By Bob Goemans
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Centropyge loricula

(Gunther, 1874)

Flame Angelfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-Pacific Ocean: New Guinea, Solomon Islands to New Caledonia, Marshall Islands, and Hawaiian Islands

Size: 3.5 inches (9 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits lagoon patch reefs and outer reef slopes near abundant growths of live coral at depths between 5 to over 200 feet (2 – 60 m). Quite secretive and never strays far from rocky crevices. Mainly feeds on microalgae .

General Husbandry: This beautiful dwarf angelfish, probably the most popular of all the pygmy angelfish, basically has a reddish/orange body usually having some vertical darkish/black irregular streaks, with the dorsal and anal fins, especially those of the male, edged in blue. Keep in mind there are slight differences in coloration and markings based on the origin of the species

An excellent browser of microalgae and detritus and as with most other species in this genus, a daily diet consisting of a wide variety of frozen foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, high-quality angelfish preparations, and flake food, especially that of Spirulina should suffice nicely. Recommend it be initially added to and maintained in a well-established reef or fish-only aquarium where it can browse rock surfaces and crevices for various kinds of nutritional foodstuffs, thereby feeling secure and quickly becoming acclimate to its surroundings.

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 begin to establish its territory. Yet keep in mind they are not suited for small nano style aquariums, as they will not only become quite aggressive in small aquariums, they will, without numerous feedings per day, be able to find enough food to be maintained long-term. Also keep in mind only one species from this dwarf angelfish genus should be in the aquarium, as they will develop aggression to other dwarf angelfish species. Even though a good community fish, its best it be the last fish to be added to the aquarium, as it can become abusive to newcomers, as it naturally wants to protect its feeding areas from competition.


    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.

Captive-bred specimens are slowly becoming available.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Diet: Omnivore

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Reef 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: 70 - 79°F (21 – 26°C).

Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.027

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Centropyge loricula   (Flame Angelfish)
Photo © Bob Goemans
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Boyd Enterprises