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Queen angelfish : Guide On The Magnificent Queen Angel

Updated on November 28, 2010

Queen Angelfish Overview

Scientific Name : Holacanthus Ciliaris

Origin : Western Atlantic Ocean

DIfficulty :Medium

Minimum Size Tank : 150 gallons

Temperament : Semi-Aggressive

Temperature : 72 - 82°F

Reef Safe : No

Maximum Size : 18 inches

Diet : Omnivore

Probably the most popular "large" angelfish in the hobby, the Queen Angelfish is a stunning blue and yellow all across its entire body body. It has a single electric blue crown on its head and dorsal and anal fins are elongated. This combination produces one of the most beautiful angelfish the marine hobby has ever seen. The other two popular angelfish are the Emperor Angelfish and the French Angelfish.

Semi-Adult Queen Angelfish

Adult Queen Angelfish

Note the blue crown
Note the blue crown

Blue Angelfish

No crown
No crown

It is collected mainly from the Caribbean Sea but can be found in Florida and some parts of South America.

Its close relative, the blue angelfish (Holacanthus Bermudensis) is almost entirely similar in appearance and can be hard to tell apart.

Holacanthus Townsendi is the supposed scientific name given to their offspring as both fish have been known to interbreed in the wild.

Its worth noting that hybrids do not represent a new species. Therefore, Holacanthus Townsendi is not a valid angelfish species.

While both the queen and blue angels look alike, telling them apart is easy. Two things to look out for, a blue crown on their heads and the shape of their tails.

Only queen angelfish have a blue crown and the queens tail is also more rounded. Blue angels have tails that a re much straighter vertically.

As juveniles, queen angelfish along with most other large angelfish have different coloration compared to adults. They also often act as "cleaners" in the wild.

They will set up cleaning stations where fish go to rid themselves of parasites. This behavior is shared by almost all juvenile "large" angelfish.

Adult queen angelfish go for as much as $200 while juveniles can be had for about $80 to $90. Expect to pay more than $200 for very large show quality specimens.

A single Queen Angelfish taking on two Gray Angelfish

Queen Angelfish : Temperament

As with all of its larger cousins, the queen angel is somewhat of a bully as adults.

Its aggression is mostly reserved for its cousins, other large angelfish. A surefire way to start a fight in your tank is to introduce two queen angelfish. As far as tank mate compatibility goes, the blue angelfish should always considered to be another queen angelfish.

It is peaceful towards members of other species of fish but always look out for trouble with similarly sized or shaped fish.

To the right i've added a video of a queen angelfish taking on a pair of Gray Angelfish (Pomacanthus Arcuatus) in the wild.

Queen angelfish and others in a huge 400 gallon tank

Queen Angelfish : Tank Size

Queen angelfish in the wild can reach 18 inches in length. Very big. Thankfully most captive marine fish rarely achieve their "wild" sizes. The queen should be good for at least 12 to 13 inches in an aquarium though so its still a large angel.

Forget 75 gallons or even 100 gallons. Jump straight to a 150 gallon if you want to keep this fish. They really need the room. I've seen adults in tanks as small as 75 gallons and it's a sad sight. I've also seen many hobbyist get tricked into buying a small 2 inch juvenile only to have to get a larger tank 6 months down the road.

Queen angelfish are normally kept in fish only aquariums that have a very little live rock in them to provide the most swimming space possible.

There's a good reason why they're not kept in reef aquariums. More on this in the next section.

Queen Angelfish : Diet

All angelfish have the potential to consume corals in captivity, the queen angel is no exception to this rule. Although you may come across some reef aquariums that have these angels with little to no problems, its generally a bad idea. What happens when they start nipping one day? Tear down the tank to get it out? Becomes a huge mess in the end.

In the wild they feed on sponges, polyps, corals and algae. They should be offered a wide variety of foods like seaweed, meaty foods like krill or mysis shrimp and a good pellet from a reputable brand like New Life Spectrum.

Formula Two by Ocean Nutrition is a balanced food for herbivores like angels and tangs. You can either get them in pellet, flake or frozen form.

Angel Formula by Ocean Nutrition is by far the best, most complete food on the market for angelfish. Its ingredients consist of items they would normally eat in the wild. As such, it contains marine sponges (rare seen food item) as well as algae, vitamins and a good blend of seafood. Unfortunately angel formula only comes in frozen cubes.

Seaweed is a popular offering for angels. You have two options with regard to seaweed. You can buy a branded type like those produced by two little fishies (Julian Sprungs sea veggies) or you can save some money and get some nori sheets from your local supermarket. Not all nori found there is cheap, some are even more expensive than those found in the marine hobby so shop around.

Nori comes in many flavours, spiced etc. You want to stay away from those and get just plain nori. You can purchase seaweed clips or you can fashion one up yourself. Attach the sheet to the clip and stick the clip onto the glass.

Top books on Marine Angelfish

Angelfishes of the World (Oceanographic Series) (Oceanographic Seies)
Angelfishes of the World (Oceanographic Series) (Oceanographic Seies)

The most detailed and comprehensive book the marine angelfish to date. No other book comes close. Covers all known species.



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    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 6 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by Carol :)

    • carolp profile image

      Carolina 6 years ago from Switzerland

      Thanks for the informations. I am planning to have an aquarium in my house. I love the beautiful colors of fishes. They make my mind relax and calm me down.