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FAQs about Marine Angelfish Identification

Related Articles: Marine AngelsThe Ultimate Angelfish Aquarium; An amazing and challenging collection of marine angelfishes by Peter Giwojna, 

Related FAQs: Marine Angels 1, Marine Angelfish Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Health, Feeding, Disease

Pomacanthus chrysurus, the Ear-Spot Angelfish. 7 cm. photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka. 

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

Angel ID 8/6/09
Hello WetWeb crew,
<Hi Eric>
I have another ID question. I saw a fish in a LFS that was labeled as a "Yellowfin angel," but this was most definitely NOT a Centropyge flavipectoralis. The fish did appear to be a Centropyge angel based on body shape and size. However, its color was a bright yellow with a black square shaped patch covering most of body's rear third. The tail and fins were yellow. I was under the impression that Centropyge did not undergo dramatic color changes as they aged. I was unable to find anything on Fishbase that resembled this beauty.
<A pic would help, any chance of getting us one.>
Any ideas?
<Mmm, have you looked here, part 1 through 3?
Thank you for your time,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Angel ID -- 08/06/09
I have looked through your articles and didn't see a fish similar to the one I saw in the LFS . I'll try and get a pic tomorrow. Going diving tonight. :)
<Might this be Holacanthus tricolor? Your brief desc. is close for juv.s of
this species. BobF>
Re Angel ID 8/6/09

Might this be Holacanthus tricolor? Your brief desc. is close for juv.s of this species. BobF
Bob, have you sent this to the chap?
Did some follow up on the ID and sent the chap a link with a photo of a juvenile Rock Beauty.
Re: Angel ID 8/6/09

Just some follow up on above subject.
Look at the last photo on this link, is this the fish you saw at the LFS.
James (Salty Dog)
Re: Angel ID  8/7/09

...and Bob comes through again. I looked up pics of the juvenile H. tricolor and that was a near perfect match. Thanks.
<Ahhh, good. BobF>

Wrought Iron Angel - 06/17/07 Hello MR. Fenner I hope that you do not mind the email, please excuse the intrusion. <Please... write to Crew@WetWebMedia.com> was wondering if you had any first hand experience with a wrought iron angel <There is no such animal... you likely mean the Butterflyfish, Chaetodon daedalma...> and a reef tank. Thinking about adding one to my 180g reef system which is SPS and LPSs ( Scolymia, lympho's, symphilia's, Gonioporas) no clams or elegance or torch's etc. do they have a tendency to be unfriendly to my corals? any input would be appreciated, thank you for your time and advice. Stephen, concord, Massachusetts. <Try the correct common and scientific name for a further search. BobF>  

Angel ID, and Koi color   - 5/18/07 Just have two quick questions. First one is can you tell me if the pic attached is a Mac or a Passer? <Mmm, perhaps neither... Is an Asfur> <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/pomacanthus/maculosus.htm> Second question is how long does it take for a fish to regain it's  color? <Depends on... the species... reason/s for loss> I have a Malaysian Koi that jumped out of its winter stock tank and  after saving its life, it developed a fungal infection. It was treated and is  fully cured but the color and amour plates it used to have are not there and the  color is still white where it used to be a deep golden yellow on a blackish  orange background. Will the color come back and if so how long may it take? <Maybe... in time... months likely> Fish  has been healed from fungus for 5 or so months and is healthy and growing.   Sherry <... See WWM re Koi... is this a tategoi? A small individual... may not change to what you want, but to something else. Bob Fenner>
Re: Angel ID, koi color resultant from damage/fungal infection     5/20/07 For the Koi question...No this is not a tategoi.  This female is 11"  TL and a cross between a standard and butterfly fin. In my neck of the woods  these are referred to as Malaysian Koi. She is a Hikarimoyo with  Matsuba and Ginrin scale/color pattern. The color loss referred to was due to  the fungal infection referred to above and only resulted due to the infection.  My question is after healing from this infection, how long for color to fully  return? Can I tweak her diet more to assist? <Mmm, perhaps never... the loss of tissue under the scales... the chromatophores, iridophores themselves will/would mean a permanent loss> As for the Angel question.. I have looked at the site and studied the page and checked in your books, which I have and am having a hard time ID'ing fish as  well. So please don't refer me back to the site as I try to answer my questions  before I write in. It is being sold as a Half Moon Angel and dealer is unsure as  to which it is as well. I have a hold on it but would like to know what it  is. You say likely neither. If it is not a Pomacanthus Maculosus or a Pomacanthus asfur then what do you think it is? <It is the latter... An Asfur almost assuredly... by the color of the caudal... Small Maculosus Angels are exceedingly rare in the trade. Bob Fenner>

