The multibarred angelfish (Paracentropyge multifasciata) is a stunning and widely offered little angelfish that captivates the hearts of seasoned and amateur aquarists. This little heartbreaker is sadly, not easy to keep and often refuse to eat and waste away due to collection problems. The bulk of these fish often come from Philippine sources which often leaves this sensitive species in lackluster standards after the long transit and holding.
Apart from the usual indo-pacific sources, these dainty little jailbirds are sometimes offered from the Marshall islands. One attribute that makes this fish so beautiful is the trailing filaments it possesses on its fins (sometimes called Cirri). Like the two other members of its genus, the venusta angelfish and the peppermint angelfish, the multibarred angel has on its dorsal fin spines and each of its ventral fins a pair of trailing filaments. It just makes the fish ever so dainty and elegant, especially when it stops to pose with its fins outstretched.
Marshallese multibarred angels differ slightly in their appearance by having thinner black bars, and possessing faint yellow strips inbetween the black and white bands. Coloration apart, the biggest difference in these specimens are the survivability, with Marshall island specimens doing markedly better due to proper collection and better holding facilities and custody chains. As with many sensitive and shy species, a dedicated quarantine or acclimating tank is best to first get the frisky fish calm and show tank ready. A bare tank with make shift PVC pipes for shelter works fine.
Once you have obtained your panicky fish from whichever supply chain, you’d want to get it used to aquarium life and in fighting fit condition before releasing it into your display. Now if you managed to get one from the Marshall islands, you’d realise that you’ll have much less work as compared to ones that came from the Philippines. A simple fuss free tank is ideal to train your fish into accepting regular aquarium fare, and also to come out of its shy demeanour, like this one here. This multibarred angelfish has been living in its quarantine tank for well over two months now and it is a pig.
It takes some getting used to to see a fish that is normally so shy and secretive act so bold and greedy. Even with a slightly deformed tail which is smaller than normal, this angel is quick on its fin and snaps up all forms of food with gusto. It even takes dry food with no issues from the water surface, column and bottom. It holds its own extremely well in a tank with a neon dottyback pair, as well as a pair of black snowflake clowns.
Even the difficult and normally shy multibarred angelfish can thrive in an aquarium. Some fish just need a little more help, and a little more time. If you’ve always wanted one, try picking one up from the Marshall islands instead of the usual Philippine stock. They arrive in better condition, and it makes it less tedious on you to get it in the condition you desire. Remember, it is still a challenging species, and a quiet and peaceful tank may be necessary in the beginning. With the right specimen and right quarantine practice, you can own one with the embodiment of a dottyback, complete with the same greedy and energetic behavior. Like the one here. Be sure to check out the video below.