News / Company News / Popular Piscines - Garibaldi Damsels (09/16/13)

Popular Piscines - Garibaldi Damsels

In The Wild

Hypsypops rubicundus is found in a very limited natural distribution that runs roughly from Monterey Bay in California, down the the tip of the Baja of California. This makes its designation as the "State Marine Fish of California" very appropriate. They are found in clear water at depths ranging from the surface down to about 120 feet.

Adults can be found singly or in aggregations over territories that they will defend. Distinct pairs occur during breeding season where the eggs will adhere to the substrate and be defended by the males. Generally damselfish will spawn regularly in concert with lunar cycles and temperate water species spawning is thought to be restricted to the months of warmer water.

Garibaldi Damsels are capable of living up to 20 years, but as with most animals, the vast majority of the mortality happen in the first year, so average adult lifespans are much shorter than that. The largest H. rubicundus on record is just under 12 inches.

In the Aquarium

Like many damsels these fish change appearances fairly dramatically over their lives. They start small, with brilliant electric blue spots (shown below), which they lose as they age and segue into their all bright orange adult coloration (shown top right). As adults, they are among, if not the, largest damselfish.

Also like many damsels, they have a reputation for being pugnacious. For this reason, we suggest keeping them with other like minded fish, but not other Garibaldi damsels as they are quite aggressive with conspecifics when in a confined range. As for diet, they will eat pretty much anything you feed them, though they will maintain the most brilliant orange coloration with a varied diet. We feed them a mix of pelletized, gel and thawed foods. Recently much progress has been made in attempts to aquaculture this fish. You can read more here.


Rudie H Kuiter & Helmut Debelius, World Atlas of Marine Fishes, 1st ed. (IKAN-Unterwasserarchiv 2006) rubicundus
Internal References: Adam Mangino, Eli Fleishauer