Genicanthus watanabei

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See Talk:Genicanthus watanabei for individual experiences with this species, Genicanthus watanabei. Feel free to add your own personal experiences.

Common Name
Watanabei Angelfish
Binomial Name
Genicanthus watanabei
20070923 watanabei male.jpg
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacanthidae
Genus: Genicanthus
Species: watanabei

Common Names

  • Black-edged Angelfish
  • Watanabei Angelfish
  • Watanabe's Lyretail Angelfish



G. watanabei, like other Genicanthus sp., are distinct from most other angelfish genera in that they have distinct male and female colour morphs. Adult male's are much larger than the females and are identified by a deep blue coloration to the top part of their body, together with distinctive, horizontal black and white stripes on their rear lower two-thirds.

The females are smaller, appear a lighter blue and lack the horizontal stripes. They also have a black bar extending vertically upwards from eye to eye.

Both males and females have a black outline on the edges of their dorsal and anal fins, (hence their common name 'Black-edged Angelfish'), but only females have a black outline on their caudal fins.

Similar Species

Similar in shape and temperament to other Genicanthus angelfish, however G. watanabei are unique in their colouration.

Maximum Size

To 15cm. Females are typically smaller than mature males.

Associated Organisms



An active and peaceful, open-water fish.

Captive Care

Tank Size

Greater than 300L for an individual. Not less than 400L for a pair, substantially larger for a harem.

These are not Centropyge and will appear clumsy within an overgrown or cramped reef display - they require open water.

Water Flow

Enjoys strong currents but (again) must also be given room to swim.


Prefers subdued lighting.


Planktivore. Once acclimatised, greedily consumes a wide range of prepared, frozen/defrosted and dry foods. Will also eat various macro algae from live rock, eg. Caulerpa racemosa.

Should be fed frequently - in this respect they are similar to Pseudanthias.

Growth Rate



G. watanabei are considered to be one of the more resilient in their genus.


Purchasing care: This species often shows signs of poor decompression when collected, only purchase individuals that swim in a normal manner not in a head down fashion.




Use common sense! May harass planktivores smaller than it and may be bullied by those larger.


Considered reef safe - will not touch coral.




Like all Genicanthus angelfish, G. watanabei are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning life female. The dominant G. watanabei become male as they mature.

G. watanabei form harems of 2-5 individuals. Only one male should be kept per tank.

Local Ecology


West-central Pacific.


Occurs in current-swept outer reef slopes and drop-offs. Typically deep water collected at depths greater than 20m.

Additional Information