Damselfish (Pomacentridae)

Damselfish Family Characteristics:

Damselfish are small busy fishes that bob constantly around the coral, using them as their territory and retreating into the rockwork when threatened. They are agile fishes, particularly when you are trying to catch them!

There are a number of similar looking 'Blue Devil' fishes as well as several blue and yellow colored species. Because of these similarities, the nomenclature of this large group of fishes is somewhat of a scientific minefield. Many authorities have endeavored to reclassify the damsels, but this has only served to confuse people.

Damselfish colors sometimes fade, which may be a response that helps the fish to blend in more effectively with the surroundings, or it may indicate undue stress in captivity. Because damselfish are considered to be very hardy, they are often abused, suffering high ammonia and nitrite levels to mature a filter system. Apart from this being bad aquarium management, these species are no less likely to contract White Spot or Oodinium diseases than any other marine fish subject to adverse conditions, which could spell long term disaster for a newly set up aquarium.

Normally, there are no clear distinctions between the male and female damselfish. There is one method of determining sex by external observation, by looking at the genital papillae (often called the ovipositor). The male genital papilla is narrower and more pointed than the female's. Observations are best delayed until breeding activity is noticed, when the papillae are easier to see. Spawning in damselfishes entails the selection of a site and the laying and subsequent guarding of eggs.

Diet And Feeding:

These fish are not picky eaters at all. In the aquarium, Damselfish will take live foods, algae, frozen foods, flake etc. All species of damselfish will take dried foods readily.

Aquarium Behavior:

Despite Damselfishes enormous popularity as a result of being both colorful and hardy, these fish do have a negative side; they are often aggressive and intolerant of their own, and other similar species.

List Of Popular Aquarium Damselfish:

  • Green Chromis (Chromis caerulea)
  • Blue Chromis, Blue Reef Fish (Chromis cyanea)
  • Yellow Tailed Damselfish (Chromis xanthurus)
  • Humbug, White Tailed Damselfish, Three Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus)
  • Cloudy Damsel, Blue Spotted Dascyllus (Dascyllus carneus)
  • Marginate Damselfish, Marginate Puller (Dascyllus marginatus)
  • Black Tailed Humbug, Four Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus melanurus)
  • Domino Damsel, Three Spot Damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)
  • Yellow Backed Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon melanopus)
  • Blue Finned Damsel (Pomacentrus melanochir)
  • Blue Devil, Electric Blue Damsel (Pomacentrus coeruleus)
  • Yellow Tailed Demoiselle (Pomacentrus violascens)
  • Beau Gregory (Stegastes leucostictus)
  • Yellowtail Damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema)
  • Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyanea)
  • Two Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus reticulatus)
  • Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera taupou)
  • Talbot's Damselfish (Chrysiptera talboti)
  • Blue Velvet Damselfish (Paraglyphidodon oxyodon)
  • Yellow Damselfish (Amblyglyphidodon aureus)
  • Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)
  • Yellowtail Dascyllus (Dascyllus punctatus)
  • Neon Damselfish (Pomacentrus alleni)
  • Sergeant Major Damselfish (Abudefduf saxatilis)
  • Blue Sapphire Damselfish (Chrysiptera springeri)
  • Garibaldi Damsel (Hypsypops rubicunda)
  • Tuxedo Damselfish (Chrysiptera tricincta)
  • Barrier Reef Chromis (Chromis nitida)
  • Black And White Chromis (Chromis margaritifer)
  • Black Axil Chromis (Chromis atripectoralis)
  • Lightning Double Bar Chromis (Chromis opercularis)
  • Orange Line Chromis (Acanthochromis polyacanthus)
  • Sunshine Chromis (Chromis insolata)


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