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Contains articles featuring information, advice or answering questions regarding saltwater aquariums, livestock or equipment.

Species Profile; Queen Angel


Mellisa is back with some more tales of her time in Honduras. I hope that you enjoyed hearing about her diving adventures. This one is about her experience with the Queen Angel.

Welcome Melissa.

My favorite fish by far while diving in Roatan, Honduras was the Queen Angelfish, Holocanthus cillaris. Every dive we went on I always had my eyes on the look out for a queen. Queen Angelfish are among the most stunning fish in both juvenile and adult stages on the reef.

As far as captive care for a Queen Angelfish they require a large tank due to their large adult size of 15”. Angelfish in general require good water quality and places to hide to feel safe. It is not usually a good idea to house queen angelfish with any other angels unless it is in an extremely large tank, like in a public aquarium with thousands of gallons. This is because they become very territorial in a cramped tank. Juvenile queen angelfish are known to pick parasites from the gills and body of other larger fish. Queen angelfish should be fed a diet high in algae and sponge along with a variety of meaty foods mixed in. Angel Formula is a good staple food for a queen since it is made from marine sponges and algae. Saltwater Vita-Chem is another good product to mix in with the food to make it more nutritious and keep your angle happy and healthy for years to come.

The queen angelfish is also commonly confused with a similar species of angelfish, the Blue Angel Holocanthus bermudensis . Their juvenile colors are very similar but the Queen angel has curved bars where as the Blue Angelfish all fairly straight and vertical. The adult Queen Angelfish has a bright yellow tail and a brilliant blue crown on the top of its head thus making it worthy of the name “Queen” Angelfish.

Anyone interesed in keeping the Queen Angel in their aquarium can also check out this video I helped make: Queen Angel

~Melissa

It’s A Small World After All

One of the areas of the aquarium hobby that has boomed in recent years is the phenomenon of the mini, or nano, aquarium. Many models of small complete systems have hit the market, and it is now easier than ever to succesfully keep these pint sized wonders.

There are a few important things to consider when planning your nano-tank set up. Small tanks are notorious for having unstable water quality. Water quality and temperature changes occur much easier, and faster, in a small tank than in a larger system simply because there is less water to buffer and absorb changes. Even a five gallon water change can take out a lot of good bacteria and may be causing the same “new tank syndrome” that many aquarists experience when setting up their aquarium. Cloudy water and a brown algae bloom typically mark the end of the cycling process as bacteria neutralize nitrites and create nitrates that feed algae. These blooms usually die off on their own within a few days, but try keeping your water changes small to avoid this “re-cycling”. For example, instead of changing 25 percent of your water a couple times a month, try changing 5 to 10 percent every week or two. If you have to do a larger water change, keep a product with a live bacteria culture like Biozyme or Hagen’s Cycle on hand to replace the bacteria you remove. Increasing the amount of water in your system can also help to keep the water quality more stable. A small pump, some tubing and an extra tank can make a simple refugium to increase the volume of your system, allowing for a more stable display tank . With the addition of a light source, this extra tank can also be used to grow macroalgae to eat up extra nutrients, as a nursery for copepods and other live foods, or even as a safe haven for harassed fish and invertebrates. An extra 5 or 10 gallons will help to stabilize your water quality and prevent algae and bacteria blooms. Between water changes, avoid overfeeding your fish and invertebrates by using a feeding station to contain floating foods and a feeding syringe to target-feed directly to your animals. Make sure that you are choosing size appropriate species of fish and other animal, while this is important in any size aquarium, it is crucial in small aquarium. Try to stick to community fish, and be conservative with the number of fish that you are keeping. Heavy fish loads require heavy feeding, and can quickly overtax small filtration systems. Small systems take a little extra TLC than large tanks but can be well worth it in the end.

Dave