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FAQs about the Rock Beauty Angel

Related Articles: Rock Beauty Angels, Holacanthus Angels, Algae Filters Articles

Related FAQs: Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease,  

A juvenile Rock Beauty Angel at a L.A. wholesaler's.

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

Rock Beauty, rdg.       9/23/12
Hello, I have a few questions about a Rock Beauty I have. He's about 1.5 inches long, he's Caribbean, and I caught him about a month ago. I've kept him in a small tank since he had some scale damage and I wanted to get him recuperated. I had two others, but I sold them as they were in perfect condition. Now that I've seen the Rock Beauty devour pellets, hair algae, macro algae, and Mysid shrimp, I'm rethinking my plans of selling him to an
LFS.  What I want to know is if he will pick at my  SPS corals- Zoas and finger polyps.
<Might, though this Holacanthus mainly eats sponges, not Cnidarians>
The other corals are torch coral, frogspawn, Lobophyllia, Favia, mushrooms, and xenias. Will he pick at any of these? And Rock Beauties are Centropyge or dwarf angels right?
<... no. Read here:
 I've heard of people keeping coral beauties and similar dwarfs in reef tanks. If so, will what I feed him keep him alive?
<... read>
I think I'll toss in a few sponges into the display if I need to. The display is a 120 that has a small blue tang, small ocean surgeonfish, small false percula, juvenile yellowhead wrasse and juvenile Slipdick wrasse, 5 blue Chromis, and a cleaner shrimp. Will the rock beauty cause any problems and will he survive? Thanks.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Bob Fenner Please. Rock Beauty intro./order     8/10/12
I have a question about a statement you made in your article on Rock Beauty Angelfish. BTW, it was very good and lines up with common sense!
Here is the quote:
"If other species of fishes are going to be sharing the tank, it's best that they're placed in order of smaller, very easygoing first, larger last, after your Rock Beauty."
I want to make sure I understood you correctly as I am using this article as a reference. Are you saying to add FIRST the Rock Beauty, as I assume that will give it time to adjust and not stress, THEN the smaller peaceful
fish, and last the larger peaceful fish?
<Yes to all>
Or was I to understand that as add the Rock Beauty LAST. That would go with what they say about most Holacanthus, but I know the Rock Beauty is sort of an exception to the rule in some ways.
<Clarity is pleasurable. Thank you, Bob Fenner>

Rock Beauty, fdg., sponge sel.    2/26/11
Hey WWM,
I think this will be a relatively quick one for you guys. I would like to keep some live sponge in my 180 FOWLR for my Rock Beauty. My problem is, is that there are so many different kinds. I'm hoping you can tell me the best kinds for him so when I go to my local store (Tropicorium)
<Ahh, do say hello for me to Dick Perrin there>
I will know exactly what to ask for. Thanks for you time. You guys are awesome. Daneen
<Most any warm colored (red, orange, yellow) material that they have growing on/with west Atlantic rock will be fine. Alternatively do check your local Asian markets for dried sponge material... that you can soak/restore and augment other foods with... Oh, and my best "advice", do mix in, use Spectrum pelleted food as a base. Completely nutritious and very palatable. Bob Fenner>

Orange rock beauty   11/4/09
Hi, I just wanted to share whit you a picture of my baby rock beauty which is orange and not yellow, and want to ask you if is like this because is a tiny one?
He was captured 2 months ago in the Caribbean side of panama and is currently living and growing in my 200 gallons reef.
Please keep on your excellent work that I have personally found very useful.
Marky all the way from panama city, panama
<Looks about as yellow as it should be... A nice specimen! Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Question re: Rock Beauty 4/23/08 Hello Mr. Fenner, My name is Chris Brightwell; I'm a marine scientist and the owner/president of Brightwell Aquatics. <Yes. I think we met once... at a hobby venue in the OC or LA area> I'm a long-time fan of your articles in FAMA and refer to your site from time to time for reference. I have a question that I hope you can answer. I have been doing some looking around for any references to whether hobbyists have had any success housing a rock beauty in a reef that is primarily dedicated to Euphyllia sp. (in terms of corals). My theory is that they would leave the corals alone on account of the relative-strength of the nematocysts (obviously they hail from different locales so there's no ?tolerance? built-up over the eons); the other hope is that by providing numerous live sponges in the system (both as a form of nutrient export and a source of live food) the fish would be less likely to browse on the corals. The system in question is a 220-gallon, by the way. Please give the matter some thought and let me know if you have any ideas. Thanks for your time; I sincerely appreciate it! Kindest regards, Chris Brightwell <Mmm, I do think the Holacanthus would leave these Euphylliids/Caryophylliids alone... I've never observed it eating much in the way of Cnidarians in the wild... more of a sponge and algae eater according to scientific accounts as well. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Compatibility between the Rock Beauty and a Regal   4/24/08
Good morning Mr. Fenner, Thanks for answering my questions; one more, if you have a moment (though I suspect I know what the answer will be): what do you think of compatibility between the Rock Beauty and a Regal? <Mmm, "not very"... unless the system is very large... hundreds of gallons, I'd pass> Neither fish are in the system yet; the RB is ~3? and the Regal is on the order of 4?. Fish currently in the system are Acanthurids, a single Sixline Wrasse, and a small school of Lyretail Anthias and Yellow Coris. Rockwork is quite loose with numerous caves. Kindest regards, Chris Brightwell <For the 220 mentioned earlier? This might well work. BobF>

Lunar/Moon Wrasse sel., Rock Beauty nutr.     2/8/08 Hello; <Jamie> I currently own a 125 gallon reef aquarium. Reef includes many varieties of torch coral, mushrooms, polyps, and other unique animals. I have read many articles about over population of mini reefs so I have kept my inhabitant limited including only a true Percula clown who hosts with a toadstool.... amazing.. he even tries to feed it; a lunar wrasse, and a rock beauty angel. When I first started doing this I was very naive (as most people are) and someone told me the rock beauty angel was a pygmy lemon peel with weird markings and I thought "oh how cute" and bought him. He has survived 2 moves and is in his final home the 125. He seems to be doing well and has grown from about 1 inch to about 4 inches. A very good eater as well. I have read a lot about their eating and am even providing live sponges for him to nibble on but he doesn't touch them... I feed him a wide variety of food including angel and butterfly formula. Are there concerns I should have with his health in the future? He is an amazing fish and I would like to keep him healthy. <If you have done as well with this Holacanthus tricolor as you state, you likely have much you can teach me... I would have suggested the angel formula (I "talked" friend Chris Turk into its making years back when he owned/managed Ocean Nutrition.) or Spectrum pellets... as I've seen Pablo Tepoot's specimens feed well on it...> My main question (now that I have strayed) was the following; I was looking through the Marine Fishes Guide by Scott. W. Michael and read that lunar wrasses can be kept in pairs in a tank 125 or larger. Is this true? <Mmm, yes> I ask only because I believe I have a female... she is quite solid green with pink variations on her face nothing "wow" as far as color goes. I understand that they can change sex on their own to help keep populated in the wild. <Yes, this is so> I am not sure how fish work but I would rather be with a partner than without. <Is fine w/o...> I would like to give her a mate that she can relate to. If this will not cause me any problems how do I go about choosing a male? <Best to choose an apparent female of slightly smaller size (an inch or so) and allow the present one to change> Any information you can offer would be great! There is not to much information I can find in books or anything...all I can find is that one phrase. "Males and females can be kept as a pair in tanks 125 or larger". Thank You! Jamie <Bob Fenner>

Lawnmower blenny; rock beauty... hlth.   2/4/08 Good morning to all, your thoughts would be much appreciated: I have a rock beauty which I obtained (rescued) at about 1"; he eats well and a year or so later is about 3"; <Commendable> for the past week or so, he has been holding one gill cover out significantly, kind of the way one would expect if a cleaner was being solicited; but this is constant, respiration is normal, as are his routine and feeding; no evidence of any injury or any parasite that I can see; he is in a FOWLR without any cleaner wrasse or goby (I haven't seen a healthy cleaner wrasse for sale for years). Thoughts? <Sometimes... fishes, Pomacanthids do this> Secondly, I purchased a lawnmower blenny who over the course of a month eliminated 95% of the filamentous green algae in the tank; however, he is now losing weight and isn't interested in flakes, dried algaes or any of the usual carnivore items. Ideas? Thanks, Steve. <May be internally parasitized... perhaps the algae, though goodly in quantity is insufficient nutritionally... I'd likely supplement the food... try Spectrum pellets... If it continues to lose weight, a treatment, serially or concomitantly with a protozoacide (e.g. Metronidazole) and a vermifuge (e.g. Prazi-)... All covered on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Crabs/Shrimp Nibbling At My Rock Beauty? (Or Maybe the Filefish Is To Blame) - 12/19/06 Hi everyone- <<Greetings>> Would like your thoughts on this: about two months ago, acquired a 2" rock beauty in flawless condition.  Since then, she has been in what is basically a live rock setting with corals, gorgonians, anemones all Atlantic in origin; the only other fish is a common Atlantic file, about 3", and they basically ignore each other. <<Ok>> There is a large coral band shrimp, which the RB occasionally backs into for cleaning; also, 2 hermits: one blue-legged, about 1"; the other, a hairy red-legged one (not scarlet) a little bigger; don't know the real nomenclature, but I have seen them large enough to fill full size conchs. <<Mmm, trouble here I think...if not now then soon, as this voracious predator grows>> There used to be a small decorator (sponge, spider) crab but I have not seen it for sometime. <<Likely fell prey to the hermit...or the Stenopus shrimp...or the filefish...>> About a week ago, the RB's tail fin was missing a few tiny chunks along the back edge; this morning, considerably more damage, into the rays and quite ragged, about 1/8" deep in one spot. <<Worrisome...if this continues>> The rest of the fish is flawless; she eats aggressively, has added about 1/4" and has a very active and aggressive personality. <<Good signs>> This clearly appears to be damage as it is confined to the tail fin only, and is being done at night as she rests. <<Look to the crabs/shrimp>> The file is unscathed. <<Perhaps only for the moment...or perhaps the culprit...some can be rather "nippy">> I have already pulled the hermits; <<Ah good>> any chance it could be the coral band shrimp? <<There is yes...have not witnessed but have heard accounts of this shrimp catching/eating fish when large>> Or a tiny mantis I don't know about? <<Hmm, the Atlantic rock is known for harboring these shrimp as hitchhikers...but I think if it were a mantis the fish would simply "disappear">> There is only a slight reddening, so I would like to just let it repair itself, unless you think something more is required.   <<This is often the very best approach; just keep a close eye for any worsening of the condition and quarantine/treat only if/as necessary>> Thanks, and have a great holiday. Steve <<And to you in kind.  Eric Russell>>

Add a Rock Beauty? Dear Bob, <HI, You've got MikeD here> I am thinking of getting a Rock Beauty from the LFS I work at.<Not a great idea>  He/she is about 5inches total length.  We got the Beauty in two days ago.  Since then it has eaten a variety of frozen food (even shark formula) and is picking at the algae in the tank.  I understand this species has a bad reputation for being touchy, but I really think this specimen is an exception.<Often these can abruptly go down hill with little effort, even exceptional specimens> My tank at home is a 90 gallon FOWLR.  It contains 3 small Yellowtail Blue Damsels, a Clark Clown, a Harlequin Tusk, and a Yellow Tang.<Here's your answer, and you actually already know it, right? **grin**>  Water quality is excellent.  I have a large canister filter for biological filtration (plus the live rock) and I have a bunch of Caulerpa algae growing inside the tank.  My main worry is the Yellow Tang. He is about 4inches long and was king of the tank (Until the tusk arrived.  The tusk had been introduced a day ago after a few weeks in quarantine).  Do you think the introduction of the Rock Beauty will be to much?<Quite likely, yes. Between the tang's aggression, the tank just adjusting to the Tuskfish AND the limit being reached, the addition of even an exceptional specimen can quite likely bring down your whole house of cards. My suggestion is to not push a good thing.> Thanks for your help,<Sorry it isn't the answer you wanted to hear.> Sam Reef

The Truth? And Disappointed! (Survivability records for Holacanthus tricolor) Halo Tuan Bob (Mr. Bob); <Hello Hengky> I write to you this letter because I want clarification about Rock Beauty Angelfishes. As you know, I trusted your on your web sites more than any other site that I ever read in the internet, but strange occur when I read a very opposite opinion between you and your team opinion and to Gerald Allen and the team, whose wrote a book "A Guide To Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes". I believe you already read this book. <Yes, and have met Dr. Allen. We do differ on some opinions... He is a highly-rated ichthyologist... but as he admits, not an aquarist> According to their opinion, Rock Beauty category is three star ---> meaning very easy to keep (if I don't want to say even novice can keep this lovely species), but according to your team this lovely fish do poorly in captive, so please advice! <My opinion is as I've stated to you. This species, Holacanthus tricolor ranks in my third, or lowest rating. Historically (read this as over many trials, uses) more than ninety percent of them die within a month of capture> I'm own that book (imported via Amazon), but I feel disappointed of this book, because this book don't tell us which fish can be keep and which one should be avoided. <In fairness, this is not "what this book is about"... It is instead an attempt at listing, showing a picture, the distribution and ways to distinguish all known species... NOT an aquarium book> Their only rated the fish by question mark, one, two and three star. Which mean three star is the easiest, two star is medium fish to keep and one star is for experience fishkeeper. But the weak point is they don't mention the which kind of fish will be dead no matter what kind of food and condition we give to them, they even rate Chaetodon baronessa, triangulum, trifascialis, meyeri, ornate, larvatus, and few more with one star, so according to them this species can be keep, am I right? <That is what is intended, yes> Or may be many of their opinion has been obsolete right now? <Both opinions are "current", but do differ. I suspect Gerry, his son and Roger Steene (the other authors), gathered their "aquarium suitability" information from "others"... Most I/we agree on, but there are some notable exceptions between my ratings and theirs. My statements re historical survivability are based on mainly my own personal experiences on handling many specimens over many years in the trade. Other peoples are often based on far fewer "pieces" of data, from having just a few specimens shipped to them... yielding very different results. Nowadays, it is very easy to get a good assay using the Internet... asking on the various BB's what others have experienced.> What is your opinion? Can you suggest me what kind of food should I offer to this fish, beside live rock! <Maybe one of the fine foods by Pablo Tepoot... they're called "Spectrum". I was at his house (in FLA) this past weekend and saw he had some Atlantic Rock Beauties that he'd had for years, just feeding him this food... they looked very good indeed> Hei Tuan Bob, I give u my aquarium picture, housing 3 adult angel. Thanks a lot, I rely on your opinion! <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

Atlantic Rock Beauty Hello guys.  I was given for Christmas a note that told me there was a fish on hold for me at a LFS.  Coolest gift I have ever received.  So I went and it was an Atlantic Rock Beauty that my friend had overheard me say I wished I could keep.  Unfortunately, she didn't quite understand that I meant I wish it were a good idea. <Ohh> Nonetheless, I brought it home and it has been GORGEOUS for three days.  The lady at the store said it ate frozen brine and could be convinced to take flake.  (Hmmm)  My question is:  what do you know about success stories with this fish? <A few folks, specimens have done well... not many>   I dipped it with RO fresh water and Kent RxP....thought I had killed it, didn't move at all for five minutes.  But it came around and has been fine since.  It is about 3 inches long and had been at the store for over a month.  I have seen it nibble at Seaweed Selects, Sweetwater Zooplankton, and I just bought some Ocean Nutrition Angel Formula...it has sponge in it. <All sounds good so far>   It also picks constantly at my live rock.  Oh, and what size could I expect it to reach in my 125, and how soon?  Thanks for the input. <Maybe five inches overall length. Please see here re this species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/holacanthus/tricolor.htm And try to get your hands on the references listed at bottom, particularly Merry's. Bob Fenner>

Rock beauty Bob I've read almost your entire marine section, but I just read the Rock Beauty one against to refresh my memory. I really think (knock on wood) that this one looks like one of those "exceptions" to the rule. <Sure sounds like it> My live rock is well established and much to my families chagrin I have a wide variety of food in my freezer. My only concern is my often combative tangs but I think they may have to go for a swim in a bucket for a while and when they come back they won't recognize anything. <A good idea> Keep up the good work, your site is BY FAR the best of it's kind. <Thank you my friend. Bob Fenner>

rock beauty I know Rock Beauties are extremely difficult to keep, but as we all know there are exceptions to all "rules." I am considering taking a chance on a small 2in Rock Beauty. It swims out in front and aggressively eats everything they put in front of it at the store. It's been there for about 3 weeks. What are their chances 'after' they are eating so well?  <Much improved... I'd say about as good as any marine specimen, species at this point> Would you still consider them a difficult fish to keep?  <On average, yes. Do understand my evaluations are based upon historical values... not individual keepers, sources...> Are they considered easily susceptible to parasites, etc? <Not really... this species more prone to "dying mysteriously"... from shipping, captive stress... and a lack of nutrition.> Once again, thank you so much for your time and wisdom. Rick <Let's settle on "sharing scant opinions". Bob Fenner>
Re: rock beauty
I think I'll take a chance just so I may be able to say "Yeah I have a Rock Beauty and it's doing great." Definitely worth a shot. <Ahh, press on my friend. Oh, have you seen this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/rockbeautya.htm 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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