Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the Damselfish Stocking/Selection

Related Articles: Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Jumbo Damselfishes

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

Do check references re the ultimate size of your damsels... some get quite large.

55 gallon tank question; adding new Damsels    2/19/17
I have a 55 gallon tank with a mated pair of percula clown fish, a red flame hawk fish, and a coral beauty angel.
I would like to add 3 yellow tailed blue damsels. Am I likely to create an aggression problem?
<I give you about even odds here... I'd put the two Perculas in a plastic floating colander for the first 2-3 days the new Damsels are added. Bob Fenner>

Damselfish Stocking     7/24/13
Hi WWM Team!
I wanted to reach out because I am considering adding fish to my existing reef tank and would like to create a "reef effect" with many damselfish but am not sure it is possible / practical.
<Well; some species can exist in a shoal in a large volume... a few can be mixed with other species>

 Hence, before making such a permanent decision I thought I would research WWM and reach out for a recommendation. The reef is 130''L x 36''W x 32'' H roughly 650G with quite a bit of Acropora and live rock. It is stocked with a very established Achilles, Yellow, and Purple Tang, Two Clownfish
<Which species? Will consider that these are more easygoing here>
and a Copperband Butterfly. The challenge is that the tangs and butterfly seem to have decided that they will swim together as a group... all the time! So the aquarium basically looks empty because the fish are all localized in one area (with the clowns never leaving their toadstool leather coral). After reading Bob's article on the Talbot's damselfish, and seeing them live, I was considering adding a number of them (or mixing 50/50 with Talbot's and Azure Damsels) to the aquarium with the *theory* that they will provide striking color like Anthias, while being smaller / less delicate.
<I would add these, AND some Anthias here... My choice? A nice mix of color and behavior in Pseudanthias squamipinnis... either just a few males, or all females and allow some to develop into males>
The challenge I am facing is that most of the information / advice online seems to focus on individual or small group behavior when discussing the viability of damsels.
<For aquariums, aquarists, yes; these all assume small system volumes; which, thankfully, you're not constrained by>

Are there any special considerations to keeping a larger group of a single species?
<Mmm, yes; many are far better stocked all at once, in the same size (small to start) range... Chromis and a few other genera of schooling species>
Will they hunt in packs and kill off all the livestock or will the large numbers basically temper the territorial behavior?
<Much more the latter; Pomacentrids don't hunt in packs>
 Assuming adequate filtration for about 15-20 damsels, does the size of the aquarium support this number of fish socially?
<It does; and I strongly agree w/ your choices here>
Best Regards,
<And you; Bob Fenner> 
Re: Damselfish Stocking     7/24/13

Thank you again Bob for your insight! As always its invaluable.
<Ahh, welcome Dan>
On a separate note... I moonlight on the Aquarium Council at the Shedd Aquarium and spent some time last week with folks from SECORE and the Coral Restoration Foundation. At dinner I was sharing the insights I received from you over the years and your reputation and writing really precedes you!! :-) Not sure if they knew you personally but many heads nodding
regarding your legend!
<Ah yes; have been around quite a while, trying to do my best in and for the field>
(Sexual coral reproduction is a special interest of mine so I learn/work with the Shedd on their projects in this area... WWM actually helped me recognize my first spawning event back in 2008 with GSP, proudly displayed at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polypreprofaqs.htm at the top of the page.
:-) Now spawning is a yearly event in my aquarium around the end of October.)
Take Care Bob!
<And you, BobF>

adding damsels, more... rdg.    1/28/13
Hi crew, I have a 180 gallon live rock tank that houses mushroom rock,1 French angel,1 purple tang,1 bicolor angel,1 Flameback angel,2 percula clowns and 2 bang. cardinals along with crabs and shrimp. I was recently thinking of adding 2 clown gobies
<See WWM re... really need Acropora... less active setting than this>

 and a few yellowtail damsels and was wondering if this is acceptable or would I be overcrowding.
<Hard to add at this point w/ what is there already>
 The tank has been set up about 4 years and the French angel and purple tang were added about a year ago.
Thanks for all the info ya'll put out on the web. Thanks, David
<Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Chromis iomelas - Half-and-half Chromis or Chromis dimidiata...     1/14/13
Hello Crew,
<Hey Paul>
I have been looking for awhile now and I really want to get a small school of either the  Chromis iomelas or Chromis dimidiata-  true Half-and-half Chromis. Can you please help me find this fish... I watch many sites but do not find these and I really would like them.. please help me attain these... or if you could forward this email to someone you know? Please...
<Good question. As you likely are aware, there are some 400 plus species of Pomacentrids, and likely a total of a dozen or so that are "regulars/standards" in the trade (likely to be offered for sale year in/out... The two you mention I have seen many times in the wild, very infrequently in the "system"... as there is little/no demand that makes its way back to the collecting level. I tried an experiment/al urging friend Walt Smith to offer his fave reef damsel (Chrysiptera talboti) and the larger Amblyglyphidodon aureus out of Fiji about 12-15 years back... and these have made some inroads... To respond more substantively, hopefully more helpfully to your query, you're best efforts at acquiring either of these "half and half" damsels is to ask you supplier (LFS if you're a consumer/aquarist) to in turn make formal request of their suppliers...
Quality Marine, Pacific Aqua Farm and SDC (Sea Dwelling Creatures) are my picks (all in LA) for this>
<Bob Fenner, San Diego, CA>
Re: Chromis iomelas - Half-and-half Chromis or Chromis dimidiata   1/14/13

Hello Bob, My last message had my signature link on it.. if you post this message, could you please do me a favor and remove that part of it... I don't want my number and work info listed on your site if that's ok... I forgot to remove it when I sent in my question...
<Ah yes; have left off... does have your location... Do you want this deleted as well? BobF>

Possible Overstocking... stripped damsel, Plerogyra septa...    2/28/12
Dear WWM,
    My tank is a 55 gal. reef. Corals are 3 different Euphyllia spp. Two large Hawaiian Feather Dusters, One Scarlet Shrimp, One Stripped Damsel,
<Dascyllus can be pugnacious>

One Watchman Goby Pistol Shrimp pair, One Royal Gramma, One Percula Clown, 15+ Blue Leg Hermits, One Serpent Star, One Pencil Urchin, 25 pounds Live Rock, Four Inches Sand/Crushed Coral substrate. Large hang on back filter, four 65 watt power compact lights, 450 gph power head (I think that is the number, it ensures no dead spots). I have no refugium, but I do have a quarantine tank set up 10 gal. I have given up on a 'show' fish and decided that having some Blue Green Chromis might be just as wonderful.
<Again, you may have to removed the striped damsel>
 A school should consist of more than five, but I don't want to over stock the system.
Is it already at a max. capacity?
<Mmm, a qualified "no"...>
 Is it overstocked already? My Nitrate levels are never above .5 ppm no matter how much time goes by. I never let it <?> go past  two weeks though. Another problem that came up some time ago that I have been dealing with is algae collecting on my Bubble Coral's Septa. I have been scraping it off with a fine brush. Would something else work better?
<It, the colony, is likely losing to the more chemically aggressive Euphyllias... Could try iodide/ate... moving the Plerogyra elsewhere>
Well, I should probably stop bothering you so have a wonderful day.
<And you, B>

(Damsel Compatibility) Adding Damselfish to well established reef 6-10-11
Hi guys/gals,
<<Hi Gene.>>
Been talking with Bob about my recent loss of my blue-jaw trigger (he was quite sympathetic). He jumped (not Bob -- the trigger :)) from my 125g display tank.
<<One of those situations is definitely more humorous than the other, sorry to hear about your Trigger.>>
I've been thinking about adding some color in the form of damselfish. My tank is 6' long with the largest fish consisting of a Naso and Yellow Tang.
<<Naso is still likely to outgrow your 125 as an adult but I'm sure you're aware.>>
The other fish are small relative to these guys.
My question, is could I safely add a few damselfish (all at once)?
<<What species? Vary variable behavior, care and size across this family. Some would be permissible , other species would not.>>
I read your page on damselfish and noted that tangs, triggers, etc. will tone the aggression of these guys down a bit.
<<These larger fish will be less likely to suffer at the aggression of a 'pack' of damsels though not immune to some of the larger/more territorial ones (again depends on specific species)>>
To ensure your recommendation is based on facts (not assumptions), I also have a dotty back, a blenny, tiger wardi, 6-line wrasse, and a single clown fish that hosts in my good size frogspawn. Oh, yea, I also have a flame angel and copper banded butterfly. Currently, the tank is very stable and peaceful. This is also a mixed reef tank containing a number of soft corals and a few Montis and Birdsnest.
Thanks for your time to comment!
<<Gene I think with your current load and considering the potential size of some of these animals (Naso especially), I would avoid adding anything else...and not to sound like a broken record but it is difficult to give you a definitive green light/red light without knowing what species of Damsels you have in mind. If you're looking for a suggestion on suitable damsels (in general), check out Bob F's article on C. Talboti (one of my personal favorites...also very easy to keep and not quite as nasty in disposition as some of it's kin).>>
<<Good luck! Adam J.>>
Re: Adding Damselfish to well established reef 6-10-11
Hello Adam -- thank you for the follow up.
<<No problem Gene.>>
The reason I didn't mention any specific damselfish is that I didn't have anything specific in mind.
<<I understand and I didn't mean to avoid answering your question if that's how it appeared. It's just the family Pomacentridae (Damsels) is very big, and broad. It includes everything from the common anemone fish we keep in reef aquaria, to our state fish here in California, the Garibaldi (a temperate Damsel that gets to over a foot in length).>>
While I've read they can be a bit aggressive -- frankly, I thought (erroneously) that given my tank inhabitants and the fact that they would be the 'new kids on the block', aggression would not be too much an issue. Obviously, I was wrong (that's why I check you folks first -- even after doing some homework).
<<There are definitely species that would be 'workable' with your mix behaviorally, but like I said given your current space and what you have I just wouldn't do it.>>
I'll look closer at your recommendation -- assuming I add anything else. I do have a relatively high bio load, and I feed more than I should (thus the need for my GFO reactor). Since things are very stable now -- perhaps I'm better off to leave well enough alone -- although we all know how hard that is to do in this hobby!
<<You're on the right track, keep reading, exploring...you'll find something to tinker with.>>
Again, thanks for your feedback.
<<Anytime, Adam J.>>

Crowd Control With Damsels... 10/18/10
Hi Ladies and Gentlemen of WWM,
A not completely idle line of questioning that I hope you can help with.
<Will try.>
Is it possible (with the correct levels of filtration etc) to combat the aggressive nature of Damsels with crowding as you can do with Mbuna? (I understand that Damsels are loosely related to freshwater cichlids which started this line of thought).
<Not really, they just kill each other off until they get to a comfortable stocking level, which may be 1 depending on the species.><<Mmm, actually Pomacentrids and Cichlids are taxonomically close. RMF>>
I have no real intention at this moment of following this train of thought into practice, but I thought it would be illuminating to get your opinion.
I am looking to set up a moderate sized marine tank after I have moved home in over a years time, so I have plenty of time to consider my options and do research (well.. you can never do too much research!).
Looking through the web I see very few examples of Damsel Tanks, and I'm sure the aggressive nature of these fish puts people off this idea (with the exception of Clownfish, some people seem to find no problem with putting several pairs of clowns in appropriate tanks).
<In all but the largest tanks I always recommend 1 pair per tank.>
Anyway, as I guess the answer to the above over-crowding idea may well be a resounding no(?) I would ask your opinion of how you would go about constructing a damsel tank, in terms of size of tank, number of inhabitants and species mix (assuming things like filtration etc are all aimed at the stocking level of the tank being suggested) with the ultimate aim to have as many of these little gems housed humanely in an eye-pleasing display?
<You are going to have to choose species very carefully, and even then there is no guarantee. Besides why limit yourself to just one family of fish when there are so many great choices available.>
Thanks for your time and I look forward to your reply!
More re: Crowd Control With Damsels... 10/18/10

