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FAQs about the Damsels of the genus Pomacentrus

Related Articles: Pomacentrus,

Related FAQs: Damsel Identification, Damsel Selection, Damsel Compatibility, Damsel Feeding, Damsel DiseaseDamsel Reproduction

A Pomacentrus alleni in captivity.

Indian yellow tail blue damsel         4/14/12
Hello, Bob n crew,          I just wanted to bring to your attention, the variety of yellow tail blue damsels available in India. Well the coloration is a tad dark and the shape of the body and the yellow of the tail differs.
The specimens I have seen, have a long body unlike the shorter one of the commonly accepted yellow tail blues, almost bullet/torpedo shaped and the yellow is restricted to the tail only
<And the pectoral fins seem/appear light colored as well... And the "eyelid" above and below the iris might be helpful...>
which in the normal ones overlaps onto the body a slight bit.      I am attaching a few pics of the specimen I had and that of the commonly accepted one. Please do tell me if I am looking at a different variety or if it is just a figment of my imagination. Sorry for the bad quality of the pics as they were taken with a phone camera and are very old. Thanks in advance and really good to mail you guys n gals after a long time.
Cheers, Blesson
<In reviewing the pix here:
this looks like it might be Pomacentrus caeruleus, P. similis... both are found in and about your region. Bob Fenner>

Re: Indian yellow tail blue damsel    4/14/12
Hi Bob,     Thanks for the effort. I forgot about the pectoral fins. And P. similis is perfectly matched to the ones I have had. These are sold as the so called "yellow tail blues here. Thanks again, Blesson.
<Welcome! BobF>

Allen's damsels    4/12/12
Hello Wet Web Crew!
<Hello Christine>
I have heard that Allen's Damsels are one of the least aggressive of the damsels.
<A relative term in relation to Damsels. Pomacentrus genus--
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm >
There does not appear to be a whole lot of information out there on them, and I seem to be finding much conflicting information as to whether they could do well in a small group, say about 5, in a fair size aquarium of 125 gallons.
<It's possible that the tank is large enough for each fish to claim its own territory but do not expect them to peacefully coexist as one large group.>
Your esteemed opinion will settle any conflict.  Over time, am I asking for a damsel bloodbath if I try for a small school of Alleni in my 125?
<If schooling fish are your goal, I would look into other options.>
Chris K.
Re: Allen's damsels 4/12/12

Hi Jordan,
Thank you for your quick response.  I am looking for schooling fish....
Perhaps you can assist me with that... Other than Chromis, what other interesting or colorful schooling fish are there?
<Getting fish to school in captive systems, excluding very large systems, can be a difficult task but there are options. There are multitudes of Anthias to choose from which will form harems in captive systems. More here-- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anthiina.htm
While not a school, a pair of Heniochus acuminatus can be quite striking and rarely leave each others side. These should be introduced at the same time and to a mature system. More here- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/heniochu.htm   Some of the Centropyge species will form a harem but this is not an easy endeavor.>
Having a hard time figuring that out. I like the Glass Spot Cardinal Fish, but heard they are difficult to keep.  In your opinion is that accurate?
<Apogon parvulus? Not so much difficult to keep but they tend to ship poorly. LA/DD has been selling groups of five recently; this would be my source if I was looking to acquire a group.>
 I am looking for something other than Chromis...
<Read up on the different Anthias species.

Chromis flavicauda in the Indian Ocean??  6/19/10
Here in India we get a species that looks exactly like the *Chromis flavicauda. *Is there an Indian ocean variety of this fish?
Daniel Naveen K
<Mmm, there are members of this genus found in the I.O., but likely, color-wise you're referring to a Chrysiptera sp., perhaps C. arnazae:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Chromis flavicauda in the Indian Ocean??  716/10
I got a picture of the fish. Hope this helps for a more accurate ID. My LFS says these are *Pomacentrus caeruleus.*
<Likely so. BobF>
Daniel Naveen 

