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FAQs about the Caribbean Angels

Related Articles: Marine Angelfishes, Caribbean Angels, Queen Angels

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

An adult French Angel, Pomacanthus paru, in the wild.

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

Queen Angel bullying, TWA period     11/5/18
Good morning Bob (and team),
Yesterday I brought a 3 inch French Angel out of quarantine, where it had been for 3 weeks, and put it in my main display (200 gallon FOWLR).
Immediately my 5 inch Queen Angel began bullying it, and the French has a decent amount of fin damage this morning as a result.
<To be expected, anticipated. The size difference, size (small for the wild)... better to have had either the species or size reversed in order of introduction>
I knew I had to put a stop to it immediately, so I removed the Queen Angel (boy was that fun to take out most of the rock in a 200 gallon aquarium)
<I'll bet! Hopefully two nets, make that four, with another/friend to help>
and drip acclimated it back to my 29 gallon QT system. Both the Queen and the French seem to be doing OK at this point.
My question is, how long do you think I should keep the Queen Angel in QT?
I want the French to recover from its injuries, eat well, and establish some territory in the new tank before putting the Queen back in. I'm just not sure how long that typically takes. 3-4 weeks perhaps?
<Yes to about this time frame>
Given the size constraints I know the Queen can't stay in my QT tank for a long time.
<Do weekly or more often water changes, additions in the 29 w/ water from the 200... this will help introduce (chemically) the two Angels. Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Queen Angel bullying     11/6/18

Thanks Bob. Will do as you suggest.
The French is swimming much more freely and ate well this morning, now that its tormentor is in a different system. But he definitely got beaten up during the 16 hours they were both in the same aquarium. Hopefully no secondary infections, etc as a result.
Ideally both angels will get along well upon reintroduction. In the meantime, I'll use water from the main display to do the weekly QT water changes, as you recommended.
Appreciate your help.
<Glad to help. DO float the Queen... in a very large plastic colander in the 200 for a few hours ahead of release. BobF>

French Angel feeding strike    9/26/17
Hello WWM team,
I have a 5 inch French Angel in a 200 gallon FOWLR aquarium, and I've had him/her for about 2 years now (came in as a juvenile and has now morphed into an adult). The fish has always been very healthy, and typically eats Spectrum pellets, sheets of nori, and frozen food with gusto. But for the last 3 days the fish hasn't eaten anything, and I can't find any other problems with its behavior. It's not breathing hard, hiding, or scratching
on the rocks. It's just not eating all of a sudden.
<Strange... maybe it ingested something that didn't/doesn't agree with it... A Bristleworm? Gravel?>
I know from your French Angel article that these fish can sometimes go on feeding strikes, especially as they get larger, but this seems odd considering that he's been a great eater for about 2 years now. Any ideas you can offer to help get him back on track would be most appreciated.
<My all-time fave course of action here is to try an open clam or mussel (half the two shells removed); large Angelfishes find bivalves irresistible. If this fish is still not eating, please write me/us in a week re. Bob Fenner>

Angelfish ID, French Or Gray? 11/27/09
Guys <and gals> I haven't emailed you guys in awhile but a few years ago you guys helped me out greatly with my freshwater but when I was twelve (2 years ago)
<Geez, getting' to be an old man, eh?>
I converted to one small saltwater FOWLR tank. that then turned to having two ten gallons, a 36 gallon, and a 90 gallon, all saltwater. Then we built a separate room just for all my fish tanks and we went larger. The 36 now
has buppies.
<Buppies? A new name for guppies? I like it.>
We now have a 20 long and a 20 high along with a 120 reef and a 90 FOWLR. I got a tiny 1 inch angel yesterday.
<Not a good choice here. Angels that small are very difficult to acclimate to a captive environment.>
It said black atlantis angel.
<I'm guessing Atlantic Angel.>
I have never heared <heard> of that before. It looks like the juvenile of a French or Gray angel. Black with bright yellow vertical bars and blue accents on the bottom.there is no yellow line around the whole tail, it is clear around the edges of the tail.please tell me what kind of angel I have.
<By your description, and without a pic, I believe you have a juvenile Gray Angelfish.
The "clear around the edges of the tail" leads me to believe this. The tail on a juvenile French Angel will have a yellow edge. Do keep in mind this fish can get quite large generally reaching 14" in the wild.>
<You're welcome, and good luck with your Gray Angel. James (Salty Dog)>

Pomacanthus arcuatus (Gray Angelfish) 3/28/08 Hi folks, I recently had emailed you guys to ask about an adult gray poma that wouldn't eat. You suggested I try New Spectrum food, got some, it didn't work either. This angel is still in a 55 gallon quarantine tank, all levels are excellent - even the nitrates barely show up. Here's the thing, it has been over 3 weeks and I have not seen this fish eat anything. I have tried that spectrum food, mysis, brine, bloodworms, formula one, prime reef flake, Nori, smashed carnivore formula on a piece of coral - nothing. He swims toward things sometimes but literally moves his head out of the way. I have seen food hit him in the mouth - nothing. He is in a tank with several damsels ( they keep the tank cycled ) and a Hawkfish. They all eat like pigs and I was hoping the angelfish would learn from them - nope. How long can a fish go without eating or at least not eating in front of me? <About as long as you have had him now, hopefully it is still alive.> There is live rock in the tank but it doesn't have much growing on it besides I have never seen him pick at the rock. This is getting frustrating since I have kept several more difficult angelfish. I currently have a 7 year old Japanese Swallowtail and a 3 year old Majestic. I raised an Emperor from juvie to adult and actually gave him to a friend with a 220 gallon tank so he'd have more room, I had him for over 5 years. <Great.> In the last 20 years I have raised angels from juvenile to adult many times, had a pair of Coral Beauties for 4 years ( even spawned once) so I am no novice. And that is my frustration, why is this fish so picky and what else can I try to get a feeding response? I am out of tricks. I really don't want to see this fish die although he doesn't seem to be getting thin yet. Thanks for any advice. <As you probably know, the Gray Angelfish isn't one of the easiest to acclimate, especially being adult size. Seems like you have tried all the foods that would entice him to eat, but unfortunately he is not. This is just one of those fish that refuses to acclimate. Probably too late now, but improving the purity of the water will sometimes trigger a feeding response. One of the best ways is by use of Chemi Pure in the system and/or frequent water changes. This has worked for me a few times. James (Salty Dog)> Syracuse, NY

Re: French Angel...Or Gray?  12/24/05 Here are some pics. -----Original Message----- Subject: Re: French angel Question. French Angel...Or Gray? - 12/22/05 My French angel is still young, but is turning a gray color.  I am not sure if he is doing ok.  He still eats very well and I have changed his diet to items specifically made for angel fish. <<Firstly, are you sure this is a French Angel? >> --Almost 100%, looked exactly like a French. <<<Ah yes...does look to be Pomacanthus paru >>> <<These fish are generally considered quite hardy, as long as its breathing is not labored and it is alert/interested in its surroundings and is eating well you likely don't have anything of which to be concerned.  Do make sure the food you are feeding is high in vegetable/sponge matter.>> --It is, but he seems a bit skittish now.  He will hide in his rock but will come out to eat. I have a purple lobster in the tank as well and he is actually pretty large now. I am thinking about trading him in.  Could he be bothering the French? <<<Is a possibility, yes...but the hiding/skittishness is still troubling.>>> In your picture of the French and Gray it looks more like the Gray in color but started more like the picture of the French.  I hope this makes sense.  Is this normal for a French angel? <<Mmm...I'll ask again, are you sure you have a French Angel?  Pomacanthus paru has a distinctly different/more attractive transition phase than Pomacanthus arcuatus.  Have a look here for comparison: http://www.waterexplorer.com/il_angelfish1.htm >> --Definitely a French.  I still don't understand the grayness. <<<Neither do I at this point.  Possibly an indication of stress/illness.>>> I notice an adult loses its stripes and has the gold flake look. <<yes>> Will this gray transform to that or should it be showing already.  I can't seem to find a good article on the actual transformation. <<Try keyword searches on 'juvenile' or 'sub-adult' re each specie.>> Sincerely, John J Bailey <<Regards, EricR>> --Why I have you on the line. On one of my large clams (different tank) It looks to be growing a purple sponge like substance on its shell.  Is this a fungus or a sponge. <<<Likely a sponge...are there any inhalant/exhalent openings visible?>>> If it is a sponge, I heard that purple is very rare. <<<Mmm, not sure of its rarity as I have seen this sponge many times over the years.  Regards, EricR>>>