(I understand that Damsels are loosely related to freshwater cichlids which started this line of thought).
<Not really, they just kill each other off until they get to a comfortable
stocking level, which may be 1 depending on the species.><<Mmm, actually Pomacentrids and Cichlids are taxonomically close. RMF>>
Sorry, I was not clear there, was referring to the overstocking part, not the relationship between the species.
<Ahh, thank you Chris. B>
Re: Crowd Control With Damsels... 10/18/10
Thank you so much for the quick reply. I do take on board your point about the variety on offer, but was intrigued when I read reports that some damsels such as Four-Striped and Yellowtailed Blue had been kept in groups by some people with some success (although not read of anyone with the two species in the same tank) and then started imagining a tank with a mixture of these guys swarming around some appropriate rockwork and I thought that could look good, as well as being busy.
<In larger tanks with lots of rockwork where everyone can have their own little domain it can work with the right species, but even then if a fish is vulnerable for some reason there can be problems.>
Oh well, back to the drawing board... that's the benefit of thinking so far in advance I guess... I can discover the error of my ways before I actually follow through! :)
<Planning is key, makes life easier down the road.>
My follow up idea for a medium sized tank is for one composed of fairy and flasher wrasses (Obviously, I'm going for colour and movement with a number of fish, rather than a lower number of larger specimens)
<Cool, but tanks fill up quick even with small fish so temper your expectations.>

damsel addition?   7/6/10
Hello there folks - I think I know the answer to this but I'm going to ask anyway - I have a 65 gallon reef tank, with the following inhabitants: a Tomini Tang, a Purple Tang,
<These Surgeonfishes will need more room in time>
a Tailspot Blenny, a Copperband Butterfly, a Scooter dragonet, and four Azure damsels. All are healthy and getting along well. I would like to add a couple of Three stripe damsels.
<Mmm, no. I would not do this>
The ones in the store are about half the size of the Azure damsels I have.
Am I right that the Azure damsels would most likely attack the Three stripe damsels?
<There's "no room at the inn" here period>
Or, given the fact that the Three stripes are so small, is it possible the Azures wouldn't regard them as a threat? Or (as I have a feeling) am I best to skip this idea?
Of course, behavior is sometimes unpredictable, as with my Copperband.
Supposedly shy, right? Ha! He takes food from my finger, chases the other fish, even snatches food nearly from their mouths (which is why I started giving him food from my fingers). Still, I will appreciate your thoughts re the damsels... Thanks, Seth.
P.S. Thanks for your excellent website and great advice in the past!
<Welcome Seth. Do keep your eyes open (Craig's List, garage sales...) and save up for a larger system.
Bob Fenner>

Injured Lemon Damsel? Pomacentrid sel./stkg. f'    6/28/10
We have a quick question about one of our little lemon damsels. First some background- the tank is 34 gallons and has been cycled for over a month now (6-7 weeks). Our stock list consists of:
Lemon Damsel
Yellowtail Damsel
Three Striped Damsel
<These Pomacentrids are social animals, but your system is too small to house in groups>
Ocellaris Clownfish
PJ Cardinal
Chocolate Chip Starfish
Peppermint Shrimp
Scarlet Reef Hermit Crab
Blue Leg Hermit Crab
(2) Emerald Crabs
(10) Turbo Snails
The tank parameters are as follows:
Temp 81F
Salinity 1.025
pH 8.3
Alkalinity 3.08 mEq/l
Calcium 450
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0.1
<Needs to be 0.0>
Ammonia 0-0.1 (Color of test is within this range on the pH card- not completely zero)
We are concerned with one of our original damsels that cycled the tank.
<Not a suggested practice.>
Camilla, the Lemon Damselfish, has had her mouth 'stuck open' for the past two days. She is eating and swimming normally and is very active. Could this possibly be an injury?
She is an aggressive fish towards the others at times.
<As is the nature of the species... crowded, kept singly>
Today her lips seem to be peeling or flaking (they are not white though). She has four black dots, two on each fin perfectly symmetrical and we honestly do not remember ever seeing these. We are worried that this could be parasitic infection or a problem that may spread to the other fish (they are all normal- eating/swimming/coloring- as of now). Also we'd like to note that we do weekly 5 gallon water changes. We have tried everything to eliminate the ammonia but cannot seem to get it down to exactly zero.
<... see WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/nh3marfaqs2.htm
and the linked FAQs files above>
We also returned a Condy Anemone
<... good. Misplaced here>
last week as we thought it wasn't doing well in the tank (we also weren't aware of the predatory starfish issue at the time!). This is a new hobby for us so any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
Courtney & Dan
<Mmm, do take the time to search, read on WWM re all the species you have, anything you intend to add.
Bob Fenner, w/ the flu>

Yellowtail damselfish, Stocking 5/24/10
Need help, 20 gal tank cleaner shrimp, 2 red legged hermits, 2 ocellaris clowns and 1 bicolour blenny, think I might have made a mistake, bought a lovely yellowtail damselfish today.
<Too much and incompatible with your current fish.>
Now in tank, but the Blenny is not happy keeps chasing the damselfish who does turn on him, the clowns keep out of the way, do I need to get it out?
Is there going to be a disaster?
<Possibly, the clowns and damsel may not tolerate each other for long.>
How do I get it out?
<A net and patience, may have to remove rockwork to get it out.><<Two nets. RMF>>
benita pullen

Possible stocking option... 56 gal. "column"... Damsels, including Premnas crosses  - 5/22/10
Hey there crew.
I've had a few questions answered by the kind folks there before but I'm unsure about something and frankly there isn't very much info because from what I understand either no one has done it, or no one had success with it.
Anyway, I have a standard 56 gallon column and so far I've fallen in love with a pair of maroon clownfish at my LFS. They are neon orange, frankly more orange than most Percula.
<These are very likely crosses... Marulas... See WWM re Premnas>
They are also tank raised, which makes me feel a little better about our oceans. As tank mates I'm considering
Neoglyphidodon nigroris mainly known as black and gold Chromis, as well as yellow tail blue
damsels. I'm not sure what kind of quantity I could have of these fish, which is one of my main questions.
<How "column" wise is this system? It may be the Clowns are about all that will go here fish-wise>
My wife also likes some of the smaller puffers, mainly the blue spotted and Valentini puffers,
<Mmm, no... too nippy for this shape, volume tank>
but I'm not sure if these fish are assertive enough to handle being in an environment with damsels and maroon clowns. As I said it seems one of the mysteries of saltwater aquarium keeping what can be done with damsels as the focal point of an aquarium.
<Need a larger world if keeping these... there are a few genera of Pomacentrids that are suitable for small volumes, of these a handful of species offered from time to time in the trade... again, gone over, archived on WWM>
Thank you very much in advance for your assistance and keep up the great work helping all of us who know so much less :)
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Possible stocking option, FO, Damsels  - 5/22/10
Hey Bob,
Thank you for the fast response.
The 56 column dimensions are 30 x 18 x 24. I am well aware that maroons get large and are truly on the mean side of the spectrum which is why I wanted to add something aggressive enough to go with them. I've had yellow tail
blue damsels previously without issue, although I did learn the lesson that a 5 gallon quarantine is not big enough for 2.
<Ah yes>
Either way, I feel the YTBD would be a nice contrast to the orange clowns, and then if there were room physically, psychologically, and territorially, etc, I'd like to find one more species of fish because I'd like to have more than 2 species if possible.
<Oh, there are many other choices... Hawkfishes, Pseudochromids, Blennioids of many sorts...>
There is a member of my local reefkeeping club who has told me that I either need to get all one species with damsels, or get all different species (i.e. 1 of each) and I wanted to get your opinion on which method is better.
<Actually, there are species, whole genera that such guidelines can be applied to. Most Chromis are shoaling and Abudefduf solitary for instance>
Lastly, being these are all reef safe, I was hoping to get some ideas of what kind of corals would be suitable for my current lighting.
The tank is 24" of water deep, I have a 175W MH bulb with a "spider" reflector, and the light sits 6 or so inches off the water. The only coral's I've had in the tank were mushrooms which did well as long as they weren't all the
way on the sand. My 20 gallon reef (2 percula clowns, 1 indigo Dottyback, 1 pink/blue spotted goby in there) has mostly SPS, so I would probably like to do mostly LPS if you think this is enough lighting for that?
<Yes... most all will do fine w/ PAR values near 100 or higher... this  lighting set-up should produce more than this at the bottom>
Thank you guys again
<Again, welcome. BobF>

heart attack, swim bladder problem? Damsel stressed to death, env.    5/13/10
Dear WWM,
I have a 20 gallon saltwater tank with a hermit crab, 2 damsels
<What, which species?>
and a Firefish goby. One of the damsels had been beating up the other 2 fish pretty badly.
<Remove it>
I finally decided to move him to my quarantine tank- but that wasn't a success. While trying to catch the damsel, he suddenly darted to the top of the tank and turned onto his side (this was kind of odd).
<Mmm, nope>
I scooped him up immediately and transferred him right to my quarantine tank (the temp. and water of the quarantine tank are the same as my main tank).
When released into the quarantine tank, he dropped straight to the bottom like a rock, upside down. He righted himself after a while and spent the next day or so breathing frantically at the surface. There was plenty of aeration, and the water parameters were the same as the other tank, so this was confusing that he continued to remain in a shocked state this long. I finally ended up transferring him back to the main tank (perhaps a bad idea) upon which point he died nearly instantly and floated at the top, upside down.
So, any thoughts on what might have happened and what I could do to prevent this from happening in the future?
<Reading, understanding the needs of the life in your care... Pomacentrids need more room...>
Also, should I replace him with another small fish or two or would that be an excessive load for the 20 gallon tank I've got?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/smswstk11.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Nick Peterson

