Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk
Abudefduf sexfasciatus
Source: JJPhoto.dk

Facts

Latin name Abudefduf sexfasciatus - (Lacepède, 1801)
Common name Scissortail sergeant
Family Pomacentridae - Abudefduf
Origin East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, The Red Sea, Indonesia, Central/West Pacific
Max length 19.0 cm (7.5")

As aquarium fish

Minimum volume 600 l (158 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable with care
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Aggressive towards other species

Food

Recommended
  • Microalgea (Eg. spirulina)
  • Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
  • Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)

Aggressive

This species can be extremely aggressive towards other fish.

Be careful when keeping these fish together with peaceful or docile species. Regular feeding, plenty of hiding places and a lot of space can alleviate aggressive behavior to some degree.

Genus description (Abudefduf)

Fish in the Abudefduf genus, or Sergeant Major, are known to become very aggressive over time.
They also grow relatively large in comparison to the other fish in this family.

Family description (Pomacentridae)

Clown-/Damselfish (Pomacentridae) can be divided into three groups as described below.

Clown-/Anemonefish (Amphiprioninae) are characterised in that they spend most of their time in an anemone. They can be kept outside of one and sometimes will find another coral to hide in. This can be Hammercoral, Xenia or similar. Clownfish exhibit fascinating social behaviour, especially when carrying eggs. This is even more interesting when kept with an anemone or a substitute.

They go normally in pairs and most are easy to keep in aquaria. Clownfish can easily be kept in small tanks, as they do not swim around a lot.

It is important to have a male and female or two males to one female, as two females do not tolerate each other. When one acquires two fish of very different size or two small individuals, it is likely they will become a pair.

When setting up a reef aquarium, Clownfish are the obvious choice. They can be aggressive towards other kinds of fish, but mainly when these get too close to their hiding place. They do tend to get more aggressive when they have an anemone or when carrying eggs.

Most of Clownfish are of the Amphiprion genus, but there is a single species in the Premnas genus.

Chromis (Chrominae) encompass the genera, Acanthochromis, Altrichthys, Chromis, Azurina and Dascyllus, but when talking about Chromis it is normally understood to mean the fish of the Chromis genus specifically.

Fish in the Chromis genus are not as hardy as the Clown or Damselfish, but are very attractive with their shiny blue and green colour nuances. Overall the fish in this group are less aggressive than many others in this family and are often seen in shoals. They do become more aggressive when pairing or laying eggs.

Fish in this group live mainly on zooplankton and must be fed frequently, if possible several times a day.

Some in this group are often seen hiding in stony corals e.g. Acropora, but some species may look for shelter in anemones.

Damselfish (Pomacentrinae and Lepidozyginae) are typically hardy, very attractive, but very territorial. Some species are very coulorful when young, but become dull over time.

They live typically of a mixture of zooplankton and algae, some live more on algae and some on zooplankton. Some Damselfish even cultivate their preferred algae in a small "garden", so they have their own foodsource. This does explain their aggression towards other fish and invertebrates, which want to eat their algae.

Because of their territorial behaviour it is best to keep only one Damselfish per aquarium, unless it is a very large tank. One should consider not acquiring Damselfish, if at a later stage very peaceful or docile fish will be kept, as it is almost impossible to catch them, without removing rocks from the tank. Sometimes it is possible to entice them to hide somewhere, where they can be caught, i.e. a hollow stone. In a large aquarium where a Damselfish has its own territorium, this is a much smaller problem.

Damsels are placed in the genera; Abudefduf, Amblyglyphidodon, Amblypomacentrus, Cheiloprion, Chrysiptera, Dischistodus, Hemiglyphidodon, Hypsypops, Lepidozygus, Mecaenichthys, Microspathodon, Neoglyphidodon, Neopomacentrus, Nexilosus, Parma, Plectroglyphidodon, Pomacentrus, Pomachromis, Pristotis, Similiparma, Stegastes and Teixeirichthys.

FishBase

Aquarium trade Unknown
Distribution Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Pinda, Mozambique (Ref. 4391) and the Tuamoto Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe and Rapa islands. Not recorded from the Hawaiian Islands.
English common names Scissortail sergeant, Scissor-tail sergeant, Stripetailed damselfish, Stripetail damsel
Danish common names Saksehalet sergentfisk
French common names Sergent major, Boeteur carreaux

References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2008. Damselfishes & Anemonefishes (Reef Fishes) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
James W. Fatherree. 2011. Aquarium Fish: Damselfishes and Chromises: the Good and the Bad - Advanced Aquarist - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Damsel and Anemonefishes, Family Pomacentridae - Wet Web Media - (English)

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2014. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (08/2014).

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