bicolor angelfish

Bicolor Angelfish: Centropyge bicolor

Bicolor Angelfish Guide

Thinking about adding the Bicolor Angelfish to your mixed reef tank? You may want to think again. I had seen a beautiful specimen in a local fish store recently and set out to understand the husbandry needs to determine if it is a good addition to the tank. If you are thinking about keeping this species in your saltwater aquarium, check out this post first.


The Bicolor Angelfish, Centropyge bicolor, is an easily recognizable species of dwarf angelfish originating in the Indo – Pacific area, in reefs around New Calcedonia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, etc. It is also alternatively called Blue and Gold Angel, Oriole Angelfish, Two-colored Angelfish because (you guessed it) of the bule and yellow coloration.

Its lifespan in the wild is known to be about 5 – 10 years, but it can live up to 12 years in captivity in adequate water conditions. Some specimens have even survived to be 15 years old. The Bicolor Angelfish would reach up to 6 inches long.
Bicolor Angelfish (Centropyge bicolor) (8486579682)

Ideal habitat

Like other dwarf angelfish, you can expect the Bicolor Angelfish to be always in constant motion, picking at live rock and the aquarium glass hoping for a tiny morsel of food. As such, this fish is best kept in larger tanks (70 gallons or larger) with plenty of live rock, both for foraging and for structure.

You want to maintain high quality water within the standard range of acceptable reef aquarium parameters. For more specific information about this, check out this page.


The Bicolor Angelfish needs a diet balanced with meaty foods (mysid shrimp, brine shrimp, black worms, etc.) as well as with algae (Spriulina flakes, nori sheets, etc.)

Feed your Bicolor Angelfish about 2 to 3 times a day is generally a good practice. Especially if you want to keep the fish from nipping at sessile invertebrates.

Behavior and tank mates

Buyer beware, there is a cost to add this beautiful fish to your tank, because the Bicolor Angelfish is a notorious polyp and clam mantel nipper. It will sample the smorasbord of invertebrate delicacies available in your tank–so it is best kept in a fish only tank–or in a tank where you won’t mind the occasional grazing of your prized corals.

The Bicolor angelfish are aggressive towards their own species and other dwarf angelfish, so if you want to keep this angelfish, it will be your only angelfish.

Angelfish also have a reputation to be a bit aggressive–so if you are adding this fish to your tank, it is probably best to add it as one of the last fish to the tank, so that all the others have a chance to establish a territory prior to its introduction.

Otherwise, the Bicolor Angelfish should reasonably live amongst the other fish in your tank.

bicolor angelfish

Pros and cons

In summary, here are a few of the pros and cons of keeping the Bicolor Angelfish in your saltwater aquarium.


  • Active swimmers
  • Big appetites
  • Long-lived


  • NOT Reef safe
  • A tad aggressive
  • Need a large tank (70+ gallons) with ample live rock  to be happy


I don’t mean to dissuade you from picking up this delightful fish, but I can tell you that I plan to pass on it. I don’t want to take the risk that it will harass my corals. 15 years is a long time to live with a coral nipper.

How about you, would you take the chance? Have you already taken the chance?



  1. Bought a Bicolored a month ago, 2.5 inch. Shares 75 gall tank with a Majestic angle, a little larger than the bi. Was slow to eat shrimp but soon accepted then. Not aggressive, rather timid. Has shown no interest in corrals and is a great addition to the tank. Also likes New Era, Marine Grazer.


  2. I purchased a bicolor Angel a few years ago, unfortunately it didn’t live long in my tank. Very pretty fish. It’s funny you should write about an angel in this newsletter, as I am preparing to add butterflies and angels to my tank! I’m thinking of the Rusty Angel among others, and the Pearlscale Butterfly to start with. My tank is 10 years old and I’ve had so many different fish, but never a butterfly. I don’t care if they nip at the corals, the entertainment value will be worth it.
    Since the tank is only a 75G, I should stick with the Pygmy angels but the larger ones are so tempting! A flame Angel occupies my 29 biocube, another gorgeous fish. Not aggressive either.

    1. Author

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for the comment. Sorry to hear about your short-lived bicolor angel. That’s always a bummer. Very exciting that you’re preparing to add butterflies and angels. Keep us posted about how they do. I do agree with you too that I’m at a stage where I’m wiling to tolerate a little nipping…flame angels are definitely amazing fish! Let us know what you end up getting.

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