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Fish of the Month
Issue: January 2011

Chrysiptera parasema

(FOWLER 1918)

FOM T 0111

James Fatherree

Common Names: Blue damsel, goldtail demoiselle, pale tail chromis, yellow tail blue damsel, yellow tail damsel, etc. Sometimes it is included in species that are called blue devils, but it is a less-aggressive fish than many other damsels sold under that name

Type Locality: Philippines

Range: Western Pacific: Solomon Islands, northern Papua New Guinea, Philippines, and Ryukyu Islands

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Abudefduf parasema.

Size: 7 cm (2¾ inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.

Difficulty: A very hardy marine, great for beginners but popular with hobbyists at all levels. In community aquaria it usually reserves aggression for members of its own species. Reef safe.

Tank Setup: Best is a reef or fish-only-with-live-rock tank. Tankmates should be small and not aggressive. Peaceful tankmates should be stocked first so they can have time to acclimate to the setup before the more territorial damsel is added. This species requires lo

Feeding: A true omnivore, and a hearty feeder. Will accept all types of aquarium offerings and should have both meaty and algae-based foods. This fish typically takes prepared foods without any training. Its eagerness to feed can help train more reluctant species

Breeding: Has been spawned in the aquarium, but as with most other inexpensive damselfishes, commercial breeders have not worked much with this species. It is a substrate spawner, and the male defends the eggs vigorously. The fry are more difficult to raise than those of the damselfish known as clownfish.

Description:

The rich, velvety, dark indigo body is nicely contrasted by the bright yellow in the caudal peduncle and caudal fin, which may occasionally extend into the end of the body, including the tips of the dorsal and anal fins. This fish can serve as a poor man’s purple tang. It has much the same coloration as Zebrasoma xanthurum but in a smaller, more peaceful package and with a much lower price tag.



Notes: Colorful, hardy, inexpensive, always available, long-lived, and rather peaceful for a damselfish, this species is extremely popular. It is appropriate for larger nano setups and is a beautiful addition to fish-only or reef tanks of any size. While individuals may become very territorial, it is often possible to maintain small groupings in large aquaria. To maximize your chance of success, introduce fish of the same size all at the same time. Still, they are damsels, so keep an eye on things, especially as the fish grow and mature. All-in-all this damsel is a fantastic aquarium specimen, well deserving of its popularity.

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