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FAQs about Dottybacks, Family Pseudochromidae Compatibility

Related Articles: Dottybacks

Related FAQs:  Pseudochromids 1, Pseudochromids 2, Dottyback Identification, Dottyback Behavior, Dottyback Selection, Dottyback Systems, Dottyback Feeding, Dottyback Disease, Dottyback Reproduction,

Can we all just get along?

Captive bred Pseudochromis aldabraensis     11/30/19
Good morning crew, I am looking for your opinion on adding a captive bred Pseudochromis aldabraensis to my 150 gallon aquarium. I know that this species of Dottyback can be very aggressive, but I also know that captive bred Dottybacks can be less aggressive than wild ones. I wonder though how much less aggressive?
<Considerably less so; much less than "half">
I am pretty heavily stocked so this would likely be my last addition to the tank. My current stock list is 3 Bristletooth tangs, a maroon clown, clarkii clown, Foxface rabbit fish, yellow wrasse, 4 dragonettes (all very fat and happy, at least 3 of them eat prepared foods), 2 Banggai cardinals, royal Gramma,
<Of the fishes, the Gramma is likely to be the more harassed. I'd focus on interactions twixt these two>
starry blenny, 2 coral beauty angels, a pink and blue spotted watchman, wide barred goby, yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp, azure damsel and 2 large cleaner shrimp, variety of hermits and porcelain crabs.
I also know that in the wild these fish eat even large crustaceans, but is a well fed captive bred Pseudochromis aldabraensis likely to eat crustaceans added to the tank before him?
<Not likely to bother them at all>
Please let me know if you think this fish is suitable for my setup or best avoided. Also, if it is suitable, would getting a pair of them make them potentially more aggressive or less? Thank you!
<I give you very good odds of this (one or two here) captive-produced Pseudochromid getting along well here. Put another way, if it were mine, I'd go forward w/ its addition. Bob Fenner>
Re: Captive bred Pseudochromis aldabraensis       12/1/19
Awesome thank you so much Bob. I have sought your advice many times in the past when I am not %100 sure on livestock compatibility and you haven't steered me wrong yet.
<Heee! Likely have made most mistakes myself; and/or read, learned from others>
You give me confidence in my selections! Now I can purchase the Dottyback without fear ��. Thank you again
<Certainly welcome Nic/ole. Excelsior! BobF>

Royal gramma or Dwarf Angel... Dottyback comp., rdg.     8/6/13
Just another quick question for my friends at WWM. Would a Royal Gramma get along with a Purple Dottyback?
<Not likely; no>
Or would I be better suited getting a type of Dwarf Angel.
<... if the system is large enough... Search, read on WWM re these. B>
Would Pseudochromis go after the Gramma since they have the same body type?
The one I have been looking at is about the same size (maybe a hair bigger) than my Dotty.
Or would something of a different body type be a better idea?

Re: Yellow Clown Goby. Dottyback incomp.     7/30/13
Well I took the leap and purchased two Yellow Clown Gobies. I love them and they seem to be adjusting well, except for one thing....my Purple Pseudochromis likes to chase and take jabs at them if he can.
<Not uncommon; hopefully will abate soon>
They have been in the tank for about 24 hours now. Will my Purple ease up and leave them be eventually?
<As above>
 I thought by what I have researched that since they have a foul slime coat that other fishes would leave them alone. Doesn't seem to stop my Pseudochromis though.
<No; Dottybacks can be SOB's re territoriality>
Any suggestions on separating or will this naughty behavior subside?
<Mmm, yes; the "time out" afforded by (carefully; two nets, poss. removing décor...) placing the Pseudochromid in a floating plastic colander or breeders net, trap for a few days...>
 The Gobies are so small, and I'd like to give them a fighting chance.
<Welcome! BobF>

Purple Firefish Compatibility? (is a timid little fish…conspecifics aside) – 04/25/13
Hi there folks!
I love the forums and read till my eyes cross and words blur!
So much great info.
I was wondering, I have a Biocube 29 gallon with about 20 lbs of live rock. Right now I have two Percula clowns,
<<Mmm…this tank is a bit small for such, in my opinion.  Would prefer to see these in 40g+>>
a small Cardinal and one Blood Fire shrimp.  Would adding a purple Firefish work in this setup?
<<These are quite timid fishes…easily harassed/stressed…with dire consequences.  I think the Clowns would pose a problem re>>

I've had my eye on one for quite some time now and haven't seen much in the way of compatibility of these little guys. The people at my LFS say I shouldn't have any problems, but wanted a second opinion from another source (that doesn't have some sort of stake in this).
<<You have it [grin]>>
If Firefish won't be a good option, do you have a recommendation for another fish?
<<Hmm…  If you must, perhaps a small Dottyback like Pseudochromis porphyreus.  Small and colorful…and just pugnacious enough to survive/coexist with the established Clowns.  Though such behaviors (on both the Clown’s and Dottyback’s part) are very often exacerbated in small confines>>
Thanks so much!!!
<<Happy to share…  EricR>>
Re: Purple Firefish Compatibility? (is a timid little fish…conspecifics aside) – 04/26/13

Thanks so much for the info!!
<<Quite welcome>>
I'll be doing my research on the Dottyback.
Now, my last question: I'm finding conflicting information on feeding a Fire shrimp.
Right now I feed a Spirulina 20 flake to my tank members, and every couple of days adding some thawed vitamin enriched brine shrimp.
<<I very much suggest expanding this diet to include thawed frozen Bloodworms and/or Glassworms, Mysis Shrimp…and the very nutritional and palatable New Life Spectrum pelleted food (I suggest the 1mm pellets here).  You don’t have to feed all every time (though I do suggest a pinch of the pellets at least once daily)…and several small daily feedings are better than one big feeding…but your fish, indeed your whole system, will benefit from a better diet than what you currently describe>>
When I feed flake alone my poor shrimp comes out of his cave excited for food, but seems disappointed when he finds it's only flake and slinks backward into his home. I feel guilty!!!!! Should his diet be different?
<<It should, as mentioned>>
What should I be feeding him differently?
<<All of your tank inhabitants will enjoy and benefit from the foods I mentioned…the shrimp will especially enjoy picking the pellets from the rock/substrate>>
<<Always welcome…  Eric Russell>>
Re: Purple Firefish comparability??   5/17/13

Well, I took the leap and got a Pseudochromis porphyreus! I love him! He just went into the main tank yesterday and seems to be adjusting well and getting along with everyone else (except for the fire shrimp who only wants to clean him which Dottyback wants no part of!)
I feed New Life Spectrum 1 mm pellets each morning and frozen meaty foods (Mysis, brine, krill etc.) in the evening. I noticed he would love to eat the pellets, but they're just a tad to big for his small little mouth.
<Look for smaller sizes... The 1 mm. should work>
 He cant/isn't able to swallow them. Will he be ok just eating the meaty foods in the evening till he grows large enough to consume the pellets?
Thanks so much for the suggestion of this little fellow, he's a joy to watch and I think he will fit right in with the fish family!!!
<Ah good. Bob Fenner>

Lyre Tail Anthias Compatibility     3/24/13
Greetings my friends. After a long Snorkeling trip to the Caribbean, returning to find my 'professional' Fish-Sitter Wrecked my 250 gallon Reef System, 20,000 dollars worth of Corals dead, I converted it to a FOWLR System. I currently have a 3" bonded pair of Mystery Wrasses, a 3" Scott's Fairy Wrasse, a 3" Solens <Solar likely> Fairy Wrasse, a 3" Yellow Coris Wrasse, and a 2" Hippo Tang. My Tank as stated above is 250 Gallons, with 300 pounds of Live Rock, set up in caves, overhangs, with a natural Reef look, a DSB, a powerful Protein Skimmer, Four Koralia 4 Evolution Power heads and a Blue line Main Pump. I have a 40 gallon sump with good Pod production. My question is, will it be safe to add a 2" Male and Three 2" Female Lyre Tail Anthias to this System?
<Ah yes. Should be fine here>
 Thank you for your time, consideration, and advice.
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Lyre Tail Anthias Compatibility     3/24/13

Thank you Mister Fenner. I will update you after they settle into their new home a while.
<Ahh, thank you. Pseudanthias squamipinnis is a fave aquarium and to-be-photographed in the wild species. BobF>

Clownfish and Royal Dottyback, incomp.        12/5/12
Hello!  You have a great site. I started my first saltwater tank (a 29 gallon FOWLR) last May.  After cycling the tank, I got my first two fish (two tank-bred Ocellaris Clownfish). They did very well for about two weeks, then showed the white spots of Ich, and were both dead the next day.
<Ah, no fun>
I was determined after that to do everything right, so I got an RODI unit and set up a ten gallon Quarantine tank. I seeded the tank with Instant Ocean BIO-Spira, and then bought three Blue/Green Chromis. They went through the quarantine beautifully and are now in the display tank. (I had left the display tank fallow for two months, and had performed several water changes to change as much of the well water in the tank to RODI water as I could.) I then bought two new fish to put in the quarantine tank, a Clark's Clownfish and a Royal Dottyback,
<May not get along>

both tank-bred. These were going to be the last two fish for the display tank, since it's only 29 gallons.
That was Sunday night. By Tuesday the Clown was staying in the corner of the tank, under the heater, he wasn't eating, although he seemed to try a little, and was covered with a few white spots. I went straight back to the dealer and bought some Sentry Parashield.
<...... for both freshwater and marine... Oh boy>
That was yesterday. I put a 10 gallon dose of Parashield in the tank and last night the clown already seemed a little better. He had left his corner under the heater and was swimming in and out of the PVC pipe I had put in the tank. But then, this morning, he was dead. I guess my question is, after all this, besides why do I have such bad luck with clownfish,
<Mmm, well, first off, it's likely you're dealing w/ wild-caught (vs. cultured) specimens, or a dealer who mixes the two... so they're infested when you purchased them>
 is could the Dottyback have stressed the Clown enough to weaken its immune system?
<Definitely a factor; yes>
 I never saw the Dottyback chase the Clown, and in fact the clown would chase the Dottyback out of the corner whenever it wandered nearby. I know that Dottybacks can be aggressive, and after doing a little more research, I'm not sure if it's the right fish for my display tank (I have two peppermint shrimp in there, which it might eat).
<Not likely, no>
And it should probably be the last fish added to the tank, and I would like to have a Clownfish. Do you think I should return the Dottyback, if they'll take it, bleach everything in the tank, and start over?
<Up to you>
The Dottyback has no spots on it, as far as I can see, is eating, although he spends most of the time hiding. I tested the water this morning.
Ammonia: 0, Nitrite: 0, Nitrate: 5 ppm, pH: 7.8, specific gravity: 1.023.
Thank you!
<I'd have you borrow, buy a good general marine aquarium handbook and go over it while letting your system age a bit. Bob Fenner>
Re: Clownfish and Royal Dottyback       12/5/12

Thanks for responding so quickly. I'm confused about you saying that I should let my tank age a bit. The Clown and Dottyback were/are in my quarantine tank. I've had my display tank for six months now.
<Yes; understood. Am suggesting the wait period for the virulence of whatever this probable Protozoan pathogen is>
I set it up by following the suggestions in "The New Marine Aquarium" by Michael S. Paletta. I have about 20 pounds of live rock, an Emerald crab that ate my bubble algae, two peppermint shrimp that ate my Aiptasia, 3 turbo snails, a bunch of tiny snails, and the three green Chromis I mentioned. Should I let my quarantine tank age?
<Good to leave it up and going>
The Chromis made it through quarantine without any problems at all. They're very active and always hungry. The Dottyback seems to be healthy, although I will continue to treat the tank for ick. Is there a fish that you would suggest I could put in the display tank after I put the Dottyback in there?
<See WWM re Pseudochromid Compatibility FAQs>
Something small enough for a 29 gallon tank that won't be tormented by the Dottyback?
Thanks again.
<Welcome. BobF>

