Animal Stories - Emperor Angelfish

Animal-World Information about: Emperor Angelfish

The handsome Emperor Angelfish is the best known of all the saltwater angelfish!  Looking at the attached video of a juvenile in a 180 gallon, then the same fish 3 years later as an adult in 400 gallon tank shows how they reward their owners with great coloring in a properly sized tank!
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Xiny - 2017-02-26
Hi all! I bought an adult Koran Angelfish from a retailer who got him the day before from a guy who break down his tank. He's about 4-5 inches . My tank is 55 gallons (from now)with life rocks, 2 damsels and a clown fish. Day one he did not eat anything and very hyper, day two start eating shrimps. But since day one he's been going back and forth even though there's hidding spots in the tank. I know it's too small, good thing it's today we bought a 125 gallon tank but I'm afraid he'll have to wait at least three or more weeks until the tank is settled right (bacteria ect). What should I do and what could be the issue for him been so unstoppable? Do you think is because the size of the tank that he seems not even wanting to sleep?

Chad - 2015-02-08
I purchased a 5 inch emperor angelfish a year ago to place in my 375 gallon FOWLR tank. I have plenty of hiding places and monitor my system closely. The only issue I have is high nitrate around 50. This fish has had cloudy eyes and parasites since day one. I have 4 other angel fish (all smaller) in the tank and there are some minor fighting, usually it's the emperor causing it. What is my issue? Can it be too many angels? Too high of Nitrate? All my other angels look great including a majestic, blue face and annularis. I have had those for over a year.

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  • Clarice Brough - 2015-02-14
    You have a great saltwater tank, wow 375 gallons... for that you rock! However the Emperor Angel is very territorial, and especially intolerant of most other angelfish. Even though the gallonage is great, my guess is that this fish is constantly feeling like it has to defend territory, with that being the problem rather than the nitrates. Nitrates are generally more of a problem for corals than for fish, so probably not the issue. It's recommended to keep just one angelfish (or one pair) rather than mixing them. There are exceptions where two types can go together, like with some of the dwarf angelfish of the Centropyge genus. But the large angels are just so very territorial!
ED jacoby - 2015-01-15
Hi I have had an emperor Angel fish for about a month now been really active n such and eating well now Iv noticed his color is fading seems to be eating a good amount of seaweed but not really so much on the shrimp he also seems to hang out in his sleeping spot a lot more now is this normal or is he changing? Or do they hid when they are changing? When he comes out he seems slower less active about the only thing Iv done diffrant is put in a circulation pump all of my parmaters are good everything tests where it should be my salt legal is good any advise would be helpful he's in a tank with 2 percula clowns 1 bicolor Angel 1 flame Angel 1 coral beauty Angel 1 hippos tang and 1 powder brown tang and they all have been together since Iv put him in

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  • Clarice Brough - 2015-01-16
    It does sound like he's off his mark a bit, but hard to say when there's nothing specific that you see wrong. Angelfish aren't really compatible, unless there's lots of room (big tank) and lots of places for retreat. If he being chased/intimidated by any other fish that can cause them to stop feeding. He may need some additonal hiding places. Watch interactions with other fish, and of course keep an eye on him for any signs of disease. If he is being bullied you'll want to remove either him or the aggressor.
Anonymous - 2014-09-06
Hi I have emperor 3 years ago and it refuse eating suddenly help me please answer what is reason and What I should do to make it eat again

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-09-07
    These beautiful angelfish are omnivores, and eat a wide variety of foods in the wild. Adults in captivity do tend to be a picky, more so than juveniles. Try mixing up its food types, for example, try offering it some live mysis shrimp. Target feeding it may also help.
Rick - 2012-11-08
I bought my Emperor Angelfish about 2 months ago and since day 1 he/she has been happy. Its a 2 inch juvenile that rooms with a coral beauty/Bi-color Angelfish, Yellow tang, 2 clowns, 2 Blennys, and a engineer/Firefish Goby. 150 IBS of live rock with plenty of hiding spots and plenty of flow/filtration with only Rodi water changes. The only downside to this scenario is that while my Juvenile leaves my soft/hard corals alone, its only in a 75 gallon reef tank which I will have to upgrade to 150 Gallon sometime soon! Have tests for everything you could think of, took a while to master keeping levels accurate however the satisfaction of figuring it out shows in my fish and my corals! Just hoping Juvenile still will mature and turn to adult colors in this scenario before I eventually change to 150 Gallon in the next year or so.. Completely love this Emperor, lots of personality already!!

