Mark Martin on African Flame Angel's Reef Compatibility
Martin is the Director of Marine Ornamental Research at Blue Zoo
Most of the popular fishes in the tropical marine aquarium hobby are reef fishes insofar as they are reef-associated in the wild. It therefore follows that nearly every fish the marine aquarist may acquire is a reef-compatible fish, right? Did you reefers just say “NoWay!”? Well you’re right, for not every fish is “reef-compatible” or “reef safe” in the way the way that most aquarists commonly use the term.
The bottom line for aquarists with reef tanks is that they don’t want their new fish to decimate their reef animals such as prized corals and other ornamental invertebrates. Thankfully, the African flameback angelfish tends to be pretty mild-mannered in a reef tank.
In fact, these fish are some of the best suited for a reef tank among the genus, but caution should still be used when adding them to tanks with meaty brain type corals such as Cynarina spp. or Trachyphyllia spp. African flameback angelfish are not known for picking at clam mantles, but, again, caution is advised. While they may occasionally chase or defend their territories against intruding non-sessile invertebrates like shrimp or crabs, they will typically leave such invertebrates completely alone.
In short, I’d say that the African fameback angelfish is “reef-compatible with caution.” All fishes are individuals and may act unlike other members of its species (just like humans!). Be smart and observant, and, by all means, try an African flameback in your reef tank.