Gulf Angels Bob: <Howdy, morning> I wanted to get your thoughts on this with regards to practicality, methodology and even ethical considerations: I reside in Pensacola, FL. Near the beach, and some of my SCUBA diving buddies have become interested in my tank.  During one of their visits and upon seeing my Rock Beauty proclaimed, "Hey, we have to shove those th9ings away from us there's so many of them down there where we dive!"  To which I replied, "Well that's about $100 worth of fish right there."  Well of course what ensued was brainstorming as to how they could collect a few specimens and sell them locally.  They also have seen Lionfish near Tampa Bay supposedly.  Anyway, it would seem a simple thing to do to collect one or two at a time and sell them for a decent price (setting up a dedicated quarantine tank for this of course - not putting them in mine) thoughts? <Well, a few things... the Rock Beauty doesn't sell as well as other Angels found there. Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/bestmarangs.htm as it doesn't fare as well in captivity... and the "diver pay" for this species is only about ten dollars... and you'll need a place to "hold" them (individually) for a while. Please see here re capture  techniques: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/collmarsdvg.htm and the linked files (in blue, above) re barrier and hand-net collection. You will likely need these tools... and licensing from the State. Bob Fenner>
Re: Gulf Angels
Bob: "Licensing"? Aye, there's the rub. <Agreed> Well I guess a visit to the fisheries commission is in order then.  By the way - further investigations have found the Queen Angels are also really common here.  I wasn't aware there were guidelines for "diver's pay" my friends would get the for free and just expect some of the profits. <The Queens are "the kine, bro". They are your key to selling "all else"> I'll look into the licensing/permits issue first, then if it's not a nightmare, I'll read up on the capturing considerations you forwarded. <Not a nightmare, just the usual governmental bureaucratic wait, pay and make-smiley face game> It's kind of a fantasy of mine to be able to support myself in this hobby somehow - the idea that keeps coming up would be harvesting and selling livestock, but I'm sure the investment in equipment would be significant; not to mention a long time to establish markets.    <Easier ways to do this... the service side is number one: installing and maintaining systems. Consider this (in addition?)> I've also considered the maintenance end, even tried a simple website for advertising (no bites yet) I guess it's just a tough business! <Not really... takes some organized action is all... going out to existing and potential sites/individuals and pitching yourself... Really.> Thanks for the insight. David <Glad to share. Bob Fenner>

Atlantic Pygmy Angel Hey WWM Crew! You guys have one great site! <Thank you kindly.> I'm having some tank problems and I think you can help. My father is VERY big into marine reef tanks, and at 15 I'm getting in to them also. Sadly my dad had a heart attack and has mild brain damage, forcing him into a rehab for at least 6 months. <I am terribly sorry to hear about your troubles. I wish your father a quick and complete recovery.> I can take care of most of the tanks, but the little 3 gallon mini-tank is bugging me. It is the Eclipse Mini 3 Gallon. It's only resident is a small Atlantic Pygmy Angel, I'm having trouble feeding him. He was bought the day before the "heart attack". I'm feeding him "Ocean Formula Pygmy Angel Formula" and some lettuce on a feeding clip. He just nibbles on his food and goes into his cave. Is this species shy like him or is he still getting used to his new tank. <I am guessing a little bit of both, shy and settling in.> Any help I could use! <Try instead Nori or Seaweed Selects in the clip and frozen Mysis shrimp.> Thanks, Phil <Best of luck to you and your father. -Steven Pro>

Telling Juvenile Sympatric TWA Angels Apart hi i have two question for you! how do you know if you have a French angel or a gray? as a juv 2'' big? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gray&fr.htm> and how do i know my clown tang if fat enough? <Please see the WWM site re Surgeonfishes, Acanthurus spp... Bob Fenner> thank you Miguel 

