Blacktail Humbug Damselfish

Blacktail Humbug Damselfish - Medium

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Blacktail Humbug Damselfish - Medium

Dascyllus Melanurus

The Blacktail Humbug Damselfish is a very hardy species. They are one of the smaller Damselfish and are easy to keep.

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Blacktail Humbug Damselfish are aggressive, they should not be introduced to tanks containing docile, peaceful fish. This aggression can increase as they get older.

Their bodies and tailfin have thick black and white stripes running vertically down the sides. In the wild, their lifespan is around 6 years, but in captivity, it can be as long as 15 years.

When Blacktail Humbug Damselfish breed their colour changes to white. The male will choose a spawning site and attract females by signal jumping. This consists of quickly bobbing up and down and making noise. The female can spawn up to 1,000 eggs when she sees that the male is ready, she will join him on the nesting site where they change colour and deposit their gametes.

Breeding these fish in captivity can be difficult. They deposit small eggs and fry are difficult to rear. There is also a risk of other animals such as Crabs, Starfish and Wrasse eating the Damselfish eggs.

In the wild Blacktail Humbug Damselfish live around inlets, harbours and lagoons, usually to a depth of 10 meters. They will congregate around isolated coral heads in these areas and generally do not venture too far away from them. The coral is used for shelter and protection. These are one of the smaller species of Damselfish, reaching a length of 3 inches (8 centimetres).

Blacktail Humbug Damsels are suitable for beginners as they are hardy, not too big, and do not need an overly large aquarium. Suitable tank buddies need to be chosen carefully.

Blacktail Humbugs are distributed across the Western Pacific region, including Indonesia, Vanuatu, Sumatra, Tonga, Ryuku Islands and New Caledonia.

Tank Recommendations for the Blacktail Humbug Damselfish

Tank size should be at least 30 gallons (113.5 litres).

Blacktail Humbug Damselfish can be housed in both reef and fish only tanks. They need plenty of places to shelter and hide. These can be created in rocks and crevices in live rock and will help reduce aggression towards other tankmates.

If housing a male & female pair we recommend increasing the tank size to 55 gallons or more. When introducing other damsels allow an extra 50 gallons per fish.

Suitable Tank Buddies

Blacktail Humbug Damsels are aggressive and unsuitable for tank communities which contain docile, peaceful fish.

It is preferable to either keep them as a single member of the species or as a mated pair. Although they are more aggressive as a pair than if they are the solitary species member.

Usually Compatible

Blacktail Humbug Damselfish can be housed as part of a mated pair, but the minimum tank size will need to be increased. They are best co-habiting with fish that match their aggression or are much larger. Suitable options include Triggerfish, Large Angels, Puffers and Dottybacks.

Sometime Compatible

Caution is advised with certain semi-aggressive species such as Clownfish, Angels, Tangs, Wrasse and Anthias as Blacktail Humbugs may be too aggressive. Even some of the more aggressive species such as the 6 & 8 line Wrasse may get bullied.

Rarely Compatible

Peaceful, docile fish should not be kept in the same tank as Blacktail Humbug Damsels. Avoid Seahorse/Pipefish, Dartfish, Gobies, Fairy Wrasse and Assessors. Larger predatory fish and fish that can swallow them whole are also unsuitable. Blacktail Humbugs will recognize predators and hide without feeding. Avoid Lionfish, Groupers, Soapfish and Sharks/Rays.

Blacktail Humbug Damselfish are suitable for beginners, but tank buddies need to be chosen carefully. These fish often get returned if their aggression is underestimated by novice aquarists.

Feeding Your Blacktail Humbug Damselfish

Blacktail Humbugs Damsels are omnivores. They need a varied diet which contains meaty foods, such as enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, fish flesh, krill and chopped shrimp. Food flakes and omnivorous preparations are also suitable. Feeding twice a day is recommended.

More Information
Scientific Name Dascyllus Melanurus
Care Level Easy
Common Names Blacktail Humbug Damselfish, Four Stripe Damselfish, Blacktail Dascyllus, Blacktail Damselfish and Humbug Damselfish
Diet Omnivore
Fish Family Pomacentridae
Lifespan (years) 10
Max. Length (cm) 8
Min. Tank Volume (l) 114
Origin Western Pacific region, including Indonesia, Vanuatu, Sumatra, Tonga, Ryuku Islands and New Caledonia
Reef Safe Yes
Sociability Aggressive
Venomous No
Water Conditions 22.2 to 27.8° C, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.023-1.025
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