Dwarf Angelfish – Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)

Updated on January 30, 2021 by

Owing to its name, the Flame Angelfish is a semi-aggressive saltwater species with a flamy orange coloration that will bring a stunning and aesthetic display to your tank.

These species exhibit astonishing characteristics that are simply remarkable. Although they are quite hardy and moderately easy to care for, one must be abreast with the proper knowledge of how they behave in order to properly care for them.

Quick stats – Flame Angelfish

Category Info
Origin Western Pacific Ocean
Max size 4” / 10 cm
Aquarium Min 55 gallon / 210 liters
Water 72-82° F / 22-27° C

dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4

sg 1.020-1.025
Care level Moderate
Behaviour Semi-agressive
Diet Omnivore
Family Pomacanthidae
Colors Blue, orange, yellow

Flame Angelfish description

The Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) is a dwarf Angelfish of the saltwater descent belonging to the Pomacanthidae family.

They owe their name to their flame-like body coloration wherein they have a fiery red body with an orange center. They have a small elongated oval body shape with round fins.

Depending on their different geographical location, their coloration and body pattern might slightly differ. Generally, they possess series of vertical black bars on their sides which can be thin, thick or both, and has a deep blue back dorsal and anal fins end with black streaks. The tail and pectoral fins have a slightly transparent orange color, while the pelvic fins have a thick flamy color like the body.

They have a black colored eyes and may have a wide splotch behind their head.

They are semi-aggressive in natural environments and will tend to cause ruckus in the tank especially with fellow algae eating species.

Just like every other Centropyge species, all Flame Angelfish are born female. The more dominant fish, otherwise called the alpha fish will change to male while the rest of the harem remains female. Interestingly, If the male dies, the next dominant female becomes a male.

They exhibit sexual dimorphism with the males being larger than females. In captivity they can grow up to 4’’ (10 cm), but will grow larger in the wild up to 6’’ (15 cm).

They also exhibit sexual dichromatism with the male possessing a more visible and distinctive dorsal and anal blue streaks than the female.

Flame Angelfish in the natural habitat

The Flame Angelfish is native to tropical waters across the Pacific Ocean spanning from Belau to the Hawaian, Marquesas, and Ducie Island, South to the Great Barrier Reef and the Pitcairn group of Islands.

In the wild they are often found in harem groups of 3-7 members and live close to an abundant stony coral growth such as the Finger Coral (Porites spp).

These species are bottom dwellers and will occupy deep water areas. However, they can also be found in the middle region.

They inhabit the clear lagoon reef patches, reef faces and outer reef slopes with preference to the outer reef slopes.

Flame Angelfish in the ideal aquarium

Centropyge loricula

There is no definite tank size to house these little Angels, as there are varying reports on the required tank size. But one must bear in mind that although these species are small, they could be territorial and overly aggressive if they don’t have enough space to distinctively defend their territory. 

However, the tank should be set up within the generally acceptable level of saltwater requirement which includes a zero ammonia level and nitrates/nitrites level less than 2 ppm).

Also, setting up the ideal tank for the Flame Angelfish should be done to mimic the comfort of their natural habitat. This requires a well filtered minimum of 55 gallon tank to house a small harem of 3 members.

The  water should have the temperature range between 22.2-27.8˚C (72-82F), pH range of 7.8-8.4, and sg of 1.020-1.025 and should encourage an abundance of algae growth. The water should be changed every 2 weeks, replacing up to 20% of the water at each interval.

They do not require any specific substrate, but any choice of substrate should be one that will enable them to forage for algae and benthic creatures. Lots of live rocks with caves and crevices can also be provided. This encourages the growth of algae and will also provide them hiding places.

They prefer a moderate normal lighting that is strong enough to facilitate algae growth.

As bottom dwellers with preference to coral growth, the tank can be equipped with coral growth such as the LPS Coral, Leather Coral, SPS Coral, Organ Pipe Coral and their preferential Finger Coral (Porites spp). But this should be carefully monitored as some individuals may be polyp nippers and will harass the coral polyps on various occasions.

Flame Angelfish are semi aggressive and can be territorial too. If they are to be housed with other species it is recommended to introduce them last to the tank. 

A tank with more than one male should be greatly avoided, because they will often fight with each other even to death.

They are also aggressive to species with similar feeding habits that primarily feed on algae matters.

Also slow swimming and slow feeding species such as Seashores, Pipefish and Mandarins should also be avoided, as these slow species will be outcompeted for food.

However, they can be housed with similar sized and larger species with the same temperament such as the Clownfish, Anthias, Tangs, large Angels and some reef compatible Wrasses.

Flame Angelfish feeding

The Flame Angelfish are omnivores and will primarily feed on a variety of meaty and vegetable matters. In the wild, they are mostly foragers and feed primarily on algae matters.

Therefore their meal should contain lots of algae matters such as the Spirulina algae and supplemented with other proteins too.

Vegetable matters and meaty food should make up half of their diets.

They can also be fed with high quality flaked foods and pellets recommended for algae-eating fish. 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 Flame Angelfish are the following: Mysis Flakes Saltwater Fish Food, Ocean Nutrition Pygmy Angel Formula Cube, and also NLS Naturox AlgaeMAX  Sinking Pellet Food.

They should be fed several times a day usually 3-4 times with just as much as they can finish in a few minutes.

Flame Angelfish breeding

Breeding Flame Angelfish has been reported to be a hassle and quite demanding too. However, some success has also been recorded in breeding these species in captivity with the recent advancement in the breeding of saltwater fish.

Nonetheless, the Flame Angelfish has a similar spawning pattern similar to that of other Dwarf Angelfish. They are egg scatterers and will lay many eggs at sunset followed by an immediate release of sperm to fertilize the egg.

To encourage spawning, they will need a deeper tank. They will often rise to the top of the tank to release their eggs and sperm.

The eggs will hatch in 24 hours. The fry can be fed with microscopic algae. Raising the fry can also be a hassle as many facilities are needed and would require a heavy preparation.

To conclude

Flame Angelfish are great semi-aggressive aquatic fish with radiant coloration and peculiar personalities.

They are bottom dwellers that are wild algae eaters and should be housed in a tank that has lots of rock with caves and crevices for hiding and that encourage lots of algae growth.

There is no definite information on the breeding of Flame Angelfish, but some success stories have been recorded as having similar breeding patterns as that of the Dwarf Angelfish.

With proper care and adequate tank maintenance, the Flame Angelfish can live up to 7 years whilst growing up to 4” (10 cm).

Flame Angelfish FAQs

How long does the Flame Angelfish live?

With proper care and right tank condition, the Flame Angelfish can live up to 7 years.

What is the maximum size of Flame Angelfish?

The Flame Angelfish can grow up to 4″ (10 cm) long in captivity.

What are suitable tank mates for Flame Angelfish?

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


What is the best food for Flame Angelfish?

In the wild, they are primarily algae eaters and should be fed with lots of algae matter. However, they are omnivores, so half of their meal should be supplemented with meaty foods and vegetable matters along with flaked foods and pellets.

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