The Bandit Angelfish is a tricky species of its kind. They have varying dieting needs and prefer specific water parameters. Keep reading to learn more about this saltwater fish.

Bandit Angelfish Species Overview
Scientific NameHolacanthus arcuatus
SizeUp to 7 inches
ColorBlack and White
Lifespan2 to 5 years
Tank RegionAll
Care LevelDifficult

Where Does The Bandit Angelfish Come From?

Bandit Angelfish are typically found in its natural waters between 12 and 50 meters deep. However, did you know they can dive as much as 500 feet down?

This ocean fish is in the Pacific around the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Islands. Often, they’re found in coral reefs or caves on rocky ledges. They thrive in fast-moving water.

Bandit Angelfish Appearance

The Bandit Angelfish goes by a few nicknames, such as the Banded Angelfish, the Black and White Angelfish, or the Black Banded Angelfish.

This fish species is black and white, having a white body. A broad black band runs across the long side of its body.

A smaller white bar runs from the eye to the back of the dorsal fin. Finally, its anal and caudal fins have another black band with a white border.

What’s special about this fish is that the white on its body has a somewhat reflective pearlescent appearance when you look at it up close. It looks like it’s shining, making this fish fun to watch them swim around. 

Also, their scales have a rough texture. So, it’s best to avoid using a net, or else they’ll get stuck to it, potentially harming them. 

What You Need To Know About Bandit Angelfish Care |

Bandit Angelfish Care

As with all types of fish, the Bandit Angelfish has its set of needs that differ from other species. This fish can be difficult to care for, but you’ll get the hang of it once you know its needs.

Bandit Angelfish Requirements For Tank Setup

Before you bring home a Bandit Angelfish, you’ll need to ensure that you have a proper tank setup for them. The best way for them to remain healthy and thrive is to mimic their natural habitat as best as possible. The table below shows what they need.

Bandit Angelfish Aquarium Setup
Minimum Aquarium Size180 gallons
Reef SafeWith Caution
Temperature72°F to 78°F
LightingDim to Normal
DecorCorals, Live Rock
Water FlowFast
pH Range8.1 to 8.4
Water Hardiness8 to 12 dKH
Specific Gravity1.020 to 1.025 SG

As you can see from the chart, this type of Angelfish is often found in darker parts of the water and prefer fast-moving currents. So, a strong filtration system with plenty of water movement to bring in oxygenation is ideal. You’ll also need proper lighting, but you can keep it dim most of the time since they’re used to darker areas.

In addition, even though they only grow to be about seven inches long, they need at least 180 gallons to roam. The bigger the tank size, the better.

Finally, they need the best water quality. Your saltwater parameters should have pH levels of 8.1 to 8.4 and SG of 1.020 to 1.025, and the temperature should be between 72 and 78 degrees F.


The Bandit Angelfish is considered to be semi-aggressive. They mostly go after fish the same size as them and other Angelfish. So, you can add smaller, peaceful fish to the tank.

Add them one or two at a time when introducing new fish friends. You’ll need to give your Bandit Angelfish time to adjust to sharing its space.

However, depending on how much tank space you have, Bandit Angelfish can do well on their own. So, you can have a tank that only homes this fish.

In addition, you’ll need to be cautious if adding them to a reef tank. This fish species is known for nipping at corals.

What You Need To Know About Bandit Angelfish Care |


In the wild, this fish thrives off of sponges. So, when buying this fish species, getting an adult will be a good idea. Chances are, they’ll already be acclimated to tank food, such as pellets, flakes, and live fish food. Otherwise, your fish may starve because they won’t know what to eat.

Health And Aquarium Care

With the proper care, Bandit Angelfish have an average lifespan of about two to five years. To keep the water parameters high quality, you’ll need to perform a 10% water change at least once bi-weekly. Or, you can change 20% of the water once monthly.

Bandit Angelfish are known to have decompression illnesses. This sickness is due to them swimming as deep as fifty feet. When taken from their habitat, the fish collectors will perform “needling,” which is poking a small hole (by a syringe) in their air bladder.

Needling can take up to four hours, so this process will be performed on its way to the surface. The reason they do this is to release the trapped nitrogen gas.

However, there are many complications with needling. For instance, the syringe can be dirty from the ocean water or cause internal infections in the fish.

Inspect your fish before buying it, and ask questions about its behavior and eating habits. If it’s anything but normal, don’t buy from that fish breeder.

Breeding Bandit Angelfish

It’s difficult to tell the gender of a Bandit Angelfish. In most cases, waiting for the fish to spawn is best. Then, you can tell who’s female and who’s male.

However, spawning is extremely rare for this fish species in captivity. This species is rare to find anywhere, so it might be difficult if you want one for your marine aquarium.

What You Need To Know About Bandit Angelfish Care |

Question Corner: FAQs About The Bandit Angelfish

If you’d like to learn more about the Bandit Angelfish, read through our frequently asked questions answered below.

Where Can You Get A Bandit Angelfish?

This fish is rare to find. So, you most likely won’t find it at your local pet store. You’ll need to go through a fish breeder to find the Bandit Angelfish for sale. However, research which breeders are ethical or not.

What’s The Average Cost Of The Bandit Angelfish?

Due to this fish’s rarity, the average Bandit Angelfish price is between $800 and $1,000 per fish.

Are Bandit Angelfish Good For Beginners?

Unfortunately, no. This fish species is difficult to care for. They have specific habitat needs, have different dieting needs, and are semi-aggressive.

Are Bandit Angelfish Freshwater Or Saltwater Fish?

The Bandit Angelfish is native to the Pacific Ocean, making it a saltwater fish.

Should You Add A Bandit Angelfish To Your Tank?

If you have a large enough tank and are okay with possibly having one fish in there, then the Bandit Angelfish might be a good option for you. However, research as much as you can beforehand.

What You Need To Know About Bandit Angelfish Care |
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