Centropyge angel fish, dwarf angel fish, pygmy angelfish, pomacanthidae, pomacanthus, cheek spine, flame, lemonpeel, potter, coral beauty, rusty, golden, narcosis, debelius, nahachyi, eibli, vroliki, fishers, flavicauda, hotumatua, joculator, bicolor, japanese, multicolor, nox, keyhole, shepard, flameback

Centropyge angel, dwarf angelfish, pygmy angels


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    Introduction to Centropyge, Dwarf or Pygmy Angelfish


Of all the fishes in the ocean the family of Angelfishes is, in my opinion, the most attractive. Within this family is a group called centropyge, or more commonly called the dwarf or pygmy angels. The poster fish for this family most likely being the vibrant red flame angelfish.

My first impression of the dwarf angelfish family was that of stunted or growth inhibited fishes, but not at all. These little fish possess all the energy and attitude as their larger cousins, they are just simply compacted into a scaled down version.

If I recall my fist dwarf angel, back in 1984, was a Keyhole, followed by the Cherub, and then....well, let's just say I got carried away as i do like angelfish. Since that time I have had the opportunity to see and keep most of what the aquarium hobby can bring in. This does not make me an expert, but it does provide me with experience.

When shopping for a pygmy angel make it a point to note two things; richness of overall color, and is the fish aware of his surroundings. Select fish with deep rich color. Fish that are pale should be an indication that something is bothering the fish. Fish should react in a defensive, yet curious manner, when you approach the aquarium. They should be aware of your presence, raise their dorsal fin and exhibit a defensive posture. It is expected that they will seek a hiding spot but that their curiosity will cause them to peek out at you. 

Pygmy angels like all other fish are subject to marine parasites such as Ick. Copper based medications are very effective but must be used in one half dose increments as centropyge species do not tolerate immediate full dose applications.

As with other fish families it is difficult to add additional similar species when one species is already established in the aquarium, but not impossible. Many of the tanks I have owned or maintained include more than one within the same genera. Established fishes will sometimes relentlessly defend their tank choosing to viciously beat up the new addition.

In regards to creating male and female pairs I have found this to be quite easy. All centropyges are born female. The larger or more dominant individuals will actually change sex and become males. Knowing that size is the main difference between the sexes, and not so much coloration, all one needs to do is place a small and larger version together. Within approximately 60 days either one of the two fish will have physically changed sex to accommodate each other and / or the two will have accepted their sexual role and have paired up.

Centropyge are broadcast spawners and spawning occurs at dusk, or at the end of the light cycle in the aquarium. I have found that by using a series of timers controlling more than one or two separate sets of lights I could create a sunset effect. The timers allowed for a consistent time frame that mimicked the rise and fall of the sun. Just as the last set of lights shown in the tank the male would begin his nightly courtship. In nature this courtship occurred with more than one female as centropyge live in harems of six to ten individuals.

The recent successes in tank spawning and raising of centropyge specimens will ensure their continued availability, including rare specimens and eventually bring costs down.

Dwarf angels tend to accept all forms of foods. I have found that in the beginning it was good to get them feeding on frozen Mysis. This food seems to get their attention as a result of the high amount of oils and lipids it contains. Over time a variety is best for any fishes. Pygmy's will nip at algaes and small invertebrates, especially tanks furnished with live rock. Many hobbyists have reported that one species tends to enjoy nipping at live corals more than others. I have experienced some problems with some fish but nothing to suggest a particular species over another.

Here is some more definitive information,....


Reproduction In The Wild

Reproduction In Captivity

Aquarium Environment

Centropyge acanthops, African Pygmy Angel

Centropyge argi, Cherub, Yellow Face Pygmy Angel

Centropyge aurantia,  Golden Angelfish

Centropyge aurantonotus, Flameback Angel

Centropyge bicolor, Bicolor Angel

Centropyge bispinosa, Coral Beauty Angel

Centropyge colini, Colin's Pygmy Angel

Centropyge debelius, Blue Mauritius Angelfish

Centropyge eibli, Eibli or Candy Stripe Angel

Centropyge ferrugata, Rusty Angel

Centropyge fisheri,  Fishers Pygmy Angel

Centropyge flavicauda, White Tail Pygmy Angel

Centropyge  flavissima, Lemonpeel Angel

Centropyge flavipectoralis, Yellowfin Pgymy Angel

Centropyge hotumatua, Hotumatua's Angelfish

Centropyge interuptus, Japanese Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge joculator, Coco's Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge loriculus, Flame Angel

Centropyge Multicolor, Multicolor Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge mutispinis, Multi-Spined Angelfish

Centropyge nahackyi, Nahacky's Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge narcosis, Deep-Reef Pygmy Angel

Centropyge nigriocella, Black-Spot Pygmy Angel

Centropyge nox, Midnight or Black Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge potteri, Potters Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge resplendens, Resplendent Pygmy Angelfish

Centropyge shepardi, Shepards  Angel

Centropyge tibicen, Keyhole Angel

Centropyge vroliki, Half Black Pygmy Angel

Centropyge woodheadi, Woodheads Angelfish

Paracentropyge Boyeli, Peppermint Angel

Paracentropyge Multifasciata, Many-Banded Angel

Paracentropyge / Sumireyakko venustus, Venustus Angel

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