Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish

Updated August 5, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish is even smaller than the dwarf angelfishes and the pygmy angels are becoming quite popular. One of the most popular is the Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish which is also known as the Atlantic Pygmy or sometimes the Cherub Angelfish.

Centropyge argi Centropyge argi

They only get to be about 3 inches (8 cm) as adults and have an orange or yellow color to the head and throat area. The photo on this page doesn't do this fish justice. All of these Dwarf Angelfish are quite beautiful.

Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish can be pugnacious and will fight with other dwarf angelfish including those from their own species. They have been bred in captivity although it is extremely challenging to raise them due to fighting, aggression and feeding the larvae. If your interested in breeding them this could be an ok one to start with. Introduce a group of small sized fish into the tank at the same time. There will be aggression while they establish a dominance hierarchy. The largest most dominant Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish will develop into a functional male. How long this takes is difficult to say. Getting them to spawn is the easy part (and thats not all that easy). The hard part is raising the larvae and finding the proper foods to feed the very small mouthed larvae.

They can be added to fowlr tank setups but use caution if you want to add them to a reef tank setup. They have been known to nip at soft coral, stony coral and even clam mantles which makes them NOT reef tank safe.

Provide frequent small feedings of a variety of foods, but primarily foods of marine algae origin. Try a lettuce clip with nori.

Using Live rock is a good idea too and it should provide grazing opportunities in between meals.

As always, use caution when introducing these angels to your tank. A quarantine period of several weeks is recommended.

Centropyge argi Centropyge argi


Pygmy Dwarf Angelfish Care

Scientific Name : Centropyge argi

Common Names : Cherubfish, Pygmy Angelfish, Atlantic Pygmy Angel

Care Level : Moderate

Size : Up to 3 inches (8 cm)

Life span : 5 years, maybe longer

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

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

Specific Gravity : 1.020 - 1.025

Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°

Origin / Habitat : Found in deeper waters of the Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Florida, Bahamas and the Caribbean

Temperament / Behavior : These pygmy angels can be very aggressive with others, especially other dwarf pygmys. Introducing multiples at the same time may help aggression levels, but they will establish a pecking order. Remove tank mates that get overly bullied or pestered.

Breeding : They have been bred in captivity but it is challenging partly due to their aggressive nature with members of their own species and because of the small larvae. They are protogynous hermaphrodites and practice harem breeding. If a group is raised together from a very small size a hierarchy should form and the largest most dominant one may turn into a male. If two angelfish constantly fight it may be due to both of them being males and they will need to be separated.

A spawning rise is indicative of the breeding process whereby a male and female will release fertilized eggs at the top of the rise. The eggs are carried in the water currents. Taller breeding tanks are recommended for better results for the pelagic spawners.

Eggs should hatch around 20 hours and will survive on the yolk sac for 2 - 3 days at which time they need to be fed microscopic algae. Feeding the larvae is one of the most challenging aspects to raising these species.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon (113 liters) is recommended.

Tank Mates : Only one dwarf angelfish per tank, unless you introduce them all at the same time or the aquarium is very large with plenty of hiding places. They may nip lps corals and sometimes pick on smaller invertebrates.

Reef Tank Compatible? : Can help control algae if in very small amounts, but can nibble at corals, clams and other invertebrates.

Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Frequent (2 or 3 times per day) small and varied feedings. Try to give them a variety of marine foods but predominantly marine algae and spirulina. Live rock is a great addition to the aquarium since it will provide grazing opportunities in between meals as well as hiding places.

Tank Region : Usually middle to bottom and around the live rock.

Gender : No reliable way to determine the differences between males and females from external differences other than males may be larger than females. No known color differences between the genders.

Forum : Saltwater Angelfish Forum

Forum Avatar :
Dwarf Pygmy Angelfish

Photos Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk

- Wittenrich, Matthew (2007), TFH Publications. The Complete Illustrated Breeder's Guide to Marine Aquarium Fishes
- Michael, Scott (2004), TFH Publications. Reef Fish Series - Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes, Plus Ten More Aquarium Fish Families with Expert Captive Care Advice for the Marine Aquarist
- "Centropyge argi". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. November 2005 version. N.p.: FishBase, 2005.

Site References :

More Dwarf Saltwater Angelfish Profiles
Bicolor Angelfish
Centropyge bicolor
Bicolor Angelfish
The front half and tail is yellow with the mid-section being a royal or deep blue. They get to about 6 inches (15 cm) when fully grown and can get aggressive with other dwarf angelfish.
Coral Beauty Angelfish
Centropyge bispinosus
Coral Beauty Angelfish
Gets to about 4 inches (10 cm) and their colors can vary depending on where they were collected. Overall it usually has a yellow body with purple vertical stripes and purple or blue fins. They can also get aggressive with tank mates and may nip corals.
Eibli Angelfish
Centropyge eibli
Eibli Angelfish
This is one of the bigger (up to 6 inches) of the dwarf anglefish. They can easily get cryptocaryon so a qt is strongly recommended. They sport some awesome colors and markings so if you're looking for pretty dwarf angel this one may be the ticket.