Flame Angelfish: Care and Breeding Guide

The Flame Angelfish (Centropyge Loricula) is one of the most attractive of all available marine angelfish. It has a bring orange-red coloration topped by a vertical elongated black spot and five stripes on each side with alternating shot blue and black stripes.

An angelfish from the Great Pacific

The flame angelfish can be found in the East of the Indo-Pacific, from Australia and New Guinea to the Hawaii Islands. It frequents the lagoons and the calm reef areas, remaining close to the soil, with the possibility to sneak into the security holes of the rocks and corals. It is present from the surface to a depth quite crucial for a coral fish (57 m). We rarely see him living in banks, most often we meet him alone, looking for food in the substrate and squeezing through the coral.

In its natural habitat, the flame angelfish has a diet of algae and crustaceans. Usually, the lifespan of the flame angelfish is about 5-7 years or longer if they are kept in right conditions.

flame angelfish

Data Sheet of Flame Angelfish

  • Origin: South Pacific, Western Pacific, Australia, Christmas Islands
  • Size: Up to 10 cm (about 4 in)
  • Life Span: 5 – 7 years or longer if the required conditions are met
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate (good fish for beginner aquarists)
  • pH: 8.1 – 8.4
  • Temperature: 25°C – 27°C (75°F – 80°F)
  • Salinity: 1.020 – 1.025
  • Water Hardness: 8 – 12 dKH

Aquarium and living conditions

This Centropyge deserves its common name. Indeed, it is like a real flame that illuminates a reef aquarium. Its brilliant colors make this fish a favorite kind of amateur aquariums, mingling among the many shades of the coral.

It requires a large and mature aquarium. It needs living stone because it is looking for food on it, so it is recommended that these fish be introduced into an aquarium with at least six months of age. It requires more fissures and caves in which to retreat. Although there is no threat to the coral, it is good to be careful because they are capable of harming them. They may be territorial or even aggressive with members of their species.

The flame angelfish is, therefore, a pearl for the reef basin. Not only does it have a superb color, but it also has a peaceful character towards other fishes with which it cohabits. Only its congeners or Centropyge with similar colors (C.bispinosa, C. potters, etc.) risk being aggressive.

A tank of 200 liters is necessary for this fish to evolve normally. The decoration should be composed of living rocks that will facilitate its access to food and remove any inconvenience that might arise when a beginner aquarist encounters an obstacle in feeding this fish. Numerous hideouts and trails are arranged in decor as a security measure. It is important to note that this fish is sensitive to nitrates, which can cause certain skin diseases.


The flame angelfish feeds on small creatures (very small, observable only on a microscope) found in the substrate and the algae it encounters. In the aquarium, we can offer them, like food, nautics of living artemia, before getting used to various types of frozen food. Also, this fish will adapt more easily to an intervertebral aquarium. After that, it will not be too hard for the fish to get used to the dry food that we find in the aquarium stores. The last recommendation: When purchasing, choose only healthy specimens and, as far as possible, already acclimated, which will allow you to easily overcome some obstacles to maintaining and feeding this type of fish.

Breeding behaviour

Breeding fire angelfish can be done in large-scale aquariums, it does occur rarely but it happens and the biggest concern about breeding them, is raising the fry. For an amateur aquarist, the mission is a bit more difficult because it will have to have a tank with enough capacity to accommodate more individuals. As has been found, along with the experiments so far, the two partners climb to the surface, where the female expels the eggs, which are then immediately fertilized by the partner. The breeding process itself is not an obstacle to the reproduction of Centropyge loricula. Unfortunately, however, fry growth has not been successful because of the difficulty of feeding them.

Small buying guide

If you decide to go and buy one of them, it is ideal that you ask your provider (the aquarium shop staff or the person you are buying it from) to give you a well-adapted specimen that it is already acclimated to the tank life. And you must make sure that you buy a healthy fish that is not prone or does not carry any diseases that can affect the other inhabitants of the tank you want to put it in.

Ideally, after the fish has been bought, it is recommended that it stays in a quarantine tank for 1-2 weeks. It applies to all fish bought, no matter if they are purchased from a retailer or from a person you know. After 1-2 weeks of quarantine, the fish can be safely introduced in the community tank.

In conclusion

It is a semi-aggressive species and will be kept only together with sturdy fish of the same size and behavior. Care should be taken because they can pinch soft corals and are not recommended to be kept together with timid organisms. It is an active fish that will spend most of its time looking for food among stones and other aquarium objects.

In some cases, the flame angelfish has been reported to attack and eat coral structures by some aquarists, and for that reason, they decided to remove it from the tank. But those are rare cases, and each has its personality, yours may like the corals and not attack them.

The flame angelfish has long been considered a sustainable choice for the aquarium. (Unfortunately, in the last few years, some specimens did not survive for more than a month; the reason for this mortality is unknown, although some aquarists suspect problems related to collection and transport).

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