By Bob Goemans
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San Francisco Bay Brand 


Holacanthus limbaughi

Baldwin, 1963

Clipperton Angelfish, Limbaugh's Angelfish

Not Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Eastern Pacific Ocean: Endemic to Clipperton Island.

Size: 10 inches (25 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coastal rocky reefs at depths of 15 to 35 feet (5 – 10 m) and feeds primarily on sponges, algae, tunicates and small other invertebrates.

General Husbandry: This is a very rarely ever-collected species, as its availability in the wild is extremely limited! As to its coloration, the juvenile has an overall dark bluish grey body with several vertical blue bars on the head and body that fade as it grows into adulthood. There’s also a white spot on the upper mid part of the body, and its tail is white. Adults are basically the same coloration.

There’s not much aquarium care information available on this species, however, it should no doubt be similar to the Clarion Angelfish, H. clarionensis, the Clarion Angelfish inhabiting in the same area. Therefore, it should probably be first introduced into a well-established fish-only aquarium with lots of live rock and cave areas, and adults or juveniles should be offered several daily feedings so as to become 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, being a fairly shallow collected species, 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.

Juveniles may be somewhat shy when first entering the aquarium, and may hide in caves and crevices. But as time passes, should become more outgoing and begin to establish its territory. As for adults, 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 are 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.

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.

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: 70 - 77°F (21 – 25°C)

Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026

pH: 8.0 - 8.5

 Holacanthus limbaughi (Clipperton Angelfish, Limbaugh's Angelfish)
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