Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about the genus Dascyllus Damsels 1

Related Articles: Dascyllus,

FAQs on: Dascyllus Damsels 2,
FAQs on: Dascyllus Identification, Dascyllus Behavior, Dascyllus Compatibility, Dascyllus Stocking/Selection, Dascyllus Systems, Dascyllus Feeding, Dascyllus Health, Dascyllus Reproduction, Related FAQs: Damsel Identification, Damsel Selection, Damsel Compatibility, Damsel Feeding, Damsel Disease, Damsel Reproduction,

Cute now... A small Three Spot, aka Domino Damsel, Dascyllus trimaculatus, in captivity.

Domino damsel in distress... Whamba jammeda along w/ an Aplysiid in a 29 cube    7/7/13
Hi. I purchased a domino damsel about three days ago from the pet store.
My tank is already cycled and its about four months new and its a 29g biocube.
<Yikes... this Dascyllus is mis-placed here... Gets too large, too mean to house w/ other fishes in small volumes>
I have a fire fish that's been living in it for about three weeks already and he's doing fine and also a scooter dragonette. I also have a small red leg hermit crab and emerald crab and two snails. I also purchased a sea hare
<Umm, what species? You should find out ASAPractical. See WWM re... Read here:
and the linked files above re coldwater, too large specimens mis-sold in the trade for tropical use>
 the same day as the damsel because I have a ton of algae.
<... see WWM re this as well>
This morning I noticed he had some white spots on him..ick I am sure..and I just wanted to know if he would be hardy enough to shake it without having to remove him to a quarantine tank because I am not medicating my tank with my live rock in there. What do you think I should do?
<Read for now... Add Cryptocaryon to your WWM list>
 I know they are pretty hardy and he's still eating like a pig but I am not sure if it will get worse or this is just a stress related thing from moving the rocks around..I also added two new pieces of live rock the same day I got the damsel.
<You've added too much, too soon here... and organisms that don't fit in such a tiny space>
All the
crabs and fire goby and scooter look fine ..its just the damsel. Thanks for any advice.
<Keep reading... Write back w/ specific questions after. Bob Fenner>
Re: Domino damsel in distress     7/7/13

I didn't realize I had overstocked it because they seem so small and the damsel is only but an inch big at the moment.
<... please... search, read re purchases ahead of time. This fish is almost always a "terror">
 I will keep the damsel because I  love it even though it will get big and ugly later
<... sigh. Not ugly ever>

 but I will also upgrade when the time comes for him also. After reading a bit about the sea hare it would seem he was not such a wise choice after all.  I think I will return all and just keep the damsel and the two crabs and algae snails.
Thank you for the help.

Domino Damsel acting weird 2/26/11
Hello... I have returned after a few years of no problems... To start I have a 75g Sw tank, 70lb live rock, 30 lb live sand. I have the Magnum pro filter and the big Marineland one (cant remember numbers) and a SeaClone 100g Protein skimmer. ALL levels in the tank are fine as they get checked on a weekly basis (i.e.. nitrite, nitrate, ph, ammonia, temp, salt level).
The inhabitants are all about 4 years old, and all bought within a month or so of each other. They have all lived in the same tank since I have had them. Picasso Trigger 5in, Maroon Clown 5in (with fairly large LT
anemone) , Domino Damsel 4in (the meanest in tank) .
<Ah yes>
Ok now the problem I think.... My Damsel has been acting very strange. He swims with his body almost in a straight up position and has very odd body movements kind-of like erratic shaking and it seems as if he has to work harder to swim than others. This has been going on for a little over two weeks now. He acts pretty normal otherwise, He eats normal, bully's others a little, swims around all day like others, If startled he will shoot across the tank FAST like any other fish. Really I'm not sure if there even is a problem but he seems as if he is working very hard just to swim around. (I could send a video if needed) Well thank you ahead of time for any help that you may have....
<This Dascyllus is very likely "interacting" with its own reflection... I'd tape a piece of paper over one end of the aquarium (this will effectively block internal reflection). Bob Fenner>

Dascyllus reticulatus, beh. 11/21/10
I thought I'd tell you that Dascyllus reticulatus is a protogynous hermaphrodite (female to male sex change), like D. aruanus and a couple of the other Dascyllus. A colleague and I discovered protogyny in D.
reticulatus and here's the reference:
Schwarz, A.L. and C.L. Smith, 1990. Sex change in the damselfish Dascyllus reticulatus (Richardson) (Perciformes: Pomacentridae). Bull. Mar. Sci. 46 (3): 790-798.
D. reticulatus also makes "chirps" during aggressive behavior, specifically during lunges at other fish (or investigators!).
Abby Schwarz
<Thank you for this... you may be aware that the genus Dascyllus are in other ways similar to the Amphiprioni... notably D. trimaculatus living symbiotically with some large anemones when young. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dascyllus reticulatus 11/21/10

Thanks for your quick response! Well, it depends on which Dascyllus you mean. D. reticulatus doesn't live with anemones at any stage of its life that I've observed, but I think D. albisella juveniles do -- and I don't know about D. aruanus. Wonderful little fish to work with.
<Thanks again. I have not seen the Hawaiian damsel interact w/ Actinarians period... these last are very rare on the Big Island... where I've mostly dived. And have not observed striped humbugs in anemones in the wild nor captivity. Cheers! BobF>

Damsels/Compatibility 10/20/10
<Hello Chris>
Quick, and maybe easy (?) question...
<All questions are easy, it's the answers that can be difficult :-).>
what would be the minimum tank size for a four-stripe damsel to coexist with other fish relatively peacefully (for example a yellow tail damsel and royal gramma)... I'm asking purely from the perspective of aggression, not filtration etc.
<For aggressive purposes, the bigger the tank the better. I would not put a Four Stripe Damsel (Humbug) in with the fish you list. This species of damsel could coexist with other aggressive fish, but not too well
with moderately peaceful fish such as you list. If you were going to do this combination, I would suggest at least a 55 gallon tank with plenty of rockwork/caves.>
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Damsels/Compatibility 10/20/10 - 10/21/10
Thanks, great information.
<You're welcome.>
Do I read right that if I went for a more aggressive combination I could get away with a smaller tank volume? Or is a 55 the minimum for mixing four-stripes with any fish?
<You misunderstood. I'm thinking the tank in question is a smaller tank, so why on earth would you want to stock/mix aggressive fish in a small volume.>
What small fish would you consider more aggressive?
<?? More aggressive than what?>
If I were to say change the Royal Gramma for a Dottyback and the Yellow Belly Damsel for a more feisty one, like a Fiji Devil Damsel would that influence things?
<I don't understand your reasoning here. Why do you want to include/mix aggressive fish with peaceful fish in a small volume?>
It's all quite a delicate balancing act really.. :)
<Bingo! Suggest you read here, learn from others.
James (Salty Dog)>
Re Damsels/Compatibility 10/20/10 - 10/21/10

<Hello Chris>
I do apologise James, I appear to have given you the wrong impression.
<No problem.>
I do not as yet have a tank and am considering what size tank I would need for a perspective mix. I do like the look of Four-Striped Damsel and was wondering what size tank I would need to mix one of them with a few other of the more standard aquarium fish.
<As I mentioned earlier, a minimum of 55 gallons. The fish itself doesn't require this much volume, but it does help tone down aggressiveness. If it were me, I'd rather have three Yellow Tail Damsels, much more peaceful and colorful for that matter. The Humbugs grow quite fast and can get up to 3" long, plus have the girth of a wrestler. The more they age, the more aggressive they become and you will soon wish you did not have this fish.>
I take it from your earlier answer that a 55g would be about minimum to mix a four-stripe with other fish, my follow-up question was really aimed at finding out what fish you think would be more likely to be able to hold their own against the "bolshy" Four-Stripe? You mentioned ones that were more aggressive than the Royal Gramma and Yellow-Tail Damsel I mentioned before, so if you could point me in the direction of a few likely candidates I can start my research :)
<I suggest you go to one of the fish etailer sites where they list aggressiveness along with requirements/needs of keeping a particular fish.
Foster and Smith would be a good starting point to do your research in that regard.
Our site goes into much more detail on families of fishes as well as some species of fish. An index to our offerings can be found here.
<Ditto. James (Salty Dog)>
Re Damsels/Compatibility 10/20/10 - 10/21/10 - 10/22/10
Hi James,
Thanks once more for that clarification.
<You're welcome.>
You suggest three yellow tails instead.. I like the sound of that idea a lot... Would three yellowtails work in a 55g? And if so, could I add any other tank mates along with them (suitable to the size of the tank of course). I would normally guess a 55gallon to take maybe 5-8 small/medium fish if appropriately chosen?
<Sure, but 8 medium size fish would be pushing it.>
Keep up the good work, you guys must've saved a million fishy lives by now :)
<Will do. James (Salty Dog)>

