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King Angelfish

(Holacanthus passer)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 14"
• 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: Pacific Ocean, California to Peru
• Family: Holacanthus   • Species: Angels (Large)   • Aquarium Type: Reef Compatible

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

King angelfish are one of the most abundant fish species found in the Sea of Cortes, also found in the Western Atlantic coral reefs from Brazil to Florida, the Bahamas, and the Gulf or Mexico at depths up to 200 ft. They spend much of their time grazing on algae and attached invertebrates, especially sponges. The King Angelfish can grow to a little over a foot in length so it requires at least a 100 gallon aquarium to be housed properly.

While King Angelfish require lots of live rock with which to graze, they also need lots of swimming room as this species is a strong swimmer. It is a hardy fish, but can become aggressive with age and size, so it should be kept with other semi-aggressive tank mates. It grazes on live rock and will nip at stony and soft corals (sessile invertebrates) and clam mantles, so it is not a good candidate for a reef aquarium.

Like all angels, it is highly recommended that green stuffs are provided to supplement this species diet of marine algae and meaty foods. No description of the King Angelfish would be complete without mentioning the importance of providing lots of sponge material, since this is one of this species main food items in the wild.

Adult King Angelfish are dark blue-gray and have a vertical white bar on the sides just behind the pectoral fin. The pelvic fins are white in males and yellow in females, while the dorsal and caudal fins are ringed with brilliant red and blue areas. Juveniles undergo a changing pattern of colors but can be distinguished by the orange front and orange tail with a single bar or several white bars on their sides. Generally juvenile King Angelfish are lighter in color and have multiple light blue to white vertical bars on their body.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep King Angelfish in the home aquarium.

In the wild King Angelfish are found singularly, in pairs, or groups; however, in the aquarium they become aggressive towards their own species so you should keep only one per aquarium. Due to their large overall size, King Angelfish can become aggressive towards smaller and more shy species. It is also best not to keep them with other similar sized Angelfish. They are both bold swimmer and grazers, so they need to have a large aquarium (125 gallon or more) in which to roam and graze. This is one species that you do not want to keep in an undersized aquarium. Not suitable for the reef aquarium as they are destructive to corals and invertebrates.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for King Angelfish.

The King Angelfish is an omnivore, but requires large amounts of sponges, so make sure you can get an angel formula with sponge in it. It is important that you feed angelfish all kinds of live, frozen, and prepared formula foods including a significant portion of green stuffs. Be sure that this species (like most) is fed at least 2 - 3 times daily what they will consume within a few minutes.

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