Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Royal Demoiselle, Half-blue Damselfish, Yellow-dipped Damsel, and Azure Demoiselle is native to the east Indian and western Pacific Oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea off of Malta.   The largest populations of Azure Damselfish are located in the Solomon Islands to Indonesia, Bali, and the Philippines which is where one of the largest concentrations of coral reefs in the world exist.

Azure Damselfish are a non migratory reef species that inhabit lagoons and near shore reefs around branching Acropora type corals and rock structure at depths from 3 to over 125 feet.

Azure Damselfish are a reef dependent species that feed on microalgae, small crustaceans, and zooplankton during daylight hours and find shelter among the coral heads during the night for protection from predators.   One or two dominant males will usually defend a single branching SPS coral head with a harem of juveniles and females, and in return for the shelter provided by the coral, the fish remove unwanted algal growth.

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish have a deep blue body color with a yellow to yellow orange chest, abdomen, and caudal peduncle.  They have many fine vertical black lines on the blue area of the body and a few lighter blue spots on the face, below the eye.   They also have two horizontal black lines that start in front of the eye and end at the rear of the eye.   The upper line goes through the eye.  Their dorsal fin is blue and the pectoral, anal, and caudal fins are yellow to yellow orange color.   A small black spot is at the base of the pectoral fins.   Males cannot be differentiated from females by color or size.

The Azure Damselfish is similar looking to and often confused with the Yellowtail Blue Damsel fish (Chrysiptera parasema). Azure Damselfish are yellow around the bottom of its body with yellow pectoral, anal, and caudal fins.  The Yellow-tail Damsel has the yellow only on its caudal and anal fins.

The Azure Damselfish is a schooling species that is best housed in groups of at least 5 individuals in either a reef or FOLR aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity, with a sand or finely crushed gravel substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among.    Chrysiptera hemicyanea are completely reef safe and will not disturb corals or invertebrates in a reef tank.

In a fish only tank with live rock, a minimum tank size of 20 gallons is required for a single fish or a pair.

Larger tanks with plenty of live rock are required for keeping an odd numbered group of Azure Damsels with other semi aggressive species. Many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts successfully house Chrysiptera hemicyanea with their closely related species; Chrysiptera talboti and Chrysiptera rollandi.   Although juveniles are passive to semi aggressive, they become more territorial as they grow into adults.

If you have a mated pair of these fish, be careful when adding more fish to the tank as they will fiercely protect their territory.

Azure Damselfish have been successfully bred in captivity, primarily to help supply the aquarium trade.   Although the reproductive habits of Chrysiptera hemicyanea have not been well studied, mated pairs follow a benthic egg laying cycle.   After a brief courtship “dance”, the female lays her small adhesive eggs on a rock or shell in the substrate.   After the male fertilizes the eggs, he guards and aerates them until they hatch.   The tiny fry in their larval stage will drift with the current as plankton feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as a partially developed damselfish.

A single male will often mate with multiple females in the harem during the spawning season.   Compared to other damselfish species, this genus has a shorter larval stage and can double their populations in 15 months.

Azure Damselfish are Omnivores that in their natural habitat feed on zooplankton and algae.   In an aquarium environment they need a diet with plenty of protein.   Meaty foods like finely chopped frozen seafoods, squid, clams, Cyclop-eeze, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and mysis shrimp are ideal foods, as well as herbivore or Spuirlina flakes.   Feed them small amounts several times a day to minimize aggression in the tank.

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea) are occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in specialty fish stores and from online wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers at prices varying from $14.99 to $26.99 at approximate purchase sizes:  Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/4″ Medium: 1-1/4″ to 2-1/4″; 2-1/4″ to 3″.

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)

Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)






Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-84°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 2.8″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 15 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

2 Responses to “Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea)”


  1. […] Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea), Pomacentrus similis are a non-migratory, reef dependent species that feed on small crustaceans, […]

  2. […] Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea); Amblyglyphidodon ternatensis are a non-migratory, reef dependent species that feed on small […]

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