Mystery Dwarf Angel?...Not So Much - 04/15/07 Dear crew, <<Hello Jason>> This is a picture of an angelfish I caught in Sydney Australia.  Have done some extensive searching but have been unable to identify it as yet, can you help? <<Indeed...have seen these before.  It is Centropyge tibicen, common name Keyhole angelfish.  And according to fishbase.org, you're at the southern edge of its natural range for your coastline>> Thanks, Jason Sharp
<<Happy to assist.  Eric Russell>>

Angelfish ID - 3/27/07 I have caught an unusual angelfish. So far my searching has proved fruitless in determining the exact species. It is thriving in one of my quarantine tanks. I read somewhere on your site not to send video footage. If that is the case  do I need to take stills to get you to identify it?   thanks , Jason. <Yes sir, Jason.. Video's would simply be too big for our mail server, it'd fall like the lady from the Life Alert commercials ("I've fallen, and I can't get up!" *grin*) Snap some still frames, and size them down to a few hundred kilobytes, and we'll be glad to take a look! -JustinN>

Marine Angels: Mistake Identity?  (Where's the Photo??!!)  11/30/05 Hi, <Hello Dave.> First I would like to thank you for your great website. <Thanks, hope you have found it as useful as I do at times.> It has really helped a once novice such as myself become informed about this great hobby. Attached is a picture of an angelfish that I ordered from The Marine Center. It was sold to me as a juvenile Chrysurus angelfish and I paid through the nose for it. <Yeah the marine center = Cha-Ching! Though I will say they do ship quality specimens.> <<Proper names, mate.  Marine Center.  MH>> When it came to me it was only about two inches and did not have the yellow bar down its side that it does now. It seems to bear a striking resemblance to a Maculosus angelfish in its juvenile coloration but it still may be too early to tell. I would just like to get your opinion on whether I got duped or this is just an unusual coloration? Thanks for any help that you can give me and sorry but I don't know how to resize images on my computer. <<Free download for Windows - Irfanview.  Resize to about 300 pixels a side, please.   Adam, et al., please put the original query (the one WITH the photo) into the "Emails With Images" folder AFTER you have answered it (instead of just deleting), or I cannot post it.  Marina>> <I think your analysis may be right, although young the severely defined yellow marking also makes me tend to believe that is animal is Chrysurus angelfish.> - Dave <Adam J.> 

Apolemichthys guezei  9/24/05 Hi Bob. I recently had the pleasure to speak with you at MACNA, and I forgot to mention this fish I have. <How nice!> I am nowhere near certain on any ID, but based on the 2 fishes I've seen and currently house, I am trying to narrow my searches down. The first time I was able to see this fish was at ERI in Los Angeles. I did not buy the fish, but I remember them asking $200+ for the fish. <About right> At first glance I thought it was an A. armitagei, but after looking I realized I was mistaken. The fish was a good 5.5-6". After getting back from Tonga, I noticed my local wholesaler received the same fish, at a much smaller size of 3.5". I jumped on the opportunity to buy the fish. At this point I was thinking it is just a Hybrid Centropyge, possibly between nox and flavissimus/heraldi. I've had this fish now for 4 weeks, nursing it back from an internal parasite. It is very shy, so I have not been able to get a good photo. The coloration on the edges & fins of the fish is black. The inside forms an oval, and is a dusky yellow color. The anal fin has an "X" squiggled along it. I have searched FishBase, Google, etc., and have come across a photo of the Reunion Angelfish (Es. guezei). I also noticed that Randall had gone diving for this fish over the course of several weeks and did not see a single specimen. Is it possible that this fish is the same? <Yes> Unfortunately I do not know much about the origins of the fish, other than the probability that it came from the Philippines or Indonesia. <I would ask Rob Miller/ERI re... he will know> Does this pattern on the anal fin that both fish shared help any with identification? <Not me... unfortunately I have not seen this species either... in the wild nor captivity> Due to the size of the fish in LA, I'm hesitant to think they are Centropyge sp. due to the adult size of both C. nox & flavissimus. Basically, I'm stumped :) Thanks for any input, Joe Russo <I don't think this is a Centropyge cross... as you state re size... and their body shapes (of the two genera) are rather distinct. Please do send along images when you can. Cheers, Bob Fenner>  

