By zsispeo (Flickr: Centropyge bispinosus) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Coral Beauty Angelfish: Centropyge bispinosus

Introduction to keeping the Coral Beauty Angelfish

The Coral Beauty Angelfish is a very popular saltwater fish among all hobbyist aquarists, because of its beautiful colors and hardiness. Scientists call it Centropyge bispinosus, while people have given it other common names, such as Spined Angelfish, Dusky Angelfish or Coral Beauty.

Its colors may vary depending on where it was found in the wild, but common colorations include red, orange or yellow bodies, with edges, fins, and tails of darker blue or purple shades. Also, blue or purple vertical stripes are very common over the whole body. Some of them can be solid colored in blue, pale yellow, orange, or even white.

A good part is that in this species, colors won’t fade with age. This dwarf angelfish only grows up to about 4 inches long, although it still needs a large tank to feel at ease.

Beginner aquarists will be happy to know this fish is very hardy and easy to keep, without having any special requirements, as long as water is kept clean and their diet is varied enough. They are popular, inexpensive (by saltwater fish standards) and generally available in local fish stores all year long.

Ideal habitat

coral beauty angelfish

This is a good looking coral beauty angelfish I saw at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

In the ocean, the Coral Beauty Angelfish is commonly found in shallow reefs that are rich in corals, like the Great Barrier Reef and reef areas in Tahiti, Australia and East of Africa (Tuamoto Island).

The minimum tank size for a single fish is probably 40 gallons (on the conservative side) because these fish are perpetual motion machines and need some room to swim. Watch out, though, because the smaller the tank, the more likely you are to have some aggression.

Live rock is important to successfully keep the Coral Beauty Angelfish, to provide adequate opportunities to dash in and out of the rocks to hide. This is a bit anthropomorphic, but in my unscientific opinion, hiding places seem to make the fish feel more secure, secure fish seem less likely to act stressed and secure, stress-free fish are less likely to have weak immune systems and succumb to infection or parasites, like saltwater ich.

Traditional saltwater aquarium water parameters and just about any high-quality salt mix are sufficient for keeping this great fish.

Feeding

The Dusky Angelfish (Coral Beauty) is an omnivorous fish, which means they eat lots of stuff. They naturally feed on mostly vegetable matter, but also on tiny invertebrates. Feed them a diet based on algae and spirulina, as well as sponge material, but include occasional meaty treats.

The fact is that they need a varied diet, so shaved frozen shrimp (you can make this yourself), mysis shrimp should also be fed.

Commercially processed food for angelfish can also be fed as it is very convenient and easy to store, but make sure you provide a wide range of high-quality flakes, tablets or pellets.

My personal favorite flake food is the Spirulina-20, by ZooMed, because it has both protein and vegetable components.

It is best to feed your Coral Beauties several times a day in small amounts, no more than they would eat in 2-3 minutes.

Behavior and tank mates

At a few different times over the years, I have kept the Coral Beauty with no problems at all. However, there are some reports of territoriality and aggression. Most dwarf angelfish are aggressive towards other dwarf angelfish, that much is given. However, there are also some reports of aggression with smaller species, as well.

Centropyge bispinosa coral beauty angelfish

Due to their varied dietary needs, there are also reports of Coral Beauty angelfish picking on the mantle of clams or eating soft fleshy coral polyps (like your prized zoanthids). This seems to be a bit of a case-by-case situation and seems to be the exception, rather than the rule.

Pros and cons

As with all fish, there are some advantages, as well as disadvantages, in keeping Coral Beauty Angelfish. They may not be the safest for reef aquariums, but let’s revisit some of the pros and cons:

Centropyge bispinosa 1Pros

  • Hardy fish that generally acclimate well and eat well in a saltwater tank and will swim boldly in the tank
  • Easy to find, either online and in stores, and pretty affordable
  • They should actually help keep algae levels down

Cons

  • They may pick at soft corals, clams, and zoanthids, as well as other invertebrates
  • Can sometimes be aggressive and territorial if kept in small tanks, but they do pretty well and are peaceful in large ones
  • They are hard to catch if you need to remove them from the tank
  • Moderately susceptible to saltwater ich

Conclusions

In summary, the Coral Beauty Angelfish is a great choice for most larger saltwater tanks. None of the cons listed above are particularly specific for the Coral Beauty, they are general cons of dwarf angelfish, as a rule.

So, if you are thinking about adding an angel to your tank, this fish is a great choice.

What has your experience been with keeping this fish? Please leave a comment and let me know.

After that, consider joining the newsletter mailing list. You’ll get a free gift, for signing up, and each week I’ll mail you some interesting articles from the aquarium world.

Sign up for the email newsletter


If you want to continue your journey, check out  The Reef Aquarium Series of books:  The New Saltwater Aquarium Guide, How to Frag Corals, 107 Tips for the Marine Reef Aquarium and the Reef Journal.

Follow me on Google +, Twitter and Facebook

 

By zsispeo (Flickr: Centropyge bispinosus) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Comment