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Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum).mp4

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum).mp4

The Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Yellowtail Tang, Yellowtail Surgeonfish, or Blue Surgeonfish is native to the Red Sea however, they have also been encountered in the Gulf of Aden, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea near Sardinia. They have been recorded from Maldives.

Although the Purple Tang is most abundant in the coral reefs of the Red Sea, smaller numbers are found in the Arabian Sea, the western Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, and the Persian Gulf.

Adult Purple Tangs are usually encountered swimming in large groups over rocky bottoms and the coral rich reefs of their range where they spend the majority of their time grazing voraciously on filamentous algae at depths from 6 to well over 65 feet.   Juvenile Purple Tangs are more solitary and prefer the shallower waters over coral rich reefs. As they mature they form schools and become more easy going.

During daylight hours, Purple Tangs are extremely active as they forage on algae among the substrate. At night they shelter between the rocks to protect themselves from larger predatory reef species.

Purple Tangs have numerous small pharyngeal teeth that are used to scrape filamentous algae from the rocks and substrate. It is an excellent rock cleaner and will quickly eliminate any nuisance algae found in your aquarium.

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Zebrasoma xanthurum have moderately elevated dorsal and anal fins , a deep body, and a protruding snout mottled with dark spots that continue to the abdomen, anterior body, and forehead.  Although some Purple Tangs have a deep rich blue or indigo shaded body color, most are colored a vivid purple with a bright yellow, slightly rounded tail, and yellow tipped pectoral fins.

Tiny black dots, which in most cases are barely perceptible through the deep purple body color, form somewhat scribbly thin horizontal bands towards the posterior of the body.

Juveniles have a dark blue body color with grey striping and a yellow caudal fin.  The blue color darkens into a deep purple or less frequently into a deep dark blue as they mature.  Males are slightly larger than females.

The Purple Tang is best housed in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 125 gallon capacity with a fine crushed coral or sandy substrate, substantial quantities of mature algae encrusted live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to graze and hide among, plenty of free swimming space, and a good amount of water movement.  They are completely reef safe and will not harm corals, decorative clams, or sessile invertebrates.

Purple Tangs can be very aggressive and do not do well with tank mates of similar body shape; especially other Tangs of the genus Zebrasoma.   Although their hyperactive swimming nature can intimidate most shy, docile, and passive species; they can be kept with many reef species. Some good tankmates include Blood Red Fire Shrimp, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Blue-Green Chromis, Lyretail Anthias, Majestic Angelfish, Coral Beauty Angelfish, Foxface Rabbitfish, Tomato Clownfish, Wrasses, and Neon Gobies.

Zebrasoma xanthurum are virtually impossible to breed in an aquarium environment. They are difficult to sex and the cost of establishing a breeding pair would be prohibitive.  They are broadcast spawners that would require a huge commercial tank for them to mate and produce offspring.  In the Red Sea mainly during the late winter to early spring, males and females swim up into the water column to the surface where the females releases their eggs and the males immediately fertilizes them.   The planktonic eggs drift with the current along the surface until they hatch.   The finless fry live off the yolk sack until it is completely absorbed, at which point the fry drift to the bottom of the reef feeding on microalgae until they grow into juveniles

The Purple Tang is an omnivore that in the wild grazes heavily on plant based foods, primarily filamentous algae which they are constantly devouring. In an mature aquarium environment with plenty of algae encrusted live rock, they need a constant supply of marine based algae and seaweed in their diet to strengthen their immune system, reduce aggression, and remain healthy.   Dried seaweed (Nori) tied to a rock or in a veggie clip should be offered 3 or more times per week.   Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad and Ocean Nutrition are also easy to use seaweed supplements.

The Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) is commonly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes: Small: 1-1/2″ to 2″; Small/Medium: 2″ to 2-3/4″; Medium: 2-3/4″ to 3-1/2″; Medium/Large: 3-1/2″ – 4″ Large: 4″ to 5″. Prices vary depending on size but start around $219.99 for small specimens to over $499.00.

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 125 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 10″
Color Form: Purple, Blue, Yellow
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Red Sea
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 10+ years, 30 – 45 years in the wild
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

 

Posted in African Riverine Cichlids, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tangs, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (0)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

The Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Barcheek Unicorn, Clown Surgeonfish, Literate Surgeonfish, Lipstick Tang, Orangespine Unicornfish, and Barcheek Unicornfish is found in the East Indian and Pacific Ocean. Their extensive range in the central and western parts of the Pacific Ocean includes Hawaii, Japan, Tuamotu, and the Marquesas.

The Naso Tang is usually encountered swimming in pairs or in large groups, grazing on sargassum and dictyota above the corals and live rock found among the flats and outer slopes of the coral reefs, at depths from 15 to well over 300 feet.

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Juvenile Naso Tangs have a dark gray body color, a blue stripe following along the dorsal fin, and an orange stripe in the anal fin.

As they mature a thin, black face mask outlined with bright yellow forms between the eyes and mouth, the lips develop a reddish orange (lipstick) color, the body morphs into a brownish gray color with a yellow nape and a broad black band on the dorsal fin, the tail acquires a lyre shape with a vertical yellow bar towards the posterior, and two bright orange patches develop at the two forward hooked spines on the caudal peduncle.

Males are slightly larger than females and develop trailing caudal streamers that the females lack. For reasons unknown, Naso Tangs collected from Hawaiian waters are more brightly colored.

Although the Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus) is sometimes misidentified as the Blonde Naso Tang (Naso elegans) found in the Indian Ocean; Naso elegans have predominantly yellow colored dorsal fins with some shades of black, compared to the dorsal fins of Naso Tangs which are predominantly black and gray.

Because adult Naso Tangs grow to almost 18″ in an aquarium environment, they are best housed in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 180 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or coraline sand substrate, plenty of live rock arranged into large caves and overhangs, and plenty of free swimming space. They need high oxygen levels, strong currents in the tank, and pristine water conditions to thrive.  An appropriately sized reef filtration system with a good protein skimmer and multiple power heads is recommended along with the normal water changes required in reef systems.

The Naso Tang is reef safe and will generally ignore corals and invertebrates in the tank. They are a shy, active, and somewhat nervous species that are peaceful with other fish in the tank but are aggressive towards most other tangs.  Some good tankmates include clownfish, eels, gobies, yellow tang, sailfin tang, and angelfish.   In larger aquariums of 200 gallon and over capacity, other tangs like the Purple Tang can be safely housed with Naso Tangs.

In a reef tank, Naso Tangs benefit greatly from cleaner wrasses, cleaner shrimp, or neon gobies that remove any parasites from their skin.  They also lack a mucus barrier on their bodies which makes them susceptible to marine ich and velvet.  Cryptocaryon is very common among tangs but is easily cured with copper drugs in a quarantine tank.

Because of their large size, Naso Tangs have not been bred in a home aquarium environment.  It is possible, but a huge tank would be required. In their natural habitat Naso Lituratus display the egg scattering spawning activity typical of the family Acanthuridae.   They are pair spawners.   After a brief courtship ritual, the male and female swim up into the water column to the surface where the female releases her eggs and the male immediately fertilizes them.  The planktonic eggs drift with the current along the surface until they hatch.  The finless fry live off the yolk sack until completely absorbed, at which point they drift to the bottom of the reef feeding on microalgae until they grow into juveniles. Spawning occurs year round in Guam.

Adult Naso Tangs thrive on a diet of wild algae, with a definite preference for brown macroalgae. In the wild, they normally eat sargassum and dictyota. In an aquarium environment, they should be copious amounts of dried seaweed or dried algae.  A lettuce clip placed under some live rock in the tank is a good way to introduce the seaweed. The key to keeping the Naso Tang healthy in the long term is to obtain some brown macroalgae to feed them, which is by far the most natural thing for them to eat.

Unique to members of Acanthuridae, including the Naso Tang, is the epulopiscium bacteria in their gut which influences their digestion.   Candidatus Epulonipiscium is a genus of Gram positive bacteria that have a symbiotic relationship with surgeonfish and helps them process this algae in their diet.

In a pinch, Naso Tangs will eat Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and other meaty foods when they see other fish eating, but these foods should not become a staple.   Herbivore preparations like Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition are all good products that are very easy to use as a substitute.

The Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus) is commonly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes from several areas in the Indo Pacific: Small: 1″ to 2″; Small/Medium: 2″ to 3″; Medium: 3″ to 4″; Medium/Large: 4″ to 6″; Large: 6″ to 8″; Extra Large: 8″ to 9″. Prices vary depending on locale and size but start at around $179.00 for medium adults.

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

Naso Tang (Naso Lituratus)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 75-79° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 18″
Color Form: Black, Blue, Orange, Red, Yellow
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: East Indian and Pacific Ocean
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 8+ years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tangs, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (3)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

The False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Gramma Dotty, Bicolor Dottyback, or Royal Dottyback is found in the Western Pacific Ocean from Indonesia (Java and Sulawesi) to Vanuatu; Palau in Micronesia.

The False Gramma is a semi aggressive, solitary species that is found singly or in small loosely scattered groups around coral and rubble rock in the shallow coastal waters and the deeper outer reef dropoffs of their range at depths to well over 60 feet.

Despite its small size, the False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae) is much more territorial and aggressive than the more peaceful Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) which it is sometimes mistaken for.

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

The False Gramma is colored a bright purple over the front portion of the body that is abruptly separated at mid point by a straight line into a bright yellow behind.

Unlike the Royal Gramma Basslet, Pictichromis paccagnellae lacks the black spot on the front of the dorsal, the dark line through the eye, and has clear fins. Females have a noticeably more slender elongated body than males.

Despite their combative nature, their small adult size (2.5 to 3 in) makes the False Gramma is a great beginner fish and is well suited for small nano reef systems.

The False Gramma is best housed in a FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, and plenty of mature live rock arranged into extensive rockwork caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to stake out territories and hide among. Although they are relatively peaceful towards tankmates of similar size and temperament, they are extremely protective of their territories and are super aggressive to interlopers.   The False Gramma is not intimidated by other fish and will defend its territory against fish two to three times its size

Although the False Gramma is considered reef safe and totally ignores corals and most sessile invertebrates, it will attack and eat ornamental shrimp and is a predator of nuisance bristleworms.   They are belligerent enough to be housed with larger fish such as Tangs and larger Clownfish, but smaller, more docile reef species are liable to be attacked and bullied by this fish.

Unless Bicolor Dottybacks are being kept in formed pairs or in a very large tank with plenty of live rock, it is better to house them singly, however, small groups can be kept in a large enough tank with enough cracks and crevices for each fish to have its own territory.   Although this dottyback will defend its territory against fish several times its size, they should never be kept with aggressive fish large enough to eat them.

Not much is known about the reproductive habits of Pictichromis paccagnellae.

In their natural habitat, False Gramma feed on zooplankton, ectoparasites, small crustaceans, and small pieces of fish flesh.   In an aquarium environment, they should be feed a varied diet of fresh or frozen meaty fare, including brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and quality frozen omnivore preparations.   Over time they can be trained to eat flake and pellet foods.

The False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae) is a good beginner species that is normally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, and online from wholesalers and retailers at an approximate purchase size of 1″ to 2-1/2″ and a cost of $21.99 to $30.00.

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–78 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.5, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 2.8″
Color Form: Purple, Yellow
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef with Caution
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Family: Pseudochromidae
Lifespan: 5+ years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Basslets, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

The Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Fairy Basslet, is native to the deep water reefs in the Caribbean and tropical western Atlantic Ocean and ranges from the Antilles, Bahamas, Bermuda, Venezuela, into the surrounding waters of Central America and northern part of South America.

The Royal Gramma Basslet is usually found alone and occasionally in small groups among the caves, crevices, and overhangs near the bottom at depths from 2 to over 60 feet where they feed on zooplankton, crustaceans, and ectoparasites. They prefer picking their food from the middle of the water column and often set up “cleaning stations” where they remove parasites and dead food from the skin of other fish.

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

The Royal Gramma Basslet has a bright purple to deep violet body color at the anterior that fades at mid body into a bright golden yellow at the posterior. The pectoral fins and front portion of the dorsal are a light purple to deep violet color and the ventral, caudal, and rear portion of the dorsal fin is bright golden yellow. They have a small black spot on the front of the dorsal fin and a black line that intersects the relatively large eye. Males are generally larger than females.

The Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) closely resembles the False Gramma (Pictichromis

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

False Gramma (Pictichromis paccagnellae)

paccagnellae) except that the False Gramma has clear fins that do not fade and a distinctly sharp change in color at mid body.

Because of their small adult size (3.1 in) and relatively peaceful nature; Gramma loreto is a great beginner fish that is well suited for small nano reef systems.

The Royal Gramma Basslet is best housed in a FOWLR or reef system aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, plenty of mature live rock arranged into extensive rockwork caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to stake out territories and hide among, and rather subdued lighting.   Although they are generally peaceful towards tankmates of similar size and temperament, they are extremely protective of their territories and can become aggressive to their own kind.  When threatened by any size fish, they will open their mouths wide in a threatening gesture to ward off the intruders.

Unless Royal Gramma Basslets are being kept in a very large tank with plenty of live rock or in a formed pair, it is best to house them singly, however, small groups can be kept as long as the tank is large enough and has enough cracks and crevices for each fish to have its own territory.   Needles to say, they should never be kept with larger, more aggressive fish that will eat them.

The Royal Gramma Basslet will often orient itself to be parallel with the surface that it is closest to. This results in the fish swimming straight up or down and often upside down beneath a ledge or in a cave. Many tropical fish keeping enthusiasts unfamiliar with the species mistakenly identify this behavior for illness.

Although Royal Gramma Basslets are very easy to breed and males are usually larger than females, determining a mated pair can be somewhat difficult.   When ready to spawn, the male will use pieces of algae to build a “nest” among the rocks and lead the female to the nest where she will deposit anywhere from 20 to over 100 small (.04 in) eggs.  The eggs have protuberances and tiny threads extending from them that hold onto the algae in the nest and keep them in place.   The male performs frequent cleanings  and debris removal of the nest and ferociously protects the eggs during the breeding period until the eggs hatch out; usually during the evening hours in five to seven days.   The larvae feed on rotifers until they are large enough to consume newly hatched brine shrimp.

In their natural habitat, the Royal Gramma Basslet feeds on zooplankton, ectoparasites, small crustaceans, and small pieces of fish flesh.   In an aquarium environment, they should be feed a varied diet of fresh or frozen meaty fare, including brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and quality frozen omnivore preparations. Over time they can be trained to eat flake and pellet foods.

The Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto) is an ideal beginner species that is readily available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, and online from wholesalers and retailers at the following approximate purchase sizes:  Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/4″; Medium: 1-1/4″ to 1-3/4″; Large: 1-3/4″ to 2-1/2″ at prices from $15.99 to $39.99 or more.

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

Royal Gramma Basslet (Gramma loreto)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–78 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 3″
Color Form: Purple, Yellow
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef OK
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Grammidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Basslets, Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (1)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

The White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the White Tail Yellow Eye Tang or White Tail Yellow Eye Kole Tang is found in the U.S. Minor Islands in the Western Pacific; to the Austral, Line, Rapa, and Society Islands in the East Central Pacific Ocean.

White Tail Bristletooth Tangs are found singly and in small groups of 6 to 12 individuals among areas of dense coral growth on the shallow coral reefs, sheltered coastal lagoons, and coral slope dropoffs at depths from 3 to over 90 feet where they graze on algae, seaweed, and zooplankton.

White Tail Bristletooth Tangs spend the majority of their day grazing among the rocks and coral mantels in the densely populated coral reefs and flats of their range where food is most abundant and protection is available to them from other larger predatory reef species.

Ctenochaetus Tangs have a protruding mouth with bristle like teeth that they can move individually to sift, sort, and scrape rocks and substrate in search of food.  The White Tail Bristletooth Tang is the smallest acanthurid and the smallest ctenochaetus tang, growing to only about 5 inches in length. It is an excellent rock cleaner and will take care of many different types of nuisance algae found in your aquarium.

