3” (7.5 cm)
There is a certain wow-factor over the Orchid Dottyback. The striking deep purple coloration is mesmerizing to most people and we could not help noticing that is a favorite with most female aquarists. Another characteristic is the black line that runs from the tip of the nose and through the eye on each side of the head. Mature males can sometimes be recognized by an elongation of the lower half of the caudal fin. The Orchid Dottyback is native to the Red Sea and limited collection from this area makes it increasingly difficult to come by wild collected fish. Fortunately, we have included this species in our breeding program and captive bred Orchid Dottybacks are readily available from Sea & Reef Aquaculture.
Orchid Dottyback are native to the Red Sea. They are often found on shallow reefs and prefer to hang out in the reef structure and under plate corals.
Temperament & Captive Care
Many Dottyback species have a reputation for being feisty, but the Orchid Dottyback is one of the smaller and less aggressive species. It is hardy and thrives in saltwater aquariums. Expect it to be shy at first and hide in the rockwork and crevices. However, it will quickly become bolder and spend more time in the open. It is possible to establish a pair if you select a large and a small fish. Dottybacks are protogynous hermaphrodites meaning they are born female and can change sex to males. The larger fish will typically change into a male and a pair is formed. It is the male’s job to guard the eggs and it is normal to not see him for days while he is performing this job.
Most dottybacks love meaty food items like Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, krill, and various frozen meaty aquarium foods. However, they will also readily accept pellets and flake food. Orchid dottybacks will feast on bristle worms in your tank if they are present. It is not uncommon to see white bristle worm spines protrude from their faces. This does not seem to bother them and the spines will quickly disappear.