This weeks fish of the week is a striking member of the dwarf angelfish family - the Lemonpeel Angelfish. Their electric yellow body with blue highlights around the eyes and gills make it one of the most popular dwarf angelfish in the hobby. Not to be confused with the similar looking Herald’s Angelfish (Centropyge heraldi). This mimic is distinguishable by the lack of blue highlights. It is also sometimes called the False Lemonpeel Angel. Having been discovered 122 years later, one has to wonder if it had been found first, whether our fish of the week would be the one labelled ‘false’!?
Whilst only attaining the modest size of 10-12cm, the Lemonpeel Angelfish needs a large aquarium of at least 250 litres for long term care. They are a very active fish that can be territorial with other dwarf angelfish, or fish of a similar colour.
Like many dwarf angelfish species, it is not considered reef safe. They are prone to nipping on LPS corals and especially the mantle of clams (the fleshy part). They consume a lot of algae in their diet, so should be offered a good quality spirulina-based algae flake. Also look out for specialist frozen pygmy angelfish food in stores - it includes clam meat and marine sponge to recreate their natural diet.
Some species of dwarf angelfish are now available captive bred. During these captive breeding efforts, an interesting behaviour was discovered. It is now well known many fish species have the ability to change sex. Most of these fish do so unidirectionally (clownfish, for example can only transform from male to female).
Research over the last 20 years has shown some Centropyge angelfish have the ability to transform bi-directionally. Scientific experiments by Sakie et. al. 2003, observed both males and female Rusty Angelfish (Centropyge ferrugata) changing sex. The biological transformation was observed to occur within 50 days, with mating ritual behaviour starting after approximately 30 days.
Tagged in: Fish of the Week Archive - Marine