Gray Angelfish

Gray Angelfish

Have you ever seen a gray angelfish? Pomacanthus arcuatus is an interesting fish to look at, with its unique coloring.

However, some people hesitate to keep them because Pomacanthus arcuatus aren’t sure how to care for them. 

In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about grey angelfish, from their diet and tank size requirements, to how to keep them healthy and happy.


Scientific NamePomacanthus Arcuatus Gray Angelfish
Common Name
gray angelfish
the Pomacanthidae
Genus SpeciesPomacanthus arcuatus Gray Angelfish
Specific gravity1,020:1,025
Temperaturebetween 23°C (73.4°F) and 26°C (78.8°F) 
pH levelbetween 8.0 and 8.3 
25.4 to 45.7 cm (10 to 18 in.) avg; 61 cm (24 in.) max
1.8 kg (4.0 lbs.) max
Originthe Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Western Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Waters
Pomacanthus Arcuatus Characteristics

Gray Angelfish Origin & Habitat


The gray angelfish is a tropical waters fish found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from New York to Rio de Janeiro, although it seldom extends north of Florida during the winter.

It is also found in the northern, central, and southern Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico and it has been brought to Bermuda from the Bahamas.


Gray angelfish are small, solitary fish found in pairs or large schools. Gray angelfish typically reside among the coral reefs at 7-98 feet (2-30 m).

These angelfish types spend most of their time hiding from predators in the reef depths, especially during nighttime. Shallow patch coral reef and grassy areas are where juvenile gray angelfish dwell.

Angelfish Behavior

When gray angelfish are young, the gray angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus) prefer to live in groups, once gray angelfish grow up pomacanthus arcuatus lives as solitary fish.

However, it is not advised to keep angelfishes alone in aquariums since boredom might negatively influence their health.

This fish makes a sound that sounds like a howl in response to one another!

How Do Gray angelfish Defend Themselves?

Angelfishes have a sharp spine on each pot cover. Gray angelfish use this as a weapon to defend themselves in their daily life or even to squeeze themselves into the coral reefs.

Gray angelfish can also become aggressive when stressed and are known to bite their companion in the sea or at aquariums.

Pomacanthus arcuatus Characteristics also try to camouflage in the coral reefs to confuse their predators.

Gray Angelfish Description

1. Color


  • The adult Gray Black Angelfish, often known as the adult Gray Angelfish, has a grey body with dusky blue polka-dots and similar dusky blue highlights on its caudal, dorsal, and anal fin.
  • A grayish face also characterizes it with translucent, pale gray margin skin.
  • The yellow interior of the pectoral fins is visible.
  • The hue of the mouth is white.


  • The juvenile gray angelfish appear to be significantly distinct from their adult forms, starting black with yellow stripes and changing color dramatically as pomacanthus arcuatus age.
  • A sandwiched pattern frame surrounds the eye and range extends down the brow, while a yellow band encircles the mouth.
  • The yellow-tinted caudal fin has a clear border and is square-shaped.

2. Appearance


The gray angelfish has a thin discus-shaped body with elongated filaments on the dorsal and anal fins.


The lower jaw protrudes beyond the top jaw. The mouth is tiny and has comb-like teeth.


The vertical fins are all the same size, and the dorsal fin is continuous, assisting in the distinction from its nearby relative, the spadefish.

Pectoral fins, on the other hand, cover more than half of the base of the anal, while the caudal fin is rounded in youngsters and becomes progressively straighter with age.

Grey Angelfish Length & Weight


The gray angelfish reaches a maximum length of 24 inches (60cm). However, these fish are most often seen at 17-19 inches (43-48 cm).

The average adult body depth is about 1.3 to 1.4 inches (3.3 to 3.5 cm), and at 9 inches (23 cm) long, the fish reaches maturity.


Grey angelfish weigh almost 1.8 kg (4 lb).

Gray Angelfish Lifespan

In the wild

The average lifespan of the gray angelfish is 10 years, although gray angelfish may live up to 20 years.

In captivity

Gray angelfish have a life expectancy of 5-10 years when kept in an aquarium; however, if you provide it with a good diet and plenty of covers, gray angelfish may live much longer.

How to Care for Gray Angelfish?

1. Water Parameters

PH Level

The pH level of your tank should be between 8 and 8.3, with a gray angelfish being the happiest in this range.

If it falls outside of this, your angelfish may become stressed and even die.


The ideal temperature for angels is between 23°C and 26°C (73.4°F and 78.8°F).

If the temperature fluctuates too much or is too high or low, your angelfish will become stressed, affecting its health and lifespan.

Specific Gravity

Specific gravity is a measure of the weight of water in comparison to an equal volume of pure water.