Damsel Compatibility and Refugium for Zooplankton   2/15/10
Hello Crew,
I have a 40 gallon reef tank with SPS a blood shrimp and a single damsel (Pomacentrus coelestis)
<A social species>
I'm going to be upgrading to 100 gallon. So far I have no problems as I intended to keep my damsel as the lone fish in my 40 gallon, however I wish to keep more fish in my 100 gallon, a harem of 10 Dispar Anthias,
<Too many... I'd limit their number here to five>
a pair of Firefish, a mandarin dragonet, a yellow watchman goby, a powder brown tang ( selected from your previous advice) and 5 green Chromis . My question is will my Pomacentrus coelestis get along with the above mentioned stocking list?
And can you please point me in the right direction to set up a refugium for zooplankton without any form of macro
algae like a rubble zone refugium. Thank You for all your help.
Daniel Naveen
<I'd use the WWM search tool, but you can/could peruse here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pomacentrus alleni ID 1/20/10
<Hello Mike>
I am wondering what you would consider a "defining characteristic" for P. alleni. My LFS 4 fish in that I believe are P. alleni, but he has them labeled as something else. I want the P. alleni because of their more docile nature and don't want to make the mistake of introducing a different damsel into my tank. These fish are neon blue with some yellow around the anal fin.
<Hence the name, Neon Damselfish.>
They DO have the black stripe on the bottom of the caudal fin. Does any other damsel have this feature, or is this a good indicator that they are in fact P. alleni?
<Without a pic, your description sounds like the Neon Damselfish, and I do not understand why you are writing as this information is easily found by Googling.
Take a look at the attached pic for comparison.>
<James (Salty Dog)>
Pomacentrus alleni Query
Hi Bob,
I put this query into the emails with image but it is not my image, just sent to querior for reference. I know you do not use other peoples work on your site for good reason so I just want to give you a heads up on this.
<Real good. Thank you, B><<Mine's here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm>>

Pomacentrus auriventris Addition   2/11/07 Hey guys <Hello.> -- First off, props for all you do for the hobby. <Thanks.> Here's my stocking question: I've got a 45g cube (24"x20"x22") (another 10g in a 15g sump), solid skimmer (Reef Octopus NW-110).  I've got around 50lbs of rock -- even though it's porous, MI stuff, I still need to add a few pieces for caves.  I've got a 3" starry blenny and a 2.5" maroon clown (blenny first, clown 4 weeks later -- been in together for about 13 weeks).  I'm strongly considering adding a trio of Pomacentrus auriventris to the tank, as my final inhabitants, fish-wise.  Thoughts on this? <In this size tank could work...may quarrel with he maroon as he/she ages though...is a risk but I would say with this species odds are in your favor.>   Alternatively, I add one of the tougher Dottybacks, but I'd rather have a fish that's out in the open all the time (the blenny is awesome, but hides a lot).  Thanks for your advice! <Anytime.> ~Tim <Adam J.>

Sexing Pomacentrus coelestis I have searched high and low on the net. How can I differentiate male from female of this sp. ? Any and help is more than appreciated. Thank you for your time.                             Nicholas O'Connor <Most Pomacentrids can't be sexed externally... including this one. This genus lives in social groups of a few individuals... Bob Fenner> 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 Damsel Pestering Pygmy Angel 11/01/05 Hey Bob or Steve whoever gets this. <Ali here...> I have a 75 reef and for a while there was only a damsel in the tank (my parents took care of the tank this summer for me and that's all that was left) I just recently added a flameback to the tank and the damsel is going crazy. He is attacking it and showing a lot of aggression. <Typical behavior for a damsel who has had a tank all to himself for a year.> I have the lights turned off now and there is over 100 pounds of rock in the tank. I don't know what else to do if this doesn't stop I think the pygmy will die. I can't trap out the damsel there is too much rock. Would adding another fish calm the damsel down so its just not the two of them? thanks any help will be great. Matt <Matt, you are in a dilemma here. More than likely, the damsel will not stop showing constant aggression towards the angel. Both fish more than likely have very similar body shape/size and diet. A damsel that has 'owned' and dominated the aquarium all by himself can be especially terrorizing towards other small fish.  Generally speaking, the flameback pygmy angels are an assertive fish that can hold their own with many other species of fish. However a newly added, un-QT'd fish placed within the grasps of a well-established, dominant damsel isn't really the best practice. Please consider removing some rockwork and gently trying to trap or catch either fish. I would not add anymore fish in the aquarium as the next fish you add will most likely suffer the same unnecessary fate as the angel. Good luck. - Ali>

Damsel Caught! 11/04/05 (Wha.. huh? It's only the 3rd!) 11/3/05 Thanks for the quick reply Ali I did forget to mention the flameback was held in a QT tank for 2 weeks before I put him in the display tank. I took almost all of the rock and coral out of the tank and captured the damsel and put him in the back sump of the tank (Sea Clear System II). <You are the man Matt! Great to see you taking action and taking your angel out of harms way. Kudos my friend.> I feel quite bad the fish is being held back there, in your opinion how soon can I release the damsel back into the display tank? It is a Princess damsel (Pomacentrus vaiuli) which I have personally never seen for sale here on the east coast. It was a gift from a friend I met at Marine Ornamental's 04 in Honolulu so I really want to keep this fish but I trust your opinion if you feel he will just cause problems if he is put back into the display. <He'll be okay in the back of the System II sump for several days, but do make it a point to find him a good home as soon as possible. These particular damsels do not need a huge amount of room therefore, one option you can consider is setting up a 15 gallon aquarium/refugium plumbed into your existing system to house the damsel along with some live sand, plants, and clusters of live rock. This way you can enjoy your fish while simultaneously reaping the benefits of a refugium. If this is not an option, setting up a small 10 or 15 gallon kitchen tank, with some live rock, sand and hang-on power filter will work just fine for this little guy. Otherwise, start placing ads at your local marine club or internet fish forums stating you are seeking a good home for the fish.> By the way pictures of my 1500 reef are on the way. Thanks again you guys take care. <Looking forward to them Matt. Good luck! - Ali>

