best damselfish for a community system

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McPuff

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Keep in mind that the most docile damsel can still be a real jerk compared to most fishes. It's all relative. I have a few azure and they are ok most of the time. A half black is mostly nice to the other fish but will bite me whenever I have my hand in the tank. The nicest damsel I have is probably the talbotts. Even in my 300 they get really territorial so it's best to put the damsels in all at once or in groups. I would also put them in towards the end of your stocking plan.
 

Tbg299

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I want to have a damselfish in my aquarium but am aware of the warning against their nature. I heard Azure (not to be confused with the yellowtail) Damsels are the least aggressive species as far as damselfish go. My current stock:


1 pair of occelaris

1 Royal Gramma

1 pair of banggais



I plan on adding:

1 CBA (may need to return if it starts nipping at corals)
1 Yelow watchman/pisto shrimp pair
1 agae blennie
1 cleaner shrimp


If I add the Azure (or whatever species you recommend) as the last fish will it increase my success of having it be a good community member?
I have a trio of Talbot's damselfish and they have gotten along very well with my Royal Gramma.
 

areefer01

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As noted earlier most damsels in the Chrysiptera genus are considered by most hobbyists as more even tempered and well behaved towards others in home aquaria. Of course please note that not all tanks, and fish, are equal so your mileage may vary. So it is generally assumed you can pick any in this genus, read a bit, and see if they are a fit for your display and if it is something you want to do.

Personally speaking I've kept azures and talbots together. More recently in my 210 gallon display I have 1 surge, 1 azure, and 7 Pavo/Sapphires (biota group captive). They do well but out of all the surge is the most calm. Azure is more territorial, and the Sapphires are the larger and out in front and center. Sapphires though are alwasy spawning and show inner group aggression and hierarchy shuffling. Very pretty fish, deep colors, but move a lot of sand by digging.

I also have a scopas and lavender tang and you may wonder why I bring this up. The scopas never really startled the damsels. The lavender did. It was the largest fish in my display and when he would swim past the damsels, sapphires, would take notes and swoop into the corals. Didn't think much of it. One day I introduced a copperband and the lavender tang didn't take too kindly to it. Chased it into a corner and wouldn't let it leave. Days went by and I had to make a decision. Copperband or the lavender. I caught and rehomed the lavender. Next day the sapphires are out the whole day and reacted a lot differently. Almost like the lavender was a predator but it never was. Just the size I guess kept the status quo :)

Damsels are great but you need their respected safety space. Territorial. Space to retreat. Space to sleep. Mature corals to break chase as they weave in and out of. Mature rock. I wouldn't put groups of any in a new display but rather hold up until it is mature. This is also similar to how I treat say Anthias. Anything that is harem or shoaling or groups that chase, change sex, or have a known hierarchy pattern it is best to add to mature tanks if adding more than one.

tl; dr: chrysiptera is starting genus to look at.
 

Fishfreak2009

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A lot of the Pomacentrus are relatively peaceful and work pretty well, especially if added later in the stocking. One of my favorites is Pomacentrus smithi. Males develop a beautiful blue head with the pink body. Pomacentrus coelestis and Pomacentrus similis are also good choices.

Another great choice is Amblyglyphidodon ternatensis. Its a gorgeous fish, looks and acts like a green chromis without bullying each other, less likely to come in with Uronema, and very peaceful. Even kept a trio with some seahorses and a pipefish pair for a few years.

I kept all of these in various setups, as well as various Chromis and Neopomacentrus cyanomos (always did fine as long as fed 4x+ per day, and various Chrysiptera (including C. taupou) without issue. Just don't make them the first fish in the tank, and having larger fish helps. My 380 gallon had an 8" niger trigger and all the damsels and chromis would swoop out of his way whenever he came around.

Dascyllus make pretty good tankmates for large predator fish. I kept a 5" domino with a miniatus grouper, a white spotted grouper, a coral catshark, a striped bamboo shark, a powder blue tang, a vlamingii tang, 3 yellow tangs, a sailfin tang, a scopas tang, a lavender tang, 2 blackbar soldierfish, an orange spot rabbitfish, a threadfin snapper, an XL tomato clown, and a pinktail trigger without issues.

I've kept princess damsels (Pomacentrus vaiuli), black and gold damsels (Neoglyphidodon nigoris), flame damsels (Pomacentrus bankanensis), neon velvet damsels (Neoglyphidodon oxyodon), bluefin damsels (Neoglyphidodon melas), various Dascyllus sp (auranaus and melanurus), and the red honey damsel (Neoglyphidodon crossi), and while gorgeous as youngsters, most turn black, brown, or grey with age, and all are much more aggressive.

Having a damsel only tank, or with a few large tangs etc. would be an interesting concept, set up as a pile of rock and crowded with a bunch of different species like is done with Mbuna in freshwater. It may work, and the results could potentially be spectacular with an extremely hardy batch of fish.
 

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