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The Regal Angelfish - Dave Lin

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Chad

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Do you have the acro "red bugs" or flat worms  

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  1. 1. Do you have the acro "red bugs" or flat worms

    • I have the acro "red bugs"
      3
    • I have the red or brown flatworms
      2
    • I have both the acro bugs and flatworms!
      1
    • I have none
      5

gallery_2632346_867_19451.jpg The Regal AngelfishPygoplites diacanthusDistributionBlue Belly VariantIndo-Pacific OceanYellow/Orange Belly VariantRed Sea, Indian OceanOften called the "Holy Grail" of angelfish for the reef enthusiast, not many angels garner the same attention as the Regal Angelfish. Rarely does a fish that is not an aberrant or a hybrid merit the same attention this fish does naturally. This gem of the sea is rare enough to be prized among aquarists but common enough to also be within the budget of most enthusiasts. While in years past the problem was finding a fish like this, recent availability has made the problem one of longevity rather than availability.I have been lucky enough to be 2 for 2 with these fish and have a pair in my reef. One is an Indo-Pacific blue belly while the other is an Indian Ocean yellow belly. These fish have been the centerpieces of my aquarium for about 2 years and the success I have enjoyed so far has been predicated on the fact that I did extensive research on these fish including talking to our resident marine angelfish expert, John Coppolino. So, how are you going to find your own success and add this centerpiece to your aquarium? The secret lies in proper acclimation.When acquiring one of these, it is important to get a smaller individual. Reports vary, but most agree that the Regal can reach a maximum size of about 10". That said, that is far from being an ideal size to acclimate to aquarium life. You will want to find a fish that is less than 4"-5". It's difficult to gauge what a good specimen is based solely on size, though, as smaller fish are less likely to have stored fat reserves and will be more affected by shipping trauma and lack of food. If you find a smaller fish that is already too emaciated, you may be too late to save it. Even if it is eating in the store, this does not guarantee that it will eat with you, so be prepared to help it as much as possible.Finding a smaller fish is preferential because an adult fish has already established feeding patterns that may be difficult to duplicate in the aquarium. In the wild Regals mostly eat sponges and tunicates, a diet which most, if not all, aquarists are ill prepared to handle. The key, therefore, lies in acclimating the fish to what you will actually feed on a long term basis. When they are younger and are forming their feeding habits, they are more likely to adapt to a captive diet than when they are larger. Getting a Regal to eat will be the hardest task you will face in terms of survival.In the wild, juvenile Regals often will hang out in and around caves where they can graze in relative security. Duplicating this environment is the best bet to getting one to eat what you are offering. Prior to getting my first Regal, I plumbed a 50 gallon Rubbermaid stock tank with some sand and rock into my main system. I decided to placed it directly into my system without putting it through a separate quarantine first. I did this to ensure that I had as much stability during its acclimation as possible. Although most will not want to do this, for such a delicate fish it was the route I chose. It did have some medicated baths before I introduced it into my system, both in the store and in my home, but other than a freshwater dip every couple of days to ensure that there were no flukes, I didn't take any other preemptive measures to ensure that it was disease and parasite free.On a daily basis I offered clams, mussels, scallops, small chunks of fish, shrimp, mysis, cyclopeeze, flakes, pellets, nori, random martinis and snifters of brandy or whisky, and anything else I could find in the house that might be appealing to a fish. I pretty much left most of this in the system until it wasn't even appealing to the detrivores so that the Regal had as much of an opportunity to pick it over as it could. It took a little while for it to show signs of eating what I was introducing and I slowly pared down what I offered until it would eat whatever it was given rather than be picky about what it wanted. Based on my conversations with Copps, getting it to eat was the most important thing, it didn't really matter what it ate as long as it ate. For me, the key to this system was that it was dark, offered live food and rock for it to pick over, and the sides of the system were opaque so that it could feel more secure rather than having to face the world and see me enter the room every day. Once it was eating, I kept it separated for about another month until I got another Regal. My intention was to keep it on its own but when I got the new one, a yellow belly, I decided that it was time to make the move and let the smaller one acclimate into the main system before stressing it out with a larger one. I followed the same regimen with the second Regal and introduced it into the system prior to adding my Imperator to the acclimation? tank. So, I'm now going on 2

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Nice article. Is one of the two easier to keep? Indo-Pacific Ocean or Red Sea, Indian Ocean? They both look very nice. How large were the fish when you purchased them?

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There used to be a lot of stuff out there on which ones were harder to keep, but I think at this point in time the ones that we are seeing locally are being held until they eat. I wouldn't say that one or the other is less difficult (not I'm not saying easier!) to keep as I think that our local stores are dealing with better overall wholesalers who do a better job in collection. Both of mine did what I expected/hoped for when I purchased them.

 

When I got them they were both about 2-3" I think (it's been a long time since I thought about this). Perhaps slightly larger, now the smaller blue belly is about 4-5" and the yellow belly is around 5-6" I'd guess. It's hard to tell sizes in my tank as everything is constantly moving!

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