Yellow Angelfish: Care, Tank Size, Breeding & Disease


Scientific NameCentropyge Heraldi
Common NameYellow Angelfish, Herald’s Angelfish, False Lemonpeel Angelfish, Yellow Pygmy Angelfish
OriginPacific Ocean, from Taiwan to the Tuamoto Island / Southern Japan to the Great Barrier Reef
Temperature Range72.0 – 82.0° F
Water ParameterspH 8.0 – 8.4
Adult Size4.7 inches
DietOmnivorous

Yellow Angelfish Facts

  1. They were first discovered in 1953, and they gained their scientific name Heraldi after the scientist that discovered their species.
  2. They are difficult to keep saltwater fish that are a vibrant yellow color.
  3. They closely resemble the Lemonpeel Angelfish. The Yellow Angelfish is distinguishable by the lack of blue ring around its eye.
  4. Yellow Angelfish are all born female, with the more dominant and larger fish becoming male when it matures. The males can then develop a black mark on their faces.
Yellow Angelfish

Yellow Angelfish Identification

The Yellow Angelfish is a bright lemony yellow color that covers its whole body with no other markings. Yellow Angelfish are all born female. If you are looking to get a breeding pair, it is better to buy them both in their juvenile stage, with one fish larger than the other, and wait for them to mature. The larger and more dominant fish will undergo a hormonal change to male. Once the fish has grown into a male, some will develop a black mark on their faces, but other than that, they develop no other markings than their eye catching bright yellow.

They are commonly called the False Lemonpeel Angelfish, because they look so similar. They can quickly be identified from each other by the blue ring around the eye of the Lemonpeel Angelfish. The Yellow Angelfish does not have any blue markings on its body. It does, however, have a darker yellow smudge behind their eyes.

In the wild, Yellow Angelfish will breed with other Angelfish of similar but different species, and there are some that will develop black markings along their fins as a result. Interestingly enough, these black markings disappear in an aquarium set up.

Yellow Angelfish Care

The properly set up aquarium habitat for your Yellow Angelfish should include a minimum of 1.5 to 2 lbs of live rock per gallon as this will grow the necessary algae crop for them to eat. Yellow Angelfish do well in an aquarium environment that closely resembles their native reef habitat.

They require a pH of at least 8.0, a temperature of 72.0 to 82.0° F, and water changes that do not include scrubbing algae off of rocks. They can only be added to a properly set up tank that is at minimum 6 months old. This gives their setup the required time to grow the appropriate algae that they will feed on.

Yellow Angelfish are grazers, the amount of food required means that they also require frequent water changes and monitoring. Their tank setup also requires a biweekly water change of 10 to 15%, or a 20% water change per month. This is effective in keeping their nitrate levels down, and aids in keeping the tank clean. If the tank is over 100 gallons, a 30% water change per month is required.

Yellow Angelfish Tank Size

Yellow Angelfish need a minimum of a 55 gallon tank for one Yellow Angelfish. An unmated pair requires a tank of 150 gallons or more. A tank that is longer, rather than taller is also recommended. The larger the tank, the less aggressive and better their chances of survival. Yellow Angelfish are considered a more difficult fish to keep, and they require a tank that is set up, and monitored closely.

Yellow Angelfish Food and Diet

The Yellow Angelfish is considered omnivorous, but they are more herbivorous leaning as they spend a lot of time grazing detritus and micro algae off of rocks. In their natural habitat in the wild, they eat mostly algae, small crustaceans, and worms. When stressed, they will hide in underwater caves, and feed on the surrounding algae to sustain until they feel safe enough to leave. They should be fed 2 to 3 times a day to supplement their grazing of algae. The most important part of their diet of making sure that they are getting enough plants. Their herbivorous side is most important, as a Yellow Angelfish that does not get the required diet can develop blindness in a few months. Giving them additional algae supplements is also a good idea to ensure that this does not happen.

In captivity, they will accept flake food, and pellet food. Live foods are not necessary, but they can be used to entice them if they aren’t eating.  

Yellow Angelfish Size and Lifespan

Yellow Angelfish can grow up to 4.7 inches in length at full maturity, and they have a captive lifespan of nearly 10 years when cared for properly. Vibrant and beautiful, they can be a wonderful addition to a mature aquarium setup.

Yellow Angelfish Breeding

Yellow Angelfish are difficult to breed in captivity. In their natural habitat it has been observed that all angelfish have a similar spawning routine. The males will court several females. The male and the female circle each other upon meeting. The male will make grunting noises to get the female’s attention. Next, the male will swim upwards and tilt his body toward the female. If the female is ready to spawn, she will join him and they will both swim upwards together.

Once their swimming together is complete, with the time varying between species, the male will nuzzle the belly of the female. He will move his pectoral fins and open and close his mouth. They then join each other, belly to belly releasing gametes that produce fertilized eggs that free float until they settle into the substrate. Once the pair have spawned, the male will chase the female around for a short time before moving onto the next female.

In captivity, Yellow Angelfish are difficult to breed. They will also eat their eggs and fry. The breeding pair will need to be moved to a separate tank to ensure the survival of the fry.

Yellow Angelfish Diseases

Yellow Angelfish can suffer any disease or ailment that a captive saltwater environment has to offer. If your Yellow Angelfish has plenty of places to hide, and is kept in a clean environment they will be healthier overall and have a stronger immune system to prevent infections.

The first defense against infection of your fish is to quarantine any new fish before you add them to your aquarium. Freshwater dips are also helpful to kill anything on their body that may spread to other fish. The freshwater dips are only needed if you can visibly see something on the fish.

Yellow Angelfish can be affected by parasitic diseases like White Spot Disease or Marine Velvet. Symptoms of White Spot Disease are visible white dots on their body, with itching. The spots may disappear for a few days, but they will return in double the number. If left untreated it can cause the fish to suffocate as the white spotting blocks the gills from providing them with oxygen. Marine Velvet shows up in a similar manner, but the spots that develop have a more yellow or light brown coloration.

As with all Angelfish, the Yellow Angelfish is also vulnerable to bacterial and fungal diseases. Oftentimes these bacterial infections are a secondary infection resulting from the damage caused by a parasitic infection. A major concern is the Vibrio Bacteria which starts as an internal infection. This can quickly turn into Dropsy, Popeye, bleeding, or red streaks on the skin. It is a very fast acting bacteria that will kill your Yellow Angelfish in days. It will typically start with a little fraying damage to their back fin. There are some products on the market that can be used to help treat infected fish. These should be used in addition with freshwater dips.

Lastly, you have to be vigilant to any physical ailments that Yellow Angelfish may develop. These physical ailments are often the result of environment, water conditions, or incompatible tank mates. Yellow Angelfish are prone to stress, and it is important in their environment to give them places to hide and destress. Stress can lead to sickness and a weakened immune system. If you notice a fish is bullying other fish, it is important to remove the bully fish from the tank.

Are Yellow Angelfish Reef Safe?

Yellow Angelfish are not considered reef safe, or are marked as reef safe with caution. They have been known to nip at clam mantles, sea anemones, large polyped stony corals, and soft corals. It is important to know that they will pick at a reef set up, but you may end up with one that devours them.

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