The Emperor angelfish, also known as the Imperial angelfish and Imperator angelfish, is a species of marine angelfish native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Its scientific name is Pomacanthus imperator. It is one of the three large angelfish species that are popular among aquarists; the other two being the Queen angelfish and French angelfish. Its popularity in aquarium trade can be largely attributed to its stunning appearance.
Emperor Angelfish Facts
Appearance: The species can attain a length of 15 - 16 inches at full growth. While the adults have yellow and blue stripes on their body, the young ones feature a dark blue coat with electric blue and white rings. This angelfish species is typically characterized by a caudal fin, which ranges from dark yellow to orange in color, black pectoral fin base, and white snout.
Habitat: It inhabits the Indo-Pacific region; off-coast East Africa, Hawaii, Equatorial Islands, Japan, and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. This species is usually found in the vicinity of reefs, where the young ones can take shelter from predators, at the depth of 330 feet or less. The habitat of an Emperor angelfish is typically characterized by large-scale growth of algae.
Diet: When in the wild, their diet consists of algae, sponges, tunicates, vascular plants, as well as other small animals and encrusting organisms. The same diet has to be replicated when keeping an Emperor angelfish as a pet. It is known to adapt to minor changes in its diet in captivity. You will notice that it has an unusual appetite for meaty food, such as shrimp. It will readily feed on frozen and dry food after getting used to it. Ideally, you should also include spirulina and marine algae in its food in captivity.
Care: The Emperor is not really a good option for first-timers. Also, it is one of the most expensive marine fish to purchase. It requires a fish tank with a capacity of 100 gallons to start with, which has to be updated to 200 gallons as the fish grows. Live rocks for grazing and crevices for hiding are must in order to create a suitable environment for this angelfish in captivity. Ideally, the water should have a temperature of somewhere between 72-78ºF and pH value between 8.2 and 8.4. This angelfish is susceptible to diseases caused by some common parasites and hence, should be kept in a quarantine tank for sometime before introducing it into the actual tank.
Other Facts: In captivity, the Emperor angelfish can be quite aggressive against other species or smaller angelfish. If it is not provided enough nutritious food, it will result in discoloration of its skin. As far as mating is concerned, this species is known to pair up for life. Surprisingly, there is no reliable method to differentiate between males and females in this species.
Like we said earlier, the Emperor angelfish is not a good option if it's the first time that you are trying your hand at this activity. If you intend to keep this species as a pet, after going through all the information given above, you can buy one from your neighborhood pet store.