SW Stocking: 2/4/2010
<Hi Gary.>
I am at the stage of just about stocking my tank and was wondering if you could help me with a question.
<Welcome to the hobby.>
My tank stats are below.
45 Gallon Tank
28lb Live Rock
20lb Live Sand
1850lh Protein Skimmer
6000lh Propeller powerhead
3000lh Propeller powerhead
T5 35 watt Marine tube
T5 35 watt Actinic tube
The question I have is this, this is my proposed tank stocking list.
I have put in some Clean Up Crew 5 x Turbo Snails, 3 x Hermit Crabs.
1 x Clown, A. Ocellaris or A. Percula
1 x Yellowtail Blue Damsel
1 x Royal gramma
1 x Watchman Goby
If possible 1 more fish if you could give me some pointers as to what.
<Something small and peaceful - Firefish or something along those lines.>
3 x Soft Corals from these listed, Discosoma, Sarcophyton, Ricordea, Zoanthids.
Now for my main question, Would you put in the Damsel first or the Clown or could I get away with putting them both in together so to distract them from bullying, I am going to purchase them as small as possible.
<If it was my tank, I would pick one or the other, as both can be rather territorial. If you really want to add them both, They would be the last fish added and I would add them together.>
Thanks in advance
<My Pleasure.>

Stocklist Question (Damsel Mix and Large Trigger in a 56g? '¦nope) -- 12/27/09
Hi Guys,
<<Hello Chris>>
I've been reading your site for a while now and can't find the answers to what I'm asking here. To start I've got a 56 gallon (30x18x24) that is fully cycled with 40 pounds of LR, pH 8.4, no ammonia/nitrite, nitrate 5-10 depending on time since last water change. I've currently got a small (2") Niger trigger and a 1" yellow tail blue damsel, a few hermits a turbo snail and some Nassarius. My first question is can I get a large coral banded shrimp while the trigger is small and have any chance that it will leave the shrimp alone?
<<Probably, for now'¦although a large Coral banded Shrimp may well pose a hazard to that 1' Damsel'¦and as the Trigger grows, it will pose a hazard to 'all' your shrimp/crabs. And speaking of that Trigger growing'¦I consider your tank to be exceedingly small in the long term for this large deep-bodied fish, that can attain 18' in length in the wild>>
Secondly, for additional fish I was thinking about a maroon clown and more damsels. I like the Beau Gregory, the YTBD I wouldn't mind having more of, and the others that have caught my eye are the Velvet and "Flame tail" (aqua with red/orange tail). I'm trying to stay coral safe.
<<I think a mix of Damsels (to include the Clownfish), especially in this volume, will only lead to problems my friend. If not just killed outright, the constant harassment from more aggressive individuals will lead to the other's demise until only one specimen remains (and crowding the Trigger only make matters worse where it is concerned). I truly think you need to re-research/re-think your stocking plan>>
I know the Niger can/probably will eat a lot of the clean up crew, but I'd like to have some mushrooms, green star polyps, zoos, and maybe some others, but I'm not planning on making the tank into an "out and out" reef.
<<Hmm'¦live rock, fish, crustaceans, and sessile inverts'¦how's this not going to be a reef tank [grin]?>>
Do you think this combination has any chance of working out well?
<<'Working out well?' No, I don't think it will>>
I know damsels can get mean,
<<Indeed'¦'are' mean>>
which is why I'm wondering if a mostly damsel tank can work.
<<Generally, this just does not work out in a system this size'¦even with those so-called 'gentle' Damsel species (e.g. - Blue/Green Chromis)>>
They interest me because they pack a lot of color and personality into a small space.
<<Ah, we are much in agreement on this'¦but I think you must be more realistic in your stocking plan>>
Thank you in advance for your help.
<<Happy to share'¦>>
I'll continue reading you're articles.
<<Yes, please do'¦ I am compelled to again assert that this tank is too small for the Trigger and indeed the Maroon Clownfish. Perhaps a few of one, and maybe even two, social species of small Cardinalfishes would appeal to you. These would be a much better selection for your tank than that which you have now or are contemplating adding in my opinion>>
Re: Stocklist Question (Damsel Mix and Large Trigger in a 56g? '¦nope) -- 12/28/09
<<Hiya Chris>>
I'm going to be going larger (probably a 180 "full aggressive fowlr") down the road.
<<Ah, good>>
That said the trigger is 100% on the "relocate" list.
Would cardinals as you have suggested work out okay with the trigger until he needs moved?
<<Considering the diminutive size of this Niger Trigger it should be fine for now>>
Thanks again,
<<Always welcome'¦ EricR>>

Check this out.... species of Damsel that eats FWs??? 4/16/09
Howdy Bob, Adrian from AZ here.....
So I was in a LFS the other day getting a ballast (never fun) and mentioned to the SW guy named Andy (Pets Inc. in Tempe AZ) that I had a small infestation of Flatworms for about 6 months now. He pointed me to this tank with 2 damsels in it. Says that these blue "Damsels" will eat them, they are not the regular blue damsels. SURE I said, but decided to take him home and give it a shot. Well its been about a month now and he gets along GREAT with my female Picasso clown (who is a real you know what) and there is no sign whatsoever of Flatworms. CRAZY. So I thought I would send this to you, for your posting pleasure on WWM and maybe you can ID the damsel, maybe just a common blue damsel? Anyway Enjoy and will talk soon!!!
Fish and Reef Aquarium Group
<Thanks much for this Adrian. Will post, share. BobF>

Check this out.... species of Damsel that eats FWs??? 4/16/09
Hi there Bob,
I think that pretty little flatworm eating fish just might be a Springer's Damsel/Blue Sapphire Damsel, aka Chrysiptera springeri:
Take care,
<I do agree... and will attach your ID. BobF>

Clownfish vs. Chromis, 3/15/09
Hi everyone.
First off thank you for the invaluable service to the hobby and for putting up with a lot of insults and ignorance here and there.
<I've spent the last 5 years on a trading floor, this is nothing.>
Especially considering you are all volunteers. Thanks again.
<Thanks for the thanks.>
No major catastrophes to have to report today except that I just learned a little about the nature of Chromis in relation to a pair of Percula Clownfish. I have a 125 reef tank with various LPS and leathers all doing well for now. I have a hearty count of fish as most of us seem to have.
I won't bother to list all as I can see for myself it's my Clownfish that are perpetrating attacks on my new Chromis. I started out with 6 Chromis, and now I'm down to 3. I see they have a natural tendency to want to hang out with my Clowns except that they're not welcome.
<Are all related, suspect the chromis are more interested in their cousins than the clowns are.>
They are being nipped at and chased away, but continue to come back for more.
<Do you have a large, aggressive fish that may be causing them to look for more numbers for safety?.>
I noticed one Chromis that went down due to chomped tail syndrome. Today I see one is missing a patch of maybe 6 or so scales. I'm sure in time they'll all meet the same fate if they stay in there.
<Often also the result of the chromis themselves, people start with many and end up with one or two due to the most dominant chromis taking charge.
Rarely school in aquariums, and are often aggressive towards each other.>
It's funny, Chromis are known to be some of the most beginner type of fishes we're supposed to start with.
<Have often seen them sold as such, but they have their own trappings, which seem to be often overlooked.>
I have waited almost two years to give them a try. I've tried my hand at several other types first because you can't have everything all at once and it took until now to give them a shot.
<That patience will take you far in this hobby.>
I guess it's either the Chromis or Clowns.
<Probably, or at least fewer chromis.>
One question maybe you might know, if I got rid of the Perculas, and added
say a single Maroon Clown and more Chromis, would I have the same problem?
<Probably worse.>
I know in general the Maroon is by far a more aggressive fish, but if I got a small one at the same time as a school of Chromis might things be different?
<Doubtful once the Maroon becomes sexually mature and more territorial, plus the attacks on your hand whenever you try to do something in the tank can get annoying and painful.>
Those green/blue Chromis are beautiful, but I guess kind of stupid at the same time.
<Neale from the crew a while back wrote an interesting article, or maybe it was part of an FAQ, on fish behavior, going into detail as to why fish do what they do in aquariums. Wish I could find it now to link for you.>
Thanks for "listening",

Re: Compatibility - Damsel?   02/27/09 Thanks for the response. I consider your opinion invaluable. Two quick clarifications, if you would: I thought the yellow tailed blue damsel was one of the least aggressive of the damsels. Was I wrong in this? <Mmm, no... au contraire. It is it's too-retiring habit that I would select against it here for. The other fishes listed would tend to overly harass this species here> What other bright blue damsel might you suggest otherwise? <... the two I mentioned... There are many others though... Please peruse the Damsel articles, FAQs files: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/FishInd2.htm> Also, about the blue reef chromis... <Mmm... no, not of my choosing... for the same reason as the Chrysiptera above> would a group of three be ok with the rest of the tank? Or would they be too skittish and hide all the time? <Ahh! Yes> Thanks for everything! Scott <Welcome Scott. BobF>
Re: Compatibility - Threadfin BFs    02/27/09
Another quick question... On further reading, read that Threadfins butterflies would be best one to a tank. Thoughts? <In large-enough systems a pair is fine... yours is border-line... Unless you find a/the two together, I would go with just one. BobF> Scott
Re: Compatibility - Damsel?
Thanks! Considering your suggestions, am planning only one butterfly, skipping the Naso, and looking for a Starcki! Want the happiest fish possible! Thanks again! <Real good. B>

Re: Angelfish in large aquarium, Anthias hlth., Damsel sel.    8/13/08 Well, the other reason I'm hesitant to go the anthias route is quarantine. <By and large I would not quarantine this subfamilies' members... Summarily dip/bath and place> I know anthias are typically hard to feed at first and require some room, I'd hate to try to quarantine a school of 10 anthias without having any live rock or a big tank. I've got two 29g tanks I can use as quarantine, so I could put 5 in each but still with them being such poor frozen food eaters I think I might have some bad luck there. Although my Lyretail anthias I've had in the past always ate frozen meaty foods just fine, I didn't notice them doing it for a month or so, most of them just seemed to live off what was in the tank and once they got really comfortable, then they started chasing around my frozen bits of meat. I guess I better go read in your anthias section, again :) I haven't perused that section since I first discovered WWM 2 years ago. <New/er all the time> Larger species of schooling damsels? Can you give a name or two of specific types so I can do some research? <See... WWM... Perhaps just common Chromis viridis> Now, not that I think for a minute you don't know what you're talking about :) but I've got Semilarvatus B/F (2) in the tank, a purple tang, a Desjardini sailfin tang, checkerboard wrasse and hopefully soon to come a Emperor and Queen angel. Is there really a species of damsel that wont frighten the B/F? <? Oh yes... there are several (from the ME meaning many) schooling species that are relatively easygoing> They are only about 3 inches right now. Very piggish and healthy eaters, but I've just heard such bad things about damsels. <Avoid the territorial "individual" species...> I'll definitely send some pictures along of my efforts. It might still be a while until I do some rock bommies but it will make a good winter project. I wont be putting the two bigger angels into the tank for at least another month, more likely 2 or 3, so I've got some time to decide what course I want to take, or even if I want to attempt two angels, I might still just stick with the Emperor. <Ok> I don't know if you ever get tired of hearing it, but I sure appreciate the work you and your crew do. I've learned what scientists term "a freaking ton" and learn more everyday. My fish and I both appreciate it, the former more than the latter I'm sure. Grant <Ah, welcome! BobF>

