Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)

Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

Last updated on June 30th, 2022 at 02:49 pm

The flame angelfish (Centropyge loricula) is one of the most popular marine aquarium fish available today, due to its attractive coloration and relatively peaceful disposition. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive fish, if you’re able to get your hands on some, though, it may well be worth it, as long as you can provide them with proper care in captivity.

The flame angelfish is a popular aquarium fish in the hobby, and it has earned its popularity by being an easy-to-care-for and beautiful species. In the wild, this fish will be found in shallow lagoons and outer reefs at depths up to 80 feet (24 meters).

This wide range of habitats means that there are many different water parameters that you can use when keeping your angelfish. As long as they are stable, the flame angelfish can thrive in virtually any water condition.

Aquarists looking to add the uniquely beautiful flame angelfish to their tanks should understand what this fish requires in order to thrive and what common pitfalls other hobbyists have encountered when housing this species.

The flame angelfish (Centropyge loricula) has received plenty of attention in recent years, so there’s no shortage of information about its care and aquarium requirements on the internet or from knowledgeable hobbyists at your local fish store. Here’s some information about its appearance, behavior, and tank requirements that you can use to make an informed decision before making a purchase of this aquatic animal.

Origin and descriptions

Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

The Flame angelfish is a saltwater aquarium fish found primarily in Taiwan and surrounding regions of Japan, though they are also known to inhabit areas of Indonesia. Their habitat ranges from soft coral or rock bottoms of shallow waters, with an average temperature between 74 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level ranging from 8.0 – 8.4.

Additional environmental information for aquatic conditions is as follows: Nitrate levels should be kept at less than 20 ppm; phosphate levels should be kept below 0.05 ppm; water hardness should not exceed 15 dGH, and total alkalinity should remain between 8 – 12 dKH. Suggested companions for other species of Centropyges include damselfishes, clownfish, flasher wrasses, fairy basslets, sweetlips, and fire gobies as well as any species that enjoy similar water conditions.

Centropyge loricula is a very hardy angelfish that has gained popularity among saltwater hobbyists. With bright coloring and easy maintenance requirements, it’s a fantastic choice for any aquarium. If you’re looking to add one to your own tank, be sure to read on, to know how to care for a flame angelfish!

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One of the easiest marine fish to keep as an aquarium specimen, with orange-red pigmentation and distinctive markings on its dorsal fin make Flame Angelfish or Centropyge loricula readily identifiable. Like many other species in its genus, Centropyge loricula can be identified by lines or bands running laterally along its body.

Species profile

Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

Centropyge loricula is a species of marine fish in the family Pomacanthidae. It is widespread throughout the distribution range, is native to the Pacific Ocean, in the Eastern Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and the Western Pacific Ocean. They can be found at depth of 10 – 80 m, inhabits coral reefs or areas with rocky or algae cover on them. They mainly feed on invertebrates and zooplankton.

In Hawaii, they are collected as part of the aquarium trade and often exported live by air freight. Because it can be easily stressed due to its small size if kept alone, we recommend keeping one per tank in order to maintain proper behavior. This is an active fish that require lots of swimming space; provide plenty of open swimming area for your pet by providing adequate levels of current within your aquarium.

Scientific name and classification

The scientific name of the flame angelfish is Centropyge loricula.

  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacanthidae.


The Flame Angelfish should be kept in an aquarium that is at least 30 gallons. Since it spends much of its time swimming through open water, a round or oval aquarium with minimal decorations and the cover works best. This also allows room for plenty of rock work, which will add to your Flame’s environment.

It is important to have lots of hiding places for your Flame Angel since they are shy fish that like to stay hidden away most of the time. Live rock is one of the best choices you can make when setting up your tank. You will want large pieces as well as smaller ones so there are areas where they can duck out of sight if need be.

Having more than one piece of live rock provides more options for them to hide behind as well. Driftwood can also make great hiding spots and look very natural in your tank too! A small flat area made from gravel or sand is a good place for them to lay their eggs during the breeding time too.

Flame angelfish size

The Flame Angelfish or Centropyge loricula has a maximum size of 6 inches (15.2 cm long). You should have no problems keeping one in a 50-gallon tank or larger with plenty of live rock for hiding spots.

Flame angelfish tank size

Juveniles are active and grow fast, so 30 gallons or larger is needed. Aquarium size should be increased by 25% each year to allow for growth. More space can also help keep these active fish from becoming bored and nipping at tankmates.

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A well-planted aquarium with rocks or a coral skeleton will help reduce stress, but add in plenty of open swimming rooms so they don’t feel cramped. Adding an under gravel filter will provide excellent filtration without harming their long fins.

Flame angelfish tank set up

Flame angelfish are found in coral reefs, so you’ll want to replicate that environment as closely as possible. You’ll need a tank of at least 30 gallons with a sandy substrate. Also, provide plenty of live rock for grazing and shelter, and include an artificial refuge, such as an upside-down clamshell or plastic flower pot, for hiding.

The more hiding places you provide, including some higher up in your tank, like on a rock ledge, the better. Aim for 20 gallons per inch of fish body length. Use a protein skimmer, filter socks, and lots of water movement to keep things clean.

The flame angelfish doesn’t need much light; soft corals can grow under low light levels but other types will die off. For lower light, use a single 15-watt fluorescent bulb to provide 10 watts per gallon of water. Keep your temperatures around 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit and keep them stable, or you risk damaging or killing your fish.

A calcium reactor is also helpful to maintain stability and correct water chemistry. Use two parts salt mix and one part fresh water at all times, don’t change it without changing out all of your old saltwater as well!, and test often with kits so you know your readings are accurate.

Flame angelfish tank mates

Flame angelfish are generally a very peaceful species and get along well with most other non-aggressive tank mates. They should be kept in small schools of at least 6 individuals. Small fish such as dwarf angels and gobies make excellent companions.

Flame angelfish also do well with larger and more aggressive tank mates, especially blennies, larger angelfish, and wrasses. Avoid keeping them with overly aggressive or territorial species such as butterflyfishes or triggers.

Other safe tankmates are the semi-aggressive species like dwarf angels, anthias, clownfish, tangs, and large wrasses


Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

Breeding flame angelfish hasn’t been recorded recently due to some environmental factors, hence we lack real and updated information about this.

If you know where to look, there are resources available for angelfish breeders—you can even find advice from other hobbyists who have successfully bred their own flame angelfish before trying it yourself.

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This will help you understand what environmental and social cues trigger breeding behavior, which will give you an edge when attempting to reproduce.

Keep in mind that it’s very rare for flame angelfish to breed in captivity; if you do encounter fish that seem to be spawning or just see tiny fry swimming around, bring them inside! It’s best not to disturb them at all as long as they remain healthy.

Are Flame angelfish aggressive or peaceful?

Flame angelfish are, on average, a slightly more aggressive species than many of their cousins. If you plan to house multiple flame angelfish in a tank with multiple inhabitants, I recommend adding them last and allowing all other inhabitants time to adjust to each other’s presence before exposing them to new flame angelfish.

Flame angelfish care

Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

Flame angelfish are good community fish, but only as juveniles. They prefer a tank that is 30 gallons or larger and should have plenty of caves and rock works for hiding places. Males will eventually get territorial with other males, so keeping more than one male is not recommended.

Flame angelfish are very hardy if acclimated properly, but do best in warmer water between 78°F to 82°F. It is important to keep an eye on pH fluctuations, even small fluctuations can cause major problems and loss of coloration. Alkalinity should be maintained around 2 meq/L and calcium at 400 ppm.

What do Flame angelfish eat?

Flame angelfish are omnivores and consume meaty foods as well as algae, tubeworms, sea urchins, and other invertebrates. Offer a variety of frozen fare to maintain a healthy diet for your Flame angelfish.

Popular choices include Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, krill, and nori seaweed. Feed your Flame angelfish at least two to three times per day in small amounts, totaling 2 to 3 percent of their body weight daily. Overfeeding is bad because it leads to water pollution, so try not to overfeed your fish. If you notice uneaten food after 30 minutes or more, simply remove any remaining food from the tank.

Do not allow leftovers from one feeding time to sit in the tank all day; it will cause water quality issues that may harm your fish! Similarly, do not allow excess food from one feeding time to linger overnight because it could attract an overabundance of scavenging fish into your home aquarium.

Water parameters

Flame angelfish - Centropyge loricula

Most Centropyge angels are not particular about water conditions, although all will do best in a stable aquarium. Specific gravity, pH, and temperature should be monitored and maintained within acceptable ranges.

Most authorities recommend a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025, pH of 8.1 to 8.4, and a temperature range of 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit for these fish. More importantly, it is important that nitrate levels are kept low. Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be zero; if those levels start rising, it’s an indication that something has gone wrong with your biological filtration or your tank has been overstocked.

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Flame angelfish lifespan

This is a fairly hardy species with a lifespan of 5 to 7 years in captivity. However, if well cared for, they can live up to 10 years.

Parasites and diseases

Many angelfish species are prone to parasites and diseases, especially Cryptocaryon irritans or Marine Ich. Symptoms of ich usually include clamped fins, flashing, breathing at an abnormal rate, and skin covered in tiny white spots. If left untreated for too long, some individuals can even develop secondary infections from Marine Ich such as fin rot or body slime; these are not generally curable in most cases.

It may be prone to developing swim bladder problems as it ages and may require more frequent water changes as it nears death. For optimal health, change 30 percent of its water every week or two. To help keep your angelfish’s tummy full, place finely chopped or shredded meaty foods in its tank.


The Flame Angelfish should not be kept with larger, more aggressive fish. The Golden Damsel (Chrysiptera hemicyanea), Blue-Green Chromis (Chromis viridis), and all other damsels can be potential predators of a Flame Angelfish. They may also consume smaller angelfish like Sailfin Angels and Pygmy Angels if given a chance to do so. Remember that angelfish are shoaling fish and will be happiest when kept in groups of at least six individuals.

Do Flame angelfish make good pets?

Yes. The Flame angelfish is a very active and inquisitive fish. They will spend time exploring their surroundings, so be sure to provide plenty of rockwork, caves, and other things for them to inspect.

They are not reef-safe because they will consume smaller fish and corals. A single male can be kept with several females, but he should always be placed in last. As with most angelfish species, Centropyge loricula are best kept in small schools of six or more individuals.