By Bob Goemans
Site Supported in Part by:


Centropyge bicolor

(Bloch, 1787)

Bicolor Angelfish, Oriole Angelfish, Two-colored Angelfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Western Pacific: Southern Japan south to the Great Barrier Reef

Size: 6 inches (15 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits lagoons, boat channels, and protected reef slopes that are rich in coral and rubble at depths of 10 to 70 feet (3 – 10 m) and is rarely found far from a suitable hiding spot. Feeds mainly on algae, worms, and crustaceans.

General Husbandry: This hardy dwarf angelfish is quite beautiful as its body front half and tail is yellow, its rear body half is blue, and has a blue band extending over the eye. Because of its natural shyness its highly recommended it be added to only well established aquariums containing lots of live rock that can provide it many caves and crevices to explore and/or hide in when feeling threatened.

As to diet, recommend selecting only juveniles, as not only are they an excellent browser of filamentous algae, they also accept a wide variety of frozen foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and flake food, especially Spirulina. Adults are more set in their feeding habits and tend only to feed somewhat on algae, yet prefer tunicates, sponges and worms. 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 the dwarf angelfish genus in the aquarium, as they develop aggression toward other dwarf angelfish species.

Not suited for small nano style aquariums, as they will 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: Semi-aggressive

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, and large and small–polyped stony (LPS/SPS) corals.

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Temperature Range: 68 - 82°F (20 – 27°C).

Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.027

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Centropyge bicolor   (Bicolor Angelfish, Oriole Angelfish, Two-colored Angelfish )
Photo © John Randall
Site Supported in Part by: