The Blue Angel is one of the most beautiful angelfish found in the waters north of the Caribbean!

The Blue Angelfish Holacanthus bermudensis is a breathtaking, colorful angel with long pointed trailing fins. It has a riot of bluish green colors cast across its body highlighted with bright blue accents.The face is bright yellow with blue gill covers and matching blue eyelids. It’s further accented with a blue chest and blue and yellow pectoral fins. The dorsal and anal fins are really impressive, outlined in bright blue and have long flowing trailing points. You just couldn’t ask for a more spectacular showpiece in a large saltwater aquarium.

This angelfish has more recently become known as the Bermuda Blue Angelfish because it is found extensively in Bermuda. Yet this namesake is quite deceiving as the natural range of this fish encompasses a wide, west to northeast, swath of waters. Its range starts from the Gulf of Mexico to the west and runs eastward across to Florida and the Bahamas, and then extends northeast to Bermuda in the Western Atlantic Ocean. However this name does help to distinguish if from a couple of its close relatives like Holacanthus isabelita, also commonly known as the Blue angelfish, and its very similar looking cousin, the Queen Angelfish Holacanthus ciliaris.

The Blue Angel is so closely related to the beautiful Queen Angelfish that throughout its range they are known to intermingle and commonly cross breed. As a matter of fact, the entire population in Bermuda it thought to possibly consist of only hybrids between these two species. Distinguishing the two causes much confusion among collectors, yet as adults they do differ slightly in both color and size, though juveniles are much harder to distinguish. This angelfish is smaller as an adult, reaching only about 15 inches (38 cm) in length, while the queen can grow up to almost 18″ (45 cm). Yet in color patterning there are two distinctive features. One is that this angelfish notably lacks a crown, and the other is the color of the adults tail fin. On this angelfish the tail will be colored the same as the body but edged at the end in yellow while on the Queen Angel the entire tail fin is yellow.

This is a hardy species that is s suggested for an aquarist with some experience. Although it is moderate in care it gets big so the aquarium needs to bequite large. At least 180 gallons is needed for proper physical growth as well as its psychological development. Smaller tanks can actually stunt their growth, forcing their organs to not grow properly and shortening their lives. The tank needs tohave plenty of live rock arranged to form multiple hiding places. Having somenaturally growing sponges encrusting the rock along with algae and tunicates can also help it to adjust.

This angelfish is semi-aggressive and will harass peaceful fish and fish that are similar in shape, color, and size. It will also nip at slow to stationary fish like frogfish and scorpionfish, as well as small stingrays. It will do best if kept with similar temperament tankmates, and will also be less aggressive when keptin a larger tank. It can be housed with other large angelfish in aquariums that are large enough, with 250 – 300 gallons being ideal. To be successful the tank should have a well established biological filter. Then add the least aggressive angel first and add those with similar aggression levels at the same time. This angels is aggressive with its own kind, but 2 are sometimes kept successfully in a 180 gallon tank or larger if they are different sized fish. Add the smaller fish first and put up a barrier between the two so the larger cannot harm the smaller angelfish.

This is not a reef-safe fish as it will eat the polyps of both hard and soft corals. While juveniles are not as destructive as adults in a reef tank, adults will make quick work of stony corals. Adults may be safe with more noxious soft corals if well fed. The typically leather corals, mushrooms corals, and an occasional anemone that is well guarded by a resident clownfish may also be safe. Ornamental crabs and shrimp are usually left alone.

For more Information on keeping saltwater fish see:
Marine Aquarium Basics: Guide to a Healthy Saltwater Aquarium

Blue Queen Angel Fish, Holacanthus Bermudensis

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Blue Angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis)

Here is an adult Blue Angelfish that has adapted to captivity quite well. Looks like it is eating pellet, which should have sponge material added.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacanthidae
  • Genus: Holacanthus
  • Species: bermudensis
Blue Angelfish – Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Minimum Tank Size: 180 gal (681 L)
  • Size of fish – inches: 15.0 inches (38.00 cm)
  • Temperament: Large Semi-Aggressive
  • Temperature: 70.0 to 82.0° F (21.1 to 27.8&deg C)
  • Range ph: 8.0-8.4
  • Diet Type: Omnivore
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Blue Angelfish Holacanthus bermudensis was first described by Goode in 1876. They are found in the Western Atlantic in Bermuda and the Bahamas, and off the east coast of North America from North Carolina to southern Florida, especially in the Florida Keys. They are also found along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico as well as Yucatan, Mexico. This species is on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC) as it has a relatively wide range and is common throughout, and no major threats are currently identified.

This species had previously been referred to as Holocanthus isabelita and Holocanthus ciliaris bermudensis. These names, which appear in some of the older publications, were misapplied to the Blue Angelfish and are no longer used. The species name, bermudensis is derived from waters they inhabit, which includes the Bermuda waters. Other common names it is known by are Bermuda Blue Angelfish, Blue Angel, and plain Angelfish. There is also a tan variation of the Blue Angelfish, which is called Corn Sugar Angelfish by Jamaicans. The name “Corn Sugar†is thought to have been derived from a Jamaican treat called Asham, which is made with parched corn, sugar, and spice and is tan in color.

The Blue Angelfish have been known to hybridize with the Queen AngelfishHolacanthus ciliaris. Hybrid offspring of these two are fine specimens that carry traits from both parents. The adults can look just like a Queen Angelfish yet lack the “crownâ€, or may look like a Blue Angelfish but with a yellow tail. The offspring were initially ms-identified as a totally different species and were named Townsend’s Angelfish Holacanthus townsendi. But they are now known to simply be the result of these two angelfish species cross breeding. The entire population in Bermuda is thought to possibly consist of only hybrids between these two species.

The Holacanthus genuscontains some of the largest angelfish species, and they are all sought after for their elegance and beauty. Holocanthus is Greek for “full thorn†which is descriptive of this genus’ physical attributes. At one time or another this genus contained over 60 of the approximately 86 marine angelfish species. Today however, after much re-classification, there are only 8 species contained in this group and all but one of these are found near the Americas. The Guinean Angelfish or West African Angelfish Holacanthus africanus is the only one that is a West African species. Of the other 7 species, 3 are found in the tropical east Pacific Ocean and 4 are found in the tropical west Atlantic.

The Holacanthus angelfish require very large aquariums ranging from 125 gallons to well over 300 gallons, and they have a specialized diet that needs to include sponge material.Except for one species, these angelfish aresome ofthe most adaptable to captivity when provided with the proper environment and foods. The only exception is the Rock Beauty AngelfishHolacanthus tricolor, which adapts poorly and will often starve to death. They are well suited for very large fish only aquariums andcan be kept with other species of large angelfish, surgeonfish, and triggerfish as tankmates. However none of these marine angelfish are considered reef safe as they will severely nip at all types of sessile invertebrates.

The juvenile Blue Angelfish are found in channels and inshore reefs while adults are found in rocky outcroppings, patch reefs, and corals reefs. Adults are often near areas with rich sponge growth and gorgonians, or near large coral heads. They will also hang out in artificial reefs, like a sunken boat, and in the Florida Keys they are found in channels and canals.

They can usually be found at depths between 16 to 82 feet (5-25 m), but some adults can be found as deep as 301 feet (92 m). They are mostly found in pairs as adults, but when there are larger densities they can be found as one male with several females. Males and juveniles are very territorial. Juveniles mainly feed on benthic invertebrates and weeds, and will clean larger fish. Adults mainly feed on sponges and tunicates, along with some benthic invertebrates caught within the foods they are eating.

  • Scientific Name: Holacanthus bermudensis
  • Social Grouping: Pairs – Adults are mostly found in pairs, or on occasion as one male with several females.
  • IUCN Red List: LC – Least Concern – A stable population.


The Blue Angelfish is a deep bodied, elongated and flat fish that has beautifully extended dorsal and anal fins. It can reach up to almost 15 inches (45 cm) in length, though the best size to obtain this Holacanthus species is between 2.5″ to just under 5″ for it to readily accept aquarium foods and acclimate. It can live for 20 or more years in captivity with good care.

This is an attractive blue-brown angelfish accented with a yellow face and blue highlights. There is also a tan variant color of this angelfish. The normal coloration of the adult includes blue to green edged scales on most of the body, and yellowish edged scales in the middle area of the body. Some specimens can have more blue than others. The face is typically dusty yellow to bright yellow with a little “eyeshadow†above the eyes and blue edged gill covers. The chest and forehead have more concentrated blue coloring.

A distinguishing feature of the Blue Angel is its bright blue pectoral fins tipped in yellow and a dark tail fin with a yellow edge. The upper and lower edges of the dorsal and anal fins are trimmed in blue, with the back edges yellow, and the pelvic fins are typically yellow.

The juvenile Blue Angel is quite different from that of the adult. Juveniles are dark blue to black with a yellow tail, a yellow area around the pectoral fins, and brilliant blue vertical bars on the body. They have a vertical bar as wide as the eye in dark blue to black, edged in blue running the entire length of the face. Like the adults there is some blue edging, but not as much. The juvenile’s blue edging of the fins starts over their head and extends over the dorsal fin, then is only found on the edges the anal fin. They do have a yellow tail fin, yellow face and a yellow area behind the eye band.

Blue Angelfish - Juvenile
Blue Angelfish (juvenile)
Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Hiroyuki Tanaka

There are 3 dominant bluish white vertical yet slightly curved stripes on their body, besides smaller vertical lines in between and beyond. The first vertical stripe is right behind the eye (back edge of the eye band), then the second and third stripes are around the middle area of the body. As the juvenile moves into sub adult and adult coloring, the dark areas of the body fade along with the facial mask and the yellow and blue scales appear as the bluish white vertical stripes disappear.

This angelfish shares its watery world with another very similar looking angel, the Queen angelfishHolacanthus ciliaris. These two at first glance can easily be mistaken for one another and are often confused. They differ primarily in color pattern. The Queen Angelfish is a blue to blue-green overall with yellow fins, an all yellow tail fin, and some striking blue highlights. The edges of all the fins are a radiant blue, but its most distinctive feature is its brilliant blue ‘crown’ at the nape. This crown, sitting on its forehead is what led to the common name Queen Angel. The Blue Angelfish does not have this blue crown.

Blue Angelfish Holacanthus bermudensis x Queen Angelfish Holacanthus ciliaris, Hybrid
Blue Angel H. bermudensis x Queen Angel H. ciliaris, Hybrid
Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Hiroyuki Tanaka

The Queen and the Blue Angelfish commingle in their native waters, and naturally occurring hybrids of these two are not uncommon. The offspring will carry traits from both parents, yet brothers and sisters may not look the same. The coloration of some hybrids consists of blotches of color very much like the freshwater Koi species. Other hybrids can be completely blue or completely green. Some adults can look like the Blue Angelfish but with a solid yellow tail (Blue Angelfish have a brownish tail with yellow tipping). Others can look just like the Queen Angelfish, but lack the crown. There is also a blue variation with almost purple accents and a green tinted variation as well.

The picture to the right is a prime example of a hybrid cross. This fish has blue pectoral fins tipped in yellow and a dark tail fin edged in yellow, the characteristic of the Blue Angelfish. But the telltale radiant blue crown of a Queen Angel on its forehead along with the all yellow pectoral fins gives away its true identity.

Juvenile Queen and Blue angelfish are extremely difficult to tell apart, but the Blue angelfish juvenile will often have more curvature to the vertical bars. On the juvenile Queen Angel, the first 4 vertical bluish white bars are curved and the last one is straight. Juvenile Blue Angelfish have the first three bluish white bars curved and last 2 are straight (this is referring to the smaller non-dominate bars).

There is some considerable confusion in the trade and hobby regarding hybrids that occur between queen and blue angels. At first these hybrids were thought to be a separate species, and a description of Holacanthus townsendi was actually based on a hybrid between the Queen and the Blue angelfish. The so-called “Townsend” angelfish, H. townsendi is a naturally occurring cross between these two (H. ciliaris x H. bermudensis), but is not a true species. Also, occasionally the junior synonym (meaning an invalid name) H. isabelita, with a common name of Isabelita Azul, pops up in the literature for both the blue and true queen angelfish species, or some hybrid twixt the two.This is a nomen nudum.

  • Size of fish – inches: 15.0 inches (38.00 cm)
  • Lifespan: 20 years – They can have a lifespan of 20 years or more with proper care.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Blue Angelfish is quite hardy, though It does need excellent water parameters and an aquarium that is at least 180 gallons (681 l) or more. This makes it moderately difficult to keep and is suggested for the intermediate aquarist. Obtain a small juvenile between 2.5″ to just under 5″ for best success, since they will be the size most likely to adapt to prepared foods. This angelfish is a grazer, so having plenty of live rock with natural macro algae growing on the surface is very helpful both initially for a new juvenile, and for long term maintenance.

At least 220 gallons or more will be needed for a paired male and female or if you chose to put them with a Pomacanthus angelfish. Any other angels should not be the same size, nor have a similar color or body shape. Many places to hide within the live rock is very important so that subordinate fish in the tank can hide if your angelfish is feeling not particularly “angelic†some days.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Foods and Feeding

The Blue Angelfish is an omnivore. In the wild, adults are found to have 80% or more of sponge material in their stomachs, with the remainder being algae and benthic creatures that happen to be hanging out in the food they were eating. Because of this diet aquarium foods work well. Juveniles are a cleaner fish that have been known to clean other fish of external parasites. Juveniles are also extremely territorial, probably as a result of their setting up territories as cleaning stations. It is interesting to note that predators and cleaner fish enjoy a sort of “truce” in the cleaners territory. Juveniles eat more algae than adults, thus foods while juveniles should have a greater content of algae and other vegetables, and not so much sponge or meaty items.

In the aquarium feed a diet with a wide variety of vegetable materials. The quality of the food is important and any flake or pellet foods you choose should contain sponge material and Spirulina. They love Nori and will eat the various colors of dried algae sheets, and frozen preparations. They can also be offered fresh uncooked broccoli which will provide them with vitamin A and C. Adding caulerpa to the tank is also appreciated. There are several good commercial foods available as well, including Formula II and Angel Formula.

You may also supplement their diet with a very small amount of meaty fare such as brine and mysis shrimps, along with finely chopped marine flesh. Use meaty foods sparingly. Left over food should be removed since water quality is very important to the health of marine angelfish.They do best fed several small meals a day, rather than one large meal.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore – Provide foods that have sponge material and Spirulina in the formula. Juveniles eat mostly algae, while adults eat mostly sponge material. Very little meaty foods should be added.
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet – Live feeder shrimp may be offered to help start a feeding response initially.
  • Vegetable Food: Most of Diet – juveniles should have mostly algae based foods and adults sponge based material as well as broccoli and other natural sources of vitamin A and C.
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet – Small amounts of meaty foods should be given sparingly, as too much can lead to to nutritional deficiencies and cause blindness.
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day

Aquarium Care

These angelfish need very good water quality. Anything below acceptable will result in stress, which lowers their immune system and can lead to several illnesses. Water changes of 10-15% should be performed every 2 weeks for best results in 180 gallon tanks. In tanks over 250 gallons (940 l), water changes of about 30% every 3 – 4 weeks should work fine to keep water quality high. At times with tanks that are very mature you may get away with more time in between water changes, but only if it shows no ammonia or nitrite and has very low nitrates (less than <10).

As with all angelfish, the pH level should never drop below 8.0. Controlling pH levels is best resolved by water changes rather than chemicals. Using testing equipment is suggested to tell you when to do a water change.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly – Suggested water changes of 10-15 % bi-weekly for a 180 gallon tank, with less needed for larger 250+ gallon tanks and very mature aquariums.

Aquarium Setup

An adult Queen Angelfish will need a tank that is 180 gallons (681 l) or larger. They are bullies, beautiful bullies, but bullies non-the-less, and in anything smaller they will abuse their tank mates. Juveniles may be grown out in smaller tanks, but after only a few months their growth will render smaller tank useless. Starting with a larger tank is a good idea rather than having to relocate them. Two Blue Angelfish can be added to a tank as long as there are plenty of hiding places. They must be of different sizes and added at the same time. They can be kept with other angelfish in tanks well over 220 gallons (832 l). Water quality must be kept high and and a pH of at least 8.0 is necessary.

The tank should have plenty of live rock arranged to form multiple hiding places for retreat if they feel threatened. Stress will make an angelfish ill very quickly. This big fish also needs plenty of room to turn around and maneuver, so plan the rock placement accordingly. The live rock should have plenty of naturally growing algae on it before adding the juvenile. In nature these are shallow dwelling fish that utilize the sunlight to absorb certain vitamins and thus avoid developing deficiencies, so a good spectrum light in the aquarium will also help this angelfish stay healthy.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 180 gal (681 L) – Juveniles can be kept in 135 gallons (511 liters) to start, but need to move into a larger tank before they are full grown. Larger tanks, 250 – 300 gallons (946 – 1,135 liters) or more are ideal for these angels best development.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: No
  • Live Rock Requirement: Typical Plus Hiding Places
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate – normal lighting – Angelfish need at least a daylight bulb to help them absorb vitamins A and C from their diet.
  • Temperature: 70.0 to 82.0° F (21.1 to 27.8&deg C)
  • Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG – Although a specific gravity of 1.015 can be employed temporarily when treating disease, for long term health keeping the tank at 1.023 is best.
  • Range ph: 8.0-8.4
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Any
  • Water Region: All – They will swim in all areas of the aquarium. In the wild they are a benthic species hanging around the bottom in areas of sponge, coral, and rock.