Re: Flame and Coral Beauty, now...     3/24/12
First off, I really appreciate the advice and all you do. That little experiment did not end well... I decided not to add the Flame with my Coral Beauty. I have heard/read far to many horror stories to be gutsy enough to try that one. I did however have the nerve to add an orchid Dottyback.
Needless to say the Sixline wrasse did not like his new tank mate
. In an act of divine intervention, I managed to capture the wrasse and remove him from the display tank. I thought the space may have been enough but... as usual the personality of the fish is entirely unpredictable. As a result, I am in search of another, milder wrasse. I was thinking maybe a Hoeven's Wrasse (Halichoeres Melanurus). What is your opinion on this fishes hardiness and compatibility with the other tank mates?  <A beautiful fish.  Keep in mind that they can be predatory towards  your snails, crabs, and other types of invertebrate such as tube worms. Have you considered the Flasher or fairy types of wrasses from the Cirrhilabrus or Paracheilinus Genus? In either case, be wary of the Dottyback.  You may have traded one terror in the six line for another in the Dottyback>
 Tank recap:
110 gallon display tank (60" X 22" X 20")
1 Coral Beauty, 1 Yellowtail Damsel, 1 Longnose Hawkfish, 1 Ocellaris Clown, 1 Yellow Tang and now 1 Orchid Dottyback  I also have electric blue, Halloween and scarlet reef hermits in addition to large turbo snails and a couple colonies of Pulsing Xenia. The Wrasse would be my last addition.
 Thanks in advance!  <You are welcome>

Fish compatibility  12/6/11
Hi All
Chris K here with what I hope is a quick question.  As always, I am so appreciative of the service you provide.  It has proved to be invaluable to me over the years, and has resulted in what I would classify as my success in reef keeping!  Heartfelt thanks, as I have successfully added corals and even a BTA over the years!
<Ahh, congrats!>
So now for the quick question, I am upgrading my aquarium AGAIN, a 6 FT 125 gallon, with over 100 pounds of live rock.  My 90 gallon is now my sump and I have added a 40 gallon refugium.
 What would be your advice on adding a candy hogfish, as I already have and indigo Dottyback?
<In a system this size, as long as the candy hog is at least the same size, I give you very good odds that they'll coexist here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Fish compatibility... Dotty and Hog  12/6/11

Wonderful! I was hoping so!  Happy holidays to all!
<And to you, yours, all. BobF>

Bicolor Dottyback/Pseudochromid Compatibility 11/10/11
Hi there Crew, Its been a while.
<Hello Jim.>
I hope all is well with all of you.
<As good as it can get.>
I have been thinking about adding a Bicolor Dottyback to my reef. I know they won't hurt my coral. I was wondering if they would hurt my Candy striped shrimp, blood red shrimp, crabs, and snails?
<Should be fine. May want to read here as well.
James (Salty Dog)>

Advice needed, Wrasse/Pseudochromis Compatibility, 6/21/11
Dear crew
I have an 80 G reef tank that have a fish population that amongst others include a Six line wrasse and an Orchid Dottyback. I have had the wrasse for two years and the Dottyback for three years. The Six Line is often chasing the Dottyback ( The Dottyback has even lost an eye a few months back) but it is a tough fish and seems healthy and active. They can some times swim close to each other without anything happens.
<Things are probably happening, just not perceivable to us.>
And at other times it´s a war. Two days ago the Six line disappeared, and I couldn't find it anywhere, until today where I found it in my sump. So the question is this: is there any chance that when it (if it) returns to the tank it will behave any better or is that totally out of the question?
<Highly unlikely much will change here.>
I really like it but at the same time I really like the fridmani to.
<These fish will need to be separated, most likely the Pseudochromis since the gramma may be giving it a rough go too.>
So should I return to a LFS or give it another go.
<I would separate these fish.>
And if not, are there any other fish you could recommend instead of the Six Line that will be more suitable to be with the Fridmani?
<If the fridmani is getting bullied, which is generally the bully and not the victim, chances are the wrasse will pick a new target once the Dottyback is gone.>
The other fish in the tank is as follows: 1 Yellow Tang, 2 Chromis viridis, 1 Bicolor Blenny, 1 Royal Gramma, 1 Rusty Angel, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 2 Clownfish(Ocellaris) The fish have been in my tank for at least 2 years ( The Yellow Tang more than 4 years)
Thanks in advance
<Six-line wrasses can be very aggressive, as can the Dottybacks, these fish should be separated.>
Re: Advice needed, Wrasse/Pseudochromis Compatibility, 6/21/11
Hi Chris (Or Whoever may answer this)
<Hello again.>
I have decided to remove the Six Line (Even though it pains me)
<Probably for the best.>
Thanks for the advice
P.S Concerning the Dottyback/Royal Gramma issue I have never witnessed any trouble with these two fish. They occupy different parts of the tank.
<Hopefully this continues, will be interesting to see how things go once the current bully is removed.>
Re: Advice needed, Wrasse/Pseudochromis Compatibility, 6/22/11

Hi Crew (Chris)
Thanks for your reply
The Fridmani and the Gramma where together in the tank ( for about 6 months) before I introduced the Six Line. And there were no problems between them during that time.
<Good, hopefully this continues.>
Do you have any suggestions for a replacement for the Six Line that will be more appropriate with my current fish population?
<So many possibilities, depends on what you like.>
Re: Advice needed, Wrasse/Pseudochromis Compatibility, other fishes  6/24/11

I thought of the Zebra Barred Dart fish that is a great fish, but maybe the Fridmani Royal Gramma,
<Not really a gramma, a member of the Pseudochromis family.>
or maybe even the yellow tang would cause some problems?
<I think these may be problematic with the existing fish, too similar a body style to the gramma and Pseudochromis already in the tank.>
I also like the Green Banded Goby.
<A nice little fish, can be difficult to feed at times.>

Dottyback/Blenny and Goby Compatibility -- 02/05/11
Hey Crew,
I've read through your Dottyback FAQs, but I'm unclear how to proceed. I've gathered from WWM that the Dottybacks can be aggressive, but the tank bred ones less so.
In a 180 gallon tank with approximately 120 lbs of live rock, do you see any issues with adding a captive bred Orchid Dottyback with the following fish: Pink Spotted Goby, Tailspot Blenny, Bicolor Blenny, Mandarin, and Neon Cleaner Goby?
<Should get along in this much space, decor>
The tank also contains a Regal Tang, Yellow Tang, Flame Angel, Coral Beauty, and pair of Ocellaris clowns, but I don't anticipate compatibility issues with them.
Also, would a Barber Shop Goby/Pistol Shrimp combo be compatible in the 180 gallon with the already established Pink Spotted Goby and other fish described above?
<Again; likely so>
If I can't place one or both in the 180 due to compatibility issues, would the Orchid Dottyback and goby/pistol shrimp combo be safe in a 90 gallon with an RBTA or would they likely be consumed?
<I give you good odds of success here as well>
Thanks for all you do. Probably time for me to pony up a donation.
<Yee Haa! Bob Fenner>

Fish Compatibility Question Actually'¦And Conch Eggs Too? -- 04/16/10
It's Chris K again
<<Indeed it is! [grin]>>
(I've tried to stay away, but I usually show up again like a bad penny).
<<Ah'¦no worries my friend>>
I felt like I won the lottery last time we spoke regarding the blue assessor and possibly being able to add it to my aquarium with my other fish.
<<Mmm yes, I remember>>
Just to refresh you
<<Thank you for this>>
I have a 90 gallon, with 20 gallon sump and refugium, 4 clowns (2 ocellaris and 2 black and white Percs), 1 yellow tang, 1 flame angel, 1 Sixline wrasse, 1 Firefish goby and 2 very small neon gobies (and a few small corals).
<<Ah yes'¦>>
I have discovered another blue fish and I would like to ask you about its compatibility.
It is an ORA tank raised Indigo Dottyback.
I stumbled across it today - it's gorgeous!
From what I am gathering I am afraid of two things - either it's going to be too mild of a fish to add at this point considering what I already have in the tank,
<<Always a possibility'¦ Like with the Assessor, it's my opinion the Sixline will be the biggest problem re compatibility issues, with the Flame a possible 'short-term' antagonist. And also like with the Assessor, removing these two for a week or so while the newcomer settles in can help'¦though you may see a reversal of the situation with the Pseudochromis and the Wrasse upon reintroduction (it may be classed as 'mild mannered' as Dottybacks go'¦but it is still a Dottyback)>>
OR, it will be best to keep it in a small group which may cause me to be overstocked.
<<While a group of these in a 'species specific' display would be stunning'¦I certainly don't think there would be a problem with keeping a single specimen with a mixed group of fishes>>
What do you think?
<<I think I just told you'¦[grin]>>
Could it be better than a 50% chance?
<<It could well be a better 'risk' here than the Assessor, yes>>
Hoping for a great big "eureka" here....
<<Do I hear singing?>>
Also - I recently (2-3 weeks ago) purchased a conch - There was confusion as to whether it was a fighting conch or a queen conch
<<Hmm'¦a BIG difference, ultimately'¦and either one arguably too big for a 90g>>
- however they charged me for a queen conch
<<But of course they did'¦>>
- .... regardless, lately it has been sitting on a certain rock and I believe laying eggs (I have attached a photo if you are able to confirm).
<<Yep, these are egg casings>>
If they are eggs, do they need a male to fertilize them
or is it possible that she was "pregnant" when I purchased her.
<<Considering the newness of the acquisition, this is likely the case here>>
Is there a chance that these could actually hatch?
<<Sure'¦but don't get too excited. The larvae will be tiny (microscopic even) and planktonic'¦I think it very, very unlikely any would survive the month or so in your display that it takes before they would settle out'¦and even then they would likely fall prey to the Wrasse (and maybe Pseudochromis?) in short order>>
I am really not sure what to expect.
<<I would not 'expect' anything much here>>
Or if there is anything I should do to aid in their survival.
<<Unless you have the resources and equipment, and are prepared to institute a Conch breeding program, there's nothing 'to' do>>
Thanks again so much!!
<<Always a pleasure>>
And P.S. I am always inclined to follow up and let you know how things work out!
<<Most excellent'¦ Be chatting! Eric Russell>>

lame Head Dottyback or Lyretail Dottyback. Hippolytid shrimp comp.   9/17/09
I got a Flame Head Dottyback today, and it's a male, with the fluorescent orange head, and it's gorgeous and in good shape, however, the store told me he would be safe in my aquarium and when I went online, I saw someone in a forum writing that they are aggressive toward shrimp.
<Can be>
I have two fire shrimp and although they are fully grown, I am concerned.
They are my favorite thing in the whole tank.
Is this rumor that they are tough on shrimp true? Can they kill my fire shrimp?
If so, how would you go about catching a Dottyback from a reef?
<Might require dismantling the rock... even draining the water down a bit.
Use two nets... Bob Fenner>
Thank you in advance,

re: Flame Head Dottyback or Lyretail Dottyback 9/17/09
Hi Bob, thank you so much for the response.
<Welcome MT!/Renee>
I took a BBQ sauce bottle, cut the top off, inverted it and stuck it into the rim and used it for a fish trap, filled with Mysis Shrimp and Squid and within an hour, I had him. :)
<Ahh! Congrats!>
He is happy in his own area now lol.
Thanks so much,
<Thank you. BobF>

Orchid Dottyback, comp.    7/10/09
Hi Crew,
Quick stocking compatibility question today!
I was set on adding an Orchid Dottyback to a 75g reef tank when the time was right (ie, stocking towards the end), but after reading some more, I'm wondering if it might not be a wise idea to stay away from this fella (because of aggressiveness). Do you think he'd be ok with the following stocking list?:
ocellaris clown x2
yellow watchman goby
sixline wrasse
kole tang
purple firefish
Orchid Dottyback
Thanks so much for the input, and have a great day!
<In a seventy five gallon, shaped system, all should be fine... there may well be some tussling with the sixline and firefish... but tolerable. Bob Fenner>

Indigo Dottyback Compatibility 5/15/2009
<Hi Tyler>
I plan on getting a 28-gallon HQI NanoCube in Late June.
<Welcome to the hobby.>
I plan on using is it as a Coral Reef Set-Up. For Motile Invertebrates, I was planning on 2-3 Cleaner Shrimp, <1 or 2 would be better.>
1 peppermint shrimp, <Not recommended - they are NOT reef safe.>
14 Hermit Crabs, <Fewer would be better>
14 Nassarius Snails. <Fewer would be better here as well.>
For fish, I was planning on
1 Court Jester Goby,
2 Tank-Raised Ocellaris Clownfish, <A 28 gallon is barely large enough for one, I would not recommend for this setup.>
1 Royal Gramma. <Tank too small for a Gramma.>
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm >
I cam across the "Indigo Dottyback", which is my favorite color.
<Indigo Dottyback - A man made hybrid: Pseudochromidae fridmani x Pseudochromidae sankeyi >
If I scratch the gramma, can I add 1 of these Beautiful *Tank-Raised* Fish?
<With caution.>
I hear it eats motile invertebrates-is that true?
<They do eat worms, but should leave other invertebrates alone.>
Will it be too aggressive?
<Impossible to say, it depends on the fish, Dottybacks ARE more aggressive than most.>
Could there be any other problems?
<again, impossible to say. Do read here as well as the linked files on the top of the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm >

Re: Indigo Dottyback Compatibility 5/16/2009
<Hi Tyler>
Thanks so much for answering me quickly with my last question.
In response, I have changed up my list:
-2 Cleaner Shrimp
-1 pistol shrimp
-10 small hermit crabs
-10 Nassarius snails
-30lbs of live rock
-1 Court Jester Goby
-1 Indigo Dottyback
<Much better.>
Now my question is-(I don't mean to argue) but how is the tank too small for a pair of clowns?
<They do get boisterous as they get older, can be aggressive towards other tankmates. In a tank of this size, the victim has nowhere to escape.>
I have met many people who successfully keep even *larger*Clownfish in even *smaller* tanks. Do you mean I can't keep it in a community tank this small?
<Many people have, I would not. Same analogy of you could have someone live in your bathroom, but it would get very tight in time.>
Because most of the above people kept them alone, with just their mate. Yet I have seen met people who keep them community in a standard 29 gallon.
Does the cubic shape make a difference? If so, would a pair of firefish gobies be a better choice?
<Firefish would be better - do make sure they have enough sand to dig into, and add them well before anything else so they can establish a territory.>
<You're welcome>
P.S.-I might have not seen it, but is this public? If not, see if you can please make it public. If it is public already, can you tell me where it is located on WWM?
<http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm... Then moved to Pseudochromid comp. FAQs... RMF >

Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), comp. 6/25/08 Hey WWM Crew. I have been reading a ton of information on the Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) on your website. I saw one other query on this but that was it so I am going to ask it as the other one did not answer my question as well as I would have liked. Right now I have a 50 gallon tank with a Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), a Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae), and a Scott's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus scottorum). My tank has around 15-20 pounds of Live Rock and around 20 pounds of rock which is now probably live rock because it has been seeded from the live rock. There are plenty of caves, and crevices for all the fish to hide in. For my last addition to my tank I would like to add a Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), I am wondering if this will work because of the Scott's Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus scottorum) being a similar shape to the Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani), there might be some fighting. Hope to hear back from you guys soon! Thanks. <I do give you very good odds of all these getting along in this setting. Bob Fenner>

Ongoing Flame Angel problems... iatrogenic   8/3/07 Hi WWM crew! You've been a most invaluable resource for me for several years now and I have tried to refrain from bothering you on this one, but I am at the end of my rope here. I know you're going to fuss at me but I'm ready to take it. I've searched your FAQ's for answers and have an idea but I don't want to do anything to make this situation worse. I have a 39 gallon <Too small for this species> FOWLR, one huge feather duster that came with LR purchased about 3 years ago, 2 turbo snails, 1 yellow tail blue damsel, 1 percula clown and a bicolor Dottyback. <Likely a problematical mis-mix here> I purchased a flame angel on June 23rd, and he/she/it came down with Popeye after 3 weeks. I assumed (I know, I know) it was an injury because it was only one eye but I panicked and got some blue medicine <?> from my fish store and treated it for an hour for 3 consecutive days in a (sorry) 2 gallon bucket of water from the main tank. The guy at the store checked my water and determined that it was fine. He didn't have the medicine to sell me but gave me some from their stash in the back of the store. So I'm not sure what it was but Anyway, it cleared up for about 2 weeks, and guess what it came back, popped and left again and now is back with a vengeance in both eyes. <Something amiss with the environment... too small, the Dottyback...> I fear this angel is a goner. It hasn't eaten anything for 2 days now. I have been feeding a combination of flake and frozen with VitaChem drops added, have been doing 4 gallon water changes every week. ( I went on vacation changed the water before I left but I'm sure my niece over fed them so I changed it again when I got home) I was wondering about getting Furazdidone/Nitrofurazone comb. and get her in some type of quarantine and treat her. Marina (?) in one of her answers suggested a new plastic tub with a sponge filter and heater to use as an emergency. Yes, the next 60.00 I spend will be on a quarantine tank you can believe that. I guess you guys get sick of giving advice and people not taking it huh? <At times...> If this angel dies I'm giving up school nursing and moving to Fiji. <Oh! See you t/here. Bula!> Thank you in advance, Sue <Please read on WWM re: http://wetwebmedia.com/popeyefaqs.htm and the linked files above. This fish should be moved to more suitable quarters... sans the Pseudochromid. Bob Fenner> Re: Flame... Angel demise 8/4/07 Thanks Bob for responding. Unfortunately, my beautiful flame angel died and I feel terrible about it. I was wondering what size tank is suitable for them, and if keeping a Dottyback in the same tank is advisable. <Posted and not if the system isn't large enough...> I didn't think that Dottyback was the culprit but looking back it did get near and hang around the angel a lot. The clown is about the same size as the angel was and didn't take kindly the angel hanging in her corner. There are only 3 fish in my tank and I thought there was enough room. <Ah, no> I've learned a hard lesson. Crying hasn't helped. Do you think they need any school nurses in Fiji? <Oh yes... and Hawai'i, and most everywhere else!> Thanks for your help in all. You guys are wonderful. Sue <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/angels/Centropyge/loricula.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Nassarius vs. Predators; Nassarius snail ID? Pseudochromid comp. - 7/31/07 Hello Crew! <Hi David!> Thanks in advance for addressing this question this evening. <Happy to!> I visited my LFS today and observed a tank full of Nassarius spp. snails being sold as 'Cinnamon Roll Nassarius,'<?> presumably due to their size and coloration. These were quite colorful and at least an inch in diameter, maybe 1 ¼ inch (they do somewhat resemble a cinnamon roll so what's not to like?). <Indeed, who doesn't love a good cinnamon roll? Unfortunately, I've never heard of these snails, nor seen any Nassarius with that shape/size. Snails in the genus Nassarius, generally look like this: http://www.seashell-collector.com/beginners/NASSARIIDAE.jpg> I am familiar with the Nassarius as a reef safe invertebrate that is used primarily as a scavenger of detritus, leftover food bits, and such, and a sand bed stirrer/sifter. <Yep, love those Nassarius vibex!> I have kept Turbo, and Astrea, snails with success but never the Nassarius. <They make a nice addition to the right tank>. I have heard/read that natural predators of the Nassarius snails may be hermit crabs and, of course, large snail eating fishes like some triggers. <Yes> In this respect, these snails would be safe in my tank as I do not maintain hermit crabs or triggers. <Good> However, I have one emerald crab (Mithrax sculptus) that I have housed in this 46 gal. FOWLR tank for many years with no apparent problems. <Good to hear. I've had mixed luck with these guys. Hopefully, yours will keep his little green claws to himself and away from any future snails you acquire! Keeping him well fed will help.> My other livestock consists of a smaller One-spot Rabbitfish, a Tomato Clown, an Azure Damsel, and a Yellow Dottyback. There are currently no other inverts. I would like to acquire 3 or 4 of these large Nassarius snails for this tank, beginning with a very low stocking ratio in order to determine their suitability in the system as a whole and to ensure they do not rapidly deplete their food supply. <Good thinking when it comes to stocking> The sand bed is entirely appropriate for this species - deep sugar sand bed of at least 3". <I'm concerned that we really don't know what species this is, therefore, we don't know its needs.> My question is, do you see the Emerald crab as a threat to the snails? <It's possible, crabs are always a risk.> How about the Dottyback? <It's possible as well.> Are they prone to picking on inverts that are introduced after them, as they are with fishes? <Yep, they're quite the little pickers. I've heard of them nipping off snail antennae, etc.> And, do you see any other problems with their inclusion that I may not foresee? <I'd recommend finding out exactly what type of snail those are before purchasing. It's imperative to know a potential addition's diet, care, how large it gets, compatibility issues, etc, before bringing it home. These two sites are good places to start the ID process: http://www.seashell-collector.com/beginners/family_id.htm http://shell.kwansei.ac.jp/~shell/pic_book/shape.html> Thanks again for your valuable insight. <You're very welcome and good luck! --Lynn> David A. Bell

