Flame Angelfish
Flame Angelfish

Flame Angelfish

Centropyge loricula

Flame Angelfish
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Centropyge loricula is known under several different common names in English, such as Flame angelfish, Flame angel, Flaming angelfish, Dwarf flame angelfish, and Japanese pygmy angelfish.

Centropyge loricula has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Geographical range, habitat and habits

The Flame angelfish is found in the Pacific Ocean, mainly in tropical environments between 28°N and 25°S. It inhabits clear lagoons and seaward reefs from the lower surge zone to a depth of 57 meters / 187 feet. It is a reclusive species that rarely ventures far from a suitable hiding spot. The Flame angelfish lives in harems consisting of 3-7 specimens.

Size and appearance

The largest scientifically measured Flame angelfish was 15.0 cm / 5.9 in.

The Flame angelfish is bright orange-red and decorated with a vertical elongated black blotch and 4 to 5 bars on the sides. (If your fish hails from the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia, it will not have any vertical black bars.) The posterior part of the dorsal and anal fins sport alternating short purple-blue and black bands. The fins have blue tips, and the tail is yellow or white.

The Flame angelfish has a spine over the gill cover that can easily become entangled in nets. It is therefore safer to use a bucket or similar to catch this fish in the aquarium.

Flame angelfish care

The Flame angelfish is one of the most popular species of dwarf angelfish and is known to adapt well to a life in an aquarium. It is advisable to use an aquarium of at least 100 gallons / 375 litres, but a smaller one can work if you only keep a few fishes and know how to keep the water quality up in a small marine tank.

The aquarium must include plenty of suitable hiding spots. Strong water flow is recommended. Include live rock in the set-up and encourage natural algae growth.

The recommended water temperature is 75-80° F / 25- 27° C. Keep the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025, the pH-value at 8.1-8.4 and the carbonate hardness at dKH 8 - 12°.

The Flame angelfish can act territorial and aggressive towards other dwarf angels, and it is also known to sometimes bully smaller fish. To reduce the risk of violence, let the Flame angelfish be one of the last fishes that you add to the aquarium. Also keep in mind that a crowded aquarium will increase the risk of violence, bullying, nipped fins etcetera. If you absolutely must keep more than one dwarf angel in the aquarium, use aquarium decorations to create several territories. It is safer to house it with other types of fish, e.g. damsels, tangs and blennies.

The Flame angelfish is known to chew on anemones and feather dusters.

The Flame angelfish is normally infested with potentially dangerous protozoans when it is sold to aquarists and it is advisable to treat it with freshwater dips and keep it quarantined before you add it to your aquarium. In some cases, formalin or some other remedy will be required to handle the problem. In the aquarium, the Flame angelfish will appreciate the aid of cleaning species, such as cleaning shrimps and cleaning gobies, to fend off parasites.   

Feeding Flame angelfish

The Flame angelfish feeds primarily on algae in the wild, but it will also ingest meaty foods and should be kept on an omnivore diet in the aquarium. Use algae and algae based foods as staple food and supplement with occasional servings of meaty foods, e.g. brine shrimp and mysid shrimps. It is important to keep the diet varied, e.g. by combining fresh marine algae, dried marine algae, spirulina, angelfish preparations, and algae based flakes or pellets rich in vitamin C.  Include plenty of live rock in the set up and encourage natural algae growth.

Feed your Flame angelfish many small portions throughout the day instead of just one or two big meals.

If your Flame angelfish refuses to eat or eat less than it should, check the water quality. Promote natural algae growth in the aquarium, serve fresh algae (preferably growing on a rock) and try to entice the fish with a freshly opened shellfish placed near a favourite hiding spot. Also investigate if there might be a lot of aggression in the aquarium; turf wars can make fish stop eating.  

Breeding Flame angelfish

The Flame angelfish is an egg-laying species that forms harems consisting of 3-7 individuals. Just like most other known species of dwarf angel, it is a synchronous protogynic hermaphrodite. The offspring develops into females, and each female is capable of changing into a male if she receives the right combination of size and social stimuli. The male fish will typically be larger and more brightly coloured than the females. 

The spawning typically takes place at dusk. The fish will “dance” a bit before swimming up towards the surface. Eggs and sperm are released into the water and swept away by current. The eggs are buoyant and will develop while drifting around in the ocean.

Flame angelfish has been successfully reared in aquariums, but is considered a difficult species to breed. Keeping the offspring alive into adulthood is especially hard.

Marine Angelfish Articles:

African Flameback Angelfish – Centropyge acanthops
Asfur Angelfish – Pomacanthus asfur
Bicolor Angelfish – Centropyge bicolor
Blueface Angelfish – Pomacanthus xanthometopon
Cherub Angelfish – Centropyge argi
Coral Beauty – Centropyge bispinosa
Emperor Angelfish – Pomacanthus imperator
French Angelfish – Pomacanthus paru
Herald's Angelfish – Centropyge heraldi
Koran Angelfish – Pomacanthus semicirculatus
Lamarck's Angelfish – Genicanthus lamarack
Potter's Angelfish – Centropyge potteri
Queen Angelfish – Holacanthus ciliaris
Regal Angelfish – Pygoplites diacanthus
Rock Beauty Angelfish – Holacanthus tricolor
Rusty Angelfish – Centropyge ferrugata
Watanabe's Angelfish – Genicanthus watanabei


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