Indian Yellowtail Angelfish

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Apolemichthys xanthurus - (Bennett, 1832)
Indian Yellowtail Angelfish

A commendable smaller angelfish, hardy, peaceful, and easy to feed. Scott W. Michael


This species is a great choice for novice angelfish keepers. While not the most flamboyant member of the family, the Indian Yellowtail is a commendable mid-size angelfish and certainly one of the hardiest.

Family: Pomacanthidae

Other common name(s):

  • Yellowtail Angelfish
  • Smoke Angelfish
  • Cream Angelfish
  • Xanthurus Angelfish

Native range:

Habitat: Reef or reef-sand interface. Provide plenty of swimming room for this fish.

Maximum length: 15 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 285 L (75 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels, usually near substrate.


Omnivore. Feed a variety of meaty foods, dry and frozen rations with algae and sponges at least three times a day.

Aquarium Compatibility

This is a fairly passive species for an angelfish. It may occasionally pick on smaller fishes added after it is established in the tank, but it lacks the scrappiness of some members of the ­family. While it may be shy initially, once acclimated to its new tank, the Indian Yellowtail Angelfish will become a bold, showy species.


Egg scatterers that produce pelagic eggs, often in midwater mating rituals. Both eggs and larvae that drift with plankton in the water column and settle back onto a reef at about the time of metamorphosis. These are among the most challenging types of marine fishes to propagate in captivity.


It is best to keep only one per tank, as they are likely to quarrel with one another, unless you have a very large tank (180 gallons [684 L] or more), in which case you can keep a pair. It can be safely kept with some of the soft tree corals, but it has been known to ­irritate large-polyped stony corals. Be sure the aquascape provides bolt holes—that is, large caves or crevices into which it can dart when frightened.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM