Flame Angelfish (Centropyge Loricula): Ultimate Care Guide

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Do you want a vividly colored, friendly fish to spice up your tank? Then look no further than the Flame Angelfish. Flame Angelfish are one of the most colorful fish you could possibly add to your tank! Their intense and vivid coloring makes them an extremely popular choice for beginning hobbyists and experienced aquarists alike. The Flame Angelfish is the perfect addition to any saltwater community or reef tank. You couldn’t go wrong if you decided to add a few to your tank. If you want to add one of these gorgeous fish to your tank, then you’ve come to the right place. Read onwards for all the information you need to know about owning and caring for the unique and color Flame Angelfish.

The Flame Angelfish is also known as the flaming angelfish or just the flame angel. They get their name from the intense red coloring that covers their body. The body of the Flame Angelfish is bright red, with vertical black stripes along it. However, the middle of their body tends to be more of an orange color, which gives their bodies a look resembling that of a flame, hence their name.

In the wild,  the Flame Angelfish was first discovered in an archipelago in French Polynesia, which is in the South Pacific Ocean. However, since their initial discovery, Flame Angelfish have been found in locations such as Hawaii and the Great Barrier Reef. One of the most exciting facts about Flame Angelfish is that they’re born with both male and female reproductive organs. They tend to live in a harem with one male and up to 6 females. If something should happen to the male of the harem, the largest and most colorful of the females will change their sex to become the male.

Flame Angelfish Care

In addition to their bright colors, Flame Angelfish are popular because they tend to do well in captivity. Flame Angelfish aren’t particularly hardy, but they don’t have any special water parameters needs or a special diet. That means that anyone can easily own a Flame Angelfish regardless of skill level as long as they do a bit of research.

One of the most critical parts of caring for any species is preventing diseases. For the most part, every Flame Angelfish caught in the wild is infected with parasites such as saltwater ich. Marice Ich is straightforward to diagnose. If you see the appearance of Ich’s signature white spots on your fish’s body, then you know it has been infected with Ich. You must quarantine your fish, for at least two weeks, before adding them to your tank. During those two weeks, treat any infections they might have, and you shouldn’t have an issue when you being acclimating them to your tank. It is also critical to set up your tank conditions where the Flame Angelfish can thrive.

Flame Angelfish (Centropyge Loricula)
Flame Angelfish (Centropyge Loricula)


Temperature is a significant parameter for any tank setup. It would be best to attempt to emulate the native environment of the fish you have or plan to have housed in your tank. The native habitat of the Flame Angelfish is the tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. So in a tank setting, you need to emulate the Pacific Ocean’s water conditions. Flame Angelfish require a water temperature between 76 degrees Fahrenheit and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t have much room to have any fluctuations in temperature. You’ll need a powerful heater to ensure you can reach and maintain the high temperatures required by the Flame Angelfish. Any slight temperature changes could cause your fish to become unhappy or unhealthy, both of which could lead to a decrease if their life expectancy.

Water pH

Most experienced aquarists recommend that the Flame Angelfish require a pH level between 8.1 – 8.4. You need to ensure that your tank says within that range carefully. Any changes in pH level can quickly lead to infection and illnesses for all the species in your tank. You must regularly check your water parameters to ensure that you can catch any minor changes before they become a much more pressing issue. If you don’t catch the pH fluctuations early enough and your fish becomes ill or infected by a parasite, then you likely won’t get the total life expectancy of your Flame Angelfish.

Flame Angelfish Size

On average, a Flame Angelfish grows to a max length of just about 4 inches. The size of the Flame Angelfish is one of their most attractive features for aquarists and at-home hobbyists. They don’t grow very large, which leads many to assume they can be kept in a smaller tank; however that isn’t the case. The fully grown size of your Flame Angelfish is also dependent on the care you give them. If you feed them a balanced diet and ensure they are fulfilled in their tank, then they should reach the higher average of around 4 inches. They will likely stay on the smaller side if they don’t have a balanced diet or are too stressed in their tank environment.

Food & Diet

Flame Angelfish are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat any plant or animal matter you give them. However, Flame Angelfish do have some preferred snacks. They like to feed on algae growing on rocks in your tank for the most part. This is one of the reasons why it is not recommended to house a Flame Angelfish in a new tank where there isn’t any algae growth. If you feed your Flame Angelfish a balanced diet, their gorgeous colors are more likely to be vivid and pop under the light. Most experts tend to leave a piece of seaweed in their tank. They clip it to the side and let the Flame Angelfish feed on it whenever possible. Most people say that a happy Flame Angelfish can be seen swimming in and out of the stones in your tank, happily nibbling on any algae they find. Flame Angelfish can also be fed live and frozen foods like brine shrimp or shaved shrimp. You can also provide your Flame Angelfish with some high-quality pellets or flakes.

