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FAQs About Baja/Trop. E. Pacific Angelfishes

Related Articles: Baja/Trop E. Pacific AngelfishesClarion Angels,

Related FAQs:  Clarion Angelfish, Passer/King Angels, Marine Angelfishes In General, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Health, Feeding, Disease

A grouping of Passer's in the Galapagos.

Angelfishes for  Marine Aquariums
Diversity, Selection & Care

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by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Passer Angel & Noxious Soft Corals. Now Emperor Angel nutr./fdg.     11/4/16
Hi Bob-
On a separate topic, not so much a question really, but just curious what you've learned through the years about keeping Emperor Angel's well fed. I have a very healthy 6 inch Emperor in a 220 that's an absolute pig. I've owned him for 6 months or so. I am not complaining about having a big eater, but I am really just amazed at how much he eats and how frequently.
To keep him well fed, I feed him New Life Spectrum Thera A Marine Formula 3mm (learned that a diet on mysis, brine, and algae sheets didn't cut it), but still put in some algae sheets a few times a week as well as mysis shrimp here and there as others in the tank love to dine on it. I feed him maybe 15 pellets each time at least 3 to 4 times a day and he's always, always hungry, eats every single one of them, and he practically eats out of my hand. Really has quite the personality, very alert, locks in on my presence. Just amazed at his appetite.
Thank you, John
<As long as the fish isn't "too fat"; the foods you list are mighty fine; and as the saying goes: A fish/animal that eats is one that lives. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

SICK FISH EMERGENCY... Passer Angel mistreatment   4/26/08 Hi, <Tim> I need some urgent help here and seek your advice. I have a passer angel who has suffered some poor water quality conditions, namely enduring a tank cycle and subject to elevated nitrite levels after dealing with the prerequisite ammonia battles. <Why?> The tank now appears to be cycled and water quality is good on all tests. The problem he is facing now appears to be an infection of some sort with visible sores, lots of mucus on the outside, and rapid gilling. He looks like he's on the verge of death. I am trying to think of what to do for him. I am thinking of doing some type of medicated freshwater dip, but not sure what to go with. I have Methylene blue on hand but I'm thinking he needs something more. Is there something I should do to treat this as a bacterial infection? <Perhaps a Furan compound...> Is there a stronger medication I should try with dipping him? <... insufficient data...> What remedies would you suggestion for the triage and longer if he makes it? Any help is GREATLY appreciated! Tim <This species of Holacanthus really suffers from being overly-stressed... It may well be too late for this specimen. I'd be reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/fishindex3.htm the first tray... on Marine Angels... Bob Fenner>

Passer Angel... Sys.   3/14/08 Hello Bob I'm looking at getting a smaller of one of the larger angels, and have been reading alot <... no such word> on the Passer/King Angelfish. In one of your articles you had stated they should max out at around 9", but I have read 9", 10", 12" and 14". Could you point me in the right direction for the passer's max size in a aquarium. <... really mainly depends on the size of the system... the nine inch is a good general maximum length for almost all hobby sizes...> I have a 125 gallon, <Won't get even this size here> will a 4" to 5" through adult size passer be ok with blood shrimp, boxer shrimp, cleaner crabs and snails, <May eat any/all...> 1.5" neon goby, 3" p. clown, 4" yellow tang and a 3" regal tang? If not would one of these be a better angel for my system, and are these max sizes right? Annularis (max 8")Queensland Yellow Tail ( max 10") Black Velvet (max 8") <None of these Pacific Angels is really suitable for a 125 gallon volume> Also I would like to get a dwarf angel, maybe a flame, can you mix dwarfs and large angels? Thanks alot Todd <See WWM re... BobF>

Re: Passer Angel... Large angels, sel., need to proof writing... for grammar, clarity  ? 03/18/08 How's it going Bob I didn't realize a passer angel was such a bruiser, with more reading I have realized that. <... run on...> It sounds like a asfur angel or a emperor angel would be ok with my shrimp, crabs and some of the smaller fish, they sound a little more peaceful (or at least not as aggressive). Do you agree? <With what? Relative compatibility? Not really> Would a queen angel be ok with shrimp, crabs and smaller fish, I've heard good and bad about the queen's, What's your opinion? <... posted> You stated that a passer angel will not even get 8" in a 125 gallon, I thought angels would out grow their tank if it was not big enough, and that was the point off getting a big enough tank or a small enough (growing to max size adult) angel, to start with. <...? What? To provide adequate living space, expression (age...), health...> That's why I was looking for one of the smaller, bigger angels. The asfur angel and emperor angel get about 15" to 17" max size, and the asfur angel will max out at about 8" to 9" in captivity, Will the emperor angel max out at 8" to 9" also in captivity? <Often> I though a 72"X18"X20" aquarium would be plenty big enough for a 8" to 9" angel, <Not really> I know they need room to swim, but that seems like enough for that size angel, I can see that size not being big enough for a 15" to 17" angel, but i figured it was plenty for a 8" to 9" angel. What size do you suggest for a 8" to 9" angel? <... For what? Size system? Eight feet long or larger, 2-3 hundred gallons> In a previous email on cleaner shrimp and gobies you stated that (they don't eat the encrusted stage of ich lying on the sand and rocks, or at least reliably, and the other two stages can't be seen). So how do they help control ich then, if they can't see two of the stages and the third one they barely feed on? <Ahh! Posted also... Control, not cure... mostly (apparently) by making the host fishes feel better> I have seen them cleaning fish lots of times, I always thought they were picking the parasites off? <Nope. RMF>

Re: Passer Angel, responding to folks who don't have the common courtesy to follow simple instructions... go someplace else  ? 3/18/08 Bob <Todd> I know a lot of that stuff is posted, I just don't understand all of it, which is why I'm writing you about the stuff. And I'll be the first one to tell you my grammar isn't the best, but I try my best for you. Don't you enjoy talking about this stuff???? Seem's like you just want to use your expertise to be a jerk to the inexperienced!!! You were a teacher right? When your students didn't understand the material and asked questions, did you just tell them its posted? It's obvious you care more about belittling me and other fish hobbyists about our grammar and what we don't understand, then to give us a hand and help us out. I've always been very nice to you in my emails and it's ridiculous the way you act towards me in your replies (considering how much you say you love the hobby). One of my hobbies is racing and sports cars. I couldn't imagine acting like you do towards somebody that was asking a question about something that was one of my favorite things in life. I would love to help them, no matter how bad their grammar and how stupid the question. Seem's your only nice to the knowledgeable one's with good grammar. <Thank you. Go elsewhere. B>

Adult passer angelfish, shipping trauma. 12/15/2007 <Very common... specimens more than about 4" total length don't "ship well"> I recently received a large adult passer angelfish from a mail order fish store which shall remain nameless since they have been nice about this. The fish arrived in terrible condition, dazed and confused and in ~65 degree water that was loaded with waste. I've had it in my 175 gallon tank for a day now and not surprisingly it won't eat and it is very sluggish though mobile, taking laps around the tank occasionally. <The last behavior leads me to have hope...> I wonder if any of you know what types of stress tropical marine fish can take and what the prognosis for such a fish is and what I can do to maximize chances of keeping it alive and even better acting like the bold, curious fish it is supposed to be. It really is very sad seeing such a beautiful fish like this fall apart. Thanks, Omar. <I'd keep the lights off to low... if you have to for other livestock... and not be overly concerned if the fish doesn't feed, do much of anything for a few days. Again, the swimming about behavior is a good sign. Bob Fenner, who did collect this and other "key" (i.e. expensive) species al sur off and on for decades.>
Re: Adult passer angelfish, shipping trauma.
 12/19/07 Hi Bob and crew. The Passer has not visibly gotten parasites or anything out of the ordinary since I last emailed you but it is still not eating and has gotten very sluggish, lying on its side much of the time until today. <... I would notify the shipper... These symptoms are case-perfect for a specimen that has been chilled... Happens... quite often... in hauling, live-shipping "up the line" from its E. Pacific subtropical distribution...> I tried blowing Cyclop-Eeze at its mouth last night and I don't know if it was only coughing or eating but today it was more alert and even elevating itself off the bottom. I know you aren't here to see this fish but I'll ask anyway. Is this just a last burst of energy before dying or did inhaling the Cyclop-Eeze actually help it? I've given it Cyclop-Eeze several times today and after just about giving up on the fish I'm once again hopeful it may live. Its eyes are still presenting as very alert and actively scan and follow motion. It is just the fact this guy won't eat I think that is getting him down. Any suggestions beyond what I have done would be helpful. <There is naught to do really... Either this fish's protein-enzyme systems have been overly challenged and it will perish... or rally. Keep the system, specimen stable... and hope. BobF>

