Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)

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Flame Angelfish
Centropyge loricula
Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)
Name Flame Angelfish
Name Lat. Centropyge loricula
Family Angelfishes
Family lat. Pomacanthidae
Order Surgeonfishes
Order lat. Acanthuriformes
Origin Central Pacific
Habitat Lagoons, seaward reefs
Diet Omnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Semi-aggressive
Keeping Individual, pair, harem
Reef Compatible With caution
Care Level Moderate
Life Span 3-6 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10 cm
Temperature 22-27 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 350 l
US Units
Size 4"
Temperature 72-81 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 90 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of Centropyge loricula is the entire island world of the Central Pacific, where they prefer to live in clear lagoons and on outer reefs with coral growth off the surf zone to depths of 50 m.


They need a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure that offers hiding, resting and covering possibilities, with living stones that they can graze on (sponges, algae, small crustaceans) and that act like a biological filter as well as sufficient swimming space. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free sands, gravel or stones 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 be appropriate for the species' day-night rhythm

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 and crustaceans. 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. 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 or in a harem, one male with 2-3 females. To avoid ranking fights, they should be placed in the aquarium at the same time, with one of the animals being significantly larger. The dominant, larger animal always develops into the male. They are territorial and can sometimes be aggressive towards other dwarf angelfish with similar coloration or body shape.

Sex dimorphism

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning most males develop from functional females. Males have pointed fins and more intense blue-black markings.

Reproduction and breeding

Breeding in the aquarium has already succeeded sporadically.


Their coloration varies according to their location, for example, animals from Tahiti are blood red in color with little to no yellow. As reef dwellers, they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium. When kept in pairs, with sufficient activity (live rocks) and varied feeding, they can be maintained in challenging coral tanks without encroaching on the corals

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 Knapp; 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; PATZNER & MOOSLEITNER (1999): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 6, Mergus Verlag

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