Damselfish

fast facts

About Damselfish

Size:
Small
Group:
Saltwater
Temperament:
Community Aggressive
Aquarium Size:
Medium (30 gal)
Swimming Region:
Middle
Fish Water Condition:
Suitable Tank Mates:
Clownfish, Dartfish, Gobies, Hawkfish, Puffers and Tangs
Difficulty Of Care:
Weekly care
Damselfish General description


Damselfish are a colorful species of saltwater fish extremely popular in the modern saltwater aquarium hobby. Their small size, hardy nature and high availability have made them a popular choice of fish for new aquariums. Tank raised varieties are readily available in pet stores and aquariums and are significantly hardier than their wild-caught counterparts.


Damselfish are a colorful species of saltwater fish extremely popular in the modern saltwater aquarium hobby.


Origins


Damselfishes originate from tropical coral reefs around the world.


Color


Most species are vibrantly colored and come in shades of blue, yellow, red, orange, black and white.


Maintenance and care

Damselfish are capable of adapting to a wide range of aquarium conditions. Most species of damselfish only grow up to a couple of inches in length so can be housed in small to medium-sized aquariums. Damselfish also do best when kept in groups of 4 or more and can be kept in even larger groups when provided with adequate space. They can however turn aggressive and territorial towards other species of fish as they age; especially fish that are introduced later on to an aquarium. This is sometimes a concern when using damsels as starter fish to cycle an aquarium.


Damselfish do best in aquariums with open swimming spaces as well as plenty of hiding places. Each damselfish will establish and guard its own territory with one or more hiding places.


Feeding


Damselfishes are omnivores and will readily accept flake based foods as well as live and frozen foods. However, it is important to research the specific dietary requirements of individual species. For example, certain species are herbivores.


Damselfish are capable of adapting to a wide range of aquarium conditions.


Breeding


Damselfish have been successfully bred and raised in aquariums. When spawning, males will often court a number of females and entice them to lay eggs in their nesting sites. They will care for all the eggs laid in their nest, but do sometimes devour younger eggs so they can devote their parental efforts to the more mature eggs which are closer to hatching. Males engage in a frantic mating dance where they swim up and down in a column, emitting a pulse which indicates their vigor to potential females. The females choose their partners based on the speed and vigor of the males’ mating dance.


Aquarium varieties


Yellowtail Damselfishes, Blue Damselfishes, Three Stripe Damselfishes, Blue and Gold Damselfishes, Neon Damselfishes, Tracey’s Damselfishes, etc.


Photo credit: Nick Hobgood/Wikimedia; Carl Malamud/Flickr

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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