Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Damselfishes 2

Related Articles: Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Jumbo Damselfishes

Related FAQs: Damsels 1Damsel Identification, Damsel Selection, Damsel Compatibility, Damsel Behavior, Damsel Systems, Damsel Feeding, Damsel DiseaseDamsel Reproduction

Dascyllus albisella juvenile in an aquarium. 

damsel eggs... rdg., the usual   3-11-08 hello, my black with yellow tail damsel have laid eggs today 3-11-08,the father is now guarding them ,my question is : they laid them inside a barnacle, which a home of the father and also a royal Gramma, could set up a small tank a place the barnacle there without the parents, and try to feed them, would the tank need anything special, i have a 12 gal eclipse, i could put a foam insert over the intake tube, I use to breed s.w. fish ,i would feed them crushed flakes and baby brine ,would this work ,any suggestion would be appreciated ..thank you Ruth <... Using spell, grammar checkers, reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm scroll down... the tray on Damsels, their Reproduction... Bob Fenner>

Damsel questions    1/25/06 I just purchased a Sergeant Major Damsel which looks like it might be Abudefduf saxatilis , I have a couple questions regarding its behavior. I'm feeding it flake food and frozen brine, and the flake food bottle says to feed it as much as it can eat in 2 to 3 minutes, but the problem is that it eats really fast. I'm worried that if I let him go at it for 2 minutes he might over eat. <I feed small amounts until the fish show no interest.> Also a little while ago, I went up to the aquarium and the fish had its dorsal fin raised up as if in "aggressive mode," and acted a little bit lethargic. This only lasted for a minute though. Should I be worried? <No> Water parameters are good, and it seems to be fine now. Also I heard that this is a very aggressive fish, <The school bully.> what other animals can I add to the tank without having to be worried about them being bullied? <The same, three spot damsels, blue devils, etc.> This is the only animal, meaning I have no cleaning crew, <I'd consider getting one.> any recommendations? Thank you so much for your time, you guys are a real help. <You're welcome, and in the future please do a spelling/grammar check before sending.  Really don't like editing queries for spelling/grammar.  James (Salty Dog)> Andy Damsels Hi, I recently purchased two blue devil damsels, one is 2in long, another 1 in long.  Please tell me how old they approximately are and if they are male/female (they both are same color, smaller fish has more black on the tail). <Impossible to determine sex... age... likely a few to several months> At what age (size?) are they sexually mature and start mating? If they are a pair might they still fight? <Several months... they might fight in any case> Also do I need to supplement an Eclipse filter system with protein skimmer, what are the alternatives? <Skimmers are very worthwhile... though fitting one onto an Eclipse unit is tough... requires cutting the top. You might want to Google this topic... or read, search on WetWebFotos.com re> My tank is 25 gallon (tall), have sand, live rock, macro algae, two Turbos, sand sifting star and mushroom coral. System is 3 years old, ammonia is zero.  Veronika Garga <Okay... Bob Fenner>

