Damsels as first fish

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1fastfxr

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Hi all. I believe I already know the answer to my question. I bought 2 azure damsels awhile back to cycle my quarantine tank with, after adding doctor Tim's one and only. I bought these fish knowing they are jerks, but also very hardy. My original intent was to give them to a friend or the lfs after my main display was set up and ready to accept new fish from my quarantine. The problem being is the main display tank is now ready to go and my wife has developed a close personal relationship with the damsels. I know it is not a good idea to introduce them as the first fish to the tank. But, I'm trying to keep a happy wife and therefore a happy life. Any suggestions as to whether putting them in the main display first is going to cause any real harm would be greatly appreciated and thank you for your input in advance. Also, the tank is 90 gallons.
 
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vetteguy53081

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Most any of them will be a future nightmare
Better off with a clown or firefish goby
 

HB AL

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Depends on the fish your adding, if they look like these then you won't have any issues. ;)
20201114_105101.jpg
 

wcroft987

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Don’t do it!
Once everything is going well something will happen and you will want to remove them. Than you have to catch two little escape artists and will even up disassembling your whole tank to get them out. I would save the headache and take the hit from your wife now.
It happened to me with springer damsels. They killed a pair of nice clowns and a few other fish and my wife finally agreed to let me remove them and take them back to the lfs for credit.
 
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Tamberav

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Hi all. I believe I already know the answer to my question. I bought 2 azure damsels awhile back to cycle my quarantine tank with, after adding doctor Tim's one and only. I bought these fish knowing they are jerks, but also very hardy. My original intent was to give them to a friend or the lfs after my main display was set up and ready to accept new fish from my quarantine. The problem being is the main display tank is now ready to go and my wife has developed a close personal relationship with the damsels. I know it is not a good idea to introduce them as the first fish to the tank. But, I'm trying to keep a happy wife and therefore a happy life. Any suggestions as to whether putting them in the main display first is going to cause any real harm would be greatly appreciated and thank you for your input in advance. Also, the tank is 90 gallons.

put them in the sump or fuge area until they ready for DT

Also next time you can just cycle a tank with a bottle of biospira. Way faster anyways.
 
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1fastfxr

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Thanks for all your input guys. I don't want to put them in my fuge since I'm affraid of them devouring my pod population.
 

zalick

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Read up on Azures. They are pretty peaceful.

@ca1ore has around 50 damsels and can speak to the azure with some authority.
 
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1fastfxr

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Read up on Azures. They are pretty peaceful.

@ca1ore has around 50 damsels and can speak to the azure with some authority.
Thanks for the info. I always heard they were peaceful, for a damsel, but also heard no damsel of any kind should be added as a first fish. As you suggested. I'm going to do more research.
 

tigerhawk

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Peaceful for a damsel. They are all little jerks in my opinion. So the damsels you mentioned are just less of a jerk than the others. But still little jerks, I will never have them in my tank again. I had to take the tank apart to get them out.
 

ca1ore

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With the possible exception of the PJ cardinal, every SW fish I’ve kept can be aggressive under the right conditions. The trick is to not provide those conditions. In a small tank, a single yellow tail can be a problem. Kept as a group with adequate space they’re just fine.
 
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1fastfxr

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Peaceful for a damsel. They are all little jerks in my opinion. So the damsels you mentioned are just less of a jerk than the others. But still little jerks, I will never have them in my tank again. I had to take the tank apart to get them out.
That's my opinion. But wanted others opinions. I'm still going to do more research.
 

Alexopora

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As someone that has damsels, I have to agree. Its not recommended adding damsels first. Basically start with your timid fish first if possible and only add the damsels last. Part of issue with damsels isnt just their aggression but its how difficult it is to catch them. You would need a miracle to not need to tear down your entire reefscape just to catch them. Other than that, they are a really cool and interesting group of fish. They are especially fun to look at zooming in and out of caves, crevices and sps.
 

sp1187

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got nothing on the damsel. suggest you feed your fish using a turkey baster. when they get used to that they will come right to the baster when it goes in the water. makes netting fish supper easy. just in case you have to remove the damsels, or any other fish at a later date.
 

burningmime

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As someone that has damsels, I have to agree. Its not recommended adding damsels first. Basically start with your timid fish first if possible and only add the damsels last. Part of issue with damsels isnt just their aggression but its how difficult it is to catch them. You would need a miracle to not need to tear down your entire reefscape just to catch them. Other than that, they are a really cool and interesting group of fish. They are especially fun to look at zooming in and out of caves, crevices and sps.

I've heard that adding a big fangtooth eel is an effective way to remove them from the tank.
 

Surf985

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As others mentioned, Azures aren't usually the worst. I actually help set up a fairly small tank with one. As with all fish, having a plan for the tank upfront helps tremendously, but stuff happens. Since you already have them, we'll assume the plan is that they stay.

Most saltwater fish I've ended up keeping are at the least moderately aggressive. With damsels, you'd probably be best to avoid the rare few that truly are not: PJ Cardinals, Firefish, etc. You've basically now got a semi-aggressive tank.

Semi-aggressive success, in my experience and learning, really starts with the build. Territory is the most important factor, so you'll need to make sure you're set up with this in mind. This means multiple cave networks for hiding places at different spots throughout the tank. Hiding spots provide a territory base for the aggressive fish as well as places to dart into and hide for anyone being chased. More caves across the tank usually is better.

Sight lines are also a big deal. I really like my figure 8 racetrack rockwork setup for this purpose, and actually have played around with other barriers like macro algae to obscure various parts of the tank. Basically, when you design for an aggressive tank, get innovative on ways victim fish can bail out of sight if they're chased. With the figure 8, fish can dart around a lot of my rockwork and get out of sight if they're fast enough.

And finally...redo your setup if and when you get problems. This is hard if you love the design the first go. But, since these are territorial fish, you can de-escalate the situation by undoing territories. If you take away their cave and change it up, the tank will have to re-establish hierarchy. I've made small tweaks occasionally when a pair of fish were battling over a connected cave similar to this recommendation and it actually worked.

Hope this helps!
 
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