Please Help! (trouble with Angelfishes of the tropical West Atlantic) Hello MR. Fenner, I apologize for bothering you, I can imagine that you are a very busy man. But I have a BIG problem and don't know where to turn and no one can help me figure it out. <Never a bother my friend> For some reason I can't keep Atlantic Angels. I purchased a beautiful pair of French Angels about two years ago from a collector in Florida. Before he sold these fish to me he put me through a thorough screening process to assure these fish were going to a good home. I have been in this hobby for a long time and consider myself responsible, and knowledgeable, and I do my homework on the hobby (Great book by the way). Anyway I kept these fish in a well established 180gal. tank by themselves for aprox. three weeks. Then it happened. It seemed like these fish just self destructed. Within one night a bacterial infection overwhelmed the fish. I immediately checked my water and ran a bunch of carbon thru a canister filter, all test came out perfect. So, I called the man that sold me the fish in the hopes that he could help me, He was very concerned. He referred me to Martin Moe. I called Mr. Moe and spoke with him for a while about the fishes condition. He told me to get an anti-biotic (I don't remember the name, and I couldn't get it anywhere not even a local vet). So after searching for this stuff I called Mr. Moe back and he sent me the medication. By the time I got it their eyes were popping out of their heads, they had blotches all over their body's and their fins were rotted off, the fish had both died. This infection hit hard and fast. I'm sure this wasn't a parasite of any kind, it was definitely bacterial. <What a nightmare... good to hear Mr. Moe was helpful as always> This situation was a real blow to us. I couldn't figure it out. So I left the tank baron for a month or so. I slowly started to stock the tank back up again with a few hardy fish. Then I tried to ad another French Angel to my tank and three weeks to the day the same exact thing happened but to only the French. A year or so passed and a friend who owns a LFS got in a pair of Queen Angels that were about 7" long. (pictured on my webpage) He asked me to take them because he didn't want these fish to go to just anybody. I did, and Guess what? Three weeks later they were dead. Why does this happen to me with Atlantic Angels? <I do suspect there is/are some serious stressor/s, problem/s with what the system consists of... the angel species you had/tried are actually pretty tough...> I have an Emperor that I have had for five years. In fact most of my fish I have had for years now. My only losses were my Atlantic Angels. They were a pair of French's, a single French, Pair of Queen's, Gray Angel, and a Blue/Queen hybrid (all are pictured on my webpage). It is to my understanding that these are pretty hardy fish compared to an Emperor Angel. <Yes, in general> Now, as tempting as it is, I have to walk past any Queen's, Gray's or French's with my head down in shame. I will never purchase another Atlantic Angel again. Do you have any idea why I can't keep these fish alive for any more then a couple of weeks?  <Perhaps "it" is/was a simple lack of aeration (really)... this comes to mind as commonly fish tanks are much warmer than the waters these Pomacanthids hail from (limiting gas solubility while elevating metabolism, need for dissolved oxygen)... I would test your water with the gear it was/is fitted with for D.O....> What am I doing wrong? Please help me figure this out. I feel like a failure and am embarrassed to tell anyone how many Angels I killed. Any info would be great. Sorry to take up so much of your time. Take care, Jeff Luberto <Hmm, please do have the water tested... and consider adding more aeration/circulation... there is something "simple" at work here... We can find and solve it. Bob Fenner>

Queen angel Hi BOB, is it safe to buy a queen angel 3.5inch and French angel 3inch which is in my dealer shop. They had been there for two month and still look good. <Better than buying such fishes when they first arrive...> The other dealer has shipment of brazil queen and French angels two days time and which is more risky? <Inconsistently better> Can a coppered tank prevent Lymphocystis?  <No, more likely to cause it... by increasing stress... See environmental diseases parts of www.wetwebmedia.com site under marine index> Is a blue angel 1.7inch and a 3.5 inch queen angel compatible if i introduce blue first my tank is 180cm(L) 60CM(W) 71CM(H)? <Should be, yes. Bob Fenner>

