For a fish that gets as big as a football, it’s a mystery why the black angelfish, Chaetodontoplus niger is scarcely ever seen much larger than a juvenile fish in size and color. We know that large adult C. niger are mostly black but if you had to describe the overall coloration of a Chaetodontoplus conspicillatum, you’d say that it was overall gray, right? And that would be missing out a lot of what this fish “is about”.
Same thing with the ninja-like black, black angelfish. Although it is black overall, the lead image of a medium sized fish shows what appear to be the beginning of somewhat of an appearance that goes beyond its midnight cloth. Like its closest relative the conspic, the black angelfish has scales so numerous and small that the whole fish appears to be velvety smooth in its skin.
A very light and slight yellowish edge is all but obscured in the dorsal fin but there is a gradient of light color that gives the black angelfish a 3D appearance, not unlike its Australian counterpart. And you can just begin to see a similar feature starting up from the bottom, but who knows how much and to what degree this lighter colored gradient will continue.
If you haven’t guessed, all the pictures of Chaetodontoplus niger shown here are presumed to be the same individual, all taken by the same photographer known as Aquas over a period of time at the same dive site. Without any distinguishing markings to go on its hard to say for sure if this is the same individual, but if it is, the progress from tiny black angelfish juvenile to the larger and sleek looking mid-sized fish is awesome to see.
The header image of this particular black angelfish shows a fish maturing with a more solid body, bright white pelvic fins and a strongly colored tail. We sincerely hope that Aquas will continue his dives at this particular site in Japan, braving the chilly 66F degree water so that we can see how much of a swan our ugly duckling juvenile black angelfish can turn into.