Social Behaviors

Blue Angelfish juveniles are more territorial than most adults. That being said, adults are no “angels†themselves and can be very bullish. They will harass peaceful fish and fish that have a similar shape, color, or size. They will also harm any slow moving or stationary fish like frogfishes and scorpionfishes, and nip the eyes of sharks mistaking them for a stony coral! Small stingrays are also at risk. House this angelfish with other similar temperament species for the best success. More docile fish may be attacked unless they have plenty of hiding places and know to get out of the angel’s way. Adding the Blue Angelfish into the tank last, or at the same time as the others, is advisable.

These angelfish are aggressive towards others of their genus, Holacanthus, however it is sometimes successful to keep two differently sized Blue Angelfish together. Add the smaller fish first and put up a barrier between the two so the larger angelfish cannot harm the smaller, and observe their behavior. These fish can be kept with some other angelfish if the tank is at least 220 gallons (833 l). These fish may live in tanks with Pomacanthus angelfish, but again they should be added as the last resident, after Pomacanthus is established. Avoid housing them with angelfish of similar size, shape, or color. Remove two fish that are constantly causing injury to each other immediately.

These fish are not considered reef tank safe. While juveniles are somewhat behaved in a reef, adults will destroy all corals except for possibly the most noxious soft corals from the family Alcyoniidae or the Octocorals, but they should be monitored. Gorgonians, zoanthids and other sessile inverts should be monitored as they are at risk of being nipped. Ornamental crabs and shrimp are usually left alone, but tubeworms will be at risk. It may be possible that a well fed angelfish, or a captive bred angelfish that never has seen a coral before may be better behaved, but there are no guarantees.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Large Semi-Aggressive
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species – conspecifics: Yes – Two may successfully be kept together if they are different sizes. The smaller angelfish needs to be added first and a barrier put up to protect it from the larger angelfish until temperaments are known.
    • Peaceful fish (gobies, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrasses): Threat
    • Semi-Aggressive (anthias, clownfish, dwarf angels): Monitor – Only if these smaller fish have plenty of places to hide and have the sense to stay out of the Blue Angelfish’s way.
    • Safe
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (tangs, large angels, large wrasses): Safe
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (lionfish, groupers, soapfish): Monitor – Slower moving sharks and stingray, especially their eyes, may be picked by larger angelfish.
    • Threat – These creatures will be picked on and killed by the Blue Angelfish.
    • Anemones: Monitor – With a very aggressive clownfish such as a maroon clown, the anemone may be protected, but monitor it.
    • Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs: Monitor – Some mushrooms are more noxious and may be left alone but need to be monitored. A well fed angelfish should be less interested in these corals.
    • LPS corals: Threat
    • SPS corals: Threat
    • Gorgonians, Sea Fans: Monitor
    • Leather Corals: Monitor
    • Soft Corals (xenias, tree corals): Monitor – Some of the more noxious soft corals from the family Alcyoniidae may be okay.
    • Star Polyps, Organ Pipe Coral: Monitor
    • Zoanthids – Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Threat
    • Sponges, Tunicates: Threat
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe
    • Starfish: Monitor – May pick at appendages if not well fed.
    • Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Monitor – Will nip at feather dusters.
    • Clams, Scallops, Oysters: Threat
    • Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Safe – Will eat only the very few that happen to be in the foods they are picking off the live rock.

Sex: Sexual differences

Males are generally larger than females.

Breeding / Reproduction

Breeding Blue Angelfish, to our knowledge, has not been accomplished in captivity. In nature adults are generally found in pairs year round, so it is assumed that the male and the female have a monogamous relationship. Pairs will spawn by slowly rising up in the water column while bringing their bellies close together, and releasing large amounts of eggs and sperm. A female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening. This can total as many as ten million eggs for the duration of the spawning cycle.

The eggs are transparent, pelagic, and each contains a single drop of oil to provide buoyancy. The eggs, floating in the water column, will hatch in 15 to 20 hours. At this point the “pre-larval” angelfish is attached to a large yolk sac, has no functional fins, no eyes, or gut. After about 48 hours the yolk is absorbed during which time the fish develops into true larvae and begins to feed on plankton in the water column. Growth is rapid and 3 to 4 weeks after hatching the fish will reach about 15-20mm and will settle on the bottom.

  • Ease of Breeding: Difficult

Fish Diseases

The Blue Angelfish are fairly hardy once they are established in captivity. Like other saltwater angelfish they are prone to any disease that captive saltwater environments have to offer. They are most likely to be affected if they are stressed from inappropriate housing or tank mates. Providing an angelfish with clean water, a proper decor with places to hide, and regular feeding is the best way to prevent illness. Calm angelfish are healthy fish. If not stressed, they will have a stronger immune system to prevent infections.

A condition called nutritional blindness, caused by inappropriate levels of meaty foods, can occur in angelfish around 6 to 8 months after taken into captivity. To avoid this condition feed green leafy foods that have Vitamin A, as well as making sure there is plenty of natural occurring algae in the tank. The Holacanthus genus are less prone to nutritional disorders such as Lateral Line Disease, which results from not enough vegetables with vitamin A and C.

White Spot Disease Cryptocaryon irritans, also known as Marine Ich, Saltwater Ich, or Crypt is the most common disease that is generally associated with marine tangs and angelfish. Symptoms of Marine Ick are constant scratching, culminating with lots of white dots. These dots disappear for a few days, only to return with double the number. This results in the fish suffocating from these parasites blocking the gills from providing oxygen.

Another common disease is Marine Velvet or Velvet Disease Oodinium ocellatum, (syn: Amyloodinium ocellatum or Branchiophilus maris), which is a parasitic skin flagellate. Symptoms of Marine Velvet are a peppery coating giving a yellow to light brown “dust” on body, clamped fins, respiratory distress (breathing hard as seen as frequent or quick gill movements), cloudiness of eyes, glancing off decor or substrate, and possible weight loss.

A viral infection, Lymphocystis, looks like small cauliflower-shaped nodules on the fins and mouth. These nodules are not harmful and come and go. The only time action may be needed is if they were on the mouth area of the fish, preventing it from eating for a prolonged period of time. It’s best to do water changes to help the fish’s natural immune system kick in.

Monogenetic flukes are the most common parasitic infections angelfish are prone to contracting. Parasites on marine fish kept with live rock or in any type of reef environment can be extremely difficult to treat. Typical treatments like copper and formalin solutions, as well as quinine based drugs are harmful to other marine creatures. However drugs such as metronidazole provide an effective and safe treatment for several protozoan and anaerobic bacterial diseases. Metronidazole works by ceasing the growth of bacteria and protozoa. Metronidazole is an antibiotic for anaerobic bacteria with anti-protozoal properties. This drug is reef safe, and medications are either added to the water or mixed with the fish food. Some available products that contain metronidazole include Seachem Metronidazole, Seachem AquaZole, Thomas Laboratories’ Fish Zole and National Fish Pharmaceutical’s Metro-Pro.

For external parasites you can slowly increasing the temperature of your tank to at least 82° F (28° C). That will prevent the parasite from completing its life cycle which includes the attachment to fish. A further combination of the higher temperatures with medicated food will provide timely relief.The Seachem Metronidazole medications works well in combination with another Seachem product called Focus, which is a bonding agent. This treatment can be used in a reef aquarium since the medication is bound to the food, which even if the corals eat, will not hurt them. Mix Focus in a ratio of 5 to 1 with their Metronidazole (5 parts Focus to one part Metro), then mix this with 1 tablespoon of food. Feed the medicated food to the fish 3 times a day for at least a week or until symptoms are gone.

Fish problems can be broken into one of (or a combination of) these types: parasites, bacterial disease, fungal disease, or physical ailments caused from deficiencies in diet as well as wounds and injuries. For more information on diseases that saltwater angelfish are susceptible to, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.


Blue Angelfish are commonly available in stores and online, and range in price from expensive to very expensive, depending on size.


Featured Image Credit: PickPik