Delightful Damselfish, Color and spunk in the aquarium!

Starting a new saltwater aquarium with pizzazz!

A small flash of color and extreme durability is the Damselfish calling card!

Whether you’re a beginner or a long time marine aquarist, there’s a Damselfish that can fit the bill. The majority of these are small fish, and some are even great to keep singly a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium.

They are all very hardy, not picky about their food, and most are pretty inexpensive. Like their close relatives, the Clownfish, they are great for helping to establish that brand new tank!

Of course with all kinds of damsels available, there are also all sorts of different qualities. They come in a large range of colors and dynamic color combinations, from pastel shades to brilliant neon’s. There are even striking individuals dressed in a more formal attire of black-and-white.

But like with all good things, there is also a downside. Many types of damsels stay the same colors for their entire lives, but some change. A number of damselfish are simply gorgeous as juveniles in the pet store but can get really bland, or even ugly, as they get older.

Here’s another heads-up for beginning aquarists, these guys are awesome for a new tank, but their personalities are every bit as variable as their coloring.

Some get along great with other fish and invertebrates, like those docile schooling Chromis. But some of these guys are really territorial and can get downright mean, especially as older individuals. These territorial types can be highly aggressive towards their more passive tankmates, and will even go after other damselfish.

What all this means… is that before jumping in and buying any of these guys, it’s a good idea to know what you are getting into. If you know you are going to have an aggressive tank, there’s many good damsels that will fit right in. Yet for the more peaceful tank, the docile schooling damsels add color in motion. for a mini-reef there are those that will work well, even nibbling on undesirable algae, but take care as others may snack on your tiny beneficial crustaceans and worms.

For the best way to know you’re getting into… stay tuned! Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be continuing our damselfish exploration with articles on individual types. To learn even more about this group of fish, visit the Damselfish Family page.

Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

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