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Bicolor Angelfish Overview, Care, Tank Setup & More

Bicolor Angelfish is a popular saltwater fish that is not just pretty but has an exciting personality. The aquarium fish is one of the most striking, with vibrant blue and yellow colors.

It is not that difficult to care for in the aquarium. But you need to choose the mates carefully due to their aggressive behavior.

Are you wondering whether bicolor angelfish is reef safe? Do you want to know about their diet?

In this guide, you will learn about care tips and other valuable information to take good care of your saltwater fish.

Species Overview

Care LevelModerate
AppearanceBlue and Yellow
Life ExpectancyUp to 12 years
SizeUp to 6 inches
Aquarium (Tank) Size70 gallons
Water Conditions720F -780F (220C – 250C); pH: 8.1-8.4
Aquarium EnvironmentLive rocks and caves
Aquarium MatesSemi-aggressive fish

Bicolor Angelfish (Centropyge Bicolor) is an elegant fish that belongs to the Centropyge group and consists of pygmy angelfish and dwarf angelfish.

The fish is also known as Oriole Angelfish, Pacific Rock beauty angelfish, and two-colored angelfish. It is active and fun to watch in the aquarium.

Natural Habitat

Two-color angelfish are native to the Indo-Pacific waters. The geographical region of the fish stretches from Japan to East Africa. The fish is found abundant in the water near the Phoenix Islands, Samoan, and Micronesia.

Mostly these found in saltwater lagoons and reef slopes. The fish is known to swim quickly from one aperture to another, remaining close to suitable hiding spots.

They are generally found in the depth of 3 to 80 feet. Adult angelfish are found at depths of at least 33 feet, while young angelfish are mostly found at about 3 feet.

Social grouping varies in the wild. Bicolor is mostly found swimming alone or in pairs. The fish are also found in harems that consist of one male and seven to nine females.


Bicolor angelfish has a vibrant color combination of blue and yellow. The anterior half of the fish is yellow, while the posterior half is blue.

The tail of the fish is also yellow, while a splash of blue surrounds the eye. The blue color of the fish looks almost purple in the aquarium under artificial lighting.

Two-color fish have a slightly oval shape. Two-thirds of the body is royal blue while the rest of one-third is yellow or gold color.

Some fish may also have a more dusky or gold color face. Small tricolor angelfish generally look precisely similar to the adult fish, except they may have a darker blue color.


Two-colored angelfish can grow up to a size of 6 inches in captivity. But most fish usually grow to between 3 to 4 inches. For keeping an adult fish, the tank size should be significant. You can keep a juvenile fish that is less than 3 inches in a medium-size 55 gallons tank.

Behavior & Temperament

Two-colored angelfish are semi-aggressive and slightly territorial. The fish won’t attack other fish and swim most of the time peacefully. But it will attack and kill other fish if they try to come near their territory.

The fish are also not reef friendly. It means that you cannot put them in a reef aquarium. The fish is known to pick on corals. They tend to nip on polyp stony corals.

Bicolor fish are not that difficult to care for in captivity. Buying young fish is recommended since they are easier to take care of as compared to adult fish.

They were previously considered difficult to maintain due to the use of cyanide for catching them. Cyanide poisoning caused erratic fish behavior, so they were difficult to keep. The netting methods used today are safer, resulting in a higher success rate in captivity.

Tank Mates

Bicolor angelfish are more aggressive as compared to other dwarf angelfish. You should add them last to an aquarium to get territorial and attack fresh fish. Housing them in a large aquarium is recommended to avoid aggression towards other fish.

Peaceful and slow-moving fish are not compatible mates. They will even harass semi-aggressive fish like anthias if kept in a small aquarium.

It would help if you did not keep two-color angelfish with fish that are shy and feel threatened by aggressive fish. They will hide most of the time when they feel threatened and die due to starvation.

It would help if you kept them with bigger semi-aggressive fish-like tangs that will not get harassed and will not devour them.

You can also keep two-color angelfish with other dwarf angelfish in a large aquarium with over 100 gallons of water. Keep them with different colors and sizes of dwarf fish for the best results. But it would help if you introduced them at the end once other fish are already established so that there is little aggression.

Ideal Tank Conditions

Two-colored angelfish will thrive in slightly cool water. It would help if you kept the water temperature between 720F -780F (220C – 250C). Additionally, the fish require alkaline water since they are saltwater fish. It would help if you kept the water pH level between 8.1 and 8.4.

Bicolor angelfish are not as tolerant of water conditions as compared to clownfish or other similar fish. You need to change the water at a regular interval.

Consider changing 15 percent water on a bi-weekly basis. For a large water tank of about 80 gallons, you may have to change about 30 percent water once a month.

Tank Setup

It would help if you bought a giant aquarium for the bicolor angelfish. Consider keeping the fish in a 70-gallon aquarium that has lots of caves and live rocks. The fish is not reef safe as it will nip at mantles and stony or soft corals.

Consider buying a long aquarium since the fish likes to spend time grazing algae at the bottom of the tank. Nano tanks are not suitable even for younger angelfish. If you are buying more than one two-color angelfish, the tank size should be over 150 gallons.

Bicolor angelfish swimming towards camera

Food & Diet

Bicolor fish are omnivores that feed on both seafood and plants. It would help if you fed marine algae, frozen shrimp, and Mysis shrimp. The fish won’t eat pellet foods and marine flake food.

It will also eat algae on the live rock. The diet should contain more protein as compared to other dwarf angelfish.

Adult bicolor angelfish feeding behavior is different from juvenile fish. Young ones can eat a varied diet. You can feed them a wide variety of food items such as worms, shrimps, small crustaceans, and vegetable matter.

The adult has a peculiar diet, with some known to feed on a particular type of algae, such as spirulina algae.

Some also prefer worms, corals, sponges, tunicates, and large polyp corals. Feed them commercial food combined with frozen or fresh shrimp.

Breeding Guidelines

Breeding the fish is difficult since the male and female look the same. The only distinguishable trait is a dark line under the eye that the male develops during mating.

You should put multiple bicolor angelfish in the aquarium and see if they form a pair. Another way to discern between a male and a female is to look for signs of aggression. Male fish are generally more aggressive as compared to female fish.

A unique aspect of the two-color angelfish is that males and females reverse sexual orientation every 20 days. It creates extreme difficulty in breeding the angelfish. As a result, most fish available for sale online are caught from native waters.

These reach maturity when they are about 2.4 to 2.7 inches long. They have a spawning routine that is similar to other Centropyge dwarf angelfish. The male and female pair will circle each other.

The male will produce a peculiar noise and swim up and down and tilt the body at an angle towards the female fish. If the Female is ready for breeding, the pair will swim upwards and mate.

The Female will release the eggs on the aquarium bed. Eggs will be unguarded since the fish don’t look after them. It would help if you kept the water temperature around 770F (250C) for the eggs to hatch.

Eggs will hatch after about 16 hours of spawning. It will take longer for the eggs to hatch if the water temperature inside the aquarium is cooler.

After six days of hatching, young larvae will eat from the yolk sac reserves. Should keep the water at the recommended temperature for them to survive. Once they are big enough, you should feed them tiny crustaceans such as rotifers or copepods.

Bicolor angelfish pair

Common Diseases

Two-color angelfish is not a hardy fish similar to other dwarf angelfish. The fish can get various diseases if the recommenced tank conditions are not met. Cloudy water conditions make the fish increasingly susceptible to diseases.

Bacterial Diseases

Two-color angelfish are vulnerable to bacterial infection resulting from damage caused by a protozoan or parasitic disease. A common bacterial disease is caused by the vibrio bacteria that cause an internal infection.

The infection turns into more serious diseases, including Red Streaks, Popeye, or Dropsy. It is a fast-active disease that can kill fish in a few days. The disease will generally start in the pectoral find but quickly spread to the entire body.