Domino Damsel Breeding/Egg Photos 12/4/09
Hey guys,
Thanks for being such a great resource for me.
<You're welcome.>
I have 2 damselfish that had laid eggs this past weekend. The eggs were 3 days old and I took pics with a digital microscope at 100x zoom. I thought that the pictures would be of great interest to you and your readers so I have included them in this email. This is something that people rarely if ever get to see! I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I have!
<Thanks for sharing, will forward to Bob for posting.>
Thanks again,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Re Domino Damsel Breeding/Egg Photos 12/4/09
Hey James,
Just for a bit of an update, the eggs hatched late last night (many many hours after dark).
I woke this morning to find them swimming around. They were in an 78-80 degree tank and hatched on the 4th night. We easily had about 20,000 eggs.
I was able to pull a few thousand into a quarantine tank today. I tried to lure them with the flashlight while the lights were off, but when the regular tank lights came on, it was MUCH easier. I just shut off the pumps and scooped them up! I will take some microscopic pics of the newly hatched fry and share them with you in a day or two.
Please share with your readers.
<Will definitely do Rob, we welcome photos, especially relating to this subject. It is very likely that when you take these photos that all the fry will be goners as the type of foods required by the fry will not be available. Since this was an unexpected event, I'm sure a food culture is not at hand.>
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Damsel and Goby behavior: Damsel Aggression 8/30/3009
<Hi Angela>
We started a 90 gallon saltwater aquarium about two months ago.
<Welcome to the hobby.>
We first bought a domino damsel and a blue damsel fish.
<I really wish fish stores would educate people about Dominoes before selling them.>
They get along great.
<For now, that will change.>
About two weeks ago I bought a yellow tail damsel, fire goby, a blenny, and snails. They all get along fine. These past few days the domino, blue, and fire goby have been acting strange. The domino will rub his body on top of the goby in a front and back motion. The blue damsel also will go to the front of the goby and flick his tail back and forth.
<The first signs of the impending aggression that is to come.>
This behavior only goes on for a few seconds but it seems to be occurring more frequently. I was just wondering if you knew why they were doing this behavior.
<Have a read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm as well as the linked files on the top of the page. I would recommend finding the Domino a new home.>
<My pleasure.>

Damsel vs. Angel
Dascyllus trimaculatus/Compatibility 3/22/09

Hello there Crew!
<Hi Amanda>
I have an established 125 gal. FOWLR tank, containing 1 Panther Grouper, 1 Snowflake Eel, 1 Cubicus Boxfish, 1 Lawnmower Blenny and 2 Damsels. One 3 stripe very small and 1 Domino which is rather large and aggressive.
<Yes they are, black devils I call them.>
I just bought a juvenile Koran Angel for the tank and the Domino Damsel would not leave the Angel alone. He became so worked up he actually bit my boyfriend. I know the most aggressive should be introduced last and I even moved the rocks around to break up territories, but ended up having to take the Damsel out to a ten gal. tank for now. I guess my question is, after a couple of weeks in "solitary confinement" and time for the Koran to settle in, is it worth another shot at putting the Damsel back in and maybe he won't feel like the whole tank is his and he might leave the Koran alone for the most part? Or am I better off just trying to find a new home for the Damsel?
<These guys get meaner with age, and if it were me, he would be moving.
Then again, if it were me, I would not have one to begin with.>
The Koran is about 2-3 in. the Damsel about 3-4 in.
It kind of seems like the Koran is more docile than most I've seen. Your knowledgeable advice would help me very much since I know more than my friends on the subject, I need a better opinion.
<Time to go, would not waste my time with it. I'd value the presence of the Koran in my tank much more than the three spot.
Thank you very much.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

3 stripe damsel labored breathing and turning colors 01/22/09 Hi my name is Brandie. <"Oh Brandie... you're a fine girl, what a good wife you would be! But my life, my love, my lady... is the sea!" Sorry... I love that song.> I'm new at this, I just started my salt water tank a few weeks ago. I have read all throughout my book and online but can find no answers. I have a 30 gallon tank and all I have in it is 2 blue and yellow damsels and 1 three stripe damsel. <Poor choices for a 30g tank. They will get big and mean and kill each other or die.> Today when I got home I noticed my three stripe was belly up at the bottom of the tank. It now has labored breathing, the white parts of its body are turning gray and it is completely still but just jerking occasionally. I am very paranoid and I check my water daily and it is fine so what could this be? <What do you mean by "fine?" What all did you check? How long has the tank been set up? What do you have for filtration? I'm sorry, but I need a lot more information to help you.> Is it a disease? Please help soon! <I suspect toxic shock of some sort... but again, I need more info please. Best, Sara M.>
Re: 3 stripe damsel labored breathing and turning colors 02/23/09
Well it died last night , but I'm still afraid to put fish in there now because I want to make sure it didn't have a disease first. <Well, it had something. But I haven't seen the fish, so I can't guess for sure. The symptoms you describe are common to any number of fish diseases/problems. Here are some good readings to help you start to figure out what might have happened: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amylloodiniumart.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/parasiti.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tanktroubleshting.htm> The pH was 8.3, Alk was about 200, salinity was 1.023, temp was 80, and my ammonia test was 0. I have an Emperor Power Filter 280 and a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer (yes, yes, yes I know). The tank has been set up for about a month (just live sand/live rock) the fish have been in there only for about a week. <I suspect your fish died from stress. But it might not have been all your doing. The fish could have been caught using explosives or cyanide, etc. The fish could have been in poor health when you got it (this is common among marine aquarium fish). Best, Sara M.>

Question About Domino Damsel, beh., comp. - 03/12/08 WWM staff, <<Greetings Rosanna>> I have a 55 gal FOWLR with a Domino Damsel, a Percula Clown and three Four Striped Damsels. <<Wow, an aggressive bunch…I imagine everybody is kept "on their toes" in this tank…and adding any newcomers is probably not a good idea either>> I inherited the tank from a friend that was moving (my first salt water aquarium), and I have had the tank for about four years. I know that my friend had the tank for about a year or two with the same fish before I received it. <<Mmm, interesting indeed…I would have thought the Domino Damsel to have "cleaned house" by now. There's obviously some testament to "growing-up together" and "habituation" here. If you are not aware, Dascyllus trimaculatus are generally VERY aggressive…even downright "mean." So mean in fact, that I have heard Bob comment that if they grew to 12" he would not go in the ocean! [grin]>> I am getting ready to move everything to a fully established 95 gal tank with sump (I am very excited about this). <<You should be…very nice>> My question is regarding the Domino, who is now about four inches in size. <<Yowza…a bruiser (as Dominos go)…these fish only attain about 5" in the wild!>> I have been keeping an eye on him for aggression, but do not seem to have any problems yet. <<Amazing…>> Occasionally, he will chase the four-striped, but I have created a number of places in the tank where the larger Domino cannot get to the smaller fish, <<Excellent>> and he seems to be best friends with the clown. <<Lucky for the clown…>> They even sleep next to each other. Anyway, I know that this Domino is getting near full size. <<Yes…and has likely reached such in this captive environment>> I have been trying to find some information on when the Domino will change to its adult coloring. <<Sometimes they 9many captive fishes) just don't… With this fish being 5-6 years old, if anything was going to "change" I think it would have done so by now>> Is the change based on age, size, or some other parameter? Rosanna <<It is likely a combination of factors…age, diet, and environmental cues such as the presence (or lack of) conspecifics and available space/confines of the tank. The move to the larger tank "may" trigger some change (though I'm doubtful)…only time will tell. Regards, EricR>>

BTA Hosting Domino Damsel 3/10/08 Hello, how are you today? <Just fine Jessica> I have a question(s) that I have not been able to find the answer to online, other then a few user posts on a forum that was not real helpful. Yesterday my RBTA split 2 ways and it appears that it is splitting again. I have a Domino Damsel that has started hosting the original BTA, just yesterday after the split. Is this normal for a Damsel to do this? Since this fish does not regularly host anemones will the Rose eat the fish? And since the anemone is probably somewhat stressed out over the split, is the Damsel going to further agitate the BTA? (The Rose is still a very large size and much larger then the Domino)....I want them all to live and thrive, I just wonder if the Domino will ruin that for everyone. any words would be wonderful, and have a great day. <Jessica, it is not at all uncommon for Domino Damsels to do this. Quite common to see this on the reefs.> Thanks a lot. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Jessica

Damsel bent, and holy fatness!! 10/1/07 hi crew, if it isn't one tank it's another! I have 3 black and white stripped damsels (Humbug aruanus). I've had them about 2 weeks. 1 of them, after my water change yesterday bent like a banana and became really fat! <Unusual> Looks like he (or she) swallowed a marble. The only thing I can find with that as a symptom is fish TB, and skinny is a symptom there, not fat. I thought that only affected freshwater fish. Then I thought some sort of internal parasite, but no luck on finding anything on that with these symptoms. There are no other symptoms. Scales appear fine, all intact, no spots or dots or holes. Tail and fins are intact. Color is great. Just all bent in the spine, fat and swimming sideways, like swirling. sometimes does a summersault. <Bad> He'll rest on a plant for a while. I watched the tank for a long time, And the other damsels and the clownfish appear to be worried(?). Seriously. They are hanging close to him and if he hides in a plant someone will swim and hover by him or swim between him and the glass. Almost an encouraging/comforting type thing, <Are social animals, both species> he stays in the open water half of the time, no one is picking on him or anything. I've tried to chase him with the net to move him to the nursery tank, Then he swims almost normal across the tank and hides very quickly, but still bent. His breathing doesn't seem to be erratic, but the poor thing is working awful hard to stay upright. He's only a 4 dollar fish so I won't be devastated if he doesn't make it, but if it's something contagious, I need to know what it might be, if it'll spread to my other critters and how to treat it. All other tankmates appear to be normal. Water parameters, 55 gal. Temp. 78 Salinity 1.024 Nitrate 0 Nitrite 0 PH 8.4 Ammonia 0 Calcium 480 <A bit high... are you boosting? How?> Phosphate 0 Carb. Hardness 8-9 (should this be higher?) I don't try to raise it if it's in the normal range. Alk 180 Thank you once again, I'm so glad you here for all of us. Rochelle <Perhaps a gut blockage... From? All one can do is wait, hope here. Bob Fenner>

