What's this fish?


Recognise this popular marine fish? It's actually an aberrant colour form of the Bicolor angelfish, Centropyge bicolor. Dave Wolfenden has the lowdown on this fish.

Scientific name: Centropyge bicolor.

Common name: Bicolor angel (aberrant colour form).

Origin: Widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Habitat: Reef associated, from lagoons through rubble zones to reef drop-offs. Generally found in shallow water.

Adult length: Up to 15cm/6”.

Tank size and set-up: Select one 120 x 45 x 45cm/48 x 18 x 18” as these fish are active swimmers and territorial. Provide ample rocky aquascaping with rubble areas and several hiding places.

Water conditions: This delicate species will always demand optimal water quality.

Diet: Feed a variety of flake, fresh and frozen fare supplemented with algae-based feeds. Mature systems with live rock aquascaping and/or those with refugia are recommended as they provide additional natural feeds to graze on and forage.

Is it reef safe? It’s risky. Some are perfect but other individuals can rapidly destroy a reef system. Overall, a FOWLR (fish only with live rock) system is the safest bet.

Tank mates? May be aggressive with conspecifics in smaller systems and it’s advisable to add all individuals at the same time. Heterospecific tank mates shouldn’t include larger, predatory species.

Breeding method: This fish is a protogynous (female first) hermaphrodite. After a spawning ritual, eggs are broadcast into open water. Many Centropyge species have now been captive bred and efforts are under way to commercially rear C. bicolor.

Notes: Although it may not appeal to everyone, colour variants of this species are rare and highly sought after in the hobby, so expect to pay top dollar for such a specimen!

If you enjoyed this article, why not take out a subscription to Practical Fishkeeping magazine? Check out our latest subscription offer.