The marine aquarium can pose a problem, although this problem is usually short-lived. The problem is that a beautiful fish has been seen but is it too big for the aquarium? This arises for example when the aquarist views aquariums in the pet store and sees a lovely fish such as the Emperor Angel (Pomacanthus imperator) in its juvenile form. When small it will be fine in the aquarium but it will grow to an adult with a size of around 30cm (circa 12″). The aquarist is disappointed as this is too large for the aquarium. But all is not lost – what of the pygmy angelfish, also beautiful? Pygmy angelfish are suitable for the aquarist with around one years experience, or the clear ability to maintain a high quality aquarium environment.
There are a number of pygmy angelfish and they are all lovely. Potter’s angelfish (Centropyge potteri) is definitely one of them. The fish comes from the Hawaii area and grows to around 3″ (circa 8cm) in the aquarium. Only one pygmy angelfish should be kept unless it is clear there will not be trouble. For example, the Flame angelfish (Centropyge loriculus) should be introduced last as it can be bullying though different species of fish are usually fine, particularly if bigger. Feeding the Potter’s angel is not difficult. First of all, the fish needs algae and once settled will often even chase bits of algae floating about when the aquarist is cleaning. An algae based food is very helpful and necessary if ‘natural’ algae is not present. If there is a small area of algae that the fish uses and will not cause problems within the aquarium then it can be left alone. The fish will also take the more usual flake and defrozen foods.
The suggestion that some experience is required mentioned at the beginning of this text is because Potter’s angelfish require high quality seawater. This means that the maintenance of this quality should have been achieved with testing as necessary. Partial seawater changes are needed to assist with this. The beautiful fish will not be happy with low quality seawater (as with many other types of course). Experience and efficient maintenance routines will make the aquarium environment acceptable.
It could be that the best time to introduce these fish is when the other intended inhabitants are in place. This means that the fish will join a peaceful community in an already high quality environment. Of course, there must not be any fish that is a bully and might target the angelfish. Potter’s angelfish usually settles down quite quickly and becomes a very attractive part of the community. It’s safe and happy in a reef aquarium and should find a place to hide at night among the rocks.
It’s normal and common sense when considering the introduction of a new fish into the community to obtain full details first before purchase: final size, feeding requirements and temperament. This is important for all introductions. Pygmy angelfish aren’t an exception, but it can be said that they are a beautiful and wonderful gift from Mother Nature.