Re: Nassarius snails? Dottyback aggression - 7/31/07 Hello WWM Crew! <Hello there, David! Lynn here again, ready to talk snails!> The message is in response specifically to Lynn, who gave initial reply to my question yesterday, but if not available maybe the word could be passed on. Never the less it may be an interesting story and useful to other readers. Thanks. This is a follow-up concerning the compatibility of Nassarius Snails to my current inhabitant list of a Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus [Lo] vulpinus), Tomato Clown (Amphiprion frenatus), Azure Damsel (Amblyglyphidodon azurelineatus), Yellow Dottyback (Pseudochromis fuscus), and an Emerald Crab (Mithrax sculptus). The habitat is a 46 gal. bow, FOWLR with about 3-4" of sugar sand and 50 lbs. of live rock with no other inverts at the moment. I read everything I could find on WWM and several other sources concerning the Nassarius genus and possible predators of these snails. As I stated yesterday, hermits and large snail-eating fishes, like Triggers, were the only commonly mentioned suspects cited as potential problems. My only concerns at this point then were the Emerald Crab and the Dottyback; however, the sources said that Dottybacks may not be trusted with small inverts. Given their size, I went ahead and purchased 3 of these snails this morning (of which there are issues concerning their actual taxonomic placement in the genus, by the way, as these are large for Nassarius, about the size of a silver dollar, being sold under the common name of a Cinnamon Roll Nassarius - perhaps Tongan in origin? <Hmmm, I've seen something called a 'Super Tongan' Nassarius (Nassarius distortus) offered online. They get up to about an inch, but they don't look remotely like a cinnamon roll! LOL When I think of a cinnamon roll, I think of something short/round/squat (Heee, like I would look if I ate too many!). I've never seen a pointed/cone-shaped one but hey, it could happen!> They weren't around long enough to take a picture. I'll work on sharing that the first chance I get. <Please do, that would be super. By the way, I've got another link for you to explore (see the purple 'Thumbnails' link on the right): http://www.gastropods.com/Taxon_pages/Family_NASSARIIDAE_NASSARIINAE.html > Well, I need not have worried about the Emerald Crab as he never got the chance to get close to the snails. The Dottyback went absolutely berserk! He attempted to nip at the snail's flesh until they retreated within their shells and then he continually rammed them with his head.<Yep, that's a Dottyback for you.> In the meantime they were able to burrow into the sand, but even this did not deter the Dottyback as he hovered over the sandbed in an antagonistic manner, ready to pounce upon their return. <They're nothing if not persistent, huh?> The snails were in the tank no longer than a couple of minutes before I removed them to their transfer bag, seeing no hope in the relationship "righting" itself. <Agreed> However....enter the Tomato Clown. Despite the Dottyback's severe aggressive tendencies - having already killed a Falco's Hawkfish - <Yikes!> the Tomato Clown, a five-year resident, is undisputed Tank Boss. <You've just got to love that about a Tomato clown. It takes a lot to intimidate one!> During this aggressive display, the Clown eagerly threw himself between the Dottyback and the snails, practically shoving the Dottyback back into the rockwork. This was indeed interesting to watch! - a Clownfish seemingly protecting the new kids by trying to keep this terror of a fish at bay. <Interesting> Well, the story ended well as I took the snails back to the LFS where they are on hold for me to pick back up pending some "environmental modifications." <Ideally, you'd quarantine those snails before putting them in the tank.> In fact, the Store Owner has also agreed to accept the Dottyback in swap for someone less volatile. <Yay!> This particular killer needs to be placed with Triggers, large Angels, and the like. He's not quite big enough for me to eat. <Heee!> The moral to this story is a simple one....what you hear and read about Pseudochromis spp. Is not only most likely true, they may negatively EXCEED expectations. At this point, I would have no idea how aggressive or defensively capable another animal must be in order to be introduced with this fish in residence. Regards, from David A. Bell <Thank you for sharing this with us! -Lynn> Re: Nassarius snails? Dottyback aggression -- 7/31/07 Hello Lynn. (No need to publish) <Hi David!> I just wanted to say "thanks" for the Nassarius picture, <You're very welcome> and the answer is definitely "yes," the so-called Nassarius that I described in yesterday's post match the picture....but the ones I found are large, around 1 1/4 ". <Yikes, that's huge compared to the typical Nassarius snails I usually see! I'll be looking forward to seeing some photos of these guys. If it's at all possible, please try to get a shot from the top, or side, as well as one from underneath (so you can see the aperture/opening). That last view can make all the difference in the world when it comes to identifying. Until then, take care! - Lynn> David Bell Hawkfish Vs. Dottyback  5/30/07 Hello again WWM Crew. Specifically to Scott, if available. <Scott here, Captain (Man...I wanted to say that!)> This is sort of a continuation of a previous question regarding the system described in my last communication (below). This aspect of the question involves the interaction between a Cirrhitichthys aprinus and a Pseudochromis fuscus in that system. <Sounds like an interesting mix> This weekend I added a 2.5" Spotted Hawkfish to my 55 gallon live rock system (75 lbs.). Inhabitants: a 3" One spot Rabbit, a 5-year old Tomato Clown, Azure Damsel and a Dusky Dottyback. Since all of these species can pretty much hold their own, I made the addition knowing that the Hawks likewise have that same reputation for defending themselves and displaying some innate aggressiveness, in particular the "Spotted" Hawk, especially as he gets older. <Agreed, mine became downright unsociable in his old age.> However, the problem is with the Dottyback, who after only a week in the tank himself (and getting along fine with all others) is harassing the Hawk. This activity was pretty intense on day 1 and may have lessened a bit by day 2. The Dottyback and the Hawk are about the same size. The Dottyback's aggressiveness is not constant, usually being maintained for about 5 - 10 seconds with frantic chasing. Then, the Hawk will find a perch at the top of the LR or on a powerhead where he will find peace for long periods of time, never entering the Dottyback's territory. The Hawk is eating as soon as food hits the water and is grazing on the LR. He will continue to grow and perhaps become more formidable or imposing but will he begin to assert himself soon or at least hold on until the Dottyback loses interest? <Good question. It's really hard to say. The P. fuscus is one of the more "assertive" Dottybacks, and can be downright merciless in its harassment of other fishes. In my experience, some Dottybacks tend to take an almost "human-like" dislike to another fish, constantly harassing it. Although the Hawkfish can be equally aggressive if necessary, it tends to keep more to its own business. In the end, it's really a matter of the individuals themselves...Fish will often not live up to our expectations, demonstrating behaviors that seem contrary to their "typical" mannerisms. Often, in more or less evenly matched conflicts such as yours, the situation may sort itself out, with things ultimately settling down as the fishes realize that they present no threat to each other. I'd simply give the situation time and be prepared to intervene if necessary, should one of the fishes be injured.> As always, I appreciate your thoughts and knowledge. Regards, from David A. Bell <A pleasure! Sorry that I couldn't be more specific, but these are rather unpredictable things! I hope that things sort themselves out! Regards, Scott F.>

Re: Battling Hawks and Dottybacks: Follow-up. Dottyback Horror Story 6/9/07 Scott, Bob, or today's distinguished Crewperson, <Ya' got Scott F. back with you today!> I reported the friction between my Yellow Dottyback and the latest addition to my tank, a Falco's Hawkfish, a few days ago. Here's the not so pleasant conclusion of that situation: What had appeared to be lessening aggression from the Dottyback -- periodic chasing of the Hawk around the tank -- finally resulted in the Hawk's demise on the den carpet. <Yikes...Sorry to hear that.> The Dottyback chased him through a crevice in the top during the night, to be found as jerky on the floor the next morning'¦..Aaargh! What makes the situation ever so more frustrating is that I was going to put a trap in the tank and try to remove the Dottyback to another tank today. My LFS was even going to trade a female Cortez Rainbow Wrasse for the Pseudochromis. <Bummer...might have been a good exchange...> When I placed these two in the system, within a week of each other, I never dreamed this problem would occur. The Dottyback had no such disposition amongst his other mates -- a five year old Tomato Clown, a smaller Foxface Rabbit and an Azure Damsel. The Hawk being the same size as the Pseudo- seemed like a safe bet, especially considering a Hawks reputation as a tough fish. With it to do over again, I would definitely go a little large on my Hawk species, something larger than the Yellow Dottyback, Falco's being one of the smallest of the clan. David A. Bell <Sorry to hear of this unfortunate outcome, David. Sometimes, what seems like it should work out fine just doesn't...The fish don't always seem to comply with our behavioral expectations. Based on experience, one would have thought that this combination should work. As you mentioned, of course, the Hawkfish being the last addition to the system put it on the bottom of the social order. The Dottyback, a known territorial fish, seemed to take a particular dislike to the new comer. Sometimes there's just no way of knowing until the fish get together in the aquarium just what the outcome could be. Obviously, at this point you would be advised to remove the Dottyback if you plan on adding any more new fishes into this system. best of luck to you! Regards, Scott F.>

Stocking question 72G FOWLR, Dotty comp.     2/16/07 You've all been a great help in the past - so thanks!  I need some more guidance.  I've been doing research for a while and been getting conflicting impressions on stocking my 72G FOWLR tank.  I have a 3" sand bed and about 120LB live rock.  Tank has been established for four years running with generally only minor issues.  My plan is for most of the current inhabitants to be given to a friend (long-nose butterfly, two Banggai Cardinals) and plan on keeping two ocellaris clownfish.  One wild card is a sunrise Dottyback who patrols the bottom of my tank and lives in his hole he dug in the back. <I do like your descriptive term> I'd like to keep him, but have a couple concerns.  First, can you comment on what I am considering restocking the tank with? <Sure> I'm looking at keep the two clown fish, adding a Firefish, a scissortail goby, and maybe two Carpenter's Flasher Wrasses.   <All good general aquarium choices... but as you state, the Dotty may become trouble> First, could I add these and keep the Dottyback (I am concerned about his territoriality). <Me too>   Second, will the wrasses become a problem with the others, in particular the Firefish and goby if I relocate the Dottyback? <Not likely a problem with the Labrid> Thanks for all your help!!!! Mike <Welcome... and do keep your eye on the Pseudochromid. Bob Fenner>

