Reef to Rainforest: Discovering Tropical Species, Places, Nature


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Apolemichthys trimaculatus, Flagfin Angelfish. Scott W. Michael

Family: Pomacanthidae

Species in Genus Apolemichthys:

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


As a group, the marine angelfishes are among the most alluring and coveted species available to home aquarists. Keeping them successfully in a reef aquarium requires careful selection—and a measure of luck.

Small angelfishes in this genus may do fine in the reef aquarium, larger individuals can be quite destructive. Adding one to a reef aquarium is a risky proposition if you have a collection of soft coral polyps and stony corals (especially large-polyped stony corals). They will also pick at zoanthids.

This genus includes some of the hardiest members of the angelfish family, as well as two species that typically fare poorly in the aquarium: the Bandit Angelfish (A. arcuatus) and the Flagfin Angelfish (A. trimaculatus). The hardiest member of the genus is the Indian Yellowtail Angelfish (A. xanthurus).

All Apolemichthys species do better in a tank with live rock and/or live plant material on which to browse. Juveniles or subadults are more likely to accept captive foods. These fishes need plenty of a hiding places in which to retreat.