Chaetodontoplus duboulayi – Scribbled Angelfish

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

Last updated on July 13th, 2022 at 12:05 pm

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi, commonly known as the scribbled angelfish, is one of the most popular marine aquarium fish due to its striking coloration and playful personality. With proper care, this hardy saltwater fish can live for several years and grow to an impressive 12 inches (30 centimeters) or more in length. When first setting up your aquarium, it’s important to keep these requirements in mind when planning your fish tank environment and preparing your fish food.

The Chaetodontoplus duboulayi (scribbled angelfish) belongs to the family Pomacanthidae (order) and genus Chaetodontoplus, which consists of 16 species of marine angelfish. The scribbled angelfish is found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. It inhabits the rocky coral reefs at depths. They are one of the most commonly sold marine fishes among saltwater hobbyists due to their beauty and activity in captivity. It has been observed that these fish can live up to 15 years in an aquarium environment.

Origin and descriptions

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

Chaetodon duboulayi, commonly known as the scribbled angelfish, is a marine angelfish of genus Chaetodon. It is found in two color phases: black with white spots or blue with yellow spots. Both color forms are common throughout its range; it has been recorded from six Indonesian islands and several atolls of Micronesia. The fish’s common name refers to its irregular black markings, which resemble scribbles in comparison to other varieties of angelfish.

The scribbled angelfish occupies a relatively small geographic range, being restricted mostly to tropical regions around Indonesia and northern Papua New Guinea. In general, members of Chaetodon have very limited ranges due to their preference for only coral reefs with specific characteristics.

Chaetodon (from Greek Χαιτών, comb) is a genus of cichlid fishes from tropical and subtropical waters of Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It contains some 98 valid species, while another 22 have been described but are considered by most authorities to be synonyms. The majority of Chaetodon species are found in South America.

Many species inhabit coral reefs where they form schools both below and above water, often near drop-offs or at rocky caves.

They generally do not mix with other fish species, although they may school with certain others within their range such as anthias, chromis, and Chrysiptera parasema. They feed on plankton that floats past them, as well as small crustaceans and other small invertebrates such as Copepoda or Amphipoda that swim close to them.

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Species profile

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi, more commonly known as scribbled angelfish, is a marine fish belonging to Chaetodontidae family and Pomacanthidae order. It has a wide range covering Red Sea, east coast of Africa to Hawaii and Marquesas Islands in Polynesia but it was first described from Réunion Island.

They inhabit reef slopes at depths between 2 – 60 m in sheltered locations with strong currents where they are often found hiding under rocks, corals, or in crevices during daytime. During night time these fish move out into open water for feeding.


The Chaetodontoplus duboulayi is a freshwater tropical fish. The scribbled angelfish can live in aquariums that have a temperature between 23 and 25 degrees Celsius (74 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit). The pH of its water should be between 6.0 and 8.0, with a hardness level between 5 to 15 dGH, about 45 to 180 ppm of calcium carbonate.

You will want to keep it in an aquarium with a tight-fitting lid because they are jumpers. If you don’t have a tank that has those features, you need to make sure you cover any holes or cracks on top of your tank very well. They also prefer fast-moving currents, so make sure there’s not too much debris where they swim freely at their own pace!

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi size

The scribbled angelfish is a medium-sized fish. They can grow to a maximum length of 11 inches (28 cm)

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for chaetodontoplus duboulayi is 378 litres (100 gallons). A pair (1 male and 1 female) may be kept together in 473 litres (125 gallons) or more if they are introduced at the same time.

Tank set up

The scribbled angelfish, Chaetodontoplus duboulayi, is an active species that should be provided with plenty of open swimming space. This fish is suited to a tank of at least 150 gallons. While males are territorial and aggressive towards each other, females are peaceful and non-territorial and will get along with one another without issue. There should be ample hiding places in your aquarium; live rock or artificial decorations such as PVC pipes work well for this purpose.

Leave plenty of room between decorations so they do not become territorial over their own piece of cover. They prefer subdued lighting (2 watts per gallon). Carbon dioxide enrichment can also help keep them healthy, though it is not essential. Filters need to be strong enough to deal with bioload from these fish which tend to feed heavily on zooplankton when first introduced into their new home before switching to macroalgae later on.

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Strong water movement, vigorous filtration, and frequent partial water changes are all important for maintaining good water quality. Feeding can sometimes be problematic; It often takes several weeks to adapt new animals to captive diets after capturing them from tropical waters.

Sometimes foods simply won’t be accepted no matter how hard you try or how long you persist – if this happens after trying for several weeks, then discontinue force-feeding and wait until your animal appears hungry again before offering food – some foods just don’t agree with certain individuals!

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi tank mates

The scribbled angelfish is a peaceful community fish. It will live peacefully with other non-aggressive tank mates, but if kept in an aquarium that does not have room for them to spread out, they may become territorial. They are generally compatible with: oscars, large cichlids (such as convicts), and mid-size bichirs. They should not be kept with smaller tetras or barbs because of their size and fin nipping habits.

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi breeding

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

Chaetodon duboulayi are fairly easy to breed. The breeding aquarium should be dimly lit with a sandy substrate and small, flat rocks for spawning. A single pair will spawn on a rock or bare bottom in most cases. Condition both fish well with live foods, artemia, and similar others prior to conditioning them with brine shrimp in order to obtain maximum fertility.

Males display in front of females by flaring their gills open and shutting them very quickly. During mating, they may nip at his fins as she accepts his sperm; he wraps himself around her body and can rest there for several hours after mating is complete. After 3 to 4 days, remove eggs from parents’ tank; fry will hatch in 5 – 7 days at 77 degrees F (25 degrees C). Fry need infusoria then baby brine shrimp followed by finely crushed flakes or pellets to survive and grow. This fish has been bred many times in captivity.

Though they look alike when young, males have extended dorsal, anal, and caudal fins while females possess white spots on their tails where males don’t. When mature, males also develop other intricate markings. They can reach about 7 inches (18 cm) in length within one year if cared for properly — more if you get them bigger than 1 inch long as juveniles!

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Are Chaetodontoplus duboulayi aggressive or peaceful?

Chaetodon duboulayi are very peaceful and should be kept with fish of similar temperament. They will not tolerate being harassed, so avoid keeping them with boisterous species like butterflyfishes. Avoid keeping them with other angelfish, though tankmates can include smaller wrasses, fairy basslets, and serpent-eels. These cichlids may also display shyness or aggression towards their own kind, so mixing of sexes is generally not recommended.

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi care

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

The scribbled angelfish is a very popular and hardy marine fish that is commonly kept in home aquariums. These fish are fairly easy to care for and enjoy an environment with live rock or other decorations, small invertebrates, and a host of other tank mates. However, it should be noted that these fish do not usually do well with aggressive tank mates like blennies, wrasses, triggerfish, or dottybacks.

When choosing tank mates, try to match their temperament and size. They also shouldn’t be kept with large angelfish, as they can outcompete them for food. Although they may eat copepods at first, they eventually will start eating brine shrimp (for baby angels) or Mysis shrimp (for adult angels). This behavior change can sometimes occur overnight!

What do Chaetodontoplus duboulayi eat?

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi eat a variety of crustaceans, including brine shrimp and copepods, as well as algae. They require meaty foods for proper growth and development. Additionally, they are not strictly herbivorous and can be conditioned to accept commercial dry food pellets. Feeding your Chaetodon live or frozen food is always beneficial.

Water parameters

chaetodontoplus duboulayi

The pH should be kept between 8.1 and 8.4, while general hardness (dH) should be between 5-12 and carbonate hardness (KH) should be above 3. It’s also important to maintain a stable temperature of 24–28°C (75–82°F). Maintain pH stability by using a reliable liquid test kit to adjust water as needed. Water changes are necessary to control nitrate levels, which should be kept below 20 ppm for an adult scribbled angelfish.

Do partial water changes more frequently rather than larger, less frequent ones; doing so will reduce stress on your fish and is more cost-effective. Take care not to let out too much at once or you could risk exposing your fish to temperatures that are too low or high. Use cooler water from the tap in small increments; keep any remaining cool tap water in a bucket until you need it again later that day or another day.

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Chaetodontoplus duboulayi lifespan

Chaetodontoplus duboulayi can live up to 5 or 10 years, with 8 years being average. Some individuals have been known to live up to 15 years.

Parasites and diseases

Like most marine fish, Chaetodontoplus duboulayi are susceptible to many parasites and diseases. The white spot syndrome virus is one of the biggest threats to captive fish. Other ailments that your fish can come down with include anemia (caused by poor water quality or rough handling), clamped fins (also due to poor water quality or rough handling), Cryptocaryon irritans (parasitic infection caused by a parasitic protozoan found in saltwater) and bacterial infections, particularly when antibiotics are administered improperly.


Chaetodontoplus duboulayi is a very small fish and is thus preyed upon by many larger fish. Because of its small size, it also needs to be housed in a tank with no other fish. Larger fish will consider it easy prey if put in with other large species. If put in with a group of other small species, they can become quite territorial and potentially attack or even kill one another.

Some common predators of the Chaetodontoplus duboulayi are large, aggressive fish such as tiger barbs, oscars, and large cichlids. It’s important to find tank mates for your scribbled angelfish that are of a similar size and that won’t consider it an easy meal. Smaller tankmates will have a much easier time surviving with them than larger species will. Because of their small size, they cannot be housed with others of their own kind.

Do Chaetodontoplus duboulayi make good pets?

Yes. The Chaetodontoplus duboulayi (scribbled angelfish) is a great fish for anyone looking to add something fun and different to their aquarium. The most distinguishing characteristic of these fish is their ornate, semi-transparent patterns. While males have larger patterns than females, even some females may have small spots that are barely noticeable at first glance.