Passer Angelfish. Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Passer Angelfish (Holacanthus passer) Item: CN- . Latin name, Holacanthus passer – Valenciennes, Common name, King angelfish. Family, Pomacanthidae – Holacanthus. Origin, East Pacific, Central/ West. Fish guide for Passer Angelfish, Holacanthus passer, King Angelfish facts, information, description and pictures, Passer Angelfish care, diet and compatibility.

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Its close relative the Queen Angelfish Holacanthus ciliaris also has a “crown” and a similar body structure, but these two do differ slightly in size and in overall coloration. The King Angel is smaller.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Both the King and the Queen Angelfish are found in the tropical reef areas adjacent to Central America. Their habitats were once continuous but are now separated due to the uplifting of the Central America Land Bridge, roughly about 5 million years ago.

This extended strip of land now separates the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from the Pacific, and connects the two holzcanthus continents of North and South America. The King Angelfish is found on the the west side of this land bridge in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Queen Angelfish is found on the east side in the Western Atlantic. This angelfish is splendid looking both as an adult and as a youth, though each has a completely different color pattern. This a trait found in all species of Holacanthus angelfish.

This is also true of the Pomacanthus genus holaccanthus angelfish, as an example see the French Angelfish Pomacanthus paru. These adults can range from a paser green to a dark blue overall, accented with a flash of white running vertically down the body from the dorsal fin to the pectoral fin.

They also have a bright orange-yellow fan shaped tail. The feeding habits of these angelfish holacanthua quite extraordinary. Like other species of Holacanthus they feed mostly on sponges, algae, plankton, and other invertebrates, but both juveniles and adults also perform cleaning services.

King Angelfish

Juveniles will set up cleaning stations and remove ectoparasites from a variety of fish including groupers, grunts, snappers, and goatfishes. The male King Angelfish goes even further in satisfying its dietary needs, feeding off the feces of the Scissortail Chromis Chromis atrilobata.

Females tend to have a more discerning palate! This angelfish is moderate in care, just a little harder to care for than the Queen Angelfish, and is well suited for a beginner. But because it can get big it needs at least a gallon aquarium. Good water quality is a must with a pH of at least 8. Like other angelfish that are exposed to the sunlight at shallower depths, the King Angelfish will need a good spectrum lighting for its health, or at least sunshine on the tank for part of the day.

Live rock with plenty of hiding places will help it feel secure, but make sure there is plenty of swimming room in front of the rocks. For best success, purchase a sub-adult that is 3 to 4″ and offer it some sponge covered rocks to induce an initial feeding response. The King Angelfish is a very hardy aquarium inhabitant, but like so many angelfish, it can get quite belligerent. It is possibly the most aggressive of all angelfish, and definitely the most aggressive of the Holacanthus species.

These guys will even nip the fins of stationary Lionfish! Tank mates do need to be active, as sedentary or passive fish will get picked on. It should be kept singly, but larger and predatory fish, aggressive fish, and other types of large angelfish in very large systems of gallons or more can work. Passive peaceful fish will be tormented as well as most corals, star polyps, zoanthids and yellow colonial polyps.

Large decorative shrimp, snails, crabs and bristle worms are generally safe to keep with the King Angelfish. The King Angelfish, Holacanthus passer, has various color morphs from juvenile to adult. Adult King Angelfish will clean Hammerhead Sharks, so hey if you happen to have a tank the size of most houses, get one! Otherwise a tank that is at least gallons minimum is need for proper growth for this 14″ angelfish!


It is odd, but large angelfish, if their growth is stunted by a small tank, will result in their death! Their organs will grown to proper size, but if the body does not make it to the correct length, these organs are in essence are crushed, leading to death in about a year or so. Others are Passer Angelfish which is part of the scientific name and Whitebanded Angelfish which describes the vertical curved thin bar on each side of the body. One additional name, though not commonly seen is Angel Real.

Another is the French name for this fish of Demoiselle Royale. At one time or another this genus contained over 60 of the approximately 86 marine angelfish species. Today however, after much re-classification, there are only 8 species contained in this group and all but one of these are found near the Americas.

Of the other 7 species, 3 are found in the tropical east Pacific Ocean and 4 are found in the tropical west Atlantic. The Holacanthus angelfish require very large aquariums ranging from gallons to well over gallons, and they have a specialized diet that needs to include sponge material. The only exception is the Rock Beauty Angelfish Holacanthus tricolorwhich adapts poorly and will often starve to death.

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However none of these holacanthua angelfish are considered reef safe as they will severely nip at all types of sessile invertebrates. These angelfish are commonly found at depths between 3.

Most commonly, adults are found in groups or pairs near rocky and coral reefs. An adults male will pair off with a single female and form a long-term bond when the population is low. In higher aggregations, similar to Centropyge, one male passsr occupy the territories of up to females. Each female defends her territory from other females, yet the males do not defend the territory. Juveniles are typically solitary and very territorial. They prefer shallower waters, and they are sometimes found in tide pools.

The foods they eat are somewhat dependent on their size and sex. Juveniles mostly eat algae and are cleaners of larger fish like snappers, groupers, grunts, and goatfish. All adults consume various types of algae, sponges and to a lesser degree invertebrate eggs, cnidarians, and zooplankton.

Large males at the Galapagos Islands feed on the feces of Scissortail Chromis Chromis atrilobatabut females from this area are more into algae and benthic invertebrates.

Adults, both male and female, have been known to regularly clean off large Pandarus copepods from Scalloped Hammerheads Sphyrna lewini These pests bother them to the point that these Hammerheads will descend to the depths that the King Angelfish is found for regular cleanings!

Description The King Angelfish is an elongated fish that is deep bodied and paswer. This angelfish can live for 20 or more years in captivity with good care.

Holacanthus passer, King angelfish : aquarium

The adults have a few color variations. The most attractive is a dark blue form which has this coloration on the face, body and most of the dorsal and anal fins. The pasaer form is a gray to green coloration. Both have a long white vertical band that runs from the top of the back to just about where the pectoral fins are located.

The tail fin, pectoral fins, and a small section on the very top of the head, starting from the crown on their forehead to the beginning of the dorsal fin are all yellow to orange. The edges of their dorsal and anal fins are trimmed in 2 colors, orange below and a thinner line of bright blue on top. Males are larger than females and have white pelvic fines,while the females have yellow pelvic fins.

Juveniles start with a body that’s orange to the front and brown to the back. They will develop a bright blue edging around the dorsal and anal fins, like the parentswhen they start into the sub-adult age. Juveniles will have the same white band running vertically across the body, but it is longer and slowly shrinks in length as the fish ages. Juveniles also have multiple vertical bright blue bars behind the white bar, and the 2 that are on either side a brownish eye bar.


These young specimens are very similar in appearance to juvenile Clarion Angelfish Holacanthus clarionensis found around the same region, but are generally a bit darker than the Clarion Angel. As sub-adults they begin to develop a darker color in front of the white bar but the color stays more orange behind the white bar. Ultimately, the overall color will be a dark bluish gray or grayish green of the adults.

Obtaining a tiny juvenile is not suggested, since it will have a difficult time acclimating to captive life. For the best success obtain a sub-adult between 3 to 4″ since they will be the size most likely to adapt to prepared foods.

This angelfish is a grazer, so having plenty of live rock with natural macro algae growing on the surface is very helpful both initially for a new juvenile, and for long term maintenance. They will need at least gallons or more if paired male and female. Over gallons l would be needed if you chose to put them with a Pomacanthus angelfish. Any other angels should not be the same size, nor have a similar color or body shape.

These angelfish are very aggressive and will harass new fish added after them, which can make them difficult to find suitable tank mates for. Its tankmates need to be equally aggressive and fast moving. It is important to make sure there are a lot of places to hide and to add this fish to the tank last.

Foods and Feeding The King Angelfish is an omnivore. In the wild juveniles feed mostly on filamentous algae, but are also known to clean external parasites from other fish. Adults feed on algae and sponges, as well as smaller amounts of invertebrate eggs, cnidarians, zooplankton, and parasites from other fish. The King Angelfish is a grazer, so plenty of live rock with natural macro algae growing on the surface is very important for their health with a small amount of meaty foods.

Juveniles eat more algae than adults, thus foods while juveniles should have a greater content of algae and other vegetables. In the aquarium feed a diet with a wide variety holxcanthus vegetable materials.

The quality of the food is important and any flake or pellet foods you choose should contain sponge material and Spirulina. They love Nori and will eat the various colors of dried algae sheets, and frozen preparations. They can also be offered fresh uncooked pasxer which will provide them with vitamin A and C. Adding caulerpa to the tank is also appreciated. You may also supplement their diet with a very small amount of meaty fare such as brine and mysis shrimps, along with finely chopped marine flesh.

Use meaty foods sparingly. If you have carnivorous fish housed with this angelfish, feed the tank with vegetable based foods first to give the angelfish their fill. Then when meaty foods are added the angelfish will be pretty full and will not consume high levels of meaty foods.

Passed several small meals a day, rather than one large meal daily. Offer 2 to 3 feedings a day with only an amount that can be consumed in about 5 minutes. Left over food should be removed to keep water quality high. Aquarium Care These angelfish need very good water quality, pwsser anything below acceptable levels will result in stress which can lead to several illnesses. As with all angelfish, the pH level should never drop below 8.