The Goldtail Angelfish (Pomacanthus chrysurus ) is also known as the Chrysurus Angelfish and the Earspot Angelfish. As with other members of the Pomacanthus genus , they undergo a fairly dramatic change from juvenile pictured above to adult pictured below. Angelfishes are closely related to the butterfly fish. They are distinguished from them by the large spine on the rear of the gill cover. This can be sen in the image below. The genus obtains its name from the Latin “pom” meaning cover and “acanthus” meaning thorn. One common characteristic that the family has, is that the young are dramatically different in color and pattern to the adults.
As a juvenile the Goldtail Angelfish has a black body with alternating stripes of white and blue down the body as can be seen in the image heading the post. As a very young juvenile the tail is transparent but at around the 6cm mark the tail goes yellow. As the fish ages so the vertical blue lines drop away and the forward dorsal area down to the face go a yellow brown color. A yellow ringed black dot develops just behind the upper gill plate as can be seen in the image above. The adults grow to around 30 cm in length.
GOLDTAIL ANGELFISH IN THE WILD
In Tanzania the Goldtail Angelfish is not commonly seen and they are quite rare. If one dives in the shallows however particularly in turbid areas with a lot of water movement then one sees a surprising number of small juveniles which leads one to believe that they are probably very shy fish and are good at hiding. Usually when one encounters an adult diving, they will head straight into a hole and that is the last one sees of them. The other members of the genus are much more confident as adults and although they go into a hole when they encounter a diver , they will nearly always come out again quite quickly. This species is known to cross breed with Pomacanthus imperator , the Emperor Angelfish and these hybrids carry a very high price amongst hobbyists. When stressed they are known to make a clicking sound.
The Goldtail Angelfish is found in the western Indian ocean from the Gulf of Aden down to South Africa including Madagascar and the Seychelles. They are usually found in mixed coral and rubble areas. There seem to be more of the adults on sloping reef flats at around 14 to to 16 meters in depth. The juveniles live in the tidal and sub tidal zones.
The Goldtail Angelfish feeds on algae and small benthic organisms such as crustaceans and mollusks. They are known to pick on corals in aquariums.
This species has not yet been captive bred and very little seems known about their mating behavior. Other members of the genus spawn at dusk during certain times of the year depending on location and the female angelfish releases hundreds of eggs which are fertilised by the male. Mating is initiated by the male displaying to the female. Fertilized eggs are released into the water table where they float until they are ready to hatch.
The Goldtail Angelfish are not that common in the trade , most specimens that are put up for sale originate from Kenya . They will pick on some corals although this seems to vary from specimen to specimen and are reported to be quite hardy. A friend brought one up from a small juvenile and it adapted well to a tank , living for about five years. It died suddenly one day not having reached the stage of developing the gold ringed spot on the ear.
GOLDTAIL ANGELFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. chrysurus