By Bob Goemans
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Chaetodontoplus duboulayi

(Gunher, 1876)

Scribbled Angelfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Papua New Guinea south to northern Australia.

Size: 10 inches (25 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits shallow bays, lagoon and inner barrier reefs at depths between 10 - 100 feet (3 - 30 m) and feeds on algae, sponges, tunicates and crustaceans.

General Husbandry: This very beautiful angelfish, which occasionally shows up in the trade, is a favorite of aquarists because it’s quite easy to maintain. It has a yellow mouth area with the remaining face and body a dark blue that is separated by a wide yellow vertical band just aft of the head, and a wide yellow band along the top length of the body. Its dorsal and anal fins are blue and edged in brilliant blue, and the tail is a bright yellow. There are many scrawls/squiggly horizontal lines over the body and fins, hence its common name.

When first introduced into the aquarium, preferably a well-established fish-only aquarium with lots of live rock and cave areas, it should be offered several daily feedings so as to quickly acclimate it to its surroundings. As to diet, a wide variety of frozen foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and especially those containing sponge matter/angelfish food preparations should be offered once or twice a day after its acclimated to its surroundings. Furthermore, this species is an excellent browser of filamentous algae, therefore flake foods, and especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should also be offered, with once or twice a day feedings after its acclimated highly recommended.

Depending upon its tankmates, it can be quite shy when first entering the aquarium, and may hide in caves and crevices. But as time passes, will become more outgoing and begin to establish its territory. Nevertheless, those in this genus, as those in the genus Apolemichthys, are almost always very good tankmates and considered one of the least aggressive in the family.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Pomacanthidae

    Genus: Chaetodontoplus

FYI: Keeping more than one genus of angelfishes in the same aquarium is possible, yet depends upon several aspects. The following suggested circumstances are just that, possibilities that when heeded and adjusted to actual aquarium conditions ‘may’ make multiple angelfish collections feasible.

Aquarium size – the larger the better.

Other species from the same genus should not be in the same aquarium.

The smallest and most docile genus species should be the first introduced with the largest and most malicious the last to be added.

Do not place similar coloration species in the same aquarium.

Those already in the aquarium should be well fed before adding a newcomer.

Have sufficient hiding places/rocky caves.

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.

Synonym - Holacanthus duboulayi

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Diet: Omnivore

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Fish-only aquarium

Reef Safe: No - will nip clam mantles, large and small polyped stony (LPS/SPS) corals and some soft corals.

Minimum Tank Size: 150 gallons

Temperature Range: 72 - 82°F (22 – 28°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Chaetodontoplus duboulayi (Scribbled Angelfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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