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Zionas

Questions about a couple of fish species

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Zionas

I’m not going for a nano tank, but I nonetheless would appreciate it if you guys would help me answer a couple more questions about some of the species I am interested in:

 

1. I want to try a pair of Yellow Watchman Gobies and have them share the same Tiger Pistol Shrimp. However, I’ve never found a clear answer on how they’re paired. Are they hermaphrodites that change from male to female like Clownfish? Do I just put two in and they’ll easily form a pair?

 

 

2. What about for Chrysiptera damsels like the Azure? Do they also pair easily like most species of Clownfish where I put two in and they’ll likely pair up?

 

 

 

3. Does there have to be a size difference between the two specimens, for either the gobies or damselfish?

 

 

 

4. Does anyone here keep a small group of PJ Cardinals? If I keep 3 will two pair up and kill the third?

 

 

This is for a 70G tank, 36”.

 

 

Thanks.

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Tired

You can read up on watchman gobies pretty easily, if you look up how people breed them. I believe they are hermaphroditic, and can switch back and forth as needed? Which is pretty cool.

 

I don't know if damselfish are sequential hermaphrodites. I also don't know if blue damselfish form pair bonds like clowns do. In a tank that size, you might have a shot at keeping two regardless of if they actually paired up- their territories tend to be relatively small, and they aren't very aggressive or fighty when they do object to something. They tend to just nip and tail-smack, and don't tend to be too persistent. 

 

If you want a shoal of fish, try longspine/threadfin/blue-eyed cardinals, they're good at that. I don't know about pyjamas- from what little I've read, they don't really tend to shoal, they just sort of ignore each other. 

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RedCrow
7 hours ago, Zionas said:

What about for Chrysiptera damsels like the Azure? Do they also pair easily like most species of Clownfish where I put two in and they’ll likely pair up?

Damselfish, specifically chrysiptera damsels like the azure, are sequential hermaphrodites like clownfish, but they are patriarchal rather than matriarchal: all are born female and the dominant fish will become male.
 From my personal experience, a pair will only meet up for spawning, unlike clowns which stay together 24/7. The male prepares the nest, and guards the nest on his own. The female is only welcome to spawn. My experience was with yellowtails and sapphires, but I assume it’s largely the same across the genus. 

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Amphrites
2 hours ago, RedCrow said:

Damselfish, specifically chrysiptera damsels like the azure, are sequential hermaphrodites like clownfish, but they are patriarchal rather than matriarchal: all are born female and the dominant fish will become male.
 From my personal experience, a pair will only meet up for spawning, unlike clowns which stay together 24/7. The male prepares the nest, and guards the nest on his own. The female is only welcome to spawn. My experience was with yellowtails and sapphires, but I assume it’s largely the same accords the genus. 

This is pretty much 100% on-target, it's also better to understand damselfish pairing is more the male tolerating the existence of the female, that condition is prone to suddenly-changing at any point.

I had a pair of Rollands spawn and the male decided within 12 hours that it needed to kill the female, would have if I weren't watching.

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Zionas

Ouch! It looks like I’ll only be getting one Damsel and a pair of gobies!

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Zionas
16 hours ago, RedCrow said:

Damselfish, specifically chrysiptera damsels like the azure, are sequential hermaphrodites like clownfish, but they are patriarchal rather than matriarchal: all are born female and the dominant fish will become male.
 From my personal experience, a pair will only meet up for spawning, unlike clowns which stay together 24/7. The male prepares the nest, and guards the nest on his own. The female is only welcome to spawn. My experience was with yellowtails and sapphires, but I assume it’s largely the same across the genus. 

Did your pair act aggressive towards each other at all? How are they doing now and how long have you had them for? (I assume Yellowtail?)

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Amphrites
5 hours ago, Zionas said:

Did your pair act aggressive towards each other at all? How are they doing now and how long have you had them for? (I assume Yellowtail?)

You can absolutely do a pair in a 70g, just be aware they may not actually "pair-up" or care for each other all that much XD
Most chrysiptera will pick a rock and just be a cute, fluffy little buggers around it, pick on snails who come near, chitter to themselves when fish swim close, that kind of thing lol. (they have smallish 14" or so territories and really only care about "like-fish" in them, with the exception of their "personal cave")

My experiment went south in a much smaller-system I was trying to treat as I would for cichlids, it worked great until it didn't, and even-then I may have over-reacted and separated a breeding-pair needlessly. It just wasn't worth it to me personally at-the-time.

If you do a quick search on R2R you will find COUNTLESS threads of tanks with breeding yellowtails, just don't expect to raise the young without transforming into a wizard first.



Here's the male and his little nest (yes he dragged the alveopora and shells over there lol)
I LOVE damselfish and wasn't trying to turn you away from them, just help you understand their behavior as best I can with my limited experience and reading.

WP_20200106_16_56_55_Pro.thumb.jpg.193838e6de7335243d202c38f256bf4f.jpg

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Zionas
40 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

You can absolutely do a pair in a 70g, just be aware they may not actually "pair-up" or care for each other all that much XD
Most chrysiptera will pick a rock and just be a cute, fluffy little buggers around it, pick on snails who come near, chitter to themselves when fish swim close, that kind of thing lol. (they have smallish 14" or so territories and really only care about "like-fish" in them, with the exception of their "personal cave")

My experiment went south in a much smaller-system I was trying to treat as I would for cichlids, it worked great until it didn't, and even-then I may have over-reacted and separated a breeding-pair needlessly. It just wasn't worth it to me personally at-the-time.

If you do a quick search on R2R you will find COUNTLESS threads of tanks with breeding yellowtails, just don't expect to raise the young without transforming into a wizard first.



Here's the male and his little nest (yes he dragged the alveopora and shells over there lol)
I LOVE damselfish and wasn't trying to turn you away from them, just help you understand their behavior as best I can with my limited experience and reading.

WP_20200106_16_56_55_Pro.thumb.jpg.193838e6de7335243d202c38f256bf4f.jpg

Thanks that’s great info! It looks like I’ll be going ahead with a pair of Azures.

 

    Do you have any experience with Pajama Cardinalfish? Will they start to kill each other off once they begin pairing?

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Amphrites
16 minutes ago, Zionas said:

Thanks that’s great info! It looks like I’ll be going ahead with a pair of Azures.

 

    Do you have any experience with Pajama Cardinalfish? Will they start to kill each other off once they begin pairing?

No personal experience there, sorry, I imagine they're best in pairs, like banggai, but I'm not the person to ask @seabass has an amazing thread where they reared some banggai's.

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Tired

Yellowtail damsels and their relatives are such good little fish. They're some of my favorites. Pretty, not terribly aggressive unless you cramp them in a super-small tank, active, and that personality! Like mini versions of freshwater sunfish. So cute. You should definitely get at least one. Just make sure they have plenty of good caves to hide in. 

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Zionas
6 minutes ago, Tired said:

Yellowtail damsels and their relatives are such good little fish. They're some of my favorites. Pretty, not terribly aggressive unless you cramp them in a super-small tank, active, and that personality! Like mini versions of freshwater sunfish. So cute. You should definitely get at least one. Just make sure they have plenty of good caves to hide in. 

I love them too! Definitely going for the Azures (a relative)! Do you have any experience keeping them as a pair? How long have you kept your Damsels?

 

   Also do you have any experience with keeping Pajama Cardinals as a trio? Do they get aggressive and pair off killing the odd one out?

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Tired

I don't currently have a yellowtail because my tank is too small, but in my prior saltwater tank, I had one for several years. I never tried a pair. He was great fun to watch! When they feel like their territory is being intruded upon, they smack the intruder with their tail. It's great. Mine did nip another fish, once- he nipped a clown goby. Clown gobies have a thick, bad-tasting slime coat. He didn't seem to enjoy the experience at all. The goby was completely unbothered. 

 

I haven't kept a trio of pyjama cardinals, but from what I'm reading online, plenty of people keep groups of them. "Groups" in the sense that they own more than one. The cardinals don't seem to interact very much. 

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Zionas
7 minutes ago, Tired said:

I don't currently have a yellowtail because my tank is too small, but in my prior saltwater tank, I had one for several years. I never tried a pair. He was great fun to watch! When they feel like their territory is being intruded upon, they smack the intruder with their tail. It's great. Mine did nip another fish, once- he nipped a clown goby. Clown gobies have a thick, bad-tasting slime coat. He didn't seem to enjoy the experience at all. The goby was completely unbothered. 

 

I haven't kept a trio of pyjama cardinals, but from what I'm reading online, plenty of people keep groups of them. "Groups" in the sense that they own more than one. The cardinals don't seem to interact very much. 

Ahhh that sounds great! What happened to the little guy your Damsel?

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Tired

I had a bad enough chronic fatigue problem that I wasn't able to maintain the tank well enough, so I broke it down and gave all the critters to my LFS. They're good about selling fish only to people who can properly care for them, so probably the damsel went on to live in someone else's tank and be a feisty little bugger there. 

 

Yellowtail blue damsels are very high on my list of fish to keep as soon as I can get a bigger tank. They're good community fish, by and large, though should generally be added after any especially timid ones. Just in case. 

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RedCrow
8 hours ago, Zionas said:

Did your pair act aggressive towards each other at all? How are they doing now and how long have you had them for? (I assume Yellowtail?)

They were in a 20 gallon tank with a pair of ocellaris. The female was only allowed on the right half of the tank unless they were spawning. The male was fine with her unless she came to his side, then he’d chase her out. 
 Both fish passed away a few years ago. I want to say I had each of them for five or six years? I’m not exactly sure what expected lifespan is with these fish. 

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seabass
50 minutes ago, Zionas said:

Also do you have any experience with keeping Pajama Cardinals as a trio? Do they get aggressive and pair off killing the odd one out?

I've seen Live Aquaria's Diver's Den sell PJ trios (but haven't seen Banggai cardinals sold as more than a pair, not that it means that it's not possible).  You'd think that they wouldn't sell PJ trios if it weren't possible to keep them as a group.  Plus, I'm pretty sure I saw a trio of mature Banggais at a restaurant I went to awhile back.

 

I'm not sure what the combination of sexes might work best (all one sex, or two of one and one of another), or if it matters at all.  My group of Banggai cardinalfish, which I raised from babies to maturity, seemed to continue to get along past when I was told they'd start to pair up.  However, they were still less than a year old when I sold them, so I couldn't comment on long term behavior.

 

Behavior is often dependent on tank size, rock formations, ample food, competitors, tank mate aggression, etc.  A 70 gallon tank is a pretty decent size, but you might have even better luck with multiples with something larger; however, you'd almost think that would be large enough.  I certainly get the desire for keeping multiples, only problem is all the babies. :lol:

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RedCrow
3 hours ago, Amphrites said:

My experiment went south in a much smaller-system I was trying to treat as I would for cichlids, it worked great until it didn't, and even-then I may have over-reacted and separated a breeding-pair needlessly. It just wasn't worth it to me personally at-the-time.

@Amphrites I’d love to hear your experience with this, as it’s an idea I’ve had in the back of my head for years. My very first run at aquaria was a mbuna community, and of course the philosophy there is the more fish you have in the group, the more dispersed the aggression becomes. I’ve always wanted to try setting up a damselfish Fowlr the same way  

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Amphrites
58 minutes ago, RedCrow said:

@Amphrites I’d love to hear your experience with this, as it’s an idea I’ve had in the back of my head for years. My very first run at aquaria was a mbuna community, and of course the philosophy there is the more fish you have in the group, the more dispersed the aggression becomes. I’ve always wanted to try setting up a damselfish Fowlr the same way  

That was the end goal, and I think a 20 long is perfectly fine for the right pair of damsels, but because of how they pick and defend territory I believe space is a much bigger consideration than with other semi/aggressive fish.

My background was mostly freshwater and marine fish have an activity level that's far-beyond what I'm accustomed to with cichlids.

 

I don't want to tie up the OP's thread, but if I were to try again I would go for a big, shallow, square tank. I bought my rolland's as captive-breds barely-larger than a pinky nail and grew them out (really the smaller was a rescue, it was beaten near to death by a female clown they shared the system with, should have known right then it wouldn't work out long term).

With a larger footprint it's reasonable to think you *may* do fine with a naturally-establishing harem, but you'd need to be ready to remove those who lose out on territory or in the picking order.

 

I think it would likely be safest to do multiple small pairs of different species, I had wanted to try; springers, rolland's, and yellow tails.

