What Does the Emperor Angelfish Eat?

The emperor angelfish is prized in aquariums and fish tanks for its colorful patterns.
The emperor angelfish is prized in aquariums and fish tanks for its colorful patterns. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The emperor angelfish is a brightly colored saltwater fish. It is native to the Pacific Ocean, however, due to its attractive color patterns it is a popular choice for many aquariums and fish enthusiasts. The emperor angelfish is an aggressive fish with unusual habits, but with careful tank management angelfish owners can simulate the natural environment of the fish.

Natural Habitat

The emperor angelfish is a reef fish by nature. Juvenile fish often hide under ledges and inside small holes within the reef, while adults often live in larger holes and surge channels occurring by the reef's edge. Emperor angelfish also frequently inhabit underwater caves, and they are more often found in areas with heavy algae growth. The angelfish is found in ocean depths of up to 100 meters.

Natural Diet

In the wild, emperor angelfish are known to feed primarily on encrusting organisms such as sponges; however, they are also known to eat algae, tunicates, vascular and other small animals. Often juvenile angelfish feed on parasites.

Domestic Diet

In an aquarium or fish tank, the angelfish's omnivorous diet must be maintained. However, emperor angelfish adapt well to diets of meaty food, like shrimp, brine or krill. This diet should be augmented with spirulina and marine algae; the angelfish also consumes any algae growth in the tank.

Emperor Angelfish Food Preparations

Emperor angelfish can also be taught to adapt to food preparations and formulas. Most fish food formulas intended for angelfish are sufficient for the emperor angelfish, including angelfish flake food. When shopping for prepared formula food, purchase a type containing meaty substances such as brine or krill in addition to plant-based nutrients such as spirulina or algae.

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