Bellus Angelfish (Genicanthus bellus)

Bellus Angelfish

Last updated on August 25th, 2022 at 09:02 pm

The Bellus Angelfish, also known as the Ornate Angelfish or Bellus Lyretail Angelfish, is an omnivorous marine fish that can be found in the coral reefs of Eastern Africa and Oceania, from East Africa to Melanesia. Its most common range is from South Africa to Tonga. The species was described by Achille Valenciennes in 1836 and belong to the family Pomacanthidae, which contains around 20 different species in 10 genera.

Genicanthus bellus originates from the Western Pacific Ocean in tropical waters from Indonesia to Micronesia and eastward to the Marshall Islands and Palau.

These colorful and hardy freshwater fish can be purchased from some pet stores and may also be available at your local fish dealer or breeder if you are interested in breeding them yourself. They are generally not available to tropical freshwater aquarium enthusiasts, but they are very popular in home aquariums among advanced hobbyists due to their easy-going nature and relatively low level of maintenance requirements.

The Bellus Angelfish is one of the most beautiful fish in the ocean. It’s found in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia and grows to around 7 inches long (17 centimeters). Its shape and coloring are some of its more striking features, while its behavior and diet help it live among the coral reefs where it spends most of its time hiding from predators by blending in with the coral. You can learn more about this stunning species below.

Origin and descriptions

Bellus Angelfish

The Bellus Angelfish is a tropical fish belonging to the family Pomacanthidae. This small marine fish is native to tropical waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean, and it is found in New Guinea, Fiji, and the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. There are around 50 species under the genus Genicanthus; 10 are currently recognized as valid.

Bellus lyretail angelfish is one of three known species that exhibit a symbiotic relationship with cleaner shrimp (genus Lysmata).

However, unlike the other two species, which have a symbiotic relationship with Hawk or Anemone Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis), this fish has symbiotic relationship with Conchologist Wrasse. Besides being attractive and popular aquarium pets, these fishes have economic importance because they attract divers towards reefs, thus providing eco-tourism opportunities for coastal communities.

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Species profile

Bellus Angelfish

Bellus angelfish are a group of reef-dwelling fish in the family Pomacanthidae. They can be found in tropical waters of all oceans, though they are most common between 30°N and 30°S latitudes. Their range extends from Florida to Brazil, but they are seldom seen north of New Jersey in American waters.

Like other members of their family, they are small with light or transparent body coloration and blue eyes. Males also have long tail streamers or filaments on their caudal fins that give them their name; unlike those of other angelfish species these filaments never break off.

Bellus Angelfish scientific name

The scientific name of the bellus angelfish is Genicanthus bellus


The Bellus Angelfish is found in tide pools, lagoons, and seaward reefs. They are found at depths of 3 to 60 feet, mainly around 30 feet deep. This fish is not usually seen away from coral reef areas. The aquarium trade does not remove them from their natural habitat, so they do not have any populations outside of their native range.

However, they can be found on some dive boats as an attraction for divers. Habitat destruction may also contribute to extinction because both juveniles and adults need live corals for food and shelter. As corals die off due to pollution or ocean acidification, these animals will starve or become more vulnerable to predation.

Bellus Angelfish size

Juveniles reach 3 inches and adults reach 6 or 7 inches in length. The Bellus Lyretail Angelfish is also more elongated than other species of angelfish in its genus with a fin profile similar to that of an adult Imperial or Queen angelfish, making it attractive to aquarists looking for an unusual addition to their tank.

Bellus Angelfish tank size

Ideally, a fish tank would be 150 gallons or larger for a full-grown Bellus Angelfish. However, as many people prefer smaller aquariums, it is suggested to keep them in at least 120 gallons of water. The size of your fish tank will affect how big these fish grow.

Bellus Angelfish tank set up

A 120 gallon or larger tank is recommended for a mature pair of Bellus angels. These fish are active swimmers and need plenty of room to move around, so ideally your aquarium should be at least 20 gallons per inch of fish.   It’s better yet if you can find one that’s deeper than it is wide.

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These guys prefer to swim against strong currents, but they do best when you’re able to create areas where the current is both strong and gentle in order to give them places where they can rest without having water rushing over their gills all day long. Make sure that you have enough swimming space for each of your fish; many species like these really shouldn’t be kept in pairs unless you have a very large tank with great water flow.

The ideal set up is 120-gallon tank; air-powered sponge filter; heater set to 78 degrees Fahrenheit; fluorescent lights on a 12/12 schedule; pH between 8.0 and 8.3, water hardness between 4 and 7 dH, specific gravity between 1.021 and 1.026, and temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bellus Angelfish tank mates

Bellus angelfish are peaceful and will do well with other ornate angelfish. Because they are omnivores, they should be kept with fish that can tolerate their grazing. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or territorial fish such as some angelfish species.

