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humbug damselfish (Dascyllus
aruanus) are members of the
They inhabit the Indian
Ocean, the Great
Barrier Reef, and the
shallow waters of the Micronesian
sub-regions in the western Pacific
fish has a narrow rounded body. Its distinguishing characteristics are
a white body with black vertical bars. These markings are evenly spaced
fish’s body, one in the front, one in the rear and a third
mid-body. The humbug
is commonly marketed by the aquarium industry under the names three
damselfish, humbug dascyllus, or black and white damselfish.
damselfish have a hardy constitution and a semi-aggressive temperament.
They are an excellent choice for the inexperienced aquarist. This
reasonable price tag and resilience to fluctuating environmental
make it the perfect guinea pig for testing survivability in newly
natural environment the humbug exists in small shoals. The dominant
male will often exhibit territorial behavior toward the more submissive
of the group. In an aquarium it is recommended that humbugs be kept
either as a
solitary fish or a community of no less than four. Having only two
an aquarium will result in serious aggression toward the subdominant
group will substantially lessen the possibility of a particular fish
singled out as an intended target for bullying.
instinctively territorial. You do not want to make a group of
them the first inhabitants of an aquarium. This will allow the shoal to
the perception that the news surroundings are their turf. They will be
intolerant of new additions to your tank. When keeping more than a
humbug, it is advisable to add them to a pre-established population.
This will minimize
the possibility of territorial disputes. Lots of hiding place will also
tend to become more aggressive as they age. It is not uncommon
for a shoal of juveniles to disband in adulthood. This is a small
reach a maximum adult length of 4 inches. Their innate aggressive
makes up for their lack of stature. They will not back down to a fish
their size. Keep their temperament in mind when selecting their
mates. They actually make very good community fish as long as they are
equally aggressive species of their own size or larger.
Despite their aggressive
tendencies, humbugs are well suited for a marine
reef setup. In their natural
environment they make their homes amid the
formation prevalent in tropical reefs. They will feel right at home in
aquarium with plenty of coral growing in it. It is unlikely that a
pick on you ornamental crustaceans.
an omnivorous species. In the wild algae plays an important role in
their dietary intake. They are not picky eaters in captivity. They will
eat most food preparations, from flake food and pellets to freeze-dried
and frozen products.
Supplementing their diet with vitamin
brine shrimp and dried algae sheets will help to maintain their natural
are no distinguishing features between the males and females of this
species. However, like all damselfish they are hermaphroditic. Their
change gender will insure that both sexes are always present in a
This fish has been known to breed in captivity.
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