Queen Angelfish, scientifically named Holacanthus ciliaris, is a colorful marine fish found in the western Atlantic Ocean.
It’s also known as the Blue Angelfish, Golden Angelfish, or Yellow Angelfish.
This warm-water species lives near the ocean floor in coral reefs and is recognized by its blue and yellow colors and a unique spot or “crown” on its forehead.
The crown helps differentiate it from the similar-looking Bermuda Blue Angelfish. Adult queen angelfish mostly eat sponges.
They live in a territory where females forage separately and are taken care of by males.
Young queen angelfish have different colors than adults and act as cleaner fish, picking parasites off other fish.
This species is popular in the aquarium trade and has been commonly exported from Brazil.
In 2010, the International Union for Conservation of Nature assessed the queen angelfish as “Least Concern,” meaning the wild population seemed stable.
They are usually found alone or in pairs, gracefully moving among sea fans, sea whips, and corals.
Their diet mainly consists of sponges, with some algae, tunicates, hydroids, and bryozoans.
However, they are not considered reef safe, meaning they can potentially harm coral reefs when introduced into a reef tank.
Queen Angelfish Interesting Facts
- Queen angelfish is a warm-water species that lives in coral reefs and is recognized by its blue and yellow coloration and crown on its forehead.
- Adult queen angelfish are selective feeders that primarily eat sponges, while juveniles act as cleaner fish.
- They live in harems consisting of one male and up to four females, with breeding occurring near a full moon.
- While popular in the aquarium trade, the queen angelfish is not reef safe and should not be kept with other fish.
Queen Angelfish Habitat
Queen angelfish is found in the western Atlantic Ocean, from Florida, USA, and the Gulf of Mexico down to Brazil.
It also lives in the eastern Central Atlantic near St. Paul’s Rocks. This marine fish lives in reef environments and doesn’t migrate.
It can be found at depths ranging from 1 to 70 meters (about 3 to 230 feet) and thrives in subtropical climates, specifically between latitudes 33°N and 35°S and longitudes 99°W and 28°W.
Queen Angelfish Physical Characteristics
Size: Common Length: 11.8 inches (30.0 centimeters), Max Length: 17.7 inches (45.0 centimeters)
Queen angelfish reaches maturity at a length of about 22 cm (around 8.7 inches), but the full range of mature lengths is not specified.
The maximum recorded length for this fish is 45 cm (about 17.7 inches) from tip to tail, while the common length is around 30 cm (about 11.8 inches).
The maximum published weight is 1.6 kg (about 3.5 pounds).
This fish has 14 dorsal spines, 19 to 21 soft dorsal rays, 3 anal spines, and 20 to 21 soft anal rays. Its tail and pectoral fins are entirely yellow.
A black spot on its forehead features electric blue spots and is surrounded by a narrow, electric blue ring.
There is also a large blue spot at the base of the pectoral fin. As adults, these fish develop short spines along their body margins.
Their color changes with age. Large adults have a purplish-blue body with yellow-orange rims on their scales, a dark blue head above the eye, and a greenish-yellow area below the eye.
The mouth, chin, throat, chest, and abdomen are all purplish-blue.
Queen Angelfish Reproduction
Queen angelfish have a social structure that includes one male and up to four females, forming a group called a harem.
They breed around the time of a full moon, and their transparent eggs float in the water until they hatch.