Fun Emperor Angelfish Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these interesting emperor angelfish facts about this semi-aggressive fish that cannot tolerate another male fish in its territory.

Pomacanthus imperator (emperor angelfish), also known as imperator angelfish, was found in 1787. It is a type of marine fish found in Indo-Pacific regions, the Red Sea, East South Africa, Southern Japan, and Australia, the Great Barrier Reef.

These are saltwater marine fish commonly found in coral reefs and lagoons. They are often kept in an aquarium as they are very beautiful, and people love to see them.

Here, we have many amazing and interesting facts about emperor angelfish that you will enjoy. Let's take a look at these facts and information, and if you enjoy these then, do read our moon jellyfish and aquatic warbler facts.

Emperor Angelfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an emperor angelfish?

As its name suggests, emperor angelfish is a type of fish.

What class of animal does an emperor angelfish belong to?

The emperor angelfish belongs to the class Actinopterygii. It is a species of fish.

How many emperor angelfish are there in the world?

The emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) has a stable population. They are a species that is of Least Concern. Their exact number is not known at the moment, but all there is to know that they are not in danger.

Where does an emperor angelfish live?

The emperor angelfish lives in clear lagoons, channels, and coral reefs. Juveniles live in rockwork outside of reefs. They are also kept as pets in a tank in common households.

What is an emperor angelfish's habitat?

The emperor angelfish has a wide range. It is found in Indo-Pacific regions, the Red Sea, southern Japan, Australia, and the East African coast in Madagascar. Juveniles hide in rockwork outside the reef and do not go into it, while an adult's habitat includes surge channels, lagoons, and coral reefs.

Who do emperor angelfish live with?

The emperor angelfish is a semi-aggressive fish. They do not tolerate another male entering their territory, but they can live with a female or sometimes with two females. If you want to get them, you should always keep one male in a separate tank than the other.

How long does an emperor angelfish live?

Emperor angelfishes have a long lifespan. They live for 15-18 years in captivity, and in the wild, they can live for more than 20 years.

How do they reproduce?

The male and female move in a circular motion, chasing each other in the water columns. After some time, both of them release sperm and egg to perform the spawning.

They spawn only once a year. When eggs hatch into larvae, they float in the planktonic stage for few weeks, then they turn into fry (small fish), and then after some time, they slowly and gradually transform into juvenile emperor angelfish.

They do not reproduce in captivity as they require extremely large aquariums, which are not available to everyone.

What is their conservation status?

Emperor angelfish has the conservation status of Least Concern. They have a stable population and are not under any threats or danger. They are found in the wild as well as in aquariums or a normal house tank.

Emperor Angelfish Fun Facts

What do emperor angelfish look like?

Emperor angelfish has an oval-shaped body that is a bit elongated. It has pectoral and caudal fins and a prominent dorsal, and its jaws are bulky and strong, which help it chew things like sponges. Its body goes through transformations throughout its life.

The juvenile emperor angelfish has a black-colored body along with white and light blue stripes. The dorsal and anal fins have hexagonal markings.

When a juvenile turns into sub-adult emperor angelfish, a yellow-colored tail fin starts to develop, and its body also starts to become rounder, and yellow stripes appear on it. When they fully develop into an adult emperor angelfish, a mask-like black-color band is developed across its eyes.

Its body is covered with blue and yellow horizontal stripes starting from gill to yellow-colored tail fin. The dorsal fin has a white edging.

These changes in coloration and body happen for two years, though it is still unknown whether they feel anything or not while changing. Not much is known about the circulatory system of a juvenile.

It takes the juveniles 24-36 months to fully grow and change colors.

Emperor angelfish is also known as imperial angelfish.

How cute are they?

The emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) is a unique and beautiful fish. It is really cute and is loved by a lot of people. They are kept in a tank or aquarium by people.

How do they communicate?

The communication method of emperor angelfish is a mystery, but it is common to hear a grunting sound coming from them. They tend to make these sounds when feeling threatened.

How big is an emperor angelfish?

An emperor angelfish grows about 4.5-12 in (11.4-30.4 cm). They can grow up to 12 in (30.4 cm) in captivity, but they can even grow up to 15 in (38 cm) in the wild.

How fast can an emperor angelfish swim?

The emperor angelfish, like all other angelfish, is a slow swimmer. Their swimming speed has not been measured. They require large space for swimming, so they require a large tank or aquarium to be kept in captivity.

How much does an emperor angelfish weigh?

The weight of an emperor angelfish has not been measured yet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females do not have any separate names. Both of them look really similar, but there is one difference between them. Males have a bluish face, while females have a grayish face.

What would you call a baby emperor angelfish?

The baby emperor angelfishes do not have a specific name. The emperor angelfish juvenile goes under a lot of transformation since it is in larvae form till it becomes an adult. The body changes shape and color over two years.

What do they eat?

The emperor angelfish diet includes food like sponges, marine algae, shrimp. When kept in a tank or aquarium, they hesitate to eat at first. When it comes to emperor angelfish care, to feed them their diet, you should keep food on a live rock so that they can find it themselves and eat it.

After few weeks, they start to eat food, so you should slowly start introducing it in the tank. You can give them a diet of frozen foods or shrimp.

For a vegetable diet, you should give spinach. You can also give color enhancers as part of their diet by putting them in their food if their color is duller than an emperor angelfish found in the wild.

Emperor angelfish in the wild eat a variety of sponges such as Xestospongia and Callyspongia. They also consume soft corals.

Are they aggressive?

The emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) is a semi-aggressive marine fish species. They attack or fight with other males for territory. That is why you should not keep two males in the same tank or aquarium. You can keep a female or even two females in the tank of a male.

Would they make a good pet?

The care and health of an emperor angelfish are important if you want to keep one as a pet. They are an aggressive species of saltwater fish that are quite beautiful and exotic in looks.

The minimum tank size for keeping them is really large. You will need a tank that can hold 125 gal (473 l) of water. If you want to keep a pair, the emperor angelfish tank size should be increased to 180 gal (681 l).

Adults need more space. Their tank size should not be smaller than 220 gal (833 l).

An emperor angelfish price ranges from $124.99-$599.99 as it is a unique marine species of fish.

Did you know...

Juveniles have a black or dark blue body, then the phenomenon of the emperor angelfish changing colors occurs.

Their body is covered in C-shaped bands.

The emperor angelfish skull is round like its body.

Emperor angelfish juvenile is usually confused with Koran angelfish by people. These fish live on the outside of the coral reef and are considered cleaner fish. The three bands on the body of juveniles start from the dorsal fin to the anal fin, the second forms the C-shape, and the third is on the caudal fin.

Emperor angelfish is not compatible with every other fish. Some examples of compatible tank mates for emperor angelfish are butterflyfish, pufferfish, clownfish, lionfish.

People think that orange tail emperor angelfish are worth more, but it is not true.

The saltwater emperor angelfish transformation and the phenomenon of the emperor angelfish changing colors occurs after around two years. Are you thinking, 'Emperor angelfish: reef safe or not?' – that's not the case, these saltwater marine fish species are not reef safe, and they eat coral.

Some other angelfish species are dwarf emperor angelfish and queen emperor angelfish.

Another thing you should keep in mind is that if the aquarium is not maintained well, it might catch saltwater ich or white spot disease. Another emperor angelfish disease is marine velvet.

A piece of unsolicited advice for you if you want to buy one – these fish are prone to stress, and if not given a large space, they stress a lot, so you should have a large aquarium if you want to keep one.

Also, you should buy juvenile angelfish as they adapt to the captive lifestyle easily, and if it looks brighter than usual or disoriented, the chances are that it might have been treated with cyanide which is unhealthy for them.

Are emperor angelfish territorial?

Male emperor angelfish are extremely territorial fish species. Their territory in the wild expands up to 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m).

They cannot tolerate another male entering their territory and will often show aggression towards other male fish for territory. It is advised to put an emperor angelfish in an already established tank as they tend to bully new or smaller fish.

You can keep a juvenile and an adult in the same tank or aquarium as they do not clash a lot, but as the juvenile goes through coloration, adult emperor angelfish becomes irritated with it.

Differences between juvenile and adult emperor angelfish

Juvenile emperor angelfishes have a dark blue or black body with white and blue stripes on its face, and its body is divided into three big stripes that start from the dorsal fin and continue till the caudal fin. In contrast, an adult has yellow and blue-colored stripes on its body and a black-colored mask-like band across its face.

Juveniles stay outside the corals while adults live inside the corals. Adults have yellow-colored tails, while juvenile fish do not develop them until they reach the sub-adult stage. Adults are much more aggressive than a juvenile.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these John Dory facts and Nile perch facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable emperor angelfish coloring pages.

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

Read full bio >