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  • Collecting Clownfish - 2012-11-28
    Glad to know you will be putting him in a larger tank and you are watching water parameters! Good for you! So many people buy these beautiful fish and wonder why they die in only 2 to 4 years. It is all due to stress and small tank size. If you can afford closer to 200 gallons that would be even better but minimum really is 180 gallons.... old literature seems to undersize tanks for these big fish, but you seem to really love your angelfish, so just something to think about! (being big eaters and poopers a larger tank is actually easier to keep balanced too and I am all for that with my own tank!) Oh, the coloring they get as adults is more intense if the tank is very large from what I understand. Have fun!!
  • Rick - 2013-04-20
    I'm asking for trouble! So far everything is still great, my juvenile emperor is as happy per my last e-mail along with another roommate.. lol. Not my fault, friend of mine went crazy and bought a Juvenile Blue angel after only having his set up running for 3 months and his Juvenile Blue angel almost died however I put him in my quarentine tank for about 1 week and he looked good then I got stupid and decided to put him in my main tank and to my surprise there was no aggression towards my Juvenile Emperor (same size) or my Dwarf angels/Yellow Tang, I know in time this will change.. My wife is going to kill me but I must upgrade to a bigger tank very soon instead of a couple years.... ughhhhhhh... I actually run 2 skimmers and a Aquafuge2 refugium on the back of my 75 gallon reef tank and all levels are near perfect! I also do 5 gallon water changes every week.. However that being said, my days are numbered for this beautiful set up I have spent so much time on.
  • Rick - 2013-05-11
    My upgrade is done. I have recently transferred all my livestock over to a 210 Gallon aquarium. My juvenile emperor & Blue angel will be happy now! I also still have a yellow tang, coral beauty, bi-color angel, pygmy angel, neon & orchid dottyback, engineer goby, firefish goby, 2 clown fish and many different corals. Now I need more live rock!!!
  • Rick - 2014-07-07
    Back again, my last reply was in 2012 on this blog. I'm just touching base and updating anyone who cares to listen that my Emperor Angel that I purchased almost 2 years ago (as a Juvenile 2 inches) is now almost 6 inches and finally turning into adult colors. For those of you who get this Angel small you better be patient and educate yourself every day about this hobby and your fish. Since my last reply I decided to upgrade to a 210 reef in 2013 and used my 75 gallon as a sump (DIY sump). I then purchased a Calcium Reactor not long after that and last but not least purchased a very strong and capable skimmer (Up to 500 gallons). OMG, I think I stare at my skimmer more then my main display tank, lol.. Anyhow my Emperor is doing great and my Blue Angel (Introduced at same time as Emperor) has already changed over to adult colors and is beautiful! I also have a yellow Tang, 2 clowns, engineer goby, Bi-color angel, Pygmy angel, 6 line wrasse, neon dottyback, and 3 chromis that all live in harmony. Granted my Blue angel and Emperor tend to argue sometimes but nothing to dramatic, lol.. I also have numerous SPS corals growing along with some hammers and birdsnest corals which none of these fish touch. It took over 3 years to accomplish this and it definitely didn't happen over night. I spent a lot of money (Ask my wife) and countless hours googling/educating myself on all factors of this hobby and carma eventually comes around but my god did I have my fair share of issues! I made the mistake of buying a used 210 and tested it with water filled for 48 hours and no signs of a leak then after tank had been active for 3 months I came home from dinner to water leaking out of my 210 an inch every hour! OMG, thank god I didn't start my 75 gallon sump yet.. I was very lucky and never lost any fish or coral and then purchased tank brand new and now its been running over a year now with no issues. Well, that's my story. I hope all of you that take the time to read this and are passionate about this hobby will understand the importance of being patient and letting things work it self out, take care my reef maniacs and until next time enjoy that small bit of the Atlantic/Pacific Ocean we can dream of putting in our home!
GPC - 2013-03-05
Hello, I just got my Emperor angelfish, I did the complete acclimatation process, but after a few hours, it is breathing very fast and hiding. My parameters are fine. It is an adult around 5 or 6 inches. What can I do? I read that more than 80 gill per minute its a red flag!

