Black-velvet Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus melanosoma)

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Black-velvet Angelfish
Chaetodontoplus melanosoma
Black-velvet Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus melanosoma)
Name Black-velvet Angelfish
Name Lat. Chaetodontoplus melanosoma
Family Angelfishes
Family lat. Pomacanthidae
Order Surgeonfishes
Order lat. Acanthuriformes
Origin Indo-West Pacific
Habitat Seaward 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 N/A
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 20 cm
Temperature 20-26 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 750 l
US Units
Size 8"
Temperature 68-79 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 200 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the swimming Chaetodontoplus melanosoma is the eastern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, from the Indo-Malay Peninsula through Indonesia, Australia and New Guinea to southern Japan. There they live on coastal reefs and steep walls with sponge and coral growth.


They need a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure that offers hiding, resting and covering possibilities (crevices, caves), with living stones that they can graze on and that act like a biological filter as well as sufficient swimming space. 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.


In nature they feed mainly on algae, crustaceans 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 algae (e.g. spirulina, nori), chopped shrimp, crab and mussel meat with live and frozen food, such as mysis, krill, bosmids and artemia, as well as live cyclops, which also serve to keep them busy. Dry food (granules, flakes) can be offered in addition. 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. External sexual characteristics are not known.

Reproduction and breeding

There are isolated reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


As reef dwellers they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium. If kept in pairs, with sufficient activity (live stones, corals, large reef surface) and frequent as well as varied feeding, they can be maintained even in demanding coral tanks without serious attacks on the corals.

If different species are kept together, care should be taken that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements as well as their 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; PATZNER & MOOSLEITNER (1999): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 6, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

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