Centropyge loricula, popularly known as the Flame Angelfish is an exotic saltwater fish species native to South Pacific and Western Pacific oceans.
These exceedingly popular fish are prized after by beginner and expert saltwater aquarists alike for their gorgeous visuals.
Their bold red and orange color makes them a flashy addition to just about any tank. But the care instructions for them are slightly above-average, mainly because they need a large tank that is at least 70 gallons or more significant.
If you’re planning on the flame dwarf angelfish, read on for the definitive care guide.
|Level of Care
|Blue, Yellow, and Orange
|5 to 8 years or more depending on the quality of care provided
|3” to 4” max
|Saltwater with spacious swimming space with lots of hiding spaces
|Generally peaceful with other community fish
Flame Angelfish Overview
This species is endemic to Australia and Hawaii Island in the East of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The Flame Angelfish is a bottom-dwelling fish that prefers to stay close to the substrate.
They are mostly found in harems of 3 to 7 individuals, retreating into rocks and abundant stony corals as protection from danger, this is something fishkeepers can easily mimic in their home tank.
These fish typically live at depths of 18 to 80 feet. A 70-gallon tank can provide them with an excellent territory to explore around.
They’ve been known to hybridize with Queen Angelfish, Lemonpeel Angelfish, and quite possibly, the Shepard’s Pygmy Angelfish. Breeding them in captivity is possible, but requires access to so many resources that it’s usually not worth it for most fishkeepers.
Flame Angelfish Appearance
The Flame Angelfish is named after its glowing red skin – almost like a real flame that lightens a marine tank.
They have a small discus shaped body with well-rounded fins. The actual coloration varies from red-orange hues to deep orange. In some cases, you may spot a wide splotch at the rear of their heads.
They often sport 3 to 7 vertical black stripes, which may be thick or thin – a distinguishing feature. Their eyes are jet black. The back edges of the anal and dorsal fins have black streaks with a bluish-purple hue.
Their pectoral and tail fins are adorned with an orange hue and appear to be a little transparent under the right lighting conditions. Their pelvic fins are a deep orange-red, much like the rest of their body.
The actual coloration and patterning of the Flame Dwarf Angelfish depend on the geographical origins of the specimens. In typical cases, those originating from Marquesas lack the black vertical bands but feature a prominent black splotch behind their head.
Specimens from Hawaii have the brightest orange color than those from any other area. Those from Micronesia have a yellow coloration over the rest of their body, with red-hued fins, and slightly faded black bands.
It is easy to distinguish males from females because the Flame Dwarf Angel is a sexually dichromatic species. For instance, males have more prominent blue streaks on their anal and dorsal fins than the ones found on females.
Males also happen to be slightly larger and have been known to reach a size of 6” or more in the wild. The average Flame Angelfish size never seems to exceed 6”.
Unfortunately, knowing the gender of the fish doesn’t help much with breeding. The requirements are too specialized to mimic in a home aquarium setting.
Flame Angelfish Behavior
When you first introduce the Flame Angelfish to your tank, Will withdraw it and very timid. If you want your Flame Angelfish to adapt to its new surroundings quickly, you must provide them with a tank that mimics their natural habitat.
They are non-aggressive and will get along well with most fish. Their aggressive nature picks up when they are kept in the same tank with their conspecifics and species. Holding more than one Angelfish in a tank requires a reasonably advanced tank. It will not be easy to curb the elevated levels of aggression between two angelfish.
Care should be taken when selecting tank mates because Flame Dwarf Angelfish will go after smaller, more docile fish species. You should try to find tank mates that can match their size and behavior. Fish that match the same mood spectrum will get along just fine – or stay out of each other’s way.
Are Flame Angelfish Reef Safe?
They’re reef-safe for the most part, but no two Flame Dwarf Angelfish are alike, and some individuals may decide to nip at soft fleshy polyps.
In some cases, Flame Angelfish have been reported to attack and eat coral structure, due to which they ended up removing them from the tank. But those cases are few and far between.
It ultimately comes down to the personality of your Flame Angelfish. Yours may like the reef and will not attack them.
Flame Angelfish Tank Mates
The rule of thumb when introducing other fish is to have a larger tank. Never put two males of Dwarf Flame Angelfish because they will try to kill each other. They will continue to harass each other if their tank is not at least 100 gallons or more.
As mentioned earlier, they can be kept in pairs with invertebrates and corals, although they may nip at clam mantles, corals, and other invertebrates. You can minimize the damage done to the fish by feeding them their favourite food groups.
Safe tank mates include similarly sized semi-aggressive species that include the following:
Flame Angelfish Tank Conditions
Your ultimate goal is to mimic the natural habitat of the Flame Dwarf Angelfish. It is not difficult to do, apart from the flame angelfish tank size of 70 gallons at least.
Some experts report that the fish will do just fine in a 45-gallon tank, but we prefer to err on the side of caution. The Flame Angelfish needs a massive area to swim and has a rather curious nature. It would be best if you had a large tank to keep it satisfied.
A smaller tank will provoke them to get territorial and fiercely competitive against other algae either.
The following tank conditions will keep your Flame Angelfish happy:
- Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
- pH value: 8 to 8.3
- Specific gravity: 1.020 to 1.026 (1.025 is ideal)
- Water movement: Use a powerhead to provide moderate to high water circulation
Use the following water chemistry to provide your angelfish with a high quality of life:
- Alkalinity: 0
- Nitrite: 0
- Nitrate: Less than one ppm or close to zero
- Phosphate: 0.13 ppm to 0.2 ppm
- Calcium: 350 to 420 ppm
- Magnesium: 1250 to 1300 ppm
- Iodine: 0.06 ppm
- Strontium: 8 to 10 ppm
- Copper: 0 (lethal to angelfish)
Things to Add in the Tank
Flame angelfish feel the safest when they’re kept in aquariums with plenty of shelter for hiding, along with lots of algae for nibbling. For the substrate, you’re free to choose between a sandy and gravel tank bottom. Its ultimately depends on other tank mates in your aquarium.
These fish are most comfortable with moderate lighting. The movement of the water depends on the tank mates.
It is recommended to add saltwater plants to add a great degree of visual interest to the tank and regulate the water’s parameters. We’ve rounded up our list of ideal saltwater plants:
- Green Finger Algae
- Mermaid’s Fan
- Tufted Joint Algae
- Dragon’s Tongue Algae
What Do Flame Angelfish Eat?
The Flame Angelfish is an omnivorous species that enjoys both plants and animals. They seem to have a preference for frozen marine foods, flake foods, and live foods.
It is a good idea to supplement their diet with dried algae if the growth rate on live rock isn’t fast enough to keep up. It will prevent any nutritional disorders.
Spirulina and mysis shrimp are excellent choices, as are many commercial angelfish foods are readily available from most pet stores.
Only offer as much food to your Angelfish as they can eat in 2 to 3 minutes, up to twice a day. Adding too much food could disrupt the tank’s nutrition levels and threaten their lives. Moreover, overeating does not benefit them in any way, shape, or form. They also generate bioload that will affect the water’s quality.
If your angelfish are still young, you should feed them smaller portions on a more frequent basis. They can’t eat a large volume of food in a single sitting, requiring more feeding sessions.
It is common for many aquarists to find their younger angelfish die due to compromised immune systems.
One common mistake is not to feed your angelfish just they’re grazing. Many flame angelfish get a small amount of food from grazing and nearly spend as much energy searching for it. Providing them twice a day is generally good for their health.
Flame Angelfish Care: Dangers and Diseases
It is important to place as many hiding spots in the tank as possible, along with clean water to prevent diseases. Calm behaviour is indicative of a more robust immune system that can help ward off infections.
Common fish problems can be divided into parasitical, bacterial, and fungal diseases. In some cases, the fish may be suffering from physical ailments (such as wounds and injuries).
The best way to prevent any disease is to quarantine anything before you introduce it into the tank. The quarantine tank should be empty except for a PVC tube where the fish can hide. Make sure to change the water regularly every day or so.
Dip the Flame Angelfish in freshwater to help kill anything that is on their body and may spread. The pH and temperature should be kept constant.
