Information, Batfish, Saltwater fish, Species

Four Stripe Damselfish: A Striking Marine Fish

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by Jason Matthews



The Four Stripe Damselfish is a renowned marine fish species recognized for its brilliant color and eye-catching patterning. The Four Stripe Damselfish is a terrific choice for individuals wishing to add a touch of tropical beauty to their home aquarium, whether you’re a beginning or intermediate pet fish owner. 


Scientific Name: Dascyllus melanurus
Common Names: Four Stripe Damselfish
Life Expectancy: 5 – 7 years
Adult Size: Up to 4.7 cm (1.9 in) in length


HabitatCoral reefs
OriginIndo-Pacific region
Care LevelModerate
Tank LevelAll
Minimum Tank Size30 gallons
Water pH8.1 – 8.4
Water Temperature24 – 28°C (75 – 82°F)
Water Hardness8 – 12 dKH
Tank MatesPeaceful fish, may be territorial with similar species

Fun Fact Corner

Here’s a fun fact about the Four Stripe Damselfish: Despite their small size, they are very territorial and are known to fiercely defend their home in the wild. They will attack much larger fish if they feel their territory is threatened! 


The Four Stripe Damselfish is native to the Indo-Pacific area’s warm seas, including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia. This species can be found in many settings, including coral reefs, lagoons, and coastal waters, where they are most usually found in shallow places with abundant flora and rock formations. 

The Four Stripe Damselfish’s range stretches from the Red Sea in the west to the Line Islands in the east, including a vast area with many different types of ecosystems.

Appearance & Size

The appearance of the Four Stripe Damselfish is one of its defining characteristics, and it is certainly a species that is hard to miss in the aquarium. The body of this fish is somewhat elongated and oval-shaped, tapering gradually towards the tail. Its scales are thin and smooth, and its fins are extended, lending to the fish’s sleek, streamlined appearance.

The Four Stripe Damselfish has a blue-green body with a metallic shine that gives it a dazzling and eye-catching appearance. However, the four broad black stripes that run vertically down the body of this species give it its distinctive name. These stripes are more noticeable in young fish but may diminish as they age.

It is also known for its distinctive head, which is broad and flat with large, bulbous eyes. The mouth is small and downturned, with a slightly protruding lower jaw that gives the fish a somewhat snub-nosed appearance.

The size of the Four Stripe Damselfish is relatively modest, with most adult specimens reaching a maximum length of around 4 inches. They are a good size for most home aquariums because they do not require a large tank to grow in. Furthermore, the Four Stripe Damselfish is a slow-growing species, so it will take several years to reach its full size.


The gender of the Four Stripe Damselfish is not easily distinguishable by external characteristics, and therefore it can be difficult for aquarium hobbyists to determine the gender of their fish. However, skilled aquarists may be able to spot small changes between male and female fish. Male fish, for example, may be slightly more extensive and aggressive than female fish, exhibiting more bright colors and intricate fin displays during courtship.


The Four Stripe Damselfish’s behavior is a significant characteristic of this species, and it is a vital issue to consider while setting up an aquarium for these fish. Four Stripe Damselfish are known in the wild for their active and energetic personalities and are frequently described as daring and curious. Rapid swimmers enjoy exploring their surroundings, making them fascinating to watch in the aquarium.

The Four Stripe Damselfish is a territorial species that can become violent toward other fish who intrude on its domain. Males exhibit this behavior more prominently, frequently manifested through chasing, nipping, and other acts of intimidation. It is advisable to provide plenty of hiding places in the aquarium and to keep a ratio of two or three females to one male to limit the possibility of violence.


When choosing tankmates for Four Stripe Damselfish, it is important to consider their natural behavior and habitat requirements. These fish are relatively hardy and active and can be aggressive toward other fish encroaching on their territories.

It is recommended to choose tankmates of similar size and temperament who will likely avoid competing for food or territory. 

Good tankmates for Four Stripe Damselfish include:

  • Clownfish
  • Dwarf Angelfish
  • Tangs and Surgeons
  • Cardinalfish
  • Gobies and Blennies
  • Hawkfish
  • Shrimp and Snails

In addition, it is also recommended to avoid housing Four Stripe Damselfish with more aggressive or territorial species, such as larger damselfish, triggerfish, or groupers, as these fish are likely to cause conflict and stress to the Four Stripe Damselfish.

Tank conditions

The tank conditions required for the Four Stripe Damselfish are important to ensuring the health and well-being of these fish. These fish are native to the coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region, and they require a warm, well-oxygenated aquarium that mimics the conditions of their natural habitat.

The Four Stripe Damselfish are relatively hardy fish, but providing a stable and consistent environment is essential. These fish prefer water temperatures between 72°F and 78°F, with a pH range of 8.1 to 8.4. They also require high water flow and good water filtration to ensure good water quality.

It is recommended that a minimum of 30 gallons of water be provided per adult Four Stripe Damselfish, with additional room required for other tankmates. A larger tank will allow these fish to establish territories and reduce the risk of aggression. It will also provide plenty of swimming space and help to maintain good water quality.

It is recommended to provide plenty of hiding places and live or artificial coral structures that replicate the reef habitat regarding décor. This will give the Four Stripe Damselfish suitable territories, hiding spots, and a visually pleasing and exciting environment.


The diet of the Four Stripe Damselfish is simple and easy to maintain. These fish are omnivores, meaning they eat various foods, including meaty and vegetable-based diets.

Four Stripe Damselfish eat a range of tiny invertebrates, including crustaceans, mollusks, small fish, algae, and other plant materials in the wild. To imitate this diet in captivity, provide a diversified diet that includes meaty and vegetable-based items.

A high-quality marine-based flake meal can be used as a main course and supplemented with small pieces of frozen or fresh seafood like shrimp, squid, and mussels. In addition, Four Stripe Damselfish will also accept a variety of frozen and freeze-dried food preparations, such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and krill.

Feeding Four Stripe Damselfish small, frequent meals throughout the day, rather than large, infrequent feedings, is important. This will help prevent overeating and maintain a healthy and active fish.


Breeding Four Stripe Damselfish in a home aquarium can be a challenging but rewarding experience for intermediate to advanced aquarists. These fish are sexually dichromatic, meaning that males and females have distinct differences in their appearance.

Four Stripe Damselfish form pairs in the wild and defend a small territory where they lay their eggs. Once the eggs have been placed and fertilized, the male will take care of them, including aerating and protecting them until they hatch.

It is important to give a large enough tank with enough hiding places and territory for Four Stripe Damselfish to establish a pair and defend their breeding area to reproduce successfully in a home aquarium. Furthermore, providing them with the proper nutrition and water conditions is important to enhance reproductive activity.


Like all fish, Four Stripe Damselfish can be susceptible to various diseases if their tank conditions and water parameters are improperly maintained. Some common diseases that can affect Four Stripe Damselfish include Ich, Fin Rot, and Marine Velvet.

Ich, often known as white spot illness, is a parasite infection that causes white spots on infected fish’s skin and fins. Fin Rot is a bacterial illness that causes frayed and degraded fins and tails in infected fish. Marine Velvet is a parasitic infection that can cause affected fish to become covered in a fine golden dust, leading to respiratory distress and death if left untreated.

It is important to keep your tank clean and healthy to prevent illness from spreading and protect the health of your Four Stripe Damselfish. This includes frequent water changes, monitoring water parameters, and removing excess trash and debris from the tank. If you notice any signs of disease in your fish, it is important to address the issue promptly to minimize the risk of it spreading to other fish in the tank.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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