French Angelfish Care Guide

French angelfish care can be quite an undertaking. These fish are not nearly as hardy as some other saltwater aquarium fish but juvenile french angelfish do require a certain level of attention and knowledge to ensure that they stay healthy and happy.

Thankfully, we’re here to help! we will go through all you need to know about French angelfish from their original habitat to tank requirements and dietary demands.


Scientific Name Pomacanthus paru
Common NamesFrench angelfish, French angel.
OriginCaribbean sea, Western Atlantic ocean
Care LevelModerate
pH Level8.1 – 8.4
Minimum Tank Size180 gallons (680 liters)
Reef Tank Safenot completely reef-safe
Temperament semi-aggressive
Breeding There are reports of successful breeding attempts in the home aquarium.
Gender Males are bigger than females

Where Do French Angelfish Live?

Pomacanthus paru live in coral reefs, rocky bottoms, grassy flats, and other places with plenty of cover in tropical coastal seas. They’ve been sighted off the coast of Florida and Brazil. Further, French angelfish can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and occasionally off New York’s coast. 

French angelfish are usually found in the water column’s upper 40 meters (130 feet). However, French angelfish may go much deeper; juvenile french angelfish can range down to 100 meters (330 feet).

French Angelfish Behavior

The French angelfish is typically found in pairs, and juvenile french angelfish are thought to remain together until one of them dies. The pair will slowly explore the area throughout the day in search of food together. French angelfish will seek hiding during the night, and you can expect them to return to their usual spot every evening, It is also client fish. They are fiercely territorial.

French Angelfish Size

The juvenile angelfish can reach 24 inches (61 cm) as an adult french angelfish. However, most are 16 inches long (40 cm). They reach sexual maturity at a length of 10 inches (25 cm). 

French Angelfish Life Cycle and Lifespan

Life Cycle

1. Fry

Pelagic eggs hatch within fifteen to twenty hours after fertilization. After that, the fry are put into a “wiggler” stage, which lasts about five more days.

During the wiggler stage, the fry will feed on their egg yolk until they’re free-swimmers.

2. Juveniles

Juvenile specimens (up to 2-2.75 in) inhabit seagrass beds. They are known to establish cleaning stations that remove parasites from many other fish species, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfish, and wrasses.

3. Adults

It takes the French angelfish three years to reach adulthood (up to 24 inches).

French angelfish have a typical lifespan of between 10–15 years, and they tend to live even longer in the wild!

French Angelfish Appearance

The French angelfish has a thin, deep body with comb-like teeth and a tiny mouth. The lower jaw protrudes further than the upper jaw. A prominent spine at the corner of the preopercle bone protrudes past the top jawline. In immature fish, this spine is serrated while it becomes smooth in adults.

The pectoral fin extends beyond the base of the anal fin when it is depressed. In adulthood, the caudal fin has a nearly straight terminal edge.

1. Juveniles

Jet black juveniles have four vertical yellow bands on the side, with the second and third ones curving toward the rear of the body. A circular band is on the caudal fin, and the pelvic and anal fins are bordered in bright blue. The yellow band on the sides will fade with time without changing in number.

2. Adults

The adult French angelfish has an entirely black disc-shaped body with golden yellow dots on each scale, giving it a metallic sheen. The yellow circle around the eye, the white mouth, and the black fins are good identifiers.

A yellowish thread extends back from the anterior spinous portion of the dorsal fin to the end of the caudal fin, and another black thread from the first spine of the anal fin extends back.

The caudal peduncle has yellow dots and vertical yellow bands at the base of the pectoral fin.

Is French Angelfish hardy?

The French angelfish is a species that has adapted well to life in aquariums. They are comparatively hardy, intelligent fish who usually adapt without too much trouble or issue. However, there may be rare cases that need careful attention, like newly set-up tanks with low dissolved oxygen levels, high nitrate concentrations, etc.

How Much Do French Angelfish Cost?

Tiny: up to 1.5″ in length$149.99
Small: over 1.5-2″ in length$154.99
Medium: over 2-3″ in length$179.99
French Angelfish cost table

French Angelfish Care

Water Requirements

1. Water Cycling

Normal water changes of 15% biweekly or 30% monthly are sufficient, depending on the number of fish and tank size. 

2. pH Level

The range 8.1 – 8.4 is the sweet spot for this fish species!

3. Water temperature

To thrive effectively, these fish need a temperature of 72°F – 78°F (22°C – 25°C).

Tank Set-Up

A fish tank, like a dog cage or any other fishes, may serve as the ideal environment to raise your fish.

These animals will feel like they’re living out their days in luxury comfort if you give them the right amount of time and attention, which may extend their lifespan.

1. Tank Size

French angelfish requires a minimum of 180 gallons (681 litres). However, 250 – 300 gallons (950 – 1135 l) is preferable.

French angelfish tend to swim at all levels; therefore, ensure the tank includes some open areas for them to swim and turn around. 

2. Lightings

If you’re using live plants, ensure they have enough light to keep marine algae growing on the rocks. It will help if you position the tank where it can be exposed to at least part of the day’s sunshine. If you don’t have sunshine, artificial lights will also help.

French Angelfish Compatibility 

French angelfish are often seen in pairs by divers and snorkelers. The two form a territory on the reef and defend it fiercely

When choosing tank mates, you’ll need to choose that complement the angelfish’s dominant personality. They can’t be anything like a French angelfish (or ANY other type of angelfish). 

French Angelfish Best Tank Mates

  • Blennies
  • Butterflyfish
  • Rabbitfish
  • Surgeonfish
  • Triggerfish
  • Wrasses

Diet of French Angelfish

The French Angelfish is an omnivorous fish. In the wild, they consume a variety of invertebrates, including sponges and algae, as well as bryozoans, zoanthids, gorgonians, and tunicates.

Due to its wild grazing behaviour, French angelfish requires four to five tiny meals a day in captivity. Three times daily is acceptable in a tank with lots of algae and sponge development.

1. Juveniles

The young feed on algae, detritus, and ectoparasites they remove from other fish.

2. Adults

Adults of the French angelfish consume sponges, tunicates, zoanthids, coral reef, gorgonians, and algae as a primary source of nutrition.

French Angelfish Gender Difference

Actually, there is no way to sex the french angelfish unless the breeding time because male and female fish are identical in appearance. 

French Angelfish Breeding

The mating system used by Pomacanthus (including the French Angelfish) in the wild is determined by the population density in a certain area. In one location, they may form permanent relationships, while in another, it may be harems.

Their courtship display isn’t as dramatic as other fish species’ at spawning time. At sunset, male and female pairs congregate at the reef’s edge. Each pair will breed and ascend to the water column in an arc upwards, swimming together in a circle up to 7 – 10 feet (2 – 3 meters) above the seafloor.

Is French Angelfish Reef Safe?

This is not a completely reef-safe fish, even though it may grow in an aquarium with sessile invertebrates. It will consume the polyps of hard and soft corals and live shrimps.

Pomacanthus can be kept with other noxious soft coral reefs, such as those from the Sinularia, Cladiella, Lemnalia, and Litophyton species.

All sorts of other invertebrates, clams, oysters, and scallops will be harassed and harvested, eventually leading to their death from hunger. They may bother starfish arms, feather dusters, or anything else that catches their attention.

French angelfish should not harm your copepod or amphipod populations, and they will rarely bother with bristle worms.

French Angelfish Disease Potential

White Spot Disease

Like other saltwater angelfish, the french angelfish are susceptible to any sickness in captivity. They are most vulnerable if they are disturbed by improper housing or tankmates. 

White spot disease Cryptocaryon irritans, also known as Marine Ich, Saltwater Ich, and Crypt, is the most prevalent disorder affecting marine tangs and angelfish. The primary symptoms of Marine Ick involve constant scratching that leads to lots of white spots.

Marine velvet

The velvet disease, Oodinium ocellatum (also known as Amyloodinium ocellatum or Branchiophilus Maris), is a flagellate that infects fish.

Symptoms of Marine Velvet include:

  • A peppery covering and clamped pectoral fins.
  • Respiratory distress (breathing rapidly as seen by frequent or rapid gill movements).
  • Eye cloudiness.
  • Possible weight loss.


Parasites on marine fish kept in aquariums with live rock or in a reef tanks are particularly difficult to eradicate.

Copper and formalin solutions, as well as quinine-based medicines, are harmful to other marine species. However, metronidazole and other medicines are effective and safe in treating a variety of protozoan and anaerobic bacterial diseases.

For external parasites, raise the temperature of your tank gradually to at least 82° F (28° C). This will prevent the parasite from completing its life cycle, which involves the attachment to fish.

Last Words.

French angelfish are among the most popular saltwater fish, but they have unique requirements and compatibility concerns that you should be aware of before adding one to your aquarium.

We hope you have enjoyed this article as much as we did.

If you still have questions, please share them with us in the comment section below.