Damselfish – Blue Devil Damselfish

Updated on January 30, 2021 by

Blue Devil Damselfish is one of the most awesome saltwater species with peculiar personalities that will certainly bring vigor to the marine tank. This is a hardy but semi-aggressive fish with ease of care which makes it suitable for beginner saltwater aquarists.

Quick stats – Blue Devil Damselfish

Category Info
Origin Indonesia, Solomon Islands
Max size 3.4” / 8.5 cm
Aquarium Min 30 gallon / 110 liters
Water 72-84° F / 22-28° C

dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4

sg 1.020-1.025
Care level Easy
Behaviour Semi-aggressive
Diet Omnivore
Family Pomacentridae
Colors Blue, orange

Blue Devil Damselfish description

The Blue Devil Damselfish is an aggressive fish species belonging to the Chrysiptera genus and the Pomacentridae family of Damselfish and Anemonefish.

They are native to the reef of Indo Pacific region spanning across the Great Barrier Reef, Caroline and Ryuku Island, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines and Western Australia.

They are mostly found in shallow lagoons or reef areas usually near corals which serve as a defense and hiding place whenever they are threatened.

Depending on their different natural habitat and source, the Blue Damselfish might look quite different from each other.

The Blue Devil Damselfish is a relatively small-size fish which grows to about 3.4’’ (8.5cm). They possess an elongated deep body.

Just as the initial name ‘blue’ suggests, this fish is beautified with a sapphire blue coloration with a dark stripe running through the eyes and nose, and just as the other name ‘devil’ suggests, they have a dark side too.

Although they are small in size, they are notoriously aggressive and territorial too, and will certainly harass other species if they are housed with peaceful species, hence befitting the name ‘devil’.

These species are dichromatic with visible differences between the adult male and the female. The female develops a dark spot at the base of the hindmost dorsal ray with a rather transparent fin. Depending on the natural habitat some males develop a yellow-orange colored tail, some will possess a yellow-orange snout and a few others will possess a dark margin on the fins.

They are often confused with a similar close species called the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish. Bearing almost the same name and similar body coloration, however, the Fiji Blue Devil Damselfish possesses a yellow band across the lower part of their body which is not present in the Blue in Blue Devil Damselfish.

Even though they are easy to keep and breed, if you wish to have a peaceful tank, then you might need to pass over this lovely species.

They are quite popular and can be found in most pet and fish stores and are also inexpensive too. So with just a few dollars, your tank can be buzzing up.

Blue Devil Damselfish in the natural habitat

Blue Devil Damselfish is native to the Indo Pacific Oceans including, the eastern edge of the Indian Ocean, spanning across Western Australia to New Guinea and the northern portion of the Great Barrier Reef.

In the wild, they are often found in shallow lagoons and reefs usually near corals which serve as a hiding spot and defense whenever they feel threatened.

In the wild, they are omnivores feeding on live prey such as the tiny crustaceans along with filamentous algae. In the wild, they will often live up to 6 years max.

Blue Devil Damselfish in the ideal aquarium

Blue devil Damselfish - Chrysiptera cyanea

As territorial and notorious species, care must be taken in setting up the ideal tank for the Blue Devil Damselfish.

Setting up a tank for this species should be carried out within the acceptable standard for saltwater species which includes a zero ammonia level and nitrates/nitrites level less than 2 ppm).

They can be kept in a fish only tank or preferably in a reef tank.

A well-filtered minimum of 30-gallon tank with a warm temperature of 22.2-28.9˚C (72-84F), 8.1-8.4 pH, and sg 1.023-1.025 can be used to house a Blue Devil Damselfish or a mating pair. However, if they should be kept in groups, then a minimum of 50-gallon tank size should be considered.

The tank can be decorated with rock works with lots of hiding places and will facilitate algae growth too.

These species are reef safe with corals. Coral decorations should also be provided with lots of hiding spots too. They are suitable for corals including the toxic Leather Coral such as Sacrophytom, Cladiella, Sinularia and Effatounaria, the Large Polyped Corals, the Organ pipe Coral, soft coral, SPS coral, and the vulnerable Large Polyps Coral. They see this as a safe harbor rather than a disturbance or a subtle species to harass.

The Blue Devil Damselfish can thrive in any lighting condition, so the lighting should be provided in preference to suit the live corals and to also encourage algae growth. This will require strong enough lighting.

