By Bob Goemans
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Centropyge nox

(Bleeker, 1853)

Midnight Angelfish, Black Angelfish

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Western Pacific Ocean: Indonesia, north to the Ryukyu Islands, and south to the Solomon Islands, Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia.

Size: 4 inches (10 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coastal lagoons and reefs at depths of 30 to 200 feet (10 – 60 m). This highly secretive species, hiding in coral and macroalgae growths has a diet that consists mainly of algae, sponge, and detritus.

General Husbandry: This very pretty species dwarf angelfish that is uniformly black over its entire body, accepts a wide variety of foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and flake food (especially Spirulina). Requires numerous small feedings per day, as it’s a constant browser. Keep in mind this is a secretive species, and in large aquariums with much live rock and hiding places, may seldom be seen. Nevertheless, they do require hiding places, even in somewhat small aquariums, as they like to glide in and out of rock crevices while forging for foodstuffs. Also, it‘s preferable to ‘only’ add this species to a well-established reef aquarium, as it likes to pick on rocks containing various forms of algae or find accumulations of detritus to ingest.

Not suited for small nano style aquariums, as they become quite aggressive in these small aquariums and cannot without numerous feedings per day 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 either 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, as some specimens have a tendency to nip clam mantles, large–polyped stony corals and some soft corals.

Minimum Tank Size: 50 gallons

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 27°C).

Specific Gravity: 1.020-1.027

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Centropyge nox (Midnight Angelfish, Black Angelfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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