Plectroglyphidodon imparipennis, Locating a Hard-to-Find Damselfish 05/14/08 Hello Bob and Crew! <Hey there! Scott F. in today!> I was recently on O'ahu and had the pleasure of snorkeling all around the island. I found the Brighteye Damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon imparipennis) to be quite abundant among the rubble on the leeward shore. <Yes it is!> Quite an interesting fish to watch, and a species that seems to stay on the smallish side. However, I have not been able to locate any for sale locally (NY state) or online. I don't think they are endemic to Hawaii. Can you tell me where one might procure one, or why they aren't available in the trade? Thanks for the help. Eric <Well, Eric, it's hard to say why fishes such as this are not found more often in the hobby. It generally boils down to a couple of things- ease of capture/accessibility and whether or not their is a ready market for them. Typically, fishes like Damsels that are not small and outrageously brightly colored just don't find their way into the trade. If there is no financial incentive for the collector, their is little chance of the fishes ever seeing the market. Subtle, average colored fishes just don't always move well out of dealer's aquariums. However, if you have a good relationship with your LFS, the owner may keep an eye out for them if they show up on wholesaler's stock lists. I'd also consider a source like Live Aquaria or Marine Center. You can contact them and let them know that you're looking for this fish, and they will often notify you if they are in stock. Otherwise, keep an eye out at local fish stores, just in case they show up in an aquarium of "assorted Damsels". Good luck on your search! Regards, Scott F.>

Chrysip-terror (see what I did there? :) ), sel.   4/26/08 Good evening, The spring has sprung here in the UK, and it's a good time to sit by the tank with the windows open, birds singing and a nice glass of plonk. My question is about damsel's, not the weather though. How many Chrysiptera damsels would co-exist in an 80gal aquarium? <Of what species? Some can be crowded a bit more than others... That being said, likely four to maybe six individuals> They'd be sharing with some tough but non-too-aggressive fish... Papua Toby, wrasse, royal Gramma. I have a couple of plans in mind.. Say for example you think 4 or 5 would be the maximum. Then I'd ideally like to go for something like 1 yellow tail, 1 azure and 2-3 Talbots, or another similar mix like 2 yellow-tail, 2 Talbots and 1 azure... Am I crazy or just stupid to think I could have this many damsels in confined area? <Mmm, no, not crazy. Make for an interesting display> Reading through your site I'm struck by the impression that as mean as they can be to each other (looking at you, Mr Domino), these guys are social animals and much prefer squaring up to each other than peaceful loneliness... <Agreed> I'd really like to do these little gems justice, by getting the right mix and having an interesting, dynamic display. Obviously, the tank would be well split up with live rock shaped into caves, valleys, walls and out-crops. Anyway, keep up the good work! Chris <Thank you for your thoughtful query. Bob Fenner>

Re: Chrysip-terror (see what I did there? :) ), Damsel sel.  - 04/26/08 Thank you so much for your reply Bob. <Welcome Chris> Would it be a real dumb move to swap one of those Chrysiptera for a 4-stripe damsel? They're closely related to domino's I understand, and so could terrorise the others beyond healthy competition? <Not so much this, but I would not swap out this genus for a Dascyllus... the latter are social animals... Really need to be kept in a group... Whereas Chrysiptera are individuals...> Or do you think the mix and tank set-up could allow them all to function together? I only have experience of yellow tail damsels so don't have any idea of how aggressive these humbugs get. Cheers Chris <Some are true terrors... as you state, the Domino, Hawaii's endemic D. albisella... BobF>

Re: Chrysip-terror (see what I did there? :) ) - 04/26/08 Thank you again for your speedy reply Bob, you just have to spend five minutes on wet web to see how busy you guys are. <All volunteer... and/good that many folks here live in disparate time zones, countries... some coverage most all the time, eh?> With regards to groups of 4-stripe...would that be a possibility in this tank? <Mmm, yes... could have a small grouping, let's say 4 or 5 individuals...> My initial idea of a damsel dominated tank could work with a school of humbugs instead of a variety of Chrysiptera's... <Yes... and also very interesting to view> If it is a possibility then how would I go about structuring it? Would, say, a small group of 3-4 humbugs work in this size (80g) tank? <Yes... with two or three principal arrangements of rock, or better open, arborose skeletons or live corals (Acropora, Pocilloporids, Poritids...)> If this is a possibility, would I be sentencing my yellow-tail damsel to a life of bottom-of-the-pile hell if I stuck him in with the humbugs, or do you think he'd just get his fair share of normal damsel attitude from the others in there? <Likely it would be "the odd fellow out", but survive just the same> That might be impossible to answer I guess. Maybe better to avoid any doubt and pack the little guy off elsewhere. <Best to keep this option open> Thank you so much for letting me pick your brain on this. I have a long run-up on getting this tank set up, so am trying to look at it from all angles and check the pro's and con's of each possible combination. If you don't mind me asking, if you got the urge and was setting up a similar tank, what combination of damsels would you go with? Cheers Chris <A tough one... but either of the presented choices would suit my "palate". Cheers! BobF>

Lots of Damsels!! 4-22-08 Good Morning. <Hi! Having a rainy one here. > Your guys have already helped me with a couple of questions. However I am now planning to get a bigger tank (going from a 39 gallon to an 89 gallon - wife permitting) and have begun the process of selecting a livestock wish-list for the new tank! I'm trying to go for the philosophy of smaller fish rather than a few big ones... <Sounds like fun!> In my 39, I have a chromis, yellow-tail blue damsel, McCosker's Flasher Wrasse (currently 2 1/2") and Papua Toby (currently 3", fully gown?). I just wanted to say to anyone who hasn't checked them out yet, the flasher wrasse and Papua Toby are amazing fish in the flesh. <I own a Solandri, which looks almost like the Papuan except for a few lines and I can agree they are very gorgeous fish.> To these fish I am considering adding a Percula clown, 4-stripe damsel and Royal Gramma in the bigger tank. <Adding more damsels and clowns can spark aggression. IMO, these fish will harass each other and other tank mates and may pose a big pain when you want to remove them. I would choose the clown out of the other damsels personally.> Three questions: 1) Does that add up to too much fish? <Not as long as you keep the damsels out of the equation.> 2) When the new tank is 6-months old I'd like to add a Mandarin goby... would that be sensible with so many established damsels? I had read that Mandarins are kind of ignored by most fish because of their quiet habits and nasty taste? <I would recommend waiting a year for a Mandarin. They need established sumps to be able to provide them with their food source, pods and such. After this time adding one shouldn't be a problem at all as the others should leave him alone. The only one I would be concerned about is the Papuan. They do like to fin-nip.> 3) The main reason for my mail: Am I looking as a mass punch-up between the chromis, clown, yellow-tail and 4-stipe? I remember reading that a 20-gal per damsel space reduces fighting, but am I pushing it? The 4-stripe is the one that worries me the most, having no experience of these fish (and never considering them a good risk for a tank as small as the one I have.) <I have seen damsels cross tank lines to attack and harass other fish. Clowns usually stick to territories but damsels are reckless.> Ideally it'd be great if they'd all mix together as I think I'd have a very active and interesting tank with the damsels all buzzing around, the mandarin fluttering around the rocks and the wrasse zooming up and down the tank! <You can add other colorful but less aggressive fish to your tank instead of the damsels, like Anthias, Gobies or Blennies. Most are hardy and easy to tend to.> Finally, a question that I already know the answer to, but need to hear it to get the idea out of my head... a Picasso trigger would not be appropriate for this tank, would it?! <Not unless you are providing a free buffet of little fish. ^_^ He will definitely have to be left out of the equation. Hope that this helps, let me know if you have any more questions.> Thanks <Glad to help. -Yunachin> Chris

Re: Lots of Damsels 4-23-08 Thank you so much for your reply! <Not a problem!> I actually ordered a Solandri, but got a Papua instead... I'm quite pleased to be honest, although there's not much difference between the two. <Spots vs. Stripes but still a lovely color combination.> I'll take your advice on board. How about this instead- Papua Toby Flasher wrasse Yellow-tail damsel 3 chromis 3 bi-colour chromis This was my back-up plan of a less aggressive damsel population. <The chromis are not a bad idea, though watch for aggression from the Bi-colors as they age. Also the two groups may not get along with each other, and may even ostracize their own kind from the individual groups. All in all if there is any aggression whatsoever it will be amongst themselves and not to the other tank mates.> Cheers <Good Luck with your tank! --Yunachin>

Re: Lots of Damsels (More stocking options), sel.  4-23-08 Thank you again Yunachin! I do appreciate it. <That's what I am here for.> Aggression as they age? I have found it tricky finding information about the behaviour of Chromis dimidiata on the web, so was assuming them to be as passive as Chromis Viridis, but if there's a chance they'll become more feisty with age compared to Viridis, then I'll steer clear of them. <Let me say that IMO, there are very aggressive fish then there are passive fish in the same species. I do not want to deter you from having the fish of your choice, but it is good to know that there is a chance that they can get aggressive. Many people have clownfish, because they are so popular in the hobby, but many do not figure them to have little attitudes. Still people include them in their reef habitats and enjoy them for many years, some without a peep of a problem. I believe that all fish can experience different behavior and it can vary from hobbyist to hobbyist. That is what is so fun about this hobby!> Final list is now looking like: Papua Toby Flasher wrasse Yellow-tail damsel 5 chromis Royal Gramma How would a dwarf angel get along with this grouping do you think? Is that pushing the bio-load on an 80 gal? <I do think it is pushing it a bit, with the 8 fish and the puffer putting off incredible load. What kind of filtration do you have?> Anyway, I'll stop hogging your time. <Never hogging my time my friend, I live life breezy.> Cheers <Cheers Indeed! --Yunachin> Chris

Lots of Damsels (Stocking Options 2)  4-23-08 Hi... One more question! You suggested possibly Anthias? Are Anthias ok on their own or would I need to get a group? If so, what's the minimum? I'm thinking here of Squampy Anthias or something equally hardy (staying away from the lovely but fragile Ventralis-types. ) <I love Anthias! They do well in groups, I have 3 Lyretails (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), one male and two females and I have never had any problems. They are shy at first but they come out of hiding eventually. A good addition to the tank instead of the Chromis if you like.> Cheers <Can't wait to see this tank when it is done.--Yunachin> Chris

Marine Tank Cycling 4/12/08 I have a 46 gallon salt water fish tank with a wet/dry filtration system that I started 40 days ago. I started with 8 damsels now I have 3. <Way too many damsels to start out or end up with in this tank. Damsels are good for cycling only if you want Damsels!> I started with tap water and mixed with salt. I have fake coral and dead rock as decorations. The water temp stayed around 80 degrees and I took the hood off about 4 days ago and now it hovers around 76 degrees. <Good.> I was told the tank would go through a spike and then level out in about 3 to 4 weeks but my nitrate and ammonia levels are still high. <Hmm, what do you have for filtration? Some dead rock sitting in the tank won't cut it.> I have also read you should keep either 1" or 4" inches of crushed seashells in the tank with nothing in between and I currently have 2.5" to 3". Should I reduce the amount of crushed seashells in my tank? <Yes, I would to less than an inch. Better yet, switch to a finer sand substrate. The problem with the crushed coral substrate is the accumulation of detritus. Be sure to at the very least gravel vac with your water changes.> I want to take out the fake decorations and add live rock and live corals. <The live rock will greatly benefit your tank. As far as corals, get your current problems sorted out and research regarding lighting, filtration, and water flow before you take the leap. Do also research the needs/compatibility of every coral or fish you add in the future.> I have read that adding cured live rock will cause further nitrate and ammonia spikes. <It can, truly cured rock will not create too much of a spike, if any at all. LR will also provide the filtration (combined with water flow around) required to get the ammonia and nitrite levels down.> Is it best to add all of the live rock in at one time or should I add little by little or does this even make a difference? <Add it all at once to your tank if it is indeed cured. If it is not cured you will want to cure it outside your tank, for the sake of the remaining Damsels.> Also should I wait until the nitrate and ammonia levels level out or should I do it now? <The sooner the better.> How many pounds should I add to the tank per week if I can add a little each week? <Add all you want now.> Thanks, Todd White <Welcome, good luck, Scott V.> http://wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_2/cav2i3/Live_Rock/live_rock.htm

Stocking question: Chromis in a 36G  3/2/08 Hello, <Ron> I have a stocking question on my system.? It is a 36 gallon aquarium (Tunze Nano skimmer, Emperor 280) that has been up and running for 8 months with the original inhabitants (1 small red legged hermit, 1 True Percula Clown), a few Nassarius snails and a Camel shrimp.? I have converted over from the original crushed coral to a shallow aragonite sand substrate and am switching over from the original red lava rocks to some Marco rock dead rock and will add live rock in the near future. I have recently acquired a small QT tank (12 gallon Eclipse) that has just finished cycling using a frozen shrimp. Looking for a new addition to be a peaceful, colorful and active addition.? I was considering a pair of Blue/Green Chromis as I like its attributes, but then began reading.? I believe three is too many for a 36G system, two is not preferred as odd numbers seem better to divide up any aggressions and a single one does not seem the best either for they prefer to be in numbers. <Is really too small period> Which of these (1,2,3) is the least of the evils, or would I be better off passing on the Chromis and going with another route?? Overall I will look for 3-4 fish total for the system, and would like all to be reef compatible should I eventually add a coral in there. <Mmm, depends on the species... I would avoid C. viridis et al. large number in schools types... Perhaps some more solitary Chrysiptera genus would be better...> Some others I am considering are: Royal Gramma, Firefish Goby, Fridmani Pseudochromis (although these seem pricey). <Please read re on WWM...> I would appreciate any suggestions you could make to the Chromis plan or another peaceful/lively combination. Thanks, Ron??? <Enjoy the research. Bob Fenner>

More Fish? (Cont'd.)   1/3/08 Thanks for your reply Scott <You are quite welcome.> Do you think I could add 3 fish in addition to the Fridmani? <Small fish would be better...The Chromis would work, and I suppose the Fridmani as well...but that's it!> If not, then I suppose that rules out the Chromis. They should be added in odd numbers right? starting with at least 3?. Thanks in advance Michael Fick <Yes, Michael, I'm a big fan of using odd numbers with Damselfishes of any kind. This will serve you well! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking question, small reef, and FYI, re: der. of Yasha haze...  4/24/07 Hello Crew, <Eric> Long time reader, first time writer here.  (Actually, I wrote about a week ago and didn't receive a response, so I'm trying again.) <Good> I have a 7 gallon (5 gallons of water) tank (30cm x 30cm x 30cm) with a little under 3kg of live rock, a Stonogobiops yasha and an Alpheus randalli.   Lighting is 40W of compact fluorescent.  All filtration is biological via the live rock, and I have a power head and a hang-on filter with the media removed which combine to circulate the water 25 times per hour.   Ammonia and nitrite are at zero and nitrate is at 5ppm.  SG is 1.024 and pH is steady at 8.3.  Alkalinity is at 4 meq/l.  (All data is from Red Sea tests.) Can you recommend a second fish that will be comfortable in this size tank? <Some of the very small, easygoing Pomacentrids, Apogonids, Blennioids, Gobioids... many possibilities> The aquarium stores I've visited here in Japan have made all sorts of suggestions, but I'm pretty doubtful about all of them.  I'd really like to find a compatible fish to add, preferably one that is a free swimmer, because the tank seems lonely with the goby and shrimp hiding almost all of the time. Also, FYI, I see lots of different spellings, variations on the common name for Stonogobiops yasha, and I thought you might be interested to know that the fish's common name in Japanese is "yasha haze"  "Haze" is pronounced "hah-zeh" and means goby, so the term "yasha haze goby"?@is actually redundant.  "Yasha" is a female demonic warrior deity, and I assume that the goby gets this name from its bright red stripes and spiky dorsal fin. <Thank you for this> Thanks in advance for your advice. Yours, Eric Anderson Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan <Bob Fenner, Holualoa, Big Island, Hawaii>

Re: stocking question and FYI  4/25/07  Mr. Fenner (or which ever member of the Crew can respond), <Eric> Thank you very much for your guidance. Of the genera you mentioned, I am most interested in the Pomacentrids. After a quick check of the area LFS's, I found that the only member of the genus immediately available is Pomacentrus alleni. <Is a very good choice... as might be some of the small/er Chrysiptera... Talbot's, C. taupou...> My wife and I both think the fish is very attractive and would like to move forward, but I thought it best to check back with you once more to confirm that this is a suitable choice. The FAQs on WWM regarding this species seem to indicate that this is a less aggressive member of the genus, but also that it often does best when kept alone. <Yes> In your opinion, will it and my yasha goby get along? I also found references on the Web stating that the minimum tank requirement for Pomacentrus alleni is 30 gallons, although I also found examples of people keeping them successfully in nano tanks. Should I be concerned about this? <I do give you very good odds here> I apologize for taking up so much of your time. Once again, many thanks for providing such a useful resource! Regards, Eric Anderson <Doh tashi mashiite my friend. Bob Fenner> P.S. If this message does get to Mr. Fenner, I hope you had a safe trip back to the mainland! Also, do you ever come to Japan for speaking engagements? My wife and I would love to attend. <Mmm, haven't been to Japan for more than transiting for years... and never to make presentations other than on Nishikigoi, pond issues... Doomo. Bob Fenner>

Atlantic Blue Chromis (Chromis cyanea)  4/14/07 Wet Web Media - <Mmm, is this the person who was chatting with Morgan Lidster... (Inland Aquatics)... He and I talked on the phone yesterday re this species...> I have a question concerning the mortality rates of the Atlantic Blue Chromis.  I have designed and setup a 90 gallon reef tank as a niche biotope to the Northern Gulf of Mexico. <Neat> The tank was setup a year ago and invert and sponge growth has been great.  The rockscape will feature large boulder type layouts and will feature 3 Pacific Montastrea corals, a couple of Porites and a lone Gorgonia.  One of the Montastrea's is farmed and I was able to acquire 11 frags from the same mother colony to simulate one coral dominating the area, with the others scattered in to give some color and texture.  Other inverts would be the Orange White Claw Hermit (C. tibecins?), Coral Banded Shrimp pair and a dozen Cerith snails (they should breed to a stable population up or down depending on the algae available). The fish plan was to feature a pair of neon gobies and a school of 7 blue chromis (C. cyanea).  All my research on the web and in books indicates everything should be okay and my biggest problem will be that they may not school once comfortable in captivity, <Perhaps in time...> not a concern to me.  However, in looking for a source to purchase these fish, I am finding that they are in fact difficult to keep. <Mmm, yes... I think this is mainly due to the fact that this fish is poorly handled post capture/collecting... but it also does not adapt easily to captive conditions>   This is the first I have heard of this and I see no references to this, not even on this site. <Mmm: http://www.google.com/custom?domains=www.WetWebMedia.com&q=chromis+cyanea&sitesearch=www.
BT%3A000000%3BGFNT%3A0000FF%3BGIMP%3A0000FF%3BFORID%3A1%3B&hl=en> What are the issues with keeping these fish? <This fish? As stated above... it doesn't "like" being netted... like Zanclus, Dascyllus albisella, a bunch of other examples... it seems to die easily from "stress"...> The tank is pretty much dedicated so it would not be much effort for me to meet any known special requirements.  Is there anything special I need to do?  Is my fish stocking plan destined to fail? <Mmm, not necessarily... I think you have better chance than most all folks here... with your biotope of size, age... Just need to find someone willing to ship you the Damsels. I'd try contacting some of the "diver-direct" sources in Florida...> If I need to change my fish stoking list, can you recommend another fish in the Gulf that would do well with my plan (perhaps the Purple   Reeffish)? Thanks, Chris Sanchez New Orleans <Mmm, well, there are always "standard" animals from here like the Pearly Jawfish... But do try the Chromis... Bob Fenner>

Re: Atlantic Blue Chromis (Chromis cyanea)   4/16/07 Bob Fenner, thanks for your reply.  Being that there are no other fish in my aquarium, would you still recommend quarantine? <With this species, situation, no>   My concern is that quarantine will cause additional stress that may lead to a higher likelihood of mortalities since QT tanks are seldom as large and as mature as the display tank. <We are in agreement here>   For example, I use a 3 gallon for coral quarantine with no skimmer or live rock and perform daily water changes.  A school of chromis would not do well here so I would need to start over on the QT setup.  What would you recommend as the minimum quarantine standards if I were to get the Chromis five at a time? <I would still directly place this number, species, in the ninety posited, w/o quarantine... in batches> Tank size, equipment, rock/substrate, aged (1 month, 3 months...)?   Thanks Again. Chris Sanchez New Orleans <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility Questions   4/1/07 Hi, <Hello, Mich here.> I have a 38-gallon saltwater aquarium and I've been thinking about what I should place in the tank. <Researching first is the correct first step.> It contains a firefish goby, and a yellowtail damselfish. Should I add more damselfish? <I would not.  This is quite a small tank.  I would choose something different.> Some sites, such as LiveAquaria, states that these damselfish are best kept in groups. <Depends on the damselfish.> <<Species... mostly. RMF>> However, some websites suggests it should be kept alone, unless in a large tank. Should I add a different fish? <Yes, this is what I would do.  There are many wonderful possibilities.  Please do your research before accepting responsibility for care.  Many fine gobies, blennies, Cardinalfish, grammas, or maybe even a most entertaining Jawfish if you have a deep sand bed and a tightly covered tank.>   Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. <Welcome  -Mich>

Damsel tank... comp. mostly   1/19/07 Hi all, I can't say enough about this site, and the help it's been for a newly converted African tank to salt. <Glad you have benefited> My problem is compatibility with damsels or the lack there of.  I love the size, shape, and spunk of this fish type, but will I be able to have an all damsel tank? <Mmm... some species are more social... some schooling... But most are rather territorial... Need to research their natural compatibility, or guess at mixing on a per-species basis... provide sufficient suitable habitat (size, type)... and introduce the more peaceful first...> Most stores in the Cleveland area just ask "Why would you want damsels in the first place?".  Is this possible and what types? <Is possible... I'd look to species found in/about the "Wallace Line"... countries like Indonesia, Malaysia... you can search by country, re-sort by family... on Fishbase.org... Though then you will have to seek the particular species (or close ones... see the volumes of Gerald Allen re Pomacentrids) that you can acquire> I have a 120 with 150 lbs of limestone and crushed coral (many hiding places). Thanks for the help, Brian. <An adventure awaits you... intellectually as well as human-endeavour. Bob Fenner>

Yellowtail damsels in a 29? Not advised   9/27/06 Hi Bob. Great website. I just set up a 29gal. saltwater tank with 20 lbs. of live rocks. I only want Yellowtail Damsels in this tank. Because I know that they are very hardy and can be in groups. <Mmm... are feisty with each other though... particularly when/where crowded in a small volume...> My question is: How many Yellowtails can I put in my tank?   Thank you. <I would look for other livestock for this small system. Please start reading here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/smmarsysstkgfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Chromis Query ... id, comp., sel.   4/8/06 Hi Y'all, <Chris> I'm just wondering if you could clarify any differences in suitability/temperament with Chromis or point me towards somewhere I can find more info - I have checked the WWM pages and FAQs already (& other sources) but can't seem to find the answers I seek. <... What little we have should be in the coverage, subFAQs coverage by the genus, family: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/part2.htm Scroll down to the Damsels, genus...> My query is specifically around the differences between Blue-Green Chromis (C. viridis?), Blue Chromis (C. cyanea?) and the Green Chromis (with black spot at base of pectoral fin?) (C. atripectoralis?) <These are the most common species associated with these names... though there are often others> I have seen recently Chromis labeled as blue Chromis which looked (in my humble opinion) nicer than the blue/greens, it is difficult to tell from the picture on your Chromis page but the fishies that I saw had markings similar to blue devil damsels around the eye - small black splotch/band - does this fit with how blue Chromis are generally marked? <Mmm, if you mean mis-marked, labeled and/or appearing, yes> The colour of these fishies was consistent with the deeper blue (as on your page) than the blue/greens.  How do I differentiate between blue/greens and greens - is this the Pec fin black spot? <Not definitive... unfortunately. Some batches, source locations have this spot, others no.> Mainly my query is around the temperament of these fishies and any variances amongst variety - I am planning three of a single species for my new tank (a month or two before I start stocking yet - still working on the lists!) They will be sharing the tank with 2 Black & white Clowns, a couple of Banggai Cardinals & either a Flame Angel or a Coral Beauty (being tempted by the Coral B here) along with mainly SPS coral. On the basis of aesthetic value I am leaning towards the Blue Chromis (assuming you confirm that the fishies I saw labeled as such with the eye markings are indeed likely to be Blue Chromis) however behaviour and temperament (particularly as these are damsels!) are more important to me as I want all of my charges to co-exist as harmoniously as possible! On this basis is there much to choose between the blue, green/blue and green? <Viridis are the easiest going, most likely to mix with its own species, others... Cyanea next, Atripectoralis last... though all three of these Chromis are far to the left in terms of the spectrum of Pomacentrid aggressiveness. The short answer here is I'd go with the Blue-greens if this were a concern. Bob Fenner> Many thanks as ever   Chris

Allen's Damselfish/Availability  2/18/06 Hi Bob ...<James today.> Where can I get a few Pomacentrus alleni (Allen's damselfish)?     they don't seem to available here in Lemont Il. <Drs Foster & Smith have them. Using the Google tool will produce plenty of sources.  James (Salty Dog)> thanks, <Welcome> David

Darkening Chromis  12/21/05 Hi Crew, I recently purchased thirteen green chromis to start off the  system in my 330 gallon tank. They all looked great except for one who was  missing his upper lip and an 1/8 of his right pectoral fin. <... such "cut" damsels should be avoided... all in a batch> This didn't  seem to be a problem as he was active and feeding well. Today I noticed  that he is almost completely tinted a smoky black color (he looks like he is  dirty). His eyes are also brown or black, even in the iris. <Good descriptions> I am feeding  the school an enriched flake food that helps prevent color loss and he has been  eating just fine. One of the others also appears to be beginning to be darkly  tinted and I don't want it to spread. Is it anything I need to be concerned  about? <Oh yes... whatever predisposing factor/s are at play (likely rough handling, starvation... possibly cyanide or other toxic capture technique...) may spell the end for this group of Chromis... Only time can/will tell. You can read more re Damsel, Chromis Selection, archived in the FAQs on WWM. Bob Fenner>

Damsels. LOTS of Damsels!  12/13/05 Good afternoon! I have a 46 gallon that I was thinking about turning into a damsel tank. Is this a good idea? <Why not? They're fun, hardy, cheap, bite hard, and quite pretty when they're little.> If so, which ones have to be added last. <They're all mean. Stocking order will probably not make a difference. But I'd say the "humbug/domino" and "blue devil" might be the worst, and thus go in last.> Thanks for your help. <Have fun! Wear armored gloves when you work in the tank! Hehehe. -Zo>

More Damsels= More Problems?  11/16/05 Hello crew <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> - need your wisdom once again. I have a 55gal semi-aggressive FOWLR tank. The fish are all over 3" (Maroon Clown pair, Coral Beauty, Yellow Tang).  I would like to liven it up a bit with a few Damsels (I don't mind squabbles but not to the death). They're feisty especially against the same species.  <Yes they are> Though the Yellowtail Blue Damsel can chill. <Most of the time, anyways!> Can I have 2 of each or just 1 of each - or not mix? Or should I keep an odd number? Thanks again!!! Anthony <Well, Anthony-if you're inclined to keep damsels in your system, I'd always recommend keeping them either individually, or in odd-numbered lots (3, 5. etc.) to help disperse their aggression. On the other hand, your tank is pretty well stocked, IMO, and the addition of a number of Damsels into this tank will not only result in a very aggressive environment, but may push you over the edge from a bioload standpoint. I'd be inclined to add only one to this tank at this point. Three is possible, but you'd be pushing it, IMO. Best of luck! Regards, Scott F.> 

Cycling without Live rock: You still don't need livestock  10/31/05 Hi, <Hello Patrick.> I will be cycling 135 gallon saltwater tank using the damsel method.  <O' boy.> I chose this method because I am unable to acquire live rock due to lack of money, and would like to have the damsels anyways. I am planning on using green Chromis (Chromis viridis) to cycle the tank, so I can have a nice school of them later.  <Live rock and using fish are not the only ways to cycle a tank. You simply need a waste source, anything form a sample of substrate from a friends tank to some fish food will work. While live rock is the preferred media you can use other porous surfaces for bacteria to cultivate such as base rock and bio-media.>  <<LR provides an inoculation of bacteria, housed within its pores (this may or may not include the anaerobic bacteria necessary to further break down nitrate into its individual components).  It does not provide the bacteria with food sources sufficient to maintain the colonies in situ, or to bring these colonies up in numbers sufficiently in order to add fish and avoid the rise in nitrogenous wastes.  A sample of substrata would again be used to inoculate, but does not provide food sufficient to maintain or bring up the size of these colonies.  Food that will decompose is what is necessary.  MH>> How many of these fish would you recommend using?  <None.>  If I don't only use the green Chromis, I am considering doing a combination of both green Chromis and blue reef Chromis (Chromis cyaneus).  <May run into problems with that mix.>  If I do the combo how many of each fish would you recommend?  <To cycle? None.>  And would they school separately?  <Have not personally observed this mixture in captivity but generally schooling fish tend to "just-hang-out" in captivity, excluding very large tanks.> Thanks, Patrick <Research WWM Re: Marine cycling. You're welcome, Adam J.>  

Aggression and Compatibility  9/24/05 <Adam J with you.> Two quick questions.   <Ok go for it.> We've got a 120 Gal FOWLR with a purple tang, dwarf zebra lion, H. ornatissimus wrasse, Forcipiger BF, and three or four small asst. damsels.  Water parameters are great.  The issue is between the purple tang and the BF.  They got along great when they were introduced.  About a week or two later, the tang started following around the BF and occasionally nipping. <The purple tang and others in the Zebrasoma genus can be quite territorial.> This calmed down quite a bit in a day or two.  That was a few weeks ago.  All of a sudden, I noticed this morning that most of the BF's beautiful tail was shredded!  Must have been the tang -- it was also suddenly chasing around the damsels, too (never seen that before).  Could it just be hungry?  It attacked the Nori I put in, and seemed to calm down a bit.  Any suggestions?  We love that tang. <There are many methods suggested to quell fighting amongst tank mates, and you can find those here on the FAQ's at WWM, my favorite one is rearranging rockwork and thus creating a new territory. However these methods are still not guaranteed and it may be necessary to remove the victim or aggressor permanently.> Also, I was wondering if Talbot's damsel was "calm" enough to keep with two clown gobies (yellow and green) in an 11 gal nano reef (15 lbs of live rock, lots of hiding places).  I had a C. hemicyanea in They're previously, and had to remove it because it made the gobies "nervous".  Sounds like Talbot's is a more placid fish. <They are much more social than most of their Damsel cousins, however they too can be quite territorial at times. To increase your chances of pulling this off I would add the gobies first (if you don't already have them) allow them get established before adding the damsel.> Thanks, Dan <Anytime, Adam J.> Schooling Chromis - 9/14/05 Hello Robert and Gang (or Crew, whichever you prefer)! I have a 150 gallon tank and I was hoping to add a small group of Chromis viridis (5 fish) and Chromis cyaneus (3 fish). <Should be fine. I would maybe add the them all at once if your filtration can handle the load (likely if you aren't saturated fish wise) or I would add them in order you specified 5 Viridis and then 3-4 Cyaneus>  I've read on WWM, among other places, that these two species are more likely to form a shoal, or even school, when they feel threatened. <May shoal without bullying or predatory threats> I guess my question is: how aggressive of a fish will it take to threaten/frighten them into this behavior? <Likely a predator of some sort.> Would either of the damsel species Amblyglyphidodon aureus (Golden) or Dascyllus marginatus (Marginated) do the trick? <Not in my opinion but putting a fish or any animal under any amount of stress in a closed aquarium is just not proper in my opinion. Especially if just for aesthetics. Unfortunately, it happens all too often even at the top level. I don't mean to condescend or chastise, but I really have a hard time with actually accepting this type of configuration. We are all guilty of it at some level, though. Try to see if they will school before stress induced shoaling> Any other small, hardy fish come to mind? <For schooling I think your best bet is the Chromis. ~Paul> Appreciate you! -Trent

