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chromis or Chromis
are members of the
They are part of a group of fishes collectively referred
to as damselfish. This species is endemic to the Western Atlantic
Ocean, Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. The chromis is a coastal fish
inhabiting depths from three to sixty meters.
These are a small oval-bodied fish with a characteristically long,
v-shaped forked tail. Their bodies are a solid, brilliant blue with the
exception of markings along the outer edges to their dorsal fins. The
shade of these markings will vary from pale to dark depending on the
fish’s mood. Both sexes and juveniles possess this same color
The family of fish the blue chromis belongs to have an average life
expectancy of 12-15 years.
Chromis are a hardy, very active fish making them an excellent
choice for the novice saltwater aquarist. They are often used as tester
fish by aquarists cycling a new tank for the first time. They test
water quality the same way canaries were used to test air quality in
subterranean mining operations around the turn of the century. Their
survival and continued vigor indicates that more exotic and expensive
species can now be added to the newly established eco-system.
This species is labeled “reef safe” and can be
mixed with other
inhabitants typical to tropical marine reefs.
They are considered
non-aggressive toward other species. Same species quarrels are an
entirely different matter. The general consensus is that they can be
added to an aquarium in one of two ways. You can keep a single member
of the species. Or your aquarium can become home to a community of no
less than six. The shoaling instinct seems to prevail in larger groups.
In smaller groups these fish have been known to pick on the weakest
member of the group until it is dead. This pattern continues until
there is but a single survivor. If kept in a school a minimum tank size
of 30 gallons will give them plenty of swimming room. These are surface
dwelling fish in aquariums.
Chromis are diurnal omnivorous. In nature they emerge from their
shelter at sunrise and rise up toward the surface to feed on plankton.
Spawning also occurs during daylight hours. At dusk the fish will seek
out shelter for the evening. Feeding them a variety of foods will help
them maintain their color and spontaneity. They will eat frozen or
dried food formulated for omnivores. They will also dine on any of the
protein sources commonly fed to marine life. They sometimes eat algae
in an aquarium.
Information on sexing this species is not readily available other
than generalized statements declaring that it is not easy. They have,
however, been known to breed in captivity. Maintaining a school fed a
diet consisting of live foods will help to induce the spawning cycle.
The male will construct a nest in the sand prior to spawning. He will
then mate with several females. Eggs will be gathered into the nest
where the male will stand guard over them until they hatch.
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Saltwater & Marine
Fish Care & Breeding Guide
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