Blue damsel problem  Hi Bob, <Hi Angie> While I just found your site a few days ago it has helped me tremendously I just started a salt water tank about 2 weeks ago its 55 gallons and currently has a fluval304 filter, 300 watt heater we let the coral sit 7 days as recommended by our pet store and the ammonia, PH, nitrate and salinity is perfect according to our tests as for decor its just "natural" nothing plastic rocks with cave like holes and such and some silk plants as recommended because they said for live plants we would quote "have to spend about 500 bucks for lighting" I'm not sure how true that is and some stuff called cycle to "mature" the tank as we are new to salt water I have had fresh water aquariums in the past. My problem is to start off the tank we purchased 6 damsels 3 3 stripe and 3 blue <too many fish to start the cycle, two would have been plenty>the first day in all was fine and today one of the blue damsels looked very bloated and his mouth was open like in sort of a kissing position for a long time then after a bit it sort of looked like it was peeling just around the mouth I have never seen something like that before I wasn't sure what to do we had ran out to purchase a smaller tank as a "hospital tank" and when we came home he was belly up we immediately took him out with a sample of water to bring to the pet store tomorrow I just had a few questions in general about this and the tank. 1. do I have to worry about whatever it was he had going to the other fish they are all looking fine and seem to be swimming happily in their new home?<I would guess one of the black and whites went a few rounds with him.  You will find later that the black and white damsels will raise holy hell in your tank>2. would you suggest getting real plants and the new lighting and removing the silk ones and is that really how much it will run us to get the lighting?<your tank is too new to be thinking about live plants.  At least wait till it cycles.  And no, lighting will not cost you 500 bucks.  Go to www.Drsfoster&smith.com. They have a good selection of lighting that will work with live plants. Around 4 to 5 watts per gallon would be sufficient.> 3. this one might sound novice but I am a beginner, how many times a day are we supposed to feed damsels the guy at the store said once every 2 days and not to feed them when we get home as they were fed already that day so today when we fed them they acted like they were starving poor little guys :)?< I would feed less and feed once a day. Your only overfeeding if you put more food in the tank than your fish can consume.  This leads to problems also.>4. I have read a lot in the articles and questions on here about a protein skimmer do you suggest we get one right away the man said I can wait till the tank is about 2 months but I don't want to do anything that would be harmful to the fish so if you suggest it should go in now I will get it right away?<A protein skimmer is not absolutely necessary but certainly improves the water quality.  In a new tank it probably wouldn't do much, there is not enough nutrients to take out of the water yet.  Like your dealer says wait a couple months.> 5. and lastly we really really want to get a yellow tang but the man said that we should wait till the tank is quote "cloudy" a bit even tho I'm hoping it never gets in that shape but we love this fish so I would like to know when would be the best time to get him?<I don't understand what he means "cloudy".  Tangs require good water quality and plenty of room since they are very active swimmers.  You don't say how big the tank is, but 70 gallons is a good choice for keeping tangs.  A 55 gallon will work, but keep in mind as a tang grows they need more room.>thank you for your time I know you must receive many many emails per day and so sorry for so many questions its just that when we went to buy the filter and coral one guy helped us and he told us a bunch of things about starting a salt water aquarium then when we went back to get the damsels it was another man and everything he said sort of contradicted what the first man said so were in a tight spot with too much advice from people that I'm not so sure know exactly what they are talking about  & thanks for having such a resourceful site :)<I recommend you purchase Bob Fenner's book, "The Conscientious Aquarist".  It is a excellent book that you can always refer to.  James (Salty Dog)> Angie Re: blue damsel problem <Hello Angela> I wanted to thank you sooo much for answering so quickly and was just wondering one more thing the man at the store said it was a minimum to start with 6 fish and you had said 2 would be fine and a different man said today that while its cycling I am going to lose more fish I don't want them to die so am I really going to lose more fishies :(( I just want them happy and don't want to kill them off. You won't necessarily lose these fish its just that when you start cycling a tank, the more fish in it increases the initial level of ammonia to a more toxic level.  This varies with the size of the aquarium.  James (Salty Dog)> thanks again Angie Adding another damsel & strange Jawfish Hello Crew! <How goes it?  Michael here, back after some hectic times> I have a few questions that I am hoping you can answer. <Will try my best>  I  have a well established 55-gal minireef and one of the inhabitants (my first  marine fish actually) is a yellowtail damsel.  I am wondering if it  would cause a problem adding another yellowtail damsel to the tank (territory  problems, getting picked on, etc.)?  All of the other fish get along great  with one another as I have been careful in their selection.  I know with  some fish, adding two can divide up the new aggression so I am not sure if I  should add one or two damsels.  <With stocking issues considered, I would add two.  Also, before adding them, you may want to feed your damsel, rearrange the rockwork, and turn off the lights when adding the newcomers>   Also, is there any way to determine the sex of damsels? <Besides behavioral cues, not without a microscope for most species>  How  difficult is it to get them to pair up in a captive system?  I have several  wonderful pairs of creatures in my tank (fire shrimp, perculas, cleaner shrimp)  and it would be great to have another matched.  Can I plan for this or will  it be just a lucky chance if they do pair up?  <Damsels will often start out male when younger, and as they age change sex to female.  If you wanted to get a mated pair, I would start out with about 5 young specimens (1" or less) and let them grow up together.  A female may emerge, with a mate chosen if you're lucky> One final question--more of an observation really.  I have a  Yellowheaded Jawfish (one of my favorite fish to watch) and he has finally  settled into the same hole for the last 3 weeks.  He kept moving around,  digging up all my sand, until I gave him a handful of aquarium gravel to use for  his hole under a rock.  He used it all and it is amazing how he has stacked them up making a den for himself.  Starting last week, he has taken to  barricading himself in his hole using the pebbles!!  At first I thought the  pebbles caved in on him so I looked under the tank through the glass and he has  quite a little cave dug under the rock.  When feeding time came, he pushed  them out and came out to eat.  Then he went back in and barricaded himself  back in his hole!  Is this normal for them or is my fish afraid of open  spaces?  I thought it was the addition of my coral beauty (after he came  out of 6 weeks of QT) but he started this behavior before I added the new  fish.  I am just curious if you have heard of anyone else having this  happen? <Depending on how your tank is decorated, this could be quite natural.  How long have you had him?  Is the tank sparsely decorated?  Usually they get used to their surroundings in a month or two, but yours seems a bit shyer than is average. However, all fish are different.  Make sure there is plenty of cover for him and he may come out more often.  As a side note, I have a figure 8 puffer that wedges his head in a decoration I have in his tank to sleep - every fish is different!> Thanks again for all your help and you have a wonderful  site!! <No problems, hope I've helped> -Ray W. <M. Maddox> - Catching a Devilish Damsel - WWM Team My blue devil has turned very nasty now that he is an adult (even more so than what I was willing to except before buying him).  it's so bad some of my other fish will not come out of the live rock.  I really want to return him but I can't get to him with a net with all the LR I have.  I even tried rearranging the rock but he just picked up his old habits.  what can I do? <I'd try baiting a barbless hook - this actually works better than you might think.> thanks, your site has really helped me with this great hobby for the past 2 years. BTW, when does the second volume of the invert series come out? <Well, I'm not as in tune with the process on this book as I was on the last one, but I get the impression it should be ready sometime in the Summer, perhaps early Fall.> Mark <Cheers, J -- >