Re: Apolemichthys guezei  9/27/05 Bob, please find attached a decent picture of the fish. Best I could get. You can kinda make out some markings on the fins. Thanks, Joe Russo <... very interesting... I do see the resemblance to the genus Centropyge you mentioned... does appear to be a cross... between genera? Strange. Bob Fenner>

- More on Blue Angels - oh how wonderful life is with aquaria in hand and doing life's work, without shoving it back to you, and saying here take this you... i have to ask cheers j- are you female or male not that i care but curious!!! <Last time I checked, I was a male - J is short for Jason.> your advice {splendid indeed master splinter} ! i did as you requested and ordered bobs book the conscientious marine aquarist, should be here Monday! <Excellent, I think you will enjoy it.> i really have a question about my blue angel, or my queen angel you see the blue angel has lines that curve back toward the tail and the one i have although 4 inches in length just body not tail look to be straight, and another thing that leads me to believe it is a queen is the dorsal fin from front to back is neon blue as is the fin from front to back on the underside of him is neon blue, and from what I've been reading the adult blue has no blue color! <Hmm... that doesn't happen for quite a while... give it some time and you will see. More on the Holocanthus angels here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/holacanthus/index.htm > i paid 68 bucks for this blue angel so they say, but did i get a blue or did i get a queen? <Hard to say without a photo - I'm guessing by your description that this fish still has it's juvenile colors.> if i got a queen i need to hurry and get a 400 or 5 hundred gal tank right? <No hurry, they don't grow that quickly but either way, both of these fish get considerably larger than four inches and if you want to keep it for a long time, a larger tank will be in your future. Cheers, J -- >

Which fish on What Book? >Hi, I just want to know what kind of fish on the cover of the book that red and white stripe like peppermint and where can i buy them and how much they usually cost? thank you very much.................Tony. >>Hi Tony. Your message is a bit difficult to decipher (no punctuation). It would be helpful to answer your question if you A: used punctuation, and B: told us what book you're talking about. The only book that Bob's written that I know of that pictures an angel of any kind is "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", and the fish pictured is a dwarf angel, Centropyge loricula. It is not red and white striped. The only angelfish that *I* know of that's colored in such a manner has a rather dismal record of survival in captivity, and is very infrequently offered for sale. Coming from rather deep waters means that you may be looking for an animal that's several hundred dollars (though I've never purchased or procured one for someone). Hope this helps! Marina  <Likely the Peppermint Angel on Allen, Allen and Steene's latest Angel and Butterflyfish tome. RMF>

"I should be on Jeopardy!" - Don't buy it >Hi, I'm sorry, I saw the fish on the book "A Guide To Angelfish and Butterflyfish", by Gerald R. Allen, Roger Steene, and Mark Allen . The red and white stripe fish on the cover of the book, hope you can help me who selling the fish and if you can you give me the common name and the scientific name of this fish? Thank you very much....Tony. >>Well, this gal knows a Centropyge when she sees one, and sure enough, it's a Centropyge boylei - Peppermint angelfish.  It's a deepwater dwelling fish, NOT suited for aquaria, and as you'll see in the FishBase link (and I quote) "Never or rarely exported through the aquarium trade ". So, the answers to your other questions would be, in order, no one, not at any price. If you do run across it, I would leave it, as, like other deepwater Centropyge, it tends to not only be incredibly shy, but even if it feeds, nutritional needs are never met and it still starves to death. Marina <<Ah, yes>>

Juvenile Angelfish ID Sweets Hi WWM crew! <Howdy> Ok, so I went to a LFS that I don't usually buy anything from, and they had this fish labeled as a Koran Angel. Now, I love these fish, and have been wanting one so I take a closer look. Then I see the price...$12.99 <What a bargain!>  I think to myself...my fave LFS sells these for like $30 on a good day. So, I bag it up and bring it home. After I released it in my QT I noticed something...I don't think it's really a Koran after all. I know it isn't an Imperator but it looks wrong to be a semicirculatus. Most notably, there is a yellow band developing in the center of the fish, and it has a yellow tail. <Is a bit unusual in coloring... might be a Pomacanthus maculosus or even an Asfur... or could be an anomalous Koran after all> I did some research on your webpage and the only juvenile angel with the blue/white stripes but a yellow tail is an Asfur. Could I be THAT lucky?  I'll post a few pics. Feed back on possible species is appreciated. Thanks! Jason <It IS possible... though this would be a tremendously mis-marked and priced animal if so. Only growth will tell... Keep your eye on that yellow body band and tail. Bob Fenner>
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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