For either a beginner or more advanced marine aquarium enthusiast, the Black-bar Chromis is a hardy, inexpensive and gorgeous fish!
The Black-bar Chromis has such a delicate balance of color! A pronounced horizontal black stripe over it's posterior set against a yellowish to tan body. Then there is just a subtle touch of neon blue encircling the eye and etched along the bottom fins and the underside of the tail!
For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Marine Aquarium
Black Bar Chromis in Leather Coral, Chromis retrofasciata
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Very cool video of the Black Bar Chromis hosting a coral.
Clownfish are not the only fish that host cool stuff! The Black Bar Chromis will also host coral, especially white they are young. Although the Black-Bar Chromis is not as aggressive as other damsels, there are a few ways to bring out their "inner demon!" One way is by putting them into a small tank. Housing them along in a 20 gallon tank is one thing, but adding a peaceful goby to that 20 gallon tank will result in a dead goby. If you want to add other fish, provide at least 40 to 55 gallons with a lot of places to hide. Want to add more damsels in the same size/temperament range? Figure on another 25 gallons per additional fish. Unless the tank is 100 gallons, do not house them with clownfish. Another way to tick them off is to underfeed them, so be sure to feed them several times a day. Everything may be fine when they are juveniles, but as they grow into adults over the next year, their real nature will emerge.
Black Bar Chromis, Chromis retrofasciata
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Brief video of juvenile Chromis retrofasciata for sale.
This is a video that sort of gives beginner aquarists the idea that packing a bunch of damsels in a small tank can work. Well, it can work, for about a month, then as they grow they will pick each other off. Same goes for mixing damsels. For one of the Black Bar Chromis, Chromis retrofasciata, a 20 gallon tank is fine if there are no other fish. If you want to add other chromis or damsels, add at a rate of 50 gallons per fish. While juveniles and subadults may get along, once pairs start to form and/or they get older, other fish, in the mind of a fish, must die! If you want one and you would like to house them with other fish, the fish should be semi-aggressive, larger and he tank should be at least 40 to 55 gallons.
Habitat: Natural geographic location: The Black-bar Chromis are found in the Indo-Australian Archipelago including Indonesia, Palau, Philippines, New Guinea, New Britain, Fiji Islands and northern Great Barrier Reef. Found at depths from 16 - 213 feet (5 to 65 meters), it inhabits lagoons and outer coral reefs.
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.
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.
Breeding/Reproduction: Some of the damselfish have been bred in captivity. See general breeding techniques under Clownfish on the marine breeding page.