Masked Angelfish

Masked Angelfish

Masked Angelfish is a beautiful marbled-white color variant with a more prominent perimeter that has an angelic appearance and draws the attention of everyone who sees it, particularly a rare fish collector.

Despite some breeding efforts, it remains one of the world’s most elusive marine aquarium fish owing to its scarcity outside captivity as well as stringent collection limitations within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about keeping a masked angelfish in your aquarium, including proper diet, habitat, and tank mates.


Scientific NameGenicanthus personatus.
OriginHawaiian Islands, Midway Islands.
Minimum Tank Size200 gallons.
LengthM 8.3″.
DietOmnivore (Planktivore).
Aquarist Experience Level Professional.
pH8.0 – 8.5
Temperature66.2 °F – 77 °F.

Masked Blue Angelfish Origins & Habitat 

John Randall first described and discovered the first female masked angelfish specimen in 1972 near Waikiki, and the male masked angelfish specimen was discovered in the same area later that year.

Masked angelfish (Reef fish) is found only in Hawaii and is quite frequent at Kure, Midway, Pearl, and Hermes Reefs in the Midway Islands to the northeast.

It is a beautiful, docile, and uncommon fish that ranges from about 100 to almost 570 feet in depth along with its 1500-mile Pacific Ocean island chain domain.

They are most likely encountered at depths over 300 feet on Kauai, and in progressively shallower water throughout the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where aquarium fish collection is prohibited.

Life Cycle & Life Span/ Behavior


Eggs are pelagic and hatch within 60 hours after fertilization. After that, the fry is put into what’s called 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.

After about seven days, the fry starts getting hungry and will be very desperate for food.

Therefore, make sure to start feeding them after around seven days from hatching.


The juvenile masked angelfish takes two years to reach maturity. They live alone, hiding out in reefs or holes while growing larger and stronger before entering their next stage of adulthood.


Once masked angelfish get into the adulthood stage, it becomes a little more confident and starts to take territories and brutally defend them against invaders.

What Are the Features of Masked Angelfish?

a.Physical Appearance

Masked angelfish has a prominent, curved spine on its “cheek” near the gill cover’s edge, much like other angelfish species.

The small, disc-shaped body of this fish is well-suited to life on coral reefs since it can dart in and out of holes seeking protection.


1. Juveniles

The juvenile masked angelfish has a bright, gorgeous pearly white hue with a tiny black spot over the face, eyes, and mouth.

2. Adults

As they become adolescents, the black facial mask is splotched with blueish white lips, and the yellow pelvic fins turn pale yellow.

Although the all-black caudal fin and body of a juvenile female masked angelfish remain unchanged, the black mask on their face grows smaller, and they acquire yellow pelvic fins.

Also, the amount of black on the face fades to encircle the eyes, with some black under the lips and lower edging of the gill covers.

Moreover, the body of a male Genicanthus personatus is still light pearly white. However, it has a black tail that from the snout to just behind the eye.

A plus to that, the pectoral fins, yellow pelvic fins, and broadband edging of their dorsal and anal fins become bright yellow orange in color.

c. Length 

Mature masked angelfish can reach a maximum length of eight inches (20cm). However, the caudal fin filaments on a mature male may be several inches long as well.

Masked Angelfish Availability

The female masked angelfish and male masked angelfish are one of the most expensive saltwater fish as their price range between $15,000-$20,000.

How to Care for Masked Angelfish?

a.Water Requirements

1. Water change

Masked angelfish are hard to care for and have very strict water requirements. They are grazers that must be fed on a schedule and their water quality monitored to avoid their biomass from becoming excessive.

Therefore, you should do a 10% monthly change in 55 gallons or 15% weekly, if you have 100+ gallons, to maintain excellent water quality. You can also install a high water quality filter, to help in getting rid of the waste the fish produces.

2. pH Level

Maintaining the correct pH level is critical to the long-term health of masked angelfish. Any changes in pH might stress them and cause discomfort.

To avoid stressing out your masked angelfish, keep the pH level of your aquarium between 8.0 and 8.5.

3. Water Temperature

Although they originate from different locations, masked angels can be observed in shallow water near the bottom where it is possible to keep them warm.

Therefore, these fish require a temperature range of 66.2°F–77°F. You can add an aquarium heater to maintain the ideal water temperature for your angelfish.

Also, using a thermostat will help you to test the temperature and keep it stable, so your angelfish don’t experience any drastic changes.

b. Tank Setup

1. Size

These medium-sized species need an aquarium that is at least 135 gallons (511 L) in size to swim and explore comfortably.

If you’re housing it with other fish, especially species that are regarded as somewhat aggressive or lively, you’ll have to purchase at least twice this amount.

2. Tank Decoration

The angels are only found in the wild, and they must be maintained by aquarium enthusiasts with aged deep water tanks where they can feel at home.

Aquascaping your aquarium with live rock will give your masked angelfish a place to hide when they feel stressed.

They also prefer a substrate made from sand or crushed coral reefs, which will help to keep their barbels clean and healthy.

3. Filters

Since they are sensitive to low water quality, it is important to install an aquarium filter that can turn over at least 10-15 times the volume of your aquarium per hour.

If you’re using an external filter with a powerhead, make sure it’s powerful enough for their needs. However, smaller tanks may require fewer media than larger ones do.

Masked Angelfish Diet 

The diet of a masked angelfish should include a variety of foods, including plankton, to keep it healthy in an aquarium.

They should be fed foods like:

  • Krill
  • Raw table shrimp
  • Squid
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Zooplankton
  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Sponge-fortified Angelfish formulation
  • Marine algae

You should offer them regular meals at a particular time. It’s better for them to eat tiny amounts several times each day.

Masked Angelfish Gender Difference

The only way to tell the difference between male and female masked angelfish is by looking at their behavior. When compared to other fish, the larger and more powerful species will become male.

It’s conceivable that the next female masked angle in line for power would transform into a male if a male angelfish dies or is removed from his group by an external force, such as disease.

Possible Diseases and Prevention

White Spot Disease

Masked angelfish, like other saltwater angelfish, are susceptible to any sickness that arises in captivity, especially 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 malady 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:

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


Parasites on marine angelfish kept in aquariums with live rock or in a reef tank 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 the treatment of 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.

Is Masked Angelfish Reef Safe?

They are entirely reef safe and can be maintained in either a reef tank or fish-only system.

Masked Angelfish should be kept in an aquarium with a minimum of 200 gallons and sand or crushed coral substrate, as well as a lot of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among.


Do Masked Angelfish Need a Lot of Care?

They do need more care than some other fish, but if you provide them with the proper environment and diet, they can be a hardy and long-lived addition to your aquarium.

What Is the Life Expectancy of a Masked Angelfish?

In captivity, they can live six years if they are well cared for.

Do Masked Angelfish Eat Coral?

They do eat coral, so it’s best to keep them in a fish-only aquarium or one with plenty of live rock for them to graze on.

Do Masked Angelfish Need a Lot of Room?

They need a lot of space to swim and should be kept in an aquarium that is at least 135 gallons.

Last Words

The masked angelfish is a beautiful and unique saltwater fish that can make a great addition to your aquarium.

If you provide them with plenty of live rock to hide among, a varied diet, and good water quality, they will thrive in captivity.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that it was informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.