Monday, October 4, 2010

African Flameback Dwarf Angel

We got another fish! This is Casey, the African Flameback, a dwarf angelfish. Most angelfish are not suitable for reef aquarium. These guys are grazers and have been known for picking at coral, finding your most prized speciman a delicacy. However, some angelfish are safer than others. In addition, angels are known for being extremely fragile in the aquarium setting, and most get very large, way too big for our 75-gallon set-up. However, the flameback is different.

I fell in love with the flameback because of its unusual coloring and somewhat rare availability in the aquarium trade. Plus, like other dwarf angels in the Centropyge genus, they are fairly hardy (especially compared with other angels), love to eat algae (yippee!), and stay fairly small. In fact, the flameback is one of the smallest of all the dwarf angels, only reaching 3"! Although dwarf angels can still develop a taste for coral, many of them have been introduced to reef aquariums with success. After seeing a Coral Beauty (another Centropyge angel) in my friend's aquarium, I decided to risk it. I spotted one at the LFS and went for it. He was fat and healthy, having been in the store aquarium for quite some time. Although he is older, I was happy that he was healthy, full-grown, and peaceful with his tankmates (including another dwarf angel; usually a no-no).

Casey is doing very well in our set-up. He grazes on the live rock all day, and I feed him spirulina, kelp, and other vegetable products. He gets along peacefully with everyone, although he will chase tankmates away from his "cave". He's fairly shy but makes regular appearances. I hope he continues to do well!

General Info:
Name: Centropyge acanthops
Other common names: African pygmy angelfish or Orangeback angelfish
Size: small (3")
Diet: algae (omnivore); may pick at corals
Reef-Safe? with caution
Peaceful? Yes, but not with other angels
Hardy? Yes, like the other Centropyges
Other: They are born genderless and become female as they grow. One will become larger and develop into the male, forming harems with the other females.

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