Updated August 5, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
The Queen Angelfish is found on the coral reefs of the Western Atlantic Ocean, usually alone or sometimes as a pair. These angelfish can get quite large, up to 18 inches (45 cm) and are not recommended for the saltwater beginner simply because most folks don't have a large enough tank to keep them in. You would need at least a 200 gallon tank to adequately care for them!
The coloration and markings on the Queen Angelfish as a juvenile are very different from the adults. Juveniles have a darker body with white vertical bars towards the back of the body. They lose these bars as adults and develop a sort of "crown" on top of the head, which is probably why they have the common name "Queen". The dorsal and anal fins will grow past the tail fin (caudal fin).
They can be relatively hardy once acclimated into a well established, large tank that is 6 months or older. Since this fish is quite expensive (approximately $80 - $200 USD) you don't want to add them to a new tank going through the nitrogen cycle or one without sufficient amounts of live rock. Live rock may provide grazing opportunities for them in between meals as well as hiding places to help make Queen Angelfish feel more secure. Don't plan on keeping multiple Queens in the same tank or territorial aggression may ensue. They may also pick fights with other saltwater angelfish species, but that may be less likely. Be prepared to separate them if necessary.
The biggest issue you'll most likely encounter is feeding them. In the wild they mostly eat sponges. This can be near impossible to reproduce in the home aquarium, but fortunately we can buy frozen marine foods containing sponges. In fact, there are frozen cube packs now made especially for saltwater angelfish and butterfly fish. Try to supplement their diet with dried marine algae and/or vitamin enriched herbivorous fish foods.
This Queen Angel is usually the show piece or prized specimen for hobbyists with the right tank setup and they are truly an awesome fish.
Queen Angelfish Care Facts
Scientific Name : Holacanthus ciliaris
Common Names : Queen Angelfish, Blue Angelfish or Yellow Angelfish
Care Level : Moderate to Difficult, need a large tank and they can sometimes be difficult to feed.
Size : Up to 18 inches (45 cm)
Life span : 15 - 20 years, possibly longer
pH : 8.1 - 8.4
Temperature : 72°F - 76°F (22°C - 24°C)
Specific Gravity : 1.020 - 1.025
Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°
Origin / Habitat : Western Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean to Brazil, South America, usually found near the bottom of coral reefs.
Temperament / Behavior : They can be aggressive with other angelfish, especially other queen angelfish.
Breeding : Very difficult to breed in captivity. Egg scatterer.
Aquarium Size : 200 gallon (757 liters) minimum
Tank Mates : Obviously, given the large potential size of this fish as an adult you'll want to avoid keeping it with smaller species. Avoid other Saltwater Angelfish species. The vast majority of hobbyists don't have the proper setup to house more than one of these.
Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment. They don't seem to get afflicted with the usual saltwater fish diseases, but you still should quarantine any new arrivals.
Diet / Foods : In the wild the Queen Angelfish primarily eats sponges and sometimes marine algae, spirulina and dried marine algae needs to be fed to them. Look for angelfish foods with sponge matter included. Sanfrancisco Bay Brand has frozen cube packs made especially for Angel fish and Butterfly fish. A tank with live rock will be much better for your angelfish than one without it.
Tank Region : All over, but mostly middle to bottom
Gender : It can be hard to tell the difference between adult male and female specimens. Males may grow to be larger.
Forum : Saltwater Angelfish Forum
Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk
Michael, S. W. (2001). Marine Fishes, 500+ Essential to Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.
"Holacanthus ciliaris". FishBase. Ed. Ranier Froese and Daniel Pauly. November 2005 version.
Michael, S. W. (2004). Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes. T.F.H. Publications
Queen Angelfish Comments
More Large Saltwater Angelfish Profiles
Annularis Blue Ring Angelfish
The angelfish in Pomacanthus spp. are (generally speaking) less aggressive than the angelfish from Holacanthus spp. but use caution when stocking. It's best to keep annularis angelfish in large fish only type setups. The Blue Ring Angelfish needs lots of open swimming space and needs to be fed often.
This is one of the most expensive saltwater angelfishes to buy. Juveniles look very different than the adults and these Angels need a very high quality diet. They eat lots of sponge in the ocean.
A large angelfish that changes colors as it matures. Needs a diet with lots of marine algae. They can be fairly rugged for angels once acclimated.