In other words, a specific gravity of 1.0 means that the object in question displaces 1 liter (1kg) of water.

You should aim to keep the specific gravity of 1.020 and 1.025. Anything above or below this range could potentially cause problems for your angelfish.

Nitrite, Nitrate & Ammonia Level

All three of these levels should be kept as low as possible because grey angelfish can be harmful to your angelfish even at low levels.

Ammonia and nitrite levels should be at 0 ppm, while nitrate levels should not exceed 20 ppm.

Water Changes

Water changes are essential to maintain the health of your angelfish. Without water changes, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels will continue to rise, putting your angelfish at risk.

It would help if you aimed to change at least 10% of the water in your tank every week.

2. Tank Setup

Tank Size

The Gray Black Angelfish is a resilient fish that may reach a total length of 20 inches as an adult; thus, it requires a tank of 250 gallons or more.

Anything less than this will make your gray angels cramped and stressed.


Gray angelfish come from shaded waters in their natural environment, so pomacanthus arcuatus prefers a dimmer light setting in the home aquarium.

A moderate level of indirect lighting is ideal. From our experience, a tank with around 2-3 watts of light per gallon is perfect for them.

If your tank doesn’t have this, you may want to consider adding a light source.


Without a doubt, it is critical to clean the water after the fish have been fed since uneaten food will rot and create ammonia.

So, a filter is a must for any aquarium that houses angelfish. We recommend using a canister filter, as these can handle a high volume of water and filter out smaller particles.

Plants & Driftwood

Angelfish appreciate heavily planted tanks with a few hiding places since it helps them relax.

You should also include some live rock and driftwood in the tank to give them something to explore.

However, be cautious about any sharp decorations that may injure your fish.

Hiding Places

One of the most important aspects of keeping an angelfish is to provide them with plenty of hiding places.

This is because grey angelfish are shy and often become stressed in an environment that doesn’t have enough places to hide.

Suitable hiding places include caves, overhangs, and flower pots are all great for this.

Gray Angelfish Diet

Although grey angelfish is an omnivore, its diet is primarily made up of sponges and encompasses a wide range of algae and invertebrates, including:

  • Tunicates
  • Zoantharians
  • Gorgonians
  • Hydroids
  • Bryozoans

The fry eats algae and detritus, and ectoparasites that pomacanthus arcuatus removes from other fish.

Pomacanthus arcuatus tend “cleaning stations,” where pomacanthus arcuatus eliminate ectoparasites from various fish species, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses.

Gray Angelfish Compatibility

This fish is typically docile, although it may engage in combat with large swarms of fish or other fish that appear to be the same.

When kept together, it should not be housed with finned fish that have prominent fringes, such as coral blennies, unless pomacanthus arcuatus is introduced to one another early.

Gray Fish Best Tankmates

  • Danios
  • Corydoras
  • Clown loaches
  • Mollies
  • Platies

Gray Angelfish Breeding

The spawning season generally begins in April and continues until September. The female is seen releasing eggs above a deep coral reef early in the morning.

During this time, the pair swim a meter or two above the coral reef and engage in brief chases before battling any other fish that come near.

When pomacanthus arcuatus is ready, the pair swims up towards each other, and their bellies come together to release eggs and milt.

Females can lay between 25,000 and 75,000 eggs, and the process can be repeated many times.

The eggs are pelagic and hatch after 15-20 hours into larvae live among plankton for another 15-20 hours before settling on the coral reef as adults.

Gray Angelfish Parasites,

Unfortunately, Gray angelfish are sensitive to external parasites, so pomacanthus arcuatus needs to be monitored closely.

Some of the parasites that can affect them include:

  • Antorchis urna
  • Cleptodiscus reticulatus
  • Hamacreadium mutable
  • Hapladena megatyphlon
  • Hexangitrema Pomacanthus
  • Hexangitrema price
  • Phyllodistomum Pomacanthus
  • Pleurogonius candidulus
  • Pleurogonius McIntosh
  • Pyelosomum erubescens
  • Theletrum fusiform

Copepods are also known as ectoparasites which include:

  • Caligus atromaculatus
  • Caligus longipedis
  • Caligus xystercus
  • Pseudanuretes parvulus
  • Thysanote Pomacanthus

How to Prevent Parasites

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your angelfish from getting parasites, including:

  • Keep the tank clean
  • Remove any uneaten food
  • Quarantine new fish for at least two weeks
  • Regularly treat the tank with a parasite medication

Last Words

Pomacanthus arcuatus are beautiful fish that can be kept in an aquarium with the proper setup.

So, if you are looking for a fish that is docile and moderate to care for, the pomacanthus arcuatus may be the perfect choice for you.

We hope you have enjoyed this article as much as we did.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below, and we will be happy to reply.