Azure Demoiselle

Royal Demoiselle ~ Half-blue Damselfish ~ Azure Damsel

Family: Pomacentridae Picture of an Azure Demoiselle or Azure Damsel, Chrysiptera hemicyaneaChrysiptera hemicyaneaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough

   The pretty appearance of the Azure Demoiselle makes it a personal favorite for both beginner and experienced marine hobbyists!

   The Azure Demoiselle or Azure Damsel is one of several bright blue damselfish that sport a striking yellow or golden accent as part of their coloration. In the Aquarium hobby this damsel is often confused with the Yellow-tail Damsel C. parasema, as they look very similar. They can be distinguished by the placement of their yellow accents. The Azure Demoiselle has yellow not only on the tail and bottom fin, but also along the lower part of its body. On the similar looking Yellow-tail Damsel the accent is on the tail and bottom fin only.

   An excellent pet, the Azure Demoiselle is easy to keep, hardy, and disease resistant. This lovely damsel is often available and reasonably priced. It will work equally well in a fish only tank or a reef aquarium. They can get along with a variety of peaceful to semi-aggressive tank mates. But like all damselfish, they do best kept in an odd numbered group with a lot of space. As they mature many damselfish are noted for becoming rather aggressive, and are best not kept with smaller or overly passive tank mates. Provide a rock/ coral decor that has many nooks and crannies for hiding and retreat as this will help avert aggression.

For more Information on keeping marine fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Chrysiptera hemicyanea
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacentridae
  • Genus: Chrysiptera
  • Species: hemicyanea
Azure Demoiselle Spawning
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Azure Demoiselle (Chrysiptera hemicyanea) spawning in the branches of an SPS coral.

The "main event" is from the beginning of the video until 1:16 then at 3:01 on the spawning seems to finish. After 1:16, the video moves onto other aquarium inhabitants. It is interesting that there are other damsels in the tank including a Black Ocellaris pair, a Ocellaris Clownfish pair and another black and white damselfish showing little to no aggression toward each other. You also see Banggai Cardinalfish, which also readily spawn in captivity. Seems this tank was well thought out! Back to the main event at 3:01, and you see the Azure Demoiselle couple continuing their activity among the SPS coral.

Azure Demoiselle (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)
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Great video of an Azure Demoiselle in captivity.

This video is a perfect representation of the coloring of the Azure Demoiselle (Chrysiptera hemicyanea), as well as the typical flitting movements that damsels like to make. They are quite active, spending a lot of time out in the open and darting in and out of crevices during the day. Provide them with 30 gallons since they are territorial and are a little easier going in larger tanks. Do not keep with clownfish, since they may attack them and avoided housing these little "bite sized" morsels in tanks with predatorial fish or larger eels.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:

  The Azure Demoiselle was described by Weber in 1913. They are found in the Indonesia (eastern Sulawesi and Kai Islands) and Rowley Shoals (off Western Australia).
   In their natural habitat they are seldom observed alone, rather they usually form an aggregation of several specimens in shallower waters. Overall they have been observed at depths between 3 - 125 feet (1 - 38 meters).


   These fish are not listed on the IUCN Red List.


   The head and upper 2/3 of the Azure Demoiselle's body is deep blue and the chest, abdomen, and caudal peduncle are yellow. There are numerous fine, short, vertical black lines on the blue area and several light blue spots below the eye level of face. There are also two black lines before the eye and one through the eye. The dorsal fin is blue and the other fins are yellow, and there is a black spot at pectoral-fin base.
   The Azure Demoiselle is very similar to C. parasema (Yellow-tail Demoiselle, with two distinct color morphs), from the Ryukyu Islands to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea region, but these two damsels can readily be differentiated by their color patterns.

Length/Diameter of fish:

   Adults reach 2.4 inches (6 cm).

Maintenance difficulty:

   The Azure Demoiselle is hardy and will take a variety of foods, making it easily kept in the aquarium without special care. It will do well in either a reef environment or a fish only aquarium. It needs both open space for swimming along with rocks/ corals that provide many crevices to hide in. No need for a sand bed.
   Chrysiptera members are hardy and seldom suffer from infectious diseases. Various parasitic infestations are probably the most common, often resulting from a poor quarantine practice with new arrivals. They can be safely treated with medicine or copper drugs if infected.
   In the wild a cleaner wrasse (Labroides sp.) will help them by taking parasites from their bodies, however these wrasses are extremely difficult to sustain in captivity. Alternative fish such as Neon Gobies (Gobiosoma spp.) can help them by providing this cleaning service in the home aquarium.
   For more information see Fish diseases.


   The Azure Demoiselles feed primarily on plankton in the wild. They do not harm any live corals or small inverts. No special food is needed in the aquarium and they will accept a wide variety of foods. Provide Meaty foods, dried flakes, shrimps, and occasionally tablets. Feed at least twice a day.


   No special care or technique is needed to maintain this fish in the aquarium and it will become a hardy pet. It is usually a very active swimmer and it will venture to the surface for foods when well acclimated. Frequent water changes are not necessary, rather normal water changes at 10% biweekly or 20% monthly are fine.
   For more information see, Marine Aquarium Basics: Maintenance

Aquarium Parameters:

   The tank should be well decorated with rocks/ corals with many hiding places, as well as open areas for swimming. There is no need for a sand bed. It can be kept in either a fish only tank or a reef aquarium.
Minimum Tank Length/Size:
   A minimum 30 gallon (114 liters).
Light: Recommended light levels
   It prefers to be kept under normal lighting conditions
   This species lives in tropical areas. Temperatures between 75 -79° F (24 - 26° C) will serve them well, but temperatures higher than 84° F (29° C) or below 72 ° F (22° C) would not be good.
Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong
   Water movement is not a significant factor. It can tolerate a rather strong flow but slow-moving water will be more favorable for feeding.
Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom
   It swims actively, spending time in the open water as well as darting in and out of crevices in the decor.

Social Behaviors:

   The Azure Demoiselle or Azure Damsel can be kept in a fish only aquarium as well as being a reef safe fish. It will do well in a tank that is well decorated with rocks/ corals and many hiding places.
   Damselfish can be housed with a variety of tank mates but because damsels become more aggressive as they mature, smaller or very weak fish are not recommended. Fish types that could be at risk include small juveniles of butterflyfish and Centropyge angelfish, cardinalfish, etc. A group of several individuals of this species can be kept together but only if there are many hiding places, otherwise they may very well fight to death. Some good tank mates include other non-aggressive damselfish, (but not of this genera), larger butterflyfish, and wrasses. Very territorial dottybacks, and such fish as sea basses that will eat anything, are not recommended if the tank is not large enough.

Dr. Jungle says, "Hiroyuki shares his experience keeping this damselfish..."
   "I once kept several specimens of 5 cm long together in a small aquarium but they sometimes fought and two of them soon died with serious damages. If kept alone it does very well without any problem and can live for a long period." ...Hiroyuki Tanaka

Sex: Sexual differences:

   In the same manner as other members of the genus, a male will move rapidly with gorgeous coloration to attract and invite a female to spawn


   No report for reproductive behavior or for aquatic cultivation is known, but it may be cultivated in larger laboratories in the near future. Male damselfish establish a territory and prepare surfaces of rubble or coral for females to deposit their adhesive eggs. Once the eggs are laid the male will quickly fertilize them and aggressively defend the eggs from any intruders until they hatch.
   For more information on the breeding of damselfish, see Marine Fish Breeding: Damselfish


   The Azure Demoiselle or Azure Damselfish is commonly seen at retailers from young to larger specimens. They are reasonably priced starting at around $10.00 USD.
   When purchasing damselfish, a good rule of thumb is to purchase an odd numbered group to help prevent aggression. Pick similar sized active specimens that have had a few days to acclimate in the retailers aquarium, and that are at least 3/4 inches. Very small species (under 3/4 inch) are often not very durable and larger species (closer to 2 inches) can be aggressive.

Author: Hiroyuki Tanaka
Additional Information: Clarice Brough, CFS
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Azure Damsel Chrysiptera Hemicyanea Azure Damsel Chrysiptera Hemicyanea
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