Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Catalina Goldfish, Garibaldi, and Marine Goldfish are found in the subtropical northeastern part of the Pacific Ocean, and range from the Monterey Bay in California, to southern Baja California and Guadalupe Island (off northern central Baja California) in Mexico.

The Garibaldi Damselfish is protected species in California’s coastal waters and is the official state marine fish of California.

Garibaldi Damselfish are highly territorial, grow up to 15″ in length, and are the largest member of the damselfish family.

Adult Garibaldi Damselfish are normally found in clear water over the rocky reefs of their range near crevices, small caves, and occasionally in kelp, at depths of up to 100 feet where they feed mainly on the attached invertebrates that they extract from the rocks among the sea bed. Like most damselfish species, adults are highly territorial and aggressively defend their territories.

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Juvenile Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

The less aggressive juvenile Garibaldi Damselfish have a reddish to red orange body color with small iridescent blue spots and fins outlined in blue, that disappear as they become adults.

Adult Garibaldi Damselfish, or Catalina Goldfish, are bright orange in color, with somewhat opaque caudal

Juvenile Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Juvenile Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

and dorsal fins. Hypsypops rubicundus are sexually dimorphic.   Males are larger than females exhibit a lobe on the front of the head.

Juvenile Garibaldi Damselfish are best housed in a single species or FOWLR community aquarium of at least 180 gallon capacity, with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, and copious amounts of mature live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide and graze on.    Juvenile Garibaldi are relative peaceful with fish of the same or slightly larger body size, but are highly competitive and territorial with smaller individuals.   Only one individual of this species should be kept in the same aquarium.   Garibaldi are considered reef safe, with caution.   Because they require cooler water temperatures; a chiller system is strongly suggested for maintaining this species.

Hypsypops rubicundus have not been bred in an aquarium environment.   They are demersal egg layers that pair off during breeding. Males clean off a sheltered nesting site on the substrate within their territory, where after a brief mating ritual, the female will deposit her adhesive eggs.  The male immediately fertilizes the eggs and guards them until they hatch out, usually within 19 to 21 days.  During the hatching out period, the males become super aggressive and will attack much larger species, including humans, who venture too close to the developing eggs.  The fry in their larval stage drift with the current as plankton, feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as a partially Garibaldi.

In their natural environment, Garibaldi Damselfish feed on invertebrates that are attached to the rocks and small fish.   In an aquarium environment, their diet should include a variety of herbivore preparations including fresh, frozen, or freeze dried meaty foods like shrimp, Krill, brine shrimp, finely chopped clams, squid, fresh fish, and flaked foods. Several small feedings daily are recommended.

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus) are occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online retailers, wholesalers, and auction sites at approximate purchase sizes of: Juvenile Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/2″; Medium 1 1/2″ to 2 1/4″ Large 2 1/4″ to 3″ Adult Small: 3″ to 3 1/2″ Medium 3 1/2″ to 4″ Large 4″ to 6″.    Prices for juvenile specimens start at around $150.00.

Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Adult Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 64-74° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 14″
Color Form: Blue,Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: California, Mexico
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 25 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Leave a Reply

Saltwater Fish

Featuring Clownfish

Aquarium Supplies

On-Sale Aquarium Supplies!

Saltwater Holiday Specials

Tropical Fish Keeping – Categories