A Little Story About Jack and Lilly... I'm new to the hobby and I'm just starting to get me feet wet. <Ahh- easy solution to that one- make sure that the siphon hose is in the bucket and your feet will stay dry! (I couldn't resist that one!) Scott F. with you today> I have a 55 gallon tank and finally got it started 14 days ago. I purchased two Damsel fish, (Jack and Lilly), in order to help with my Nitrogen cycle. Jack and Lilly have been living happily in their new home for the past 10 days. When I replaced the air driven gravel filter with two power heads, two days ago, Jack and Lilly have changed. Both fish are purple and refuse to leave the rock they call home. They just hang out by the lift tube and just sit on the gravel refusing to eat or swim. I have checked all levels of Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, pH, Salinity and several other water test in an attempt to find the culprit. All water tests were in acceptable range. My temperature did rise after the addition of the power heads from 76-78 to 78-80. Do you think they are spooked by the power heads after living with the air system? <Well, in the absence of other possible causes of potential distress, such as illness, it may simply be that Jack and Lilly need to adjust to the greater current that the powerheads are putting out. One could speculate about more exotic stuff, like stray electrical current, excessive vibrations, and all kinds of stuff is possible! It could even be coincidental that the strange behavior started when the powerheads were installed.> Do you have any advise to what I can do in order to help Jack and Lilly. I have grown very fond of the pair and enjoy having them as part of the family. <I'm sure that Jack and Lilly will settle in just fine! I would simply keep an eye on the fish and be prepared to intervene should disease or other problems manifest themselves at a later time. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Fishes IDS/pics - www.fishbase.org 7/13/03 Dear wetweb, my name is Sanusi. I'm a student of Diponegoro University Indonesia. I have a problem in my thesis about damselfishes. it is because there's a problem in finding picture of the species. Could you help me to send me pictures of damselfishes especially these species: Pomacentrus cyanomous, Abudefduf melas, Dascyllus reticulatus, Abudefduf assimilis and Abudefduf leucogaster. Thanks for your attention. Sanusi <cheers, my friend. Let me direct you to one of the finest databases on the Internet for pics of fishes/IDs: http://www.fishbase.org you can use their search fields to find pages on the species you seek. Kind regards, Anthony>

Chromis Deaths Dear friends: <Ryan tonight> I have had two unexplained death's in my tank last night. They were a pair of black and gold Chromis. Pretty hardy fish I thought. <Truly depends on the individual, my friend.>  I have a 46 Gallon bow front which is 2.5 months old. Did a 20% water change a day earlier. <With what?  Did you let the water age properly before putting in in?  Was the new water roughly the same temperature as the system's water?> Water parameters are as follows: pH: 8.0 - 8.2 NH4:  0 N03: 0-5ppm N03: 0 Temp: 82 F SG: 1.023 pair of blue damsels (small) pair of ocellaris clowns (small) maroon clown (small) spotted hawk (small) azure damsel (small) 4 hermit crabs 2 inch CaribSea aragonite Is my tank still unstable? I used to have no problems with my 20 G.  What gives? <Nothing you've given me really raises any flags.  Possibly the water temperature of the water change- Was all this livestock placed in at once?  Have you checked this system for available oxygen?  The pair kicking the bucket in harmony is a little odd- may be factors out of your control here.  To take the guesswork out of situations like these, I would highly recommend a regimen of quarantine and freshwater dips.  Take note to carefully observe the rest of your livestock in the coming weeks.  This will be your greatest asset in preventing more deaths.  This article will be most useful http://wetwebmedia.com/toxictk.htm  Best of luck! Ryan>

Damsels >Hey Guys- >>And gals, we've got three as crewmembers, Marina here this morning. >Great Site!!! >>Thank you. >I have a 55 gallon reef tank with plenty of cured rock >>? Plenty of? >...recently I lost power in my home for 4 days and lost everything in my tank...for the past 3 months I have kept 4 damsels in the tank trying to keep something in the water...after trying a tang and a clown (which both died of ick) the damsels have remained healthy. >>Please DO get into the practice of quarantining ALL new additions to avoid these deaths in future, protocol is a minimum of 30 days.  Freshwater dipping is also helpful, but do know that it's clear you have either Cryptocaryon or Amyloodinium already within the system.  You will not be rid of this unless you remove all vertebrates and allow the tank to lie fallow for 6-8 weeks.  During this period you can keep the nitrification cycle going (and your bacterial culture up and running) by throwing in a bit of peeled shrimp (just one should suffice), or a small bit of fish food. >I really like the hardiness of the damsels and want to know what I can possible add with them that they won't attack immediately. (the damsels are Chrysiptera? - 2 yellow tails and 2 electric blue) >>Right, A.K.A. blue devils FOR A REASON. ;)  You'll more than likely have to remove them to add most other denizens, as they're a "mob" or "gang" by now to any new additions (that have been properly quarantined first, of course).  After that, I would consider something like Coris gaimard or other wrasses, you can also consider one of the various gobies or blennies that remain on the rockwork or tank floor.  Also, pseudochromids are good choices in that they remain small and are pugnacious enough to hold their own, do not mix the species in this size tank.  Hawkfish, though do know that many are known jumpers.  The more assertive clowns can hold their own, but only if they're place in the tank first when you have a group of damsels like this.  Just remember to not add fish that will become overly large quickly, like tangs, in a system like this and you should be ok.  Best of luck to you!  Marina Re: Fiji damsel >Hi Marina (and crew of course) >>Good morning, Connie! >I read your response today to someone telling them about one of your fishes, a Fiji damsel.  I have checked all the suppliers on line that I know about and haven't found any info.  Could you tell me where you acquired this pretty fish??? >>Oh my, that would have been Bob's department, as I'd never seen the fish until I worked with him some ten years ago or so.  They came in a shipment he'd ordered, but I'm going to do a quick search and see what I can find.  Ok, so far I'm finding that the pink and yellow damsel I have been calling "Fiji" is something else entirely from what most others are calling "Fiji"!  O!  Lament the common names!  But I'm not finished yet.   >Thanks so much for your help, Marina.  Connie >>You're welcome, now let's see what I can find for you!  Here's something close, but it's not the same fish http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Neoglyphidodon&speciesname=nigroris >>Here's a pretty one, but not the one I was talking about...BOB!  LOL  http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chrysiptera&speciesname=bleekeri >>This one demonstrates the posterior dorsal fin spot, but on the animal I'm thinking of it wasn't ringed, still, beautiful http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Pomacentrus&speciesname=vaiuli >> http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chrysiptera&speciesname=rex >>Well, that's it for my search.  We'd have to ask Bob if he remembers this little fish at all, because I've now spent the better part of 45 minutes with no luck finding the exact fish I remember, nothing even *quite* close.  I am very sorry, too!  Marina

Re: Blue Damsels salt levels I currently have a 29 gal. Brackish tank, I have been told that blue damsels can live with a salt level of 1.017 my tank is currently 1.018 with 2 archers an Orange Chromed and some bumble bee gobies. I wanted to add a few damsels but am kind of afraid to add fish that I thought needed 1.020 at least. Can they tolerate brackish water? Thanks <They can tolerate the lower salinity but are much better off being kept at true marine levels. There are a few species of Damsels that are from fresh or brackish areas, you might want to check into these. Take a look at http://home.rochester.rr.com/akom/FAQ7.htm for a list of the freshwater ones and do some research for the brackish varieties. Ronni>

Welcome to my Part of the Tank  2/28/03 Hi again so sorry new question.<No problem!!  Phil with ya today!> OK I broke apart the rock and did really well separated the 2 carpet anemones (I think that is what they are) brown little nodules with green tips on one and lavender tips on the other one any way everyone is fine and placed everything in nice spots here is my question my yellow tailed damsels keep backing into the larger carpet with its tail 3 or 4 times consecutively and then swims away what in good lords name is it doing?<That's a good question!  He may just be wondering what the heck it is and why is it in "his" part of the tank.  He may also think it's a type of food.  My advice is to sit back and watch...  It must be quite funny to see him/her do this over and over.  As long as the damsel doesn't hurt himself it should be ok.> Thanks again Misty<Hope this helps Misty!!  Phil>

- Undermining Damsels... - Hello... <Hello, JasonC here...> I have a new tank, 75 gal. just in its 6th week, I have nine kinds of Damsel fish in it to start the cycling process, all fish are great, eat well twice a day and very active. But in just the last week or so (I have 2 Yellowtails) I have been finding large areas of substrate dug out behind the barnacles I have. <Yeah, they do that.> And tonight while watching I noticed that the 2 of them are at it again, picking up and moving the crushed coral, also noticed one of them flicking or shimmering are these 2 up to mating? <No, they're just establishing the pecking order.> My tank has not yet cycled and the nitrites are still very high, is it possible for them to lay eggs? <Not in these circumstances.> I can't get much info on them as far as mating and breeding could you please tell me more about their breeding and could it happen in a new tank? <Not in a brief email. I suggest you turn to a search engine for this, but do keep in mind... it's still cheaper to buy them than to rear them.> Thanks... Also about the nitrites, still been high and have not started to drop, any ideas... <Be patient... these things take time, and you've chosen the long road. I'd expect things to get to normal in about eight to nine weeks.> thanks again Tony.. can't wait to hear from you as no one in the local store could add any more information on my Damsel situation... thanks Tony in Natick, Mass.... <Cheers, J -- >

Re: damselfish question etc. hello again, this is Tony and I emailed you about 2 yellowtail damselfish possibly mating in my new tank, 75 gal, 6th week of cycling and was just wondering since I am new to this and your great pages, will you email me back or should I look for a response to my question on the faq pages, thanks again and can't stop reading your pages, great and lots of info...Tony in Natick Mass <Thanks and we respond first to the querier, and post all to the daily FAQs then on to individual FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Stocking Damsels, lionfish Respected sir bob <Craig here today Monty> Well sir I want to know that when you are coming to Singapore please tell me the month I will come to meet you in Singapore. Well sir I, think you should come to India as its the beautiful country especially the people here in India. <Thank you Monty, I know many on the crew would love to see Singapore and India.> On my previous mail I told you my list they are:- percula clown, yellowtail Damsel, humbug damsel, blue damsel and dwarf lion fish. Sir, I have not added a single fish yet. I just want to know that is the list is ok. Your advice will be appreciated, Monty <Monty, please read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm, this will help you with your selection. Make sure you have enough room to keep this number of Damsels/clowns without aggression. The lionfish must be small as it will eat your Damsels if it can get it's mouth around them.  Best wishes, Craig>

Clownfish/Damsel question WWM crew, This may be completely ridiculous but I have a question on damsels.  I know they are territorial and I'm not really planning on getting any but I heard they resist disease and parasites, is this true?  Second question is if they do, do clownfish have this same trait since they are members of the damselfish family? <Mmm, well, there are some 325 described species... and some are overtly territorial... but there are rather peaceable (on the reef life scale) species... And there is a "typical" range of ease of susceptibility of infectious and parasitic disease amongst these fishes... some species and shipments are "rock solid", others all dead and dying. The subfamily Amphiprionae (the Clowns)... are on "average" terrible collected straight from the wild... and much, much better in these terms when captive produced. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mike


Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: