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Cortez Angelfish

(Pomacanthus zonipectus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 18"
• Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Mexico, Sea of Cortez
• Family: Pomacanthidae   • Species: Angels (Large)   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

Cortez Angelfish native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

Cortez Angelfish receive their name from their natural home territory of the Sea of Cortez off the coast of Mexico. Cortez Angels are one of the few fish species from this region that make it into the marine aquarium trade. As juveniles, they exhibit dark black bodies with yellow and blue stripes running vertically and going from their mouth down to their tail fins.

As adults, their bodies take on a more muted brown / gray coloration with areas of blue and yellow highlighting accents. Although Cortez Angelfish are not as brightly colored as other members of their genus, they do have a strong presence and are interesting and graceful swimmers that standout in larger marine aquariums. They also tend to be more hardy than many other large Angelfish found within the hobby and are a bit better suited for hobbyists who haven't been keeping marine aquariums for too long.

Cortez Angels are a large species of Angelfish, thus a responsible hobbyist should only keep this species in larger aquariums that are typically six feet or greater in length and 125 plus gallons in size.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Cortez Angelfish in the home aquarium.

Cortez Angels are best suited for FOWLR (fish only with live rock) style aquariums that contain a fair amount of live rock, but plenty of open swimming rooms to accommodate large fish species. They make excellent additions to larger aquariums containing other larger fish species with semi-aggressive to aggressive personalities. This species is not well suited for reef aquariums or aquariums containing corals or other delicate invertebrates, as the Cortez Angelfish will see many of these invertebrate species as a food source.

They should also not be kept with other similarly sized, colored and shaped large Angelfish species (like the French or Grey Angelfish) as they will fight with them aggressively over territory within the aquarium. Only very large aquariums can accommodate multiple large Angelfish together, and even then there are hurdles to overcome in getting them to coexist peacefully.

As a large bodied fish species the Cortez Angel puts out a fair amount of waste, which puts pressure on the filtration system of the aquarium. They should be kept in aquariums with strong mechanical, biological and chemical filtration with strong water currents and plenty of dissolved oxygen in the water. It is recommended that a protein skimmer and wet/dry filtration unit be used, along with additional pumps for water currents and bi-monthly partial water changes to keep the aquarium water quality high.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Cortez Angelfish.

Cortez Angelfish require a balanced and varied diet that contains meaty items, plenty marine algae and sponge material. A high quality marine angelfish frozen or flake food should be supplemented with dried marine algae or seaweed along with frozen meaty items like mysis shrimp or krill. Ideally their aquarium should contain plenty of live rock with marine algae, plant and sponge growth on which the Cortez Angel can graze on between feedings.

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