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Purple Dottyback – Complete Care Guide

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Purple Dottyback

Purple Dottyback Facts

The Purple Dottyback (Pseudochromis porphyreus) often called the Magenta Dottyback, or Purple Pseudochromis is a beautiful purple/magenta fish that can be kept in a saltwater aquarium. This vibrant fish will often be seen floating very close to its home. It will spend a lot of time making sure its territory is secure. Although it stays relatively small, the Purple Pseudochromis will fight tooth and nail for its territory. This article will discuss aggression levels, aquarium requirements, diet, and tank mates of the Purple Dottyback.

Is the Purple Dottyback aggressive?

Purple Dottybacks are considered semi-aggressive. They usually keep to themselves until they have to protect their territory. I would consider introducing this fish species a little later so your more peaceful fish can establish their territories first. Although it’s not guaranteed, doing this should help alleviate some aggression.

Aquarium Requirements

The Purple Dottyback will grow to be about 3 inches in length. They will do best in saltwater fish tanks that are 30 gallons or larger. The aquarium should also be full of live rock with different-sized caves and crevices to provide cover for this fish.

Like many saltwater fish, the Magenta Dottyback could jump out of the fish tank. It is important to provide a well-fitted lid to help alleviate the potential of your fish jumping out.

Water Parameters

Keeping water parameters in check is important for fish, crustaceans, coral, etc. The following are the water parameters needed to keep your Purple Dottyback comfortable in the aquarium.

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

One of the easiest ways to achieve proper dKH and pH levels is through water changes. Conducting water changes with a good salt mix will help provide proper and stable water parameters for your aquarium’s inhabitants.

The salt mix that works best for you will depend on what you keep in your aquarium. I usually use the Red Sea Coral Pro Salt. You can follow the link to pick it up from Amazon but it’s usually cheaper at Bulk Reef Supply.

Is The Purple Dottyback Reef Safe?

The Purple Dottyback is reef safe. It is not a danger to any coral. However, small shrimp such as Sexy Shrimp may be not safe with this fish. Other small shrimp may become a snack for the Purple Dottyback.

Food & Diet

This species of fish require a very meaty diet because they are carnivorous. You should provide them with a protein-heavy diet of Mysis Shrimp, Brine Shrimp, and krill when they are fully grown. The Purple Dottyback will also benefit from given protein-rich pellet food, and flake food. You may also see this fish consume copepods that live in and around live rock.

Tank Mates

The Purple Pseudochromis should do well with most other fish that won’t readily try to eat it. This species of fish should do well with Clownfish, Damsels, Wrasses, Dwarf Angels, Chromis, and even larger fish such as tangs, foxfaces, and rabbitfish.

If possible I would avoid keeping them with large and predatory fish such as Groupers, Lionfish, Eels, and pretty much anything that may mistake the Purple Dottyback for food. Lastly, aggression levels will likely increase if more than one dottyback is kept in a fish tank. I would avoid keeping this fish with other dottybacks such as the Purple Striped Dottyback, Splendid Dottyback, and many others.


Because of their territorial and semi-aggressive temperament, breeding Purple Dottybacks in an aquarium setting will be impossible.

Final Notes

The Purple Dottyback is a great fish to keep in a saltwater fish tank or reef tank. As stated above, they are perfectly safe with coral, and many fish will understand to avoid their territory once they are settled in. In an appropriately sized aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and rockwork, the Purple Pseudochromis should thrive! If you’re curious about other dottyback species, check out the Dottyback information page by following the link.

Image by Rickard Zerpe on wikiMedia