Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Damselfish Feeding

Related Articles: Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Jumbo Damselfishes

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

Most damsels readily accept any/all foods. 

Damselfish is a finicky eater Hi < Hello. > I have had a 4 stripe damsel that I recently purchased. I put it in a quarantine tank and it was adapting as usual. After a week I gave it some live brine shrimp and it loved it. But a little too much. It was a week ago since I gave it the brine shrimp and I haven't given any more since. Now it will accept nothing else, but krill and sometimes a small piece of Mysis shrimp. I have tried feeding it everything I have which is a dozen or more types of food and it will accept nothing else.  < Have you tried Cyclop-Eeze? Nothing turns down that bright red color. >  I am sure this is really not a large enough variety for a healthy diet. Please give me your advice of how to get this fish eating again. < I would try mixing a couple foods together. Like offer something stirred up with the brine shrimp and see if he eats while eating the brine. Otherwise, my best advise is to keep feeding a variety and let him eat when he gets hungry enough. This may not work for all fish, but damsels I think they will eat (voraciously in fact) before actually starving. > Thanks, Jed < Blundell > 

Damsel hasn't eaten for 30 days 4/13/04  Hello everyone: I have a blue velvet damsel that will not eat. It has been 30 days now. The damsel had been eating voraciously (flake food and some frozen shrimp. ) Once I noticed he would not eat I moved him into a larger tank 55 gallon( he had been in quarantine for 2 months while I cycled a 55g with ammonia). This is the only animal in this 55g tank. I read many of your articles and it seems it could be internal parasites or constipation. The damsel stopped eating abruptly. His eyes are clear, his color is perfect, there is no bloating, he has lost very little weight. He is responsive though once I moved him to the 55g. He was non responsive for about ten days and would just swim the entire length of the tank constantly without resting. I have noticed white and clear feces and also the two corners of his tail are missing.  <The symptoms could be associated with parasites or infection. White feces has also been associated with cyanide exposure, but cyanide usually kills early. As long as the fish looks healthy, I would just wait it out. It could be eating some amphipods and/or copepods as well.>  The S.G. is 1.027, Ammonia .25, nitrite 0, nitrate 0 and PH 8.2. I have been having trouble with the ammonia even though I am feeding lightly. I do a water change once per week. I have been using an undergravel filter with a protein skimmer but I may change to a sump if that would be a better choice. In the future I will stock the tank with fish mainly, a couple of hermit crabs, tiger cowry and cleaner shrimp.  <Please verify your ammonia reading with another kit. If the ammonia reading is accurate, it could be contributing to the problem. As an aside, I generally recommend against UGF's for marine tanks in favor of live rock for the simplicity and stability it lends to the system.>  I did try using 1Tlbs of Epsom salts, in 5 gallons of water in a bucket with an airstone and heater. I used the water I remove from a water change and left the fish in there for three hours. If the fish is constipated should I have left him in longer or added the Epsom salt to the main tank.  <I don't think there is a benefit to Epsom salts here.>  Does this fish have internal parasites? I read somewhere on your site that if the fish is not eating you cannot treat him and that even if the fish takes food the treatment may not work. Any ideas? Thank you  <I would suggest moving the fish back to quarantine and lowering the specific gravity to 1.012 over a few days. Hold at 1.012 for at least a week or until the fish starts eating. Marine fish expend a significant amount of energy ridding themselves of salt. Lower SG allows them to spend more energy fighting illness. Do not lower the SG in your display! It will damage or kill any beneficial bacteria and critters that are present. Best Regards. Adam>

Damsel on A hunger Strike? Background: 55 gallon salt, Eheim 2233 canister, skimmer turned off (but air stone in tank) for now because I added my first, single Damsel 01-03-03. My tank cycled for about 3 months prior due to my obsessiveness--and lack of funds for a few odds and ends. I have done everything right, I am sure. When I got the damsel it was fine immediately. Lively, and eating fast. But now it won't eat. I bought 2 types of food and still won't eat though it would at first. The damsel is still lively and even darts at me (very aggressive) when I am near the tank. I kept marine fish before and never have I not seen a damsel not eat unless about to die. This one seems healthy otherwise. Any ideas? (Also, I have done two 4 gallon water changes since introducing it.) Thanks. <Well, I'd say that the sudden lack of appetite of this fish is probably the result of some form of stress...The stress event may have been a sudden variation in water chemistry, temperature, or even the onset of disease. I'd perform a re-check of your nitrite and ammonia levels...Do run the skimmer at all times- it's your first line of defense against potential water quality problems. Maybe perform another small water change if the water chem is off. Perhaps you might want to try another food or two- it can't hurt at this point...Sometimes, fish do go "off feed" for a few days for now apparent reason, only to begin eating ravenously days later...Just be patient, don't give up- observe him closely...Good luck!>

Damsel Rescue Dear Mr. Fenner,  I recently rescued a blue damsel from my university where he'd been living for three years in a tank covered with at least three kinds of decaying, slimy algae? <Yikes, thank goodness> They didn't care for him and he never was fed. He subsisted on sludge. The only reason I got him is because I kept visiting the department with any suggestions I'd read about (I'm really a freshwater aquarist). Their building was condemned so they had to 'get rid of him'!! He would have had a nice home. His tank was a 55 gallon reef until the professor who took care of it for real retired and the department refused to let him have it. Everything died except that one fish.  <Wowzah... starting to sound like a Hollyweird script!> He has a number of problems. He spends a great deal of his time black. I've read stress causes this but I don't know how to cure it. I have a 25 gallon tank with salt, substrate, heater, bubbler, penguin 125 Biowheel, and test kits for pH, ammonia, nitrates and the dead coral from his old aquarium plus a hydrometer. He has a fluorescent hood. Is there anything I'm missing. I worry that his stress is caused by not knowing how to eat!!!!! I also think his vision has been damaged. To get him to eat I have to spend a half hour holding food over his head (he's started to associate my giant hand, hard to miss, with food. Sometimes he gets it. There could be flakes half the size of him in front of his nose and he only notices them if they fall on him. He's equally naive about brine shrimp. I feed him OSI marine flakes regularly and sometimes brine shrimp. Whenever I manage to feed him (usually once a day out of three half hour sessions) he turns electric purple (light); I think if I could get him to eat regularly he'd turn the electric blue he's supposed to be. How do you teach a fish how to eat??  <Time, and patience... you're doing it> Do I need a protein skimmer; I've read a lot about them?  <It would help> What's the best synthetic sea salt?  <Many good brands... Instant Ocean is fine> Also, I ended up pulling some of the dead coral out because brown residue was on them and I couldn't get it off, what is this? <Probably diatom algae... can be bleached off... see articles on this sort of procedure on the site: Home Page > Is he lonely? <Maybe... but probably not a problem...> Is a 100 watt heater big enough?  <Yes, for a twenty five> Is my filtration good enough?  <Yes, but do look into a small skimmer> Is his growth stunted?  <Possibly... but can, will grow still if within genetic, developmental potential> He's only an inch and a half long and he's three years old. Could his sense of smell be damaged too? Will either sense ever recover?  <Yes, within possibility> Please answer me; no one else on the internet has.  Thank you, Margaret  <Good luck, life to you my friend in fish. Bob Fenner>

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: