What Is a Coral Beauty Angelfish?

Cindy Quarters

The coral beauty angelfish is a strikingly beautiful saltwater fish, often kept in the home aquarium. It is considered a dwarf angelfish and only grows to about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. This flashy fish has a rounded body and brightly colored fins, with a series of vertical stripes running along its body. In the wild it is a reef dweller, living in some of the tropical areas of the Pacific Ocean, especially around the Great Barrier Reef.

The coral beauty angelfish, which can be identified by the presence of yellow vertical stripes on its body, is more amenable to aquarium life than other angelfish.
The coral beauty angelfish, which can be identified by the presence of yellow vertical stripes on its body, is more amenable to aquarium life than other angelfish.

Many angelfish are quite aggressive and do not make good members of a community aquarium, but the coral beauty angelfish is fairly mild mannered and will fit well into most community tank situations. It rarely fights with other fish, preferring to avoid conflict whenever possible. They will fight with others of their own kind, however, so it is best to only keep one of these angelfish per tank. It will also nip and bite at coral, so it is not usually housed in the same tank as a living reef. Coral beauty angelfish should never be housed with larger fish that might harm them, such as lionfish or groupers.

The Great Barrier Reef is northeast of Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef is northeast of Australia.

Also known as the dusky angelfish and the twospined angelfish, coral beauty angelfish are collected in the wild instead of being raised in captivity. When collecting these, as with other saltwater fish, care must be taken so as not to deplete wild populations. Collectors often pride themselves on harvesting such fish in a sustainable manner, insuring that this fish will continue to thrive both in the wild and in the home aquarium.

These fish are omnivorous and eat algae as well as soft coral and clams. In captivity they prefer a varied diet that includes both meat and vegetable matter to maintain their health. An aquarium with rocks covered with algae and other plants are an ideal way to provide the coral beauty angelfish with abundant fresh, live food. Fish that don’t get enough algae and other plant matter may begin to lose their color and end up looking faded or washed out.

When creating an environment for the coral beauty angelfish, this fish prefers plenty of safe hiding places. Rocks work best, and placing “food rocks” in such as way as to create hiding places adds to the fish’s comfort and security. These little fish enjoy nibbling at the plants growing on the rocks, dashing behind them when it feels threatened or afraid.

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