Dwarf Angelfish – Bicolor Angelfish (Centropyge bicolor)

Updated on January 30, 2021 by

If your marine tank is lacking the radiant color combination of yellow and blue, then it’s high time you’ve got a Bicolor Angelfish. These are active, but semi-aggressive species that’ll certainly buzz up your tank.

Quick stats – Bicolor Angelfish

OriginFiji, Indonesia, New Caledonia
Max size6” / 15 cm
AquariumMin 55 gallon / 210 liters
Water72-78° F / 22-28° C

dKH 8-12, pH 8.0-8.4

sg 1.020-1.025

Care levelModerate
ColorsBlue & yellow

Bicolor Angelfish description

The Bicolor Angelfish (Centropyge bicolor) is a semi-aggressive dwarf Angelfish of the saltwater descent belonging to the Pomacanthidae family.

Owing to its name, they are also called Oriole Angelfish, or Blue and Gold Angel, because they are easily identified to bear two bands of body coloration – blue and yellow.

Usually, the upper and lower front has a yellow to gold coloration while the middle part has a blue coloration. There is also a trace of blue coloration that runs across the yellow head from the forehead to the top of the eyes.

The pectoral, pelvic, and tail fins are all yellow in color, while the dorsal and anal fins are blue to a certain point at the ends.

Bicolor Angelfish have a slightly longer oval body than the other dwarf Angelfish species. They are also larger than most of them whilst growing to about 2’’ more than most of the dwarf Angelfish species.

Just like other dwarf Angelfish, in the wild, they are bottom dwellers and active foragers always picking at the rock in search of food. However, they don’t have a craving appetite for algae matter, but they still need live rocks that support algae growth.

The Bicolor Angelfish are protogynous in that they have the ability to reverse their sex, usually within 18-20 days. The different sex can also be distinguished during courtship in which the male forms a dark line through and under the eyes.

These species are quite difficult to keep, coupled with the fact that they are one of the most aggressive if not the most aggressive Angelfish species, so they are not recommended for beginner enthusiasts, but experienced fish keepers are certainly a match for them.

They are extremely aggressive and territorial species often harassing every other species in a bid to protect and defend their territory. This can be compensated by housing them in a larger tank where they won’t feel threatened in their territory.

With the advanced netting method, these species have been bred in captivity and can be easily found in plenty of aquatic shops. With just a few dollars, your tank can be radiating an aesthetic gold and blue display.

Bicolor Angelfish in the natural habitat

The Bicolor Angelfish is native to the Pacific ocean excluding Hawaii.

They are deep dwellers often found within 3-80 feet, with the juvenile often found around 3 feet and the adult around 33 feet or deeper.

They are often found alone, in pairs, or in a small group of the same species often found in areas with lots of live rock for structure, foraging, and hiding space.

Bicolor Angelfish can also be found in protected seaward reef slopes, drop-offs, rubble, coral areas, lagoons, and channels. In the wild, they feed on worms, small crustaceans, benthic algae and weeds, hard coral polyps, sponges, and tunicates.

Bicolor Angelfish in the ideal aquarium

Bicolor Angelfish - Centropyge bicolor

The ideal aquarium for the Bicolor Angelfish should be set up within the acceptable standards and parameters for a saltwater species.

Setting up their will require an impeccable and well filtered minimum of 55 gallon tank with the following parameters 22.8-27.8˚C (73-82F), 8.0-8.4 pH, and sg 1.023-1.025. They do need steady and water parameters, especially about the pH.

However, a larger tank of 70 gallons or more will be more comfortable and they won’t feel threatened to defend their territory.

They are sensitive to water quality, this requires that quality water conditions should be monitored and maintained accordingly. Water changes should be frequently done, replacing up to 20% of the water.

Due to the fact that these species are active bottom dwellers, a rather wider tank is needed than a taller tank.

They do not have any preference for a specific substrate, but they will appreciate a substrate that will enable them to forage for algae, benthic creatures, and other comestible matter.

Plenty of live rock decor should be provided. This will serve as hiding places and also encourage algae growth.

They are adaptable to a wide range of lighting conditions. So lighting should be provided in consideration to the optimal parameters that are strong enough to facilitate algae growth.

These species can be kept with even the more toxic corals including Leather Coral families such as Sacrophytom, Cladiella, Sinularia, and the Effatounaria specie belonging to the Xenia family.

Large Polyped Corals should be avoided, as these species will nip at their polyps until they eventually close up and starve.

If the Bicolor Angelfish should be housed with other species, then they are best recommended to be added last. That way they would not have established territories yet and harass other species added later in a bid to protect it, whereas other species must’ve established their territories prior to their introduction.

Anemones should be added if there is a pugnacious clownfish to guard and protect it.

As aggressive species, they are suitably housed with the same aggressive species and large semi-aggressive species such as large Angels, Tangs, large Wrasses, Damselfish, and some Dottybacks.

Unsuitable with peaceful species such as Gobies, Dartfish, Assessors, and Fairy Wrasses. Also, slow moving species should be avoided as these active species may outcompete them for food.

Bicolor Angelfish feeding

In the wild, the Bicolor Angelfish are omnivores feeding primarily on meaty foods than every other dwarf Angelfish species.

They should be often fed with varieties of live and frozen meaty foods such as brine Shrimp, Mysis, and prepared Angelfish food.

Vegetable and algae matter should make up 30% of their diet. However, the juvenile will feed more on algae than the matured species.

Their diet should be occasionally supplemented with high quality flaked foods and pellets.

They should be fed 2-3 times a day with just as much they could finish in a few minutes. However, if a larger tank is provided with more algae growth, the feeding rate can be reduced to 1-2 times per day.

Should you be specifically asking what is the best food for Flame Angelfish? We can therefore recommend and say among the best food products for Bicolor Angelfish are the following: Mysis Flakes Saltwater Fish Food, Ocean Nutrition Pygmy Angel Formula Cube, and also NLS Naturox AlgaeMAX  Sinking Pellet Food.

Bicolor Angelfish breeding

Up to date, the Bicolor Angelfish has not been successfully bred in captivity due to the small mouths of the fry which makes them difficult to raise in captivity. However, it has been closely observed that all Centropyge Dwarf Angelfish have a similar spawning pattern.

In the wild, the sexual maturity of Bicolor Angelfish greatly depends on their size. Usually, they grow to sexual maturity at 2.4-2.7’’ (6.0-6.9cm).

As soon as the male and female meet, they will circle each other. This is followed by a grunting noise made by the male.  The male will display a mating ritual by swimming up, hovering and bending its body to an angle towards the female in a bid to invite the female.

Upon accepting the invitation, the female will join the male and they will both soar together. After this, the male will nizzle the belly of the female for up to 18 seconds. This is immediately followed by the male flickering his pectoral fins along with some mouth movement.

After this, they will lock their belly together resulting in the production of gametes and the release of fertilized eggs.

Following this dance, both parents will return to the bottom of the tank with the male chasing the female for a while, moving on to the next vulnerable female.

The parents lack parental instincts and will leave the eggs to the risk of the wild. The fry will hatch in less than 24 hours after spawning.

To conclude

Bicolor Angelfish are semi-aggressive species that will often become notorious if they are kept in a small tank where they feel threatened in their territory.

They thrive in areas with algae growth, although they don’t have as much craving appetite for algae as other dwarf Angelfish.

They do well with the more toxic corals but will often nip soft and stony corals such as the Large Polyps Coral (sessile invertebrates) and clam mantles.

They are suitably housed with similar aggressive species provided they have enough space to defend and protect their territory, or most suitably added last to an already established tank.

In the wild, they are omnivores usually feeding on meaty foods.

There is no successful report of captivity breeding, but they follow the same breeding pattern as other dwarf Angelfish.

With the small mouthpart of the fry, it makes it difficult to breed and raise these species in captivity.

Bicolor Angelfish FAQs

How long does the Bicolor Angelfish live?

With proper care and right tank condition, Bicolor Angelfish can live up to 15 years.

What is the maximum size of Bicolor Angelfish?

Bicolor Angelfish can grow up to 15.24cm long.

What are suitable tank mates for Bicolor Angelfish?

They can be housed with similar sized and larger species with the same temperament such as large Angels, Tangs, large Wrasses, Damselfish and Dottybacks.

What is the best food for Bicolor Angelfish?

In the wild, they are omnivores, feeding mainly on meaty foods. This can be replicated by feeding them with frozen and live meaty foods. However, their meal should be supplemented with algae matters and high-quality flake foods and pellets.

We can recommend and say among the best food products for Bicolor Angelfish are the following: Mysis Flakes Saltwater Fish Food, Ocean Nutrition Pygmy Angel Formula Cube, and also NLS Naturox AlgaeMAX  Sinking Pellet Food.