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  • Jasmine Brough Hinesley - 2013-03-06
    Hmmm. If you are sure your parameters are fine then maybe your fish simply is used to different water conditions. It may be that he simply needs some time to acclimate to your tank. I would give it some time. Watch for other physical symptoms to determine if he is sick. Also make sure he is eating and swimming normally.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-03-06
    What else is in the tank?  Maybve something in there causing stress?  Any way to test the water that it came from to seem if it is all the same or close?  temp change?  When you do you acclimation do you use the drip method?
warid - 2013-01-03
hi need some advice just got a juvernile 2.5' emperor angelfish in a 310litre (70 gal uk/80 us ga) tank with external canister filter & protien skimmer, how long can i keep him in the tank before i need to upgrade to 125 gal tank was thinking of upgrading in a year time, any thoughts please.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-01-04
    A year should be fine depending on what else you have in the tank.
Dustin Harders - 2009-05-07
I noticed a lot of people have posted that they have had their emperor angel for years and have had no signs of color change. I bought mine about a year ago as a juvenile and with in a few weeks noticed it start to change. Now almost a year later the change is almost complete. The only thing left is the black mask around the eyes. I don't know that I have done anything special or maybe I bought him right before he would have naturally started his change. I just thought this very interesting and maybe someone would know why mine changed when no one elses is.

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  • laQrisha tyler - 2010-05-20
    well the anglefish can change colors true, due to the simple fact of how their environment is.
  • anthony nolan - 2010-07-24
    Hi Dustin, I've had my juvenile for about 2 1/2 yrs now and he started to change colour about 3 months ago, and seems to be continuing to change, his lower face is getting pale, lots of yellow streaks on the body, tail getting yellower by the day, eye mask getting dark. How long to go??? do you think he may go all the way?? I'm feeding him on frozen artemia and spinach soaked in vitamin fish oil.
    Any comments appreciated.
    I think you must have bought yours just before he would have changed as I assume they would need to be quite settled to start from a natural continuation

    Regards, Anthony
  • roydroll - 2011-04-28
    My emperor angelfish was eating my sting ray.
  • Collecting Clownfish - 2012-11-28
    That means you are doing a great job Dustin! Keep up the good work! Good water quality and tank size and appropriate tank mates go a long way. As for the other person eating the sting ray.... yes that is why large angelfish should not be housed with sessile creatures. Sharks will be picked at as well unless they are constantly swimming. Even then those 'eyes' look an awful lot like LPS to angelfish! EWWWw!
T Gaul - 2010-05-26
Has anyone tried to put a dwarf angel in a tank with the emperor? My tank is 100 gallon. Thanks for any assistance.

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  • Anonymous - 2012-05-21
    Yes, I have coral beauty with mine. It chases it around abit, not much.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-21
    Normally the dwarf angels will do ok with larger angels. They are not seen as a threat.
  • Collecting Clownfish - 2012-11-28
    Sorry, hate to say, but 100 gallons is too small for this fish. The dwarf would be okay if it was with this fish in a 180 gallon tank. Both need room to have territories. Maybe return your large angelfish and try several dwarf angels in a 100 gallon tank. Rearrange rockwork before adding more to mess up territories.
Janell Shank - 2012-03-28
I have a Angel his face started turning white is he changing?

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-03-29
    Can be a number of things. I would start with checking all your levels. Also check to make sure there isnt any stray electricity going through your tank. Is it patchy or the entire face?
  • Collecting Clownfish - 2012-11-28
    Check your pH levels and minimum tank size is 1' of fish per 10 gallons. PH should be 8.0 minimum or they start to fade. Also do you have a probe to attract stray electrical currents? That is a huge thing for angelfish.