Royal Angelfish

Pygoplites diacanthus

Seeing the Royal angelfish is a certain delight when scuba diving. They are inherently shy and are sometimes very difficult to photograph because of their behavior. They are distinctive with an iridescent blue, yellow and black stripes running vertically.

Royal angelfish

Often seen with its pairing partner feeding during the day mostly on soft sponges and tunicates. They are found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceans around the globe and grow up to 25 cm long and found at depths of between 1-80 meters. Often found in and around caves and overhangs on the reef.

Old Woman angelfish

Old Woman

Pomacanthus rhomboides

A less common sighting on the reef, the Old woman angel is sometimes spotted swimming solitary or with a partner. They occurs in the eastern parts of the Indian Ocean and if often seen from Delagoa Bay to Knysna.

The fish are commonly sighted between 5-30 meters depth on the Aliwal Shoal. Their habitat is typically rocky reefs and are often sighted in large groups of 30 or more swimming mid-water above the reef when there is plankton for them to feed on.

Semicircle Angelfish

Pomacanthus semicirculatus

The Semicircle angelfish, also known as the Koran angelfish is a ray-finned fish in the family Pomacanthidae. They are not very commonly seen on all of our dives but have been seen on occasion

semicircle angelfish

in groups of two while feeding on sponges, tunicates and certain kinds of algae. It is found in the Indo-West Pacific ocean and in our sub-tropical waters of south africa. It is often seen between 1-40 meters deep on rocky reef, caves and overhangs.

emperor angelfish

Emperor Angelfish

Pomacanthus imperator

Unmistakably the supreme showboater with all its illustrious colour and glory, the Emperor angelfish is on every photographer’s bucket list. We see them from time to time on dives swimming

in pairs or solitary around corals, caves and overhangs feeding on sponges and tunicates. The juveniles are sometimes seen dashing in and out of crevices and under ledges or holes on shallower parts of the reef. It can be found between 1-100 meters deep, although we hardly ever dive deeper than 40 meters at the Aliwal Shoal.

Jumping Bean Angelfish

Centropyge acanthops

Also known as the Orange back angelfish, Jumping bean, African pygmy angelfish and African cherubfish, they are a welcome sighting for a photographic enthusiast

jumping bean

visiting our reef. Experts have noted slight population declines but have attributed this to the decline of pristine reef environments. These busy reef dwellers are mostly spotted in coral sections of Aliwal Shoal, often hiding in crevices and coral gardens. This species usually occurs in groups of about ten individuals although we see less on our reef. They can be found between 6-70 meters deep.

goldtail angelfish

Goldtail Angelfish

Pomacanthus chrysurus

Also known as the Earspot angelfish, they are a fairly uncommon specimen found on the Aliwal Shoal and rarely photographed is this beautiful species.

They are sometimes spotted on rocky reef areas where there is coral. They can be found between 1-30 meters deep.

Other Species Found on Aliwal Shoal

Tiger Angelfish – Apolemichthys kingi

Coral Beauty – Centropyge bispinosa

Dusky Cherub – Centropyge multispinis

Swallowtail Angelfish – Genicanthus caudovittatus

Threespot Angelfish – Apolemichthys trimaculatus

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