The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish is a beauty, but it does have a bit of “devil” in its personality!
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish Chrysiptera taupou is an absolutely stunning fish. Aquarists are fascinated by its brilliant, gorgeous colors. The bright blue body is accented with small yellow dots and yellowish-orange along the top and bottom. Under the sun the blue reflects neon-like colors of bright greenish-blue.
This species is dichromatic, with distinct color differences between the adult male and female. Both have the same blue body with yellows along the lower portion, but most of the female’s dorsal fin is yellowish andbecomes translucent towards the rear. The dorsal fin of the male, on the other hand, is always blue on the front part. They will keep their brilliant blue coloring in the aquarium, but it may become darker or deep blue on occasion, depending on conditions. There are a number of descriptive common names they are known by including South Seas Demoiselle, Southseas Devil, South Seas Devil Damselfish, Fiji Damsel, Blue Star Damsel, and Village Belle.
Many of the Chrysiptera damsels are lavishly colored and eye-catching, but some are called â€œdevilsâ€ because of their extraordinary aggressiveness and quarrelsome behavior. This fish is no exception, and is considered the most aggressive member of the genus. In fact, it is very likely the most belligerent of all Anemonefish and Damselfish in the entire Pomacentridae family. These scrappy fish cannot be housed with colorful butterflyfish, small angelfishes, and often not even with others of their own species except as a male/female pair.
The Fiji Blue Devil Damsel bears a close resemblance to the Blue Devil DamselfishChrysiptera cyanea. It was at one time even identified as being the same fish. Because they have a similar coloration they will sometimes be confused, but the biggest mix-up is really in name only. The less aggressive Blue Devil Damsel has no yellow dorsal fin or the whitish abdomen found on the Fiji Blue Devil, and the yellow dots on the side can not be seen.
Though small in size, only reaching about 3 inches (8 cm) long, this beautiful fish is very hardy. It can be recommended especially for beginners as it is quite easy to keep. It can be kept singly or as a pair in a 30 gallon tank. A medium or large tank will work best for a community fish only environment, but tankmates should not be smaller or docile, nor other damselfish unless they can match the Fiji Blue Devil in belligerence. Providing a rock or coral decor that has many nooks and crannies for hiding and retreat will help avert aggression.
It is a great addition for a reef tank as it won’t bother any coral or most invertebrates.Tankmates must be similarly aggressive unless the tank is very large with many places for retreat. Also be cautious with small ornamental shrimp as they may get attacked.
For more Information on keeping saltwater fish see:
Marine Aquarium Basics: Guide to a Healthy Saltwater Aquarium
The Fiji Blue Devil Damsel is not so much of a “devil” when young, however as they grow their “devilish” tendencies emerge! Juveniles are blue with a pale to white belly that will change to yellow or yellowish orange as adults with the remainder of the body being the same intense blue. Females will have an orange to yellow dorsal fin, so they are easy to pair up in captivity and will readily spawn. Do not keep with other damsels of the same genus and if they are kept with other damsels, the tank should be 100 gallons or more. House with large dottybacks, large angelfish, triggers and puffers who can keep the little buggers in line!.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Perciformes
- Family: Pomacentridae
- Genus: Chrysiptera
- Species: taupou
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
- Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
- Minimum Tank Size: 30 gal (114 L)
- Size of fish – inches: 3.2 inches (8.00 cm)
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Temperature: 74.0 to 84.0Â° F (23.3 to 28.9° C)
- Range ph: 8.1-8.4
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- My Aquarium – Enter your aquarium to see if this fish is compatible!
Habitat: Distribution / Background
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish Chrysiptera taupou was described by Jordan & Seale in 1906. This species was described as Abudefduf taupou from Samoa, but today is valid as Chrysiptera taupou with the previous description now being a junior synonym. This species is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
They are found in the Coral Seas; northern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, Loyalty Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Samoa Islands. This damselfish was once mysteriously recorded from Ishigaki Island, southern Ryukyus (female, 30mm; Burgess & Axelrod, 1973) but no other report from Japanese waters has beensubmitted since then.
These fish are closely related to the very similar Blue Devil Damselfish C. cyanea from the West Pacific. In fact it was once regarded as the same species as the Blue Devil Damsel (Allen, 1975), but they do not overlap in their ranges except in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. They have several additional common names with most relating to their coloring and their personality. Other names they are known by include South Seas Demoiselle, Southseas Devil, South Seas Devil Damselfish, Fiji Damsel, Blue Star Damsel, and Village Belle.
