The African Flameback Pygmy angel (C. acanthops) is another beautiful angelfish belonging to the Xiphypops subgenus (C. fisheri, C. acanthops, C. argi, C. resplendens, C. aurantonotus, C. flavicauda). It occurs in the western Indian Ocean along the east coast of Africa from Aliwal Shoal to the Gulf of Aden and east to Mauritius, the Seychelles and the Maldives. This species can often be found in harems of up to 12 individuals in coral rubble bottom habitats (often covered with thick algae) at depths of 25 to 130 feet. Adult fish reach about 3 inches.

Left: African Pygmy Angel (parents). Right: African Pygmy Angel juvenile, 190 dph.
Left: African Pygmy Angel (parents). Right: African Pygmy Angel juvenile, 190 dph.

Much like C. argi, C. acanthops is hardy in captivity, though it has aggressive tendencies, especially in smaller aquariums (less than 40 gallons). It has no sexual dichromatism. Males are longer and more slender than females. Like all Xiphypops members, C. acanthops is suitable for reef aquariums.

The larvae have similar requirements to C. argi up to metamorphosis. Interestingly, this species settle about 7 days after C. argi larvae start to settle.