The Melas Angelfish might not appear as beautiful as some other fish you like, but consider it an excellent addition to any larger saltwater aquarium because of it’s tasty love of filamentous algae and diatoms that grow on the glass, decoration, and rock. The Melas Angelfish often called the Keyhole Angelfish or sometimes referred to as the Tibecen Angelfish are moderately hardy and suggested for an intermediate marine aquarist. This dwarf Angelfish is one of the largest of the Centropyge (7.5”) and can become quite aggressive toward other pygmy angelfish which are not introduced at the same time. They need a mature tank that is minimum of 70 gallons with plenty of live rock and algae growth. Place the rock work with multiple places to hide so they will feel secure enough to come out.
As a juvenile the Melas Angelfish are all black with a white bar which then shrinks to a 'keyhole' shape blotch. As the Melas angel matures it will either stay jet black which means a female or black with a blue tint which is a male. They have lower bright yellow fins and a white egg-shaped vertical bar in the mid-central body area. This egg-shaped white vertical bar looks like a keyhole, hence the common name Keyhole Angelfish. Melas Angelfish are born female and can be paired according to size. The larger fish becomes male, so creating a pair may be possible by buying one large and one small Melas Angelfish. Within a few months they hopefully they will assume their roles as male and female, with some males showing a more bluish black cast. These dwarf angels are semi-aggressive. Although initially secretive, once they become established they will pick on fish that are similar in shape, size, or eating behavior. They will also be aggressive towards other Centropyge species as well as other fish added to the tank after it. Those with beloved reef tanks have to sit this dwarf out, since it will dine on most of your corals.
The Melas Angelfish, Centropyge tibicen is the largest species of dwarf angelfish recorded to date. Though these dwarf Angelfish usually grow to around 4-3/4 inches, but the record for the Melas angel is an impressive 7-1/2 inches. All dwarf angelfish prefer to nibble on LPS corals, tunicates, feather dusters and of course sponges since sponge is part of their needed everyday diet. Like all dwarf angelfish, Starfish, and other appendaged creatures may be looked at as food for a hungry dwarf angel. Oh and watch out for any clams because they try to nip at their mantles. Snails, crabs and large shrimp are usually okay but are best added before the Dwarf Angelfish. Yet this angel makes up for its love for tasting certain coral and some invert's with its brilliant coloration and personality. What we highly recommend the Melas Angel for is a "Fowler" (stands for fish only with live rock) aquarium.
Food and Diet:
Dwarf Angelfish are Omnivores. Which means they need a balanced diet of both proteins, algaes, and sponge. Feed frozen foods from a wide range of food groups that have both meat and algae (Formula One, Formula Two, Ocean Nutrition Pygmy Angel Formula are all good examples), algae (nori sheets), and a good pellet food.
Level of Care:
Recomended amount of drip acclimation time:
With a good deal of Caution
Approximate Purchase Size:
Small: 1" to 1-1/2"; Medium: 1-1/2" to 2-1/2"; Large: 2-1/2" to 4-1/2"