Part 2: Genicanthus angel species details – fish that are available to buy in the ornamental fish trade.

In the first article, I discussed some general information about the Genicanthus angels. And what distinguishes them from their cousins in the Pomacanthidae angelfish family.

In this article, I will talk about the six available species that are available for purchase in the marine fish trade. The prices of these fish tend to be a little higher than most aquarium fish due to the depth at which they reside and the associated risks involved in capturing deep-water fish and their required decompression. In addition, male swallowtails usually will carry much higher price tags than females.

Genicanthus bellus (Randall, 1975), also known as Ornate Angelfish, Bellus Angelfish

A male Ornate Angelfish, Genicanthus bellus, in Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, Indonesia

Photo is courtesy of Fishes of Australia via Creative Commons License 2.0, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

A female Ornate Angelfish, Genicanthus bellus, in Cenderawasih Bay, West Papua, Indonesia.

Photo is courtesy of Fishes of Australia via Creative Commons License 2.0, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level: Moderate Max Size: 7 inches

Distribution: Eastern Indian Ocean, Okinawa, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cocos Keeling Islands, Marshall Islands, and Tahiti.

The Bellus is an attractive fish. It is relatively small compared with other Genicanthus species. It is found on deep reef slopes and drop-offs at a depth of 150 feet or more. At Cenderawasih Bay the depth ranges are 80 - 360 feet and usually 160 - 320 feet. At this depth, the fish may suffer from decompression issues if not collected with care. Fish with buoyancy problems will have a swollen abdomen and will swim just below the surface, looking down. This is very stressful and painful for the fish. Any Genicanthus angel that shows sign of decompression issues should be avoided.

Bellus angelfish are expensive because of collection depth and dealing with advanced-collecting decompression techniques. Juveniles adapt well to captivity, while wild adult males don’t adapt well and often refuse to eat.

Genicanthus caudovittatus (Günther, 1860) also known as the Zebra Angelfish.

Male Genicanthus caudovittatus
2-2-CC-Zsispeo- Genicanthus caudovittatus male.jpg

Photo is courtesy of Zsispo from Flickr via Creative Commons License 2.0. ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Female Genicanthus caudovittatus
2-3-CC-Zsispeo- Genicanthus caudovittatus female.jpg

Photo is courtesy of Zsispo from Flickr via Creative Commons License 2.0. ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level: Moderate Max Size: 8 inches

Distribution: Western Indian Ocean, Red Sea south, South Africa, Maldives, Madagascar, Reunion Island, Mauritius, Sri Lanka and recently Indonesia.

Males have many zebra-like stripes on the body. They can be found mainly in the Red Sea. The male is similar to the male G. melanospilos. The male G. caudovittatus has more sharply defined stripes and a yellow-bordered dark area on the dorsal fin.

Genicanthus caudovittatus inhabits shallow waters in the Red Sea. They can be found at a depth range of six to 230 feet on steep reef slopes.

Genicanthus lamarck (Lacepède, 1802) also known as the Blackstriped Angelfish

Female Genicanthus lamarck in the author’s 180 Reef Tank.
2-4-Fadi-Genicanthus lamarck Female.jpg

Photo is courtesy of Fadi Abu Tahoun, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Male Genicanthus lamarck

Photo is courtesy of Fishes of Australia via Creative Commons License 2.0, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level: Easy Max Size: 9 inches

Distribution: Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Lamarck's angelfish is the most frequently available lyretail angelfish in the aquarium trade. They are large, but not the largest of the genus. This fish comes as a regular import from the Philippines and Indonesia.

This fish inhabits shallow reef crests and deep reefs adjacent to steep slopes at a depth of 30 feet to 160 feet. The Lamarck angel is the least dichromatic fish in the genus. The colorations in male and female fish are very similar with the female having a wide black band curved downward reaching to the lower part of the caudal fin. Males have horizontal body stripes that don’t extend to the caudal fin. Some males have a yellow spot on the forehead. In males, the caudal fin streamers are longer than on females.

I had a Lamarck in my tank for almost a year. It was an easy-to-care-for fish and readily available. It was my first fish of the Genicanthus angelfish, and it started to show dominance towards other Genicanthus females, a sign that the Lamarck will change soon to male. I wanted my G. semifasciatus to be the male, so I had to relocate it. It is doing fine with a good friend of mine.

Genicanthus melanospilos (Bleeker, 1857) also known as the Spotbreast Angelfish, Black-spot Angelfish, and Swallowtail Angelfish.

A male Swallowtail Angelfish, Genicanthus melanospilos, in Fiji.
2-6-Robert Fenner-Wet Web Media-Genicanth melanospilos .jpg

Photo is courtesy of Bob Fenner via Fishes of Australia through Creative Commons License 2.0. ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

A female Swallowtail Angelfish, Genicanthus melanospilos in the author's 180-gallon Angels and Acros reef tank.
2-7-Fadi-Genicanthus melanospilos Female.JPG

Photo is courtesy of Fadi Abu Tahoun, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level : Easy Max Size: 7 inches

Distribution: Western Pacific Ocean, the Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Great Barrier Reef.

This fish has the common name Spotbreast or Blackspot Angelfish because of the black spot on the abdomen in males. G. melanospilos and G. caudovittatus males have similar colors and patterns. These fish are common in the aquarium trade. And I currently have one in my reef aquarium.

G. melanospilos can be found in water depths that range from 65 feet to 150 feet, and they are generally seen in pairs on steep outer reef slopes and drop-offs.

Genicanthus semifasciatus (Kamohara, 1934) also known as the Japanese Swallow Angelfish and Masked Swallowtail Angelfish

Male G. semifasciatus.
R2Rimg-9108.jpg

Photo is courtesy of Richard Back of Afishionado.org, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Male and female G. semifasciatus.
1-1-RVS-Genicanthus semifasciatus  Pair  (3).jpg

Photo is courtesy of RVS Fishworld, Inc., ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level: Moderate Max Size: 8 inches

Distribution: Western Pacific, southern Japan to Taiwan and northern Philippines.

As the name Japanese Swallow Angel implies, it is popular fish in Japan. It is mainly found in the Japanese islands, and recently imports have started to come from the Philippines. Adult males have a yellow head and yellow band that reach to the center of the body sides. Orange-colored tiger-like stripes make the males very beautiful.

This fish inhabits deep coral reef areas at depth ranges from 30 to 300 feet, usually 100 - 320 feet. In addition, it has been reported that these fish can be found at a depth of more than 650 feet.

G. semifasciatus is my favorite Genicanthus. Currently, I have a large female, and I am waiting for her to turn to male.

G. semifasciatus.
2-10-Fadi- Genicanthus semifasciatus female.JPG

Photo is courtesy of Fadi Abu Tahoun, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

G. semifasciatus.
2-11-Fadi- Genicanthus semifasciatus female.JPG

Photo is courtesy of Fadi Abu Tahoun, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.


Genicanthus watanabei

Genicanthus watanabei (Yasuda & Tominaga, 1970), also known as the Blackedged Angelfish, Watanabei Angel.
2-12-RVS-Genicanthus watanabei pair.jpg

Photo is courtesy of RVS Fishworld, Inc., ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Care Level: Difficult Max Size: 6 inches

Distribution: Western Pacific, the Philippines, Micronesia , and Great Barrier Reef.

Genicanthus watanabei is the smallest of the Genicanthus Angels and its maximum size is only six inches. It has a bright metallic body. Females have vertical black lines above the eye and spots on the head. Males have eight bright black lines on the lower two-thirds of the body. Both males and females have black outlines on the dorsal and anal fins.

Watanabei angels are usually found at depths ranging from 70 to 260 feet, and it is very common for them to have decompression issues. Some collectors will use a needle to relieve pressure from the swim bladder while the collector is going up from deep water to the surface. If the needle technique is not used correctly, it may damage, cause infection to, and/or kill the fish.

Female watanabei in my 180-gallon Reef Tank.
2-13-Fadi-Genicanthus watanabei Female.JPG

Photo is courtesy of Fadi Abu Tahoun, ©2018, All Rights Reserved.

Because of the depth, difficulty collecting them, and swim bladder sensitivity, I categorized this fish as difficult to keep. Young females will adapt better, and once the fish heal and acclimate to the home aquaria, they will do well and live a long life. As is the case with other deep-water fish, they need some dark areas in the tank until they can acclimate to strong aquarium lights.

This concludes part two. In the third and final part of this article, I’ll discuss the other four species of Genicanthus angels that are very rare and not available in the marine aquarium fish industry.

References:

Kiyoshi Endoh. 2007, Angelfishes of the World, Ricordea Publishing, Two Little Fishies

https://www.fishbase.de/

http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-02/hcs3/index.php

https://reefbuilders.com/

Allen, G.R. and M.V. Erdmann, 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth, Australia: University of Hawai'i Press, Volumes I-III. Tropical Reef Research.

Kuiter, R.H. and T. Tonozuka, 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia.

Lieske, E. and R. Myers, 1994. Collins Pocket Guide. Coral reef fishes. Indo-Pacific & Caribbean including the Red Sea. Haper Collins Publishers.

RVS Fishworld INC Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/RVS-Fishworld-INC-134337699958125/

Dianne J. Bray, Genicanthus melanospilos in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Dec 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/650

Dianne J. Bray, Genicanthus bellus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Dec 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4931
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Author Profile: Fadi Abu Tahoun

Fadi is an advanced reefer and software engineer from Jordan currently living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Keeping a reef in the Middle East is not an easy task for him. Most of his equipment is bought and shipped from the USA. He is helping local fish stores to order livestock from well-known coral and fish exporters in Indonesia and the Philippines .

Fadi has been keeping and breeding freshwater fish since he was child. In 2005, he started keeping marine aquariums. Fadi loves angelfishes and Acropora corals and always wanted to have a reef tank to hold them all. He finally created a 180-gallon tank that holds many angelfish and SPS coral species in 2016. His tank was chosen by Reef2Reef to be Reef of the Monthfor April 2018.

Fadi's Reef2Reef forum name is fabutahoun.

Note from the Editor:

We will have Part 3 for you next Saturday.