Neon Damsel (Pomacentrus coelestis)

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Neon Damsel
Pomacentrus coelestis
Neon Damsel (Pomacentrus coelestis)
Name Neon Damsel
Name Lat. Pomacentrus coelestis
Family Damselfishes
Family lat. Pomacentridae
Order Ovalentarias
Order lat. Ovalentaria inc. sed.
Origin Indo-West Pacific
Habitat Lagoons, seaward reefs
Diet Omnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Semi-aggressive
Keeping Pair, group
Reef Compatible Yes
Care Level Moderate
Life Span N/A
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 9 cm
Temperature 22-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 250 l
US Units
Size 4"
Temperature 72-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 65 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of Pomacentrus coelestis is the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, from Sri Lanka over Indonesia to Japan and the Lord Howe Islands. They live there in coral-rich lagoons and on outer reefs, juveniles in shoals among soft corals.


They need a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure that allows for territoriality (crevices, caves, shelters), with live stones that they can graze on (small crustaceans, algae) and that act as a biological filter, as well as free sand areas. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free sands, gravels, stones or sea sand of various grain sizes may be used as substrate

Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention must be paid to constantly good water quality.


They feed mainly on zooplankton and algae. The feed change usually succeeds without problems. The food supply should consist of a combination of live and frozen food, such as small mysis, krill, gammarus, cyclops and artemia, with small cut squid and mussel meat or a commercially available, vitamin-enriched frozen food mix for plankton eaters. For this they need algae leaves or seaweed (e.g. spirulina, kelp). High-quality dry food in flake or granule form is also usually well accepted

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day (3-5 times). Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in pairs, but better in a group. To avoid territorial fights, they should be placed in the aquarium at the same time. They form small territories, which they defend. Keeping a group is only recommended in a larger, very strongly structured aquarium. Socialization with other peaceful fish is well possible.

Sex dimorphism

There are no known external distinguishing characteristics.

Reproduction and breeding

There are no known reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


They can easily be confused with Pomacentrus alleni, in which only the anal fin is colored yellow

As coral reef dwellers, they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium.

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to ensure that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements and social behavior, and that the setup meets the needs of all species kept together. New fish to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: KUITER & DEBELIUS (2007): Atlas der Meeresfische: Die Fische an den Küsten der Weltmeere, Kosmos Verlag; BAENSCH & PATZNER (1998): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 7, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF