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Damselfishes and Clownfishes for Your Saltwater Aquarium: A Photo Guide

Damselfishes and Clownfishes for Your Saltwater Aquarium: A Photo Guide

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These are generally considered the hardiest fish in the hobby. At one time, damsels were actually used to cycle tanks because of their ability to withstand horrid water conditions. In the wild, they are everywhere in the reef environment, and in captivity they are appropriate for just about any aquarist. Diverse, playful, and beautiful, damsels are indeed darlings.

Clownfishes are hands down the most popular fishes in the hobby as a result of their striking coloration, interesting behavior (especially when paired with a host anemone) and general hardiness. They have become the virtual poster child for marine aquarists and can represent everything from a beginning aquarist’s gateway species to an advanced aquarist’s collectable.

Damselfishes

Abudefduf

Sergeant Major Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Semi-Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons
  • Mature Size: 9 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Caribbean
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Abuudefduf. Also known as Sergeant Major Damselfish

Amblyglyphidodon

Yellow Damselfish, Golden Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Semi-Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Mature Size: 5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Coral Sea
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Amblyglyphidodon. Also known as Yellow Damselfissh, Golden Damselfish

Chromis

Yellow Chromis

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Peaceful
  • Minimum Tank Size: 24 gallons
  • Mature Size: 7 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Western Pacific, Japan, Australia, Fiji
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Chromis. Also known as Yellow Chromis
chromis-cyanea chromis-margaritifer chromis-nitida chromis-retrofasciata chromis-scotti chromis-vanderbilti chromis-viridis

Chrysiptera

Blue Damselfish, Blue Devil Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Semi-Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Mature Size: 3.5 Inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Indo-Pacific
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Chrysiptera. Also known as Blue Damselfish, Blue Devil Damselfish
chrysiptera-galba chrysiptera-hemicyanea chrysiptera-parasema chrysiptera-rollandi chrysiptera-springeri chrysiptera-starcki chrysiptera-talboti chrysiptera-taupou-fijiblue chrysiptera-taupou chrysiptera-tricincta

Dascyllus

Snowflake Damselfish, Hawaiian Dominoe Damselfish, Hawaiian Dascyllus Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 Gallons
  • Mature Size: 5 Inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Hawaii
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Dascyllus. Also known as Snowflake Damselfish, Hawaiian Dominoe Damselfish, Hawaiian Dascylluss Damselfish
dascyllus-aruanus dascyllus-marginatus dascyllus-melanurus dascyllus-reticulatus dascyllus-trimaculatus-gold dascyllus-trimaculatus

Hypsypops

Garibaldi Damselfish, California Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 70 Gallons
  • Mature Size: 12 Inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Central America
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Hypsypops. Also known as Garibaldi Damselfish, California Damselfish

Microspathodon

Jewel Damselfish, Yellowtail Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 50 Gallons
  • Mature Size: 8 Inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Western Atlantic
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Microspathodon. Also known as Jewel Damselfish, Yellowtail Damselfish

Neoglyphidodon

Blue Fin Damselfish, Black Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: With Caution
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 Gallons
  • Mature Size: 7 Inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Indo-Pacific, Red Sea, Vanuatu
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Neoglyphidodon. Also known as Blue Fin Damselfissh, Black Damselfish
neoglyphidodon-nigroris neoglyphidodon-oxyodo

Plectroglyphidodon

Pacific Jewel Damselfish, Whitespotted Devil Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Mature Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Indo-Pacific
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Plectroglyphidodon. Also known as Pacific Jewel Damselfish, Whitespotted Devil Damselfish

Pomacentrus

Allen’s Damselfish, Andaman Damselfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Disposition: Semi-Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Mature Size: 2.5 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Andaman Sea, Fiji
Damselfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Pomacentrus. Also known as Allen’s Damselfish, Andaman Damselfish
pomacentrus-auriventris pomacentrus-bankanensis pomacentrus-coelestis pomacentrus-moluccensis pomacentrus-smithi pomacentrus-vaiuli

Clownfishes

Amphiprion

Skunk Anemonefish, Skunk Clownfish, Peach Skunk Clownfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Disposition: Peaceful
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Mature Size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Indian Ocean, Madagascar
Clownfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Amphiprion. Also known as Skunk Anemonefish, Skunk Clownfish, Peach Skunk Clownfish
amphiprion-akindynos amphiprion-allardi amphiprion-bicinctus amphiprion-chrysopterus amphiprion-clarkii amphiprion-ephippium amphiprion-frenatus-tankraised amphiprion-frenatus amphiprion-leucokranos amphiprion-melanopus amphiprion-nigripes amphiprion-ocellaris-tankraised amphiprion-ocellaris amphiprion-ocellaris(BWO) amphiprion-perideraion-tankraised amphiprion-polymnus-blacksaddle amphiprion-polymnus-brown amphiprion-polymnus amphiprion-sandaracinos-tankraised amphiprion-sandaracinos amphiprion-sebae amphiprion-tricinctus

Premnas

Gold Striped Maroon Clownfish, Maroon Anemonefish, Spine-Cheeked Anemonefish, White Stripe Maroon Clownfish

  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Disposition: Aggressive
  • Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Mature Size: 7 inches
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Range: Coral Sea, Indo-Pacific
Clownfish for your Salwater Aquarium: Premnas. Gold Striped Maroon Clownfish, Maroon Anemonefish, Spine-Cheeked Anemonefish, White Stripe Maroon Clownfish

It wouldn’t be a fish tank without fish, right? Now that these hardy damselfishes and clownfishes have piqued your interest, check out Corals for Your Saltwater Aquarium: A Photo Guide and Butterflyfishes for Your Saltwater Aquarium: A Photo Guide. Have fun!

From The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Saltwater Aquariums by Mark W. Martin and Ret Talbot