Attention Bob Fenner; Trapping a Damsel and A Query (NRA V.s 2,3> 8/21/07 Hi Bob <Kerry> Please let me begin by apologizing for sending this through the FAQs. It seems that the link to email you directly doesn't work. <Yes> Thanks again for your assistance with my Lawnmower Blenny/Feather Duster issue. All is well and they are in our display tank now (with no interaction to date; we are keeping an eye on things). A story to share if I may (nothing new to you I'm sure, but interesting to us) and a query after that; Two years ago, my-then-boyfriend-now-hubby and I got into the hobby, setting up a 20 gallon marine tank. Being rookies, we made the typical mistakes and lost corals for making them, but we have been successful (to date) with our fishes and Corallimorphs and we have learned as we've gone along. We chose 2 small Perculas, a Regal Tang (who was so small he could hide behind a quarter if there had been one in the tank) and a small Three Stripe Damsel. Nine months after starting out we moved and "moved up" to a 90 gallon tank (the 20 is now one of our quarantine tanks). For two years the fishes have gotten along wonderfully. The Damsel and Tang have shared sleeping quarters almost from day one. We thought we had the Damsel who was the exception to the rule regarding Damsel attitudes. We should have been so lucky!! <Things... e.g. Damsel beh., changes> Recently, we decided to add some new "critters". Being (somewhat) wiser, this time we did our research. We attempted to choose our new pets wisely, trying to ensure that they would not occupy the same areas as our current fishes and that their "personalities" would be compatible. We quarantined them. We rearranged the rocks. We acclimated them with water from the display tank; the lights were dimmed while we did so. We added them to the display tank with the lights dimmed. We had approximately 20 minutes of peace and then our exceptionally calm Damsel became possessed and gets worse daily. From the time that the lights come on until they go off, he chases the new fishes (a Firefish and a Canary Wrasse; the Blenny has been left alone as he didn't react the first time he was charged). Neither of them has been driven into hiding but the Tang appears to be stressed by it all. He has been spending the day frantically swimming back and forth behind the rocks. He is a "fraidy fish" with a nervous disposition but this is atypical behavior for him. Hubby had to make a tough decision (the Damsel was one of his choices when we started out), opting to get him out of the tank. We looked for suggestions of how to accomplish it; almost all saying that we would have to take the rock out in order to net him. For a while it seemed we would have to. We ended up using a twist on an acrylic barrier. We had a relatively large piece of "eggcrate" left over from making a shelf to use when cycling live rock. I (half) jokingly suggested making an "eggcrate" barrier to trap him; hubby cut it so that it just fits inside of the tank (front to back) and cut notches for the frame at the top of the tank so that it goes from in the substrate to protrude above the water level by a few inches. He moved most of the rock to one half of the tank (an awful pile, but it stayed submerged) but was unable to get the Damsel to go to the other end of the tank. He was becoming frantic and getting "creative" with ideas of how to trap the Damsel (I could see my life degenerating into an aquatic "Caddyshack"; the ideas scared the beejeebers out of me...if only the Damsel knew!!). Yesterday, I moved two rocks which made up the "roof" of the hidey hole the Damsel and Tang were in (more through good luck than good management) and much to my surprise they bolted to where we wanted them. I put the "eggcrate" barrier into place, got out the net and the Damsel and I went to battle. (The Tang went to hide behind a pump; a wise choice considering that "net work" is not my forte). The Damsel immediately recognized that he wasn't going to be able to get through the middle of the barrier so he swam up and down the edge where it met the front glass. After about 5 minutes, I managed to net him. I spread the rocks out again, gave the Tang about half an hour to come out from behind the pump and peace is reining supreme. For a fish the size of the Damsel, the "eggcrate" worked wonderfully. It was easy to cut to the exact shape, light enough to be able to manage with one hand and the Damsel was too large to fit through the grid (but saw it so he didn't smash into it thereby injuring himself). I had recognized some time ago how bright the Damsel is, but this experienced has certainly confirmed it. His behavior changed with ours and he certainly knew where to look for a potential escape from behind the "eggcrate" barrier. It saddens us that he isn't in that tank any longer but again, we've learned (his nature won out over his nurture and we've moved one more tiny step up that darned steep learning curve!!). Now for the query... We are (finally) adding a sump and small refugium to the display tank. Out came our "invert" bible, Reef Invertebrates, Natural Marine Aquarium Series, and we both read the refugium and "plant" sections. Doing so reminded me to search online for Volume 2, 3, etc. (I bet you're shaking your head by now). I managed to Google my way back to WWM and found a letter/reply posted some time ago about this very thing. Is Volume 2 still "stalled"? If so, please add my voice to those clamoring for it!! <Is still stalled... I am wont to produce the last volumes by myself... JasonC has stated at times that he is working on the layout of the fishes (V.2)... it is timely IMO... for the market... and I've penned the ancillary pieces on Selection, Quarantine... and Antoine and I did about half the articles... some years back...> In all seriousness, thank you so very much for all you do for the hobby. Collectively, "The Crew" provides much insight and has a wealth of knowledge that benefits hobbyists and their pets all over the world. Again, with many thanks and appreciation!! Kerry <Welcome my friend. Re the Dascyllus... I might try adding two more of this species (will spread aggression, attention...) or ultimately give this one fish away... there are other settings where it will co-exist more peacefully. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Strange Damsel, Actually Mean Damsel 2/14/07 I recently wrote about a crypt problem which I am glad to say I have got cleaned all up. <Good> Which brings me back to my Domino Damsel (2in) who keeps rubbing on my Foxface Lo (4in). Its almost like they are playing the Foxface will turn on its side and the Damsel will just run into his fins and rub all over him. <Not playing, aggression.> He started this right back up after I reintroduced him into my main tank. <Reestablishing dominance.> I'm really not sure what to do, and if I should let it continue. <Will negatively effect the Foxface over time most likely.> I really have no where else for him to go. <Back to the shop?> So if you have came across this before I would like to know the response. Thank You. <That is why damsels often prove to be problematic, can be very aggressive even to fish much larger than themselves. Most likely will need to be separated in the near future.> <Chris>

General Questions?? 12/22/06 I have a tank that is 5 months old . My domino damsel is approx. 3 inches and appears to be losing his color, there is a invasion of red algae. and there are Condylactis anemones popping up all over the place there are 8 of them so far. <Mmm, don't know if your telling me something or asking for info. Anyway, Domino Damsels do fade with age/growth and can get rather large. The red algae is more than likely Cyanobacteria. Do read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/algaeconMar.htm. As for the Condylactis Anemones, I'm quite sure you are seeing the dreaded Aiptasia Anemones which multiply like mice. There are methods for controlling this species. Do search our site for this info. James (Salty Dog)>

Strange symptoms - domino damsel 11/19/06 Hello Crew! <Eva> Thank you for this site, I am constantly on it and reading up on everything that I can! <Me too!> I have a problem with my domino damsel, I've had him for about 5-6 weeks and he has always seemed okay health wise except for his characteristic aggressiveness and nipping at a couple of my other fish. He developed something strange around his mouth, it looks as if the skin around his mouth was either stretched out or cut, it is a lighter color than the rest of him. <Mmm, good observation. Can be "nothing" but sign of rapid growth... Or might be indicative of a physical injury... swimming into something> Two nights ago he was exhibiting some weird behavior in his QT tank, swimming really erratically and thrashing himself against the sides of the glass. He was breathing really heavily and his gills were going nuts (for the lack of a better word) and his gills seemed a bit red underneath. This only lasted for about 20 minutes (the breathing), the thrashing was only for about one minute. Since then he hasn't done either of these behaviors. Two nights ago, he also had a inch-long white string-like thing coming out from where he poops. There was a few shorter pieces of this stuff on the bottom of the tank but they were not moving anymore. This also has not happened yet. He is in water treated with Cupramine. <Mmm... I would introduce a bit/dose of Metronidazole/Flagyl into this fishs food/s... perhaps a vermifuge later if this doesn't "do it"> The parameters of the water that he was taken from, my main tank (48 gallon long), is the following: salinity 1.023 ph 8.1 ammonia 0 nitrites 0 nitrate 20 kH 13 (!!) calcium 400 temp 80 My other livestock is: two false percs one yellowtail damsel one blue damsel one peppermint shrimp one snail inverts and a red firefish that succumbed to Ich yesterday. <... if this one fish... your system itself is infested. This might account for the listed behavior as well> anyways, thanks for your time in reading this and hopefully you can help! I wasn't able to get a clear picture of the thing around his mouth or else I would have provided one. Eva <Mmm, please see WWM re the mentioned protozoacide. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility 9/27/06 Dominos, Maroon Clown... 9/27/06 Thanks for the time, <You're welcome> I tried to send you a question on your website but the connection didn't work - so I'll try from my own email... I have recently set-up my 36 gallon tank for tropical freshwater fish. I have a temp of 79 and a salt level of 1.022-1.023. <??? Tropical freshwater fish...salt level of 1.022-1.023.> I bought two Domino Damsels and one Maroon Clownfish. The damsels seem to be very comfortable in the tank but the clownfish is hanging out at the top. he is hiding behind my internal filter (I also have an external Fluval). He is always facing one direction. <Can be normal behavior in a new tank.> He ate well today but then returned to his same position. This has been going on for the first two days. I don't mean to rush him - but I was wondering if he is ever going move out and hang about the rocks and other plant life (plastic). Do you have any suggestions for me to help him lower his stress? <Yes, I'd return the beastie boys. The Domino Damsels are/will be very aggressive, much more so than the clownfish, and, your tank will be too small for them, as they quickly grow to 4 inches in length with plenty of beef.> Thanks a lot for your time. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Re: Domino, Maroon (in)Compatibility 9/28/06
Thanks for the quick response and advice, <You're welcome.> We were advised the dominos would work fine together. <Not too bad when small, but look out as they grow...they can be monsters.> Would you suggest getting another clown fish to help out the other one? <Only after the damsels go. Believe me, in time you will hate them.> I read on the internet that the Maroons can also be slightly aggressive and probably shouldn't be paired up - although this was not what I was told at the pet store. <I did mention that in the original query. If you can get another the same size as what you have, there is a good chance they will pair up, and no aggression should take place. If they are not compatible, you will have some fighting.> If I do manage to return the Dominos - what are some complimentary fish for the clown(s) that you would suggest? <Dottybacks, gobies, or a pygmy angel, but not limited to these suggestions. Do read about fish you may be interested in on our web site.> Sorry for the confusion about my tank - it is a tropical saltwater tank. <No problem, I assumed that.> Do you suggest we just go with what we have for now and see if they work well together? Since the Dominos seem to be doing well - maybe we should just go with them and return the clown? <Tis up to you, but the dominoes will soon outgrow your tank. Thing about these guys is that their antics/behavior are cute when small, along with the black velvet color and vivid white spots, but this all changes with age. The black slowly turns into a chocolate brown type color with the whites not as vivid along with an increase in aggressiveness.> What are some other fish that might work well with the Dominos? <Other dominoes in your size tank. If your bent on keeping them, a larger tank will be necessary down the road.> By the way - the dominos are less then 1 inch each and the Clown is about 2 1/2 inches. <Yes, the cute stage, before Dr. Jekyll takes the place of Mr. Hyde.> All the fish ate today - except the dominos were more excited and ate more. <Yes, very aggressive eaters.> He <Maroon Clown> stayed up near the pump tube and didn't venture too far. Thanks a lot for all the time - we really appreciate it, <Keep on reading my friend, will save you money and headaches. James (Salty Dog)> Scott
Re: New Maroon Clownfish Re: Compatibility 10/2/06
More questions.... Thanks again for the help, <You're welcome.> I have left the Dominos in the tank for now - although they are still seeming to control things. <Not surprising.> The maroon clown is always at the top of the tank hiding between the filter in and outtake. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to create a more friendly environment for the clown? <As mentioned a few times, the gang busters need to go.> I don't think I should add another clown yet since my tank is still cycling as fish have only been in it for about 2 weeks. <Two weeks! You probably have an ammonia problem here aiding to the clown's stress.> The clown still looks in good shape is during feeding he is coming out more and more each day - but then still returns to his usual hang out. Would a second clown help him feel better? <Think you need to re-read this entire query. Feel like I'm answering the same questions I once replied to.> I discussed with the pet store your idea of trading the dominos in - they are fine with it but suggested I stick with them and let the tank get settled. I don't feel like trading them in since they are doing very well and I hope everyone will start to settle. <Being the dominoes are near bullet proof, they are a good fish to seed the tank with, but are definitely not a good community fish, especially in a 36 gallon tank. I also wouldn't be adding any more fish to your tank.> I have fair bit of rock in the tank - with several hiding spots which I thought the clown would use. When I am at the fish store I see the clowns always hiding in the little holes. My tank is 36 gallons and I would think I have about 3 gallons of rocks. Do you suggest a lot more rock? <Is this live rock? What form of biological filtration are you using?> I know that the more rock I put in the tank the harder it is to clean and vacuum - what do you suggest? I also don't think that I have to clean the tank as often since I only have 3 small fish and two filters (Fluval 330) and a submerged filter <?? Do you mean undergravel filter? If so, suggest you read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/ug5proscons.htm> I was advised to get when I made the tank saltwater. <Tank maintenance is part of this hobby. Suggest reading here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/marineMaint.htm> Would more rocks help the clown (clowns if I get another)? <More rock may have a calming effect on the clown. Biggest problem I see is environmental, incompatible fish, and tank not cycled.> Thanks a lot, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> I really appreciate the help, Scott

- Dwarf lion and domino damsel? 6/25/06 - Dear Crew, Many thanks for the great help you provide to eager novice hobbyists like myself. Over the past year a friend and I have set up a 26 gal. mini-reef, which is now humming along beautifully thanks in large part to the info. on your website. Just a few weeks ago I set up a new 35 gallon aquarium. Aside from water, the only things in the aquarium at the moment are a few rocks, a 2-3" bed of fine-grade aragonite, and a Threespot Dascyllus. Eventually I'd like to keep a dwarf lionfish. My question is, will the damsel have to go when the lionfish comes in? <Probably, but it's also possible the damsel will avoid the lionfish.> I've looked through the FAQs trying to find an answer to this question, but there seem to be several (e.g. yes, the lion will eat it; no, as long as the damsel is too big to fit in the lion's mouth; yes, the damsel will harass the lion). <Doubt the lion would eat it, damsel will likely be too wiley.> I wonder if I could try to pin you down on this one? <Not any more than to give you a 50/50 chance with things slightly in favor of the damsel.> Cheers and thanks again, Kevin <Cheers, J -- >

Damsel Aggression - 5/3/2006 Wet Web Media Crew, <<Hey Dustin.>> I bought a 2" regal tang yesterday and brought him home to acclimate to my 240 gallon tank. <<No quarantine?>> I currently have a small domino damsel (1.5"), and a pair of maroon clown fish, both around 2". He seems to be doing well, swimming around but the domino damsel will not leave him alone. The damsel keeps backing up into the regal tang and the tang is doing the same to the damsel. It is like they are trying to put their butts on each other or something. They just follow each other around as if they are each others shadow. Is this normal behavior. Possibly a territorial behavior? <<Most certainly aggression. Bob refers to Domino Damsels as "saltwater piranha!" You may have luck re-arranging rock work, re-introducing at the same time with lights dimmed.>> Thank you so much, Dustin LeCave <<Glad to help. Good luck! Lisa.>>

Faded "Fats" Domino/Damsels 4/6/06 Hi all. <Hello Steve.> I have searched your site and don't find this scenario. So here goes. We have a 150 gallon FOWLR. Inhabitants are a Powder Blue Tang, Foxface, Lemonpeel Angel, <One of my favorites.> Domino Damsel, Tomato Clown, Fiji Blue Damsel, 3 Pajama Cardinals, and various crabs & snails. We have had the domino for about a year and a half. In the last month he has faded from a velvety black to a very light gray. Everybody gets along and all are eating well, including the domino. Is there something I should check for or is it common for this fish to fade. Thanks so much for your continuing information and support. <Will lose their powder coated black look with age. Do include vitamins in fish diets though. James (Salty Dog)> Steve

Domino damsel/s sick - 03/12/2006 Hello, I was hoping you could help me. I have never had good luck with domino damsel fish for some reason and this one is no exception. <Unusual> I bought him about 3 weeks ago and he was doing fine but now I noticed his color is fading and he is breathing rapidly with reddening near his gills. This has happened to my previous dominos last year when I was starting my reef tank. Now I have a wonderful established reef with near perfect water, 0 nitrate, 0 ammonia, ph 8.3 checked weekly. Everyone else is doing fine my rusty angel, blue and zebra damsel, and 2 small Chromis are thriving. Is there something dominos specifically need or do I just have bad luck with them? <Not luck> What would you recommend as a medicine to help his problem? Are there any non-copper medicines I can use or than won't damage the inverts? Any help would be great. tank 29gal <Oh... this tank is too small..> 30lbs live rock many inverts and corals Prizm protein skimmer magnum canister filter with bio-wheel water usually near perfect condition with temp at constant 80 <Something is wrong with your system... Can't really point to it from what is posted here... Was the Domino the last one placed? Bob Fenner>
Re: domino damsel sick - 03/13/2005
Yes, the domino was the last fish put in the tank along with my two baby Chromis. <This size system is unsuitable for all these damsels or just a large Dascyllus... they're likely being harassed to death...> He seems to be doing ok, he eats vigorously and spends most of his day swimming in the high current off the protein skimmer. He just has lost his color and has reddened gills, I've seen this happen before and about a week after I notice it the fish dies. for now he seems to be holding on, all my other livestock are doing great I just can't figure out this problem with my dominos. <The problem here is principally with the stocking... Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm ... the linked files at top... Bob Fenner>

Forget the Kitty... it's Hello damsel... or Hellish Damsel... Dasc. comp. 3/4/06 Hi my name is Anthony, I am not new to aquaria, but am about 5 months new to marine aquaria. I had bought a tank and have it set up and running. I bought the cheapest fish at the store and purchased a Domino, yellow tailed, and a three stripe. Well I found out quick that damsels are JERKS. <Heee!> Anyways the Domino killed the other two through harassment. I want to put other fish in for my pleasure, I am also reluctant to give up the domino, because after all he is my fish. I write to you because you seem to understand my predicament and know about damsels well. What would you recommend I place in my aquarium. Other damsels or other fish? <Up to you...> Should they be Larger, aggressive, or... I was thinking keeping it aggressive and adding Marginated Damsel fish (leaning towards marginated), Blue & Gold Damsel fish, Fiji Blue Devil Damsel fish, Blue Velvet Damsel fish, and Jewel Damsel fish. Also after reading some of your pages I saw you said ---"Young to moderate size D. trimaculatus and the Hawaiian sibling species D. albisella are frequently found in the same sort of mutualistic symbiotic relationship as Clown fishes; cavorting in and amongst sea anemone tentacles. Sometimes right along with Amphiprion species!"--- So does this mean I should get a D. albisella? And why are they in a mutualistic relationship? <Mmm, let's skip ahead... the current Dascyllus, unless this tank is very large (more than a hundred gallons...) will likely "harass" any/all new fishes... I would either trade it in... or look to other families of fishes... and still recluse the Domino for a few weeks (perhaps in a floating colander if you don't have another tank) to give the new fishes a chance to become familiar, established... Really, if it were me, and this tank was smaller... I'd trade this fish in and start again> If you would give me some suggestions they don't have to be limited to damsels or even fish thank you!!!!! Anthony <Bob Fenner>

Four stripe damsel compatibility help - 2/11/2006 Hi, hope you are having a wonderful day. <So far, yes. Thanks> I am new to salt water aquariums and learning lots every day. I did several months research before I started the aquarium, but seem to have let my eyes and heart make a mistake. My tank size is 120 gallons with 100 lbs of Haitian live rock. I am adding mushroom and xenia corals and they are doing great. Hope to add some Ricordea corals soon. Here's the problem :( My first fish was and is a four stripe damsel - he is so cute. Love the colors - black, white and a neon blue trimmed tail. He's been in the tank for about 2 months. <... the "tyrant"> I have added 4 Green Chromis and they seem to get alone ok. They have been in the tank about 5 weeks. Added a pink spotted Goby and still all well. He's been in the tank about 3 weeks. Earlier this week added 2 skunk cleaner shrimp, still all is well. I really want to add some other fish like a Clownfish pair. First, will this be ok with the four stripe damsel? <Only time can/will tell. Your system is large enough to allow for some aggression> Second, If so, do I need to get a bubble tip anemone? <Possibly... see WWM re Selection... best to go with a captive produced specimen> Any advice on fish that I can keep with my four stripe I would greatly appreciate. <Posted...> Read through quite a few other emails on this site over the past week and tried to catch the damsel, so I wouldn't have to ask this question, but after an all day struggle, I don't think he's coming out. He must sense that I really like him and don't want to hurt him with the net. Thanks and I hope you have a great afternoon, Susanne <Keep an open mind, heart, and keep reading... investigating before purchasing... you'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Damsel fish respiration/breathing rate 1/11/06 Hi, <Hello Chris> I have 2 humbug damsel with what I think looks like high respiration. I know lion fish normal respiration is 30 breaths per minute, could you please tell me what the normal respiration for a damsel fish is per minute, thank you <The humbug is rather active and what you are seeing isn't abnormal. I really don't know what the respiration rate is, never checked. Please do not ask what the blood pressure might be:):) <James (Salty Dog)> Chris

Killer Damsel? Oh yes Hi; <Greetings> I have had a 55 gallon tank with the following - Domino Damsel - 4 Striped Damsel - False Percula Clownfish - Clown Goby - Mandarin Goby - Firefish Over the past 24 hours I have found the Mandarin, Clown Goby, and Clownfish dead. They were all eating (I have a refugium for copepods for the Mandarin), the water is fine, and I see no signs of disease on the other fish. Is it possible the Domino is killing off the tankmates? Other suggestions? Thanks, John <Very likely the "dark dude with the white spots" "did it"... Yes. Trade that bad boy in. Bob Fenner>

Damselfish attacking Yellow Tang, dump the dominos 9/5/05 Hello everyone! LOVE the website, loads of valuable information. <Ah, good> I have a 90 gallon tank with about 40-45lbs of live rock. It has been established for about a year. The inhabitants are 2 domino damsel, <"Saltwater piranha!"> 2 three-striped damsels, a coral beauty angel, a porcupine pufferfish, <Gets too big...> a maroon clownfish and a percula clownfish (it was a "surprise" by one of my roommates, occasionally the maroon will chase after the percula but generally both clownfish stay on opposite ends of tank). Now here's the problem. I recently purchased a small yellow tang; <The "straw" that broke this tank volume and social dynamic's back> it's about 2 inches in diameter. I have had it in a quarantine tank for about 2 weeks. I slightly rearranged the rocks and literally within seconds of putting the tang in the main tank the dominos started attacking him. He ended up running to the other side of the tank but then one of the 3-striped damsels started attacking him. He was chased down by the damsel to other end again and then the dominos started to chase him again. He ended up hiding in a crevice on the side of the tank. I decided to leave him in there and hopefully everyone would just adjust. <Uh, no> But every time the tang would come out he would get attacked. Within a period of about 10 minutes his top fin and tail fin were all tattered. I ended up removing him and now he's living in the QT tank until I figure out what to do with him. He does not seem to be traumatized. He is swimming in the open and is eating. I didn't read that there was a compatibility issue before I bought him and I also assumed that if there was a problem he could deter anyone with his tail. <Too small, in too hostile, crowded a world> I am thinking that the damsels aren't intimidated by him because of his size. I am a little scared to see what happens if I try and put him there again. <Will happen with most anything placed...> I have heard that the aggression would subside after the pecking order was established. Are there any tricks I could do? I was thinking that maybe I could introduce him in the middle of the night or just completely rearranging the rocks. <In this case, set of circumstances, no... really best to remove the Dominos...> I have also accepted that my QT tank may be his new home until be grows a decent size. <"If" the Dominos were removed, a good-sized Zebrasoma (four or more inches in overall length) introduced, and the dominos re-introduced a few weeks later, this might work... but doubtful... Dascyllus trimaculatus almost always become tremendous "bullies" over time> Also I have been watching the tang while I have been writing this and I have been seeing him rub up against the rocks a couple of time. Do you think that this is just from the fighting? <Maybe> I was just wondering if you guys have any suggestions. Thanks in advance for any help that you guys can provide Richard <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascfaqs.htm I'd trade them out. Bob Fenner>

3 stripe damsel... behavior, systems 8/14/05 I have a 29 gallon tank that has one clown fish, two 3-stripe damsels and 6 red leg hermit crabs --- and a young child. I noticed last night that one of the damsels was acting weird: not swimming very much and the white stripes appeared light gray. <Might be just night-time coloration... but this size, shaped system is too small for these three damsels (yes, the clown is one also)> I took him out and put him in a quarantine tank. I also discovered that the heater had been turned up to 83 degrees so I think this is what caused his problem (I have fixed the temp problem and moved the control out of the child's reach). The damsel perked up almost immediately when I put him in the quarantine tank with water at 77 degrees. When looking at him closely, I see that his fins are a little ragged around the edges and there is a tiny bit of red right on the edge of his tail fin. <Good observations... indications of stress, fighting perhaps> He is to be swimming and eating okay. My guess is that is stress related from the temperature, but is it okay to put him back in the tank? Lisa <You will see... but, as stated, this system is too small psychologically... You can read re on WWM... Bob Fenner>

Damsel in distress, Dascyllus are social animals 08/08/2005 Hi, <Hello there> I purchased a four stripe damsel five to six months ago and have had continuous problems with it ever since. When I placed it in quarantine and it always preferred hiding behind the heater or other equipment rather than the PVC pipes or the artificial branch coral I placed in there. <... Dascyllus are social species... live in groups> She has also always been a very scared fish, and always hides except at feeding time. About three days after I got the fish in quarantine dark areas started forming on the white stripes just behind the gill plates and the last white stripe on the tail. the fish has been this way ever since. By the way the fish did lose an eye while in quarantine from injury most likely while darting to a hiding place when I entered the room. I kept the fish in quarantine for an extra two weeks and administered a copper treatment because she just was not acting right. <Starting to sound like the U.S. military's confinement of folks...> The copper treatment seemed to work somewhat the dark spots became more vague, but did not disappear. <... poisoning> However, she was still a very scared fish. After a month in quarantine I moved her into a 46 gallon tank (where she still is) with live rock and numerous hiding places but she still prefers to hide in the equipment at the top of the tank except at night when she goes down to hide in the rocks. The dark areas are still present and seem to grow in darkness when stressed (during water changes and when I clean the glass). There are no outward signs or parasites, but I do sometimes see her scratching on rocks. She is the only fish in the tank. The water quality should be excellent (I use RO/distilled water) and all parameters are good and consistent. She eats and seems to be a very greedy fish and is not shy around feeding time. So my real question is what could cause all these symptoms and this extreme fear of people and movement. The best answer I can come up with is stress, but I can not find the cause. Please give me your opinion. Also would it be safe to add another fish in this tank with her in this condition. Thanks for the great service, Jed <Thank you for writing to well, thoroughly... to reiterate, the one simple fact that you apparently are unaware of is the need for others of their own kind... Take a look at Dascyllus species pix in the wild... they are always in close association with others of their own kind. Bob Fenner>

Clown Moved (Run) Out Of Anemone - 06/11/05 Hi guys, <<Howdy>> First, let me say what a great website, I read through it religiously! <<Outstanding!>> Now, to business. I have a 220l tank which currently plays home to a humbug damsel, a Valentini puffer, a percula clown, 2 hermits, 3 snails and 1 anemone. The last addition to the tank was the anemone that I bought over two months ago as a haven for the clown. <<Um, ok.>> The clown had been living with the others peacefully for some time, until all of a sudden the humbug decided to bully the clown, knocking it around and so forth. <<I'm surprised the clown is the only one suffering the Humbug's wrath. IMO, the Humbug is the 2nd nastiest damsel commonly available. The number-one spot I give to the Domino damsel.>> So I bought a quadricolour anemone for the clown, and all was well again. He loved his anemone, followed it everywhere when it moved, rolled around in it and chased away anything that came near :-) When I cam home last night, the clown was out of his anemone for the first time in months. He still hasn't returned and is hiding in the back top corner of the tank where the protein skimmer dumps it's water. Seeing as how the humbug has now decided that its time to badger the clown again, is there anyway I can get the clown to move back to his home? And why would he leave the anemone in the first place anyway? <<Likely the clown has been driven away by the damsel. I think your only option here is to remove the damsel from the tank. Perhaps trade it to your LFS for store credit?>> Cheers, Mat <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Going Fishing For Dominoes - 06/03/05 Well I have a 500 hundred gallon acrylic aquarium and I have 2 domino damsel in there from day one. They are huge 5" in dia.. And there laying eggs all over. But my problem is they are nipping my other fish and are very aggressive and disturbing the gravel substrate and making the tank always look cloudy. My question to you is how can I catch them I tried several times but they are to fast for me to catch and the top of my aquarium only has hatches, all I wind up doing is upsetting the rest of the fish. Any help I would appreciate. And of coarse I would find them a good home. <<Had this very same problem myself years ago before I learned better. Domino damsels are the cutest little buggers when they're about the size of your thumbnail...but it doesn't take long for them to grow up mean and nasty! I solved my domino problem by using a small barbless fish hook, some very fine monofilament fishing line, and a bit of raw table shrimp. This tactic is surprisingly effective due the fishes natural aggressiveness. Give it a try! It's actually less stressful/harmful to the fish than chasing it around with a net. And provides a great little ultra-light tackle workout as well <G>.>> That's jimmy... Ps I love you web sight thanks <<Regards, Eric R.>>

Domino Damsel in a 40 community? Hi guys, I have a 20 Gallon tank with a domino damsel (2 inches long) which I've had for ~2 years. I looking to get rid of the 20 Gallon tank and transferring the Damsel to my 40 Gallon reef tank which houses 2 tomato clowns, a host anemone, 2 shrimps, soft corals, etc. This damsel has displayed aggressive behaviour towards other fish in the past. Would you recommend this transfer or not? I'm concerned about not being able to catch him in the 40 Gallon tank (given the rockwork) if things go bad... Thanks, Marc >>>Hey Marc, This is one of my absolute favorite fish, unfortunately they grow large, their spots grow dull, and they get vicious! They don't mix well with other fish as they mature. Also, given the potential size of this fish, along with the potential size and aggressive nature of a female tomato clown - my vote is get rid of the damsel. You're just asking for trouble if you add it. Cheers Jim<<<

Domino Damsel Hello, I have a black Domino Damsel, Maroon Clownfish, Blue Devil, Goby, Cleaner Shrimp. I recently bought a Yellow Tang and within one day my Domino Damsel hides, turn a pinkish-whitish color...What do you think is going on, I have read several different conflicting stories and I am still lost. <I'm lost also, Troy. Trimacs are definitely not skittish. Could be something else wrong with him. James (Salty Dog)><<Likely "just scared". RMF>>

Those Aggressive Damsels (6/6/04) I have 2 3 spot domino damselfish in my 20 gallon marine tank, and nothing else. If I get a peppermint shrimp will they attack it. I had a yellow watchman goby and they never left it alone.
<Domino Damsels are among the most aggressive damselfish toward other fish, but should leave inverts alone. If you want other fish, you'll need to lose the Damsels. Steve Allen.>

Domino Damsels We have a 50 gallon tank with 2 domino damsels, 1 tomato clownfish and blue tang. One of the domino damsels turned gray overnight. What is the problem? <Mmm, likely nothing... this species of Dascyllus does "just turn gray" with age, size, sometimes mood... particularly when engaging in reproductive behavior. Likely you've heard how "mean" this fish can be... watch out re placing other livestock with it/them... in fact they may bite the hand that feeds them (yours!). Bob Fenner>

Bonding (1/21/04) Hi all, <Steve Allen here> I bought a Condy for my tank two days ago, and my Domino Damsel has "paired" with it....is this normal???? <for him. Nothing to worry about> I thought the Condy was a "stand-alone" anemone? <Not sure what you mean by that. All anemones are "stand alone" if nothing pairs with them. None actually need a clownfish to survive.> My Clarkii Clown didn't go anywhere near it... <C'est la vie. Could be a fight later over this anemone though.>

- Dealing with Damsel Aggression - Hi crew- I have a 40-gallon tank (1.25 years old) with ~50 lbs. live rock, 5-inch deep sand bed, 192 watts of light on for 12 hours a day, and a Red Sea protein skimmer located in a 30-gallon tank (that has ~25 gallons of water) that currently serves only as a water reservoir/buffer, but eventually will turn into a refugium/isolation tank when I find the time. In all, about 65 gallons of water circulate (~350 gallons per hour), but the fish are confined to 40. pH=8.3, temp = 78, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate = 0 Inhabitants: Dominant fish= Dascyllus melanurus (2.5 inches) Rest: Centropyge bispinosus(3 inches, very peaceful) Ecsenius bicolor 2 Amphiprion ocellaris Inverts Lysmata amboinensis 4 Lysmata wurdemanni (3 < 1 inch, 1 full size) Condylactis sp. pink-tip anemone All of the above fish and inverts (except the small peppermints) have been in the tank for at least 8 months and all get along well. The damsel occasionally shows some aggression towards the coral beauty but she handles it well. When I first got the angel fish, I had to divide the tank for about three weeks to stop the fighting, but they've been ok since. I've read The Conscientious Marine Aquarist and the FAQs on territoriality. My problem is that I just purchased a beautiful Macropharyngodon ornatus as the final addition to the tank, and the damsel just won't leave it alone. A typical day for the wrasse has been to wake up around 10 AM and be buried again by 10:15 because it can't tolerate any more aggression. It has proved difficult to "force" them to coexist as I did with the angel because the wrasse buries itself. Here is what I've tried so far: (1) isolating the wrasse in part of the tank to ensure it feeds and develops a normal circadian rhythm, (2) isolating the damsel, so the wrasse can have more of the tank, and can befriend the rest of the inhabitants. Option (1) works well enough, but the damsel just hangs out on the other side of the divider (for as long as a week), and upon reintroduction of the wrasse, the damsel resumes it's aggression. Option (2) worked better I thought, but then the damsel escaped over the divider, so I am currently back at option (1) (a buried wrasse is much easier to isolate than a smart damsel with rock to hide behind). I wonder what your advice would be to successfully acclimate these two fish (the rest of the inhabitants show no aggression towards the wrasse). <Honestly, there is no way to tame the damsel. These fish are notorious for their aggression and it only gets worse in time/age. These fish will attack scuba divers without hesitation, despite the great disparity in size. Damsels really can't be reasoned with.> My options seem to be: (1) continue isolating the wrasse, for as long as it takes for the damsel to lose interest and leave the divider; (2) attempt to better isolate the damsel, still in the main tank, for a longer period of time; (3) put the damsel in the 30-gallon sump for a period of time until he "forgets" about his dominance, and reintroduce him to the tank, hoping he won't decide to pick on the wrasse again; (4) trade the damsel into the LFS. I would rather use option (4) as a last resort, since he was my first fish and has shown that he can eventually get along... I just don't want the wrasse perish in the meantime. <In my opinion, option #4 is your only option. All others will end with the same result.> Would rearranging to rock-work have any significant impact? <No... not for long enough.> It doesn't seem like territoriality, more like plain old aggression. He seems to seek the wrasse out and pick on it, leaving all other fish alone. If option 2 or 3, how long would you expect it to take for the damsel to "forget" his dominance? <Somewhere close to death... these fish are just this way.> If option 1, is there anything I can do to help the damsel lose interest sooner? <Not that I'm aware of... perhaps putting in another damsel of the same type, but at the end of that experiment you'll still only have one damsel.> Sorry for the length, and thank you for the service and great site. And thanks for adding the Amazon Honor System payment option - it gives us all a way to let you know the value we place on your expertise. Tom <Cheers, J -- >