About the Chrysiptera Genus:
This species is a member of the very large Pomacentridae family of Damselfish and Anemonefish. It belongs to the subfamily Pomacentrinae in the large Chrysiptera genus. There are currently 34 recognized species in this genus.
Some Chrysiptera species occur at rather deep reef zones, but the majority are found in the shallower waters of lagoons, sheltered bays, and coastal fringing reefs. They live near coral growth and may hover close to the substrate. They occur singly, in pairs, or in small loose groups. They are omnivorous feeding on plankton, algae, and small benthic crustaceans.
This genus contains some of the most beautiful and brightly colored damselfish, as well as some of the smallest. On average the species range about 2.8 inches (7 cm) in length to a few centimeters longer. They may be territorial towards conspecifics, but many are not as aggressive as other Pomacentrids towards other types of fish.
Their small size along with the less pugnacious nature of many of the Chrysiptera makes them suitable for the aquarium. Some of the more passive species can even be kept in groups and may get along with more peaceful tankmates. There are exceptions, however, as some species become highly aggressive in the confines of an aquarium as they mature.
About the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish:
These South Seas Demoiselles inhabit lagoons and the reef faces of protected inshore reefs. The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are typically found in shallower waters at depths between 3.3 to 33 feet (1-10 m) and usually seen solitary or in a small group. LIke their close relative, the Blue Devil Damselfish, they probably feed on filamentous algae, tiny crustaceans such as planktonic copepods and amphipods, and planktonic fish eggs.
- Scientific Name: Chrysiptera taupou
- Social Grouping: Varies – This Chrysiptera species typically occurs alone or in small groups.
- IUCN Red List: NE – Not Evaluated or not listed
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish is a rather elongated, deep bodied fish. These damselfish are small, reaching up to about 3 inches (8 cm) in length. Similar to other damselfish, their life span in the wild is likely 2 to 6 years and they probably live the typical 15 years in captivity.
Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish, female Photo Â© Animal-World:
Courtesy David Brough
The body of the Fiji Blue Devil is a bright blue, turning abruptly yellow ventrally and the chest is whitish. There are many yellowish dots on the side and a whitish line on the abdomen posteriorly.
This species is dichromatic, with distinct color differences between the adult male and female. The male’s dorsal fin is blue while the pelvic and anal fins are yellowish. The caudal fin is blue anteriorly and yellowish posteriorly. There is often an eye-sized black spot posteriorly on the dorsal-fin base. Females are similar but most parts of the dorsal fin are yellowish, getting translucent posteriorly.
Juveniles are similar to the adults but the yellow dots are faint and the abdomen is whitish instead of yellow. Individuals with an intermediate color pattern in the dorsal fin can occasionally be seen too,and are sometimes available.
This species is sometimes confused with its close relative, the Blue Devil Damselfish Chrysiptera cyanea, because of their similar names. Great care should be taken not to mistake these two, however, as the Fiji species is extremely aggressive and will cause havoc in a tank that is planned for a Blue Damselfish. They are easy to distinguish by looks. Both have the beautiful blue body color, but the Fiji Blue Devil has a yellow band running along the lower portion of the body, which the Blue Devil does not.
- Size of fish – inches: 3.2 inches (8.00 cm)
- Lifespan: 15 years – Damselfish generally live up to 6 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are among the easiest of all marine fish to keep. They are very easy to care for, making them great for the beginning saltwater hobbyist or any other marine aquarist. However, they are aggressive so tankmates must be considered carefully. They are the most aggressive damselfish of their genus, and probably of the entire family of damselfish and clownfish.
These beautiful â€œDemoisellesâ€ adapt very easily to the aquarium without special care. They are extremely hardy and will take a variety of foods. They will do well in either a fish only aquarium or a reef environment, but may attack small invertebrates like live shrimps. They tolerate a wide range of non-fluctuating temperatures, but even though they are quite durable, they can still fall ill if exposed to poor water conditions for too long.
The tank needs to be 30 gallons for a single fish or a pair, so make sure water changes are frequent in such a small tank. Doing normal water changes, feeding them a variety of foods several times a day, and having proper tank mates will keep this damselfish happy and healthy.
In the wild cleaner wrasses (Labroides spp.) 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.
- Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner – They are suitable for the beginner but very aggressive, so tankmates must be selected with great care.
Foods and Feeding
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are omnivores, In the wild they probably feed on the same foods as the Blue Devil Damsel, which consists of filamentous algae along with tiny crustaceans, such as planktonic copepods and amphipods, and planktonic fish eggs. In the aquarium provide variety in their diet that includes both meaty and vegetable foods.
Offer meaty foods like mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, cyclops, finely shredded frozen seafoods and preparations for omnivores. Also offer flakes and other preparations for herbivores. Color enhancing foods can help maintain their bright coloring. These foods can be offered as freeze dried, frozen, pellets, flakes or fresh.
It is best to feed small amounts of food several times a day. Feeding them more often helps to dissipate any possible aggression within a tank. If feeding pellets, make sure they are wet before adding them to the tank so air will not get into their digestive tract, which can cause issues.
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- Flake Food: Yes
- Tablet / Pellet: Yes – Make sure the pellets are wetted down with tank water before adding to prevent air from getting trapped in their digestive tract.
- Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet – Only needed if you want to offer a treat or condition them to spawn.
- Vegetable Food: Half of Diet
- Meaty Food: Half of Diet
- Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day – Feed several times a day, this also helps to counter any possible aggression.
These damselfish are hardy and easy to keepina well maintained tank. The suggested minimum tank size is 30 gallons when keeping this as a single fish or a pair, and even in this small of a tank water changes need to be frequent. Regular water changes done bi-weekly will help replace the trace elements that the fish and corals use up. Guidelines for water changes with different types and sizes of aquariums are:
- Fish only tanks:
- Nano/Small tanks up to 40 gallons, perform 10% water changes bi-weekly or 20% monthly.
- Medium sized up to 90 gallons, perform 15% bi-weekly.
- Large Tanks 100 gallons and over, once water is aged and stable, can be changed 10% bi-weekly to 20% monthly, depending on bioload.
- Reef tanks:
- Nano/Small tanks up to 40 gallons, perform 15% water changes bi-weekly.
- Medium sized up to 90 gallons, perform 20% to 30% monthly depending on bioload.
- Large Tanks 100 gallons and over, once water is aged and stable, can be changed 20% to 30% every 6 weeks depending on bioload.
For more information on maintaining a saltwater aquarium see: Saltwater Aquarium Basics: Maintenance. A reef tank will require specialized filtration and lighting equipment. Learn more about reef keeping see: Mini Reef Aquarium Basics.
- Water Changes: Bi-weekly – Do bi-weekly water changes of 15% in a reef setting or 20% monthly in a fish only tank.
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish can be kept in a reef setting as well as in a fish only community tank. They are moderately small, growing to about 3 inches (8 cm) in length and swim in mid to lower areas of the tank. The minimum suggested tank size is 30 gallons when keeping just this fish or a mated pair. If keeping them with other fish, the tank should be at least 55 gallons with many hiding places in the decor. Be cautious with small ornamental shrimp, like sexy shrimp, since they may be devoured.
Provide a decor of rockwork or coral that offers plenty of hiding places in nooks and crannies. Having many places to hide will reduce aggression between them and other fish in the tank. Any substrate, water movement, and lighting is fine unless housed with corals, then these factors need to be considered for the needs of the coral. The normal water temperature should be between 74ËšF to 84ËšF (23 – 28ËšC) with a pH from 8.1 to 8.4. Similar to clownfish, optimal spawning production occurs between 79Â°F to 83Â°F (26Â°C to 28Â°C).
- Minimum Tank Size: 30 gal (114 L) – A 30 gallon tank is suggested for keeping a single fish or a male/female pair. A larger tank of 55 gallons or more is suggested when keeping them in a community with other fish.
- Suitable for Nano Tank: No
- Live Rock Requirement: Typical Plus Hiding Places – Provide places for them to hide within rockwork or coral.
- Substrate Type: Any
- Lighting Needs: Any – It has no special lighting requirements, though if kept with live coral, the coral may need strong lighting.
- Temperature: 74.0 to 84.0Â° F (23.3 to 28.9° C)
- Breeding Temperature: 79.0Â° F – The optimal temperature for good quality eggs and larvae occurs with temperatures of 79Â° F to 82Â° F (26Â° – 28Â°C).