Question on clarion angelfish  ? 9/28/07 Hello Bob, my name is John Coppolino and I'm a 30 year old avid reef aquarist that's been in the hobby long enough to remember the days when clarion angels cost about 1/3 of asfur angels from the Red Sea. I give a  talk on rare angelfish (including IMAC next year where  it looks we'll both be!) and have some questions for  you regarding Holacanthus clarionensis. I read that  you've witnessed these near Cabo San Lucas as many  others have. Do you believe these to be waifs, or are  there breeding populations there, outside of the Revillagigedos? <I think they are so few, not many mature animals... that they are indeed waifs> I recently met up with Gerry Allen and may have dinner with him when he is in town next week, and have read of his first hand accounts of this species at Clipperton (ah... visions of these  hybridising with Clipperton's dance in my head :), where they are very rare and probably waifs. Also, with what frequency have you seen H. clarionensis/ H. passer hybrids? <I have only seen two... none in the wild> I know full well that collection of this species in the Revillagigedos is cut off, but is > the species protected from collection everywhere in > Mexico, or is it protected from export? <Don't think it's protected period currently... Just need collecting, transport and import licensing...> Thanks in > advance for your insight, and I look forward to > meeting up with you at IMAC. John > <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Live Sand Storage and Passer Angel... sel., dis.   8/3/07 Hi Crew, I just set up a 125 a few weeks ago for a Passer Angel I bought that is 10 inches. <Needs a world of more than twice this size... and large angels (for the species) are indeed not often good-adaptors to captive conditions... Best to start with a "medium size"...> I first saw him when I went to look for a Marine Betta that he was housed with and he bit off the Bettas tail right before I bought him. I still bought the Betta and his tail grew back plus the clerk cut 10.00 bucks off the price. He will not be having a rematch since they will be in separate tanks. I have the Passer in a QT tank of 50 gallons and he came down with velvet? <...> The pet store held him for a month for me and I bring him home and he gets velvet in a week? <Maybe... where is the parasite coming from?> This has happened in the past with all Angels I have bought? None of the other fish ever get it? <???> Yesterday I freshwater dipped him and today it was coming back and freshwater dipped him again and put him in another QT tank or hospital tank for his 15 day copper treatment. 125 should be done cycling by then. He looks healed after the freshwater dip and Im shocked how fast it comes back. In my QT tank I understand the copper will kill my bio filtration. How much of a water change should I do to keep water decent and how often? <As much as necessary. See WWM re> Also would I be better off using cycled water or premixed water for the water change? <The former... if you can be assured that it is parasite-free> One last question and Im sorry for be long winded. I bought a used 90 gallon just for the filtration because it was to good to pass up. The live sand I don't need right now and was wondering how I should store it? <Yes... but not as such. That is, it won't be very live with time going by in storage... and will need good rinsing, perhaps bleaching and dechlorinating ahead of future use> I see it in bags in stores but not sure if that's the right way. Thanks for taking the time to read this and I thank all you guys for making this complicated hobby make since! Rick <A bit of a definition difference. There are sand products that tout being "live"... but this is a bit of a misnomer... They may be primed for bacterial population growth, but definitely lack higher phyla presence. Bob Fenner>

