Asfur Angel

Pomacanthus asfur, Arusetta asfur
Also known as the Arabian Angelfish and Crescent Angelfish

The Asfur Angel is a beautiful rare fish for any home aquarium. Its popularity as an aquarium fish comes from its bright coloration and being a hardy saltwater fish that is moderately easy to take care of. The crescent-shaped yellow stripe running vertically across its black/blue body is a striking appearance that gets a lot of attention. Blue dots are sprinkled on and around the forehead. There are also white-striped Asfur Angel Fish, but they are extremely rare.

Juveniles are shaped similarly to adults. Their blue bodies seem to be decorated with light-blue and white stripes. They are often confused with Koran Angel fish, but the Asfur Angelfish is distinguished by three white bars. As it grows, the juvenile Asfur Angel Fish begins develop yellow markings, both on its dorsal fin and the caudal fin. It can look like a yellow or gold stripe extending from the middle of the side onto the soft dorsal fin.

Asfur Angels are good choices for larger aquariums with plenty of hiding places. It is usually recommended that the tank be at least 100 gallons, although several in the industry say that it needs to be at least 20 gallons. The fish is equally at home in a fish only with live rock (FOWLR) tank, or in a coral reef tank – although it has been noted that the Asfur will nip at corals if it get hungry enough. This fish is known to sometimes be shy and timid, although it is very aggressive towards other members of its own species (except for its mate), so it is best to only put one or a matched pair into a home aquarium.

Most Asfur Angel Fish for sale measure about 3 1/2 inches long. In the wild, they can reach nearly 16 inches, but as an aquarium fish, they rarely grow over 9 inches.

The Asfur Angelfish hails from the Western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. It is usually lives alone or as a pair, and it typically makes its home in “semi-protected” inshore reefs, where fishing and tourist activity is limited, with a lot of coral growth, both hard and soft. Sometimes it will be found over silt bottom patches, but not nearly as often.

In nature this species is moderately common around semi-protected inshore reefs characterized by rich growths of soft and hard corals. In the wild the Asfur likes caves, crevices or rocky places with plenty of protection. Occasionally, the Asfur can be seen swimming around for brief periods when looking for food. It can be found depths from 10-45 feet (3-15 meters). It is not easy to collect this exotic beauty.

The Asfur and other fish and invertebrates from the Red Sea are considered highly prized aquarium pets. However, due to the seasonal availability of certain species, high temperatures in the summer months, and the political instability of the area, these animals may not be available all year round.

If you are fortunate enough to find a healthy Asfur angelfish that is taking a variety of foods, the price may appear costly. However, the Asfur angelfish will become one of your most prized aquarium pets.

The marine fauna of the Red Sea is unique. No more that 10% of the known fishes are confined as species or sub-species to the Red Sea. There are still to be discovered as more searchers visit and dive in the area.

The Asfur Angel will need more care than simply adding it to the tank.

Opinions vary on how easy it is to take care of an Asfur Angel Fish. It is considered to be difficult to take care of because it feeds on sponges in its natural habitat. However, most saltwater aquariums and reef aquariums do not have sponges that grow on their own. However, it is also a very hardy fish, adaptable to other some other foods and able to hold its own in a tank if things are set up well with plenty of live rock for grazing and hiding places in the aquarium design.

Many who already have an established tank with omnivores already have a food plan in place for their fish. Most aquariums do not have enough growth of sustainable food to keep up with the demand. Feed the tank a diet that varies over time with large chunks of meaty foods. Some of the standard foods users are krill, raw table shrimp, squid, clam and mussel. Some owners include small crustaceans, and worms in the feeding. Supplement the diet occasionally with an herbivore diet that includes spirulina and add an Angel fish specific diet that is fortified with sponges/spongiform. These supplements and foods can be found in your local fish store or ordered online. As the Asfur Angel Fish gets more and more comfortable in the home aquarium, it will eat algae, romaine lettuce and sometimes, even flake food. Several small servings throughout the day is more beneficial than one or two large doses of food.

The aquarium’s water quality has some flexibility. Keep the temperature in the 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C range, the pH from 8.1 to 8.4, and the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025. Asfur Angel Fish also enjoy bright lighting which shows off its beautiful coloring.

It can however be hard to create an aquarium where the growth of suitable food is fast enough and you may therefore be required to supplement with other food to keep your Asfur Angelfish well nourished. The Asfur Angelfish can usually be trained to accept not only live, but fresh, frozen and formula food as well. You can for instance combine meaty foods such as shrimp, mussels and squid with vegetables and special angelfish preparations. When you purchase angelfish preparations, choose variants containing spongiform products.


The Asfur Angel Fish is widely considered to be reef compatible with caution.

It feeds mainly on sponges and tunicates in the wild. The nature of its preferred habitat, semi-protected reefs, gives it plenty of growth of plants to graze on and the occasional mussel or shrimp. However, in a home reef aquarium, that type of growth is rarely established, so you need to establish a feeding program that is both sufficient and predictable enough for the fish to not be hungry and to know that it is not going to be hungry. In the controlled environment of a reef tank, the Asfur Angelfish needs a varied diet consisting of vegetables, meats, and higher-quality foods prepared specifically for angel fish, containing spongiform products.

Just like other angels, when the Asfur Angel Fish gets hungry enough, it will nip at stony corals, soft corals and clams. Small-polyped stony corals and somewhat noxious soft corals usually get left alone.

It is very aggressive toward other fish of its own species, except toward its mate, if it is paired with another Asfur Angel.

The Asfur Angel Fish is generally a peaceful fish with a shy personality, although with patience, it will soon be tamed and used to its new home. It can be a happy community fish in a home aquarium with other peaceful and robust fishes… with a few exceptions.

In the wild, the Asfur Angel Fish is a solitary fish, living alone or in a pair. It is a territorial fish and will be aggressive to other Asfurs and other large angel fish. Unless it is a part of a compatible pair, we do not advise putting more than one in your home aquarium. If you do choose to put more than one in, be sure to have a very large aquarium and to add two fish of dramatically different sizes. Doing it this way reduces the competition between the two fish, establishing the dominant roles quickly. This way the two fish are not fighting nearly as much for food or places to hide and to call home. Be sure to set up your saltwater aquarium to accommodate each fish, preparing several hiding places for each of the fish in the tank.

Once they have been introduced to a new saltwater aquarium, Asfur Angel Fish takes a while to settle into their new home and to get used to their surroundings and tank mates. However, once they have acclimated themselves an are comfortable, an adult will swim all around the tank and may even chase sone of the other fish. Most of the juveniles are ignored by larger tank mates, sometimes acting in a cleaner role for other fish.

After they feel at home, Asfur angels may pick on new tank mates, especially if they are other angel fish.

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