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French Angelfish

(Pomacanthus paru)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 18"
• Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, sg 1.020-1.025, pH 8.1-8.4
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean
• Family: Pomacanthidae   • Species: Angels (Large)   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

French Angelfish are commonly found throughout the Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil. Also Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, including Antilles. Eastern Atlantic: off Ascension Island and St. Paul's Rocks. Like many other Angelfishes, the French Angelfish has a tall narrow body which allows it to turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt their prey.

They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins and their long dorsal, anal, and caudal (tail) fins allow them to turn quickly. Not a good candidate for a reef tank, the French Angelfish has a tendency to nip at sessile invertebrates (soft and stony corals) and clam mantles, and also tends to dominate the tank. Due to its adult size of approximately 16" and it's fairly aggressive nature (especially to other full size angels and similarly sized species) the French Angel should only be kept in large non-reef aquariums.

Their diet can also be a challenge to all but the most experienced aquarists, since they need sponge matter, gorgonians and tunicates food items. If you are considering a French Angel, make sure you have a large aquarium 125 gallon plus with plenty of swimming room and an excellent filtration system, that can keep up with the waste produced by a fish of this size.

French Angels live most commonly in spawning pairs and are strongly territorial, usually with both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs. At times French Angels can be found roaming solitary in open water. Due to their adult size keeping a pair of French Angels would require a very large aquarium and a high flowing well designed filter system.

Adult French Angels have black scales over the majority of the body , except those at front from nape to abdomen, and are rimmed with golden yellow; a broad orange-yellow bar can be found at the pectoral base, with a yellow filament around the dorsal fins. The chin area is a whitish smoky grey color with the outer part of iris being colored in yellow. The eye is narrowly rimmed below with blue.

Juvenile French Angels are jet black with oval yellow bands reaching vertically across the entire fish and found all along the body. Small blue accents can be found on the anal fins, especially near the tips.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep French Angelfish in the home aquarium.

In the Aquarium environment the French Angels is best described as semi-aggressive as it will be likely to dominate an aquarium, while being outright hostile to other full size Angels and fish of similar size. Again due to their large size they can be destructive to corals and many invertebrates including corals, shrimps & smaller crabs. In the wild they live in open areas with a lot of swimming room; therefore, the aquarium environment should closely mimic this type of environment to successfully keep an adult French Angel.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for French Angelfish.

Feeds on sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates in the wild, but can subsist on high-quality angelfish preparations, marine algae and meaty items such as brine, clams or krill. This species should be fed two to four times daily what the fish will consume within a few minutes. Being an omnivore it is important to provide a balanced diet of algae and meats to provide all the necessary vitamins and nutritional needs. Sponge and tunicates are necessary for this species.

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