Centropyge eibli – Blacktail Angelfish
Eibli Angelfish – Blacktail Angelfish or Centropyge eibli are members of the family Pomacanthidae. This dwarf angelfish species is indigenous to the western Indo-Pacific. Geographical locations stem from Sri Lanka to Malaysia. This species inhabits reef formations from depths of 30 to 100 feet.
Ebilies are larger dwarf angles reaching an adult length of up to 6 inches. Their pale gray primary body coloring is accentuated by thin orange or red vertical banding from just behind their heads to shortly before the base of their caudal fins. The most posterior region of their body and their tail fin is black. This fish is further accented with blue highlights. The top of their heads and their anal fins are overcast in blue for an overall grayish-blue effect. Dorsal, caudal and anal fins are rimmed in pale blue. Anal fins have curved orange markings prior to the blue rimming. These fish often have a hint of orange around their eyes and orange underbellies. This species is known by the names red stripe angelfish, blacktail angel, or Eibli’s (in the possessive form) angelfish.
If you are a novice aquarist, this species is the perfect choice for your first angelfish in a multi-species aquarium. They are a dwarf angelfish so they do not require an aquarium the size of a small swimming pool. They can be housed in a tank as small as 30 gallons. They have an easy care rating so they are more likely to survive and even thrive in inexperienced hands. These are mild mannered fish but are assertive enough to hold their own against bullies. This means they can be house with a vast array of species of varying size and temperament.
Eiblies can even be kept with large, more territorial angelfish. Of course never raising a marine species with larger more aggressive fish is advisable. Cardinalfish, gobies, tilefish, butterflyfish, fairy basslets and wrasse of less aggressive natures will all make excellent tank mates. A small community of ebilies can be raised together provided they have adequate swimming room and plenty of hiding places. You should only keep multiples in the same aquarium if they are introduced as juveniles.
These fish will exhibit territorial behavior toward other dwarf angle species. They are considered semi-reef safe. A juvenile that learns to derive its nutritional needs from aquarium food and grazing on live rocks will be far less likely to nibble at corals or ornamental clams and crustaceans than and adult introduced to the same reef environment.
Dwarfs are omnivorous. Juveniles are planktonic feeders. Adults live on worms, small crustaceans and mollusks and algae in disproportionate quantities. When keeping any species of angelfish an abundant supply of well established cured live rock is mandatory. A good quality marine angelfish food can be supplemented with chopped fresh clams and shrimp. Frozen preparations for omnivores are acceptable. If keeping multiples it is essential to their health to have a large enough algae base to sustain them. Dried algae sheets or frozen algae will help ensure their nutritional needs are adequately addressed.
Breeding Centropyge eibli – Blacktail Angelfish
In nature, these are harem fish. A single male is charged with the keeping of up to half a dozen females and as many as a dozen juveniles. This same community environment can be emulated in captivity by the introduction of several juveniles to an aquarium. This is a protogynous synchronous hermaphroditic species. Juveniles are always female. The largest, most dominant of the bunch, will transition into a male and take custodianship of his harem. This species rarely breeds in captivity.
A note of interest: Eibli Angelfish are exceedingly scarce off the shores of Bali and Flores, Indonesia. As a result, ebilies are known to breed with pearlscale angelfish (Centropyge vrolikii). Their hybrids are typically very light gray with faint orange striping. The commercial availability of these hybrids is becoming more commonplace as an exportable community from Indonesia. Another hybrid variation occurs off the coasts of Christmas, Coco-Keeling Islands and Western Australia. These are the offspring of coupling between the Eibli and Lemonpeel dwarf angels (Centropyge flavissima). These hybrids are a rare and coveted find in the marine retail industry.
Fernando Martín Lison