Species group: Chromis
Other common names: Black Back Chromis
Scientific name: Chromis retrofasciata
The Black Bar Chromis is a bit more delicate than some of its relatives, but with proper care may approach age 20. It is one of the few Chromis species that does well alone or in pairs.
The Black Bar Chromis is native to the Western Pacific Ocean, where it lives along inshore and deep coral reefs.
Appearance / health:
The 5 cm (2 in) yellow to tan body is uniquely-marked with a thick black vertical stripe just before the tail.
Black Bar Chromis prove quite hardy if provided pristine water conditions, but are susceptible to bacterial and viral attack if water quality declines.
Behavior / temperament:
Black Bar Chromis can be territorial around a favored rock but are otherwise easy to keep with similarly-sized fishes. They will, however, fight with other among themselves and with other Chromis species if crowded.
The Black Bar Chromis requires a well-filtered 113 liter (30 gal) or larger aquarium that is provisioned with rock/coral caves into which it can retire at night. Live sand and live rock, which will provide some of the micro-organisms they relish, should be utilized if possible. Groups establish hierarchies but get-along well as long as provided ample room. Unlike most Chromis, it may also be kept alone or in pairs.
The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure long-term health: Temperature: 24-26.6 C (74-80 F); Specific Gravity (Salinity): 1.020-1.025; pH: 8.1-8.4.
The diet should be varied, and include finely-chopped clam, squid, and prawn, live and frozen rotifers, cyclops, Mysis and brine shrimp, and flakes/pellets formulated for omnivorous marine fishes.
In most Chromis species, males guard short-term breeding territories. The eggs are attached to coral or algae, and the planktonic feed upon zooplankton. Some success has been had in public aquariums, but rarely if ever in private collections.
Written by Frank Indiviglio