Guidance Counselor - Stocking >Hi guys, >>Hello. >I have a question regarding my 54 gallon corner tank. It has been running for about 5 months now (FOWLR), and it currently houses 1 blue damsel, 1 Percula clownfish, and 1 overly aggressive three striped damsel. >>Oh yes, the lovely Dascyllus. I hear they're quite tasty. >The three-striped damsel seems to be very protective of certain spots and his aggression seems to be getting worse. >>I don't think it seems worse, I think it IS worse, and shall continue to do so. >My wife and I are trying to plan our next course of action and I was hoping to add either a yellow tang or a coral beauty. My wish is that by having a larger fish in the tank it will lessen the aggression of the three-striped damsel. >>Don't count on it, this fish now rules the roost! >Could this possibly work? >>Highly doubtful with a Coral Beauty, you're going to be hard pressed to find one big enough and pugnacious enough. Even with a tang, a yellow isn't exactly the toughest customer, and it would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY larger. Try a barbless fishing hook or a trap and get that damn damsel out! >If so, in what order should I add the coral beauty and the yellow tang? If it won't work would you recommend returning my three-striped damsel? Thanks for you help. Your site has been very helpful to me in many occasions. Sincerely, Dan >>Yes, I recommend just that. Then, because the angel and the tang would likely have no compatibility issues, it wouldn't really matter who you add first, just as long as BOTH go through 30 days quarantine. Marina

- One More Fish? - I have a 28 gallon hexagon tank that has been cycling now for 5 weeks. Everything seems to be going fine. I have one domino damsel and one Singapore angel fish together and both seem to be getting along. Before adding the angel fish I had a yellow tailed damsel and had to remove it due to the stress the domino was causing it. <I'd remove the Domino too - they are very cute when small, but as you've seen, they can be real jerks, and this only gets worse as they get older. I'd remove this fish before it starts to work on the Singapore Angel too.> I would like to add one more fish in a few weeks, maybe and was wondering if you have any recommendations as to any other type of fish that would suit the two already together? <Whatever you pick, it needs to be small and stay small - I'd suggest a neon goby, really neat fish - if you drop the domino damsel, you could stock a pair of neon gobies. With a tank of this size I'd only stock this limited number of fish - will mean you can enjoy the tank for much longer with fewer problems.> Thanks, Lisa <Cheers, J -- >

One question... Dascyllus encyclopedist Mr. Bob Fenner! Hello. I want to tell you then Your article about -Dascyllus- is very interesting. I'm a marine fish passionate. Can I use your "Dascyllus species" text to write my own Dascyllus dictionary...? I'm waiting for Your answer. Dr. Michal Dochier <Sure. Make it known if you need images, other assistance. Bob Fenner>

Damsels and anemone question Hello. I just purchased a long tentacle anemone and have an odd question. I have two false Perculas and a few other fish in my aquarium and the behavior I am seeing seems to be reversed. The clowns want to host with the anemone but I have a 3 spot domino damsel that will not let them near the anemone and he is actually swimming through it and staying right by it. Is this normal behavior for a damsel? <Mmm, yes for all the Damsels which are the Clownfishes (they're a subfamily, Amphiprionae, within the Damsel family Pomacentridae) and the Three Spot/Domino, Dascyllus trimaculatus. Please see the pic and coverage here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm> I wasn't aware that damsels had any interest in anemone's or for that matter even hosted with them. Is there anything I can do to deter this behavior or will he keep attacking the two Percs? <Likely so, too likely, to continue harassing them. I would remove one or the other. Bob Fenner> Thanks you, Angel

Dascyllus trimaculatus and Premnas biaculeatus Hi, is it possible to keep a pair of Dascyllus trimaculatus and a pair of Premnas biaculeatus with Entacmaea quadricolor in a 50 gallon tank? Is the tank to small? Or are they to aggressive for one tank? <It may work for a while but one pair will probably eventually overthrow the other. Also make sure you have very good lighting for that anemone. Cody> thanks, Thomas

Domino Damsel turning grey Hello WWM, A 2 year old Domino Damsel has turned to a light grey color over the last 2 weeks. (The tank was dismantled and moved to a new home in December, we are the new keepers since then) He eats and acts like nothing is wrong. What could have caused this? <Mmm, likely "just aging"... they do this> Is he damaged for life? We are doing 15 gallon water changes on the 90 gallon tank every weekend and the param.s are okay. When we switched to weekly water changes about 3 weeks ago all the other fish, anemones, and coral seemed to love it except this one fish. All the other fish are not exhibiting this oddity. Is there something I'm missing? Did we freak the little dude out? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm> How many hours a day should the halides be on? We currently have them set at 9 hours with a 30 minute sun up and sun down. Is this too much light? <Not too much> Thanks...I saw another question similar to mine that referred to an illumination FAQ but I couldn't find the appropriate FAQ. <You can use the Google search tool on the home page: www.WetWebMedia.com or on the indices. Bob Fenner> Maureen

Dascyllus How many Dascyllus would you put in a 30 gallon? <Depending on species none to one to possibly two... but this would likely be all you could place there fish-wise. Please see here re the genus: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm Is it okay to quarantine that n in a 10 gallon tank? <Just one. Bob Fenner> Thanks guys Pablo
Re: Dascyllus
Thanks guys!!!!! More specifically Dascyllus trimaculatus or Dascyllus melanurus. <One, or two at most respectively. Bob Fenner>

Dying Dominos Hi guys, hope this email find all of you well! Here is my question today: I've had 3 Dominos for a year. They are turning white and 2 of them have suddenly died. What happened? Thanks for your time. <the paling color is not symptomatic of a given condition or pathogen... just stress. Were there any other symptoms? Rapid gilling, erratic swimming, scratching or glancing, etc? Do look through WWM disease archives and FAQ's for illumination, please> Pamela Mary <kindly, Anthony>

Sick Domino Damsel I have a 29 gallon marine tank with a Domino Damsel (approx 3 inches long) and a Blue Damsel (approx 1.5 in long). The tank has been established for about 7 years which is how long I've had the fish. <outstanding!> About a month ago the Domino developed what looked like an eye infection (cloudy and protruding eye) which I treated with penicillin. The eye cleared up and the fish returned to apparent normal health. However, over the last week the Domino has been off his (her?) food and seems to be disoriented. I use flake marine fish food and the flakes will float right past him and he makes no attempt to eat. He doesn't appear to be gasping but he does spend more time languishing near the bottom of the tank, whereas before he was actively swimming all over the tank (and was very aggressive toward the Blue). The Blue Damsel seems to be taking advantage of the situation by swimming close to the Domino and flicking his tail against him in an aggressive manner. The Domino appears unaffected by this. I have looked closely at the Domino and cannot see any obvious signs of illness. What could be wrong and how should I address it? Thanks in advance, Graham Welling, <alas, my friend... even without knowledge of the age of the fish at the time of capture, the additional 7 years makes this fish a candidate for old age. Without specific symptoms, please do not medicate. If anything, a quiet hospital tank might be nice to evaluate and let the fish heal or die peacefully. Best regards, Anthony>

Shy Emperor Angel and Fishing Hooks Hey Bob, Quick question about an Emperor that I just bought. <Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob sits staring at his hand... "all natural" acid flashback, I think> First of all it was at the store for about 2 months and ate out of my hand there. The transition to my home was so smooth because he just went into a bucket <grumble, grumble... buckets are very hard on fish eyes/membranes... a bad way to ship. Soft plastic bags flex. LFS boo-boo> and into my tank without a net. <excellent and considerate!> 5min after being in the tank he was approaching the top when I came to the tank. He is PERFECT and curious and eager. The only problem I'm having is that my 2 tangs are such voracious eaters that even thought the Emperor is going after food, he's not getting as much as he should. <three words for the yellow tangs... barbless trout hooks, er...never mind> The result is my overfeeding which is obviously no good. <agreed...unacceptable> Any ideas? <remove the tangs to quarantine until the angel establishes dominance and familiarity with tank and other mates, then re-introduce the tangs into the Angels territory... but no guarantee. Tangs can be assertive> Will he just learn to get more aggressive when it comes to feeding time? <hard to say... will suffer in the meantime> He's the biggest guy in the tank so he's not being chased or anything. <its all about attitude... just look at domino damsels; you'd swear they eat wolf cookies and drink gorilla milk every day for breakfast> Thanks Bob....keep up the great work. Rick <doing the best I can, Anthony>

