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Dwarf Marine Angelfish

Dwarf Marine Angelfish Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

dwarf marine angelfish

This care sheet covers a variety of dwarf marine angelfish, including:



Centropyge bicolor, Centropyge tibicen, Centropyge acanthops, Centropyge bispinosa, Centropyge flavissima, Centropyge ferrugata, Centropyge argi, Centropyge loricula, Centropyge multicolor, Centropyge eibli


Dwarf marine angelfish, with their striking coloration and vivid patterns, are best kept in fish-only aquariums; however, they are compatible with a wide range of marine species. These fish are native to the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Caribbean and Red Sea. It is highly recommended to maintain caution if keeping them in reef aquariums, as they are prone to nip at stony corals, soft corals and clam mantles. Dwarf marine angelfish are semi-aggressive and cannot be kept with their own species (unless they are a mated pair) or other dwarf angelfish species. These personable and alluring fish make a great addition to an underwater marine oasis.


Typical appearance and behavior

  • Dwarf marine angelfish come in beautiful and vibrant colors, including yellow, purple, orange, red, black, white and blue
  • They are usually mild-tempered but can be territorial and will become aggressive when breeding
  • Live rock is a great addition to their aquarium for providing hiding areas— they will also nibble the algae and sponge growing on it in between feedings
  • They start life as female and sometimes change to male under certain circumstances
  • Dwarf angels can be sensitive to copper



Care Difficulty Beginner to advanced, depending on species
Average Life Span Up to 10+ years with proper care
Average Adult Size 3 to 8”, depending on species
Diet Omnivore
Minimum Habitat Size 55+ gallons
Water Temperature 74–80°F
Specific Gravity 1.020-1.025



Habitat size

A minimum of a 55+ gallons is recommended for a smaller adult dwarf marine angelfish species, but a larger aquarium will be needed for a species like the keyhole angelfish.


Building your habitat

  • Water health - Provide proper filtration to ensure optimal water quality to help maintain health. Moderate to strong water circulation, based on species, should be provided to mimic water currents found in the dwarf marine angelfish's natural habitat. Stable water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and water temperature are critical to the health of aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality, bring a sample to Petco for free testing. The addition of a protein skimmer can aid with maintaining great water quality and high dissolved oxygen levels. An aquatic heater should be used to stabilize water temperature, ensuring it does not fluctuate more than +/-2 degrees in a 24-hour period. The specific gravity should remain stable. Do not allow specific gravity to fluctuate more than +/-0.001 in a 24-hour period.
  • Décor- Provide rock and décor for hiding places and plenty of room for movement.
  • Live rock can provide a natural food source while also enhancing biological filtration.




A well-balanced dwarf marine angelfish diet consists of:

  • A variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried and frozen foods
  • Commercial algae sheets


Things to remember when feeding dwarf marine angelfish:

  • Feed small amounts 2 to 3 times daily, no more than fish will eat in 1 to 2 minutes
  • Thaw frozen food before feeding



Dwarf marine angelfish care

Maintaining great water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration is important to help keep your dwarf marine angelfish healthy

  • Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment
  • Weekly: Test water quality at least once a week
  • Weekly to monthly: Change 10–25% of the total volume of water every two to four weeks, or as needed; change filter media monthly

Avoid overcrowded conditions; this is a major cause of stress and disease



Where to buy dwarf marine angelfish

Various dwarf marine angelfish are available for purchase at Petco online and in store; availability varies by location. If visiting your local Petco Pet Care Center location, please call ahead to check availability.


Dwarf marine angelfish supplies


Tank mates



Signs of a healthy dwarf marine angelfish

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Fins completely intact and undamaged
  • Free of parasites or disease


Red flags (If you notice any of these signs, contact your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian)

  • Loss of color or appetite
  • Spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • Erratic swimming
  • Labored breathing
  • Weight loss
  • Cloudy eyes or pop-eye
  • Bloating
  • Frayed fins
  • Listlessness


Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueFin rot Symptoms or CausesFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueBacterial infections Symptoms or CausesCloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; add freshwater salt and use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueMarine Ich or marine velvet Symptoms or CausesCysts on fins, gills and skin; labored breathing; excess skin mucus or pale skin. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish immediately and use a commercial parasite remedy as directed; complete a water change; freshwater dips can help dislodge the parasites; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueViral infection (lymphocystis) Symptoms or CausesWhite nodule growths on fins or body Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.



  • How big do dwarf marine angelfish get? Dwarf marine angelfish can average an adult size between 3 and 8 inches in length, depending on species.


Additional care sheets


Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center partner about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as atypical mycobacterium and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.


The information on this care sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.