Everything You Need To Know About The Orchid Dottyback

The Orchid Dottyback is perhaps the most visibly stunning saltwater fish that has found its way into hobbyist’s aquariums. The fish goes by several different names, the scientific name is Pseudochromis Fridmani, and the other names that have been associated with the fish are Fridman’s Dottyback, Fridman’s Pseudochromis, and the Purple Dottyback.

These beautiful fish originate from the Red Sea in Egypt, where they typically linger around rock faces and small potholes. Aesthetically they are something to behold, with a rather long and somewhat thin body, majestic fins, and a smoothness to their movements in the water unmatched by many saltwater reef fish. But the one thing that makes them utterly unique is their coloration, they are a bright, almost neon purple with blue eyes.

Orchid dottyback

Orchid Dottyback Temperament

Despite being one of the most beautiful and silky fish out there, they do have a negative attribute which perhaps makes them less popular than people would assume they would be, and that attribute is their aggressive nature. Unfortunately, these fish have gathered a reputation for being tank terrors, and by that, we mean they can and most likely will act aggressive towards smaller, more timid fish in your community, becoming tank bullies. They enjoy hiding spaces, and if other fish try and use theirs, expect some confrontation coming from the Orchid Dottyback!

The best advice to give for those looking to introduce a Dottyback to their community would be to add it to your aquarium last, making sure the rest of your tank has had time to claim their territories and adjust before the potential bully arrives. Another pro tip would be to keep them in a community of fish that are no strangers to confrontation and will not be afraid to stand up for themselves. Good fish to have as their tank mates would be Tangs, Angelfish, or even Damselfish (but be careful with these).

Orchid Dottyback Preferences

All Orchid Dottybacks, strangely enough, are born as females, meaning they are protogynous hermaphrodites. After a certain amount of time some will change to males, usually when it is required for them to do so, once they have changed from females to males, they cannot change back.

When it comes to preferences, they will not do well at all in large groups, you may be able to house multiple Dottybacks, only if your aquarium is large enough in size and has plenty of areas for them to hide – we only recommend doing this if you have prepared and are an experienced hobbyist, it is hard to do and can end very badly if you are not careful!

For critters and clean-up crew, these fish will eat smaller Bristle Worms, Fan Worms, and small Ornamental Shrimp from time to time, they will, however, leave shrimp alone if the tank is well fed.

Orchid Dottyback Specific Requirements and Useful Information

  • The minimum tank size should be 20 Gallons, or 90 Liters.
  • These fish are not prone to disease, they are tough little fish.
  • They are compatible with beginners, however, having a little experience with aggressive fish species always helps.
  • They are pretty small fish, growing to a maximum length of 3 inches (7.5 cm).
  • They are reef compatible.
  • Due to their own aggressive nature, these fish are certainly not to be added to a predator tank.
  • The care level is easy when it comes to feeding, etc., as mentioned previously, watch out for their behavior.
  • The tank pH level should be 8.1 to 8.4.
  • Tank temperature should be from 24°C to 27°C (75.2°F to 80.6°F).
  • They do not have much of a preference when it comes to tank level.
  • They also will require plenty of hiding spaces.
  • It is strongly advised to keep them singularly.

Orchid Dottyback Feeding and Habits

Many hobbyists who own Dottybacks say that caring for them in terms of food and diet is easy, they will take most aquarium foods and are not fussy eaters. The best diet is a variety of meaty flaked foods, with variation too.

They are carnivores by nature, and incredibly quick eaters. It is certainly important to make sure that they are not stealing other community members foods. They accept live foods, frozen foods, pellets, and flake.

Orchid Dottyback Acclimatization

Fortunately, when it comes to acclimatization of the Orchid Dottyback, they are pretty easy going, and similar to most other tropical fish. You want to place your fish in a bucket and drip acclimate for around 60 minutes (1 hour) at a consistent rate of 3 drips per second. Once this has been taken care of, your fish should have water parameters matching that of your tanks.

Orchid dottyback guide

As soon as you have drip acclimated your fish, catch it with a net and gently place the fish into your tank. With any fish acclimatization it is so crucial that you do not put any of the water the fish originally came in, into your tank with it. The lid of your tank must be securely fastened and tightly fitted, these fish have been known to jump, and you do not want any early casualties.


In conclusion, it is important to not just purchase an Orchid Dottyback because of their majestic color and beauty. If you are not used to aggressive fish or have fish in your tank that may fall into danger with this fish being introduced, make sure you do your homework and are 100% sure that you can house the Dottyback in your aquarium.

However, despite their aggressive nature, you can have a lot of fun with this fish. Not only are they beautiful, but they are great personalities too, and once they are settled in and are happy, they will become more confident and inquisitive, making for a lot of fun.

Overall, they are a fantastic fish and will certainly brighten up any aquarium and have you watching for hours on end without getting bored. Yes, they can be aggressive, but its all about dealing with them and handling them in the correct way, and if you do so, you should have no problems.