Passer angel compatibility  7/20/07 Hello to Bob and crew, I have a Passer Angel on reserve for me at the local fish store, and I have a few questions about compatibility. First the tank is 125G long (6') with a wet/dry filter with UV and protein skimmer as well as 80lbs of live rock in the tank. Yes, I am expecting to upgrade in a year or so. Although I think I would be fine with the wet/dry, I have started the project of turning the wet/dry into a sump/fuge and should have that done shortly. The tank has been up for about six months and currently holds a Foxface Lo, Longfin Goby, and cleanup crew. On to the fish list; the Passer is 4-5" and has been at the LFS for more then two months. It has survived Popeye from its initial shipment into the store and the stores system going through an ich outbreak and subsequent copper treatment. The Passer is eating well and quite personable. I swear the other day when I went to look at him he came up to the front of the tank to say hello. After getting the Passer acclimated to his new home, I would like to add a trigger and a tang. Would I be ok adding a Hawaiian Black Trigger in a few months and then a tang, looking at red sea sailfin, powder brown, or yellow, a few weeks to month after that? Thanks for your help and I appreciate all the knowledge I have already learned off your website. James from TN >>>Greetings James, Jim here. Passers are very aggressive fish, and should almost always be added to the tank last, even when we consider that you're going to add a trigger (which normally should be the last fish added). Best Regards Jim<<<
Re: Passer Angel compatibility 8/10/07
Well sad day... The Passer has since died and the culprit from what I can tell is the Foxface Lo. He loved following the Passer around and every now and then the Passer would turn and give him what I call, "the get off me stance." They had been together for nearly two weeks and I came home to find the passer dead on the sand with a swelled area on his side. His color was still good and he was eating a variety of foods two to three times daily so I do not think it was diet or environment. I tested the water regularly and Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates were at 0, salinity of 1.024, Ph 8.4, and temp at 79 degrees. Am I missing something or would I be ok with taking the Foxface back and trying again with another Passer in the near future? Thanks in advance. James in TN >>>Passers are as tough as nails, with good water parameters you shouldn't have any trouble. Just keep in mind their eventual size and VERY aggressive nature. He'll end up alone eventually in anything smaller than a 150 gallon tank. Jim<<<

Angel, passer sexing    4/14/06 Dear Bob <Alan> I am a marine aquarist of some 30 years, living in South Africa. <Greetings to you> I purchased a Holacanthus passer six months ago, <Wow... a long way from its TEP "home"> and have just purchased a 180 gallon aquarium for the fish, which is currently growing up in a 63 gallon. The passer is approximately 11 cm in length and has slowly begun to change to adult colouration. <Gorgeous> The fish has yellow pelvic fins, and I would be really keen to know its sex. Half of the literature I read says that males have white pelvic fins, and the other half indicates that females have white. Which is correct? <You know... I don't think/believe either is. Have seen this fish in S. Baja, along Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Galapagos (in huge numbers), collected it commercially in the Islas Revillagigedos... and there did not appear to be a consistent sexually dichromic pattern> I would dearly like to attempt to house a pair in the 180 gallon. <Mmm, this is really too small a system for this... Perhaps a 300 plus... or just having an "adult" and another much small sub-adult specimen> Many thanks in advance. My best Alan Jardine <Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: passer sexing, Holacanthus beh.  - 04/19/06
Dear Bob <Alan> Many thanks for your comments and speedy reply. Much appreciated. <Welcome> I am still a little perplexed as to why certain individual passers have white ventral/pelvic fins, while other have yellow ventral/pelvic fins. <Have pondered this myself...> Would this then just be an individual or locality difference? <More of the latter in my experience. Specimens further South seem to have more yellow "on average" by far... can send/show you pix of aggregations in the Galapagos with all yellow pecs... but there are populations/times when they're quite yellowish further to the northern limits of this Holacanthus species range... and no real whitish and yellowish individuals mixed in either> Apologies for being painful, but being stuck out at the tip of Africa, we do not get to see many of these species. If it were possible to sex, I could source a 300 gallon as per your recommendations. Would need to be sure that I was obtaining a passer of the opposite sex though before purchasing, as these guys are costing close to a months salary. <Mmm, having collected several hundred "pieces" (term in the industry for individuals), and having a liking for the species, knowing a bit re others (part. H. tricolor) reproduction ala Thresher et al., am given to ask what your interest is in attempting to house a male and female together. This species has a large lek territory... with males "flitting about" over even larger territories... much larger than aquariums. There are likely very few actual males as a ratio... Bob Fenner> Many thanks again My best Alan Jardine

Looking for Passer angels I have started a new business and are trying to find a good wholesaler in Mexico that could give me a good price on passer angels could you help me <for their nearby collection to you in the Sea of Cortez you should be able to find someone in Mexico to ship these to you. I know of none... perhaps Bob does. Else, inquire at these US places- http://www.qualitymarineusa.com/home.html http://www.themarinecenter.com/ kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Mexican ban on collecting fish I thought there was. Why are there no clarions that come on down to the trade then? <Ahh, this I can answer, as our old co.s used to be involved in the collection, distribution of marines al sur (we are in California, U.S.A.). The only regular station in operation is in southern Baja (run by Steven Robinson), and not further south (as in the Islas Revillagigedos... Socorro, San Benedicto Islands...) where the Clarion is much more common. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/holacanthus/clarionensis.htm A few specimens do get caught out of Baja... these are promptly shipped to the higher bidders, usually in the orient. You might contact the fine folks at the Marine Center (.com) re prospects of ordering one. Bob Fenner>

Angels Del Mar (TEP Mexico) Man why does Mexico have a ban on collecting fish? Do you know how long this will stay like this? I hope they let people start collecting there, I want a clarion so bad its scary but there outrageous prices scare me away even if i would see one for sale anywhere. What other rare angels live in the Mexico waters? Thanks! <Is there a new ban? As far as I'm aware, no. There are three species of Angelfishes that originate along their Eastern Pacific coast... the Clarion, King, and Passer... You can read about these here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tepfwgv1.htm Bob Fenner>

Passer Angel I was wondering about my passer angel. I just got it last Sunday (the 25th, I think) and it is getting along wonderfully with my maculosus and black durgeon. I noticed that the water in the bag it came in had some left over food in it. About a day or two after it went into the tank, I noticed what I believed to be rapid gill movements. Tim Koberg from FFExpress suggested that I lower the temp of my tank from 80 deg to 76 deg. His reasoning was that the passer is collected from cooler water. So I did that. he did say that if problems still persisted then it was prolly a gill parasite but that a "strong, healthy fish like a passer should be able to fight it off w/o medication" My passer never seems scared, swims fast and all the time and gets his far share of the food. I feed three times a day, Angel formula, trigger formula, and formula 2 and the passer is as big a pig as my other two fish. However, I have noticed him scratching. I DO NOT see and visible parasites and I actually think his gill movements may have returned to normal. What do you think? Should I do a fresh water dip? Should I install a UV sterilizer that I have in non-use in my basement? Any advice would be appreciated. Have a good holiday- Yaron >> >> TK's advice seems sound... and/but it's too late for a dip... what happened to quarantining the new livestock? I would attach the UV and hope for the best at this point. Bob Fenner

Passer Angel I recently wrote to about what types of food to feed my Passer Angel. He was eating a variety of frozen foods and "popcorn" shrimp. He has now stopped eating and gone into hiding. He has very rapid gill movements and his swimming is very sporadic. He does not have any external parasites or markings that I can see. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. >> Do you suspect some sort of "gill parasite"? Did you introduce something to the system that might have brought this in? Do you have any biological cleaners? This angel will "present" itself to unfamiliar ones... I would place them... maybe Lysmata Shrimp(s). Or, another real possibility... some form of chemical poisoning/trauma... a very large water change, change in salt mix, loss of protocol of pre-mixing before use... utilization of a "medication", "supplement" that could well have "burned" the animals gills.... Do you have the fish in a system with Live Rock? I would... and wait a good week w/o "doing" anything (don't move, dip, net the fish) and see if the situation solves itself. Better to be a patient observer at this point. Bob Fenner

Passer angel I have a 75 gallon fish-only system that has been running about 8 months. I have a wet/dry filtration system with a built-in-protein skimmer. I recently purchased a Passer (King) Angelfish and a Harlequin Sweetlips. I am having a hard time finding foods that they will eat. The Passer will take brine shrimp and blood worms, but the Sweetlips will not eat anything. What foods do you recommend? >> Actually, I would return the Sweetlips (Plectorhinchus spp.)... my least favorite group of grunts (family Haemulidae)... they rarely eat anything in captivity... have the worst score for historical survivability...  Try some of the frozen "Angel" foods to get the Passer eating prepared foods... it will soon be accepting most any/everything. Bob Fenner, whose many survey pieces on suitable and not species can be found on the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com 

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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