Re: Australian damsel G'Day Crew, I live on the central east coast of Australia. I have a license for private aquarium collecting. Yesterday I captured an Australian Damsel (Pomacentrus australis). I have identified the fish using an excellent book, Coastal Fishes Of South Eastern Australia by Rudie h. Kuiter. <Rudie has many good books out. A few more re Australian fishes> I have been searching to find more info about this fish, e.g. behaviour, feeding . This may be a long-shot but i thought I'd try you guys. Have you heard of this fish &/or got any info on it? <No... all we have on the genus is here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm You might try fishbase.org> Also do you know any good Australian internet sites like yours? Thanks Stephen.
<Not yet. Bob Fenner>

Stocking list + damsel id Hi. As always Muchos gracias for all of the help. You (collectively) continue to amaze me... I'm sure this is a chore at times, but what satisfaction you must get. <You are so right> The fact that most of your responses not only help the person who asked, but so many others, and then over and over again as people read the site. Super cool. <By design... thank goodness for the Net!> Two questions. 1. I need some help with a damsel id. I've attached two pics. It was sold as a "Scott's Damsel" by a very good store, who can't figure out the scientific name ;-) I've only found one reference to that name anywhere, from a site for an Indonesian collector which lists it as Chrysiptera medanensis. I'm guessing some kind of Chrysiptera or Pomacentrus (maybe caeruleus, but I don't think so). I have three and they are the most submissive in the tank. <It is P. caeruleus almost assuredly. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm or source it on fishbase.org> 2. I currently have the following fish in a 110g 60x24x18 tank with 150lbs LR and a 30g sump. Tank houses SPS, clams, typical assortment of small inverts. (1) Kole tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus) (1) Hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) (4) Orange lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) (3) Scott's damsel? (1) Diadem Dottyback (Pseudochromis diadema) This is about as full as I would like, but am considering two final additions, and would like your advice. All of the current tankmates are getting along well. None have acted aggressively toward others. All of the Anthias are female, and I would like to add a male. The females have lived here for a month. Nobody seems to have selected herself as the leader. Would the introduction of a male at this point be recommended? <Should not be trouble...> I would also like to add one six-line wrasse to help the clams. I am concerned that the wrasse and the Dottyback might not get along. <Might not... but given sufficient rock cover... I give you good odds> The LR is organized such that there are many hiding places and lots of swimming space. The Dottyback pretty much just guards it spot with an occasional foray into the other end of the tank, but doesn't bother anyone. You advice is appreciated (more than you'll ever know). Regards, Michael
<Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Help identify a damsel I was wondering if you could help id this damsel for me.......it was sold to me as a lemon damsel.......it looks a lot like a lemon damsel except it has a small black spot on its dorsal fin......and sort of resembles a sulphur damsel...Thanx for any help <Yowsa, that's a small (3k) image... this does look like either of the stated Pomacentrus spp. Please go to the WetWebMedia.Com homepage and put in the term Lemon Damsel... go to the genus Pomacentrus page, and try to compare the juvenile you have with the images there. Bob Fenner>

Re: help identify a damsel it looks a lot like a "honey Chromis" Pomacentrus melas it doesn't really matter what species it is I was just curious <Real, good. Bob Fenner>

Schooling fish? Mr. Fenner: I have a 180 gallon reef tank with room for several more 2 inch fish. Ever since seeing a large freshwater tank with a school of Neon Tetras, I have wanted to do something similar in my tank. <Many possibilities> Unfortunately the only schooling fish that I can ever find are the Blue and Green Chromis. Both fish are too plain for my taste. I keep looking for a more colorful schooling fish. <Perhaps the Anthiinae... oh, I see you mention them below> Occasionally a LFS will recommend one of the Anthias for schooling fish. Unfortunately they get big enough that I don't feel my tank can support a school of 5 (in addition to what I already have). <Read over our site: www.WetWebMedia.com re this subfamily of basses... many choices....> I recently saw some Pomacentrus alleni at my local LFS. The proprietor said that they were the same "family" as Chromis, and would _probably_ exhibit schooling behavior (and would _probably_ be relatively peaceful). <Mmm, not really... Chromis are more a more likely general schooling group (the species you mention)... not Allen's Pomacentrus...> Can you give me some insight into the behavior of Pomacentrus alleni? <See the genus coverage on the WWM site> Do you have other recommendations for small, brightly colored schooling fish? <Many... but this is not the way you should pick/choose amongst...> Thank you for your time. Ken Matson

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