Some of the best tank mates are other omnivorous fish that aren’t shy about picking at algae like tangs, triggers, chromis, butterflyfish, blennies, clownfish, and gobies.

Reef safe invertebrates such as sea stars and anemones can also make great tank mates for these angelfish.


Bellus Angelfish

Bellus Lyretail Angelfish is commonly used in marine fish breeding and because it is easy to breed, it can be found at some pet stores. The Ornate angelfish is a bubble nest builder, where both males and females are involved in building a floating mass of bubbles for eggs to be deposited.

In captivity, spawning has been induced by removing all other fish from an aquarium and increasing water temperature to about 28°C. Captive larvae have very high mortality rates due to predation by adults and cannibalism. They have not been bred in any quantity on a commercial basis, but have occasionally been offered as captive-bred juveniles for public aquaria and specialist hobbyists.

Larvae require live or frozen mysid shrimp for the first food; frozen planktonic copepods should then be added after 3 to 4 days as these contain carotenoids which give rise to yellow stripes on males. After 2 weeks, brine shrimp nauplii or Artemia salina may be fed. Angels will accept flake food but prefer meaty items such as krill, mussels, and chopped prawns/shrimp.

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Are Bellus Angelfish aggressive or peaceful?

Bellus Angelfish are very peaceful and can be easily housed with other peaceful tank mates, however, they can be somewhat territorial. If you plan on housing multiple Bellus angels in a larger tank or aquarium, it’s best to house them individually.

Bellus Angelfish care

Bellus Angelfish

The Bellus Angelfish, like most angelfish, are moderate care fish. They prefer water conditions of 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level between 8.1 and 8.4, with moderately-hard to hard water. You will want to keep their aquarium well-covered as they can be jumpers.

Do not use an under-gravel filter or you risk trapping them if they jump out. They will require regular feeding in order to thrive in captivity; be sure that you provide high-quality foods with their diet. Feed brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, bloodworms, live worms and other similar fares at least three times per week in addition to dried seaweed or Nori sheets one time per week for algae clean up.

What do Bellus Angelfish eat?

The Bellus Lyretail is an omnivore and will eat frozen Mysis shrimp as well as any prepared flake or pellet food you offer. It’s important that they are offered foods of both animal and plant origin in order to avoid malnutrition, so be sure to supplement their diet with algae wafers, fresh vegetables like zucchini or spinach, and spirulina flakes.

Feeding once a day is fine; these fish tend to be shy eaters that don’t need a lot of food. Overfeeding should be avoided. In nature, they feed primarily on small crustaceans and insect larvae found on rocks or coral reefs.

Water parameters

Bellus Angelfish

Ideal water should have a pH of 7.8 – 8.0, GH of 4-10, Kh of 8-12dH, and a temperature of around 26 C to 30 degrees C. Only recommended for intermediate to advanced aquarists, and requires a large aquarium of at least 125 gallons with plenty of rockwork and caves to provide plenty of hiding spaces; will not thrive in small tanks where it has to compete with aggressive tankmates.

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Not an ideal species for beginners and better left to those with extensive experience in aquaria management or that are set up specifically for marine animals. Like other marine angelfish species, they will dig extensive burrows if provided an adequate substrate.

Bellus Angelfish lifespan

They can live up to 10 years with proper care. Most don’t live for more than 5 years in captivity.

Parasites and diseases

This species is moderately susceptible to Ich but resistant to Cryptocaryon. Like most marine angelfish, they are also prone to saltwater ich. In addition, they may be susceptible to Marine Ich and Lymphocystis. They are also prone to bacterial infections such as fish TB and skin flukes.

Due to their susceptibility, it is recommended that Bellus Angels should only be housed in a well-maintained aquarium with very high water quality. When treating an outbreak of the disease in an aquarium, it is best to move your fish into a hospital tank rather than treat them in their normal tank. The reason for this is that it can become extremely stressful for these fish when introduced back into their original tank after treatment.

Ideally, you would have 2 hospital tanks or 1 extra-large tank if treating just one angel at a time.


The main predators of Bellus Angels are usually large fish. Large barracuda are one of their main predators, as well as moray eels.

Do Bellus Angelfish make good pets?

Absolutely! The Bellus is fairly easy to take care of and adapts well to captive life. It’s a very active, peaceful fish that can be kept with other fish if it has enough room. In smaller tanks, however, it may be more aggressive toward tankmates. Feeding should not be a problem since they are constantly swimming around looking for something to eat.