Arabian Angelfish (Pomacanthus asfur)

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Arabian Angelfish
Pomacanthus asfur
Arabian Angelfish (Pomacanthus asfur)
Name Arabian Angelfish
Name Lat. Pomacanthus asfur
Family Angelfishes
Family lat. Pomacanthidae
Order Surgeonfishes
Order lat. Acanthuriformes
Origin Western Indian Ocean
Habitat Coastal reefs
Diet Omnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Semi-aggressive
Keeping Individual, pair
Reef Compatible With caution
Care Level Difficult
Life Span 5-8 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 38 cm
Temperature 22-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 1.250 l
US Units
Size 15"
Temperature 72-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 330 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the swimming Pomacanthus asfur reaches from the Red Sea over the Gulf of Aden to Zanzibar. There they live preferentially on protected, near-shore reefs with rich coral growth.


They need a well-structured aquarium with a lot of swimming space and a reef structure (hiding, resting and retreat possibilities) with living stones, which they can graze on (sponges, algae, small crustaceans) and which act like a biological filter as well as fine-grained sand surfaces. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free substrates may be used as substrate

Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must match the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention must be paid to constantly good water quality.


They are permanent eaters, feeding on small crustaceans, algae and sponges. The change of feed does not always succeed without problems. The food supply should consist of a commercially available, vitamin-enriched frozen special food mix for angelfish or a combination of chopped squid, crab and mussel meat with live and frozen food such as mysis, krill and Artemia as well as live bosmids or cyclops, which also serve to keep them busy. They also need plenty of algae or seaweed (e.g. nori, spirulina, kelp). High-quality dry food in flake or granule form is also usually accepted.

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day (3-5 times). Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

It is recommended to keep them in pairs. To avoid ranking fights, two different sized or two juvenile animals should be placed in the aquarium at the same time. The dominant, larger animal always develops into the male. They are territorial and can be aggressive towards other angelfish. Towards other fish they usually behave peacefully.

Sex dimorphism

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, i.e. most males develop from functional females. No external distinguishing characteristics are known.

Reproduction and breeding

There are isolated reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


The juvenile fish have a distinctly different juvenile coloration from the adult for 2-3 years. As coral reef dwellers, they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium. When kept in pairs and fed frequently as well as variedly, they can be maintained in challenging coral tanks without serious attacks on the corals. In case of boredom due to poorly structured swimming space (few living stones, low reef surface) they often develop stereotypies.

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to ensure that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements and social behavior, and that the setup meets the needs of all species kept together. New fish to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: KUITER, DEBELIUS (2007): Atlas der Meeresfische: Die Fische an den Küsten der Weltmeere, Kosmos Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF