Animal Stories - Four-striped Damsel

Animal-World Information about: Four-striped Damsel

The Four-stripe Damselfish is handsome and hardy, but gets an attitude as it ages!
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Julia - 2010-06-28
I have had one for 2 years and it is being completely bullied my smaller tomato clown fish. It is scared to even leave the corners to come out to eat during feeding time. He is always on guard, and watches for what the clownfish will let him get by with. He interacts with me a lot. I have certain things I say that he recognizes and he immediately if the clown fish is out of site comes toward the glass from wherever he was hiding and starts swimming happily back and forth. Even if their feeding when he is completely full and isn't motivated by the prospect of being fed. For a couple of months I housed a Blue Tang along with the other two. All three were close to the same size. While he was with them, he would stop them from fighting by swimming in between the two. He was very buddy buddy with both the other fish. They never same away or became aggressive when he came near them. Him and the Damsel were particularly close. The were constantly swimming side by side and imitating one another. Their dorsel fins never raised while interacting. My damsel fish has never made the first move between an aggressive encounter between he and my Clown Fish. He always gets chased and swims with incredible speed and when cornered he barely even defends himself. He is unusually gentle.

Click For Replies (2)
  • Fred Schuster - 2010-10-22
    I have kept a marine tank off and on for nearly 20 years now and this little fish (Dascyllus melanurus) the Striped Damsel has been one of the fish in every tank. While they are a bit on the aggressive side, the fish add life and character to the tank. Currently in my 180 gallon I have two and they keep there distance from the Clarki Clowns, Yellow Tangs and other fish. Personally I think they are a good addition to a tank, unless you have completely non-aggressive fish such as Cardinals, some Gogies, Comets and Anthias's. Most fish are midly aggressive after a few days in a tank and can hold their own aganist this little guy.

    Julia in her comments made some great observations, the fish isn't usually the one that makes the first move. However it will stand it's ground and will defend it's established territory.

    Fun to watch and brings life to the tank. I would say don't be afraid of this fish. Go out and buy one, it will bring some action and life to the dull routine of your tank.
  • Krystine McTavish - 2019-10-06
    I found Julia's observations very interesting. We had a similar relationship between a Lipstick Tang and a 12 year old 4 striped Damsel. They were constantly together in our 140 gallon aquarium. They appeared to be good buddies, no aggression at all. This was a reef tank with several species of fish and we were lucky to never have any issues. The only time our Damsel would become agitated was if we rearranged the tank. He would zigzag around, charge my hands and he would continue to swim in a jerky agitated manner for a good hour after we made unauthorized changes to his environment! The current 10 year old 4 stripe we have is unfortunately more aggressive and solitary.
Jim - 2016-01-26
I am soon to be hunting 3 and four stripe damsels to rid my tank of them. They just ate the tail and fins subsequently killing a new maroon clown within two days of introducing the clown to the 115 gal tank. I read up on them and they are reasonably pleasant when young but when they get older they can be terribly aggressive. I will never allow one in my tank again.

Anonymous - 2014-10-06
I have two striped demsels with my blue demsels and a cardinal have no problems with them they are great to watch and pop out in my tank.. I'm looking forward to when I purchase a larger tank and see how they will do with some angels..

Kieffer - 2007-09-16
Do not buy this fish unless you wanna see action ... Like FISH GONE WILD kind of action! This fish has a Mike Tyson/Muhammad Ali complex and will kill anyone in his way. They become especially rabbid after a hearty meal, I guess they're mad at the other fish for eating too! They killed two of my fish, I learned the hard way, dont make the same mistake.

neil - 2012-04-06
Oh dear, just bought a 4 stripe damsel. Pet shop said it would be ok with other fish. I have not seen any aggresion as yet, but will keep a close eye on it and see how things develop. All comments on this fish are conflicting.

Robert - 2011-01-02
I bought a Four striped damsel, Blue devil Damsel, and yellow tail blue damsel all together... The four Stripe and blue devil swim around the cage like best buddies while the yellow tail has hid in the corner under my live rock since I have had him, Last night was the first time I seen him come out into the open, and that was with the lights off. There has been no aggression at anytime from any of the 3 since I have had them.

dani - 2010-06-11
I have one that was given to me for free because it was too aggressive. I have it alone in my 20 gallons frag tank and it is so aggressive that if I put my hand in the tank it will charge my hand and fake an attack and at the last minute it will turn and make loud "pop" noise and shake its body.

It attacks anything that moves, like if I put my brush in the tank to gently clean a coral it will attach the brush. The tips of my feather duster plumes are all trimmed out. I have never seen the damsel pick at it but this only occurred after I put the damsel in so I am guessing it is picking at my feather duster from time to time.

This fish should be left in the ocean, period, full stop. Don't buy it unless you want just one fish in your tank and not other sensitive animal.

Kasie Sellers - 2008-02-12
When I first started my saltwater tank I bought one of these and 4 of the yellow tails. They all died but the 4 stripe. I now have a clownfish and a fire shrimp and they all get along great. My pet store didn't mention the 4 stripe to be aggressive but I have seen on here where people have mentioned it. He has been a great little fish.

Anonymous - 2007-07-25
i have 2 and they both killed all but my poisonous fish and my clown fish... and they are still trying to kill the new fish i bought

CAMERN - 2005-06-03