Centropyge flavissima – Lemonpeel Angelfish
Centropyge flavissima or Lemonpeel Angelfish belong to the family Pomacanthidae. This fish is indigenous to the Indo-Pacific with populations existing all the way to Easter Island. Their presence has recently been reported around the reef system near He’eia Pier in Kaneohe Bay in Oahu, Hawaii although they are not endemic to those waters. Their presence is thought to be from an aquarium trade related release into virgin territory. This species most frequently inhabits shallow lagoons and exposed seaward reefs in lower surge zones at depths of up to 180 feet.
These dwarf angles are real eye catchers in a saltwater aquarium. Their bodies are solid chrome yellow as opposed to the intricate patterning found on many angel species. This vibrant coloring is accented by a circle of neon blue around their eyes, and along the outer edge of their gill covers and fins. Juvenile Lemonpeels have a large black ocellus (false eyes) rimmed in blue on the sides of their body. These eyespots will fade into oblivion as the fish matures.
Synonyms: Holacanthus flavissimus, Centropyge flavissimus.
This is one of the larger dwarf angles. It will grow to an adult length of almost 6 inches. Don’t let their size fool you. These are tenacious little rascals and among the most aggressive of all the dwarf angel varieties. Do not attempt keep this angle with other angel species. A prolonged territorial dispute is almost evitable. This turf war will generally continue until only the victory remains alive to claim dominion over its territory. Same species feuds are a different story all together. These are harem fish. A single male can be kept with a single or even a small group of females without anything more exciting than an occasional domestic quarrel. Do not attempt to house two males together. These will make fine additions to a FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) aquarium as long as they are surrounded by semi-aggressive species of similar size.
The introduction of a dwarf angel to a marine reef tank always comes with a note of caution. In this case it is not worth the gamble. This species has a renowned propensity for large-polped stony corals and trinanid clam mantles. Despite its rowdy demeanor, lemonpeels are one of the least hardy of dwarf angel species. They are rated at a moderate care level. A large assortment of live rock profuse with micro-algae growth will help to insure their chances of long-term survival. Under premium conditions this fish may reach up to 12 years of age in captivity.
If you intend to keep a group of Lemonpeels in an aquarium together, you will want to purchase them as young juveniles. Like most angels, these are protogynous synchronous hermaphrodites. They are born genderless. In the primary stages of their life cycles every fish will develop into a female. The male gene is present in each female. Every female has the ability to transform into a male. This morphological transition is determined by the lack of a male of the species in a given population. Hormonal changes will be triggered in the largest, most dominant member of the female populace. The end result is a single male whose charge it is to prorogate the species. In the event of this seed carrier’s demise, the second most dominant female becomes its successor. This change in gender is permanent. Males do not have the ability to morph back into females.
Dwarf angels are omnivorous. A juvenile’s diet consists primarily of plankton. Adults derive their sustenance from a combination of small crustaceans, mollusks and worms interfused with copious amounts of algae. A high quality food product formulated for marine angelfish should be further supplemented with fresh chopped seafood and dried or frozen algae products.
Reproduction of Centropyge flavissima
This species rarely breeds in captivity. In their natural environment they have the ability to cross over inter-species boundaries and mate with other dwarf angelfish including; half-black angels (Centropyge vroliki) and Eibli Angelfish (Centropyge eibli). The resulting hybrids are exceedingly rare and considered a prized trophy among serious saltwater aficionados.