Jewel Damselfish: Size-Diet-Care-Cost-Guide

The Jewel Damselfish is a lovely looking little saltwater fish, but is it suitable for any Saltwater fish tank?

In our experience this small and innocent looking damselfish often become small bullies and will dominate your tank. Upon adding these fish, which by the way should only ever be kept singly in a tank less than 50 Gallons. They will act shy and innocent for the first few days until they become relaxed and acclimatized to their new environment.

Don’t let this behavior fool you, it will only take 3-4 days until they start to build in confidence and start to pick and nip at the other inhabitants of the tank.

Smaller and timid fish will not like this and will start to shy away and hide. This will stress them and they may even end up getting ill and resulting in their death.

Scientific NameMicrospathodon chrysurus
Size6” Max
ColorJuvenile-black with sparkling blue dots
Adults- Brown & Yellow
Care LevelEasy
Reef CompatibleYes
Tank Size50 Gals +
Water Conditions72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
OriginWestern atlantic
Ideal first fishYes
JumperWhen first added
Lifespan6-7 On Average
Food TypesFlake-Pellets-Live foods-Freeze Dried
LightingBright and Coral suitable
How many per tank1 max ( Very Territorial with same species )
Price$24.99 or £19.99 Depending on size

Where do Jewel Damselfish Come From?

The Jewel Damselfish or Jewelfish as it’s sometimes known is found mainly in the Western Atlantic Ocean. It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth’s surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area.

They are found in large shoals in and around the corals and rocky areas.

In a home aquarium, it is not advised to keep these fish shoals or even pairs unless you have a really large aquarium. They are known to be one of the most aggressive Damselfish.

To truly see the beauty of these fish you will need to go diving in the Caribbean and see them in a large shoal which can be 10,000 + Fish. It’s a truly amazing sight. I have been lucky enough to witness this on holiday.

Larger specimens have even been known to take a nip at divers, that’s how brave and territorial these fish can be.

fishkeeping forever-jewel damselfish
Adult Jewel Damselfish start to lose their bright colors

What Size Aquarium Do Damselfish Need?

There are two main factors for keeping Jewel Damselfish successfully in a home aquarium. The first is the tank size, as previously mentioned you will need a large 50 Gallon plus tank to home one of these fish and give the other fish room to escape when they start to get attacked.

And they will get attacked at some point!

Secondly, you will need plenty of rocks and corals for them to feel safe and secure. All the fish including the Jewel Damselfish will need to retreat to the safety of the rocks at some point.

And finally, you will need to make sure you select fish that are bigger or faster than the JEWEL DAMSELFISH. The inhabitants of the tank will need to either swim away if the damselfish attacks or at least be able to stand their ground against this aggressive saltwater fish.

Add plenty of living rocks and live corals and this damselfish will be right at home.

Damselfish are hardy but they still need good water conditions

The normal standards in a reef aquarium apply 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025. These conditions are standard for most Damselfish and reef aquariums.

The Jewel Damselfish is a hardy fish and perfect for the beginner. They need no special water conditions and will acclimatize within 3 hours to their new home.

These fish live in and around fast current areas of the ocean and love strong water flows in the home fish tank. Make sure the water filtration units are strong and direct the flow of water around some rocks.

What Do Jewel Damselfish Eat?

Like most Omnivores the Jewel Damselfish will eat just about anything. They love meaty foods but will also eat dried plant-based foods also.

I found dried brine shrimp was one of the favorite foods for my Jewel Damselfish, but like I just mentioned they will eat just about anything.

We feed ours Omega One Marine Pellets with Garlic, they love it!

This fish is not a fussy eater. That’s one area you don’t need to worry about.!

fishkeeping forever-jewel damselfish
Adult Jewel Damselfish can look dramatically. 

Can you breed Jewel Damselfish in a home aquarium?

There haven’t been many cases of Jewel Damselfish being bred in home aquariums. However, there have been some successful cases in larger public aquariums.

Jewel Damselfish are demersal spawners and adhere their eggs to coral structures near the top of the reefs. Jewelfish eggs are much smaller than other fish like Angelfish for example.

The nests are composed of tiny, 1 mm diameter elliptical eggs densely packed on to a coral or rock. Each batch contains about 1,200 eggs per square inch of the nest, and one nest with eggs in various stages of development may easily cover 20 to 80 square inches, a total of 23,000 to 92,000 jewelfish eggs on each spawning site.

The eggs are translucent with a pinkish cast when newly laid and become darker as the embryo develops and hatching time approaches.

The time from spawning to hatching is about 3 days at 80 F (27 C) and hatching usually occurs at night.

Are Jewel Damselfish aggressive? 

Larger fish or faster fish are advisable when housed in the same tank as a Jewel Damselfish. Some rock hiding fish like FireFish Gobies and Cleaner Wrasse make good tank mates. They can be very territorial especially when feeding.

Angelfish, large tangs, and Green Chromis all make good tank mates. If they are hardy, fast-moving fish then they will be fine with the Jewel Damselfish.

Slower moving and slow feeding fish like the Longhorn cowfish are a prime example of fish that are NOT suitable.

Conclusion: Jewel Damselfish Complete Care Guide

I suppose the final question should be ” Should I buy one of these fish?” Well, yes. They are stunning fish when little and only become a problem to keep if your tank is too small or the fish grows above 5-6″.

At that stage, he or she will definitely be the star attraction in your tank.

Remember to only buy one and make sure you know what type of fish you’ll be adding in the future and to avoid complications later.

The Jewel Damselfish is attractive, affordable and hardy. Don’t let their bad reputation put you off buying one.

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