Dottyback

fast facts

About Dottyback

Size
Small
Group
Saltwater
Temperament
Community aggressive
Aquarium Size
Medium (30 gals)
Fish Water Condition
Suitable Tank Mates
Angelfish, Clownfish, Damsels and Hawkfish
Difficulty Of Care
Weekly care
Dottyback General description


Dottybacks are a family of small saltwater fish made up of over 100 distinct species. The Dottyback is hardy, intelligent and vibrantly colored, making it popular choices amongst most aquarists. Most species are extremely small and do not grow any larger than 4 inches in length. They adjust extremely well to life in captivity. Tank raised specimens of this fish are also abundant in the modern aquarium trade.


Dottybacks are a family of small saltwater fish made up of over 100 distinct species.


Origins


Dottybacks originate from tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean


Color


Most species are vibrantly colored and come in dazzling shades of red, yellow, orange, blue, purple, grey, black and white.


Maintenance and care

Although dottybacks are sometimes sold as great starter fish for beginner marine aquarists, they are actually one of the most challenging species of fish to keep in terms of temperament. They are highly territorial and are capable of harassing and attacking fish up to twice their size. For this reason it is advisable to house dottybacks with larger, mildly aggressive tank mates. Problems can also arise when introducing new fish to the aquarium. Therefore it is advisable that dottybacks are added later on to an aquarium. They are also extremely aggressive towards fish of their own species, especially in smaller aquariums.


Dottybacks prefer aquariums with plenty of caves and crevices to hide in. In fact, it is not uncommon for them to disappear for days while navigating the labyrinths of an aquarium. Most species inhibit depths of over 60 feet and thus prefer dimly lit aquariums. They are also proficient jumpers and should be housed in aquariums with tight fitting lids.


Feeding


Dottybacks are carnivores and can be fed on live foods such as mysis shrimp, brine shrimp and plankton. They will also feed on live rock when available.


Although dottybacks are sometimes sold as great starter fish for beginner marine aquarists, they are actually one of the most challenging species of fish to keep in terms of temperament.


Breeding


Dottybacks are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium environment given the right conditions and adequate tank space. When spawning, the male of the species will perform a mating dance outside his cave and try to entice the female inside. Once the female approves of the male’s dance, she will enter the cave and lay up to a 1000 eggs. The male will then guard the eggs until the fry are hatched. All dottybacks are born hermaphrodites and can adapt both male and female reproductive systems.


Aquarium varieties


Bicolor Dottyback, Double Striped Dottyback, Purple Dottyback, Red Elongated Dottyback, Splendid Dottyback, etc.


Photo credit: Haplochromis/Wikimedia; Rob/Flickr

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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