Hawkfish, comp... Pseudochromis too   2/13/07 Good afternoon, I have a problem with a Pseudochromis splendens. <A very nice species of Dottyback... quite often available as aquacultured specimens...> I purchased him for my 150 gallon reef tank (90 gallon refugium, this tank is over 6 years old). My flame Hawkfish took a sudden dislike to him and really tore him up (by his tail.) <Yikes... can happen... esp. in small/ish volumes> (I realize the Hawkfish has this reputation but he has never bothered any other fish, including a small royal Gramma and blackcap Basslet ,for years). <Interesting... I, as you evidently would have guessed they'd get along then...> Anyway, the Pseudochromis went into my 24 gallon nano and was medicated and healed up and guess what? Once he was feeling better, he drove the little Longfin fairy wrasse and wheeler goby (or bumble bee goby) into the overflow, because of course, it was his tank, now. <Ah, yes> So, I had to move him back into the 150 (my only other tank is a Jawfish tank, and there is no way I am going to put him in there.) Of course the Hawkfish went right for him, but this time he seems to be holding his own. <Good... if it were at all possible/practical, catching and holding out (in a floating trap, plastic colander...) the Hawk for a few days here would really "even them up" territoriality wise> At least he has no wounds or torn fins and seems to stay out of his way a little better. Is it safe--sounds like that movie, Marathon Man, doesn't it <Yikes... my teeth are starting to ache...> --is it safe to see how things will go, or should I call it a day and remove him? <I would default (am lazy) to the former> It has only been two days that the pseudo. has been back, but I am worried. The Dottyback comes out to eat but he is very cautious. The Hawkfish is not chasing him constantly, and only tries to bite if he runs in to him but I think if he shows weakness, he will really attack him. Interestingly, the pseudo. is large, almost 4 inches, larger than the Hawkfish. I read all your responses about the terrors of Dottybacks, <Some species (e.g. steenei) and individuals much more than others...> and  know this a mellow guy, relatively. <Yes, usually> I suspect this is one of those no real answer things. I suppose if he does adjust he could go after the Gramma and Basslet, but they have been there forever and it is a bigger tank with lots of rockwork and corals. I thought it was worth a try to get him, at least initially. Also, you should know that I feed very well and small water changes once a week, so I have a lot less aggression in the tank than others I have read about. Ah well, any guidance, advice would be most welcome, Thank you so much for your site. It's wonderful. -- Jeanne Brown <If pushed came to proverbial shove... I might just try the Dotty in with your Jaws... that or the "time out" trick stated above. Bob Fenner> Royal Dottyback... incomp.  1/26/07 Hey there my fishy friends, <David> Today I'm writing more for the sake of providing observation as opposed to questions... because after all, I find real life observations are great to learn from too!  Oh, and thanks so much for posting my tank picture and my Snowflake Eel pictures on your site.  Sampson the snowflake eel is alive and well and seems to have called a Penn Plax Hollow Driftwood ornament his home. <Ah, good> I'd like to make some observations about the Royal Dottyback.  I ended up with my critter a couple of years ago because unknowingly thought it was a Royal Gramma and that's what the staff at the store told me.  I know better now. I had a 90 gallon saltwater tank with 90lbs of liverock, deep sandbed, protein skimming, etc   More importantly, my critters as follows: 4-5" fairly thick Yellow Watchman Goby (this guys a giant of a goby, haven't seen any bigger ones) 2 x 3.5" False Percula Clowns Large Coral Banded Shrimp Variety of snails, crabs, stars.... The Dottyback was the last fish introduced... and luckily it just sorta happened that way. <Best... is the more territorial...> I introduced a small 3" Regal Tang after quarantine a few months after the Dottyback.  The Dottyback chased the tang all over the place.... The next morning, it was the Dottyback laying on the sandbed with about a one inch gas across his body.  I figured him for dead, but scooped him into my quarantine tank and left him.  He recovered in about a week.  I was really impressed at his ability to heal given the size of the gash, he couldn't swim, and his rapid breathing... but he pulled through. When reintroduced, he never bothered the Regal Tang again. <Ah, yes> Ultimately, I made a dumb mistake with a buffering agent that eventually killed my Regal Tang about 2yrs later *sigh* With the loss of my Regal Tang, I purchased a larger 4 - 5" Yellow Polynesian Tang (the one that mimics the lemon peel angel).  After quarantine was complete, I introduced the Yellow Tang into the tank. Over the next two days I observed the Dottyback picking at the Tang's fins... but the Tang would immediately chase the Dottyback.  I figured the Tang would hold it's own... and if the Dottyback was injured again or was killed by the Tang... so be it... I mean if they lil critter can't learn his lesson....?    Anyhow, day 4 I find the Yellow Tang with his body in tact... laying on the sandbed with both eyes completely gone.  The Tang was dead.  Likely my Dottyback? <Mmm... Do see a more likely culprit from your list... possibly the Coral Banded Shrimp> Around the same time, got a great deal on a beautiful Fire Shrimp.  At $30 (regularly $45 Canadian), this was likely the quickest and more expensive death I've had in my tank. Following Bob's procedures of acclimation, I eventually added the Fireshrimp with a net to this tank. I tell you, the shrimp never made it from the net to the sand bottom before he was tackled midwater from my Dottyback.  A quick dart in to rip out his insides.... And the lifeless body of the shrimp hit the sand dead.  I was in shock.  A further experiment with a $5 camel shrimp had a similar conclusion... although he lasted about 30minutes.  I've watched the Dottyback watch and wait for hermit crabs to change shells or to even expose themselves to walk and he's torn off legs.  I've seen him tear of little antennae from snails and from small fiddler crabs. Another mistake I made, adding a yellow-headed Jawfish.  After quarantine, I added him at night and watched him immediately attempt to create his borrow.  At noon the next day when my tank lights come on... both the Dottyback and my larger clown were ripping apart a suspended Jawfish body midwater in my tank.   I had also had a suspicious Orange Diamond Shrimp Goby death... actually this was the first fish death with the Dottyback in the tank.  The shrimp goby was an original fish of about 2yrs old... then one day found him dried up beside my tank. Perhaps chased outta the tank? <Maybe> Anyhow, I've been working on a 200g fish only predator tank.  At this point, the tank includes my 14" Snowflake Moray Eel, a 5" Foxface Rabbitfish, a 5" Yellow Hawaiian Tang, and a small yellow-tailed blue damselfish.  I'm working on converting the aforementioned 90gallon to a reef tank with peaceful critters and figured that my Dottyback might survive in the bigger tank.  After introducing him last night, now I am wondering if my larger critters are going to survive the Dottyback. <Place it last... after the other livestock have been resident a month> Both the Tang and the Rabbitfish have been seen bolting across the tank from the Dottyback and the Dottyback within minutes of introduction has been chasing the small damselfish whenever he's in the vicinity.  I think the Moray Eel freaked the Dottyback out when they met face to face.... But I've already seen the Dottyback dart at the Eel's face. We're talking a 3" (at best) Royal Dottyback vs. 14" Moray Eel.  I had no idea.  For anyone that's reading... these guys are totally unpredictable and vicious little guys.  He even attacks my feeding stick, magnetic glass cleaner, fish nets, etc.   I'm hoping these guys can all get along. One last note, these guys will fit in the smallest of holes... I found him emerging numerous times from a hole in the liverock about the size of my pink fingertip.  If you introduce him into a tank... be absolutely certain that it is totally worth an hour to five hours to get him out... and likely, a fish trap may have to be used.  Probably the smallest/quickest and most intelligent fish I've seen.  I mean, it only takes me 30 seconds to catch my Clown Fish. A most interesting fish indeed... but what a terror! Ok, so I had to throw in one question... do you think the Moray Eel, Rabbitfish, or Large Yellow Tang are at risk of Mr Dottyback? Regards, Dave Brynlund <Again, maybe... I would be prepared to remove this rogue... Unusual that this Pseudochromis species (paccagnellae) be so aggressive... though there are others that are more consistently territorial terrors... (e.g. steenei)... Bob Fenner> Dottyback comp. 11/16/06 Hi I have a 29 gallon tank which has one Amphiprion ocellaris, Gobiodon okinawae, and a Pseudochromis fridmani, and a cleaner shrimp and some turbo snails and 2 red legged hermit crabs.  My Pseudochromis fridmani does not look good he has some white spots near his head, but is not scratching. <Might be "nothing"... could very well be "stress markings" from negative interaction with the Clown (crowded)... could be parasitic...> He has some white scraps on him where he is missing scales. <Oh... am going with the middle choice> He is also breathing rapidly but when he sees me looking he goes back into his rock cave.  My ammonia is 0, ph 8.0 (a little low I know I am trying to buffer it up), <I would leave this as is... no worries... Much more likely problems with your attempts at adjustment> nitrate and nitrites are 0 also.  There has been no aggression from what I can tell amongst the three fish.  Should I move it to quarantine? <If you have such, yes> Please advise.  I have read Wet Web Media FAQ's about Dottybacks,. but do not know what to do.   Thank you so much   P.S. I can set up a quarantine if need be have one on stand by and I have had this Dottyback for around 9 months now so I am really close to him! <Mmm... I might try (alternatively) isolating the Clown in a floating colander for a week or so... even the Gobiodon in turn... I suspect aggression as a/the root cause here. Bob Fenner>

Roommate for Fire-tail Devil   11/15/06 Good Morning Crew, <A bit later here now> I am a recent owner of a Labracinus cyclophthalmus, "Fire-tail Devil". <A gorgeous species> He/she is housed alone in a standard 48", 90-gallon tank with about 40-50 lbs of well seasoned live-rock and about 4-5" of oolithic sand. He's about 3 1/2 inches long and very active.  Water parameters are all very good, and I aggressively skim and filter.  I was wondering about potential tank mates for this feisty little bugger (he tries to fight my cat every day). <Mmm, would (have been) better to place this fish last...>   His home is well established, he continues to rearranged an incredible amount of sand and rock.  My kids are lobbying for clown fish, so I thought maybe a maroon clown (or 2?) could match this guy's pugnacious attitude.  Your thoughts? <To give any other species a "fighting chance" I would net out, keep the Pseudochromid in a floating colander for a week or so while the new fish/es become accustomed to the surroundings...> If not, any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I would like very hearty active tank mates if any.  I have no future plans to for a bigger tank ($$) so 90 gallons is all they get.  Thanks for your help!           <Good luck, life to you. Bob Fenner>

Re: Room-mate for Fire-tail Devil  11/16/06 Thanks Bob, I knew that starting a tank with this Pseudochromid was far from ideal. I couldn't resist, this is the only "Fire-tail" I've ever seen up here (Grand Forks, ND), and I didn't want to miss out.  I may just house him alone.  It seems sometimes fish show their colors more vividly when there is company/ competition. <Yes, this is so> Do you think that he would benefit from some company (dither, etc) or would he just as well be left alone?     <Mmm... I would try adding something fast, aware here (Perhaps a Tang or two)... as I say/stated with the proviso that you be able, willing to catch out, float/isolate the Dotty if it proves too agonistic. Bob Fenner>

Peppermint shrimp, anemone and Dottyback compatibility   10/2/06   Hello, back for my weekly question.  Hope you are doing well.  I am sure there is a answer to my question somewhere on WWM, but I am having trouble finding it.  On my endless quest for a cure of Aiptasia, I am thinking of purchasing 4 or 5 peppermint shrimp.  My question is, will the peppermint shrimp go after my bubble tip (huge) or any of the LPS corals I have (yes, bad mix I know)?   <Likely so> Lastly in your opinion would my blue flavivertex Pseudochromis go after my peppermint shrimp?   <Maybe if/during molting if there is insufficient cover> If either of these answers are yes, I can put the peppermint shrimp in my sump with some Aiptasia covered rocks, right?  Thanks, Ryan. <Yes. Bob Fenner> Lyretail/Steene's Dottyback comp.   9/4/06 I have a 35gallon tank w/ a female Pseudochromis steenei  or also known as the Lyretail Dottyback. <Yikes... a gorgeous, but very aggressive species!>   Her name is Morticia :) <Good name here>   anyhow., I'm going to be upgrading to a larger tank - maybe a 100gal (not sure yet). What I'm wanting to know is: 1) What will cohabitate with my Dottyback?  [right now I only have a black sea urchin & chocolate chip starfish sharing the tank w/ no problems] 2) If there is any other fish that can cohabitate what size tank should I get? <"The bigger the better"> 3) And what procedures should I follow to make a safe change? <Stock Morticia last...> THANK YOU! It's such a rare fish there's hardly any reading material other then what a terror the fish is. I love it...it's the first fish I can hand feed. NO FEAR for a little poot. :)  I couldn't find the Dottyback FAQ's again after I got redirected to register.  Sorry, I hope you don't mind me emailing my question directly. Terri Miller Houston, Texas <Mmm, we send all direct as well as posting. Whatever you settle on, make sure it's at least as large, fast, smart... and place it/them first. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lyretail/Steene's Dottyback   9/5/06 Thank You Bob for the quick response and on a holiday as well!! <Thank you my friend> Here's a hypothetical question - If by chance I was able to acquire the male Lyretail what size tank you think I will need? <Mmm, to try breeding them? Perhaps a sixty gallon... with a good separator!>   There's a story in Scott W. Michael book: Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes about a pair residing @ a dive site.  I don't really think I'll find a male but you never know. I got lucky getting the female; someone traded it in at our local Aquarium World. Most hobbyist probably think I'm crazy but I love how hard it works digging it's tunnels and how it stares me down when she's hungry.  Ha-ha  RESPECT!! <Mutual am sure> She's the MOST easiest fish to keep in my opinion. Okay back to my question.  If I can't find the male Lyretail is there another Dottyback that Morticia will except as a mate. <Uh, no> Or is it totally impossible in a home aquarium? <Not impossible... see/read Martin Moe's book on his work with Fridman's...> If not another "mating" Dottyback what about eels??  Is there any particular eel(s) that you would recommend? <See WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moralselfaqs.htm> Here's my dilemma; I'm having my house remodeled and it'll give me the space for a large aquarium.  Morticia is VERY VERY hardy and I LOVE that fact but I would also like to have more then one HARDY fish or eel maybe.  If this was your tank what would you do? <Mmm... not have/try this Pseudochromid actually>    My tank is strictly live rock and live sand. I haven't had much luck w/ coral because (don't hate me) I do better with a low maintenance tank. <Me too> My tank right now is only 37 gallons, if I remember right, (I've had it around 9 years now)  I took an Eclipse and converted it into a saltwater tank.  At the time I couldn't afford a real saltwater tank but it has worked great!!! THANK YOU again Bob!  I really really appreciate your assistance. <All the Steene's Dottybacks I've had occasion to read or visit re have been returned (repeatedly) to stores for killing their tankmates... Bob Fenner>

