News / Species Spotlight / Popular Piscenes - Blue Face Angels (04/21/15)

Popular Piscenes - Blue Face Angels

In The Wild

Pomacanthus xanthometopon's range is confined to the West Indo-Pacific. They are usually found in lagoons and channels, generally in areas with lots of places to hide.

Juveniles fish are normally solitary and adults are either solitary or in pairs, though there are some reports of them being haremic. The transition from juvenile to adult may occur rather rapidly, and generally occurs when the fish reaches about 4 inches, though occasionally juvenile colors last longer than expected. This may be related to the population of adult fish in the local population. In the photo on the right, you can see all three stages of this fish's development (juvenile on top, sub-adult in the middle, adult on bottom). Adults are reported to reach ages of 21 years and 15 inches in length.

Pomacanthus xanthometopon generally feeds on a wide variety of algae, sponges tunicates and other benthic organisms. When stressed they are known to make a grunting noise. This fish has been reported to hybridize with both Sixbanded and Blue Girdled Angels.

In the Aquarium

Blue Face Angels are very hardy and will do quite well in the home aquarium as long as they have sufficient space and a balanced diet. They are known to be shy at first, with sub-adults and juveniles acclimating to captive conditions more quickly than full blown adults. Because these can get over a foot long, at full size a very large aquarium (at least 200 gallons) will be needed. It will take several years for a juvenile to reach such a size though.

Because their natural diet is so varied, aquarists should always feed a diet that is similarly well rounded; it further means they are unsuitable for most "captive reef" style aquaria. Because of their tendency to be shy initially, occasionally live food is needed to coax them out for eating. We have very good luck getting these fish to feed in house. We feed them a meaty mix and some high quality gel.

Blue Face Angels are known for being somewhat more shy than other fish in their genus, though they may bully smaller angels and other similar looking fish. Housing more than one Blue Face per tank is not recommended.
Gerald R Allen & Roger Steene & Mark Allen, Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes, 1st ed. (Odyssey Publishing 1998)
Scott W. Michael, Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications 2004)
Rudie H Kuiter & Helmut Debelius, World Atlas of Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv 2006)
Scott W. Michael, Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2001).
Quality Marine Internal References: Eli Fleishauer, Adam Mangino, Brent Robinson