Rolland's Demoiselle

Blue-head Demoiselle ~ Blue-headed Damsel

Family: Pomacentridae Picture of a Rolland's Demoiselle, Chrysiptera rollandiChrysiptera rollandiPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Pavaphon Supanantananont

   Though not often available, the Rolland's Demoiselle is a wonderful damsel addition to an aquarium as it is not only hardy, but is peaceful!

   There are two color variations of the Rolland's Demoiselle. One is like that shown above with the blue horizontal line running above the eye, and the other pictured below that has a yellowish head. Both varieties are quite attractive. Other members in the Chrysiptera genus, though very handsome are often quite aggressive toward other fish or species of the same genus. The Rolland's Demoiselle is not so aggressive.

   The Rolland's Demoiselle or Blue-head Demoiselle is a pretty little fish. Though not always available, it's a good find for a peaceful community tank when it is, and is moderately priced. It is very easily kept in the aquarium without special care, will readily accept a variety of foods, and is quite disease resistant. It will do well with a variety of other fish that are not overly aggressive. It needs some open space for free swimming and many crevices to hide in. Provide a rock/ coral decor that has many nooks and crannies.

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

Geographic Distribution
Chrysiptera rollandi
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacentridae
  • Genus: Chrysiptera
  • Species: rollandi
Rolland's Damselfish, Chrysiptera rollandi

Report Broken Video
Sparing Rolland's Damselfish and Royal Gramma

About half way through the video, a Rolland's Damsel appears and the Royal Gramma is not happy. While the Rolland's Damselfish is mild-mannered for a damsel, it should never be kept in a smaller tank with peaceful tank mates. They do better with less aggressive fish in a medium to larger tank due to their aggressive damselfish-like territorial tendencies! if they have room, they will get along with other fish. Do not house with any clownfish unless the tank is at least 100 gallons. Damsels tend to act more like clowns with other fish, although they do not tolerate clownfish very well!

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    The Rolland 's Demoiselle or Blue-head Demoiselle was described by Whitley in 1961. It was first collected in New Caledonia and described as Chromis rollandi. They are found in the Eastern Indian Ocean and West Pacific; Andaman Sea, Malaysia, Philippines, Palau, Indonesia, Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
   In their natural habitat they live solitarily or in a small aggregation at depths between 7 - 115 feet (2 - 35 meters).

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

Description:    There are two color variations of the Rolland's Demoiselle. Shown in the picture here is the variety from New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, and Vanuatu whose head to the anterior part of the back is yellowish. The body is white, there is a broad bluish black oblique band from the dorsal fin to the chest area, and a small black dot behind eye. The dorsal fin is yellowish anteriorly, has a black band extending onto chest, and is whitish posteriorly. The other fins are white to translucent.
   Those from other localities (as pictured above) have a body that is greenish to bluish black, gradually shading to white or yellow ventrally. There are blue narrow lines above and through the eye and the dorsal fin is greenish black. The other fins are white to translucent.
   These fish are also superficially similar to the Yellow-fin Demoiselle C. flavipinna, from the Coral Sea.

Picture of a Rolland's Demoiselle, Chrysiptera rollandi
A lovely specimen from Vanuatu,
rather active but non-aggressive.

Photo © Animal-World

Length/Diameter of fish:    Adults reach 3 inches (7.5 cm).

Maintenance difficulty:   The Rolland's 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 some open space for free 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.

Foods:    The Rolland's Demoiselle feeds primarily on zooplankton 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.

Maintenance:    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 is an active swimmer spending some time in free swimming and a good deal of time darting in and out of the crevices in the decor.

Social Behaviors:    The Rolland's Demoiselle 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.
   It is relatively peaceful and can be housed with a variety of other tank mates including smaller or weaker fish. A group of several individuals of this species can be kept together but they need some hiding places, otherwise they may fight causing serious damages. Angelfish in the Centropyge genus, cardinalfish, larger butterflyfish, wrasses, and non-aggressive damselfish can all be good tank mates. Very territorial dottybacks, and such fish as sea basses that will eat anything, are not recommended.

Dr. Jungle says, "Hiroyuki shares his experience keeping this damselfish..."
   "I once kept a specimen of 3 cm long together with other non-aggressive members in a small aquarium with great success." ...Hiroyuki Tanaka

Sex: Sexual differences:    No sexual difference in coloration is reported. 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

Breeding/Reproduction:    No report for reproductive behavior or for aquatic cultivation is known.
   In the wild, 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

Availability:    The Rolland's Demoiselle or Blue-head Demoiselle has not been very abundant nor often available at retailers. These fish are moderately priced around $15.00 - $ 20.00 USD. They have been shipped from Indonesia and recently from Vanuatu as well. Those from Vanuatu may be a bit more expensive.
   When purchasing these damselfish 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 can be aggressive.

Author: Hiroyuki Tanaka
Additional Information: Clarice Brough, CFS
Available From These Merchants
Rollands Damsel Chrysiptera Rollandi Vanuatu Variant Rollands Damsel Chrysiptera Rollandi Vanuatu Variant
Offered By: That Pet Place
Price: $29.99
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