Re: Lyretail Dottyback  - 09/14/06 I got the male Lyretail in the mail yesterday and it is only 1/2 the size of Morticia. <Trouble> I never guessed the male would be a juvi., but I'm thinking this could be to my advantage if I can handle this right.  The Plexi glass separator is working keeping Morticia on her side but Gomez (will be his name of course) is able to venture to the other side.  It's totally incredible because it appears Gomez actually knows which side is his, only after 3 or 4 hours in the tank. <Oh yes...> I thought it was kind of funny in a sense because when he found an opening to the other side Morticia let him know she was there and he started high tailing it back to his side.   She just snapped at him and then she went back into the rocks.  It wasn't like she chased him around or anything, but it did startle him enough to start looking for his escape passage back to home turf.  My questions are now., 1) since he is the smaller of the 2 can I safely remove the separator. <No... not likely> [I thought the male arriving would of been larger and would of possibly harmed the female,,, not the other way around] or 2) do I need to wait until he's an adult size also before putting them together? <Can try... with you being present only... to re-separate them>   and still wait until I get the larger tank? [they are housed in a 37 gallons right now with no other fishies]   3) How long does it take to reach maturity? <Mmm, likely another six months or so. Bob Fenner> Re: Lyretail Dottyback  9/15/06 I was concerned but not any more because nature is dictating my next step. <As it will> I guess even in fishy land boys will be boys and girls will be girls. It's been three days now and Gomez's boy curiosity and persistence has kept him on Morticia's side of the tank most of today. And Morticia well it appears has fallen for his dashing good looks & charm because she is not chasing him away anymore, and has even found a back door to Gomez's side of the reef. Hell, and I thought this was going to be a long and drawn out process! A few hours ago I removed the Plexiglas and all is well, actually better then well.  It's obvious Morticia likes the extra room to move around. I don't see anything to be worried about anymore  <big grins> <We'll see...> I just saw MACNA XVIII is being held in Houston. <Ah, yes>   I only live 30 miles North of the city so you bet I'll be there. <Good> I saw a banner showing y'all will be there also.  Will y'all be displaying or selling anything? <Mmm, I'm giving a pitch late Sunday> I can't wait. Has it ever been held in Houston before? <Don't recall it ever being there> Thanks for all your assistance.  If by chance we have any little Addams I'll let you know.  I've been kind of documenting my process in the forum something I still need to update since my last step. Terri <Good... do take a read of Martin Moe's, "Breeding the P. fridmani" book... close correlations to be realized... Bob Fenner> Goby Addition/Pseudochromis Aggression - 08/31/06 Hi WWM Crew, <<Good Morning>> I have a 30 gallon tank all water parameters are very good.  In the 30 gallon tank is an Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and a Fridmani Pseudochromis (Pseudochromis fridmani).  I was wondering if I could move a Yellow Clown Goby (Gobiodon okinawae) which I have in another tank into the 30 gallon tank? <<Yes>> Even with the Fridmani Pseudochromis already in there because they tend to be aggressive fish. <<If "tank bred/raised" it will be much more "mild mannered" than its wild caught brethren.  But either way, I think the goby will be fine>> Thanks for your reply. <<Quite welcome.  EricR>>

Mithraculus comp. with Dottyback   8/6/06 I put an emerald crab in a 55 gallon tank with live rock, sand. The emerald crab was killed and/or eaten by the only fish I have in the tank; a strawberry pseudo. I was using him to rid the tank of excess bubble algae. It is the first time I have ever kept one of these fish, and found nothing to indicate the emerald crab would be in danger. Is this normal behaviour for this species? (strawberry pseudo) Thanks, Eddie        <Can be trouble here. Take a read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dotbkcompfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/mithraxfaqs.htm BobF>

911--Dottyback eating hermit crab   7/7/06 Hello!  Thank you for this amazing website.  I have learned more than a lifetime of experience from you and I love Anthony's and Bob's books.  I have kind of an emergency because my Strawberry Dottyback just ate my reef hermit crab--tail first--and the claws, etc. seem to be stuck in his mouth! What should I do?  Remove the crab?  I can send a picture if you would like.  Thank you!  Jessica <Mmm, I would try to extricate the crab exoskeleton bits here... two nets to catch the Dotty, gentle pulling with tweezers/forceps... Good hunting! Bob Fenner> Eel Blenny/Pseudochromid Question... with Dwarf Lions OK, with a Queen Trigger, No Way   6/17/06 Hello, I have recently come across a Eel Blenny/Green Wolf Eel (Congrogadus subduscens) at the local fish store, but have been having some difficulty in finding info on it.  I've read that it gets fairly long in length, but despite its size is quite passive as a Dottyback.  Can you please reconfirm this? <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm> How passive is it?   <Quite... maybe a 2-3 out of ten...> In my tank I have two dwarf lionfish (at the moment, inedible size).  Would these fish go alright together in the future? <Should, yes>   I also have a decent sized queen trigger.  Any problems there? <!Huge... Balistes vetula is close to a "ten out of ten"... Not to be trusted with these other fish species. Bob Fenner> sincerely, Aaron Raney Dottybacks/Compatibility   5/25/06 Hello again and thanks for responding to my last e-mail!  The page  that I was directed to was very helpful.  Thing is, I wasn't sure when it  was written. By that I mean, was it written before orchid dottys were  being tank raised and being considered more "passive" for lack of better words,  or was it referring to the wild orchid dottys, which I heard can be living  terrors.  <<Was written (my me) ahead of this time. RMF>> I'm just not sure whether to take the gamble on these guys or  not.  I don't want to take my tank apart to catch these super quick and  agile swimmers if they get out of hand.  I know they may become more  aggressive as they get older, just wondering if that is still true for tank  raised orchid dottys.  Sorry for the trouble, and thanks  again! <Tank raised Dottybacks that I feel would be compatible/safe are: Pseudochromis Fridmani/Fridman's Dottyback Pseudochromis Springeri/Springer's Dottyback Pseudochromis Flavivertex/Sunrise Dottyback Pseudochromis Bicolor/Bicolor Dottyback All of the above may chase smaller fish but generally have good personalities. They will defend their nook from intruders, all will prey on bristleworms, and most important, if more than one is desired, they should be put in the tank at the same time.  I have a Bicolor Dottyback in a 30 mini reef that is a perfect gentleman.  All are easy to care for.  I hope this helps you out. James (Salty Dog)>

Dottybacks/Compatibility  - 05/22/2006 Hello WWM crew! <Hello> I have read your FAQ's like crazy trying to establish an opinion on  tank raised Dottybacks and their temperament...I still need help!  I read  that Orchids are some of the more passive species (among tank raised  Dottybacks).  Have they possibly become very passive in the latter stages  of the tank bred process?  I have a 95 gallon reef tank with currently  100lbs of rock, I am adding more slowly since that stuff can be pricey around  here.  It currently houses 1 ocellaris clownfish, two pajama  Cardinalfish, one peppermint shrimp, and one skunk cleaner shrimp...yep, that's  all, it's a reef in progress, and I take it slow!   <Ahh, patience, an excellent tool in this hobby.> I am trying to choose the tankmates, and am reading like crazy trying to make sure I don't get a fish that I have to disassemble my tank just to catch him cause he is pounding another fish.  Basically, I would love to add an Orchid, or possibly the hybrid Indigo Dottyback, but don't want to do so if he  is going to pick on other fish.  I would like to place a yellow assessor in there as well, but would rather have the Orchid or Indigo.  Are these tank  raised species likely to pick on my shrimp or bully any other fish, and if they would bully some tankmates, which ones should I avoid?  The cardinals are  kinda slow and peaceful, I would really hope that a Dottyback will not bully  them as well.  The LFS owner said in his opinion they have become as docile  as any fish, and he would label them as "peaceful, but territorial." He didn't  think they would seek out someone to pick on just for sport, what's your take on this?  I appreciate your help, and value your opinions and knowledge, it  has been very helpful in the past!  Take care! <Do read here.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm  James (Salty Dog)> H. Owens

Mauled Dottyback - 26/4/06 Hi everybody! <Hi Sam!> This is Sam from India <You've got John from China today.> Today morning when I was checking out my tank all fishes were fine. But my favorite fish the Diadema Dottyback was not so well, it looked like it could not swim and is struggling to change its place. So I took my probe stick, as usually it should move when the stick is taken near it. But it did not move much but was struggling to move, there is some problem I thought! Then I moved it with my stick and to my horror its entire stomach was eaten away! As it was struggling too much, I thought there is no chance of recovery so I just put it in the freezer and had to euthanize it. Was this right? <Oh! That sounds horrible! I think you made the correct decision to euthanize the fish and spare it from its slow demise. However, opinion varies on whether freezing is the most humane method. clove oil anesthetization - or even a whack on the head - are likely quicker and less painful for the fish. But this is a moot point - you should be proud that you did the best you could.> What could have caused it? In my tank I have a Yellow-tail Damsel, a Blue Devil, a pair of Allardi Clownfish, and a few Nerite snails. The Dottyback was the oldest dude, and no one messed with it! <unless it was very sick/weak already, I don't know what could have happened here.> The tank is full of live rock; could some thing be hidden in it? <Could have: have you added any live rock recently? Loud clicking/tapping noises at night would be a tell-tale sign of a mantis shrimp.> And the best part is that it was not dead and then eaten, but was alive when eaten! <Poor fish.> No other fish was interested in checking him out! It just happened 10 minutes ago, so still a bit sad. <Understandable. Do keep an eye out for unwanted hitchhikers if you have recently added live rock. Other things to think about are sharp objects - or perhaps falling rocks - in the tank. Maybe an exposed powerhead impeller? Or, if the fish fell ill beforehand, then look into water parameters.> Anyways, see if u can answer this! Thanks, Sam <I hope you get to the bottom of it! Best regards, John.>

Trapping a fish in a fish trap ... bad Dottyback   4/23/06 Hi guys, I wrote to you earlier about a yellow Pseudochromis that was in my quarantine tank. You said it would be ok to introduce into my 125g reef. Well, he has eaten my fire shrimp, peppermint shrimp and possibly my emerald crab. He is extremely territorial. <What species is this Dottyback? Some are pure terrors (e.g. Steene's), while others are by and large "reef safe" (the tank produced Fridman's for instance> Unfortunately the entire tank is his territory!! My two remaining shrimp ( skunk cleaners) are resorted to living on powerhead. If  they go to the sand then he bullies them. My question is on using a fish trap for him. How do you use it. I have a full blown reef, with rock and corals so the typical fish net won't work here. Please advise me how. Thank you, Stephanie <... What species? Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm and the linked files above... particularly Compatibility FAQs. Bob Fenner>

Pseudochromis aureus compatibility with shrimp  3/18/06 Hello all, I am in a dilemma. I purchased from an on line retailer a yellow Pseudochromis fish, about 2" which has been in  quarantine for 30 days. My fear, and question, is that I have read (of course, after purchase) that they can eat ornamental shrimp. <Some Dottybacks have a predisposition to...> I have a 125g. tank with plenty of rockwork and corals. Once I put this fish in, it will be a nightmare to catch if it is indeed a shrimp killer. What do you think is the likely hood of this happening? <With this species, sized specimen, type of set-up... very small chance> I have 4 shrimp---1 fire shrimp 2", 1 peppermint shrimp 2", and 2 cleaner (skunk) shrimp 3". I intend to keep him there until I am fairly sure he is ok. You all have been right on in the past. He seems so shy in the quarantine tank, but putting him in the big tank may open up other problems, so I want to be prepared. Thanks in advance, Stephanie. <I would risk this introduction/mix. Cheers, Bob Fenner> Royal Gramma Help... actually, an example of punctuated knowledge, learning in our species... A useful paradigm for military conflicts, government manipulation of the masses   3/16/06 Hi, I started a fish only saltwater aquarium about 7 weeks ago. I cycled the tank with damsels and removed them as I was told by my fish consultant when I was ready to get other fish. <Mmm, see WWM re this practice... the damsels may have left you a nasty (disease) surprise...> I bought 2 percula clowns and 1 royal Gramma. In about 2 days, one clown died and from the way I described it, my fish consultant believes it was clownfish disease. <There's more than one... Brooklynellosis? Should not have occurred if these were tank bred...> About a week later, I lost the other one. I am waiting about 2 weeks before I buy anymore clowns. <... in the meanwhile, please read on WWM re these animals needs> I have now had the royal Gramma for about 3 weeks and over that time I have added a Heniochus butterfly, a coral beauty angel, and a strawberry Pseudochromis. <... how large is this system? How filtered?> The Pseudochromis charged at the royal Gramma once or twice when I first added him to the display tank, and they have seemed fine ever since. <Will be unless this system is "at least four feet long"> I see no tension between any of the fish right now. They are all eating fine and look healthy, except the royal Gramma. A couple days ago, I noticed his top fin was a little rigid and had a tiny tear in it. I also saw that his left fin looks like the cartilage has been torn. <Likely from tussling with the Dottyback> He can still swim fine, but I am concerned. I also saw that one of his bottom fins looks like half of it was sort of snapped off. I also see 2 whitish lines back above his eyes, but I don't know if they were there before. Could these characteristics be from the Pseudochromis or could it be an infection of some kind? <Both, from one, then the other... will likely die if not removed, treated elsewhere> I am very concerned and if you have any advice, please let me know. Thanks! <... as time goes by you'll understand how little useful information you have provided here. Please, do yourself and your livestock the favor of educating yourself. Don't rely on a consultant, me... read. Bob Fenner>

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp vs. Dottyback - 2/20/2006 Hi crew! <<Hi Chris.>> I'm just researching the possibility of adding a Lysmata amboinensis to my 30gal (UK) FOWLR tank. I have 2 Tank Bred Amphiprion ocellaris and a Pseudochromis porphyreus, a few Nassarius Snails, a Bumble Bee Snail, a Super Turbo and a Blue Legged Hermit Crab along with a few Actinodiscus and a very small Sarcophyton.    I really wanted to know if it's at all likely that the Dottyback would eat or attack a skunk cleaner. I think it would make a really cool addition to my tank, but I don't want to add one if it's likely to end up as an expensive meal for my Dottyback. I've looked through the FAQs but no-one seems to have asked the question. <<Tough call.  I have never personally had a problem with this fish and shrimp. That said, some have.  If I were you, I would remove your Pseudochromis to a quarantine tank, add the shrimp to the qt, and watch carefully to see how the fish reacts.  This way if it goes poorly, you can more easily separate the two without having to tear apart your display tank.  Just a suggestion.  Alternatively, add a larger shrimp, watch closely, and be prepared to separate/lose a shrimp.>> Thanks again for a fantastic resource. Whenever I'm planning something for my aquarium I always spend a few hours/days trawling through the WWM site, reading up. <<Me too.>> Warm Regards, Chris. <<Lisa.>> Orange wolf eels and fuzzy dwarf lions  1/8/06 I have a 55-gallon tank with live rock. I recently introduced a wolf eel. I know this Dottyback is often referred to as a "green wolf eel," <Yes> but this specimen is bright orange -- not brown -- with aqua-colored markings. Is that coloration unusual or is it what is meant by a brown female? <Is unusual... perhaps a female> It is a gorgeous fish but highly aggressive. The LFS guy assured me that the wolf eel would not bother my fuzzy dwarf lionfish, but it certainly freaked it out, and the FDL started hanging out at the top of the tank, even upside down at times, and hanging onto the protein skimmer. After a couple of days, things seemed to settle down in the tank, and the FDL moved around the tank more, back on the rock at times, but still very wary of the wolf eel. Then two things happened. The FDL ate a feeder goldfish that was meant for the wolf eel (having read your site, I now know to train it to eat other foods), and it took most of the day for the FDL to fully swallow a fish that was not that much smaller than itself. The next day the FDL was dead, resting on the bottom and looking much whiter than it had in life. Your website talks about cyanide poisoning as a possible cause of death (we had had the FDL only about 10 days before introducing the wolf eel), but I wonder if either the goldfish or stress caused by the wolf eel are more likely causes. <Scorpaenid fishes are easy to collect... cyanide isn't used on them. The other inputs are of more import here.> My family would love to replace the FDL, but I wonder about its compatibility with the wolf eel. <In this size system, considering what you're written re the behavior of this Dottyback, I wouldn't> Thank you for your help. <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Orange wolf eels and fuzzy dwarf lions   1/11/06 Dear Bob and WWM Crew - <Franck> Thank you  for the helpful response. Your site is a remarkable source of information -- I just wish I had heard about it before I started. The LFS guy directed me to your site over the weekend as the best place to get answers on-line, and I was proud to be able to say I was already familiar with the resource. <Ahh!> In my previous email, you suggested that another dwarf lionfish may not recommended for my 55-gal set-up given the aggressive wolf eel. <Correct. Have seen some of these that were pure terrors. At any length it is likely that the "Wolf Eel" would eat most all food placed in the tank> Is there anything else that you could suggest to a novice that might thrive? <The choices are vast here... and covered to a degree on WWM> In addition to the Dottyback, I have a coral banded shrimp, a percula clown, and three surviving starter damsels (the Dottyback got the fourth). I have about 25 lbs of live rock sitting on a thin layer of 20 lbs. of live sand. One other odd question -- does the wolf eel produce large "droppings"? <Yes. Can> I have found occasional soft black lumps on the bottom, and I can think of no other source. I assume these need to be scooped up immediately -- I just never heard of this as part of maintenance process! Thanks again. Franck <Happens. Bob Fenner>

Pseudochromis fridmani aggression 11/1/05 I've read that the tank-raised Dottybacks are less aggressive but I still am not sure if they would be compatible with my tank.  <They generally adapt better to confined systems and the social life of tank mates that occurs in captivity in comparison to their wild captured cousins. However they are instinctly territorial and have the potential to be quite aggressive.>  I currently have a 100 gal setup with: 1 Firefish 1 court jester goby 1 powder blue tang 2 tomato clowns 1 cleaner shrimp 2 sexy shrimp What problems do you foresee?  <Possibly a little aggression toward the Firefish though since it is already established and this tank is on the side you may be okay.>I am a little worried about the sexy shrimp and the Firefish.  <The sexy shrimp could definitely fall prey to a larger specimen.>  I know he would be added last - does this also minimize aggression? <Minimizes the chance of aggression but not a guarantee.> Thank you, Marlana Marks <You are welcome, Adam J.> 

Pseudochromis vs. Clowns 10/18/05 Hi WWM Crew! <Hello Steve!> First, my compliments on your fantastic site...the knowledge contained within its pages has proved invaluable time and again. <Glad you have found us useful.> I was hoping to get your advice on my current situation with my, normally, very peaceful fridmani. Recently, I moved two tank-bred A. Perculas (born June 16)  <Little guys.>  into his, and he's having difficulty accepting the newcomers.  <Not surprising honestly.>  Previously, his only tank mate for over two years, other than the assorted cleanup crew and a cleaner shrimp, was a yellow goby (Gobiodon okinawae) which mysteriously disappeared a few weeks ago.  <The fridmani had a territory (tank) to himself the addition of new fish is going to upset him.>  I knew there would be a possibility that he could act aggressively towards newcomers,  <More than a possibility, more like a likelihood.> but convinced myself that the chances would be very slim considering his past behavior, the fact that there's plenty of hiding space in this 30-gallon reef tank, <Its not a physical space issue it's a psychological space issue.> and that fridmanis and Perculas normally get along admirably. Well, so much for my reasoning!  <Personalities are unpredictable at times with fish and people.> At any rate, the fridmani seems hell-bent on keeping the two Perculas trapped in a corner.  <Not pleasant for the perks, could lead to stress or feeding strikes.>  He does sometimes charge into their midst, but I have not observed him actually nipping at them, and don't believe he's making any physical attacks.  <These psychological attacks can be just as damaging over time.>  When I approach the tank, he seems to know instinctively that he's misbehaving and will retreat into his favorite cave. With the fridmani out of sight, the Perculas will immediately leave their cover and seem to enjoy exploring their new environment and playing in the outflow from the water pumps. After I've "intervened" and they've been released from hiding, I've noticed that even after I retreat, they will "stand their ground" and not allow the fridmani to chase them back into the corner so easily. They don't actually go after him, naturally, but they do seem to exhibit some teamwork  <There is strength in numbers being in pair is better than being alone.>  and will "stare him down" for a while. Nonetheless, two or three times a day (this is only their second day in the tank), I'll have to come over to the tank to make the fridmani retreat (I don't actually do anything other than walk over to it and stand there for a few minutes). BTW, it was always normal for this shy fish to retreat when anyone approached the glass, even at feeding time. <Yes these are instincts.> Do you believe the fridmani will begin to accept his new tank mates given some time?  <He could but its also possible he could become bolder and begin attacking even more.>  If so, how long should I tolerate this before intervening in a more drastic manner?  <You should be intervening now, I was going to suggest re-aquascaping but I see that's not an option.>  Unfortunately, I can't rearrange the LR, or I would have done that today. Should I pull the fridmani out for a while and re-introduce him later?  <That would be my second choice, move the fridmani to your quarantine tank for at least a week maybe longer.>  Naturally, it would be quite some feat for me to actually capture him (can't really move the structure as I mentioned; LOTS of hiding places; and he's not only fast, he seems to be rather intelligent as well).  <I understand.>  Obviously, in the worst case, I know I'll have to pull the Perculas out.  <Yes.>  However, even though when it comes to fish I've always felt that fewer was more, I really didn't want this to become a single fish tank, especially since he is rather shy.  <I understand.>  But, if he can't come to terms with these, I can't imagine him accepting any other fish that I'd be willing to introduce to the tank. <In all honesty the chances of the fridmani settling down are not good, you are going to have to intervene in one way or another.> Suggestions? <You would try your best to temporarily separate the fridmani.> Thanks and Cheers! Steve <You're welcome Adam J.> 

Purple pseudo and percula tank raised Help  9/19.5/05 I am a novice, I love your site it has taught me a lot.  i recently added a purple pseudo to my tank, with a percula  I have LR and all that my clown was healthy and happy.  The fish store guy suggested this purple pseudo as a good match but he seems quite aggressive and keeps nipping at my clown his bottom fins are getting torn what should i do,? <Separate them... ASAP> my clown is very friendly and feeds from my fingers.  I feel when i go to the fish store they are only helpful if you know what your talking about,  it's hard to be a novice and get good advice, but I actually love my SW tank and plan to expand to get a rose tip anemone later down the line. After i know what I'm doing.   Can you please help!!!! <Keep studying, thinking critically my friend. You'll do fine. Bob Fenner>

