Rock Beauty Angelfish

Rock Beauty Angelfish

Rock beauty angelfish are a dazzling addition to any aquarium. Their bright colors and playful personality make them a favorite among fish enthusiasts.

In the wild, the rock beauty angelfish lives among coral reefs, where marine angelfish use their brightly-colored scales to blend in with the coral.

Rock beauty angels love to play and be very active in the aquarium. rock beauty will often swim back and forth across the tank and hover around the surface.

This guide will provide everything you need to know about keeping rock beauty angels in your aquarium.


Scientific NameHolacanthus tricolor 
Common NamesCorn sugar, coshubba, rock beasty, Catalina, and yellow coloration
OriginCaribbean, Tropical West Atlantic Ocean
Minimum Tank Size120 gallons
Length8 inches
Care LevelExpert
pHdKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4
Temperature72-78° F
Specific Gravitysg 1.020-1.025 
Rock Beauty Angelfish Reefno
Color FormBlack body, Yellow Nanny
Rock Beauty Angelfish Characteristics

Rock Beauty Angelfish Origins & Habitat 


Holacanthus tricolor, also known as corn sugar, coshubba, rock beasty, catalineta, and yellow coloration, is a ray-finned fish from the family Pomacanthidae.

These dwarf angelfish types can be found in the Tropical West Atlantic Ocean, ranging from Bermuda and Georgia’s waterways to Florida and Brazil’s coastlines.

Rock Beauty also can be located at the Flower Gardens Banks off Texas and Veracruz and on the Campeche Bank in Mexico south.


The Rocky Beauty Angelfish, lives inrocky reefs with plenty of coral growth, rock jetties, and similar habitats.

Young fish tend to stay near fire corals and may even hide inside shells.

This fish is a non-migratory fish inhabiting waters ranging from 3 to 92 meters deep.

What Are the Features of Rock Beauty Angelfish?

Holacanthus tricolor 
The Features of Rock Beauty Angelfish(dorsal and anal fins)

1. Appearance

The adult Rock Beauty Angelfish is an oblong fish with a flat, deep body, whereas youngsters are rounder and have only a slightly more elongated body.

Adult caudal fin base develop gorgeous trailing filaments on the dorsal and anal fins and the top part of the tail fin.

2. Colors


Adults have a broad black body area covering most of their bodies and the dorsal and anal fins.

The colors on the face, from the dorsal fins back half to the tail fin, are bright yellow nanny.

The tail fin is bright yellow nanny, and the front edge of the dorsal and anal fins are trimmed in gold or orange, sometimes with a tinge of red.

The two bright blue lines on the upper and lower iris of the eye are the only other colors seen.

During courtship, males will have faint red spots on their tailfin, and their faces will become dark.


Juveniles are bright yellow coloration with a black dot and a brilliant bright blue ring around it near their upper back, whereas adults are dark brown.

The spot will grow in diameter as the fish matures until it covers the entire back two-thirds of the fish as marine angelfish develop.

3. Size

The Rock Beauty Angelfish is a small Holacanthus, reaching only 13 3/4 inches (35 cm) in length. It may grow up to 13 3/4 inches (35 cm); however, it is most often between 7.8 and 10″ (20 and 25.4 cm).

Mature females will reach sexual maturity at three feet nine inches (10 cm), but adult males are 8 inches or more in length.

4. Lifespan

The lifespan of a holacanthus species is 20 years or more, provided that it is appropriately cared for.

Rock Beauty Care Level?

Rock Beauty Care Level
Rock Beauty Angelfish Care Level

The varied diet, gathering regulations, and size of the Rock Beauty Angelfish make keeping them challenging.

They’re best left to more advanced hobbyists, as many individuals who try it in captivity fail.

Unlike other angels, these angelfish do not continuously adapt to aquarium foods, and if it does, long-term care may be complex. Some may seem reasonable for a while and then suddenly turn to black body and die.

However, if you decide to raise this fish, the best method is to find a diver that handles them gently, does not use cyanide or other chemicals, and gradually brings up deeper specimens. Finding a diver may not be challenging since folks in Florida do this for a living.

You may, however, be able to get one from pet stores. Make sure you choose the appropriate size; a 3 to 4-inch (7.6-10 cm) sample is ideal.

Older fish will not eat medicated food kept in an aquarium, while younger ones would starve and become stressed by obtaining and transporting it.

Some tank owners report that adding a new fish to an otherwise well-established aquarium with live rock from Florida and the Caribbean has helped them keep this dwarf angelfish species.

Make sure the rock has plenty of hiding places and natural foods. To sustain a small 3-4″ fish requires food in a tank with at least 100 gallons (more significant is better than taller).

If it matures, transfer it to a 200-gallon tank with plenty of live rock for them to feed on.

To summarize, Rock Beauty isn’t for beginners ‘ keepers.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Availability

Angelfish are available in pet shops and on the internet, and their cost ranges from reasonable to moderately pricey, depending on size.

Small: over 2-2.5″$79.99
Medium: over 2.5-4.5″$109.99
Large: over 4.5-6.5″$135.99
Rock Beauty Angelfish Availability(aquarium trade)

How to Care for Rock Beauty Angelfish?

1. Water Requirements

Water Changes

These own species require pristine water and intense maintenance. High levels of stress can cause various illnesses, and any amount below optimal will be detrimental to your health.

For optimum outcomes in a 100-gallon tank, 10-15% water changes should be done every two weeks.

In tanks over 250 gallons (940 l), water changes of about 30% every 3 – 4 weeks should keep the water quality high.

pH Level

For all angelfish, the pH level should never drop below 8.0. Rock Beauty Angels will tolerate a pH as high as 8.4 but prefer a pH of 8.2 – 8.3.

If your aquarium’s pH level is less than 8.0, you must correct it. Water changes rather than chemicals are the most effective way to manage pH levels.

Water Temperature

In the wild, Rock Beauty Angelfish lives in warm waters around 82°F (28°C).

So to mimic their natural environment, the water temperature in your aquarium should stay between 72.0 to 82.0° F (22.2 to 27.8° C).

Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia Levels

Nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels should be at 0 ppm (per million).

So, water changes and filtration are necessary to remove any toxins in your aquarium. These two factors will help to keep your fish healthy and stress-free.

2. Tank Setup

Rock Beauty Angelfish Tank Setup


The majority of these own species prefer a mature tank with lots of encrusting sponge and algae (Halimeda types) to help them survive throughout their life.

The rock beauty also loves having a lot of live rocks in their aquarium as it gives them plenty of places to hide and graze on the natural algae that grow on it.

So, a 100-gallon tank is suggested as a single specimen, but much larger volumes are required as they grow. They may require up to a 200-gallon tank when they mature.

Instead of being tall, the tank should be broader and more extended. These huge tanks are required to sustain large populations of naturally developing sponges and algae due to their enormous dimensions.

Tank Decoration

1. lighting 

Angelfish needs a greater light concentration in shallower water to produce vitamin A.

So, in your aquarium, marine angelfish requires at least a daylight bulb in the aquarium that emulates their natural habitat and encourages natural algae to develop.

The ideal approach is to set up your tank in a dimly-lit area with a sandy bottom and lots of live rock.

2. Filters

As we said before, these species will not accept anything less than perfect water. As a result, you’ll need a robust filtering system to clean the water.

A canister filter is suggested as holacanthus tricolor are excellent at trapping all types of toxins and debris.

If your aquarium is over 250 gallons, you will also need a protein skimmer to remove organic waste from the water.

3. Hiding Places

The Rock Beauty Angelfish is a group of active fish on rock jetties, reef rubble, and coral reefs. holacanthus tricolor hide in cracks and crevices during the day, especially on seaward reef slopes and dropoffs with many sponges and gorgonians.

After several years of keeping this delicate fish, we find it very important to provide them with many places to hide, and this will help reduce stress and increase their lifespan.

So, include a lot of live rock in your tank and leave plenty of gaps and crevices for them to hide in.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Diet 

Rock Beauty Angelfish Diet 
Rock Beauty Angelfish Diet 

The Rock Beauty Angelfish is an omnivore. In the wild, rock beauty eats tunicates, sponges, zoantharians, algae, and the slime coat of other angelfish.

In an aquarium, you may feed them live foods or pre-prepared foods with a sponge material added and a wide range of veggies, particularly for adults.

The quality of the meals you give your fish is essential, and any flake or pellet foods you choose should include sponge material added and Spirulina. We recommend looking for algae, sponges, and sea squirts from oriental supermarkets “intended” for humans.

Rock beauty is also fond of Nori, dried algae sheets, frozen preparations, and fresh uncooked broccoli, high in vitamin A and C.

If you have predatory fish with your angels, feed the tank first with plant-based and sponge-based foods to give your angelfish their fill. As a result, the angelfish will be complete when meaty meals are introduced and not devour support large quantities of meaty food.

This is almost the specialized diet you’d have to follow:

  • Flake Food: Occasionally
  • Tablet / Pellet: On rare occasions
  • Vegetable matter: The majority of the diet should contain vegetables and sponge material.
  • Meaty Food: Some of the Diet – Give little

Feeding Frequency

Overfeeding fish is one of the most common mistakes that all aquariums make, frequently resulting in death.

Rock Beauty Angelfish is a slow-feeding fish and can be fed 2-3 times a week.

Feed them small amounts several times a day until rock beauty become acclimated to your aquarium when you first get them. After that, stick to the regular feeding schedule above for the best results.

Rock Beauty Angelfish Compatibility

corn sugar
Rock Beauty Angelfish Compatibility

When you think about keeping angelfish, you must also consider what other fish will live in harmony with them.

The best ways to ensure that your Rock Beauty fish will live happily is to center your tank around it.

That means the Rock Beauty Angelfish should be the first fish added to the tank, and after it has been acclimated, fed, and settled down, you can add the other fish.

These species become hostile towards them, so you should avoid keeping them with other tank mates.

Also, avoid sharks and stingrays since angelfish have been documented nipping the eyes of sharks and stingrays, believing rock beauty is corals’ polyps.

Here is a guideline you can follow:

  • Same species – conspecifics: Not aggressive
  • Peaceful fish (gobies, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrasses): Mathesis – Use only fish from their bio-type. Add them after the Rock Beauty Angelfish is comfortable. The smallest angelfish should not be disturbed by large tank in giant tanks.
  • Semi-Aggressive (anthias, clownfish, dwarf angelfish): Keep an eye on the Rock Beauty to ensure that these fish aren’t disturbing or stressing.
  • Aggressive (dottybacks, 6-line & 8-line wrasse, damselfish): A juvenile Rock Beauty might be threatened by these fish.
  • Large Semi-Aggressive (tangs, large angels, large wrasses): The Angelfish Monitor is a unique blend that should only be used with other angelfish and extremely calm tangs. An Atlantic ocean tang would be ideal, but surgeonfish will compete for algae in larger tanks of 250 gallons or more, so a large aquarium is required.
  • Large Aggressive, Predatory (lionfish, groupers, soapfish): Angelfish will also feed on slower-moving sharks and stingrays, particularly their eyes. Bigger angelfish may also target Slow-moving fish with appendages like lionfish. Check for any indications of nipping if you detect anything.
  • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (seahorses, pipefish, mandarins): Threat
  • Anemones: Threat
  • Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs: Threat
  • LPS corals: Threat
  • SPS corals: Threat
  • Gorgonians, Sea Fans: Threat
  • Leather Corals: Threat
  • Soft Corals (xenias, tree corals): Threat
  • Star Polyps, Organ Pipe Coral: Threat
  • Zoanthids – Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Threat
  • Sponges, Tunicates: Threat
  • Brine shrimp, Crabs, Snails: Safe
  • Starfish: Monitor – May nip at appendages.
  • Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Threat
  • Clam mantles, Scallops, Oysters: Threat
  • Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Will did not ingest enough of them to cause significant losses.

