What Is a Flame Angelfish?

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  • Written By: Cindy Quarters
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
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  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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A flame angelfish is a brightly colored saltwater fish that thrives in larger aquariums. It is a rich orange-red, often with yellow on its sides. It has several vertical black stripes on its body, black-tipped fins and a few bits of bright blue on the ends of its anal and dorsal fins. The flame angelfish is popular among aquarium enthusiasts for its bold coloration, and at about 4 inches long (10 cm), it fits into many saltwater setups.

When adding a flame angelfish to an aquarium, it is important to provide plenty of hiding places. These fish, like many other angelfish, tend to hide themselves completely in order to feel safe. They should have a tank that is at least 30 gallons in size (113.5 liters) or larger for best results. The flame angelfish should typically be the only angelfish in the aquarium, as they can be a bit aggressive with others of their species. They should be added after all the others have had a chance to become established to reduce problems with territoriality.


The flame angelfish will bite at coral, clams, and mussels, so it should not be placed in a tank with living specimens of any of these unless it is monitored very closely, and promptly removed if problems are observed. Aquascaping with non-living rocks and corals is usually a better solution. The angelfish eats algae and enjoys picking at rocks that have layers of living algae on them. When allowed, this species will harvest much of its food on its own. In addition, the fish should have a diet rich in live or frozen foods, with a minimum of dried flakes in its diet.

The sex of a flame angelfish is not made apparent by any visual markings, and they have not been bred successfully in captivity. Typically, they are captured in the wild and transported to where they can be sold as aquarium specimens. They seem to adapt well to life in an aquarium, but sometimes bully smaller fish, especially at feeding time.

Flame angelfish are found in several areas of the Pacific Ocean, including around the Marshall Islands and in the waters off the coast of Tahiti. In each area the fish have a slightly different appearance, differing most with the presence or absence of yellow along the fish’s sides. Unlike other types of angelfish, the visible markings on a flame angelfish will remain the same throughout its life.


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