The Regal Angelfish is one of the most colourful Angelfish available but is suited to expert aquarists.
The Regal Angelfish is a member of the Pomacanthidae family. Other common names include Royal Angelfish, Blue Banded Angelfish, and Empress Angelfish. It is a semi-aggressive fish, which can threaten other Angelfish once it is established in a tank. However, overall, it is generally very shy and needs to be housed with passive, peaceful fish. These are not easy fish to take care of as they are very delicate and need a lot of care to adapt to an aquarium environment. Their native habitat it in the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea and East African coast, across the Indian Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef and north to Japan and China. Regal Angelfish are a multitude of colours. They are covered in white and orange stripes with black and blue edges and a yellow tail. The dorsal and anal fins are striped blue and orange with the rear of the dorsal fin black with blue spots. A Regal Angelfish can be expected to live for 14 years or longer.
It has not been possible to breed this species in an aquarium. In the wild the male and female start reproduction by engaging in a mating dance. This begins around 15 minutes before sunset and can continue up to 25 minutes after the sun goes down. When the female is ready to spawn, she floats up from the seabed, extending her pelvic fins towards the male. The male will nuzzle the stomach from behind and they will move upwards in a spiral approximately 1-3 feet off the seabed. The female spawns, and this is followed by the male releasing his sperm to fertilize the eggs. The male then uses his tail to create a vortex that pushes the eggs to the surface.
Regal Angelfish are extremely shy and are known for being difficult to feed and care for. They need plenty of rocky hiding places and tank water must be of exceptional quality. It is essential to include sponge in their diet, and the recommended size to purchase them is between 3-4 inches (7-10 cm).
The native habitat of the Regal Angelfish is in coral-rich areas on reefs and in lagoons, preferably with plenty of hiding places in amongst rocks and crevices. They are solitary reclusive creatures, although adults, unlike juveniles may be seen in pairs with a mate, or in a harem with 3-4 females. Adults can reach a maximum size of 10 inches (25.5 centimeters).
Regal Angelfish require expert care. It is exceedingly difficult to keep these fish alive in the long term. They are difficult to feed and there is a risk of starvation if they do not have a varied diet. Attention also needs to be paid to water quality, tank size, and tank buddies.
Tank Recommendations for the Regal Angelfish
The minimum recommended tank size is 125 gallons (473 litres).
Due to its shy timid nature, the Regal Angelfish should be introduced to a tank first, in order to become established. It will need plenty of crevices and caves for shelter, and live rock for grazing. Overhangs that offer shelter from the light are also recommended.
Regal Angelfish are extremely sensitive to the quality of the water, which needs to be maintained to a high standard. Water changes are the preferable way to control pH levels as opposed to using chemicals. The pH level in the tank should not drop below 8.1.
Suitable Tank Buddies
Regal Angelfish are semi-aggressive, although any aggression is mainly directed at other Angelfish if they are smaller or the tank is too small. It is suited to be housed with peaceful fish but can co-habit with other semi-aggressive fish if it is already established in the tank and they are introduced at a later time.
Try to avoid housing Regal Angelfish with fish that are bigger and faster than it, as they will out-compete them for food and possibly cause stress or starvation.
It is possible to house Regal Angelfish with their own species, but this requires a large tank (over 180 gallons) and fish of different sizes. They also need to be introduced at the same time. Smaller peaceful fish are safe and smaller more aggressive fish should be ok if introduced after the Regal Angelfish. Suitable tank buddies include Blennies, Chromis, Dartfish, Gobies, Pseudochromis and reef safe Wrasse.
Caution is advised with larger semi-aggressive fish such as Clownfish and Anthias. Dwarf Angels can only be housed in the same tank if it is exceptionally large. Seahorses/Pipefish may be outcompeted for food, and Anemones may be at risk if the Regal Angelfish is not well fed.
Avoid larger semi-aggressive fish such as Large Angels, Tangs, and fish only Wrasse. Predatory fish such as Groupers and Lionfish will also cause issues which may lead to stress and starvation for the Regal Angelfish
Soft Corals and Organ Pipe coral are at risk if they are in the same tank as a Regal Angelfish. Invertebrates such as Clams, Oysters, Sponges, and Tunicates may not survive if they are housed with Regal Angelfish.
The Regal Angelfish will be a striking addition to any aquarium, but this is not a fish for beginners and requires a lot of attention.
Feeding Your Regal Angelfish
Regal Angelfish are omnivores. Their diet in the wild consists mainly of tunicates and sponges. In captivity, they require a varied diet which includes vegetables, meaty food, and formula. Recommended items include marine algae, red nori, spirulina, chopped seafood such as krill, shrimp, or squid, and preparations which contain sponges. They need to be fed several times per day.
|Scientific Name||Pygoplites Diacanthus|
|Common Names||Regal Angelfish, Royal Angelfish, Blue Banded Angelfish and Empress Angelfish|
|Max. Length (cm)||25.5|
|Min. Tank Volume (l)||473|
|Origin||Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea and East African coast, across the Indian Ocean to the Great Barrier Reef and north to Japan and China|
|Reef Safe||With Caution|
|Water Conditions||22.2-25.5° C (72-78° F), dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025|