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

At first glance the White Tail Bristletooth Tang looks like a Kole Tang (Ctenochaetus strigosus) however, the Kole tang is a native of Hawaii while the Whitetail tang frequents the west Pacific.

Adult White Tail Bristletooth Tangs have a beautifully deep reddish brown body with orange spots on its head that stream into the fine, orange colored horizontal body striping along the body, a sharply contrasting distinctive bright show white tail, and small bright yellow circles around the eyes.

Juvenile Ctenochaetus flavicauda and Ctenochaetus strigosus are a bright yellow color, but only

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

Ctenochaetus flavicauda take on the reddish maroon body color and vivid white tail as they mature into adulthood.

The White Tail Bristletooth Tang is best housed in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 75 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, substantial quantities of mature coral encrusted live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to graze and hide among, plenty of free swimming space, and a good amount of water movement.

Although the White Tail Bristletooth Tang is normally peaceful towards most tank mates and will not bother sessile invertebrates or corals, they can become seriously aggressive towards other Tangs; especially those in the Ctenochaetus family or fish they perceive as competition for food.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts intending to keep this species with other tangs should house them in an aquarium of at least 125 gallon capacity with plenty of swimming area and mature live rock, and stock it with at least 6 or more tangs to spread out aggression between species.   To farther reduce aggression between the tangs, try to introduce all of them into the tank at the same time and provide plenty of algae for them to graze on.

The White Tail Bristletooth Tang has not been bred in an aquarium environment.   Like other members of the surgeonfish family, they are egg scatters that broadcast their spawn in groups.   Sexing is difficult but if you plan to keep a breeding harem of White Tail Bristletooth Tangs, you will need at least 6 to 10 individuals at a minimum in an appropriately sized aquarium to develop a pair.

The White Tail Bristletooth Tang needs a steady diet of marine based algae and seaweed to maintain their immune systems and remain healthy.

In an aquarium environment they are excellent rock cleaners and will consume several different types of nuisance algae that may be in your tank.   They should also be offered a varied diet of meaty foods, flakes, and frozen foods.  The majority of their diet in an aquarium with sufficient amounts of mature live rock should consist of algae, nori, and herbivore preparations. Dried seaweed (nori), romaine lettuce, and other leafy lettuces on a veggie clip should be presented 2 or 3 times a week or more. They will also accept high quality flake and pellet foods, as well as Mysis and brine shrimp.   Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Seaweed Selects are all ideal products that are easy to use.

The White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda) is an uncommon and somewhat rare species that is not often available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.   They are a great fish for controlling algae in the saltwater fish or reef aquarium and occasionally available online from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes: Small: 1.5″ to 2-1/2″; Medium: 2-1/2″ to 4″; Medium/Large: 4″ to 5″ Large: 5″ to 6″. Prices start at $245.00 for small medium.

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

White Tail Bristletooth Tang (Ctenochaetus flavicauda)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 75 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.027
Maximum Size: 4.6″
Color Form: Black, Orange, Red, White
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: South Pacific, Coral Sea, Fiji, Indo-Pacific, Tahiti
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

Posted in Featured Articles, Saltwater, Tangs, Tropical Fish KeepingComments (0)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

The Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Pacific Sailfin Tang, Sail Fish Tang, Pacific Sailfin Surgeonfish, Purple Sailfinned Tang, Sailfin Surgeon, or Purple Lined Tang can be found in the East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, the Red Sea, Indonesia, and the Central West Pacific oceans from Indonesia to the Hawaiian, Pitcairn, and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan and the Ogasawara Islands, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, and the Rapa Island area ine western and eastern Australia.

The Pacific Sailfin Tang is a Benthopelagic species that is normally encountered alone or in pairs on the seaward tropical reefs and lagoons of their range at depths from the lower surge zone to well over 98 feet where they feed on leafy macroalgae, benthos, and zooplankton. Juveniles are more solitary and prefer living among the rocks and coral of the more protected, sometimes turbid, shallower inner reefs.

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

The adult Sailfin Tang, a.k.a. Pacific Sailfin Tang, has an oval shaped body with large, very high, dorsal and anal fins. It is a brownish colored tang with several broad grayish brown bars that alternate with five vertical yellow stripes that have in

Juvenile Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Juvenile Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

tricate markings within each stripe.  It has a grayish to brown dorsal and anal fins with pale bands and a grayish brown caudal fin.  Some individuals may have a blue to purple brush like patch at the base of a yellow caudal fin.  The pale grayish snout is covered with light freckles.   Compared to other Zebrasoma spp., they have fewer but larger pharyngeal teeth.

Both of the juvenile forms of Zebrasoma veliferum and Zebrasoma desjardinii have alternating yellow and black bars with no brush like patch of setae on the rear portion of the body.   Juveniles may or may not have spots on their fins or body; but as they grow into adulthood, the distinctive spots and bold striping on the fins and body of the Red Sea Sailfin Tang will develop to distinguish the two species.

Sailfin Tangs are best housed in a FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 180 gallon capacity with a sand or crushed coral substrate, copious amounts of mature live rock for them to graze on and hide among, and plenty of free swimming space. Zebrasoma veliferum are aggressive towards its own species and at times, conspecifics, but peaceful towards other fish of the same or larger size.

Pacific Sailfin Tangs are completely reef safe and make a great addition to large reef systems.

Zebrasoma veliferum are pair spawners that have not yet been successfully bred in an aquarium environment.   Courtship and spawning takes place from morning to afternoon and is frequently confined to ebb tides.   This differs from the open water group egg scattering spawning activity typical of the family Acanthuridae.

In their natural habitat on the tropical reefs, Sailfin Tangs spend their entire day in search of marine algae and any meaty bits of food they can find. In an aquarium environment they will pick on algae on mature live rock but it is important that they are fed plenty of marine based seaweed and algae to strengthen their immune systems, reduce aggression, and improve their overall health.

Nori, Spirulina Flakes, frozen Mysis shrimp, and flake foods soaked in some type of vitamin supplement (Selcon or garlic) to ward off parasites is highly recommended. Some meaty foods should occasionally be introduced to balance their diet. Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition are all ideal products that are very easy to use.

The Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum) is commonly available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes from the Indo Pacific: Small: over 2-2.5″ $69.99; Medium: over 2.5-4.5″ $79.99; Large: over 4.5-6.5″, $99.99; X-Large: over 6.5-7.5″, $149.99; XX-Large: over 7.5-8.5″, $199.99; and from Fiji: Small: over 2-2.5″, $59.99; Medium: over 2.5-4.5″, $79.99; Large: over 4.5-6.5″; $89.99.

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 16″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow, Blue, Orange
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Coral Sea, Fiji, Indo-Pacific, Tahiti
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma veliferum)

The Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii) known by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Indian Ocean Sailfin Tang, Desjardin’s Sailfin Tang, and Desjardini Sailfin Tang is widespread throughout the Indian Ocean from the northern Red Sea to KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa, and east to India and Java.

Adult Red Sea Sailfin Tangs are normally encountered in pairs on the tropical reefs and lagoons of their range at depths from 6 to over 100 feet feeding on filamentous algae, a variety of macroalgae, plankton, and in the Red Sea; Scyphozoa and Ctenophora jellyfish. Juveniles are more solitary and prefer living in the shallower inner reefs.

The colors in Red Sea Sailfin Tangs frequently vary from individual to individual, depending on age.

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

In general Red Sea Sailfin Tangs have an oval shaped body with large, very high, dorsal and anal fins. The uper portion of the body is covered with alternating orange and dark blue vertical bands and a larger blue band on the eyes. The head and ventral area is covered with numerous white spots, the belly is covered with orange spots, and the dorsal and anal fins have a pattern of alternating horizontal orange and blue bands. The caudal fin is covered with white spots and darker lines. In the middle of the caudal peduncle on each side of the caudal fin, they have a dark spine surrounded by a dark blue area that is used for defense. Males are typically larger than females.