Fish Stocking Density  09/13/2005 Hola. I read on the site that the general rule of thumb for stocking an "average" marine aquarium is around one cubic inch per five gallons (potential volume or actual volume?)<tank size volume> . Are you sure this isn't longitudinal inches (of a fish of "average" width) per five gallons? <I'm sure> I mean, this is the way I was taught when I first got into aquaria. Here's an example... Say you've got a 50 gallon marine aquarium (with good equipment, maintenance regimen, etc. -an "average" marine aquarium). Now, the way I was taught is that you can only stock this average tank with around 5 two-inch average-sized fish-let's say Chromis viridis-if you hold true to the 5 gallon per longitudinal inch rule. Although with the stocking levels suggested on WWM, you'd be able to stock around 15 two-inch Chromis (because a two-inch Chromis, on average, is probably only about 1/3 of an inch thick and therefore 3 two-inch Chromis amounts up to about two cubic inches of fish and your allowed to have 10 cubic inches of fish per 50 gallons, therefore 15 fish). <By cubic inch, I'm saying that if you had a one inch cube, you could easily compress a Chromis into it with room to spare.  Consider that a two inch long puffer carries more body weight than a two inch goby, so length of fish is not very realistic in this regard.  The more mass a fish has the more waste it will produce. So a two inch puffer is going to produce more waste than a two inch goby, and waste is what we are concerned with when establishing stocking levels.> I don't know about you guys, but 5 Chromis sounds like a more realistic number (although a little on the understocked side) than 20 for this tank. So do you think the "right" number of fish for this tank would be 5, 20, or somewhere in-between? <I would say ten Chromis' in a 50 would be safe> <<I wouldn't place more than 5... of easygoing species. RMF>> Thanks in advance for any help you can give, you guys are great. -Trent <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Blue Damsel school?  9/8/05 Good Day to all, I have a 300 gallon live rock with fish tank. The inhabitants are Blue Tang, Yellow Tang, Yellow Watchman Goby, false percula, wrasse, Black Cap Basslet. I have purchased three blue damsels for schooling addition. Will they tend to school in this size tank or separate? Will they be ok with the other fish in the tank? Thank you for your time.  <There are several fishes sold as "blue damsels".  Most are aggressive, especially to each other and although they may school when small, they become territorial loners when they get larger.  They may become aggressive toward some of your other smaller fish, so do keep an eye on them.  If you want schooling fish, look to the Chromis'.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Damsel Aggression...Is It Real? - 09/07/05 I have a 39 Gal FO tank, with an Ocellaris Clown Fish, a Scarlet   Cleaner shrimp, and some Blue Leg Hermit Crabs.  I am considering the addition of an Orangetail Blue Damsel, but am worried about   aggression.  Is everything I hear about Damsels true or do people   exaggerate?  Do you think it would get along with my Clown?  I really like that blue :). <<Damsels are considered by most to be aggressive by nature...and some species are more aggressive than others (e.g. - Domino and Humbug).  The Orange-tail Blue Damsel is a truly beautiful little fish, and as far as damsel aggression goes, rates toward the lower-middle end of the scale in my opinion.  That's not to say they are pushovers, but given some space they seem to be more tolerant than many other Damsels, saving their aggression for others of the same specie.  I have two of my own (males I think) that get along fine; though they are housed in ten-times your water volume.  My point being that "space" can go a long way toward tempering aggression.  Your tank "may" prove to be to small, but given the fact the Clown is already established (and Clowns are scrappy little Damsels in their own right) I would consider it worth the risk.  In fact, you may find the Damsel running from the Clown at first.>> If not what suggestion would you have on other blue fish, that would get along?  Can't seem to find that many.   <<Hmm...have experienced this issue/phenomenon myself.  Tangs are definitely out (tank is too small)...might try searching through the available Gobies in the trade...though you won't find anything as "blue" as the Damsels.>> Thanks <<Welcome, EricR>>

How many green Chromis - 6/2/05 I have a 30g saltwater tank with 20lbs of live rock and 2 false perc clowns, 1 watchman goby, 14 hermit crabs, 3 snails, and 2 cleaner shrimp...was thinking of adding a small school or green Chromis...not too many because I also want to add a flame angel or royal Gramma in the future <Easy question for me. I might catch some flack but this is from my experience....I would not add a single Chromis or flame and go for the Gramma. The flame angel will get fairly large for such a small tank and sometimes will bully. The Chromis can be sensitive and would need to be added as an odd number grouping. Just a lot of stress if they are not real healthy. Quarantine is always necessary. The grammas stay relatively small and are quite hardy. Captive bred is usually best.> ...my question is what would be a good amount of green Chromis to add without over crowding my current tank so I can add at least one more if not 2 more in the future? <Go for the Gramma. Keep the fish small. Chromis tend to in-fight and if you must add Chromis then I would add 3-5 no more, no less. No flame in my experience. Gramma if you don't add the Chromis. A lot to think about but you will be glad as you will likely suffer less frustration from death and have room for the inhabitants. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Damsel Tank Hello Crew!!!! Hope everyone is doing well today. One day closer to a 3 day weekend!!! WOO HOO!! My question is a simple question. I have a 56 gallon tank that I'm currently using for freshwater fish. I think the dimensions are 30" x 18" x 24". After the freshwater fish retire, I want to convert that to saltwater. I am also starting a 40 gallon saltwater tank. I would love to have damsels, but I've had my share of experiences with these mean fish and I don't want any in my 40 gallon community saltwater tank. How many damsels could I have in the 56 gallon?  <Depends on full growth size. Figure one cubic inch of fish per five gallons of water.> Could I keep one of each species that I am interested in? These are the species that I would love to have in this tank. Yellow Belly Blue Damsel, Starcki Damsel, Talbot Damsel and maybe a Scott's and/or Tasmanian Devil Damsel. All of these fish are pictured on http://www.petsolutions.com.  All of the fish, I'm assuming, would have to be added at the same time to avoid future conflicts.  <Good idea adding all at once. Keep in mind damsels are scrappers and there will be some conflicts. Provide plenty of hiding spots, caves, tunnels, etc.> I do love these fish. They are just beautiful. What is your opinion??  <As above. Do a Google search on WWM, keyword, damsels.>  Thanks for your help. <You're welcome, Jennifer. James (Salty Dog)> 

Yellow Tail Damsel Addition Hello, great site.  Thanks for all the info I've gleaned from reading previous inquiries. <Welcome> I have a 72g reef.  There are a few corals and mushrooms.  I cycled with 6 gr. Chromis, of which 5 survived.  Added a lawnmower blenny next and he's doing fine.  Next were two perc. clowns, also doing fine.  All of this was done over the first three months of the tank.  The tank is now at 3 1/2 months and a few days ago I added a yellow tail damsel.  All seems well, but after reading through all of the postings, I'm a little concerned about the future aggression of the damsel. <With what you have, not likely a problem> I took the recommendation of my LFS and only bought one of the guys.  After reading your posts I think I can see why.  If I had added more, would it have eventually been like adding a gang of street thugs to the tank? <Not with most Chrysiptera spp.> If I keep it at one damsel, should I expect that he won't become too aggressive? <Again, not likely> My eventual plan is to add just one more fish to this tank.  That would be a mandarin dragonet after the tank is about a year old.  Will the dragonet be in danger from the damsel if I do this?  Thanks in advance. Mark <Due to their very different habitats, all should be fine. Bob Fenner>

Turtle weed, Adding fish in three's Dear Bob, <Howard> I am well into my 4th year as a reef keeper, having started with Conscientious Aquarist and relied on WWM as well as you and Anthony's newer books and email advice. I have been a diver for 40 years and wanted to have a bit of wonders of the reef in my home. It is better than my best pictures! <Mine too> My 100 net gallon show tank is supported by most everything available to maintain perfect conditions: a 30 gal refugium with 6 inch DSB full of regularly harvested Caulerpa, a 40 gal refugium loaded with harvested Chaetomorpha and producing both amphipods and copepods. With the 40 gallon filter sump, I have about 160 net gallons in circulation. A 7 unit R/O-D/I, an 0-3 generator with ORP metering-TurboFlotor, 25 watt U/V, chiller, and a big 25 micron canister that is run once a month for a week or so and then cleaned. All this is run by two 700 gph Iwaki pumps and four large powerheads in the show tanks, one in each refugium. Circulation in the show tank is over 3,000 gph. U/V is valved to 150 gph. TurboFlotor/O-3 at about 300 gph. Everything is controlled by timers an sensors so I can leave it for 2 week trips. Filtration and refugiums are in the basement. Ca is maintained at about 400 with Kalk top off. Nitrates are 0 at the suction sump leading to the show tank and seldom detected in the show tank. ORP stays between 440 and 460. Water change is 10 gallons/ two weeks along with 2 cups of fresh carbon and chemical checks, addition of bicarb, Iodine, Strontium, Epsom, to maintain ideal levels and hardness. Temp is controlled 78 to 80, sp gr at 1.034. Mixing/ageing tank and R/O collection tank are aerated and heated. Lighting is 540 watts of VHO florescent (mostly 10,000 K) on the show tank (replaced every 6 months) and metal halide pendulums on the refugiums. Feeding is very light with just a bit of dry food, pods, and freshly hatched brine shrimp once a week. The tang gets a fresh clump of Caulerpa weekly. Numerous small hermits and large snails inhabit the show tank along with 1 yellow Hawaiian tang, 1 true Percula clown, 3 green Chromis, 3 Dartfishes, 1 algae blenny, 4 neon gobies, 1 skunk cleaner shrimp, and 1 flasher wrasse. 150 pounds of live rock is well covered with calcareous algae. SPS and soft corals are very healthy. Most of the livestock has been with me since the first year. <Sounds very nice> I have built this system in an effort to create a very low maintenance, naturally filtered ecosystem using all the knowledge available. Perhaps I have failed. I am plagued by turtle weed on the top of my tank and Cyano on the bottom. What else can I do? The snails can't keep up with the Cyano, the tang never goes to the top of the tank where the weed grows, 100 crabs don't get it done. The "algae blenny" gobbles amphipods. Is there another algae eating fish that will get along with my peaceful community and eat the stuff in the top 1/4 of the tank? <Mmm, perhaps increase the lighting on/over your two sumps... add a bit (a few ounces) of activated carbon in a Dacron bag, place it in your filter flow path)... add some new (a few tens of pounds) of live rock... switch out the substrate in the main tank...> I would change the lighting to metal halide but the refugium half full of fast growing Chaetomorpha with MH lighting also has its share of bad algae. <I see> Next subject: adding fish in three's. While I have never lost a fish to a disease process by the quarantining and dipping Fenner system, I have put in three Dartfishes and three green Chromis only have a pair drive the third to living in the back of the aquarium. I wish to add a few blue Chromis. should I add them in three's? Note: 4 fish have not survived the quarantine tank, Foster Smith credited me for them. <I would, yes> Howard in Wisconsin <Bob Fenner in Hawai'i>

