Tag Archive | "Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)"

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Indian Dascyllus, Twobar Humbug, Cardinal Humbug, or Cloudy Dascyllus are found throughout the Indian Ocean from South and East Africa, to the Andaman Sea, western Indonesia and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, and the Java Sea.

The Cloudy Damselfish is an uncommon variant of one of the most popular aquarium species; the Two Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus reticulatus) and similar to the Headband Humbug (Dascyllus reticulatus).   Dascyllus carneus are similar in size, temperment, and behavior to Two Stripe Damselfish

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish have a pearly white body with a slightly darker head; a black band from the first dorsal fin through the base of the pectoral fin to the pelvic fins; small dark rimmed blue spots on the head, nape, and breast; a broad black margin on the dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins, and a bluish caudal and rear dorsal fin. Some individuals have a black band before the caudal peduncle that extends onto the rear dorsal and anal fins.

Like the Two Stripe Damselfish, Cloudy Damselfish are a social species usually found in small shoals around staghorn Acropora and Pocillopora branching corals, in the shallow lagoons and subtidal reefs of their range, at depths from 16 to over 130 feet.   One or two dominant males will defend a single branching 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. Dascyllus carneus are usually encountered in schools or small harems, but both juveniles and adults are occasionally seen alone in these same locales.

The Cloudy Damselfish is an active species that feed on microalgea, small crustaceans, and zooplankton during daylight hours and seeks shelter among the coral heads during the night.

In an aquarium environment, juvenile Cloudy Damselfish do well in pairs or a harem of five females and one male. Caution is needed when attempting to keep them with damsels of the same or other species. Like many damsels, they are protogynous hermaphrodites and can change gender from female to male when a male is needed in a harem.

Cloudy Damselfish are completely reef safe and can be housed in either a reef tank or FOLR aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sand or finely crushed coral substrate, plenty of mature live rock arranged into territories with crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among, and a lot of swimming space.   Ideally, each Striped Damsel should be provided a territory with its own rock cave or coral head.

Due the aggressive nature of adults, juvenile Cloudy Damselfish can be raised in a FOLR community tank with other moderately aggressive species such as basslets, angels, and most clownfish.   Mixing damsels with timid species such as cardinalfish, Chromis, or batfish should be avoided.   Also, avoid housing them with Lionfish, Snappers, Groupers, Triggers, Eels, or any other predatory fish that can grow large enough to swallow them.

In a reef aquarium with corals Cloudy Damselfish will sometimes adopt Acropora and Pocillopora corals in a somewhat symbiotic relationship. They will not harm invertebrates, corals, or disrupt the decoration in reef tanks.

Cloudy Damselfishh have not been bred in an aquarium environment, however, they reproduction is similar to other damsels in their genus.

The males perform a mating “dance” to entice a female to lay her adhesive eggs in a prepared nest; typically a shell or smooth rock in the substrate.   If the female is receptive, she will follow him to the nesting site and deposit her adhesive eggs (up to a thousand) for him to fertilize.  After the male fertilizes the eggs, he will guard and aerate them until they hatch out, usually in about three days.  During this period, the male becomes extremely aggressive and allows no one near the nest.

In their natural habitat, the tiny fry in their larval stage will drift with the current as plankton for about three weeks, feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as a partially developed damselfish. A single male will often mate with several females in the harem during the breeding season.

In the wild, Cloudy Damselfish feed on algae, small crustaceans, ostracods, amphipods, copepods, tunicates, benthic invertebrates, and other zooplankton.

In an aquarium environment with plenty of mature live rock, they will eagerly accept a wide range of live, frozen, and freeze dried foods including omnivore flakes, pellets, Spirulina, brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, finely chopped fish fillets or shrimp, etc.

Small portions fed several times throughout the day are recommended over feeding one or two large portions.

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus) are only occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in local fish stores and from online wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers.   Prices vary for for a 1″ to 2″ specimen, but expect to pay $30.00 or more per individual.

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)

Cloudy Damselfish (Dascyllus carneus)






Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 2.8″
Color Form: Black, Tan, White
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indian Ocean
Family: Chaetodontidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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