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Anyone with an interest in keeping marine fish will have, at some point, come across a coral beauty angel. This beautiful fish is a popular choice for saltwater aquariums, thanks to its bright coloration and relatively hardy nature.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide on how to care for your coral beauty angel, look no further! In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know in order to keep your coral beauty happy and healthy. From food to tank size, we’ve got you covered. So read on and get started!
A Quick Overview On The Coral Beauty Angel
|Scientific Name||Centropyge bispinosa|
|Common Names||Coral beauty angelfish, two spined angelfish, dusky angelfish|
|Colors||Purple, blue, orange, yellow, red|
|Minimum Tank Size||55 gallons|
|Max Size||6 inches|
|Temperature Range||76 – 82 degrees F|
|pH Range||8.0 – 8.4|
|Salinity||1.025 or 35 PPT|
|Available As Tank Breed?||Rare|
Origins And Habitat
The Coral beauty angelfish, sometimes called two spined angelfish, are a longtime favorite in the aquarium hobby due to their small size and bright colors. For many years, these peaceful fish were believed to be a nano species that could fit into tanks under 40 gallons. Now, we have a better understanding of their true needs and requirements.
These fish are scientifically known as Centropyge bispinosa and are a type of dwarf angelfish from the Pomacanthidae family. They originate from the shallow reefs of the Indo-Pacific, like many other colorful aquarium fish available in the trade. There, they live in sheltered coral reef ecosystems in shallow lagoons and slopes.
In the wild, coral beauty angelfish are not the most abundant or bold species of fish on the reef, and this will translate to the aquarium setting. Instead, they can be found grazing on algae in between the corals and rocks alone or in harems of 3-7 individuals.
Coral beauties are easy to identify and it’s clear how they earned their name.
As a species of dwarf angelfish, the coral beauty grows to about 4-6 inches. They are velvety purple with streaks of yellow and orange embers across their sides. Their bellies usually have the most vibrant oranges and yellows.
In especially vibrantly-colored fish, light blue margins can be seen along the fins and accenting some facial features.
How Long Do These Beauties Live?
Most species of marine fish can live a long time. The coral beauty is no different.
On average, you can expect your coral beauty to live more than 5 years. In ideal conditions, these saltwater fish have been known to live up to 15 years.
As we’ll talk about later though, the coral beauty angelfish can quickly succumb to some common aquarium diseases.
As mentioned before, care requirements for the coral beauty angel have gone overlooked for a very long time. Because of their dwarf size, they were often squished into nano reef tanks that were way too small with incompatible tank mates. Even though the coral beauty angelfish might seem tiny, they actually need a lot of open swimming space.
coral beauty angelfish centropyge need at least a 55-gallon tank. Some hobbyists will say that a 70 gallon is the bare minimum tank size, but a standard 55 gallon will comfortably house one of these gorgeous fish as long as the rest of the stocking is light.
The coral beauty angelfish can be shy and they will spend most of their time among the live rock picking at algae; they will also appreciate having several hiding places available throughout this intricate rockwork. However, they like to have free-swimming space as well and will establish loose territories.
The coral beauty angelfish is a species that comes some territorial aggression.
Though these fish don’t have overly bold personalities, they will set up some territories throughout the tank that they’ll defend. This is especially true if there are other dwarf angels and marine algae-grazers in the tank competing for the same resources.
Otherwise, they can be seen peacefully swimming in and out of the rockwork, picking at algae and other microflora.
Are They Aggressive?
Just how aggressive is the coral beauty? It depends on the personality of the individual fish.
Coral beauties can greatly range in aggression. Some hobbyists have dwarf angels that are model citizens while others have difficulty from the start. They have surprisingly been known to intentionally chase and injure other fish, especially ones that threaten their territory or that are similar in appearance.
There is no way to predict how aggressive your coral beauty might be, which is why having a larger tank size is better than having a smaller one. It may also help to add this dwarf angelfish towards the end of the stocking list.
Perfect Tank Mates
Aside from their semi-aggression, coral beauty and angelfish are a community species. They can be put together with most species of colorful reef fish without too many problems.
Some possible tank mates include
- Larger angelfish. Remember that these fish should not be kept with other dwarf angelfish unless kept in a large tank.
As a species of angelfish, there is a slight disposition for your coral beauty to snack on smaller sessile invertebrates, though most hobbyists have no problem keeping them in a full reef tank setup with a variety of species.
Can These Beauties Be Kept With Flame Angels?
For many years, coral beauty and flame angelfish (Centropyge loricula) went together as perfect tank mates. As time went on, hobbyists realized that these two fish aren’t exactly compatible.
As mentioned before, species of dwarf angelfish, like the coral beauty and flame angel, do not do well together. This is largely due to limited resources and territories in smaller reef aquariums. That being said, this iconic pairing is possible if tank conditions are met.
In order to keep a coral beauty together with a flame angel, the tank should be at least 125 gallons. At this size, there should be enough space for your fish to peacefully cohabitate, though you can still run into some problems.
To help diffuse aggression even more, it’s recommended to add the two fish together at the same time. This gives them the same opportunity to establish their own territories without being bullied by the other.
Can You Keep Multiple Beauties Together?
In short, no, you cannot keep multiple coral beauties together. However, hobbyists have had some success in especially large systems over 200 gallons.
Not only do coral beauty angelfish centropyge not naturally congregate in the wild, but you could also run into the same problems as with the flame angel. There simply isn’t enough space for multiple coral beauties to live together in most average reef tank setups.
In the wild, coral beauty angelfish are rarely seen together. For the moments that they are together, they form small harems. Because this is their natural behavior, it doesn’t make too much sense to try this in the aquarium setting.
What Do They Eat?
With such a beautiful fish, you definitely want to get your coral beauty looking the best that it can. Though some of this will depend on the lighting and other water parameters, a high-quality diet will definitely help bring out the best colors of your fish.
The Coral beauty angelfish is an omnivore, meaning they’ll largely accept most plant- and meat-based foods. Remember that these gorgeous fish spend a significant amount of their time picking algae and other microorganisms off the reef in the wild.
To best replicate this natural diet, live, freeze-dried, and frozen foods, like brine shrimp and mysis shrimp, should regularly be offered. They will also readily accept algae flakes and pellets along with pieces of seaweed. Feedings of live food like blackworms and high quality frozen food like LRS or Rod’s Reef are ideal.
Coral beauty angelfish can be opportunistic feeders and have been known to go after corals.
Are They Reef Safe?
Coral beauties are not considered fully reef safe.
These dwarf angelfish constantly graze the live rock looking for anything they can eat. Though this helps with algae problems, sometimes these fish get curious and take a bite out of a colony of soft corals. Coral beauty angelfish have been known to eat whole zoanthid colonies overnight and might even nip at large polyp stony (LPS) corals.
There is no way to know if your coral beauty will be reef safe in the long run. There are ways to deter nipping by making sure that feedings are regular and by meeting all dietary needs. It also helps to keep these hardy fish only when the tank has fully matured to ensure that there is a good population of algae available on the rocks.
Otherwise, a good majority of hobbyists have luck keeping these saltwater fish in a fully reef tank. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Do They Eat Hair Algae?
Treating pest algae with saltwater aquarium fish or invertebrates is a common yet poor practice, especially if you don’t have the tank space. But is the coral beauty an efficient algae-grazer?
Yes, these saltwater fish are efficient algae-grazers but they can be quite picky. Though your fish might always be picking at the live rock, it might avoid patches of less favorable pest algae, like hair algae. Because there is no guarantee that coral beauties will treat an algae problem and they need substantial space to flourish, they’re not recommended as a cure to a hair algae problem.
Instead, these beautiful fish can help prevent algae problems. As your fish is constantly picking at the rocks, it’s eating a variety of waste and debris that could eventually give way to algae. If you are looking for marine animals that eat hair algae, check out my algae eater post.
Like many other aquarium fish, coral beauties have successfully been bred in the display tank setting over the last few years. Captive breeding has led to reduced prices for hobbyists as well as increased sustainability for natural habitats and overall healthier fish. The problem is that most saltwater fish need very large tanks for proper breeding conditions.
One of the most renowned breeders of the coral beauty angelfish is the Biota Palau Marine Life Nursery located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This process starts by collecting several pairs of wild-caught angel species and placing them into 100 gallon outdoor systems, close to their original area of collection. You can learn more about their mission and process in the video below by Biota.
These tanks imitate natural conditions and do not have filtration. Instead, the water is heavily aerated and regular water changes are performed throughout the week. Once the eggs hatch and the fry are successfully collected, the water is filled with different microorganisms, like phytoplankton, for food.
A balance is created between the demand of the coral beauty angelfish larvae diet and waste buildup. At this time, the fry are too small to have their water changed; they are nearly microscopic with flattened silver bodies and a bright blue line down their dorsal.
Over the next few months, they can start to eat larger live foods, like brine shrimp, and will develop their adult colors. Soon, they will be a deep royal blue with accents of iridescent orange and yellow and be ready for their permanent home.
Coral beauty angelfish from Biota are incredibly hardy and vibrant in color. Because they were raised in the aquarium setting, they readily accept most processed foods and are disease-free.
Can You Breed Them In The Home Aquarium?
As of yet, there is no major success in breeding these saltwater fish within the home aquarium setting. This is largely due to the space needed to accommodate the parents and the constant food that fry need.
The Biota Palau Marine Life Nursery is a large facility known for breeding coral beauty angelfish, gobies, and other popular aquarium species.
One of the benefits of getting a captive-bred dwarf angel is that they are free of parasites. Most wild-caught fish need to be treated for internal and external parasites before adding them to the main display tank. Captive breeding mostly eliminates this threat, though they’re still susceptible to common marine fish diseases.
Though hardy, coral beauty angelfish are notorious for catching ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) and marine velvet ( Amyloodinium spp.). Unfortunately, angelfish can be affected by disease pretty quickly so treatment should be started as soon as possible.
It should be noted that dwarf angelfish can be negatively affected by copper-based medications, though most hobbyists have no problems with this fish. For fast and safe recovery, it is always recommended to move the fish to a more controlled quarantine tank.
The coral beauty angelfish has been a popular aquarium fish for a very long time and rightfully so. These beautiful fish have great colors that can’t easily be found on other fish and have mostly docile temperaments. They are also sustainably captive bred which makes them relatively affordable and saves their natural environments.
However, these fish are still angelfish and caution is needed when attempting to keep them with corals and smaller invertebrates. If you have any questions about coral beauty angelfish care, leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!
Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping – both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.