Personifer Angel Angelfish
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Minimum Tank Size: 250 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Reef Compatible: With Caution
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 1' 2"
Color Form: Blue, White, Yellow
The Passer Angelfish can grow to over a foot in length so it requires at least a 250 gallon aquarium. It is a hardy fish, but can become aggressive, so it should be kept with other semi-aggressive tank mates. It grazes on live rock and will nip at stony and soft corals (sessile invertebrates) and clam mantles, so it is not a good candidate for a reef aquarium.
The diet of the Passer Angelfish should include vegetable matter such as Spirulina, marine algae, meaty items, and high-quality angelfish preparations which include sponges. Feed at least three times daily.
The Small Juvenile will contain the Juvenile colorations, the Small-Medium will be color shifting to a young adult, while the Medium will be a sub-adult, and the Large will be in Adult coloration.
Both the King and the Queen Angelfish are found in the tropical reef areas adjacent to Central America. Their habitats were once continuous but are now separated due to the uplifting of the Central America Land Bridge, roughly about 5 million years ago. This extended strip of land now separates the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific, and connects the two vast continents of North and South America. The King Angelfish is found on the the west side of this land bridge in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Queen Angelfish is found on the east side in the Western Atlantic.
This angelfish is splendid looking both as an adult and as a youth, though each has a completely different color pattern. This a trait found in all species of Holacanthus angelfish. This is also true of the Pomacanthus genus of angelfish, as an example see the French Angelfish Pomacanthus paru. These adults can range from a grayish green to a dark blue overall, accented with a flash of white running vertically down the body from the dorsal fin to the pectoral fin. They also have a bright orange-yellow fan shaped tail. Juveniles have a body that's orange to the front and brown to the back with 5 or 6 blue stripes, and also accented with a bright orange tail. These young specimens are very similar in appearance to juvenile Clarion Angelfish Holacanthus clarionensis found along the same regions, but they are generally a bit darker than the Clarion Angel.
The feeding habits of these angelfish are quite extraordinary. Like other species of Holacanthus they feed mostly on sponges, algae, plankton, and other invertebrates, but both juveniles and adults also perform cleaning services. Juveniles will set up cleaning stations and remove ectoparasites from a variety of fish including groupers, grunts, snappers, and goatfishes. But adults will actually clean parasites from Scalloped Hammerhead Sharks Sphyrna lewini and Manta Rays! The male King Angelfish goes even further in satisfying its dietary needs, feeding off the feces of the Scissortail Chromis Chromis atrilobata. Females tend to have a more discerning palate!
This angelfish is moderate in care, just a little harder to care for than the Queen Angelfish, and is well suited for a beginner. But because it can get big it needs at least a 100 gallon aquarium. Good water quality is a must with a pH of at least 8.1, and it needs to be fed a quality food that contains sponge material and algae. Like other angelfish that are exposed to the sunlight at shallower depths, the King Angelfish will need a good spectrum lighting for its health, or at least sunshine on the tank for part of the day. Live rock with plenty of hiding places will help it feel secure, but make sure there is plenty of swimming room in front of the rocks. For best success, purchase a sub-adult that is 3 to 4" and offer it some sponge covered rocks to induce an initial feeding response.
The King Angelfish is a very hardy aquarium inhabitant, but like so many angelfish, it can get quite belligerent. It is possibly the most aggressive of all angelfish, and definitely the most aggressive of the Holacanthus species. These guys will even nip the fins of stationary Lionfish! Tank mates do need to be active, as sedentary or passive fish will get picked on. It should be kept singly, but larger and predatory fish, aggressive fish, and other types of large angelfish in very large systems of 135 gallons or more can work. Passive peaceful fish will be tormented as well as most corals, star polyps, zoanthids and yellow colonial polyps. Large decorative shrimp, snails, crabs and bristle worms are generally safe to keep with the King Angelfish.