Differences Between Male and Female Rock Beauty Angelfish

beauty angelfish
Differences Between Male and Female Rock Beauty Angelfish


  • Some males may be the smallest angelfish males in other harems
  • Males begin to reproduce when holacanthus tricolor develop at 8 inches or larger


  • Females will always be smaller than males in other harems
  • At 3.9 inches (10 cm), females will have completed their reproductive cycle and begin to reproduce

Rock Beauty Angelfish Breeding

tropical western atlantic ocean
Rock Beauty Angelfish Breeding

The Rock Beauty Angelfish is classified as a hermaphrodite. Most angelfish start life as females and may change into males with maturity. Some of them will alter others will remain the same.

Males will be easily identified because he is considerably more significant than females. They also have more giant heads and thicker bodies, making them obvious.

During the courtship, the angelfish pair will slowly swim up the water column, come close to each other, and start to spawn.

The female may lay a million eggs each spawning cycle, and the male fertilizes them. Since the female can produce a million eggs every night for many days in a row, the total number of eggs generated throughout a spawning cycle might reach 10 million.

The eggs are translucent and pelagic, floating in the water column, and rock beauties will hatch in roughly 15 to 20 hours.

The pre-larval angelfish is firmly attached to a large yolk sac and has no functional eyes dorsal fins, eyes, or intestines.

After about 48 hours, the large yolk sac is absorbed, and the fish becomes an actual larva that begins to angelfish feed on plankton in the water column.

Rock Beauty Angelfish are tiny newts that develop fast. They reach a 15-20mm length in three to four weeks and settle on the ocean floor to begin their new existence as little Rock Beauty Angelfish.

Possible Diseases and Prevention

Without the proper care, your Rock Beauty Angelfish may suffer from various diseases.

This section will discuss some of the most common diseases and how you can prevent them.

Nutritional Blindness

Around 6 to 8 months after being acquired, angelfish might develop nutritional blindness due to excessive meaty meals.

If you’re feeding your fry live foods, try to avoid this problem by including green leafy vegetables with Vitamin A in their diet and ensuring that the tank has a lot of natural algae.

White Spot Disease 

yellow nanny
Marine Algae

The most frequent condition affecting marine algae and angelfish is called Crypt, also known as Marine Ich, Saltwater Ich, or Sea Lettuce Syndrome.

This sickness results in a fish’s skin having many white dots, which may vanish for a few days before returning twice as numerous.

The best way to avoid Crypt is to quarantine new fish for at least four weeks and observe them for any early disease indications.

If you see anything out of the ordinary, increase the temperature in the tank by a few degrees, as high as can be tolerated by the fish, to hasten the parasite’s life cycle and help the fish recover more quickly.

Marine Velvet

This disease is caused by the protozoan Amyloodinium ocellatum, resulting in a thin, velvet-like coating on the fish.

The best way to prevent Marine Velvet is to quarantine new arrivals for at least four weeks and observe them for any early disease indications.


Lymphocystis is a viral disease that affects the pectoral fin and mouth, causing cauliflower-shaped nodules.

Marine Angelfish is not very dangerous; however, if they were in the mouth of the fish for a long time and prevented it from eating, you should take action.

Try to keep your water clean and treat your fish with a medication like Maracyn II.

Monogenetic Flukes

These tiny flatworms attach to the fish’s skin and gills and can cause severe damage.

Rock Beauty is usually introduced to a tank when you add other tank mates, so it’s important to quarantine any new arrivals for at least four weeks.

If you suspect that your fish have monogenetic flukes, treat them with a medication like Fluke Tabs or Fish Mox. Still, it’s best to prevent them by quarantining new arrivals for at least four weeks and observing them for any early disease indications.

Last Words

Rock Beauty Angelfish is one of the most challenging and rewarding fish to keep in a saltwater ich aquarium.

It’s a very beautiful fish you’ll be rewarded with their beautiful colors and personalities by providing them with a well-maintained tank, including plenty of the hiding place and appropriate tank mates.

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

Please share any questions with us in the comment section below if you still have any questions.