By Bob Goemans
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Holacanthus clarionensis

Gilbert, 1890

Clarion Angelfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Eastern Pacific Ocean: Cabo San Lucas, Baja Mexico, Clipperton, Revillagigedo, and Clarion Islands.

Size: 8 inches (20 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coastal rocky reefs at depths of 30 to 100 feet (10 – 30 m) and feeds primarily on sponges, algae, tunicates and small other invertebrates.

General Husbandry: Both the juvenile and adult are quite pretty, with the juvenile having a yellowish orange body and fins, and several blue vertical bars on the body that disappear as it grows into adulthood. Some juveniles also have blue lips, and their dorsal and anal fins are edged in bright blue. As for the adult, its face area is brownish, and the frontal body is reddish orange, with the rear body a brownish orange. Its dorsal and anal fins are reddish orange and edged in bright blue, and its tail is completely reddish orange.

When first introduced into the aquarium, preferably a well-established fish-only aquarium with lots of live rock and cave areas, adults or juveniles should be offered several daily feedings so as to quickly acclimate it to its surroundings. Like many others in this genus, their captive diet should consist of a wide variety of frozen foods including fortified brine shrimp, mysis, and especially those containing sponge matter/angelfish food preparations and continued to be offered several times daily after its acclimated to its surroundings. Furthermore, flake foods, and especially those containing Spirulina and/or Nori should be offered occasionally and even pieces of fresh broccoli, which is a source of vitamins A and C, and/or fresh Caulerpa.

Depending upon its tankmates, juveniles may be somewhat 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. As for adults, one of the largest in this genus, it all depends on aquarium size and tankmates, but keep in mind, those in this genus are thought of as the feistiest/most aggressive of all angelfishes and therefore, its preferable they be the last angelfish to be added to the aquarium.


    Order: Perciformes

    Suborder: Percoidei

    Family: Pomacanthidae

    Genus: Holacanthus

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.

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.

Collection of this species is illegal in most of its natural areas; yet fortunately captive bred specimens are available.

Do not overfeed meaty foods, especially juveniles, as it may lead to a fatty deposit around the liver that could stop production of vitamin A. This could cause blindness, often referred to as nutritional blindness.

Captive bred species not yet widely available.

Experience Level: Intermediate

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Diet: Omnivore

Acclimation Time: 30 minutes+

Aquarium Environment: Fish-only and Reef Aquariums (See Below)

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

Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons

Temperature Range: 68 - 77°F (20 – 25°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Holacanthus clarionensis (Clarion Angelfish)
Photo © Bob Fenner
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