Usually found at depths less than 15 feet (4.5 m), the French angelfish lives in coral reef areas that offer shelter from nocturnal predators. It is a very territorial fish, often occurring in pairs. However, it is also very curious and swims close to divers and snorkelers.
Adult French angelfish may reach a maximum length of 24 inches (61 cm), but they are more common at lengths of 16 inches (40 cm)
French angelfish are often confused with their close relative, the gray angelfish. French angelfish have black scales edged with bright yellow while gray angelfish lack the yellow trim. Juvenile French angelfish have the same general shape as the adult, but very different coloration and patterns. The juvenile fish is black with three thick, vertical yellow bands on the body. French angelfish form monogamous relationships with a single mate. The pair defend their territory from other French angelfish.