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Black Neon Dottyback – Complete Care Guide

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The Black Neon Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis x Psuedochromis springeri) is a hybrid fish bred from the Springeri Dottyback and Neon Dottyback. This hybrid fish is semi-aggressive and grows to 3″ in size as an adult. Don’t let their small size fool you, because this fish can hold its own in an aquarium. Black Neon Dottybacks have a beautiful blend of colors from both parents. The black body of the Springeri Dottyback mixes with the yellow body of the Neon Dottyback, to form a gorgeous orange/brown on the Black Neon Dottyback. They also have vibrant blue streaks that run horizontally throughout their face and fins. This guide will discuss aquarium requirements, food & dietary needs, Black Neon Dottyback compatibility with other fish, and more.

Aquarium Requirements

Black Neon Dottybacks will do best in 30-gallon or larger aquariums. Due to their semi-aggressive personalities, they may claim an aquarium area as theirs and will do their best to protect their home. That’s also why it’s important to provide plenty of live rock. The live rock allows this fish to explore and claim its own space. Providing a lot of live rock will also give other fish their own space, hopefully preventing aggression between fish.

Like many other fish, the Black Neon Dottyback can jump out of the aquarium. I recommend providing a well-fitted lid on your aquarium to help prevent that from happening. They mostly hang out around rocks, but can easily dart up when spooked and jump out of your fish tank.

Water Parameters

Keeping water parameters in appropriate ranges for your fish’s needs is important for the overall health of the fish. Luckily, most fish have a fair range of parameters they will do well under. The following are the water parameters your Black Neon Dottyback does best with.

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

Consider getting a High Range pH and KH test kit to test for pH & dKH. Keeping your temperature between 72° and 78° can be accomplished with a heater. Take a look at my guide which showcases some great aquarium heaters. Lastly, I would pick up a Refractometer from Amazon to keep an eye on your salinity levels. If calibrated correctly, refractometers are much more accurate compared to a hydrometer which loses accuracy due to salt buildup on the dial. Check out Different Salinity Reading Tools For Saltwater Fish Tanks to get an idea of other salinity testing devices available.

Is the Black Neon Dottyback Reef Safe?

Black Neon Dottybacks are reef-safe. They will not bother corals and most invertebrates. You may see them pick on rocks or grab something out of the water. They’re likely picking off microorganisms such as copepods of the rock. There is a lot of back-and-forth on whether this fish is safe with shrimp, and I recommend being cautious when keeping them together. Small shrimp, like Sexy Shrimp, will likely become an expensive snack. Larger shrimp often have more luck, but can become targets for the fish. If you’re inclined to try to keep these two together, I recommend providing a lot of rock with plenty of ledges and hiding spaces for the shrimp.

Food & Diet

This fish, like most other dottybacks, is carnivorous by nature. Their diet should primarily be rich in protein. I recommend feeding them foods such as Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, Krill, and other meaty foods. I enjoy using Hikari frozen fish food to provide protein for this species of fish. Black Neon Dottybacks should also readily accept pellet food as supplemental food.

If your fish is hiding or being stubborn about eating, consider feeding live baby brine shrimp so it doesn’t starve. It may prefer hunting for its meal. Another tip is to turn off your powerheads and drop frozen food near the Black Neon Dottyback’s den. This will give it a chance to slowly creep out of its hiding space and grab food. Lastly, try mixing your food with garlic or fish-safe garlic extract, like Brightwell Aquatics Garlic Power. Many fish cannot resist the aroma of the extract, and it is generally good for them, in moderation.

Tank Mates

Dottybacks are territorial and aggressive by default. If you want to keep one, I recommend adding them last into the aquarium, to give other fish a chance to settle in and establish their territories. If you’re trying to keep a very peaceful fish tank, maybe look to other fish that won’t bother others. Besides Orchid Dottybacks most dottybacks are considered aggressive and may pick on other fish.

Fish that have the most success with dottybacks are Cardinals, Chromis, Clownfish, sand-sifting gobies, foxfaces, tangs, dwarf angels, and damsels. Most of these fish either occupy a different part of the aquariums, don’t look like a territorial threat to the dottyback, or are tough enough to hold their own against an aggressive species of fish. I would recommend not keeping them with large-mouth fish and predatory fish. Anything that can fit into a fish’s mouth has a strong chance of becoming food.

Black Neon Dottyback and Peppermint Shrimp

I covered most of this earlier, but I would be cautious about keeping a Black Neon Dottyback and Peppermint Shrimp. They can do perfectly fine together, but I have heard cases where the dottyback destroys the population of shrimp in the aquarium. The personality of the individual fish is likely to play a large role whether it’ll mess with shrimp or not.

Breeding

Due to their aggression, I do not recommend mixing dottybacks, unless you own an incredibly large fish tank. These fish will likely battle it out relentlessly which will make successful breeding impossible.

Final Notes

The Black Neon Dottyback is a very cool-looking hybrid fish that may be an excellent choice for your saltwater fish tank. You’re always taking a gamble on keeping them with their territorial personalities, but the colors they bring to an aquarium make them a very tempting choice. If you’re shopping around for dottybacks, check out the many other species out there by following this link.