Emperor Angelfish: Everything you need to know

Emperor Angelfish: Everything you need to know

One of the most famous saltwater fish known to the aquarists is Emperor Angelfish.
Just like the word Emperor represents something big or famous, these fish are big, famous for their color pattern and are usually a treat for the photographers, artists, or aquarists.
How do they look, how long is their lifespan and do you need the experience to keep them in the aquarium!
Keep reading to know about it.




Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus Imperator)

(Also known as Imperial Angelfish)



Native Region

Indo-Pacific Region



Care Level

Moderate to Difficult


Seaward Reefs rich in coral growth and slow-moving water




More than 20 years 


Patterned Coloration


12-15 inches


Compatible with large saltwater fish

Emperor Angelfish: Overview and Appearance

Adult Emperor Angelfish

Emperor Angelfish is well known for its colored pattern on its body and is often found in the Indo-Pacific ocean and regions like Africa, Maldives, Srilanka.
They are bigger as compared to some freshwater fishes and range from 12 inches to 15 inches.
If we compare the Angelfish to ourselves i.e. the human it also undergoes the similar growing stages from being a juvenile, sub-adult and ultimately being an adult.
Some patterns and coloring changes are seen on the body of the angelfish from being a juvenile to becoming an adult.
The juvenile has a black colored body with circular white and blue stripes starting at the tail.
The sub-adult has a similar body to a juvenile but it undergoes some coloring changes with a yellow-colored pattern starting to develop at the tail.
The adult has a blue-colored body with bright yellow horizontal stripes and a bright yellow to the orange caudal fin.


What is their lifespan?
They live for more than 20 years in the wild.
Provided the water conditions are met and a similar natural habitat is created, they can also live more than 20 years in your tank.
Amazing isn’t it? You can spend an ample amount of time with your angelfish.

Emperor Angelfish: How to take proper care?

1. Create a Natural habitat and maintain the water conditions


Creating a replica of the natural habitat is necessary and you need to be experienced to do so.
Angelfish live in the reef areas and coral regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
They swim in a huge area generally in the wild and hide behind the rocky reefs and plants.
Include plenty of rocks, plants so that they can hide behind them and keep the water current as slow as possible.

Necessary Water Conditions: Try to maintain the water temperature between 70°F- 82°F with the help of a water heater.
Keep the pH levels between 8.0 and 8.5.
Keep the water current coming out of the filter as slow as possible.
Aquarium lighting is necessary to keep the angelfish disease-free.
Cleaning the tank and monitoring the water conditions regularly is beneficial.
Do change a part of water (about 10-30%) once in every two weeks and a minimum of three of four times in a month
You can also buy test kits to maintain the above-mentioned water conditions.

2. Emperor's Diet

The emperor angelfish is omnivorous.
The diet can include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian diets such as spinach, algae, sponges, spirulina and live or frozen foods.
Feed them small amounts of food three to five times a day.
Make sure to keep the water clean and remove the leftover food quickly.

3) Tank Size

The size of the water tank depends on the size of the angelfish you want to keep in your aquarium.
It is recommended to have at least a tank size of about 120-130 Gallons for a juvenile and a tank size of about 180-200 Gallons for the adult.

4) Emperor Angelfish Living with others

What do you think when you meet someone with the same body built as you.
If you get angry at that someone will you fight with them?
No.No. Violence is not good. Don’t be aggressive.
But we know that Emperor Angelfish can be aggressive when it sees other angelfish or a fish with a similar built like it.
Also, small-sized fish can become prey to the Emperor.
So, keep only large saltwater fish which are not similar in shape.

5) Keep the Emperor healthy.

Emperor Angelfish can be prone to stress, Head and Lateral Line Erosion Disease.
If you buy a juvenile, make sure to maintain a similar living environment as in the wild to keep it healthy.
Generally, angelfish are active and if you see them being calm more than often, then there may be chances they are in stress.
Avoid any content of cyanide as it can be harmful to the Emperor.
Keep the proper lighting to prevent any diseases like the Head and Lateral Line Erosion Disease.

Related Questions or FAQs on Emperor Angelfish

1) Are they expensive?
Yes, they cost a hefty price tag.

2) Are Emperor Angelfish aggressive?

3) What is the difference between Koran Angelfish and Emperor Angelfish?
The only major difference is the C-shaped white strip rather than a circle shape near the tail.

4) Are they reef safe?

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