Flame Angelfish Lifespan

The lifespan of any fish, or pet for that matter, is dependent on the care they receive. If they become ill or infected with a disease and it is left untreated, their life expectancy will plummet. Any issue is if their diet is unhealthy. If it is unbalanced or lacking, your fish will significantly suffer. If cared for properly, flame Angelfish can live for upwards of 7 years in captivity. But if you give your fish the proper care it deserves, it is possible that they may live past that seven-year mark. It is not currently known how long they tend to live in the wild.

Flame Angelfish Tank Size

The Flame Angelfish is on the smaller side. That smaller size may lead some to incorrectly believe that these fish can be held in a small tank. Flame Angelfish rarely stop swimming, so it is imperative that you give them plenty of room to swim. There is no correct answer on how large a tank for a Flame Angelfish should be. Most experts recommend a tank size between 70 gallons and 200 gallons. The more Flame Angelfish you have in your tank, the larger it should be. Make sure they have plenty of room to swim and that you have enough space to place rocks for them to feed off of.

Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for any species, you want to try your best to emulate their natural habitat. You want to ensure that your tank is large enough for your Flame Angelfish to swim around without any worries. You need to add plenty of stones to your tank. Your Flame Angelfish will feed off the algae that grow on the rocks; they will also hide behind and in amongst them. They also love to hide and swim through caves, so you must add some of those as well. You can create your caves using PVC pipes. Flame Angelfish doesn’t have any specific requirements for water flow, so that means you don’t need to have an exceptionally powerful filter or pump.

Are Flame Angelfish Reef Safe?

For the most part, Flame Angelfish are reef safe; after all, they can be found in the wild at the Great Barrier Reef. Flame Angelfish should be able to live comfortably with any other fish species or invertebrates that call the coral home. However, some examples of Flame Angelfish nibbling on coral have been noted. That isn’t usually the case, and it depends entirely on the fish. Some Flame Angelfish may nip at your coral, but they are completely coral safe for the most part. If you plan to add a Flame Angelfish to your coral tank, you should have a backup plan or tank in the event they decide to nip at the coral.

Flame Angelfish Breeding

It is not an easy task to get Flame Angelfish to breed in captivity. Plenty have tried, and those that have succeeded say it is tricky to raise the fry. If you want to attempt it on your own, the first place to start is learning how to tell males and females apart. For the most part, male and female Flame Angelfish are nearly identical. Males are a bit larger than females; they also have slightly brighter colors. The easiest time to pinpoint a male and a female is after the male of the harem dies. The largest and most colorful female will become the new male, making it easier to tell which one is male.

Flame Angelfish Disease

Marine Ich is a common infliction for Flame Angelfish. A large majority of Flame Angelfish available for purchase are afflicted with Ich or some other infection. Another common ailment that can affect a Flame Angelfish is marine velvet. The cause of Marine Velvet is a swimming parasite. The most noticeable symptom of Marine Velvet is the appearance of light-brown or yellow dust on the fish’s body. The infected fish may also have trouble breathing, as well as having cloudy eyes or clamped fins.

Flame Angelfish Tank Mates

Flame Angelfish are smaller, somewhat aggressive fish. That means they should be kept with similarly sized fish with a similar temperament. You can find several fish that would make great tank mates with enough research and some that won’t. We’ll go over a few species that may make a great tank mate for your Flame Angelfish if you continue reading. We’ll even talk about some that won’t get along well.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

Some great examples of fish to consider adding to your Flame Angelfish tank are Damselfish, Dottybacks, or Wrasses. There are plenty of other options to consider as well. The most fitting tank mate for your Flame Angelfish is more Flame Angelfish. They tend to live in packs; just be sure you don’t add more than one male, as the males can get a bit aggressive towards one another.

Examples of Incompatible Tank Mates

The Flame Angelfish is somewhat aggressive, which means you also have to avoid any peaceful species and any overly aggressive species. There are plenty of fish that are incompatible with the Flame Angelfish; there are too many to name. You want to avoid having more than one male Flame Angelfish in the same tank. You also want to avoid anything significantly larger or smaller than your Flame Angelfish.

Where can I find Flame Angelfish for sale?

Flame Angelfish aren’t rare, but they can be a bit pricy. This is because there is so much difficulty with breeding them in captivity, which means nearly all of the Flame Angelfish available for purchase have been caught in the wild. Flame Angelfish tend to cost between $60 – $175. Flame Angelfish can be found on several websites online. They can also likely be found in local aquarium specialty stores because of their vivid colors and popularity.