Neon Velvet Damsel
Bluestreak Damselfish

Black/Blue Velvet Damsel ~ Javanese Damsel
Jewel Damsel ~ Bluebanded Damselfish

Family: Pomacentridae Picture of a Neon Velvet Damsel, Neoglyphidodon oxyodonNeoglyphidodon oxyodonPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Greg Rothschild
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I just started my first saltwater aquarium and I have different varieties. I have one that is not very active and sits at the bottom of the tank but what impressed... (more)  Janet Haertle

   The Neon Velvet Damsel is such a beautifully colored fish as a juvenile, it has been given the nickname 'Jewel Damsel'!

   Popularly known as the Black Velvet Damsel or the Blue Velvet Damsel Fish, the Neon Velvet Damsels are some of most attractive damselfish as juveniles. They are one of the medium to large sized damsels that can grow to almost 6 inches in length. Strikingly colored when young, it has flashy neon colored electric-blue horizontal stripes dashed across its face and upper body. There is a vertical white or yellow bar that divides the body just in front of the dorsal fin. These markings contrast dramatically with its dark body. As they grow older however, the stripes fade and the fish becomes a grayish blue color overall.

   This bold beauty is called by many names and readily stands out, but of the damselsfish the Neon Velvet Damsel is one of the more demanding. They need top quality water conditions and plenty of room as they can become territorial and will aggressively defend their space. They are generally easy to feed however, and will readily accepting most small foods.They are a suitable addition to reef tanks as they can be kept with invertebrates.

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

Geographic Distribution
Neoglyphidodon oxyodon
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacentridae
  • Genus: Neoglyphidodon
  • Species: oxyodon
Blue velvet damsel fish

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Neon Velvet Damselfish, Neoglyphidodon oxyodon

Nice view of a juvenile Neon Velvet Damselfish in a peaceful community saltwater aquarium along with some nice coral species.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    The Javanese Damsels or Neon Velvet Damsels are found in the Indo-Australian Archipelago including the Philippines, Indonesia, and Ashmore Reef (Timor Sea). Found at depths between 1 and 4 meters, inhabits protected reef flats of lagoons and inshore reefs. Mainly occurs on current-swept reef flats where it congregates in groups of varying sizes.

Status:    These fish are not listed on the IUCN Red List.

Maintenance difficulty:    The Neon Velvet Damsel is among the easiest of all marine fish to keep.

Maintenance:    This fish will readily eat all kinds of live, frozen, and flake foods and algae. Finely chopped meaty foods (like brine shrimp) can be fed regularly. It is best to feed small amounts several times a day. In a reef situation they don't really need to be fed very often at all.

Foods:    All kinds. See maintenance above.

Social Behaviors:    Like all damselfish, they can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. Can be kept together and with other larger fish but watch them closely to be sure their aggression doesn't become destructive.

Sex: Sexual differences:    Not Known.

Light: Recommended light levels:    No special requirements.

Breeding/Reproduction:    Some of the damselfish have been bred in captivity. See general breeding techniques under Clownfish on the marine breeding page.

Temperature:    No special requirements.

Length/Diameter of fish:    Javanese Damsel or Neon Velvet Damsel adults can grow to 15.0 cm ( 6 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 25 gallon aquarium is recommended.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements.

Picture of a Javanese or Neon Velvet Damsel, Neoglyphidodon oxyodon
Photo © Animal-World:
Courtesy Mike Donajkowski

Water Region: Top, Middle, Bottom    Swims at all levels of the aquarium.

Availability:    This fish is sometimes available and is moderately expensive for a damsel.
Average price: $10.00

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Neon Velvet Damsel

Janet Haertle - 2013-10-01
I just started my first saltwater aquarium and I have different varieties. I have one that is not very active and sits at the bottom of the tank but what impressed me is the neon damsel is coaxing that little one to swim. The neon damsel floats down to it with its tail fin and gives it a little nudge to make it swim. I thought that was really neat. The neon damsel is trying to help it stay alive is what it looks like to me.

  • rofer - 2014-07-04
    Try turning off filters before and some time after feeding. My damsels all stayed at bottom until I did this. If you have dominoes they're the toughest of any I ever had kept.
jordan - 2011-11-05
We have a love hate relationship with these fish. We started out our tank with one domino damsel and one 3 striped damsel. We quickly learned who the dominant fish was and that was the domino damsel, always picking and pushing 'pizza' around but hasn't killed him yet. About 3 weeks later we got 'sunny' which is our yellow tailed damsel....I thought the other 2 fish were going to murder poor sunny BUT sunny has survived, barely. Domino and pizza bullied him for a very long time, isolating him to the far corner of the tank, never allowing him to come near the coral,ha! They truly are devil fish!
We've had the 3 fish for about 6 months now,the terrorizing behavior between them has settled somewhat however it's still very easy to tick Dominooff. The other thing about our domino damsel, he has grown substantially larger then our 3 stipe and yellow tail. They all eat but clearly Domino is dominant behavior and territorial characteristics has allowed him to grow larger than the other fish. Today we are adding the neon velvet damsel, so far domino and pizza have hasseled him but sunny has left him alone. We'll have to see how the turn out is with this living situation.
We really do like our damsels but they truly are little devil fish :)

  • Gytha - 2012-01-22
    I'm so glad that the internet allows free info like this!
  • Alex Burleson - 2012-02-12
    Damselfish are known for this type of behavior, and it is why many aquartists do not add them to their aquariums. Do note, that if the fish is not allowed to eat, he will die of starvation. Additionally, the fish could die of stress. I wish you the best of luck!
Steve - 2011-12-13
I currently have one of these with a ocellaris clown fish, a small piccasso trigger, a yellow tang, a medium blue jaw trigger, a powder brown tang, a kole yellow eye tang, a sailfin tang, a naso tang, a blue tang, a juvenile koran angel, a cleaner wrasse, a female bird wrasse, a saddle vallentini puffer, a niger trigger, a small marine betta, and a very small/skinny snowflake eel. They all get along perfectly fine, and yes even the triggers and neon velvet damsel.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-12-14
    You have a full house -
Karen - 2009-06-08
In many ways, this fish will simplify your tank and save you money--because you'll stop buying anything he can destroy or kill. It was one of the first fish I bought when a started a salt tank. He was so small and cute and colorful. "Jaws" is now close to 6". This is definitely a fish with OCD. He can't stand change. If I put a new small pebble anywhere in my large tank, he will knock it off--and will literally try to push it out of the tank by trying to nose it up to the top. Jaws lives with a clownfish, a small yellow tailed damsel, a small black and white striped damsel, and a yellow angel. And, THOSE he is fine with. All is peaceful. But if I tried to add anything else--an anemone, another fish, a coral, etc.--it would be destroyed or killed within five minutes. He's an AWFUL fish . . . but I love him (just like you would an old cranky uncle).

  • Teeny - 2010-11-11
    I called mine Jaws too! Well... if it's a girl than its Jawsicca.