- Specific gravity: 1.023-1.025 SG
- Range ph: 8.1-8.4
- Brackish: No
- Water Movement: Any
- Water Region: Bottom – They mostly inhabit the mid to lower areas of the tank. Being active swimmers they spend a good deal of time darting in and out of the crevices in the decor.
Like all damsels, the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish can be territorial and aggressive, especially as they get older. It is suggested to have one per tank unless it is a male/female pair. Once paired they are even more aggressive than when alone. Be careful if you are putting more than two specimens of this species together even if there are many hiding places, as they may fight.
Tank mates need to be other fish that are as aggressive as they are, or much larger. Smaller semi-aggressive fish and peaceful fish will be attacked. Fish that could be at risk include small juveniles of butterflyfish and Centropyge angelfish, as well as the more peaceful fish like gobies, blennies, cardinalfish, and firefish. These damsels can be kept with other larger semi-aggressive fish in a larger tank, but watch them closely to be sure their aggression doesn’t become destructive. If attempting to keep them with smaller semi-aggressive fish, like dwarf angelfish, the tank should be at least 100 gallons with plenty of hiding places for the other fish.
They do well with triggerfish, large angelfish, dottybacks, tangs, puffers and others that can hold their own. Larger tough butterflyfish, wrasses, and damselfish that are equally belligerent (except the same genus) can also be good tank mates, but even still this damsel may attack or chase these fish. Do not house them with fish who can swallow them whole, and avoid such fish as sea basses that will eat anything if the tank is not large enough. It may be wise to avoid housing them with any predatory fish, even if they are not big enough to eat the Fiji Blue Devil, as predators may keep them from coming out and eating.
In a reef setting the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish will do great. They make a great addition to a reef because they pose no threat to coral. Invertebrates are generally safeas well,though small crustaceans like copepods, amphipods, and others may be eaten. Be cautious with small ornamental shrimps, like the Sexy Anemone Shrimp Thor amboinensis, as they may be attacked. Due to their aggression towards more peaceful fish, alltankmates should be chosen with care.
- Venomous: No
- Temperament: Aggressive
- Compatible with:
- Same species – conspecifics: Sometimes – May be house as a male/female pair.
- Peaceful fish (gobies, dartfish, assessors, fairy wrasses): Threat – These damsels are too aggressive for peaceful fish.
- Semi-Aggressive (anthias, clownfish, dwarf angels): Monitor – Only safe in larger tanks as they may be harassed by your damsel. If housing with dwarf angelfish or the more aggressive clownfish, the tank should be 100 gallons or more with many hiding places within the rock/coral decor.
- Monitor – Although larger dottybacks should be okay, Six-line or Eight-line wrasses may be picked on, depending on the individual damsel and the tank size.
- Large Semi-Aggressive (tangs, large angels, large wrasses): Monitor – The larger and more aggressive versions of these fish should be safe.
- Large Aggressive, Predatory (lionfish, groupers, soapfish): Threat – Even a smaller predatory fish that cannot swallow them whole would make these damselfish too afraid to come out and feed.
- Threat – These damsels are too aggressive for these slower types fish.
- Anemones: Safe
- Mushroom Anemones – Corallimorphs: Safe
- LPS corals: Safe
- SPS corals: Safe
- Gorgonians, Sea Fans: Safe
- Leather Corals: Safe
- Star Polyps, Organ Pipe Coral: Safe
- Zoanthids – Button Polyps, Sea Mats: Safe
- Sponges, Tunicates: Safe
- Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe – Be cautious about adding small ornamental shrimp, like sexy shrimp, as they may be harassed.
- Starfish: Safe
- Feather Dusters, Bristle Worms, Flatworms: Safe
- Clams, Scallops, Oysters: Safe
- Copepods, Amphipods, Mini Brittle Stars: Safe – May eat some copepods but should not decimate populations.
Sex: Sexual differences
Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are sexually dimorphic. The male has blue in the front portion of the dorsal fin while most parts of the female’s dorsal fin are yellow, getting translucent posteriorly. 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
All damsel species are similar to clownfish and follow the general breeding pattern of clownfish. Successful breeding requires perfect water parameters and a large, non-predatory aquarium system. Similar to clownfish, optimal spawns are between 79Â°F to 83Â°F (26Â°C to 28Â°C). If breeding in captivity note that brittle stars, serpent stars, wrasses and crabs will eat the eggs of damselfish. The eggs and larvae are much smaller than clownfish, and are difficult to rear.