Domino Damsel Hi Bob, I have a question for you. I have a 120 gallon tank with excellent filtration. I have 5 damsels in there. They been in there for 6 weeks. They have all been quite active and look healthy and eat well. The color of the dominos are reddish black it is more red around gill and face area. They are not jet black. <This species does have "races" (geographical varieties) that look quite different than what folks consider/see as "typical". Please see: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm for some pix of variations in Dascyllus trimaculatus> They been like this for as long as I known and they act very normal. They were doing great up to November 6, 2001. Then on November 7 I only noticed four damsels swimming around. I got nervous so I moved some of the decorations around to see if I could find him, and I did. But when he came out his skin was whitish black and he was swimming around very strange which I'm positive was not normal. Then he just laid on the bottom lifeless, so I decided to remove him because I knew he was not going to live. What's wrong with this fish? Is sick? <Maybe just changed color from stress... perhaps just from getting stuck in the rock work. Maybe "changing" color with age/size...> When I bought the fish they were quarantined for 2 weeks before being put in the tank. <Ah, good> I didn't notice any unusual marks on him., I only noticed a spec on his eye but that look rather okay. My ph is very stable and doesn't change at all. I also have a 16 watt UV as part of my filtration. Please respond soon. Thank you. <Likely no need to worry, "do" anything here. Bob Fenner>

Domino Damsel The damsel died yesterday. It continued to lay on the gravel lifeless so what's the matter with my fish? What disease killed it? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mardisease.htm and beyond. Bob Fenner>

Fish??? (Info. on Dascyllus) Hi there, I was just wondering if you may have a few answers for me, I wanted to know if the domino damsels keep their colors from juv state to adult? <The veritable "saltwater Piranha species, Dascyllus trimaculatus (only semi-joking)?... Does change color with age/growth/mood/health... and does vary considerably over its wide range... some have no Trimacs... no dots of white... some are more yellow in background color than black... all turning to greyish white with age... and much the same while reproducing... Please see the coverage on our site with pix: http://wetwebmedia.com/dascyllu.htm and contact me again if you'd like to see more image work.> And how long that process is for them to grow and how large they actually get. Live for a few to several years in captivity... grow to near half a foot in length in the wild, though four inch ones in captivity are large> how bout the 3 striped damsel? (same questions). <Not as variable in color... see the WWM site here. Bob Fenner> any help is greatly appreciated, I just can't find any information on the net. ~~~***~~~JEANNIE J~~~***~~~

Dang Domino Hi Bob, Missed you. Joyce in Ohio here. Finally, since I started this tank in January I am ready to begin seriously adding fish to my 92 gallon corner tank. I will wait until you have settled more to ask about my wish list. <Thanks for this respite. Missed the "work" (I definitely don't call this that), though Zo did the fab job I knew he would> I did add two false percula clowns. I blue freshwater dipped them and quarantined them for 2 weeks. (That was hard I wanted them in my main tank so bad!) <I understand... aquarium keeping is a good impetus to self-discipline at times> Last night I added them after feeding the main tank. My current residents are 2 blue tail damsels, one scooter blenny and the dang domino <Ah, Dascyllus dangyoui, am familiar with this pesky species> that rules the roost. Last night he/she was darting at the clowns and trying to scare the living daylights out of them (and me!). They were so cool. They just ignored him/her and kept checking the place out. This morning after feeding time he/she was being really obnoxious to them. Do I have any choice but to take my live rock out (about 80 pounds) and catch him to return him/her to the LFS? I kept 2 nets in the tank for a week after getting the clowns thinking that she would probably bully them, but NOOOOOOO, much smarter and quicker than me!!! <Me too... you might have some fortune leaving a net in the tank for a few to several days, feeding Mr. Bad Boy over this area... lifting him out once it becomes oblivious to the net...> Welcome back. Hope you had a great trip. Zo was great, just not often enough!! Thanks as always, Newbie, Joyce P.S. I won't make you nervous saying I'm your groupie anymore, but I still am! <Ahh, Poor Zo... hopefully he is recovered/ing... and willing to pick up the gauntlet/keyboard sometime hence... This forum is a joy, but at times overwhelming load wise. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Rapid mortality of a Domino Damsel Mr. Fenner-- I have learned a great deal from your site and those you reference. Hopefully you will be able to lead me in the right direction regarding the death of two damsels in my system. This is a tiny setup (actually only 5gal) and it is in the nascent stages of cycling. It contains about four pounds of very healthy live rock (polyps and sponges evident, growing, and happy for three weeks now), a pound of live sand, and some crushed coral. I started it at day one with some crushed coral and water from a known healthy system. Water circulates 15x per hour through activated charcoal and over a bio-wheel. pH is constant at 8.3 and salinity is maintained constant to give a specific gravity of 1.025. Ammonia levels have never risen above 0.25 ppm. <Sounds like a nice, though small as you know, system... but the transient ammonia...> I have not monitored either the nitrate or the nitrite levels because I do not own kits for those ions. The system is thirty days old; I have lost two damsels in a row. The first was a yellow-fin that developed an infection (2-3mm long crescent-shaped white velvety body located anterior to the right pectoral fin) and was dead within 48hrs. The second was a domino damsel that showed no symptoms other than hiding itself in the live rock approx. 24hrs before its death. It did NOT present rapid ventilation or any visible infection like the yellow-tail. I last saw the fish six hours before its death; when I found it, the fish was considerably emaciated (whereas it had before looked healthy), faded (its black had reverted to a muted grey), <Good observation skills> and lost its right eye entirely. There is a healthy population of some small white creature in the aquarium since the addition of live sand (presumably copepods-- not more than 0.25mm or maybe even less-- I know what copepods look like, but have not yet examined these under a scope.) I found three of these creatures on the carcass, though that alone is certainly not proof of crime. This damsel was the only fish in the aquarium. I would love to hear what you may think is my problem if you have time to ponder this. Thank you for your time. Sincerely, Darren Freree <Thank you for writing... do consider that these losses and difficulties may well be "simply" the result of your system being so new... as well as artifactually unstable due to newness and size. If it were me, I'd wait another month or so before trying other livestock, and would not try Damselfishes, especially the larger species like Dascyllus (the Domino, D. trimaculatus grows to more than six inches in the wild)... Perhaps some smaller species of gobies, blennies... Bob Fenner> BOB thank you for your response sorry about all the caps. I will try the net thing and let you know how it went thanks again oh and those damsels ate my baby stalk of silver tip xenia's now I'm really determined to catch these guys >> >> One incident re these saltwater "piranhas"... A Domino/Three Spot (Dascyllus trimaculatus)... in a four by four by four foot system... that bit the Dickens out of everyone, including yours truly... that necessitated dumping the tank to get rid of... Good luck and good fishing! Bob Fenner

The "bad boy" is now the "dead boy" The domino damsel did finally succumb to death. I didn't find him until tonight when I got home from work and when I did he was covered with a white mucous like film. It looks similar to the mucous substance I see on a few parts of a piece of live rock (it definitely looks like something is decaying). I know that these two things are probably not related, but I just wanted to make sure. The other two damsels seem to be doing fine... for now. Oh, and by the way, BOY did that dead fish stink!!! WHEW!!! I'm sure that's normal, but man, I could hardly stand taking him out! Anyways, just looking for insight as always. Thanks! -Matt Lindstrom >> Do agree with your statement about the "white" stuff on the rock and fish being unrelated... Whatever really was the root cause(s) of the fish going, the whitish material was merely decomposition after the fact... hence the stinkiness as well. I would just keep moving forward myself... wait a few weeks to see how the other damsels will fare... Bob Fenner

Domino distress I am relatively new to the marine aquarist realm but have been studious and diligent in the maintenance of my 72 gal. fish only system which includes live rock and all of the usual chemical parameters are within normal limits. I have recently added a "domino" to the community and within the first 24', have noticed a bilateral, symmetrical blanching type of quality to this otherwise black colored fish along the sides just posterior to the operculum. It also appears to be soughing somewhat. It has taken up residence within the live rock system. I have not witnessed any gangland type of behavior by the other tankmates (clowns and damsels). do you feel this is a stress reaction, abrasion or could something more pathological be at hand. My review of the current literature does not reveal any obvious diagnosis. Thanks in advance for any help you may provide >> Well, sounds like just a bit of "newcomer" reaction thus far... In the wild and in captivity the Three Spot/Domino (Dascyllus trimaculatus) is a tough customer... In fact, I'm surprised all the other damselfish family members (inclusive of the clowns) haven't been hiding a bit too. In any length, I wouldn't be overly concerned. This fish will come out soon, become so bold as to even bite you! Bob Fenner

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