtration is through a wet dry filter and protein skimmer of unknown type (a gift from a friend) which does produce cups of dark green product on a regular basis.  I took your advice and bought a large Rubbermaid trash can and powerhead to mix my own water.  Using Instant Ocean salt and Seachem's Prime for chlorine and chloramine removal and tapwater, I am able to do 10- 15 gal water changes each week  (the LFS said no other chemicals were needed due to our water quality).  When tested, all water qualities appear within normal limits.   >>We prefer to know actual readings, test kit brand is helpful as well.  As I'm sure you can understand, there are many varying definitions of "within normal limits" or "acceptable parameters". >Livestock includes: 1-emperor angel 4" beginning to change colors 1-hippo tang 5" 1-powder brown tang 4" 1-sailfin tang 4" in the recovering stages of HLLD >>This system is already overstocked, especially with consideration to adult sizes of these first four residents. >1-yellow tang 4" 2- small damsels (blue with yellow tails) 1-sebae clown with anemone 1-CB shrimp 2-sandsifter stars 2-useless brittle stars >>Believe me, they're not useless. >1-small queen conch multiple Astrea snails In the morning they are fed one cube each of Angel Formula and Formula Two by Ocean Nutrition soaked in Kent's Marine C, and in the evening one sheet of Nori and some silversides both soaked in Boyd's Vita-Chem.   >>ALL these fish are fed only two cubes of frozen food?  In my opinion they are underfed.  Also, I MUCH prefer Selcon, and it can be ordered online. >On the recommendation of my LFS, I have installed a grounding probe.  The only thing that I have not done is to add American Marine Selcon and this is due to not being able to find it locally.  The LFS also suggested that if what I am doing does not work, that I could inject the vitamins directly into the base of the tail with a small syringe.  Ever heard of that?   >>Oh my goodness, an extreme measure, I think it would be more stressful than helpful.   >The Sailfin tang also had a bout of HLLD but seems to be in the recovering stages.  All fish have a healthy appetite and otherwise appear  in great condition, everyone seems to be happy and getting along.  What am I missing (besides a larger tank, which is hopefully in the future if my wife lets me)? I would really like to see my angel clear up and complete his color change.  Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.  Steve >>Personally, I would try using Selcon instead of the other vitamins, and I would definitely feed more.  Also, if you can't get a larger tank VERY soon then I strongly suggest thinning the herd.  Marina      

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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