Treatment of bacterial infection includes freshwater dips for up to 15 minutes. It will kill any bacteria in the body. You can also give medications containing cleated copper. But it would help if you only gave half dozes as the fish is sensitive to copper.

Parasitic Infections

Two-color angelfish are prone to parasitic and protozoan diseases, including white spot diseases, marine ich, and crypt. The parasitic infection symptoms include constant flashing and scratching with multiple white dots on the fins and the body.

The dots will disappear but reappear in more significant numbers after a few days. The fish will suffocate when the parasite blocks the gills that are used for breathing inside water.

Treatment of parasitic infection includes an incremental increase in temperature to up to 820F (28 0C ). The parasite won’t complete the cycle when the water temperature is high. Giving medicated food will also provide relief to the fish suffering from parasitic information.

Metronidazole is recommended for parasitic or protozoan infection. The medications are considered safe and effective for treating the condition.

The medication is effective as it has antiprotozoal properties. It is also considered reef safe. You can give the medication directly or mix it with food.

It would help if you did not use the typical treatment of formalin solutions and copper with two-color angelfish due to sensitivity. Quinine-based medications are also not recommended as they are harmful to saltwater fish.

Viral Infections

Viral infections can be particularly devastating for bicolor angelfish. Exposed fish will develop symptoms after about four days of exposure. Viral diseases can cause death in both adult and young bicolor angelfish.

These are not robust fish since they are generally not captive-bred. They are caught in the wild and may already be suffering from a disease.

You can minimize the risk of disease by keeping the aquarium clean at all times. Also, it would help if you kept the water temperature and pH level at the recommended settings.

Closely monitoring the tank conditions is essential to ensure that your angelfish remain healthy and happy.

Pros and Cons of keeping Bicolor Angelfish


Two-color angelfish have an attractive appearance that looks striking in natural lighting. They are active swimmers and roam around the aquarium. Mover, the fish, have a relatively long life living up to 12 years in captivity.


A con of keeping two-color angelfish is that they are not safe for the reef aquarium. Moreover, the fish is a tad aggressive and territorial, making them difficult to keep with most other fish. You will have an easier time caring for the fish if kept singly in a large aquarium.

Where to Buy?

Many online and local stores offer bicolor angelfish for sale. It would help if you bought a juvenile bicolor angelfish since they are easy to care for. Young angelfish are also less aggressive as compared to adult angelfish.

Most of these for sale online are caught from the wild since breeding is a difficulty. There is a greater chance that they may have a disease.

You should carefully pick the fish to ensure that you don’t introduce a sick fish in your tank. Consider keeping fresh one in a separate aquarium for about two weeks to ensure that they don’t have any disease.

Are these Reef Safe?

Bicolor angelfish are not generally reef safe. The fish nip at stony corals and polyps. It will destroy the reef inside the aquarium. It would help if you put the fish in a non-reef aquarium with plenty of rocks and caves.

You can keep the them with poisonous corals. They don’t appeal to bicolor angelfish, due to which won’t harm them.

Can keep the fish with a few soft coral genera from the leather coral families such as Sinularia, Sarcophytom, and Cladiella. Can also keep the fish with the Effatounaria genus and Xenia group. Some aquarists also had success in keeping the fish with mushroom anemones.

These will attack large polyp corals (LPS) and clams until they fold up and die. The fish will also devour starfish and feather dusters. Snails, crabs, and large shrimps will be delicate, but you should add them before the two-color angelfish.

Wrapping Up

The care level for the two-colored angelfish is moderate since you have to keep lots of live rocks and other hiding spaces inside the aquarium. The aquarium can get dirty, so you need to change the water frequently.

Keep feeding them a quality diet so that they maintain their vibrant colors and remain healthy. Since they are mostly caught from the wild, you need to make sure that the fish is not afflicted with any disease.

It is advisable to keep the fish in a moderately large-sized aquarium to keep aggression minimum.