Another color variation has a dark to very light gray body color with light freckles on the nose and yellow spots on the

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

abdomen. The body and dorsal fin has several, varying sized vertical yellow and black stripes with intricate markings between the stripes at the face, the anal fin has numerous yellow spots, and the caudal fin is blue with white freckles.

Although adult Red Sea Sailfin Tangs (Zebrasoma desjardinii) and Sailfin Tangs (Zebrasoma veliferum) have easily recognizable color patterns; juveniles are almost indistinguishable in color and markings.

 

Juvenile Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)The juvenile forms of Zebrasoma desjardinii and Zebrasoma veliferum may not have spots on their fins or body, however as they grow into adulthood, the distinctive spots and bold striping on the fins and body will develop.

Red Sea Sailfin Tangs are best housed in a FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 180 gallon capacity with a sand or crushed coral substrate, a copious amount of mature live rock for them to graze on and hide among, and plenty of free swimming space. Zebrasoma desjardinii are aggressive towards its own species and at times, conspecifics, but peaceful towards other fish of the same or larger size. Red Sea Sailfin Tangs are completely reef safe and make a great addition to large reef systems.

If its not possible to keep your Desjardini Sailfin Tang isolated from other tang species in a large tank, make sure to introduce all the tangs at the same time to minimize aggression. On the reef, Red Sea Sailfin Tangs are very territorial and are mostly encountered in pairs and as lone specimens .

Zebrasoma desjardinii are pair spawners that have not yet been successfully bred in an aquarium environment. This differs from the open water group egg scattering spawning activity typical of the family Acanthuridae. Because these fish do not get along with their own species, it’s difficult to keep them in the same tank long enough for them to breed.

In their natural habitat on the tropical reefs, Red Sea Sailfin Tangs are usually found grazing primarily on filamentous algae, several varieties of macroalgae, plankton, and in the Red Sea; Scyphozoa and Ctenophora jellyfish. In an aquarium environment they will pick on algae on mature live rock but it is important that they are fed plenty of marine based seaweed and algae to strengthen their immune systems, reduce aggression, and improve their overall health along with some meaty foods.

Dried Nori seaweed tied to a rock or on a veggie clip, Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Select are all ideal, easy to use products. Occasional feedings of brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and finely chopped pieces of fresh shrimp, scallops, mussels, clam, etc. should also be offered to round out their diet.

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii) are available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops, online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at the following approximate purchase sizes: Tiny: 3/4″ to 1-1/2″; Small: 1-1/2″ to 2-1/2″; Small/Medium: 2-1/2″ to 3″; Medium: 3″ to 4″; Medium/Large: 4″ to 5″ Large: 5″ to 6″ XLarge: 6″ to 7″. Prices vary from under $129.99 for tiny specimens to $279.99 or more for XLarge to adults.

Red Sea Sailfin Tang (Zebrasoma desjardinii)

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Difficult
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 16″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow, Blue, Orange
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indian Ocean
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 5 to 7 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

The Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Chalk Bass is found in the Western Atlantic and is widespread in Caribbean reef areas including the Bahamas, Virgin Islands, the Antilles, and Honduras.

The Chalk Basslet is a cautious, peaceful species that can be encountered alone, in pairs, and most often in small groups over a patch of coral, or an old conch shell, at recorded depths from 39 to over 1300 feet.   They are most often seen over rock rubble on silty or sandy substrates, at depths from 60 to 300 feet, feeding on zooplankton and small invertebrates and are difficult to approach.

Chalk Basslets are a social species that prefer living together in small groups where they create a heiarchery with a dominant member choosing where to swim next.

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

The Chalk Basslet has an orange body color with a purple mid section, and vibrant electric blue vertical bands that accent the fish. Because they are a favorite prey for many predators on the reef, they utilize camouflage to protect themselves and can change colors at will.

Depending on the surrounding environment; you may find individuals with an orange body with vibrant blue stripes, a blue body with burgundy stripes, or an individual with a slash of purple down the middle of the body.

The Chalk Basslet is a hardy species that are best housed in small groups of at least 3 to 6 individuals in a FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least a 30 gallon capacity with a silty sand or finely crushed coral substrate and plenty of mature live rock for them to hide among. The larger the shoal, the better the behavior.

The Chalk Basslet is a great fish for reef tanks and are completely reef safe.  Being omnivores, they will graze around your SPS and LPS corals in their search for a meal, but they will not damage the polyps or bother sessile invertebrates.   Larger specimens have been known to attack small shrimps, especially those within the Periclimenes genus.

Housing a single basslet in a reef or community tank will result in shy, nervous, reclusive behavior.

When small groups of Serranus tortugarum are added to the aquarium at the same time, they will get along with each other as well as with other passive tankmates.   Adding an additional Chalk Basslet to an existing group could result in the newcomer being harrased to the point of starvation.

In an aquarium environment, Chalk Basslets are perfectly friendly and peaceful with tank mates of their own size, but territorial with their own species.

Because Chalk Basslets are found in the deeper waters of the Caribbean, they need caves, overhangs, an other areas in the tank with lower light levels to hide from any bright overhead lighting.   They also require a quality filtration system with a protein skimmer and possibly a chiller system to maintain water quality and temperature.

Chalk Basslets are synchronously hermaphrodic and pelagic spawners that have not been successfully bred in an aquarium environment.

In their natural environment, the Chalk Basslet feeds on plankton, crustaceans, and small invertebrates.    In an aquarium environment they do best on a varied diet of chopped meaty items such as live, frozen, or freeze dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, krill, or silver sides.  They will also readily accept carnivore and omnivore pellets. Feeding 1 to 2 times per day only what will be consumed within a few minutes is recommended. Overfeeding is often a problem with this species. They simply do not know when to quit eating.

The Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum) is popular with tropical fish keeping enthusiasts and is usually available from specialty fish shops, and online from wholesalers and retailers at purchase sizes from: Small 1″ to 2″; Medium 2″ to 3″; at prices in the $29.99 to $39.99 range.

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

Chalk Basslet (Serranus tortugarum)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–76 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 4″
Color Form: Blue, Orange, Purple
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef with Caution
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Serranidae
Lifespan: 1 to 2 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum)

 Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Spotted Tang or Mauritian Tang is found in the Western Indian Ocean and ranges from the coast of Mozambique, South Africa and Madagascar to the Islands of Mauritius and Réunion.

The Gem Tang is a rare, solitary, and highly prized species that inhabits the coral and rocky reefs of the range at depths from 35 to over 200 feet where they can be found grazing on algae.   Juveniles prefer relatively shallower depths, whereas adults are normally found in deeper waters and surge zones.

 Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

The Gem Tang has a stunning black body covered with a galaxy of vibrant white spots, a bright yellow caudal fin, and yellow accents on the pectoral fins. There are no external characteristics that can determine males from females.
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The Spotted Tang is best housed in a mature FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 180 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate, plenty of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs, and plenty of free swimming area.   Gem Tangs are completely reef safe and do well in large reef tanks. Although they are very territorial and will fight with other tangs, particularly other Zebrasoma tangs; Zebrasoma gemmatum will normally ignore other similar sized fish species.

If its not possible to keep your Gem Tang isolated from other tang species in a large tank, make sure to introduce all the tangs at the same time to minimize aggression. On the reef, Gem Tangs are very territorial and are mostly encountered as lone specimens.

Zebrasoma gemmatum are open water egg scatterers that have not yet been bred in an aquarium environment.

In their natural habitat on the rocky reefs, Gem Tangs spend their time grazing primarily on algae.  In an aquarium environment, they will pick at algae on mature live rock but still require a steady diet of brown, purple, and green marine algae; along with some meaty foods.

Dried Nori seaweed tied to a rock or on a veggie clip, Sea Veggies, Seaweed Salad, and Ocean Nutrition Seaweed Select are all ideal, easy to use products. Occasional meaty fare like brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and finely chopped pieces of fresh shrimp, scallops, mussels, clam, etc. should be offered to round out their diet.

A varied, but herbivore weighted diet is important to strengthen the fishes immune system, reduce aggression, and improve their overall health.

Because of the rarity and the fact that the Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum) comes from deeper waters and surge zones of their range which makes collecting them extremely difficult, they command a high price.

Tropical fish keeping enthusiast can find them online from a variety of wholesalers and retailers at purchase sizes of 3″ to 4″ at prices that vary from $499.00 to over $1762.99; to over $2000.00 for 5.25″ to 6.25″ specimens.

 Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

Gem Tang (Zebrasoma gemmatum

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 180 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 8.7″
Color Form: Black, White, Yellow
Diet: Herbivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: California, Mexico
Family: Acanthuridae
Lifespan: 7 to 10 years, possibly longer
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

The Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Peppermint Basslet is found in the western Atlantic from Bermuda and the Bahamas, into the Gulf of Mexico where it ranges from the Florida Keys, the Flower Garden Banks, and on the Campeche Bank off Mexico, southwards throughout the Caribbean Sea.

The Swissguard Basslet is a solitary species that lives in the caves, crevices, and overhangs found on the outer walls of the deeper coral reefs at depths from 10 to over 150 feet where they feed on small fish, small invertebrates, and crustaceans.    Swissguard Basslets are very territorial and will seldom stray far from their home rock, cave, or ledge; only venturing out to defend their territory or to find food.

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

The Swissguard Basslet has a pointed head with a relatively large mouth and a moderately elongated and compressed body. The body color is red to yellow orange with five wide alternating horizontal stripes of black and yellow.   There is a large black spot outlined in pale blue on the rear dorsal fin and lower anal fin, and two black spots joined by a black bar outlined in pale blue on the caudal fin.

Although the Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) is similar in size and coloration to the Candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi) and Swales Basslet (Liopropoma swalisi), it is less intensely colored.

The Swissguard Basslet is best housed in a FOWLR or reef aquiarium of at least 20 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs. Peppermint Basslets are reef safe and are compatible with most fish and invertebrates that are too large to be eaten.   Because it is found in the deeper waters of the Caribbean, it needs subdued lighting or several areas in the tank with lower light levels where it can hide from bright lighting.

The Swissguard Basslet is friendly and peaceful with tank mates close to it’s size, but is highly aggressive with their own species. That said, only one per tank is recommended.

Although the Swissguard Basslet has been bred in an aquarium environment, their larvae have not been successfully raised to adulthood. There is some evidence that they are protogynous hermaphrodites.

In their natural deep water environment, Swissguard Basslets feed mainly on crustaceans and tiny fish.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of meaty fresh, frozen, or freeze dried foods like vitamin enriched brine shrimp, Krill, silver sides, Mysis shrimp, finely chopped shrimp, etc. They will also eagerly accept carnivore and Spirulina based pellets. Several small daily feedings are recommended.

Although the Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) is rarely available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts in fish shops, they are available online from a variety of wholesalers and retailers, usually on a waiting list basis.  Prices for average purchase sizes of 1-1/2″ to 2-1/4″ vary from $129.99 to over $375.00.

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–78 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 3″
Color Form: Red, Yellow, Black
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Excellent Reef
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Serranidae
Lifespan: 2 to over 4 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara) is a deep water species found in the tropical western Atlantic Ocean and range from the West Indies to the Bahamas.

Black Cap Basslets are a peaceful, solitary species that inhabit the outer vertical reef slopes and drop offs at depths from 35 to 600 feet. Although they are occasionally collected in shallower depths, they are usually found living between 65 and 200 feet along the cliff walls and steep vertical drop offs of their range, always close to the caves and crevices where they retreat to seek cover when they feel threatened.

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslets have a brilliant purple body with a jet black diagonal cap that begins at the mouth, goes through the eyes, and tapers to end at the tip of the dorsal fin.   There are no external differences between sexes.

Black Cap Basslets are best housed in a reef or FOWLR aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sand of crushed coral substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, overhangs, and crevices for them to hide among.   Although they are peaceful, they are very territorial with their own kind and may fight with other basslets or similar looking blennies species unless they are housed in a tank of at least 120 gallons, preferably larger.   Suitable tank mates include Dwarf Angelfish, Clownfish, Damselfish, Boxfish, Gobies, Tangs, and Hawkfish.

Gramma melacara are considered reef safe, however, they may devour small Invertebrates, such as copepods, amphipods, and isopods. Tiny shrimp may be eaten by this species.

Because they are a deep water species, they do better in an aquarium equipped with with a chiller system and slightly subdued lighting.

Black Cap Basslets have been bred in an aquarium environment.   Adults display distinct pairing during breeding and vigorously defend their nest against intruders. The male will build a nest using algae and tiny pieces of plant matter. After a brief courtship ritual, the female will lay a mass of up to 400 small adhesive eggs on the substrate, per spawn.   After the male fertilizes the eggs, both parents will aerate and stand guard over the spawn until they hatch out.   Black Cap Basslets are sequential hermaphrodites that have the ability to change sex depending on their reproductive situation.

In their natural habitat, Black Cap Basslets are carnivores that feed on a variety of Copepods, Isopods, Amphipods, and tiny fish.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of fresh and frozen, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, marine fish, crustacean flesh, finely chopped fresh shrimp, etc.

Because of their deep water habitat, the Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara) is usually available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish shops and online wholesalers, retailers, and trans shippers at approximate purchase sizes of: Small: 1” to 2”; Medium: 2″ to 3″; Large 3″ to 4″.

Prices currently range from $89.00 to $120.00 for small specimens.

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

Black Cap Basslet (Gramma melacara)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72–78 °F, dKH 8 – 12°, pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 4″
Color Form: Black, Purple
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Reef with Caution
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Grammidae
Lifespan: 2 to over 4 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Garibaldi Damselfish (Hypsypops rubicundus)

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

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Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Adult Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Adult Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as White Banded Damselfish, and White Banded Damsel are widespread throughout Indo Pacific waters from East Africa to the Marquesas Islands and Society Islands, north to Japan, and south to Australia.

Surge Damselfish are found alone and in small groups on the reef flats, submerged terraces, and around the rubble found in the channels created by the reef tidal surges at depths from 3 to over 40 feet, where they feed on benthic algae, small crustaceans, fish eggs, and algae.

Although adult Surge Damselfish are highly territorial and keep close to shelter in the rubble strewn channels and outermost reaches of exposed reef flats and upper submarine terrace at depths of around 40 feet, they are frequently found in small groups.

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Juvenile Surge Damselfish are a beautiful bright blue and yellow color.   As the become adults, they change into an intriguing gray to gray brown color with a white stripe pattern on the flanks.

Two color phases of Surge Damselfish exist.  A leucopoma phase, which is the blue backed variety; and the amabilis phase, which has a gray to black body that normally has two light bars and a large, blue edged black spot at end of dorsal fin base. Another yellow form has black spots at end of dorsal fin and its base.

Juvenile Surge Damselfish are considered semi aggressive.   As they grow into adulthood, they become more territorial and aggressive toward other species.

Surge Damselfish are best housed in a FOWLR or reef tank of at least 70 gallon capacity with a crushed coral or sandy substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to graze on and hide among.   Their aggressive and territorial behavior makes them unsuitable for keeping with many semi aggressive species, especially when they become adults, however, they can be housed with dottybacks, large angelfish, surgeonfish, and triggerfish. Chrysiptera brownriggii are completely reef safe with corals, larger crustaceans, and with caution, invertebrates.

The reproductive habits of the Surge Damselfish have not been well documented, however, they are oviparous and display distinct pairing during breeding. Pairs follow a benthic egg laying cycle where after a brief courtship “dance”, the female lays her adhesive eggs on the substrate. After the male fertilizes the demersal eggs, he will guard and aerate them until they hatch out. The 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.

In their native habitat, Surge Damselfish feed on benthic algae, small crustaceans, fish eggs, and filamentous algae.   In an aquarium environment, they do well on a varied diet of vegetable matter and protein.   Meaty foods like finely chopped frozen seafood, krill, squid, clams, brine shrimp, Copepods, Daphnia salina, Fish larvae, and Mysis shrimp are ideal foods; along with herbivore or Spirulina flakes. Feed small portions several times a day.