 

That all said, I've heard of successful springers and yellowtail "pods", so really I just don't think I have enough practical experience to properly disseminate all of what I've read.

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RedCrow
7 minutes ago, Amphrites said:

That was the end goal, and I think a 20 long is perfectly fine for the right pair of damsels, but because of how they pick and defend territory I believe space is a much bigger consideration than with other semi/aggressive fish.

My background was mostly freshwater and marine fish have an activity level that's far-beyond what I'm accostumed to with cichlids.

 

I don't want to tie up the OP's thread, but if I were to try again I would go for a big, shallow, square tank. I bought my rolland's as captive-breds barely-larger than a pinky nail and grew them out (really the smaller was a rescue, it was beaten near to death by a female clown they shared the system with, should have known right then it wouldn't work out long term).

With a larger footprint it's reasonable to think you *may* do fine with a naturally-establishing harem, but you'd need to be ready to remove those who lose out on territory or in the picking order.

 

I think it would likely be safest to do multiple small pairs of different species, I had wanted to try; springers, rolland's, and yellow tails.

 

That all said, I've heard of successful springers and yellowtail "pods", so really I just don't think I have enough practical experience to properly disseminate all of what I've read.

Thank you! I’m glad to hear that at least one person has tried this. Chrysiptera are so beautiful and underrated, it would be fun to dedicate a tank just to them 

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Zionas
1 hour ago, RedCrow said:

They were in a 20 gallon tank with a pair of ocellaris. The female was only allowed on the right half of the tank unless they were spawning. The male was fine with her unless she came to his side, then he’d chase her out. 
 Both fish passed away a few years ago. I want to say I had each of them for five or six years? I’m not exactly sure what expected lifespan is with these fish. 

Ahhh how big were they when you got them? We’re they fully grown?

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Zionas

I’ve read numerous instances where these fish lived for over 10 years.

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RedCrow
26 minutes ago, Zionas said:

Ahhh how big were they when you got them? We’re they fully grown?

I wouldn’t say they were quite fully grown, but they were by no means tiny. They were both in a 55 gallon reef before being moved to the 20 gallon 

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Zionas
6 minutes ago, RedCrow said:

I wouldn’t say they were quite fully grown, but they were by no means tiny. They were both in a 55 gallon reef before being moved to the 20 gallon 

I’ve read numerous instances of damsels living for over a decade so it’s a bit strange to me that they only lasted 5-6 years. 

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RedCrow
49 minutes ago, Zionas said:

I’ve read numerous instances of damsels living for over a decade so it’s a bit strange to me that they only lasted 5-6 years. 

Just because something can live for X years doesn’t mean they always do. A golden retriever can live upwards of 15 years, but one passing at 11 wouldn’t mean it was a life cut short. 
 The clowns the two lived with were given to a fellow hobbyists; they were around 7-8 years old and still spawning regularly. I don’t have contact with that hobbyist anymore so I don’t know if they’re still healthy or not, but I imagine they’re doing just fine if they were cared for properly 

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Amphrites
43 minutes ago, RedCrow said:

Just because something can live for X years doesn’t mean they always do. A golden retriever can live upwards of 15 years, but one passing at 11 wouldn’t mean it was a life cut short. 
 The clowns the two lived with were given to a fellow hobbyists; they were around 7-8 years old and still spawning regularly. I don’t have contact with that hobbyist anymore so I don’t know if they’re still healthy or not, but I imagine they’re doing just fine if they were cared for properly 

This is important to keep in perspective, we're still not aware of many factors concerning the maintenance of these animals and chrysiptera, being smaller, may have shorter lifespans than larger "blue devils" which become chunky 4" cigars and live for 10-20 years. All of these lifespans function very similarly to our own, it's tragic when someone dies in their 50's by today's standards, but that's a solid 20% until average and 50% of the way to the record-holding outliers you see referenced in threads on the internet. 

I'd say they were likely a year or so, maybe two when purchased and a total life of 8-9 years sounds about right, but I have only literature to go on and literature for all of these species is hard to find, paywalled, in older-texts, frequently-outdated, and otherwise not particularly-accessible or even in existence (thank you "starving the beast" and budget cuts).

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