Minimum Tank Size: 70 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: 4"
Color Form: Blue, Red
In captivity these dwarf angels are moderately hardy. They do need to be maintained in better water quality than what's required for most saltwater fish, so are suggested for an intermediate aquarist. But they are great little angelfish that are not too picky about what they eat and are great foragers. Their natural diet consists mostly of algae and detritus, which keeps them very active moving around picking at the substrate and the rockwork. They can handle some neglect and they will even breed in captivity. They can be kept in a mature tank over 30 gallons it they are the only fish, but do best with 55 gallons or more. The best environment is one with live rock that can help supply them with plenty of natural algal foods, and positioned to create lots of hiding places.
They do best in a fish only saltwater aquarium as they can become a nuisance in reefs. It is possible to keep them in a reef tank with leather corals and some of the more noxious soft corals, since most don't harm these. But you must keep an eye out for problems as they can turn destructive. They are less suitable to other types of reef tanks as they are harder on corals than other types of angelfish. They may nip at stony coral polyps, sponges, clam mantles, tiny snails, and other invertebrates.
These angelfish are generally not overly aggressive with their tankmates. Like most angelfish, they get along with tankmates best when they are the only type of dwarf angelfish in the aquarium. However it can be housed with other species of dwarfs as long as they are all added at the same time. Be careful to only combine angelfish with very distinct color variations.
When choosing a Rusty Dwarf Angelfish, look for a specimen that is alert and picking at rocks. Its body should be filled out, have no fin or body damage, and it should be brightly colored. A healthy specimen will also show an initial curiosity about who is approaching its tank, then quickly dart into hiding. All Rusty Angelfish are born female. They can be paired according to size by buying one large and one small Rusty Angelfish. Within a few months, they will assume their roles as male and female. Offer plenty of hiding spaces within the rock. In general, dwarf angelfish may spawn in captivity under the right circumstances.