Tag Archive | "Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)"

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Pair Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Pair Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

The Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Jade Damselfish, Peacock Damselfish, Pavo Damsel, or Blue Damselfish is found across the Indian ocean and is common along the coast of East African to the Tuamoto Islands, north to Taiwan, south to Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, and the Coral Sea.

Sapphire Damselfish are frequently found in shoals of up to 30 individuals in and around Acropora corals, in the shallow waters of sandy lagoon reefs, isolated patches of reefs, on coral heads, around jetty structures, and in rubble strewn zones where they feed on filamentous algae and zooplankton. They are a highly territorial species that will refuse to allow other fish in their territory but will quickly seek cover among the heads of Acropora corals when threatened.

Because of their territorial nature, Sapphire Damselfish can always be found in the same general area.   Their territorial nature is also why they are seldom if ever seen in aquariums.

Mostly found at depths between 3 to 60 feet, in Tanzania, Pomacentrus pavo are seldom seen on reefs deeper than 40 feet.   Sapphire Damselfish are a shallow water diurnal species that dart in and out of the corals during daylight hours and shelter among the Acropora at night.   Sapphire Damselfish have the ability to hide in a hole, crevice, or coral head and darken to an almost black color when threatened. After the perceived threat disappears, they quickly return to their electric blue green colors in just a matter of seconds.

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

The base color of Peacock Damselfish is a deep blue green, with vertical blue striations down the body and horizontal blue striations across the face.  All the fins are lined with a light blue stripe, however, the anal fin has a markedly darker blue stripe. Mature individuals have a dark blue or black dot behind the gill.

Although Sapphire Damselfish are often confused with the common Green Damsel (Chromis viridis); the Green Damselfish has a markedly forked tail while the Sapphire Damselfish does not.

Sapphire Damselfish are a great choice for a FOLR or reef aquarium.   They are exceptional hardy, completely reef safe, less aggressive than most other damselfish species, and make a great addition to corals and invertebrates in a reef environment. Their small size also makes them a good candidate for nano reef aquariums.

A small shoal of Sapphire Damselfish can be housed in a mature aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sandy substrate, plenty of aged live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among, and a lot of free swimming space.

Although the Sapphire Damselfish has been commercially bred for the aquarium trade; no successful rearing have been reported in a home aquarium environment.

Like Jewel Damselfish (Microspathodon Chrysurus), Pomacentrus pavo are oviparous and form up into distinct pairs before mating.   Male damselfish typically establish a territory and prepare a cleaned surface on a substrate of rubble or coral for the female to deposit her demersal, adhesive eggs.   Once the eggs are laid the male quickly fertilizes them and will aggressively defend them from any intruders.  The fertilized eggs are aerated by the male until they are hatched out.   The tiny hatched larvae drift away with the current as plankton, feeding on the other zooplankton and phytoplankton until they eventually settle to the bottom.

In their natural environment, Sapphire Damselfish graze on zooplankton and filamentous algae.   In a mature aquarium, they will eat any nuisance filamentous algae and zooplankton in the tank and should have additional feedings of fresh, frozen, or freeze dried herbivore preparations, pellets, and flakes. Feeding several small portions daily is recommended.

The Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo) is a relatively rare species that is occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from trans shippers, commercial farms, specialty fish shops, and a variety of online sources at purchase sizes of 3/4″ to 1-1/4”.

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)

Sapphire Damselfish (Pomacentrus pavo)







Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.2 – 8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
Max. Size: 3″
Color Form: Bright Blue, Black, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years

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