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Golden Damselfish

Golden damselfish or Amblyglyphidodon aureus belongs to the family Pomacentridae. This family is comprised of 28 genera and 360 species. It includes all damselfish and clownfishes. Established populations of golden damsels extend from the western Pacific to the Eastern Indian Oceans southward to the Great Barrier Reef. This is a coral reef inhabitant occupying depths from 30 to 150 feet.

Golden damsels have a rounded body, spiked dorsal fin and the forked tail characteristic of its grouping. Its bright yellow color palette is accented with electric blue vertical pin striping on its upper and lower body regions. Coloration has a tendency to fade as the fish matures. The golden damselfish is marketed under various aliases including yellow damselfish, lemon damsel, lemonpeel damsel and golden damsel.

This is a hardy and somewhat aggressive species. Its ability to contend with a multitude of environmental parameters makes it an excellent choice for the inexperienced aquarist. The fish’s stamina and its low price tag often lead to it being used as a biological stabilizer in the cycling of new aquariums. If the damsel flourishes in the newly established aquatic environment, then it is worth the risk of adding more expensive species of lesser constitution to the aquarium. In a marine reef it will not disrupt the anchored inhabitants or devour your ornamental crustaceans. In nature it makes its home amid gorgonian fans and black coral trees. These would make the perfect surroundings for a golden damsel fish in a reef tank. This species reaches up to 5 inches in length as an adult. Take its temperament into account when choosing its tank mates. Although it is very even tempered compared to many damselfish species, it should not be housed with smaller more timid species. Introducing this fish to a pre-established population or in unison with the other species you wish to keep in your aquarium will reduce aggressive behavior. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended.

The golden damsel is an omnivore. In their natural habitat their diet consists primarily of zooplankton. These fish take readily to aquarium life. They are not picky eaters and instances of problems getting them to start feeding in their new surroundings are rare. They will eat common flake food formulated for marine omnivores. But as with any marine species, a varied diet will help insure general health and maintain coloring. Vitamin enriched brine shrimp is a good supplement. They should also be provided with an abundance of living rock to graze on.

Damselfish are sequential hermaphrodites. They are all born as males. If a group of males are introduced to an aquarium together the largest most dominant of the group will experience a morphological hormonal surge until it gender transforms into that of a female. This is a trait common to all hermaphroditic marine species. Nature will always insure that both genders are present in a population to insure the prorogation of the species. These damsels are known to breed in captivity. The male damsel will instinctively guard freshly fertilized eggs until they hatch.

Environmental Parameters


TemperaturepH LevelSpecific Gravity
72-78 °F8.1-8-41.020-1.025


This article was authored by S.J. Broy

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Document modified on Mon May 30 2:37:52 UTC 2011
Document created on Tue Jan 5 4:34:27 UTC 2010
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