By Bob Goemans
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Centropyge aurantius

Randall & Wass, 1974

Golden Angelfish, Aurinatus Angelfish, Velvet Dwarf Angelfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Western Pacific Ocean: Indonesia to Samoa, and south to the Great Barrier Reef

Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits seaward reef areas heavy in stony coral and sponge growths at depths of 10 to 50 feet (3 – 15 m) where it feeds mainly on algae and crustaceans. Highly secretive in its travels and often hides in various coral branches and sponge growths making them difficult to collect.

General Husbandry: This dwarf angelfish is quite hardy and beautiful as it has a velvet looking burnt orange/reddish colored body that has yellow irregular vertical bans on both sides. Rarely seen in the wild, and not always readily available in the trade, but when so, makes a nice addition to most reef aquariums. Because of its natural secretive instincts its highly recommended it be added to only well established aquariums containing lots of live rock that will provide it many caves and crevices to explore and/or hide in when feeling threatened.

Its an excellent browser of algae, and will also accept a wide variety of frozen foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and flake food, especially Spirulina. Two feedings per day is highly recommended, as underfed specimens have a tendency to pester corals and other invertebrates. Its also recommended there be only one species from this dwarf angelfish genus in the aquarium, as they tend to develop aggression toward other dwarf angelfish species. One of the more sociable of the genus, yet can be quite shy when first entering the aquarium and will hide in caves and crevices. But as time passes, will become more outgoing and become a good community fish.

Keep in mind they are not suited for small nano style aquariums, as they can become very aggressive in small surroundings, and furthermore, without numerous feedings per day, be able to find enough food to be maintained long-term.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Pomacanthidae

    Genus: Centropyge

FYI: All Centropyge species start life as unsexed individuals, but begin their adult life as females. Then, the larger or more dominant individual within small groups will change sex within a few days to a couple of weeks and become a male. Knowing that size is the main difference between the sexes, and not so much its coloration, all one needs to do is place a small and larger specimen together. Within approximately sixty days one of the two fish will have physically changed sex to accommodate the other. A reversal of this sex change is possible if the need arises, but that requires much more time, e.g., weeks to months.

Keep in mind all angels have cheekspines at the edge of their gill cover; therefore use caution when handling and also avoid using a net to capture it, as it may become stuck or tangled in the net and become damaged when removed.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef aquarium (see below) or fish-only aquarium

Reef Safe: With caution – underfed specimens have a tendency to nip clam mantles, sea anemones, large–polyped stony (LPS) corals and some soft corals such as zoanthids.

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Temperature Range: 74 - 82°F (23 – 27°C).

Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.027

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Centropyge aurantius    (Golden Angelfish, Aurinatus Angelfish, Velvet Dwarf Angelfish)
Photo © Hiroyuki Tanaka
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