Considering Chromis - 11/18/04 Mr. Fenner, <Paul in for Bob today!> I would like your input on these little guys. <Sure.> I have a 75 gallon with 120 pounds of LR and numerous softies. Currently I have a Percula, royal Gramma and a coral beauty. Tank has been up and running for over 6 years. Never wanted to get a big fish because of limited swimming space with so much LR. <Understand. A great idea regardless of tank size and swim room.> Thought about adding a few of these but were unsure of their temperament. <Well, actually, I preface my ramblings here with "this is purely my observations and opinions", but I find them to sometimes be quite aggressive even in a group of three. Also, they seem to have a bit of high mortality rating recently. Not sure if it is collection methods, poor acclimation at the wholesaler, poor fish stock in general or what. I have yet to get a stable batch in quite some time. We seem to keep the ones that live and try (emphasis on try) to add them together from different schools as they die off.> Will they get along with my other fish? <They should have little problems with your fish selection in my opinion.> Are they hardy? <Loaded question, but I would say they have been in the past but as I stated above, lately, the places I have seen, wholesaler/retailer outlets they have a high mortality rate currently.> How many would you add? <To your tank? I would say about 9-11 (odd numbers preferable) I was told they school and should add anywhere from 3 to 8. <Oh, you could easily make them the premiere display of your tank. They look awesome schooling, again though, they do seem to get a bit nippy and aggressive to each other in smaller schools. As a matter of fact, I would try adding like five at one time and then maybe another three a month later then add another three a few weeks after that. You will likely lose a few. Get them young, (Important, that they are on the small and healthy side) and from a quality store. Quarantine them if possible or see if the store can do it for you. (if possible) Acclimate them slowly to your tank, keep water quality high, and then wait for a month before adding another school. Just don't want to stress your bio filtration with too big of an addition at one time. Let me know your findings and if it works out send a pick of them schooling. Do use the internet as a tool and see what others are saying. Check forums and other articles in various books, too. Don't rely too much on one source. Hope this helps. Thanks for participating here at WetWebMedia. ~Paul> This is why I'm asking. Thank you Ken Chromis Hello! I would like a few Chromis for my 55g tank. I really like the Blackbar Chromis (Chromis retrofasciata). I read in a few places that this fish, like other Chromis, are peaceful and do well in groups. However, I've seen in a few other places that they're just as aggressive as other damselfish. Do you know one way or the other? << I'll say good fish. >> I would hate to spend so much time and effort to find these fish, only to have them not get along in my tank (with each other or with the other fish). Other inhabitants are 1 fairy wrasse, 1 lawnmower blenny, 1 clown goby, 1 chalk bass. << I think you will be fine, and in general I think Chromis are great tank mates. >> Thanks! Kari <<  Blundell  >>

Damsels Hi, I was wondering about damsel fish. Can they also change from male to female like the clownfish? <Some species are known to do this> I would also like to know how many Dominos I should get for my ten gallon. Thanks <Actually, none... ten gallons is too small for even one specimen. You are encouraged to either look into other families of fishes (e.g. gobies, cardinals, blennies...) or save up for a larger system that will grant you greater latitude in species selection. Bob Fenner>

Damsels <Hi, MikeD here> After reading everything I can on your site I'm amazed the LFS's even stock Damsels and wonder why on earth anyone would buy them.<because they are small, pretty and cheap and don't know what else is coming> I guess because everyone's as dumb as me!<Not dumb...we all have to start somewhere> I had a sergeant major and an unidentified (black with blue stripes down nose and around tail eye spot) one we caught ourselves which survived all other fish when I had a tank tragedy (pH shock, down too low over time then up too high and down too low again in one day) without any problems other than some rapid surface breathing which they recovered from in a day or two as I stabilized the pH. Left this as is for a month to get my bearings on pH and water quality.<Wise move> So we got sick of just looking at these fish and weather was too crappy to go catch some more so we bought two more damsels a lemon/yellow and a blue and yellow diagonally split one similar sizes to the other two knowing the black one is pretty aggressive<bad move> (the sergeant lived through his harassing although they still annoy one another from time to time) thinking as they were feisty in the dealers tank they could match up to our current devils. They hid in one corner of the tank most of yesterday and have had hind fins and tails nipped at, say 10% gone, are coming out more today but are still being harassed preferring to hide when they can (black one chases them out of hiding for sport) if they survive this will their fins just heal or might they develop fin/tail rot or some such?<They're not likely to survive and the fins will probably be chewed beyond repair if they aren't removed immediately!> Should I do anything like fresh water dip to be sure? I do want other fish can I have aggressive fish with them if so which ones would be better?<I have a sergeant-Major in my 300 that's 5" long. In a 42 gal. tank, not much will stand up to a damsel, particularly a large one.> Tank is only 42g (4 foot) is this too many damsels should we get rid of one/some/most?<Honestly, I'd say all> Most/least aggressive?<It's a moot point> If we get rid of the aggressive one will the others become aggressive as they stake out territory?<<Zero if you'd like another type of fish.> How many would be ok in my tank? Any fish I should definitely stay away from with these bullies (i.e.. ones they will kill)?<You're not going to like this answer...live ones!**grin** Again, my suggestion is to find homes for them and move on to a more peaceful fish that you like. I've had 1" damsels attack ME while snorkeling. It's a hard choice I know, but good luck>

Damsel Catching Hi Bob: <Actually Ryan today, welcome> Quick Question.  I have a trio of green reef damsels (Chromis) who seem to be biting at the tips of my torch coral. <Unusual, but happens.> Do these need to be removed? <They may be doing minimal damage.  Many reefs have fish that nibble from time to time, but do little damage in the long run.  Have you tried telling them Torch is high in carbs?  ;)  If you see signs of stress to the coral, you'll want to remove them.> If so--any suggestions on how to remove them from a 46 gallon bow with 80 lbs of live rock? <Two nets, netting replaced with plastic bags.  And a good cheerleader.  If you can manage to separate the fish into half of the tank with some sort of divider, you'll have a better chance of snagging them quickly.  Happy fishing, Ryan>

First Fish (11-17-03) Thanks. <No problem.> I have one more question. Would a Green Chromis be good in my tank if I put 2 of them in or no.<The Chromis should be fine but I would put 3 as odd numbers usually help distribute aggression.  On the other hand you also don't have a lot of room to work with.  You can find some more info at our site www.wetwebmedia.com.  Cody>

Damsel ID/Info I hate to even ask this without a pic, but my LFS got in some damsels that I had never seen before.   <A good photo is a tremendous help...but...I'll hazard a guess anyway> They look exactly like the pic on your site of Pomacentrus chrysurus, but their bodies show no blue (they are approximately the color of the brown stripes on a Dischistodus prosopotaenia). <Many of the damselfishes in the Pomacentrus genus are blue...but not the critter that you specified> Could these be stressed/juvenile Pomacentrus chrysurus?   <Not IMO...I am going out on a limb and venturing a semi-educated guess at what you have seen: I think it is the adult Pomacentrus chrysurus or...how about an alternative?...a Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus damselfish. That's "fancy fish talk" for a Jewel Damselfish. The Jewel is an olive green/brown fish with a few colorful spots along the head and the dorsal fin area, thus the "Jewel" in the common name> The guy at the LFS I spoke to said that they didn't like getting them in because they had such a high mortality rate; is there any cause for this?   <Really? Interesting <G> I think I would try a different supplier for these fish. Normally, damselfishes are one of the toughest fish that you can buy. They are very disease resistant, particularly Pomacentrus. I hasten to add that wild-caught clownfish (Amphiprion and Premnas) are often imported with parasites/disease but are hardy once established in a stable system.> I've been through the Pomacentrus article and FAQ and I couldn't find any specific info about behavior/feeding/etc. of Pomacentrus chrysurus.   <Well for starters...Remember that nearly all damselfishes are quite territorial and have the potential to harass their own kind as well as other more peaceful fish. If you have a large tank you can house an odd numbered school of damsels (Pomacentrus) but if your tank is small (under 55 gallons), just one. Feeding is easy...they are carnivorous and herbivorous. They will eat and stay healthy by consuming meaty items of marine origin as well as picking at whatever algae is growing in your tank>   If you could share any info you might be privy to, I would be grateful :). Thanks, Laura <You are very welcome. I hope I've helped...David Dowless>

Allen's/Andaman Damsel Dear Mr. Fenner, I am 14 years old & just set-up a 55g for the 3 fish I've been planning on. It will be a FOWLR with a l/n hawkfish, Picasso trigger & porcupine puffer.  <Ah, quite an adventure>  I had no plans of having any damsels until yesterday when I saw for the first time the Allen's damsels. Their coloring is really something and they were selling very fast at $16 bucks each! <Beautiful species... and a good price, I'll assure you. Not easy to catch, ship...> I am wondering what your opinion is to adding one to the mix of fish I have chosen and if adding the damsel last instead of first would be wise.  <Mmm, would be better to add it first... and the system will be too crowded even without the Allen's Damsel in time> I read an article in AFM that says these are one of the best species of damsels but I am still going back and forth wondering if it would be o.k. with this grouping. Thanks a lot, Roberto <Should be, as I say, for a few to several months. With cover, the Damsel should be able to stay out of harms way. My coverage, photo here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm  Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Red Damsel fish Hi Bob, Love your site! I read your question & answer page every day! <Great to read> I was at the LFS today and they had a fish they called a Red Damsel fish. I have never seen it before and didn't find it on your FAQs page. <More than 350 described species... am not surprised to be missing a few... let's go diving!> The ones they had were small, probably less than 1" in length. They were bright red with a dark blue spot outlined with light blue on the base of the dorsal fin. Are you familiar with this fish?  <Maybe Neoglyphidodon crossi... though the pic on FishBase.org doesn't do it justice... in any case, all of the bright red damsels I know of are only such as juveniles... turning into non-descript browns, blacks and tans with age/growth...> My boss is looking for another colorful fish for the 25 gal at the office, would this fish fit in with an Ocellaris, Bicolor blenny and yellow tail damsel? <Hard to say... You might have a tussle with the Clown or other Damsel... I would get a more peaceful, dissimilar species... Like a Gramma, Jawfish... that would get along... See the "Selecting reef livestock" section on the WWM website> They also had some young yellow gobies about 1" long. Would the Bicolor blenny in my 80 gal tank at home bully one of these little guys?  <Too much likelihood> I also have a 30 gal tank, just finished curing the live rock. I've set it up to put my male Banggai cardinal in. He is carrying eggs and should release in a few days! Would the small yellow goby be ok with the cardinal fry?  <Only if the Banggai young were large enough to not fit in the gobies mouth> I know the gobies generally stay on the substrate and the fry will probably stay up in the macro algae (Caulerpa and Halimeda). <But they will come close enough to potentially be eaten if small> Thanks for your input! Kathy <Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Least Aggressive Damsels Hello. I was wondering, what genus of damsels tends to be fairly mellow? I know of Chromis, but are Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus highly aggressive? Or Amblyglyphidodon?  <Good study on your part... of the many genera, more than 325 current species of Pomacentrids, you have picked out some of the better, easier going ones> Are any of the genera peaceful enough to be kept with dwarf angels, fairy wrasses, ornate wrasses, clown fishes? <Yes... most of the species of the three you list are fine. They're covered to an extent, and references listed on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Avoiding A Damsel In Distress Dear Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. here this morning!> Found a number of your articles on the Wet Web Media website when doing a web search for marine fish info and thoroughly enjoyed them.  Was very impressed by your knowledge and obvious love of these fascinating and wonderful creatures. <They are all priceless treasures!> We have a 38 gallon, fish-only aquarium with a large Maroon Clownfish, Purple Pseudochromid and a Yellow-tailed Blue Damsel.  We're looking to add another fish, and are quite taken with the Amblyglyphidodon Damselfishes, particularly Amblyglyphidodon aureus (Golden Damselfish). <They have a classic damsel shape and some neat behaviors-understandable that you like 'em!> Your WWM article notes that this is an easy-going fish, but I know that having two or more fish from the same family in a small community tank is generally not a great idea (they fight).  Would adding a Golden Damselfish to our tank be advisable? <If for no other reason than their ultimate potential size (5 inches or more), I'd pass on them for your sized system. Perhaps in a much larger tank, you could try a small group of them.> Thanks much for any assistance you can provide. --Kevin M. <And thank you for stopping by! Keep reading and studying!>

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: