Pomacanthus imperator

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Common Name
Emperor Angel
Binomial Name
Pomacanthus imperator
Pomacanthus imperator 1.jpg
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacanthidae
Genus: Pomacanthus
Species: imperator

Common Names

  • Emperor Angel



Juveniles have an overall dark blue/black body with thin white and light blue bars. Bars are semicircular near the caudal region, progressively becoming straight and vertical towards the head. Transition from juvenile to adult colouration takes approximately 18 – 24 months. Transition to adult colouration is complete around four years of age, although pattern development may happen for many years beyond that. Adults have a blue body covered with thin horizontal yellow bars, white face bordered by a dark blue mask around the eyes and breast, extending up past the pectoral fin and down under the belly covering the anal fin. Caudal fin is yellow or occasionally orange.

Similar Species

Juveniles have a circular pattern as apposed to the more vertically lined patterns of other Pomacanthus juveniles.

Maximum Size


Associated Organisms



Semi aggressive fish tend to snack on fleshy corals. Hand feeding is possible once they have settled.

Captive Care

Tank Size

750 litres

Water Flow

All types


No specific lighting requirements. Newly introduce fish may benefit from subdued lighting for the first few days after introduced to the aquarium while they acclimatise to the new surroundings.


Feed a variety of algae (Spirulina, nori, natural macro algae, etc), fresh or frozen chopped meaty foods, and foods containing sponge material.

Growth Rate

Reaching approx. 120mm at 3 years and averaging 13mm per year thereafter.[2] Adult males are approximately 20% larger then females.[3]


Intolerant of copper. Even among the copper sensitive family of Angels, the Emperor is usually first to show signs of copper stress. Occasionally prone to Lymphocystis infection and Lateral Line Disease.


Addition things / items that are important for care in captivity.




Does it have any fish that it should not be housed with?


Not reef safe. Juvenile and small adults may behave in a reef tank, but most will eventually take a likely to corals at some point in their life. Safe with SPS type corals.


Is it compatable with other invertebrates such as molluscs, crustaceans and echinoderms?


Males interact occasionally with females during the day. Courtship commences half an hour prior to spawning, consisting of playful dance initiated by the male and lasting 1 – 4 minutes, culminating in the male rapidly departing. After a short period males return immediately resuming the courtship dance. These short courtship displays, followed by the departing male, may go on several times prior to a successful spawning rise. Both fish rise several metres from the bottom, culminating with clouds of gametes being released into the water and the fish darting back to the bottom.[3]

Local Ecology


Which oceans and reefs it is found.


Where it is found on the natural reefs, the reef zone.

Additional Information

Some additional notes on it that don't fit in the above sections.



  1. (http://www.fishbase.org): Froese, R., Pauly, D. Fish Base, World Wide Web electronic publication, 2008, Retrieved: 24 Jun 2009.
  2. (http://www.springerlink.com/content/g748n03k2215j143/) Kwok-cheong Chung and Norman Y.S. Woo, Age and Growth by Scale Analysis of Pomacanthus imperator (Teleostei: Pomacanthidae) from Dongsha Islands, Southern China, Environmental Biology of Fishes, Volume 55, Number 4, August 1999 , pp. 399-412
  3. 3.0 3.1 (http://www.springerlink.com/content/v055821p7256m092/) Thresher, R. E., Courtship and Spawning in the Emperor Angelfish Pomacanthus imperator, with Comments on Reproduction by Other Pomacanthid Fishes, Marine Biology, Volume 70, Number 2, 1982 , pp. 149-156