Blacktail humbug

  • Species Information
  • Scientific Name:Dascyllus melanurus
  • Described:White tail and three vertical black stripes.
  • Origin:Captive Bred
  • Temperament:Aggressive
  • Maximum Size:4"
  • Ideal Tank Size:>30 Gallons

Dascyllus melanurus

Dascyllus melanurus (Bleeker, 1854) goes by several names in the marine aquarium hobby, including the four-stripe damsel and blacktail humbug.  It closely resembles another member of the Damselfish family, Dascyllus aruanus, which has a white tail and three vertical black stripes.  The blacktail humbug can reach sizes around 4 inches in length and requires an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with plenty of hiding spaces to retreat when startled.  Like most damselfish, the blacktail humbug will become more aggressive as it matures.  It is best housed with other aggressive to moderately aggressive fish including dottybacks, angelfish, and clownfish.  In the wild, the blacktail humbug is found in the western Pacific among branches of Acropora in shallow reefs.  At the Sustainable Islands Project, they are quarantined and transitioned to prepared foods before being offered to retailers.  They are fed 2-3 times daily a mixed diet of our Hatchery Diet, live nauplii brine, frozen Mysis shrimp, and spirulina brine shrimp to ensure optimum health.

Physical Description- The blacktail humbug has four white and four black alternating vertical bars.  The pelvic fins are black and found below the second black vertical bar. The best way to tell this species apart from D. aruanus is the black located on the tail which is not present on D. aruanus.

Temperament- The blacktail humbug becomes more aggressive with age.  If you are adding more than one to an aquarium, add them simultaneously.  Like other damselfish, the blacktail humbug is territorial and will defend its area of the aquarium.  It is best housed with fish larger than itself to prevent aggressive behavior.  It will do well in either a fish only aquarium or a reef provided that plenty of hiding spots are present.

Size- Reaching a maximum of 4 inches (approx. 8cm) in length, the blacktail humbug will do well in most fish tanks greater than 29 gallons.

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Diet- At the Sustainable Islands Project, they are transitioned to prepared foods before being offered to retailers.  They are fed 2-3 times daily a mixed diet of our Hatchery Diet, live nauplii brine, frozen Mysis shrimp, and spirulina brine shrimp to ensure optimum health.

Distribution– Blacktail humbugs are found in the western Pacific from Sumatra to Vanuatu.  They can be found as far north as the Ryukyu Islands of Japan and south to New Caledonia