The Blue Devil Damselfish is rather aggressive when kept in a group than when they are alone. This suggests that they are best housed alone. But if they should be housed in a group, then it is highly recommended to house them in a group of one male with a few females. More than one male will create a tank war.

However, if they should be housed with other species, then a large enough tank should be provided and care must be taken in selecting suitable tank mates.

They are compatible with similar sized and aggressive species including Dottybacks, the 6-line and 8-line Wrasses, and some other Damselfish species. 

They are also safe with large and semi-aggressive species such as large Angelfish, Tangs, and large Wrasses.

They can also be housed with peaceful species such as Gobies, Dartfish, fairy Wrasses and Assessors, but this community should be closely monitored and a large tank should be provided too, else these peaceful species will be greatly harassed in a small tank.

They are also suitably housed with Anemones and invertebrates.

Slow swimmers and slow eaters are unsuitable tankmates for the Blue Devil Damselfish because they will be greatly harassed and outcompeted for food.

Also, large predatory fish such as Soapfish, Groupers, and Lionfish should be greatly avoided, as they will make the Blue Devil Damselfish uncomfortable and may even prey on them.

Blue Devil Damselfish feeding

In the wild, these species are omnivores, usually feeding on meaty prey, filamentous algae, some tiny crustaceans, and fish eggs. 

In the tank, they can be fed with a variety of foods including meaty food, vegetable matters, processed and dried foods.

Meaty live, frozen or shredded food such as blackworm, Mysis shrimp, and grated squid are great meals to meet their meaty appetite.

Feeding them with vegetable and algae matters would balance their diet. 

Their diet should be supplemented with high quality flaked foods and pellets.

They should be fed 2-3 times a day with just enough they would finish in a few minutes. Skipping their meal might result in them being aggressive with other tankmates.

Blue Devil Damselfish breeding

Breeding Blue Devil Damselfish is very easy as they will naturally pair up and mate in their tank.

To encourage breeding, a spawning tank should be set up with the aforementioned parameters above and void of any predatory species. 

Feeding them with high-quality meaty food that are rich in calorie such as grated squid, blackworm and shrimps will induce breeding.

The males will usually set their territory beside a nesting site. The day before spawning, the female will often visit the males in their nest in order to inspect the nest capacity for the number of eggs that can be laid. They can do this for all the males in the tank.

On visiting a male nest, the male will start with a courtship dance in a bid to entice the female. At the dawn of the new day, the female will spawn with a male, usually the largest male, who displays the best dance and can host most eggs in his nest. 

Several females can be waiting in line to spawn with a particular male, and the male can take on each and every one of them one after the other. 

Usually, a male can have up to 10,000 eggs or more in his nest laid by different females. The male knows that the larger the number of the eggs he has in his nest, the higher the chance of another female spawning with him. So they would even claim eggs abandoned by other males.

The male will tend to all the laid eggs for about four days upon which the eggs will hatch.

The larvae of the Blue Devil Damselfish are very small which makes it difficult to rear them in captivity.

To conclude

Blue Devil Damselfish is one of the aggressive species of the Pomacentridae family.

They are hardy species and are quite easy to care for, with the exemption of raising the fry due to their small mouthpart.

They are omnivores and feed on a variety of meaty and vegetable matter.

They are reef safe and are suitable for different coral species. 

Care must be taken in selecting their tank mates as they can be overly aggressive especially in a smaller tank.

Even though they are quite aggressive, they have a subtle and calm nature during breeding. They are easy to breed and will spawn in their tank with no special care.

With proper care and adequate tank condition, the Blue Devil Damselfish can live up to 6 years whilst grow up to 8.51cm.

Blue Devil Damselfish FAQs

How long does a Blue Devil Damselfish live?

With proper care and right tank condition, Blue Devil Damselfish can live up to 6 years.

What is the maximum size of Blue Devil Damselfish?

Blue Devil Damselfish can grow up to 8.51cm long.

What are suitable tank mates for Blue Devil Damselfish?

Blue Devil Damselfish can be housed with similar sized and aggressive species including Dottybacks, the 6-line and 8-line Wrasses, and some other Damselfish species. Also safe with large and semi-aggressive species such as large Angels, Tangs, and large Wrasses. They are also compatible with Anemones and some invertebrates.

What is the best food for Blue Devil Damselfish?

Meaty live, frozen or shredded food such as blackworm, Mysis shrimp, and grated squid are great meals to meet their meaty appetite.

Feeding them with vegetable and algae matters would balance their diet. 

Their diet should be supplemented with high quality flaked foods and pellets.