Blueface Angelfish (Pomacanthus Xanthometopon)

Blueface angelfish

Last updated on September 3rd, 2022 at 03:17 pm

Blueface angelfish (Pomacanthus xanthometopon) care can be somewhat confusing, as they are one of the few types of fish that have a wide range of traits across their color spectrum. Their natural habitat ranges from the Pacific Ocean to the Indo-Pacific Oceans, and it’s important to match their care with the type of angelfish you have in order to ensure their success in captivity.

Blueface angelfish are popular saltwater aquarium fish that have proven to be a challenge to keep due to their unique husbandry requirements and the high costs associated with caring for them properly. Learn how to care for blueface angelfish by reading this article and following our expert advice on the proper tank setup, feeding, and water quality you need to keep them healthy and thriving in your home aquarium!

Pomacanthus Xanthometopon are a rare hybrid of the regal blue angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus) and the broadcheeked pygmy angelfish (Centropyge flavissima). Angelfish are freshwater fish that come from Central America and the Caribbean. The Blueface angelfish has an average lifespan of 15 to 25 years with proper care.

What exactly does Blueface angelfish care entails? Let’s take a look!

Origin and description

Blueface angelfish

Blueface angelfish are members of a genus of fish called angelfish, which consists of many different species from the family Pomacanthidae. One specific type, Pomacanthus xanthometopon, is commonly referred to as blueface angelfish due to their unique coloring. Bluefaces are native to reefs in waters around Taiwan, Indonesia, and Australia, but can also be found on Pacific coral reefs.

These fish get their name from a distinguishing feature – their faces become quite yellow when mature. Their bodies have a teal-blue hue accented by orange fins. They grow up to 15 inches in length and live for more than 20 years if properly cared for. To distinguish between male and female blueface angelfish, it’s best to look at their coloring as males will have more orange tones.

It’s easy for an amateur aquarist to misidentify these colorful fish; make sure you do your research before buying them!

Species profile

Blueface angelfish

Commonly known as Blueface Angelfish or Yellowface Angelfish, Pomacanthus xanthometopon is a saltwater angelfish belonging to the Pomacanthidae family. This deep-bodied fish belongs to the suborder Apogoninae, which is characterized by having single spines in anal fin and 9 pectoral rays.

The genus name Pomacanthus comes from Latin word poma meaning apple, while xantho means yellow and metopon means forehead. The species name implies that these fishes have both yellow on their faces and blue color on their bodies; however when juveniles, they do not possess any of these colors but turn into these colors gradually as they grow into adulthood.

Black Clownfish 'Amphiprion Ocellaris'

Although it’s called angelfish, these creatures are actually more closely related to butterflyfishes. They inhabit various tropical reef habitats around Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Philippines. They generally reside at a depth range between 2 meters to 45 meters under water.

Scientific name

The scientific name of the blueface angelfish is Pomacanthus xanthometopon

Common names

Blueface angelfish or yellowface angelfish.

Where do Blueface Angelfish live?

Blueface angelfish do well in saltwater aquariums. They require a lot of space and have been known to harm smaller fish by chasing them or bullying them. A mature blueface can grow up to 15 inches, which is quite large for an aquarium. Your aquarium should be at least 200 gallons and you should use plenty of hiding spaces for your Blueface angelfish like caves, plants, and rocks.

The tank should also be decorated with driftwood, so your angelfish has something to chew on. Another thing to consider is adding live rock to your aquarium as it will act as an anchor for beneficial bacteria that breaks down ammonia and nitrites that may cause health problems.

Another reason live rock would be beneficial is that it will provide shelter and make algae less likely to grow in your aquarium. An additional benefit of live rock is that it helps maintain water quality over time, making regular water changes less frequent.

Blueface angelfish size

The blueface angelfish is one of the largest angelfish species. Adult specimens typically measure up to 15 inches (38 centimetres) long.

Blueface angelfish tank size

At least a 200 gallon tank is recommended. The more room they have, the better. They like a lot of open swimming spaces where they can disappear if need be.

Blueface angelfish tank mates

The blueface angel is a semi-aggressive fish, having a mixed amount of aggression in them. They are peaceful when they are the smallest in a community tank, but become aggressive and terrorizing smaller fishes when they are the biggest in the tank. Some good tank mates for blueface angelfish are gobies, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrasses, Clownfish, Tangs, Basslets, Butterfly Fish, and Surgeon Fish.

Tank set up

The first step when setting up a tank for Blueface angelfish is to select a tank. These fish are large enough that anything smaller than 200 gallons would be cramped for them, so you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of room. A deeper tank will also be necessary since these fish can grow up to 15 inches long.

Falco Hawkfish (Dwarf Hawkfish/Cirrhitichthys Falco)

The larger volume of water will give your Blueface angelfish more swimming room and make maintenance easier. The ideal temperature range is 74 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, although they will do well within an acceptable range of 70 to 86 degrees. If possible, aim to keep your tank in a location where it won’t get direct sunlight or bright fluorescent light because they prefer low lighting conditions.

Blueface angelfish are saltwater fish, so they need live rocks or some type of saltwater aquarium setup in order to thrive. You can set up one aquarium with saltwater for your Blueface angelfish, but you should plan on having at least two identical tanks—you can use both for breeding purposes if desired. This species does best in pairs and will constantly pair off with another fish if kept alone.