White spots on blue angel Bob, I'm not sure if I actually have a marine ich problem or not. I have a 125 gallon tank with a couple of fish and a small blue angel in particular. The blue angel eats just fine and is very active and alert. The thing I have been seeing is that the fish has small white spots on his body that look like small grains of salt. None of the other fish are showing any signs of this so I started thinking that maybe he had ich. The question I have is that it seems that he has the spots in the morning but once I come home from work they seem to be gone. I have live sand in the tank and have been thinking that maybe it is just the sand sticking to his body when he sleeps at night and that it just falls off during the day. The thing is that none of my other fish seem to have this happen. I have a tomato clown that lays on the bottom at night but never has any sand stuck on him. Is there something with maybe the slime coat on the angelfish that causes this? <It's possible... but more likely that this is some sort (maybe Cryptocaryon or no) protozoan involvement that is just as transient as you detail...> Is there and good way of determining if the angel actually has ich?  <The only sure-fire way... to remove the animal, make a smear-prep. and take a look under a microscope... I wouldn't do this... the transiency is due to a balance between the environment, the fish's health... Oh, do read over the "Three Factors that Determine..." piece and FAQs on the www.wetwebmedia.com site... all will be revealed> He doesn't seem to scratch on the rocks or anything, eyes are clear, and seems to act normally. If he does have ich, what would you recommend as the best thing to do to treat it. I don't want to rush and treat it with anything if it doesn't have anything but I also don't want to wait until it is too late to do anything about it if it is sick. Thanks for any help you may offer and thank you for your very informative web site. Gialuca <Ah, good question. I would structure your efforts from simple, less-destructive at first... escalating if necessary. For now, do place some purposeful biological cleaners... Lysmata Shrimp, Gobiosoma Gobies... If these don't swing the balance of health to your and your Angel's advantage (I suspect they alone will), we'll "raise the bar" to environmental manipulation (raising temperature, lowering specific gravity...)... and there are more drastic steps... but these will likely be unnecessary, and only mentioned here for future browsers. Bob Fenner>

Help on A Gray Angel Good morning Bob. How have you been? It is spring in Washington, DC. If you have time maybe you can help try to figure out what is wrong with this Gray Angelfish. We have had him going into the fourth week and up until last night things were going well. Yesterday his skin was blotchy on both sides and he darted madly around the tank a couple of times that I observed. Last night I netted him and gave him a freshwater bath for a couple minutes. I then placed back into the tank. His tank-mates are a Queen Angel and Bannerfish. Those fish look fine, no blemishes. This morning the Gray Angel seemed to have a normal breathing rate, but I do not know. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance, for your trusted advice. Mike >> Might just be a fluke (not the worms, something psychological), or maybe the Queen is giving the Gray a hard time when you're not watching... I'd keep a sharp eye on their interactions... In the wild these two tussle. Bob Fenner
Re: Help on A Gray Angel
Hi Bob. Thanks for the quick response, you may be on target. The Gray is bigger by 1 1/2inch's in length and 1 1/4 in height the Queen is about 1 1/4 inches long and 1 inch high. So size is about the same and the Gray chases the Queen but to no avail so maybe he is frustrated that his aggressiveness has no affect on her or so it seems. I hope you are right, this Gray has been doing so well, I would hate to lose her to some sort of disease/parasite. I hope you are doing well?  <Always, my friend> Are you working on a new book?  <Ditto, have a few "finished", looking for publishers> Do you know if there are any books on Angels that have color pictures of the change over from juvenile to adult?  <A few, look for Gerald Allen, his son and Roger Steene's latest all in one volume "A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes". The best... Oh, and my latest, "A Fishwatcher's Guide... for the Caribbean Angels if that's what you're principally interested in.>  I have taken up enough of your time, thanks for support and help.  Mike >> <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>
Re: Help on A Gray Angel
Good afternoon Bob. The Gray Angel was alive and well yesterday when I got home. He continues to eat well and will periodically chase the Queen. I hope his positive behavior continues I want to see him grow large and stay healthy. Can I buy your books directly from you. I like all the Angels but I follow your guidance and buy only the ones that you recommend as hardy. I get upset when I lose a fish since the majority of Marine Tropicals are wild caught. Thanks for your help. Have you been to Fiji? Mike  >> Good to hear of your fishes improved health, behavior. Ffexpress.com has The Conscientious Marine Aquarist at a good price. I do distribute A Fishwatcher's Guide... (they don't as yet) directly, you can find ways to order it on the site: Home Page . Yes, have been to Fiji, go a couple of times a year. Very nice to visit.

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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