Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus ) Facts & Information

Flame Angelfish
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The Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loriculus ) is, without a doubt, one of the most popular dwarf angelfish for both beginner and expert saltwater aquarists alike. This angelfish's bold red/orange color with vertical black stripes on the body and the blue-tipped dorsal and anal fins make this fish the centerpiece of any marine aquarium.

It is interesting to note the difference in colors and markings of the Flame Angel which change with the area that they are observed.

The Hawaiian specimens tend to be larger and have a deeper, more vibrant red color than those of the rest of the Indo-Pacific region, which are, in general, more orangish-red in color.

Flame Angels found in the Central Pacific area include both Marshall Islands and Christmas Island. Marshall Island Flame Angelf are more red in color (as opposed to an orange tint), with thicker black bars running vertically down the body. The Flame Angels in the Christmas Island area are normally more red/orange in color with thin black bars running vertically down the body. The Flame Angels from Cebu are red/orange with black bars which are more blurred edges and a tint of yellow in between the bars. Flame Angels from Tahiti are blood red in color and possess very little to no yellow, but are rarely collected.

Family: Pomacanthidae

Scientific Name: Centropyge loriculus (Gunther, 1874).

Identification: The Flame Angel is of the small Angelfish Centropyge genus referred to as Dwarf or Pygmy Angelfishes.

The Flame Angel can be found in the waters of the Indo-Pacific as far north as the Hawaiian Islands, however the coloration varies by area.

Hawaiian specimens tend to be larger and have a deeper, more vibrant red color than those of the Indo-Pacific region, which are more orangish-red in color. The stripes on all species are still the same deep, almost fluorescent, deep blue-purple color.

With the color and size variations of this species from different geographic locations, and the fact that Hawaiian Flame Angels are not abundant, the Hawaiian species are usually more expensive, not to mention desirable. We collected marine tropical fish in Hawaii on the island of Moloka'i for 10 years and only saw perhaps a dozen Flame Angels in all those years. I believe that we only caught and shipped one back to the Mainland. The Flame Angels like a lot of cover, such as in the Staghorn Coral fields that we saw them in which are very difficult to collect fish in.


Extends from Guam eastward to Hawaii, Tahiti, and the Marquesas Islands. In general it is found in Western, South, and Central Pacific waters.

Other Common Names: Red Angelfish.

Average Size: To about 4 inches depending on locaion.

Habitat: Provide plenty of shelter for hiding. Best kept in aquariums with ample algae and other live rock growth. The Flame Angel will

Minimum Tank Size Suggested: 30 gallons for a fish only or fish only with live rock tank. A tank of at least 100g is recommended if their are corals present.

Characteristics & Compatibility: The Flame Angelfish is considered one of the best choices for aquariums because it usually adapts well to captivity.

It is best kept singly or in mated pairs, and with other less-aggressive fishes.

Reef Tank Suitability: Although touted by aquarists to be a fairly good reef safe fish, it may nip at large polyped stony corals, zoanthids, tridacnid clam mantles, and even some soft coral polyps. Therefore, this fish cannot be completely trusted if these invertebrates are present. Feeding the Flame Angel of desirable food will cut down on their desire to graze on the coral and limit any damage they will do to your corals.

Diet & Feeding: An omnivore that eats both plant and animal fares, it should be provided with ample live rock and algae growth to constantly graze on, and is particularly a good diatom algae eater. Will accept most any type of fares suitable for omnivores.

Read >> Angelfish Family Pomacanthidae Profile