Skip to content

Orchid Dottyback – Complete Care Guide

  • by
Orchid Dottyback

Orchid Dottyback Facts

Orchid Dottybacks (Pseudochromis fridmani) are beautiful vibrant purple/lavender fish kept in saltwater aquariums. Their long and slender bodies allow them to wiggle in and out of live rock which they treat as their home. The Orchid Dottyback is a fairly common fish found in the hobby and is a great addition to many saltwater fish tanks.

Aquarium Requirements

Orchid Dottybacks grow to a max size of 3 inches. This makes them great fish for aquariums that are 30 gallons or larger. This fish species do best in fish tanks with plenty of live rock. They will find a suitable cave in the rock to call home and will defend it. Like many other saltwater fish, the Orchid Dottyback can jump out so a tight-fitting lid is recommended to help prevent this.

Water Parameters

Keeping your water parameters in check and stable is incredibly important. This fish will require the following parameters:

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

I would consider picking up a High Range pH and KH test kit to test for pH & dKH. API makes pretty accurate liquid test kits. A heater will be needed to reach the desired temperature. Check out my guide that shows off some great water heaters available for aquariums. Keep an eye on your salinity with a Refractometer from Amazon. Refractometers are much more accurate (if calibrated correctly) than hydrometers that lose accuracy due to salt buildup on the dial.

Are Orchid Dottybacks Reef Safe?

Yes, Orchid Dottybacks are reef safe. The only things that are in danger of this fish are small, ornamental shrimp like the Sexy Shrimp. They should not bother corals or other invertebrates like starfish, snails, or hermit crabs. They may also consume pest critters in the fish tank such as flatworms and bristleworms. This makes them beneficial for the reef if you’re being plagued by either type of worm.

Food & Diet

Orchid Dottybacks are carnivorous fish. As stated earlier, they should eat pests such as bristleworms and flatworms in the fish tank. The Orchid Dottyback should also be fed Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, and pellet/flake food that is high in protein. Overall, they are not picky eaters and should readily take anything introduced to them.

Orchid Dottyback Tank Mates

Before we discuss potential tank mates for the Orchid Dottyback, it is important to know that they may show some aggression mainly because they are territorial fish. In a large enough aquarium with plenty of hiding places, this fish species should mostly keep to itself. However, I can never guarantee that because each fish has its own personality and temperament.

If you introduce them into a large enough fish tank, and when they are incredibly small, you may be able to keep two Orchid Dottybacks together. They should pair up when they mature, creating a male/female pair and live in peace together. I would not recommend mixing Dottyback species due to others having more aggression. Once again, I can’t guarantee this will work but it is possible with this species under the proper conditions.

Otherwise, Orchid Dottybacks should do well with gobies, clownfish, cardinalfish, dwarf angels, and other smaller fish that do not have a similar shape or utilize the same spaces as this fish species. I would stay away from other pseudochromis, damsels, firefish, and large predatory fish that will make a meal out of the Orchid Dottyback.


Because Orchid Dottybacks can pair in a fish tank, they can breed. However, I do not have experience with successfully breeding this fish species. This fish is one of few saltwater fish that can breed in captivity.

Final Notes

Orchid Dottybacks are fantastic fish to keep if you love a vibrant flash of purple in your aquarium. They can be territorial which leads to aggression so keep in mind, that by Pseudochromis standards, they are fairly peaceful. If these do not catch your eye, check out other dottybacks by clicking this link.

Image Credit:

1 thought on “Orchid Dottyback – Complete Care Guide”

  1. Pingback: Splendid Dottyback - Complete Care Guide - ATParium

Comments are closed.