Dwarf Angelfish

Species NameCentropyge spp.
Common NameDwarf Angelfish
Care LevelModerate
Lifespan5-7 years
Adult Size3-4 inches (7.6-10 cm)
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Temperature72°F – 82°F (22°C – 28°C)
Water ConditionspH 8.1-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025, dKH 8-12

About the Dwarf Angelfish – Species Summary

Dwarf Angelfish, belonging to the Centropyge genus, are vibrantly colored marine fish that grace the coral reefs of tropical and subtropical oceans. These fish are the smaller counterparts to the larger marine angelfish and are popular choices for home aquariums due to their striking appearance and relatively compact size. Given their vibrant color patterns and dynamic behaviors, they are often considered the jewels of the reef aquarium hobby.

Originating from various parts of the Indo-Pacific, Atlantic, and other oceanic regions, each species of Dwarf Angelfish displays unique colorations and patterns. They are inherently curious creatures, often found exploring rock crevices and coral formations in search of algae and small invertebrates to feed on.

Dwarf Angelfish Lifespan

On average, the Dwarf Angelfish has a lifespan of 5 to 7 years in captivity, given the right conditions. Like most marine species, their lifespan in the wild might differ due to predation and other environmental factors. However, in a well-maintained aquarium, free from major threats and with proper nutrition, these fish can thrive and live out their full lifespan.


Dwarf Angelfish are renowned for their vivid and often iridescent colorations. Ranging from radiant blues, fiery oranges, to luminous yellows, their hues can vary significantly between species. Apart from their colors, they are also characterized by their compressed, oval-shaped bodies, and elongated dorsal and anal fins. The combination of their bright colors and graceful swimming patterns makes them a mesmerizing sight in any aquarium setting.

Average Size

Though they are called “dwarf”, these angelfish still have a notable presence in an aquarium. On average, they reach an adult size of about 3 to 4 inches (7.6 to 10 cm) depending on the specific species.

Dwarf Angelfish Care

Tank Size

A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is typically recommended for a single Dwarf Angelfish. If you’re considering introducing multiple angelfish or other tank mates, a larger aquarium will be necessary to provide adequate space and reduce territorial disputes.

How To Set Up Their Tank

To replicate their natural habitat, incorporate plenty of live rock formations, creating numerous hiding spots and crevices. These fish appreciate multiple nooks and crannies to explore and retreat to. A sandy substrate will also be beneficial for the other tank inhabitants and for the overall aesthetic of a reef environment.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting is preferable for Dwarf Angelfish. If you have live plants or corals, ensure that their specific lighting needs are met, which can indirectly benefit the angelfish by promoting the growth of algae, one of their food sources.


Maintain a stable pH level within the range of 8.1 to 8.4 to keep your Dwarf Angelfish healthy.


A temperature range between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C) is ideal for Dwarf Angelfish. As with most marine species, consistency in temperature is vital, so consider investing in a reliable heater and thermometer.

Water Parameters

Dwarf Angelfish require clean and stable water conditions. Aim for a salinity between 1.020 and 1.025 and dKH levels of 8-12. Regular water testing is crucial to monitor and maintain appropriate nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia levels.

Disease Potential

Dwarf Angelfish, while resilient, are susceptible to common fish diseases like marine ich and bacterial infections. Quarantine any new additions to your tank and observe your angelfish for any signs of disease, such as spots, color fading, or lethargy. Early detection and treatment are key to managing these ailments.

Food & Diet

Being omnivores, Dwarf Angelfish have a varied diet in the wild, consisting of algae, small invertebrates, and other marine organisms. In captivity, a mix of high-quality angelfish pellets, marine flakes, spirulina, and occasional meaty treats like mysis or brine shrimp will suffice. It’s also beneficial to offer marine seaweed or nori sheets using a veggie clip.

Behavior and Temperament

Dwarf Angelfish are known for their curious and somewhat territorial nature. They are generally peaceful but can show aggression towards their own kind or similarly sized fish, especially in smaller tank setups. They’re active swimmers and enjoy exploring their environment.

Tank Mates

While they might show aggression towards other angelfish, Dwarf Angelfish generally coexist peacefully with a variety of other marine species. Tank mates like clownfish, tangs, blennies, and various invertebrates can be suitable companions. However, avoid housing them with larger predatory fish or very small invertebrates that they might consider food.


Breeding Dwarf Angelfish in captivity is challenging, mainly due to their specific requirements and territorial behavior. However, dedicated hobbyists have achieved success by setting up specialized breeding tanks and closely monitoring water parameters and diet. Once spawning occurs, the eggs will float and hatch within a day or so. Rearing the fry requires meticulous care and a specialized diet to increase the chances of success.

Dwarf Angelfish FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)