Coral Beauty

The coral beauty or Centropyge bispinosa (not yet evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species) is known by several different English names including Coral beauty angelfish, Coral Beauty, Coral beauty angel, Two-spined angelfish, as well as the Dusky angelfish (the common Dusky angelfish name can often lead to confusion, as it is also linked to the Centropyge multispinis species).

Coral Beauty Geographical range, habitat and habits

The Indo-Pacific stretching from East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands is the habitat of the Coral Beauty. Its range continues up to the Izu Island northwards, and to Lord Howe Island southwards. The Coral Beauty is found neither in the Red Sea nor in the southern Pacific Ocean.

The Coral Beauty stays in lagoons and seaward reef slopes with excellent coral growth. They thrive at a depth ranging from about 9 m or 30 ft to 45 m or 148 ft. They can be found individually as well as in groups and they are known to form harems consisting of 3-7 specimens. The Coral Beauty is a reclusive creature that in hides in crevices.

Coral Beauty Size and appearance

The largest measured Coral Beauty has been found to be 10.0 cm or 3.9 in long.

The Coral beauty is often dark blue on the head and fins, with iridescent orange on the body and dark vertical stripes, although the colouration does seem to be variable. For example, some of the fish are light orange with barring broken into a series of spots, whilst others can be found to be dominantly purple. Those living in deep-water tend to be very pale in appearance.

The two stripes that adorn the body of the Coral Beauty are referred to by the name bispinosa, though it is not clear if the name-giver has named the fish referring to the two blue stripes that decorate the dorsal fin or with respect to the two vertical stripes situated behind the Coral Beauty’s gills.

When netting, coral beauty care must be taken, as the spine over the gill cover can become entangled easily. A bucket or refrain nets are much safer means of catching them, and are recommended. A bright orange variant of Centropyge bispinosa that looks very similar to the Centropyge aurantia can be encountered in the Pacific Ocean.

Care for Coral Beauty

The Coral Beauty is known to be a peace loving fish known and adapts well to the artificial environment in aquariums. Water capacity of at least 40 gallons or 150 litres in the aquarium is sufficient if Coral Beauty is to be housed together with just a few other creatures. A 100 gallon / 375 litres aquarium or even larger capacity is recommended, as it makes maintaining the water quality much easier. Live rock will promote natural algae growth if added and is therefore recommended. Plenty of crevices in the aquarium are suggested for the Coral Beauty to seek shelter in.

Coral Beauty thrives in water temperatures between the range of 24 – 28º C or 75 – 82º F. The water pH-value must be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4 and the water hardness at dH 8-12. Ideally the specific gravity should be in the 1.022-1.024 range, though species will normally adapt to 1.020-1.025.

Keeping a harem of coral beauty in the aquarium is not recommended because having more than one Coral Beauty in the aquarium can stimulate violence between them. The Coral Beauty can be kept with other species with ease; it can, for example, interact well with blennies, damsels and tangs. Large predatory fish that might feed on the small Coral Beauty should be avoided completely. If smaller fish are to be kept together with the Coral Beauty, it is advisable to add the small fish to the aquarium before the Coral Beauty.

The Coral Beauty has a tendency to nip soft and stony corals, and can cause harm to anemones and feather dusters. It is therefore not an ideal choice for reef tanks, because it may bombard corals and other types of invertebrates in the aquarium.

Coral Beauty Feeding

In the wild, the Coral Beauty feeds mainly on algae but it will also eat tiny animals living among the algae it feeds on. Algae and algae based foods should be served as a food staple for this fish. These can then be supplemented with spaced servings of meaty foods like brine shrimp. Coral Beauty must be fed at least thrice a day, but preferably more often. A varied diet is strongly encouraged. Foods like various types of fresh and dried marine algae, angelfish preparations, spirulina, and high-quality flakes suitable for algae-eating fish can be used.

Coral Beauty Breeding

The Coral Beauty breeds very successfully in aquarium tanks. They form groups of 3-7 individuals. Spawning normally occurs at dusk and these species are an egg scattering fish with buoyant eggs that will develop and hatch while floating around in the ocean (or aquarium) waters.

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