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Bicolor Dottyback – Complete Care Guide

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Bicolor Dottyback

Bicolor Dottyback Facts

The Bicolor Dottyback (Pictichromis paccagnellae) is a beautiful saltwater fish that is half yellow and half purple. The vibrant coloration of this dottyback species makes it an excellent candidate for an aquarium. Try not to misidentify this fish with the Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto). They both have a similar shape and a fairly similar color pattern.

Sometimes called the Bicolor Pseudochromis, this fish is fairly easy to care for but can be territorial once it establishes its territory. This article will go into more depth on aquarium requirements, diet, tank mates, and breeding of the Bicolor Dottyback.

Aquarium Requirements

The Bicolor Dottyback fish will grow to around 3 inches when it reaches full size. It does best in fish tanks that are 30 gallons or larger. A larger fish tank with plenty of live rock is recommended due to its territorial personality. They aren’t outright aggressive but they are more than happy to defend their territory against larger fish.

This species of fish will also benefit from having a well-fitted lid covering the aquarium because they could potentially jump out. It’s heartbreaking losing a fish, especially one that’s expensive as a saltwater fish, so it’s best to take the precaution and cover it (if possible).

Water Parameters

The following are water parameters needed to help keep the Bicolor Pseudochromis happy:

  • Water Temperature: 72°-78° F
  • dKH: 8 – 12
  • pH: 8.1 – 8.4
  • Salinity: 1.020 – 1.025 sg

Although I cannot guarantee the fish’s survival strictly based on water parameters, keeping your parameters stable and within range will help provide a better chance of success when introducing your fish into the aquarium.

Is The Bicolor Dottyback Reef Safe?

Bicolor Psuedochromis are reef safe. They should not harm and coral and the only types of invertebrates they may target are ornamental shrimp. Clams, hermit crabs, snails, and many other types of invertebrates should do perfectly fine with your dottyback.

Food & Diet

This species of fish is carnivorous. They will require a healthy mixture of protein-rich food such as Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Krill, and others that can be found at your local fish store or online. Also, the Bicolor Dottyback may hunt bristleworms that are crawling around your fish tank. They should readily take pellet food such as New Life Spectrum Marine Formula and flake food. I enjoy using the Marine Formula because it has 36% Crude Protein and some of its main ingredients include: Antarctic Krill, Giant Squid, Seaweed, and Kelp.

Tank Mates

After providing a proper environment for your Bicolor Dottyback, it should do well with an assortment of fish such as Dwarf Angelfish, Anthias, Blennies, Chromis, Clownfish, Tangs, Foxfaces, and much more. They are relatively well adapted to living with different fish species. I would take caution and avoid keeping your Pseudochromis with fish that can easily eat it. Fish such as Groupers, Lionfish, Puffers, and other predatory fish are bad tank mates.


Due to their aggression and territorial behavior, the Bicolor Pseudochromis is not a good candidate for breeding in an aquarium.

Final Notes

If you’re looking for a flash of color in your reef tank or fish-only saltwater aquarium, really consider picking up a Bicolor Dottyback. They have very cool behaviors and interesting personalities after you look passed their aggression. If the Bicolor Dottyback isn’t catching your eye, take a look at other dottyback fish here.

Image by Großkopf, J. on wikiMedia