RSS The trials and tribulations of Apolemichthys kingi: From capture to grave

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  1. MASA Admin

    MASA Admin Moderator

    Posts: 9,991
    8 May 2007
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    [​IMG]The holy grail creme de la creme of Angelfish, A. kingi. Picture by Taiwan reefer known online as "Pineapple42".

    When we use phrases and words like holy grail, creme de la creme, emblamatic and symbolic to describe any angelfish species, one of the first to pop up into your mind other than the Peppermint Angelfish would definitely be the iconic and highly sought after Apolemichthys kingi, more famously known as the Tiger Angelfish from Africa. Remember the tiger angelfish we talked about on the April of last year? Well this post will show you the journey it made to Taiwan where it sadly, did not live a very long and fulfilling life.

    [​IMG]The majestic and powerful Tiger Angelfish is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful species of Pomacanthid.

    [​IMG]This picture taken by the diver who caught the Tiger Angelfish shows the shark infested waters of Africa at around 50m.

    The journey of this Tiger Angelfish started out in the cool, deep waters of Africa. A. kingi is typically found in deeper waters at depths below 50m. The diver who caught this fish said that the waters where this Tiger Angelfish was caught from was particularly shark infested. Another challenge to the already difficult nature of obtaining this fish. The following accounts on the Tiger Angelfish is shared by Taiwan Angelfish fanatic who is known online as “Pineapple42″. This is, as far as we know, the first ever account of the captivity of the Tiger Angelfish. The video*we linked showed the Tiger Angelfish in a holding facility, most probably in quarantine before it was ready for its final display tank. Judging from the feeding response to pelleted food, the fish was overall very healthy. However bear in mind that A. kingi is a touchy and still, very difficult fish much like the Bandit Angelfish. Also large adult specimens have a hard time adapting to captivity.

    [​IMG]Online user Pineapple42 from Taiwan managed to photograph a whole bunch of really good pictures of A. kingi.

    The Tiger Angelfish was housed in a 10ft FOWLR tank with a bunch of other angelfish. Some of them almost just as rare and just as sought after. You may notice that we’re using the past tense “was” as this post doesn’t end in a happy ending unfortunately. We’re getting there, but die-hard fans of this fish may want to prepare yourselves.

    [​IMG]The 10ft tank in which the A. kingi was housed. Can you spot it?

    [​IMG]The Tiger Angelfish shared it's home with many other Pomacanthids, including a very rare Clarion hybrid and a pure blooded Clarion Angelfish.

    The Tiger Angelfish was reported to be very shy and difficult to feed. Despite it already having a taste for pellets and other aquarium fare, the feeding was finicky and mostly on-off, typical for large Apolemichthys angelfishes which can also be seen in bandits and large trimaculatus angels. To make matters worse, the Tiger Angelfish showed signs of infection, probably bacterial, around the vent area. Being a shy and retiring species, the Tiger Angelfish was also subjected to stress induced by the notoriously boisterous Clarion Angelfish that shared its tank. The tank also featured a Clarion x Passer hybrid which was also just as brazen.

    [​IMG]This picture shows the bloated abdomen as well as the inflamed vent of the Tiger Angelfish.

    It is not uncommon for certain species of Angelfish to show signs of break down a few weeks or even months after the initial capture. Large and touchy species often develop red sores or infection that can quickly lead to the demise of the fish. Quarantine, treatment and a protocol for damage control may be carried out but sometimes the problem may already be there since day one, and the symptoms only show up much later on.

    [​IMG]Here's a mugshot of the murderous duo. A hybrid clarion on the left and a pedigree clarion on the right.

    Unfortunately the Tiger Angelfish kicked the bucket soon after. Below is a really heartbreaking picture of one of the rarest angelfishes in the aquarium trade lying lifelessly on a red towel. The owner felt that the Tiger Angelfish stood a better chance had it been kept in a peaceful tank by itself away from all the hustle and bustle of the busy Angelfish community tank. The boisterous tank mates certainly contributed to most of the stress received. It’s really unfortunate to see the Tiger Angelfish end up in such a state.

    [​IMG]A very difficult image to process for any Angelfish aficionado.

    We would still like the thank Pineapple42 for sharing his story of the Tiger Angelfish on his local Taiwan forum. It is not easy caring for a full grown adult Apolemichthys that comes from deep, cooler water. Think Bandit angelfish, except maybe harder, and more traumatic. There’s no telling when another specimen will show up but when it does, someone’s surely going to buy it and hopefully, he or she can learn from this. Here’s one last look at the Tiger Angelfish in all its “tiger-yness”

    [​IMG]Magnificent is an understatement to this spectacular species.

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  3. seank


    Posts: 11,984
    24 May 2007
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    North of Durban and South of Mozambique

    wow, good write up. Sad story though
  4. colbar


    Posts: 382
    6 Jan 2009
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    Johannesburg South Africa

    Very sad indeed, such a beautiful fish, better left in the ocean.
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