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish has sporadically been reported to spawn in captivity. They have similar spawning habits as others in their genus, such as the Blue Devil Damsel Chrysiptera cyanea. Blue Devil males have their own territory, which is near a nesting site. This site has rubble or a half shell from a clam near the entrance. The day before spawning a female will visit the males in her colony, including any males she has spawned with in the past. When she chooses a fit and healthy male she will stop swimming, and facing upward, will flash a light ring around each eye.
Once the female has â€œsolicitedâ€ a male whose nest she wants to inspect, the male starts a courting performance with hopes of impressing her. After she evaluates his display the female will follow the male to his nest to see how many eggs he has. She will stay up to 20 minutes inspecting his â€œcribâ€ and then move on to the next male. She is not ready to lay her eggs during this â€œevaluationâ€ and she is very picky. She will review a lot of potential mates, even traveling up to 325 feet (100 m) in distance from nest site to nest site.
At dawn of the next day, the female immediately spawns with the male who is largest, put on the best â€œdance,â€ and has the most eggs. If there is another female who has decided on the same male, she will wait her turn at the entrance of the nest. Up to 4 females have been seen at one nest site to spawn one at a time, one after the other, with the same male.
These nests can have almost 10,000 eggs donated from several different females. Males know that the more eggs they have in their nest, the better the chance the female will spawn with them. They have even been known to abandon their small egg clutch to take over a larger abandoned egg clutch of another male. The male will stay and protect his eggs (and the eggs of the missing male if needed) until they have hatched, which can take 4 days. The larval stage for Chrysiptera species can last between 10 to 50 days. See general breeding techniques under Clownfish on the Marine Fish Breeding page.
- Ease of Breeding: Difficult – The eggs and larvae of damselfish are quite small and the fry are difficult to rear.
Demoiselles of the Chrysiptera genus are very durable damsels once acclimated. The most dangerous time in their lives is the shipping stress they deal with. Overall they are tough and do not often fall ill, but it has been documented that there seems to be an unexplained â€œsudden deathâ€ that damselfish can fall victim to. There are no signs, the fish is just dead one day. They can contract any normal disease that other saltwater fish are susceptible to. But it is pretty rare unless they are captured with an illness already in motion, so a quarantine period is a good idea.
Damselfish are susceptible to Marine Ich Cryptocaryon irritans, also called White Spot Disease or Crypt, Marine Velvet or Velvet Disease Oodinium ocellatum (Syns: Amyloodinium ocellatum, Branchiophilus maris), and Uronema disease Uronema marinum. All of these are parasites.
The most easily cured of these is Crypt (salt water Ich), but they are all treatable if caught in a timely manner. Marine Velvet is a parasitic skin flagellate and one of the most common maladies experienced in the marine aquarium. It is a fast moving that primarily it infects the gills. Uronema disease, which is typically a secondary infection, is very deadly and will attack yourdamsel quickly and lethally.The first symptom is lack of appetite. It is most often contracted when the aquarist lowers the salinity to treat another type of illness, but doesn’t lower it far enough. This parasite thrives in mid-level brackish water salinity, which is a specific gravity of around 1.013 to 1.020.
Treat your new damselfish as gingerly as you would any other saltwater fish, and they will respond well. Anything you add to your tank that has not been properly cleaned or quarantined, including live rock, corals and fish can introduce disease. The best prevention is to properly clean or quarantine anything you want to add to the tank. For information about saltwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.
The Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish are often available from pet stores and online, and are moderately priced.
- Animal-World References: Marine and Reef
- Chrysiptera taupou (Jordan & Seale, 1906) Southseas devil, Fishbase
- Scott W. Michael , Damselfishes & Anemonefishes, TFH Publications, 2008
- Scott W. Michael, Reef Aquarium Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Species, Microcosm Ltd, 2006
- H. Debelius and R. H. Kuiter, World Atlas of Marine Fishes, (in German) Hollywood Import & Export, Inc., 2006
- Dr. Gerald R. Allen, Damselfishes Of The World, Aquarium Systems, 1991
- Burgess, Axelrod, Hunziker III, Dr. Burgess’s Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes, T.F.H Publications inc., 1990