Dottyback (Basslets) Care Guide

Scientific Names: Pseudochromis porphyreus, Psuedochromis diadema, Pictichromis paccagnellae
Origin: Indo-Pacific
Adult Size: 3”
Difficulty Level: Easy
Diet: Carnivorous
Min. Tank Size: 30 gallons
Compatibility: Semi-aggressive
Reef Safe: Yes

There are many species of Dottybacks, but the Strawberry, Bicolor and Diadema are hardy, colorful and affordable, making them great choices for saltwater aquarists of all experience levels. Their size, behavior and aquarium requirements are virtually identical. Due to their relatively small size they can be kept in aquariums as small as 30 gallons. The aquarium should have plenty of live rock or other décor to provide hiding places and territory. Dottybacks can be feisty and are territorial towards each other as well as similar looking fish like Royal Grammas, so it’s best to keep them individually in aquariums of less than 100 gallons. They should be one of the last fish introduced to smaller aquariums, especially if more peaceful fish are present. Try to purchase smaller, juvenile specimens if you can. Tank mates should include active fish of the same size or larger. If you have a large aquarium (over 100 gallons) and want to keep more than one Dottyback, make sure you have plenty of caves and hiding places and consider adding them all at the same time. They are accomplished jumpers so a tight lid is a must! All three species shown here are hermaphrodites, meaning females can change into males when a male is needed, but they can’t change from male to female. They are carnivores and should be fed a varied meat-based diet. They adapt readily to all types of frozen and dry foods.


Temperature: 74°- 80° F
Specific Gravity: 1.020 – 1.025
pH: 8.0 – 8.4
KH: 8° - 12°
Nitrate: < 10 ppm
Regardless of your experience level, always research any animal before purchasing.

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