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Flameback Angelfish

(Centropyge aurantonotus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-Aggressive   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Brazil, Southern Caribbean
• Family: Pomancanthidae   • Species: Angels (Dwarf)   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

Flameback Angelfish (Centropyge aurantonotus) originate from the coastal waters of Brazil and the southern most portions of the Caribbean sea, where they inhabit coral reefs and surrounding rocky outcrops. In nature they use their small size to move in and out of the reef hunting for tiny crustaceans, amphipods, copepods and other similar prey items.

Much to the annoyance of many hobbyists, the Flameback Angelfish also feeds on corals polyps and the fleshy portions of soft corals and clam mantles. While their small size makes the Flameback Angelfish an attractive species for hobbyists with smaller nano-aquariums, the damage they can cause to reef systems limits suitable aquarium environments.

Like many marine fish species the Flameback Angelfish is commonly sold under a wide variety of common names including: Flameback Angelfish, Flameback Pygmy Angelfish, Brazilian Flameback Angelfish, Fireball Angelfish and Fireball Pygmy Angelfish.

It is also often confused with its African cousin the African Flameback Angelfish (Centropyge acanthops), whose very similar appearance makes it difficult for the untrained eye to differentiate the two. The Caribbean based Flameback Angelfish is distinguished from the its African cousin by its dark blue tail fin, with the African Flameback Angelfish exhibiting a yellowish/orange tail fin.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Flameback Angelfish in the home aquarium.

The small adult size of the Flameback Angelfish makes it well suited for nano aquariums and smaller FOWLR setups. Flameback Angels are generally peaceful towards other fish in the aquarium, but will typically show aggression towards other Pygmy Angelfish. However, hobbyists with very large aquariums (6 to 8 foot designs) are often able to keep multiple pygmy angelfish in the same aquarium since they can establish their own territories due to the overall size of the tank.

They can be housed in reef aquariums, but they will pick at coral polyps and fleshy clam mantles. In general Flameback Angelfish should only be considered for reef aquariums that have coral species that are noxious to fish and that will not be seen as food. The primary requirement for the Flameback Angel is plenty of live rock and other peaceful to semi-aggressive tank mates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Flameback Angelfish.

Flameback Angelfish (Centropyge aurantonotus) require a varied diet that contains both plant and animal matter. They do best with smaller food items like brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, dwarf angelfish frozen foods, staple flake foods (Formula I & II) and other similar food items designed for marine omnivores.

They will also appreciate the grazing opportunities that mature live rock provides in terms of algae, sponge and small organisms that are found growing on the surface of established live rock. Ideally they should be fed 2 to 3 small meals over the course of the day, comprised of an amount of food that they will consume within a few minutes.

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