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Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Amboina Damselfish, Amboina Demoiselle, and Pallid Damselfish are found throughout tropical marine waters of the Indo Pacific from northwestern Australia, down to the North Central coast of New South Wales.

Pomacentrus amboinensis have been recently recorded in Tonga in addition to their range from Indonesia to Vanuatu, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to Scott Reef (in the eastern Indian Ocean) and New Caledonia.

The Ambon Damsel is an active, semi aggressive species found found in the lagoons, coastal reefs, passages, and outer reef slopes of its range at depth from 6 to 130 ft.  They normally frequent sandy areas around corals, rock outcrops, and other types of protective shelter where they feed on algae and zooplankton.

Adult Ambon Damsels are normally found in small groups of one mature male and several females.  The primary duty of the male is to guard a nest site on the sea floor for the harem of females.  Juvenile Ambon Damsels can easily join the groups of females, which is probably why some adult males retain the appearance of juveniles; to sneak into the harems of dominant males. Once a suitable nesting site is staked out by the dominant male; females rarely migrate far from the area.

Like most marine angelfish; Pomacentrus amboinensis is a protogynous species that begin life as females and can later turn into males.

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Adult Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

The Ambon Damsel has a light yellow to pale mauve body color with darker margins on the scales, a dark spot at the top of the gill cover and another spot at the base of the pectoral fin.  The head has pink to blue blotches.

Juvenile Ambon Damsels have an eye spot on the rear of the dorsal fin that the majority of fish lose as they

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Juvenile Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

grow into adults, however, some adult males do retain the ocellus.

Ambon Damselfish are able to recognize UV facial patterns of other fish and when constantly threatened by predators are able to reduce the size of their eyes, and increase the size of the eyespot on their dorsal fin to evade predation.

The Ambon Damselfish is a hardy species that can be housed as groups of 5 or 6 individuals, in a reef or FOLR aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity, with a sandy substrate, plenty of swimming area, and live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs.   Multiple damselfish species can be housed together but only in a larger aquarium with much more live rock to break up territorial spats.   Its also important to introduce them into the tank at the same time to minimize aggression.

Ambon Damsels have been bred in an aquarium environment.   A male with several females will prepare a nest on the sandy sea floor and pair off during breeding. The fertilized eggs adhere to the bottom substrate where they are guarded and aerated by the male.  The .03 inch larvae grow quickly in their nest and between 19 to 21 days are .43 to .51 inch.    The larvae live a pelagic existence until they become juveniles.

The diet of the Ambon Damselfish in their natural environment is primarily algae and Zooplankton.  In an aquarium environment they readily accept algae, brine shrimp, Krill, Mysis, omnivore flakes, a variety of frozen food preparations, and Zooplankton.

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis) are available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from a variety of fish shops and online sources at reasonable prices at approximate purchase sizes: Small: 1/2” to 1”; Medium:1″ to 1-1/2″

Ambon Damsel (Pomacentrus amboinensis)

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Deepwater Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-79°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3.5″
Color Form: Black, Pink, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indo Pacific, northwestern Australia to New South Wales
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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