Four-striped Damsel

Black-tailed Dascyllus

Family: Pomacentridae Picture of a Four-striped DamselDascyllus melanurusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Greg Rothschild
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I have two striped demsels with my blue demsels and a cardinal have no problems with them they are great to watch and pop out in my tank.. I'm looking forward to... (more)  Anonymous

   The Black-tailed Dascyllus or Four-striped Damsel is a great starter fish for a beginning marine aquarist!

   Besides being handsome, the Black-tailed Dascyllus or Four-striped Damsel are hardy, they will readily eat just about anything, and they are not expensive.

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

Geographic Distribution
Dascyllus melanurus
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Perciformes
  • Family: Pomacentridae
  • Genus: Dascyllus
  • Species: melanurus
Four-Striped Damsel in captivity, Dascyllus melanurus

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Juvenile Four-Striped Damsels

This little beginner fish only grows to 3" and is found in schools in the wild. As juveniles, they are as sweet tempered as they are cute, however as they get older, in a captive environment they can wreak havoc in a community tank. They will attack less aggressive fish that are even larger than they are! A male and female may be kept, much like clownfish, however do not house them with the smaller calmer clownfish. Housing with Clarkies or other aggressive clownfish in a tank that is at least 100 gallons is possible. If you are only keeping a pair and no other fish, a 29 gallon tank is fine. Other fish will more than likely be attacked in such a small tank.

Habitat: Natural geographic location:    Black-tailed Dascyllus or Four-striped Damsel are found in the Indo-Australian Archipelago and western Caroline Islands including Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, and the northern Great Barrier reef of Australia. The are found at depths down to 33 feet (10 meters), and it is associated with isolated coral heads in sheltered inshore habitats.

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

Maintenance difficulty:    The Black-tailed Dascyllus or Four-striped 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:    Black-tailed Dascyllus or Four-striped Damsel adults can grow to 7.5 cm ( 3.0 inches).

Minimum Tank Length/Size:    A minimum 15 gallon aquarium is recommended if this is the only fish to be kept in it.

Water Movement: Weak, Moderate, Strong    No special requirements. Picture of a Four-striped Damsel

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

Availability:    This fish is readily available.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
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4 Stripe Damsel Dascyllus Melanurus 4 Stripe Damsel Dascyllus Melanurus
Offered By: That Pet Place
Price: $4.99
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Lastest Animal Stories on Four-striped Damsel

Anonymous - 2014-10-06
I have two striped demsels with my blue demsels and a cardinal have no problems with them they are great to watch and pop out in my tank.. I'm looking forward to when I purchase a larger tank and see how they will do with some angels..

Kieffer - 2007-09-16
Do not buy this fish unless you wanna see action ... Like FISH GONE WILD kind of action! This fish has a Mike Tyson/Muhammad Ali complex and will kill anyone in his way. They become especially rabbid after a hearty meal, I guess they're mad at the other fish for eating too! They killed two of my fish, I learned the hard way, dont make the same mistake.

neil - 2012-04-06
Oh dear, just bought a 4 stripe damsel. Pet shop said it would be ok with other fish. I have not seen any aggresion as yet, but will keep a close eye on it and see how things develop. All comments on this fish are conflicting.

Robert - 2011-01-02
I bought a Four striped damsel, Blue devil Damsel, and yellow tail blue damsel all together... The four Stripe and blue devil swim around the cage like best buddies while the yellow tail has hid in the corner under my live rock since I have had him, Last night was the first time I seen him come out into the open, and that was with the lights off. There has been no aggression at anytime from any of the 3 since I have had them.