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Potter's Angelfish

Angels - Small

Female Potter's Angelfish, Centropyge potteri

The Potter's Angel is a dwarf angel. Most dwarf angels are classified in the genus Centropyge and reach a size of about four inches in an aquarium. Angelfish are distinguished from Butterflyfish by the spine over their gill cover. This can easily become entangled in nets. The Potter's Angel is named after the director of the Waikiki Aquarium and is native to the Hawaiian Islands.  It is also called the Russet Angelfish.  Unfortunately this fish is so popular that it is being depleted in Hawaii to supply the saltwater aquarium trade.  Most of these fish die in transport after they are captured.

The Potter's Angel is orange with blue/gray vertical patterns.  Males have more blue than females, which are more predominantly orange.  The angels live in pairs, however males also will associate with several females.  Males will defend against other males.  Potter's Angels prefer clear waters and depths exceeding 10 feet, with adults being found at greater depths than juveniles.  The female shown at the top of the page was photographed at 35 feet.  They feed on algae. 

Potter's Angelfish, Centropyge potteri

Potter's Angels aren't on our recommended list for tropical fish aquariums, because they can only be obtained from the wild and collection is endangering the species and the coral reefs of Hawaii.  They are also difficult keep in an aquarium.  Potter's Angels need plenty of time to adapt to aquarium life. A well established tank of 100 gallons with lots of live rock is best. Potter's are shy and should have plenty of hiding places and live rock as a source of algae. The water flow should be strong in the tank and the water should be extremely clear.

Fresh live algae growing in the tank is essential for the healthy  survival of the Potter's Angel.  This can be supplemented with dried seaweed, spirulina flakes and frozen mysis & brine shrimp. The Potters Angel will nip at corals and anemones.  It's need for algae makes it a poor choice for a reef only tank though.

Potters Angels are egg layers. In the wild, they lay eggs in shallow sections of coral at dusk.  Juveniles are sexually indistinguishable. They all start as females, with some maturing to males.  Males are more elongate and have a more solid blue coloring over their orange base. They will normally attempt to control several females for breeding. Breeding in captivity is not documented.

Potter's Angelfish, Centropyge potteri

Scientific Name: Centropyge potteri
Family: Pomacanthidae
Care: Difficult
Temperature: 24 - 28 C; 75 - 82 F
pH: 8.1 - 8.4
dH: 8 - 12
Specific Gravity: 1.020 - 1.026
Size: 10 cm; 4 inches
Breeding: Egg Layer
Life Span: 6 years
Crustacean Safe: No
Coral Safe: No


Only one mated Potter's Angel pair per tank. No other dwarf angels.  Suitable tank mates should be numerous, peaceful and might include Clownfish, Damselfish, Hawkfish, Cardinals and Blennies. They are prey for larger fish such as Triggers, Basses and Lionfish.