Masked Angelfish Species Profile – How to Care Masked Angelfish

Masked Angelfish are a brightly colored marine fish that exhibit the rare trait of being both sequential and protogynous hermaphrodites. At first, these angelfish display an area of black color on their head until it breaks up as they grow older with males turning bluish white from lips to caudal fin while females remain brilliantly shimmering in all colors except for this dark hue around eyes becoming more extensive over time till only surrounded by lighter shades at chin level or alongside operculum spine edges where there’s still some evidence left behind deep within layers upon layers of scales. To keep this article as factual as possible, there is a separate article on how to sex angelfish.

Masked Angelfish Characteristics:

Masked Angelfish Species Profile – How to Care Masked Angelfish

Genicanthus personatus are a smaller species of angelfish native to the central Red Sea and western Indian Ocean spanning from Somalia to South Africa on reef slopes at depths up to 20 meters.

They are found in small groups or occasionally alone, preferring living coral outcroppings with caves for shelter. Unlike most other species of angelfish, Genicanthus personatus attack prey by using their pectoral fins rather than mouths resulting in slower movement but an effective way for manipulating all kinds of prey items prior to ingestion including invertebrates like crustaceans and mollusks.

Angelfish are also known as an uncommon import probably since they were first displayed at public aquariums around the world back in 1958 when many hobbyists still preferred a more common look.

Masked Angelfish Origin:

Genicanthus personatus are found in tropical reef habitats of the central and western Indian Ocean such as Aldabra, Chagos, Comoros, east coast of Africa from Somalia to Durban, Madagascar and Mauritius growing to be 30 cm long (12 inches). Although they are commonly imported for aquariums, they aren’t plentiful enough to support widespread breeding programs to improve genetic stock which can be attributed primarily due to their very short life span compared to other angelfish species that live over 10 years.

Masked Angelfish Size:

Genicanthus personatus grow up to 30 cm (1 ft) in length.

Masked Angelfish PH:

Genicanthus personatus prefer a more alkaline range of 8.2 to 8.4 for optimum health and color development though they can adapt to a much lower pH if need be, but not as easy as many other species that seem to prefer a much higher pH in the wild.

Masked Angelfish Colors and Markings:

Coloring masks on Genicanthus personatus come from intense orange pigment coloring or sometimes white depending on which fish is turned into a male or female as explained previously under article section entitled how to sex angelfish . In general, males turn from their original black coloration surrounding when mature becoming blue lateral line edges and lips with a white area of scales starting on cheeks and extending towards the caudal fin.

Females on the other hand turn from their original bright yellowish coloration with bright blue stripes and edges around operculum spine, to beige and pink shades within the same area as males beginning at chin level or alongside operculum spine edges.

Though both sexes retain some black pigment near eyes that usually settles deep within layers upon layers of scales as they grow older though females tend to keep some evidence left behind along at their chins even when fully mature while males darken more over time becoming white lips til only surrounded by lighter shades at center of face or alongside operculum spine until it’s almost gone entirely leaving just a little hint if seen up close.

Masked Angelfish Aquarium:

Genicanthus personatus are a nocturnal species that should be placed in a well decorated aquarium with plenty of hiding places and live rock for adequate cover as this seems to be their preferred species of angelfish especially when young.

Adults should ideally have a tank measuring 100 cm (40 inches) long by 50 cm wide (20 inches) with real or fake coral or even plastic plants providing ample camouflage to reduce visibility from other fish, eels, crabs and other bottom-dwelling animals which they are preyed upon by at night.

They also need to form small groups consisting of one male and several females that seem to prefer having their own territory rather than sharing with other angelfish to form a larger group. It is important not to house them with other butterfly or angel species as they will fight and chase each other using their fins rather than mouths resulting in slower movement but an effective way for manipulating all kinds of prey items prior to ingestion including invertebrates like crustaceans and mollusks.

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Masked Angelfish Tankmates:

Genicanthus personatus should be housed in tanks containing live rock that doesn’t have any substrate covering since it may cause the fish to become victims out in open spaces despite its nocturnal nature, especially if kept within tanks containing aggressive, fast swimming species such as small wrasse, triggerfish and large angelfish or butterfly species which prefer a very high pH.

Masked Angelfish Care:

Masked Angelfish Species Profile – How to Care Masked Angelfish

Genicanthus personatus are a hardy angelfish that can adapt to most water conditions within the aquarium providing adequate cover from other tank mates is provided, but they will become shy and easily stressed if left alone or if housed with aggressive, fast swimming fish that prefer a higher pH. They should also not be housed in tanks containing invertebrates such as crabs, snails and mollusks as these are favorite foods of all angelfish species who use their lips to crush the shells before eating them making it dangerous even for bottom dwelling invertebrates.

Masked Angelfish Lifespan:

All short-bodied fish have shorter lifespans than their long-bodied counterparts so Genicanthus personatus will only live around 2 years if well cared for. The lifespan of 1 to 6 years is also dependent on the exact conditions being ideal in which they are kept, but the average life expectancy should be between 3 and 5 years if healthy.

Masked Angelfish Diet and Feeding:

Genicanthus personatus are typically omnivorous feeders that consume both algae and small invertebrates including crustaceans, mollusks and worms at night though will eat algae during day using their special ability to go against water current flow while holding onto sponge or coral surfaces with their mouths to prevent any chance of escape.

Masked Angelfish Differences:

Genicanthus personatus are distinguished by the long C-shaped anal fin on their backsides while more common angelfish species will have an extended posterior half of their body followed by a short, almost nonexistent caudal tail area which is usually used for more efficient swimming in open water or along coral reefs. They also show large vertical bands that are unique to this species though some other features may change with age, sex and even potiential reproductive status of the individual being observed so it’s always best to focus primarily on color band arrangement during all observations.

Masked Angelfish Breeding:

All angelfish species are sequential hermaphrodites meaning they are born as functional males and will change to females later in life so Genicanthus personatus will need at least one male for every several females stroking each female with their long abdomen during mating attempts. Once successful, the female will release eggs which the male fish fertilizes before they become adhesive and attach themselves to any surface including rockwork or substrate areas where they can be guarded by both parents.


Genicanthus personatus are a seldom seen angelfish that requires specific husbandry techniques to fit its nocturnal nature that should include live rock formations with large crevices and caves since it loves shelter from other fish especially those highly active during the day They prefer tanks with plenty of naturally lit areas though they will also use dark caves or crevices to avoid both vision and movement of other fish during daylight hours.