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Scribbled Angelfish

(Chaetodontoplus duboulayi)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Moderate   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 10"
• Minimum Tank Size: 110 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Coral Sea, Australia
• Family: Pomacanthidae   • Species: Angels (Large)   • Aquarium Type: FOWLR

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Native Habitat and Species Information

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

The Scribbled Angelfish (also seldomly referred to as Duboulay's Angelfish), named for its abundance of intricate markings, is a very popular angelfish species that is endemic to the Coral Sea along the Great Barrier Reef of northeastern Australia. Scribbled Angelfish have an array of multi-hued, blue markings on the dorsal fin, each flank, and the anal fin (with some speckling commonly bleeding into the caudal section).

The blue is contrasted by bright yellow sections at the mouth (and forward facial area), a "skunk-like" dorsal stripe (straddling each side of the dorsal fin and finally joining the caudal section while remaining above the lateral line), and a thick, vertical band running from the top of the head and across the operculum, pectoral fins, pelvic fins, and wrapping at the breast.

The Scribbled Angelfish will also have a blue section between the yellow areas of the face and the thick, vertical band (appearing as a blue, vertical band from the forehead, over the eyes, to just under the neck); there will also commonly be a white, oblique blotch running vertically across the rear operculum.

Scribbled Angelfish are generally peaceful towards other tank mates, often being very timid when young and while acclimating and should not initially be housed with fish that may bully them. Scribbled Angelfish will become territorial towards conspecifics and should be house singly unless provided with an extremely large aquarium. Scribbled Angelfish are currently priced extremely high and can sometimes be hard to acquire, although they are gradually becoming more affordable within the hobby as their numbers increase.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Scribbled Angelfish in the home aquarium.

Scribbled Angelfish require an aquarium of no less than 110 gallons and they should be provided with plenty of live rock for grazing, shelter and territory in addition to adding an element of natural filtration to assist with stable water conditions (which they require) in an established aquarium. For a happy specimen and a healthy system, they should be provided with efficient biological and mechanical filtration as well as a high quality protein skimmer.

Scribbled Angelfish are in the pomacanthidae family, which is named for the presence of lower opercular spines which in addition to serving in a defensive role, can also lead to severe gill damage if they are ever collected with a net; if collection ever becomes necessary, they should be coaxed into a separate container with a flattened net, which can later be used to cover the top of the container preventing escape and injury.

Most tank mates will coexist well with this species as they are not aggressive, although they can be with their own kind as well as other angelfish; it's not recommended to mix them with conspecifics unless they system is very large. They are not compatible with reef aquariums as they will eat sponges, nip at clam mantles, munch on sessile invertebrates (coral), and small, benthic invertebrates. Scribbled Angelfish are generally kept in large, well established FOWLR environments where they will quickly become the center of attention.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to feed and provide proper nutrition for Scribbled Angelfish.

Scribbled Angelfish are omnivores that prefer to eat sessile invertebrates (i.e.; anemones, soft corals, sponges), marine algae, and small, benthic invertebrates in the wild. In the aquarium they should be presented with a wide variety of live, fresh, or frozen and vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, chopped krill, chopped clams, marine algae, zucchini, spinach, romaine lettuce, and quality Spirulina-based flake foods for angelfish and herbivores. Feed them multiple small meals every day (at least 3 times). If a specimen doesn't initially eat during acclimation, they can be enticed to eat with live brine shrimp, ghost shrimp, and freshly chopped seafood.

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