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Neon Velvet Damselfish

Neon velvet damselfish or Paraglyphidodon oxyodon belong to the family Pomacentridae. This species is indigenous to the western central Pacific and Indo-Australian Archipelago including Indonesia and the Philippines. Large concentrations can be found off the coastlines Fiji. This species often inhabits inshore reefs and the reef flats of lagoons. They tend to congregate in shallow, current swept waters.

Velvets have an elongated oval shaped body with a soft black, velvety appearance. This species has two neon blue stripes sweeping back from its snout. The first is above the eye, the second below. A second set of neon striping falls diagonally from their backs. They have a single, large white vertical bar just behind their head. Their black fins are commonly accented with neon blue trim. These neon accents are striking against the black velvet backdrop. Unfortunately, these fish often loose their vibrant coloration as they mature. This species is also marketed by the aquarium trade under the pseudonyms Blue Velvet Damselfish, Javanese Damselfish, and Blue-Streak Devil. The latter bears reference to their demeanor.

Unlike its docile cousin the green chromis, neon velvets have the attitude one would expect from a damselfish. This species is not suited for a peaceful community tank. These are innately aggressive fish who will bully any tank mate of lesser temperament. They will exhibit extreme territorialism toward clownfish and other damsels often out competing them for food. Conspecifics will elicit a full out feud for territorial rights. A mated pair may be housed together but any thought of multiples will require a very large aquarium. Large angelfish, butterflies, tangs and surgeonfish are suitable tank mates provided they are not large enough to see the damsel as a tasty snack. A fish must have one nasty disposition to fend for itself among species two to three times its size, hence the name blue-streak devil. This species is rated reef safe.

These are medium sized fish. They will grow to a maximum adult length of 6 inches. A mated pair will require a 30 gallon tank. For a single or couple to be kept in a community setting you will need whatever tanks is recommended for their larger tank mates. This species has a moderate care level. One factor bears mentioning. Damsels are predisposed to heavily oxygenated environments. This can be accomplished with the use of multiple air stones.

This is an omnivorous species. They are not picky eaters and will readily acclimate to aquarium food. A well balance diet will maintain fit and vigor.

Neon Velvet Spawning

This is one of the few species to be successfully bred in captivity. They have even been known to breed in home aquariums. With due diligence you can track down a mated pair to insure compatibility.

The first indication of intended spawing is found within the actions of the male. He will establish his breeding grounds by cleaning off a rock ledge or coral surface for the deposit of eggs. He will then begin to swim around in a frenzy making clicking noises to seduce his intended mate. During this courting ritual the male’s coloration will increase dramatically. In the wild a male will often breed with several females. If the female accepts his proposal, she will deposit her eggs. He will waste no time in their fertilization. The entire courtship and breeding process is over within 20 minutes.

A female may lay as many as 20,000 eggs. It is the male’s job to guard and care for the eggs until they hatch. He will fan the eggs with his fins to increase oxygenation levels and pick out any dead eggs from the batch. Males will defend their eggs with complete disregard for their own safety. The eggs will hatch in 3-7 days. They will emerge as larvae. The larvae will drift around feeding on plankton. They develop into juvenile fish in approximately two weeks.

Environmental Parameters

TemperaturepH LevelSpecific Gravity
72-78 °F8.1-8.41.019-1.025

This article was authored by S.J. Broy

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Document modified on Mon May 30 2:40:01 UTC 2011
Document created on Wed Jan 6 6:34:52 UTC 2010
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