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Size: Up to around 10 centimeters Lifespan: An average of five to seven years Temperament: Semi-aggressive and feisty, generally cannot be kept with shy or jittery fish Diet: Carnivore Care Level: Easy

Dottybacks are bold and feisty and very interesting to watch because of their intensely bright colors and intriguing personalities. They stay quite small and are hardy but should not be kept with fish species that tend to be skittish. Blennies, gobies, and small wrasses will be in danger of harassment should they be kept with these fish. Clownfish, angelfish, and damselfish would be better choices. Dottybacks mainly feed on zooplankton and small crustaceans while some even consume small fish. In a home aquarium, these fish will likely accept anything meaty. When not being fed, they will spend time hunting the live rock for food. It is important to provide these fish with plenty of hiding spaces. They will make dens from small caves and use them to escape any potential danger. Because they originate from deep waters, dottybacks tend to prefer aquariums that are dimly lit.

Orchid Dottyback

Dottyback Species Variety

Dottybacks are available in a variety of colors and are relatively inexpensive. It is interesting to note the variations in temperament of these fish are linked to their body shape. The more slender the species, the more likely they are to be peaceful while the dottybacks that are stockier are more likely to be aggressive. Some species include:

  1. False Gamma – This is a dazzling type of dottyback with the front half of its body colored a vivid magenta and the back colored a bright yellow. This dottyback grows to around seven centimeters and is ideal for smaller aquariums.

  2. Diadem Dottyback – This dottyback is similarly colored to the False Gamma, but the colors are arranged in a different way—the magenta is on its back and the bright yellow is on its belly.

Diadeem dottyback
  1. Orchid Dottyback – This dottyback is the most peaceful type but also the most expensive of the dottybacks. It is a dazzling magenta-purple, and each scale is outlined in a darker hue. It also has a darker band through the eye and looks spectacular under actinic lights. The fins are solidly colored, and the tail is long and flowy.

  2. Strawberry Dottyback – Similar in looks to the Orchid Dottyback, this type can be distinguished by its stockier shape and by fins or edges that are clear.

  3. Springer’s Dottyback – One of the smallest dottybacks, this type is ideal for nano reef aquariums. It is one of the more peaceful and slender types, with a velvety black color and neon blue lines running from its head.

  4. Sunrise Dottyback – This type is distinctive and has a deep blue body with a broad yellow band that runs along the back. This is one of the most peaceful dottybacks and can even be shy when kept with rowdier or much larger tankmates.


Fun Facts

All dottybacks are hermaphrodites so they can adopt either male or female sexual organs. This means that adding two similar species in a tank together will most likely result in a pair unless they kill each other first.

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