Flame Angelfish are vulnerable to parasites such as the Cryptocaryon irritans, known for causing Marine Ich. Another common disease is Velvet diseases, a parasite that gives the infected fish a dusty, brownish-gold colour.
Marine Ich can be potentially life-threatening to your fish because the parasite blocks the gills from providing oxygen. The most prominent symptom of white spot disease is numerous white spots all over the body and fins. The white spots may disappear only to reappear in double the quantity.
Treatment requires separating the fish from the main tank and increasing the quarantine tank’s temperature to at least 83 degrees Fahrenheit. It should prevent the parasite from completing its life cycle. Combining high temperatures with medicated food will also provide relief to your Flame Angelfish.
Using copper treatment is a bad idea, especially if you have a reef tank. Copper is lethal to most marine life. A good option is to use Metronidazole which works by preventing the growth of the bacteria.
And as always, prevention is better than cure. By practising profitable tank farming, you should keep your fish relatively healthy and safe from parasitical attacks.
Flame Angelfish Breeding: Is It Possible for Home Aquarists?
Breeding Flame Angelfish is no easy task for fishkeepers. If you plan on introducing more than two Angelfish, you should start by adding a larger fish followed by a smaller fish.
Most Flame Angelfish start as females, but hopefully, the larger specimen will assume the dominant role and become male. Within a few months, they’ll consider their roles as a pair and spawning activity should begin.
Adding another male angelfish to the tank is not recommended because the more established angelfish will seek to kill what it perceives to be a trespasser.
To get them to breed, you should do the following:
- Keep predators away from the Flame Angelfish.
- Raise the temperature to about 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Keep them well-fed with good nutrition.
- Use a regular day-night cycle.
When you do the above, your angelfish will become more comfortable and more likely to initiate courtship. Males will begin their mating ritual just before lights go out. Use a light controller to dim the lights before switching them off. The male will then chase the female around the tank until she responds.
The pair will then take off and swim to the top of the tank. They’ll do this several times until they are ready to release their genetic material. It is essential not to startle the fish during courtship. Otherwise, they will abandon their ritual.
It is easy to stop the breeding process with nearby movements. If you’ve got any tank cleaning to do, make sure to do this before breeding occurs.
Once the eggs are fertilized, the fry should hatch in just a day. The most challenging part of breeding Flame Angelfish is raising the fry. Once they’ve done hatching in a period of 2 to 3 days,
they’ll need to feed on microscopic algae for nutrition. They cannot eat anything larger because their mouths are still too small.
It may be necessary to remove the fry from the main tank to prevent larger fish from preying upon them.
Are Flame Angelfish Aggressive?
Flame Angelfish are generally peaceful fish, but their hunting instincts will become activated at the sights of smaller, more docile fish. It is an important rule to remember when adding tank mates.
Ideal tank mates are semi-aggressive and similarly sized. Just don’t add aggressive fish that may mistake your Flame Angelfish as prey and swallow them whole!
How Big Does a Flame Angelfish Get?
The average length of Flame Angelfish is about 4 to 6 inches. Males will be slightly bigger than females.
Where to Buy Flame Angelfish?
You can buy Flame Angelfish for sale from most pet stores near you, online stores, and online forums. They’re a bit expensive, and prices start from $80 onwards. The final prices depend on the size of the fish, availability, and location.
When buying Dwarf Flame Angelfish, look for specimens that are eagerly looking for food and reasonably alert. They should be hard to catch and curious when startled, they will emerge right back out of their hiding place to inspect their surroundings.
Wrapping Up: Is the Flame Angelfish Ideal for a Home Aquarium?
Adding Flame Angelfish is the easiest way to spruce up your tank because they add tremendous visual interest. They’re relatively curious to look at and maybe considered reef safe. However, you may have to remove them if they decide to go after the invertebrates.
All in all, these fish are easy to feed, hardy, and have moderate care requirements that won’t break the bank. Just be prepared to add invest in a reasonably large tank, and you’re good to go.
Don’t hold your breath on breeding Flame Angelfish though, they’re not comfortable and take too many resources for most homeowners.