Blueface angelfish

Blueface Angelfish have been bred in captivity and are common among aquarium fish, although they can be difficult to breed, but with a little patience and care, they will spawn. Blueface will crossbreed with other types of Pomacanthus angels, so it is recommended that only one species of Pomacanthus be kept together.

This is especially true when housing more than one male. Keeping multiple males will result in constant fighting for dominance, which can easily lead to injury or death for smaller fish or weaker individuals.

Maintaining correct water parameters is also crucial to successful breeding. Water conditions should mimic those found naturally as closely as possible, as well as have current provided by an air stone or an external power filter. Feeding should also be changed during spawning from quality prepared foods to live brine shrimp nauplii, copepods, and Mysis shrimp.

The female may start digging nests about 2 weeks after pairing if she is ready to spawn. She may create several holes before choosing one. It is important not to disturb her while she is preparing her nest. If you must move them into a new container, use a bucket rather than your hands because this lessens stress on both parent and fry. Once she has dug out her nest, there will be no further progress until mating occurs.

When both parents are present and ready, each will take turns guarding the entrance of their chosen chamber while waiting for their partner to fill it with eggs. If all goes according to plan, fertilization should occur within 1 to 2 days, followed by 4 to 6 days of incubation of the fertilized eggs.

Yellow Edged Lyretail - "Lyretail Yellowfin"

As soon as the fertilized eggs hatch, larvae will swim down into deeper water where they grow for 8 to 12 months before returning to shallower waters around coral reefs where adulthood is reached at 3 years old.

Are Blueface angelfish aggressive or peaceful?

Blueface Angelfish are peaceful fish, however, they can be quite territorial, especially when it comes to feeding time.

Blueface angelfish care

Blueface angelfish

Blueface angelfish are moderately challenging to care for, given their long lifespan and need for a reef tank that can accommodate a significant bioload. The basic needs of bluefaces will be similar to most other marine angelfish; they’re happiest in tanks with live rock and/or coral as well as plenty of swimming room.

These fish are fast, strong swimmers and aren’t especially timid when it comes to approaching large-bodied tankmates. For these reasons, a 200 inches or larger aquarium is recommended; on average, blueface angels will grow 4′′ to 5′′ per year until they reach maturity at around 10 years old.

In addition to ample space and cover from predators, these fish require moderate water movement along with careful monitoring of food amounts to prevent overfeeding.

What do blue face angel eat?

Blueface angelfish enjoy a variety of meaty and algae-based foods. They are not too fussy when it comes to food and will take most of what you offer. They are mainly omnivores and prefer items with high-fat content such as mysis, brine shrimp, silversides, and krill.

Frozen is accepted as well but try to mix in some fresh food daily for your blueface angel’s benefit; they need lots of live bacteria in their digestive system to keep them healthy. Supplementation with vitamin C-rich items like Nori seaweed or shredded carrots can help your fish fight off stress-related diseases.

Water conditions

Blueface angelfish

An ideal water condition should have a water hardness of 8 to 12 dKH, pH of 8.1 to 8.4, and salinity level of 1.020 to 1.025 sg. The species’ natural habitat is relatively hard and alkaline, ranging from 80 to 110 ppt with levels of carbonate hardness somewhere between 12 and 13 dH. However, captive specimens often do well in slightly more acidic conditions, particularly if they originate from locations where conditions tend toward neutrality.

Gray Angelfish - Pomacanthus Arcuatus

If a member of your tank starts showing signs of stress, typically lethargy or clamped fins, raise your pH by 1 point; Captive Bluefaces are resilient fish, but it’s important not to push them beyond what can be considered normal for their origins.

You need to maintain a salinity level of 1.020-1.025 for an oceanic environment or 10 to 20% for a slightly brackish, or tropical tank. They can tolerate temperatures from between 76 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit with ample aeration provided.

Blueface angelfish lifespan

Blueface angelfish typically live for around 15 – 25 years (with proper care). They can live longer in aquariums.

Parasites and diseases

Though often seen as hardy fish, Blueface Angelfish are very sensitive to various diseases and parasites. It is important to treat them for ich or Cryptocaryon irritans as soon as any symptoms are spotted; if left untreated, these diseases can kill in 24 hours. They are also susceptible to marine ich, velvet disease, anchor worms, flukes, and small black spot fungus.

Paramyxovirus outbreaks have been linked with shipping stress or poor water quality/chemistry; these should be treated by moving fish into clean quarantine tanks until their immune systems rebound. Aside from directly treating disease and parasites, it’s also vital that you keep your Blueface Angelfish in a well-maintained aquarium with excellent water quality to ensure they stay healthy long-term.


Anemone fishes, large butterflyfish, hawkfishes, and puffers are known to prey on blueface angelfish. These fish will also consume other aquarium fish that are of similar size.

Do Blueface angelfish make good pets?

Yes, and no. The Blueface Angelfish is not a beginner’s fish for most hobbyists. With its wild-caught nature, it is less tolerant of water chemistry issues than captive-bred specimens are, and can be aggressive towards tankmates as well as to their owners. They are also more sensitive to fluctuations in water quality than many other angelfish species. This being said, they do make very good pets provided that all these factors are taken into consideration.