Damselfish comprise the family Pomacentridae except those of the genera Amphiprion and Premnas, which are the anemonefishes. They can grow up to 14 inches (36 cm) long. While most are marine, a few species inhabit the lower stretches of rivers in fresh water. Damselfish usually have bright colors.
Neon damselfish from East Timor Many species live in tropical coral reefs, and many of those are kept as marine aquarium pets, although some species such as white-spotted damselfish are too demanding for an average marine aquarium. Their diets include small crustaceans, plankton, and algae. However, many also live in temperate climates, such as the species which inhabits the coast of southern California and the Pacific Mexican coast, the garibaldi.
Aquarists often use damselfish to biologically stabilize a new aquarium. The fish is introduced when the aquarium is first populated, and helps provide beneficial bacteria. This practice is viewed negatively by some aquarists because of what they see as foul conditions and because other, slower, stabilization methods exist.
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