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Flame Angelfish
(Centropyge loricula)

flame angelfish, Centropyge loricula

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The flame angelfish, Centropyge loricula, is a member of the family Pomacanthidae. This species is endemic to the southern and western regions of the Pacific Ocean. These are primarily a marine species but they also inhabit brackish lagoons. Flame angelfish are typically found in coral reefs and along coastal shorelines. Populations exist in the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, New Guinea, Guam, the Philippines, Society and Cook Islands and to a lesser extent in the Hawaiian Islands. This fish makes its home in the lower surge zones occurring in depths up to 200 feet.

The flame angelfish derives it name from its brilliant color palette. Coloration is distinctive to geographical location. However they are typically bright orange or red with vertical blue to black bars mid-body and neon blue trim on their anal fins. This species is often referred to as dwarf angelfish. They are considerably smaller than many other species of angelfish only growing to an adult length of approximately 4 inches. These fish have an average life expectancy of 5-7 years. They are often marketed under the names, dwarf flame angelfish, dwarf angel, and flame angel.

Dwarf angelfish are not as sensitive to environmental parameters as most other angelfish. They are the number one recommendation angelfish for intermediate level aquarists. It adjusts well to aquarium life, makes for a good community dweller and is a suitable choice for marine reef aquariums. When first introduced to an aquarium these fish tend to be shy. This shyness is generally short lived. In no time at all they become comfortable in their new surroundings. Once they have regained their confidence they may have a tendency to pick on the smaller species in the tank. It is advisable to add them to an established population to lessen the likelihood of bullying. In reef tanks they may view coral and clams as a source of nutrition. This fish will occupy all levels of the aquarium. However they are accustomed to the low water surge zones of their natural habitat. They are therefore most at home in aquariums with higher circulation levels. They will thrive in low to zero nitrate level water.

Flame angelfish can be aggressive toward other members of their species. Dwarf angels should be kept as a single specimen or in pairs. Territorial behavior will diminish in direct relation to the size of your aquarium. A 30 gallon tank is the smallest recommendation.

This is a rather pricy investment although not near the price of some of the larger varieties of angelfish. Still, if you purchase this fish locally it is advisable to have the fish store hold it in a quarantine tank for a few weeks before taking it home. This will not only protect your investment it will also prevent the possibility of disease being introduced to your existing population.

This is an omnivorous species. In captivity they can be fed pellets, frozen marine meat products, brine shrimp, and seaweed sheets. They have been known to readily adapt to flake food. In nature a considerable amount of their nutritional intake is from algae. Having algae in your tank or supplementing their diet with commercially prepared dried algae will help avert problems associated with nutritional deficiencies. They should also have plenty of live rock to graze on.

This species is among the countless protogynous hermaphrodites found in the ocean. They all begin life as females. If two females are in the same tank together the larger more dominant one will undergo a gender change. This dwarf angelfsih  rarely breeds in captivity. In the wild spawning takes place at dusk. Adult fish demonstrate a lack of parental instinct. They will simply allow their eggs to drift away with the current.

Environmental Parameters


pH Level Specific Gravity
72-78  °F 8.1-8-4 1.020-1.025

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