Regal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) are beautiful saltwater fish from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea. They belong to the family Pomacanthidae.
Juvenile regal angelfish have an eyespot on each side of their upper body towards their tail end. This spot changes to dark blue as the fish matures.
Regal angelfish vary somewhat in their patterning and coloration.
Unfortunately, regal angelfish often have a difficult time adapting to the diet and water conditions in captivity.
Regal angelfish are shy fish that need plenty of hiding places in the tank. You should provide them with a large tank as well - at least 79 gallons.
Regal angelfish are sometimes reluctant to feed in the aquarium. You must provide plenty of well-established live rock and algae for them to graze on. Like most of the other large saltwater angelfish, in their natural habitat they often feed on sponges.
Regal angelfish are somewhat large fish - they reach an adult size of about 10-12 inches (25-30.5 cm).
When setting up your tank it is best to add the regal angelfish to the tank first and then add other fish species later so that the regal angelfish can become accustomed to the tank. It is best to keep a single regal angelfish in your aquarium. When two are present they often fight unless they are a mated pair.
As mentioned earlier you must provide plenty of algae in their diet, as well as marine food that contains sponges. Most pet shops sell frozen marine food made specifically for feeding saltwater angelfish that contains sponges. Regal angels should also be fed frozen mysis shrimp and chopped seafood (e.g., shrimp, squid, scallops), as well as marine preparations for omnivores.
Reef Tank Suitability
In their natural environment regal angelfish are found on the coral reefs. In the reef tank they sometimes nip at corals and so a lot of the aquarium literature will tell you that regal angelfish don't make good reef fish. However, it is my opinion that it is best to approximate their environment in captivity to that of their natural environment. This is especially true for fish that have difficulty adapting to the confines of the aquarium.
We shouldn't remove them from their natural habitat unless we are prepared to approximate their natural environment in captivity.
Regal angels are less likely to bother stony corals than other types of coral, and so you can probably set up a reef tank that includes a regal angelfish without encountering too many problems.
Prices for the regal angelfish range from around $60-140 depending on the size of the fish and the location that it is obtained from. It is said that regal angelfish from the Red Sea better adapt to captivity than those from the Indo-Pacific.