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Pomacanthus Paru : Guide On The Beautiful French Angelfish
By Gabriela Desouyez Published: 08/19/2009
The french angelfish (Pomacanthus Paru) is among the three most popular angelfish in the marine aquarium hobby. The other two being the queen angelfish (Holacanthus Ciliaris) and the Emperor Angelfish (Pomacanthus Imperator).
To the untrained eye, french angels look just like gray angels as they are closely related. Telling them apart is easy as adult French Angelfish have flecks off yellow on their scales while Gray angelfish do not. They are completely alike as juveniles, except for one minor detail. Juvenile french angels have a rounded tail fin while juvenile grays have tail fins that are cut off straight down.This trait is also present on adult gray and french angelfish.
The juvenile form of the french is also one of the most beautiful among its cousins. A full jet black with bright yellow vertical bars. Juveniles take on the roles of cleanerfish in the wild, actively picking off parasites off larger fish.
These marine angelfish are widespread throughout the Caribbean and are commonly sighted by divers in that area. Other popular angelfishes from that area include the queen, blue and gray angelfishes.
This is an expensive fish, small specimens usually retail for $80-$90 USD with large adults (Show quality)costing $200 and upwards.
Like its larger cousins, the French Angelfish can be aggressive towards other members of the pomacanthidae (Marine angelfish) family. Expect a lot of fighting/torn fins if you put two french angelfish together in a marine aquarium.
Despite this, the french angelfish assumes a very curious and friendly disposition towards its keepers. It is generally peaceful with species outside its own family. Clownfish, small wrasses and dottybacks are pretty much left alone.
At 16 inches the French angelfish is a whopper! If you plan on keeping one long-term you should house one in a marine aquarium no less than 150 gallons. Of course it always helps to aim higher, something like a 300 gallon is perfect.
Some hobbyists are tricked into buying a small juvenile french angel only to have it outgrow their small aquariums in a matter of months.
So don't be fooled by their small sizes, juveniles grow very quickly. French angels are commonly kept in large community aquariums with a very "open" rock scape. This is to ensure they have ample swimming space. Hobbyists with corals generally avoid keeping this fish, we'll find out why in the next section.
The french angelfish is not reef safe, like all its brethren. Some people have managed to get away with housing a french in a reef aquarium but that's generally not a great idea.
In the wild, their diet is made up of corals, algae, sponges and polyps. Most people avoid keeping them in their reef aquariums as they can make short work of their prized corals. A source of algae like nori/seaweed should be offered along with meaty foods like krill and mysis shrimp.
Offer them a good pellet from a reputable brand like New Life Spectrum as well. A pretty good and balanced food to offer would be formula two, it contains seafood and extra algae for herbivorous fishes. Available in, flake, pellet or frozen cube form.
The best food for a french angelfish is Angel Formula by Ocean Nutrition. Designed to cater to the specific needs of large angelfish, it contains a mix of algae, fresh seafood, vitamins and most importantly, marine sponges. Unfortunately, Angel Formula is only available in frozen cubes.
A bit more about seaweed and nori. You can choose to either purchase branded seaweed sheets from companies catering to herbivorous fish or you can run down to your local supermarket and get some there. Prices vary with market nori, they're either expensive or cheap depending on the brand.
Make sure you buy the plain, unflavoured/unspiced version. If available, raw nori is a great offering. Get a clip for your nori and stick it on the side of the aquarium glass.