Juvenile Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii) are rarely available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts however online wholesalers, trans-shippers, and retailers occasionally have them for sale at a reasonable cost.

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

Surge Damselfish (Chrysiptera brownriggii)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 70 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 73.4 °F – 78.8 °F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 3.15″
Color Form: Brown, Blue, Black, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indo Pacific
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 5-6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate

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Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Adult Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Adult Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as
Bicolor Blackmouth Chromis, Behns Damselfish, Blackmouth Chromis, Blackmouth Damselfish, Yellow Honey Damsel, Black and Gold Chromis, Behn’s Damsel, Behn’s Damselfish, Scar-face Damsel-fish, Scarface Damsel, Yellowfin Damsel, and Behn´s Riffbarsch are distributed throughout the Eastern Indian Ocean, and Western Pacific.

In the East Indian Ocean they are found in the Eastern Andaman Sea (Phuket), Indonesia, and northern Australia.

In the Pacific Ocean they are found around Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and New Caledonia, Vietnam, Taiwan, southern Japan and Ogasawara Islands, Malayan Archipelago, New Guinea, Palau, Ryukyu Islands, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Hawaii.

 Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Two forms of Yellow Stripe Damsels exist.   The black, long tailed form occurs in the Andaman Sea and ranges east to western Bali and north to Japan. The second form, Neoglyphidodon xanthurus occurs in the rest of the West Pacific.  Their ranges overlap on the north coast of Bali.

Yellow Stripe Damsels are usually found alone in the coral rich areas of lagoons and seaward reefs at depths from 6 to over 75 feet where they feed on algae, crustaceans, pelagic tunicates and salps.

Yellow Stripe Damsels are always born male but will change sex to become female as they grow; this is called successive protandrous hermaphroditism.

Juvenile Yellow Stripe Damsels have a bright yellow body color with two horizontal black stripes along the head and body, and a black spot at the base of the pectoral fin.   As they grow into adulthood, the body takes on a mostly dark brown to grayish brown color that begins at the head and transitions into a bright yellow color at the rear of the fish.   Two dark vertical bars on the pale face run below the eye and
behind the preopercle.

The Yellow Stripe Damsel is a solitary, semi aggressive, non migratory, reef associated species that becomes more aggressive and territorial as they mature into adulthood.

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Juvenile Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Juvenile Neoglyphidodon nigroris are best housed as solitary individuals in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sandy or finely crushed coral substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for them to hide among and graze on. In a community tank, they will chase smaller fish and hide in the live rock crevices to avoid bigger fish.   Their aggressive and territorial behavior makes them unsuitable for keeping with many semi aggressive species, especially as they become adults.

Yellow Stripe Damselfish require pristine water quality to flourish and avoid diseases.   Monthly 20% to 30% water changes are recommended to keep the nitrate content below 50mg/L.

Although the reproductive habits of the Yellow Stripe Damsel have not been well studied, they are oviparous and display distinct pairing during breeding. Pairs follow a benthic egg laying cycle where after a brief courtship “dance”, the female lays her adhesive eggs on a rock or shell in the substrate.  After the male fertilizes the demersal eggs, he guards and aerates them until they hatch. The 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.

In their native habitat, Bicolor Blackmouth Chromis feed on pelagic tunicates, salps, zooplankton, and algae.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a varied diet of vegetable matter and protein.  Meaty foods like finely chopped frozen seafoods, squid, clams, vitamin enriched brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp are ideal foods, as well as herbivore or Spirulina flakes. Feed them small amounts several times a day.

Juvenile Yellow Stripe Damsels (Neoglyphidodon nigroris) are occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts from specialty fish stores, online wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers at a price of $8.99 to $12.99 for a 3/4″ to 1-1/2″ specimen.

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

Yellow Stripe Damsel (Neoglyphidodon nigroris)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 5″
Color Form: Black, Tan, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Indian Ocean
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 10 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Tracey's Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey's Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Tracey’s Demoiselles are a rare species of damselfish found in the Marshall and Caroline Islands in the Western Pacific Ocean. Specimens have also been reported in the Phillipines and Mariana Islands, as well as Tonga.

Tracey’s Damselfish are a diurnal species found singly and in small groups close to the bottom below the effects of the ocean’s surges in the lagoons and the seaward reefs of their range, at depths from 5 to over 130 feet where they graze on algae and zooplankton.

Tracey's Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish are colored predominately purple and yellow. The purple color begins at the head of the fish and transitions into a warm pink and orange color at midships, into a bright canary yellow at the anterior portion; with translucent yellow pectoral, anal, soft dorsal, and caudal fins. A dark black splotch appears between the soft dorsal and rear of the dorsal fin. The scales have tiny vertical electric blue to black markings that stand out under reef lighting.

Tracey’s Damselfish are best housed in small groups of odd numbered fish in a FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 30 gallon capacity, with a sandy or finely crushed coral substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among. Adult Chrysiptera traceyi tend to ignore other fish, invertebrates, and corals but may be territorial towards their own kind or similar sized fish. They are completely reef safe.

Although Tracey’s Damselfish have not been successfully bred in an aquarium environment, they are oviparous and demonstrate distinct pairing during breeding. After a brief courtship ritual, the female will deposit a mass of small adhesive eggs on the substrate. The male will immediately fertilize the eggs, stand guard, and aerate the demersal eggs until the larvae hatch out.  The tiny fry in their larval stage drift with the current as plankton feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as partially developed damselfish.

In their natural habitat, Tracey’s Damselfish feed on algae and zooplankton.   In an aquarium environment they are not picky about their food and will aggressively accept a variety of fresh, frozen, or freeze dried meaty foods such as frozen Mysis or brine shrimp, chopped clam, fresh fish, herbivore preparations, and flaked foods. Feeding several times a day is recommended.

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi) are occasionally seen in the aquarium trade but are not a commonly stocked item. Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can occasionally find them online from divers, wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers, usually by special order at prices around $29.99 for small; 3/4″-1″specimens.

Tracey's Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

Tracey’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera traceyi)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-78° F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 1.75″
Color Form: Purple, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Fiji, Marshall and Caroline Islands
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Stark’s Demoiselle or Starcki Damsel is found in the Western Pacific from the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan, and south to Australia, New Caledonia, and Tonga. Recent genetic studies on Starcki populations from Tonga and specimens from Philippines reefs suggest that the two are markedly different.

Stark’s Damselfish are found alone and occasionally in pairs on coral reefs, rocky outcrops, and among the crevices and sandy channels on the deeper outer reef slopes in depths from 65 to over 200 feet, where they feed on algae, zooplankton, and phytoplankton.

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

The Starcki Damsel has a bright blue body with a bright yellow stripe running the length of the dorsal to the tail. The jaw of the fish is yellow.

The Tonga and Australian populations have a caudal peduncle that is mostly yellow, with sparse specks of blue. The tail lobes are more emarginate and slightly forked at the tip.

Populations from the Philippines and upwards to Japan have blue on the entire caudal peduncle, as well as part of the rays on the tail. The lobes of the tail are also rounded, not forked like Australian populations.

Stark’s Damselfish are a semi aggressive species that can be housed as a single specimen in a mature FOWLR or reef tank of at least 30 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate, plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, holes, overhangs, and caves for them to hide among, and lots of free swimming space.

Juvenile Stark’s Damselfish are not very aggressive, but as they grow larger they can be intolerant of their own kind, similar looking species, or anything that infringes in its territory.   Although only one specimen should be housed in a 30 gallon tank, a pair can be housed in a 100 gallon or larger tank provided plenty of hiding places are available.   Chrysiptera starcki are completely reef safe with corals and will ignore invertebrates.

The Stark’s Damselfish is a substrate spawner that pairs up to breed and will spawn in reef tanks. They have been bred in an aquarium environment, however, the eggs and larvae are quite small, subject to predation in the tank, and the fry are extremely difficult to rear.

During breeding, the male will prepare a territory full of rubble for the female to deposit her eggs and then quickly swim back and forth flashing his colors to entice a receptive female.   After the female deposits her adhesive, demersal eggs, the male will then fertilize and 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.

Stark’s Damselfish are omnivores that feed on zooplankton and algae in their natural environment.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of fresh, frozen, or freeze dried vitamin enriched foods to thrive and maintain their bright colors.   They are not fussy eaters and will accept frozen vitamin enriched brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, algae flakes, etc.

Although Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki) have been sold in fish shops to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts for over a decade, they are still not commonly traded and are more expensive than most damselfish. This is probably because they tend to occur mainly in deeper waters, which makes collection more difficult.

They are available online from wholesale and retail sites at the following approximate purchase sizes: Small: 3/4″ to 1-1/4 ; Medium: 1-1/4″ to 2-1/4″ ; Large: 2 1/4″ to 3 1/4. The medium size from the Coral Sea currently sell for $89.99.

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

Stark’s Damselfish (Chrysiptera starcki)

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef, FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi 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: 3.5″
Color Form: Blue, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: West Pacific
Family: Pomacanthidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Madagascar Damselfish is a previously unknown species that was collected from Nosy Faho, Madagascar.

In December of 2018, four Pomacentrus vatosoa specimens were harvested from a reef off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, by divers working in the area at a relatively accessible depth of 45 to 60 feet.

Corazon’s Damselfish were encountered alone and in pairs among corals, crevices, and caves in coral rich areas of sheltered reefs and clear water lagoons of their range, at depths between 40 to over 65 feet.

Like Pomacentrus atriaxillaris, they are believed to be a non migratory, reef dependent species, that forage on microalgae and small planktonic invertebrates during the daylight hours and shelter among the nooks, crevices, and coral branches at night to protect themselves from predation.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish have a striking pearlescent white body color with a large black spot behind the pectoral fin at the middle of the body and a similiarly sized black saddle across the upper edge of the caudal peduncle, and a recurved black band that runs through the eyes and extends upward to the light gray dorsal fin which is edged in an electric royal blue color.   The black stripe that runs through the eyes of the Madagascar Damselfish is common to butterfly fishes, but exceptionally rare in damselfishes.

The overall pattern of Corazon’s Damselfish markings resemble those of Stark’s damselfish (Chrysiptera starki) which lives in the reefs of the far distant Coral Sea, however, after examination of its genetics and morphology, systematic ichthyologists Mr. Frable and Mr. Tea concluded that the fish is a new species in the damselfish genus Pomacentrus, not Chrysiptera, as originally suspected.

The new species Pomacentrus vatosoa now appears to be most closely related to Pomacentrus atriaxillaris.

Although there are no reports available for this species being kept in captivity, Corazon’s Damselfish should be housed in a mature FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among.

Corazon’s Damselfish are believed to be reef safe and should not disturb corals or invertebrates in a reef tank.   Like other damselfish in their genus, individuals can occasionally become territorial towards their own kind or similar sized fish but they will generally ignore invertebrates, corals, and other fish in a peaceful species reef tank. Until more is know about them, consider Pomacentrus vatosoa Reef Safe with Caution.

Although nothing is yet known about breeding Corazon’s Damselfish, characteristics for the family suggests that this species is oviparous, with distinct pairing during breeding.   After a brief courtship ritual, the female will lay her small adhesive eggs on a cleaned substrate.   After fertilizing the demersal eggs, the male guards and aerates them until the larvae hatch out.   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 partially developed damselfish.

In their natural environment, Corazon’s Damselfish are omnivores that feed on microalgae and small planktonic invertebrates.   In an aquarium environment, they should be offered a variety of vegetable and meaty items such as live, frozen, or freeze dried brine shrimp, Amphipods, Copepods, Invertebrates, Mysis, Zooplankton, finely chopped clams, fresh fish, and Spirulina flakes. Feeding a varied diet several times a day is recommended.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa) are not yet available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts however, with their current scarcity and long transport distances you can expect them to retail in the price range of $200.00 to $250.00.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 78-80.5°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 2¾”
Color Form: White, Black, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef OK
Origin: Western Indian Ocean, Madagascar
Family: Pomacentrus
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

 

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Juvenile Dusky Damselfish ( Stegastes adustus)

Dusky Damselfish (Stegastes adustus syn. Stegastes dorsopunicans)

Adult Dusky Damselfish  ( Stegastes adustus)

Adult Dusky Damselfish ( Stegastes adustus)

Dusky Damselfish (Stegastes adustus syn. Stegastes dorsopunicans) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Scarlet Backed Damselfis and Scarlet Backed Demoiselle is found in tropical waters of the Western Central Atlantic from Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and along the coast of central America, to Panama and Venezuela. It has also been observed in the Bahamas and the Antilles.

Adult Dusky Damselfish are a demersal species that inhabit rocky shores exposed to wave action and the high energy surge zones along the outer edges of shallow inshore reefs at depths from 3 to over 60 feet.

Although Dusky Damselfish have been encountered as deep as 65 feet, they normally prefer shallower waters within the surge zone in depths less than 15 feet where they forage primarily on algae, plants, detritus, benthic invertebrates, and plankton.   They are often found swimming in tidal pools.

Stegastes adustus are an aggressive, non migratory, midwater species that occasionally make their way into the aquarium trade as juveniles.

Juvenile Dusky Damselfish  ( Stegastes adustus)

Juvenile Dusky Damselfish ( Stegastes adustus)

Juvenile Stegastes adustus have a reddish orange body color with a red-brown cap on the nape of the neck and upper edge of the body and small bright blue spotted lines on the forehead and upper front of the body, and a large black, blue ringed ocellus on the lower part of the dorsal fin and upper body adjacent to the dorsal spines.   Another smaller black spot ringed in blue is on the upper base of the caudal fin.

As Dusky Damselfish mature into adults, they lose their bright body colors and develop a blackish, dark gray, or chocolate brown body color with vertical black lines and a black spot, sometimes diffused, at the upper base of the pale pectoral fins.   The other fins are the same color as the body except for a narrow dark to blueish edge on the anal fin.   The dorsal and anal fins do not extend beyond where the tail fin rays join the base of the tail.   Adults are similar in nature and body shape to freshwater bluegills.

Dusky Damselfish are often confused with the Beaugregory (Stegastes leucostictus) that has blue dorsally and yellow ventrally; the Bicolor Damselfish (Stegastes partitus) with white on the rear half of body; the Cocoa Damselfish (Stegastes variabilis) with yellow caudal and pectoral fins; the Freshwater Gregory (Stegastes otophorous) with yellow anal, caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fin tips; the Longfin Damselfish (Stegastes diencaeus) with a blue line at the marginof the anal fin and blue pectoral fins; the Purple Reeffish (Chromis scotti) with a blue and gray color; and the Yellowtail Damselfish (Microspathodon chrysurus) with blue spots on the upper body.

Dusky Damselfish are a large, territorial, and quite pugnacious species that should be housed alone in a reef or FOWLR aquarium of at least 100 gallon capacity with a sandy or fine crushed coral substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for hiding among.   Adult Dusky Damselfish can quickly become the dominant species in the tank and although they are extremely aggressive, they are still considered reef safe, with caution.   In larger aquariums, they can be housed with other semi aggressive to aggressive species so long as plenty of free swimming area and mature live rock is provided.

Whether Dusky Damselfish have been in an aquarium environment is unknown.   Adults display distinct pairing during breeding and vigorously defend their territories against intruders.  After a brief courtship ritual, the female will lay a mass of small adhesive eggs on the substrate.   The male will immediately fertilize the eggs, stand guard, and aerate the demersal eggs until the larvae hatch out.   The tiny fry in their larval stage drift with the current as plankton feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as partially developed damselfish.

In their natural habitat, adult Dusky Damselfish feed on algae, plants, and detritus.   Individuals living in coral rubble exhibit different feeding behaviors than those in patch reef habitats, however, in an aquarium environment they are not picky about their food and will aggressively eat a varied diet of green and meaty foods.   A varied diet of live, frozen, or freeze dried Spirulina, herbivore flakes, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, finely chopped clams, fresh fish, etc. will be eagerly accepted.   Feeding several times a day is recommended.

