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French Angelfish
(Pomacanthus paru)

French, Angelfish, Pomacanthus paru, saltwater fish

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French angelfish, Pomacanthus paru, is one of the larger species cataloged in the family Pomacanthidae. This species inhabits multiple regions of the marine waters. Their native habitat extends from Florida to Brazil throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean and in the eastern Atlantic along the shorelines of Ascension Island and St. Paul’s Rock.

This species should be kept only by saltwater aquarists with intermediate skill levels and above. These fish can grow to an adult length of up to 16 inches long and almost as tall. A minimum tank size of 100 gallons is recommended. They are fast growers. These are anything but angels. This fish’s temperament is rated semi-aggressive. However, given its rapid growing rate and adult size there is a high probability that it will become the dominant fish in your aquarium. They are not suitable for marine reef aquariums. They are omnivores with big appetites and will readily consume your live ornamental species, plant and animal alike. French Angelfish are intolerant of their own species and will exhibit a high degree of territorial behavior in the confines of an aquarium. They should be kept as a single fish or a spawning pair only. These Angels require very clean water or they may become ill. Despite all the negative attributes these exotic beauties are quite popular among serious saltwater enthusiasts. French Anglefish are one of the hardiest and easy  large angelfish species to maintain. They can live in excess of 15 years.

This is a fast and agile predator. Their bodies are tall and narrow. Their narrow width allows them to easily maneuver in and around coal formations to hunt or avoid being hunted. They row their pectoral fins as a means of locomotion. They have elongated dorsal, anal and caudal fins. The combination of the two makes them quick and highly maneuverable.

Dual Morphologic Transition

Although they share a common body shape, adults and juveniles look distinctively different. Juveniles are predominantly black with evenly spaced yellow vertical striping that begins at the snout and ends at the base of their tail fin. Their coloration is much brighter than that of an adult. Adults have bluish gray faces followed by a thick black vertical band. The scales on their bodies are black with outer edges rimmed in golden yellow. The coloration on adults will continue to grow duller as they mature.

The dietary habits of adults and juvenile are also different. Juveniles are cleaning fish. They regularly setup cleaning stations ingesting the parasitic infestation of fish such as snappers, moray eels and surgeonfish. Adults abandon this practice in favor of sponges, algae, sea fans and urochordates. In their natural environment sponges constitute 70% of an adult’s caloric intake.

Getting angelfish to feed in captivity doesn’t usually present a problem. They will quickly learn to eat pellets, frozen and dried food. Make sure to include a good mix of algae and sponge in their diets. Algae sheets and specially formulated food for marine angel fish will help keep them healthy and maintain their coloration. An abundance of living rock is also advisable.

This is a monogamous fish. In the wild a couple will vigorously defend their territory against intruders and other angelfish pairs. French angelfish do spawn in captivity although not commonly.

Environmental Parameters


pH Level Specific Gravity
72-78  °F 8.3-8-4 1.020-1.025

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