Royal/Royal Empress/Regal Angelfish

Royal/Royal Empress/Regal Angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus

Type of Animal:
Marine Angelfish

Coral rich areas as deep as 262.467 ft


Very compressed moderately elongate fish, yellowish-orangish fish w/ white/blue stripes/bars, yellow tail, lapis-blue dorsal/anal fins, very colorful fish

Sponges, tunicates, shrimp, krill, seaweed, algae, vegetable matter, clams, squid, crabs

Status in Wild:

Breeding in aquariums, aquaculture, & zoos. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish.

Solitary or harems of a male w/ 1-4 females. Juveniles solitary.

Additional Info:

Young: Fry
Group: School
Male: 10-14 oz
Female: 9-13 oz
15-24 hours

Life Span:
14-15 years

Body Length:
Male: 5-10 in
Female: 4-9 in
Young: 1-2 in

Main predators are sharks, larger fish, marine mammals, & birds.
These fish very shy/secretive in wild & in captivity.
Other name for this fish are Blue-Banded Angelfish & Empress Angelfish.
Usually spawn at dusk or at night.
Females perform spiraling dances as they release eggs for fertilization by male. Eggs float to surface becoming plankton.
Only member of genus Pygoplites.
Single female can release thousands of eggs each time she mates.
Larval stage lasts 1-2 months, w/ fish then becoming juveniles.
Maturity reached at around 1-2 years old.
They can easily be spotted even when visibility is low.
Adults will travel long distances throughout reef.
These fish secrete skin mucus providing protection against parasites/infections & helping them move through water faster.
Dorsal/ventral fins lend stability in swimming, tail fins help it propel through water, & pectoral fins are for locomotion & side-to-side movement.

Fun Fact(s):
It’s often recommended to buy specimens from Red Sea, Sri Lanka, or Australia due to relatively better treatment they receive compared to SE Asian fish. Either way, these fish are only for expert aquarists.
Sought after due to beauty but very difficult to keep/breed in captivity. Fish bought as older juveniles seem to adapt best to aquarium life.
Like all marine angelfish, females can change sex to males. This most often occurs if there’s no dominant males around so high-ranking female becomes male. Less dominant males sometimes become females & males can revert to being female if more dominant male comes along.

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