Dusky Damselfish (Stegastes adustus) are occasionally seen in the aquarium trade as juveniles but are not a commonly stocked item. Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can occasionally find them online from divers, wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers or back order them at prices varying from $10.99 to over $14.99.

Juvenile Dusky Damselfish  ( Stegastes adustus)

Juvenile Dusky Damselfish ( Stegastes adustus)

Minimum Tank Size: 100 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 7.9-8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max size: 4.9″
Color Form: Black, Orange, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Western Central Atlantic
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: over 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Pair of Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Pair of Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Pair of Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi) known to tropical fish keeping enthusists as Cross’ Damselfish, Orange Honey Damselfish, Cross’s Damsel, Red Honey Damsel, and Red Chromis is found in the Western Central Pacific Ocean around Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas.

Red Honey Damselfish are a shy, solitary, non migratory, reef associated species that are normally found alone or in pairs around relatively shallow coral reefs at depths from 3 to less than 50 feet.

Adult Red Honey Damselfish are frequently found swimming near the surface in the shallow gutters of rocky areas and around the coral reefs in protected bays and lagoons.

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Juvenile Red Honey Damselfish have an orange to red orange body color with a black bottom and a horizontal blue line that extends from the snout, just over the eye, to the caudal pentacle.   The pelvic and anal fins are the same reddish orange color as the body.

As they grow into adulthood, the orange body color becomes more grayish and the vivid blue line becomes less distinct.

Adult Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Adult Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Mature adults lose their bright colors and have an overall brown body color.

Red Honey Damselfish can be housed in a mature reef or FOWLR tank of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sandy or finely crushed coral substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among.   Although Neoglyphidodon crossi are considered semi aggressive, they are totally reef safe and will not harm corals or invertebrates.

When housed in small tanks, the Red Honey Damselfish will become aggressive to other damsels and clownfish.   In larger tanks, small odd numbered groups can be kept together without incident, however, they can often be aggressive towards new fish additions.

Red Honey Damselfish have been bred in an aquarium environment but the fry are difficult to rear.

During the breeding season in their natural habitat, Red Honey Damselfish pair off and after a brief courtship ritual, the female will lay a mass of small adhesive eggs on the substrate.  After fertilizing the demersal eggs, the male will guard and aerate the eggs until the larvae hatch out. 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 partially developed damselfish.

Red Honey Damselfish are not picky about their food and will aggressively eat a varied diet of meaty and green foods.   Live, frozen, or freeze dried Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, finely chopped clams, fresh fish, Spirulina, herbivore flakes, etc. will be eagerly accepted. Feeding several times a day is recommended.

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi) are occasionally seen in the aquarium trade but are not a commonly stocked item. Tropical fish keeping enthusiasts can occasionally find them online from wholesalers, trans shippers, and retailers or back order them at prices varying from $14.99 to over $19.99 at the following approximate purchase sizes: Up to .75″, Small: Over .75-1″, Small to Medium: Over 1-1.5″, Medium: Over 1.5-2″, Medium to Large: Over 2-2.5″, Large: Over 2.5-3″, Extra Large: Over 3-3.5″, Extra Extra Large: Over 3.5″.

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

Red Honey Damselfish (Neoglyphidodon crossi)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 74-82° F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 7.9-8.5, sg 1.020-1.027
Max size: 3.9″
Color Form: Orange, Red, White, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef
Origin: Western Pacific Ocean, Sulawesi and the Moluccas
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: over 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as Honey Gregory Damselfish are found in the Western Atlantic with a range that extends to Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and adjacent waters.

Threespot Damselfish are a demersal species that are found on both inshore and offshore reefs at depths from 1 to over 130 feet, where during daylight hours, they can be seen foraging mainly on algae.  At night they are usually found at those depths sleeping in caves, crevices, holes, ledges, and among the tangled branches of staghorn corals.

Threespot Damselfish are an aggressive, non migratory, reef associated midwater species that occasionally make their way into the aquarium trade.

Adult Threespot Damselfish are usually encountered as solitary individuals or in pairs near the top of the outer edges of coral reefs in very shallow waters among abundant growths of algae.

Like Pink Smith Damselfish (Pomacentrus smithi)  and other damselfishes species in the Caribbean and around the world; Threespot Damselfish are primarily herbivores that cultivate gardens of algae for food and areas for the females to deposit their eggs.  In order to encourage growth of their preferred algae species, the fish meticulously tend to their gardens by removing small invertebrates and unwanted species of algae from their “plots”. Adults vigorously guard large territories and will aggressively chase intruders, including divers, out of their gardens.   To have the greatest chance of success in courting a female, males spend a lot of time keeping their gardens at the highest quality.

Like several other species of damselfish; juvenile Threespot Damselfish often set up cleaning stations where they act like cleaner wrasses and feed on the external parasites of other fish species.

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Adult Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Adult Threespot Damselfish have a brownish gray body color with a dusky yellowish hue, several dark vertical lines following rows of scales, and a large black spot at the base of the dusky pectoral fins.

Juvenile Stegastes planifrons have a bright yellow body color with a few tiny blue spots on the head, upper

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

body, and one on the upper iris. They have three distinctive black spots that identify them; one located at the base of the dorsal fin, one dorsally on the caudal peduncle, and a smaller black spot at the upper base of the pectoral fin. The spots are often rimmed a faint blue color and in very young juveniles, the pectoral spot is absent.

The Threespot Damselfish can easily be confused with the Cocoa Damselfish (Stegastes variabilis) with yellow anal, caudal, and pectoral fins; and the Longfin Damselfish (Stegastes diencaeus) with an anal fin with a blue margin.

Threespot Damselfish or Honey Gregory Damselfish are a large, aggressive, species that should be housed alone in a reef or FOWLR aquarium of at lest 55 gallon capacity with a sandy or fine crushed coral substrate and plenty of mature live rock arranged into caves, crevices, and overhangs for hiding among. Regardless of age or size, Threespot Damselfish will quickly become the dominant species in the tank and although they are extremely aggressive, they are still considered reef safe. In larger aquariums, they can be housed with other semi aggressive to aggressive species so long as plenty of free swimming area and mature live rock is provided.

Threespot Damselfish have reportedly been bred in an aquarium environment.   Adults display distinct pairing during breeding and form breeding pairs that vigorously maintain large territories.   Males work to maintain high quality gardens to have the best chance at success in courting a female.

When a receptive female decides to spawn in the male’s territory and deposits her adhesive eggs on the fronds of algae growing in his garden, the male will immediately fertilize the demersal eggs and guard the nest while constantly oxygenating the eggs with his fins until they hatch out.   Both parents will usually aggressively defend the eggs from wrasses, parrotfish, and other predators.   Once hatched out, the tiny fry in their larval stage will drift with the current as plankton feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton for up to 20 days before settling to the bottom as partially developed damselfish. The fry are born male or female and will remain that way for the rest of their lives.

Threespot Damselfish feed primarily on algae that they propagate as well as harpacticoid copepods, small gastropods, eggs of mollusks, sponges, polychaetes, marine worms, sponges, and hydroids.   In an aquarium environment, they should be fed a variety of herbivore preparations, occasional meaty items, and flaked foods. High quality omnivore flakes and pellets, along with fresh, frozen, or freeze dried algae, Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, krill, plankton, chopped shrimp, scallops, clam, etc. will all be eagerly consumed. Feeding small portions 2 to 3 times a day is recommended.

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons) are only occasionally available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts online from a variety of wholesale and retail sites at prices from $19.99 to $29.99 at a purchase size of: 1.5″ – 2.25″.

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

Threespot Damselfish (Stegastes planifrons)

 

 

 

 

 

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-78°F, dKH 8 to 12, pH 8.0 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max. Size: 5″
Color Form: Gray, Black, Yellow
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef Safe
Origin: Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, Bermuda, Gulf of Mexico
Family: Pomacentridae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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