Royal Dottyback- A Royal Pain? My wife and I have had some bad luck picking fish lately. Our first fish died a couple months ago (it was a Strawberry Basslet). When we finally got the courage up to get something else... we got a Bicolor Basslet and a Diamond Goby. Things went well for a couple days. Next thing I know my goby is on the ground dead. I think my Basslet bullied him out. The reason I say that is this: I went back to the pet store and got a Sixline wrasse. Sure enough, Basslet bullied him. <Hey - you really need to quarantine new arrivals for a few weeks before placing them in you system. It can make the difference between success and failure!> My wrasse didn't jump out, but I can't find him. I've been told a six line wrasse will hide in the rocks. <They can. I had one disappear, only to be found thriving in my overflow box months later, apparently none the worse for the experience!> Still, I'm paranoid he's dead. So I pick up every rock, but don't see him. I guess something ate him. <These fishes are very adept at hiding, in rocks, substrate, etc. I wouldn't give up just yet.> (combination of Basslet, shrimp, serpent star, crabs.. who knows) Now my question is this. If my wrasse did die, what fish can I possibly get... that my Basslet wouldn't bully, or at the very least could stand its ground against it? <If you are referring to the "Bicolor Dottyback" or "Royal Dottyback" (Ahh.. the danger of using common names), Pseudochromis paccagnellae, then you are dealing with a fish that, is a real behavioral problem in many tanks, as you seem to be finding out. You'd be best to stock the fish with larger, more aggressive fishes that can hold their own.> And do you think there's any chance my wrasse is still alive? I saw him yesterday morning.. but not since. (I have about 40 lbs of live rock in a 29 gallon tank.. and I picked up every rock to check.. but I guess I could have missed a crevice here or there??) If you can offer up any advice, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks. Neil <Well, Neil, it's hard to say...There is very likely a chance that he's hiding and will emerge soon.> PS: in case you need specifics about my tank and what's in it.. here goes: 29 gallon tank 40 lbs live rock 1 Bicolor Basslet 1 Sixline Wrasse (I hope) 1 feather duster 1 Serpent Star 1 Coral Banded shrimp about 15 hermit crabs (mix of Blueleg and Scarlet) about 15 snails (mix of Turbo, Nassarius, and Cerith) 2 Sea Cucumbers Oh.. and last I checked, which was just a couple days ago.. pH was normal.. and there was no ammonia, nitrates, nitrites, phosphates, etc. (I've had the tank about 5 months). Again, Thanks for your help. <Glad to be of service! Keep looking! Regards, Scott F.>

Dottyback Compatibility Bob,  <James, for Bob today> First, I would like to thank you for your contributions to this great hobby! <You're welcome> Your work has helped us out tremendously. Now to the point. I am setting up a new 125 and moving the rock over. After a couple of months to stabilize, I would like to add a couple of Dottybacks. One would be the Orchid, the other the sunrise. I plan on about 120 lbs of rock or so. I believe I now have about 80 and the rock is all from the Marshall's. It is going to be a Marshall Island biotope. I have not decide on fore or back reef. The dotties would be captive bred. In this type tank do you think the 2 dotties would work? If not, what would you suggest as the minimum size tank for maintain these fish together? Thanks for your time and contributions.  <Steve, it would be the equivalent of putting two male freshwater Bettas in a tank together. Read here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm. James (Salty Dog)

Dottyback Compatibility - II James, Thanks for the reply. I guess I won't be doing that! I have read all the FAQ's and I couldn't find a minimum tank size to house 2 dotties. Do you have a recommendation?  <Steve, it's just not wise to put two dotties together. They are great scrappers with others of their kind. James (Salty Dog)> 

Dottyback Compatibility - Oh no you don't! James, Thanks! I hate when I can't do what I want ;-) I won't even think it again.  I appreciate your looking out for the best interest of the fish!!!  <And your wallet. James (Salty Dog)> 

Wrasse Vs. Dottyback? Do you have any specific recommendations for fish that are generally larger and more aggressive than my Dottyback? Thanks. <Well, I'd look into some of the larger Halichoeres species of wrasse, such as H. ornatissimus or H. marginatus. They are cool and can hold their own! HTH! Regards, Scott F.> 

Killer Dottyback or? Hi Crew, I need some advice about my large yellow Dottyback. I purchased her a short time ago and was assured from the local saltwater fish store that she would not disrupt my reef tank. Well I am seeing changes here. A 55gal tank with about 100lbs of live rock. A clown, Chromis, 2-damsels. Multiple small corals of all sizes and shapes. My big question is I am now missing a few of my Astrea snails, and I haven't seen any of my Stomatellas and my 2-cleaner shrimp are missing as well.  I have started to feed her frozen meaty foods and have noticed how aggressive she is with shrimp and squid pieces. Is she the culprit and if so is there any way to trap her without taking all the rock out of the tank and disrupting the growing coral I have in there now? Thanks Lacee22 <Mmm, could be the Dottyback, but I'm wondering if you have another critter... a Mantis Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, perhaps large worm... at play here. I would buy or devise a trap (these are gone over on WWM... you can use the indices or search tool there) and a flashlight at night to investigate further... Bob Fenner> 

Dottyback and Firefish in a Small Tank (6/5/05) Perhaps you can help me, I have had a 10 gallon reef tank going for about 4 months. Everything is great.  But this weekend we picked up a Firefish. The day I got him I acclimated him and put him in the tank. After a very short time, the Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis) was attacking him. <Totally within what should be expected from this very aggressive fish, especially in such a small tank.> He would come from under the LR attack and go back again. Probably attacked about 10 time in 10 minutes. So I put the Firefish in a plastic container with holes in it, and just floated him for 2 days now. Maybe this way the Dottyback can get use to the fire fish. <That will not happen. Expect exactly the same if you release the Firefish into the tank again.> I added the Dottyback and my percula clown together and they are both fine together. <The Dottyback will attack any fish of similar body type such as Firefish, gobies, royal Gramma. They have been known to eviscerate and kill fish larger than themselves.>  I also have a peppermint shrimp that's fine.  Can you tell me if I can successfully add the fire fish to my tank? Thank you, Ron <Sorry to say this Ron, but I highly doubt it. Your tank is too small and the Dottyback is too aggressive. If I were you, I'd remove it. I'm not sure you'll be able to get any other fish in there with it now, most especially a Firefish. Consider replacing him with the safer Royal Gramma. With the clown, a Gramma and the Firefish, this tiny tank will be full. There are other options for stocking, but 10G can really only handle 3 or 4 small marine fish. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.>

Dottyback and Fire Fish Question Perhaps you can help me, I have had a 10 gallon reef tank going for about 4 months.  Everything is great.  But this weekend we picked up a Firefish. The day I got him I acclimated him and put him in the tank.  After a very short time, the Dottyback (Pseudochromis aldabraensis) was attacking him. He would come from under the LR attack and go back again.  probably attacked about 10 time in 10 minutes.  So I put the Fire Fish in a plastic container with holes in it, and just floated him for 2 days now.  Maybe this way the Dottyback can get use to the fire fish. I added the Dottyback and my percula clown together and they are both fine together.  I also have a peppermint shrimp that's fine.  Can you tell me if  I can successfully add the fire fish to my tank? <Ron, I suggest you return the Dottyback to your LFS.  Dottybacks can be very aggressive to certain species of fish such as the Firefish.  Firefish are best kept with other timid species.  James (Salty Dog)> <<And this tank is WAY too small... RMF>> Thank you, Ron

Dottyback Compatibility (6/8/05) Thanks a lot for your quick and informative answer! <My pleasure. Pre-flight insomnia keeping me up late. Steve Allen again.> And what if I would replace the Randall's Orange stripe prawn goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) by an Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani)? <It might well kill your Dragonet and Firefish.> Just a thought...Thanks! Dominique <While Orchids are a bit less aggressive than others, Dottybacks are well-known for vicious aggression. It would be a bad idea to put any Dottyback in the same tank with timid fish such as Firefish and Dragonets. Not worth the risk.>

Pony Pals... Seahorse compatibility (7/9/05) I am currently in the process of starting a 77 gallon seahorse tank. <Congratulations! Seahorses are my absolute favorites!  This is a very nice size for a seahorse corral. Please do look into stocking your tank with captive bred seahorses. They are a healthier, heartier and an environmentally friendlier option. In addition the reliable breeders will have them trained to accept frozen Mysis, so that feeding is not as challenging and costly as feeding their wild caught relatives. There are a few reliable sources these days> I am looking for suitable tankmates for the seahorses. <You can find a list of suitable pony pals on syngnathid.org'¦.. http://www.syngnathid.org/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=FlatMates&Number=824&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1> I learned from seahorse.org that Firefish could make a good addition to my tank. Yes they make an excellent seahorse companion. I had a pair of purple Firefish Nemateleotris decora for years.> My question is does that hold true for the purple tilefish, which is in the same family? <Actually the tilefish are in the family Malacanthidae and Firefish the Microdesmidae family. Tilefish historically have a very poor survivability. You can read more about the tilefish here'¦.. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tilefishes.htm. If you are interested in something that is purple you have a few options'¦.. There is the purple Firefish Nemateleotris decora, which you can have a look at here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dartfish.htm. The Orchid Dottyback, Pseudochromis fridmani which you can have a look at here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm. The Dottybacks typically do not make suitable tankmates for seahorses but the Fridmani Pseudochromis is an exception to the rule. They are also available captive bred which is a very nice advantage. However,  beware not to confuse this fish with Pseudochromis porphyreus the Magenta Dottyback which has more of the typical Dottyback personality which would not be appropriate with seahorses. Then there is the Black-Cap Gramma, Gramma melacara which you can have a look at here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammas.htm. You can find additional information and support at www.syngnathid.org. Best of luck with your new seahorse corral, Leslie>

Questions about Dottybacks  9/2/05 Hello there. <Hello Rick> I have a few questions about the orchid Dottybacks. <Nice fish> I'm so tempted to buy one, but I want to make sure it won't dismember my other fish. I have 3 damsels and a clown fish. Will an orchid Dottyback be ok with these fish? How will it affect the other fish. My two yellow tailed damsels are already used to being bullied around by my blue damsel and my percula clown fish is very territorial to his anemone. If anything I think my blue damsel and clownfish will be fine with a Dottyback but my yellowtailed damsels are very shy.  Thank you so much!!! <Rick, the Dottybacks shouldn't bother any of your fish providing there is no overcrowding in the tank. The blue damsel may have a few rounds with the Dottyback but if you have plenty of hiding spots (caves, etc), you should be OK>  Male Dottybacks are aggressive toward each other so stay away from that.  James (Salty Dog)> What do you think about eventually adding a Dottyback to my FOWLR which has a royal Gramma in it? War? I was thinking about a neon or an orchid. p.s. the RG is doing very well with all of the bigger fish. They leave him alone and he travels all over. >> Some Dottybacks (Pseudochromis) can be tough as species and individual specimens, but both the Neons and Orchids are pretty mellow and consistent... as a consequence of being largely tank bred and reared (versus wild-collected). I say "go for it", but keep your eyes open... Bob Fenner

Re: New Mini Reef Set up.... Ok Robert I've got another question for you, So, I took my blue devil and put him in the little breeder box, rearrange the tank completely and let in my 2 new fish, a skunk back Pseudochromis, and a peppermint goby into the tank.. once it was obvious that they were fine and settled and eating, I let the devil loose... he immediately started going after the Pseudochromis, but the Pseudochromis has been putting up a good fight and hasn't suffered at all, and actually has taken a little out of the tail of my blue devil. The situation stands now with the blue devil keeping watch for the Pseudochromis, but not really doing any harm... do you think I should see if he gets bored of this and gives up or should I just remove him from the tank now??? I'll need to do that before my fiancé gets home, she's gotten kinda attached to the fish! :-) maybe I'll get a green Chromis instead.... what ya think? Thanks! DAVE <All actually sounds like it's going "as planned"... a stand-off of sorts is really what you/we can best hope for... and detente seems to have been achieved... these alpha type species are doing about what they will... and likely won't kill one another off at this point... The "loser" of the hour, minute, day can/will hide out for a better chance next time... As long as they're both getting food... and I wouldn't add any more fish/fighters to this milieu... until/when you can enlarge the "arena". Bob Fenner>

Dottyback Dear Mr. Fenner, Once again I have to ask your advice, this time rather urgently: In a 55 gal. w/LR I had a Yellow Tang, 2 tank-raised Ocellaris clowns, and a Blue Damsel. In anticipation of a new specimen I removed the Damsel to another tank. Although I had planned to purchase a Coral Beauty Angel this weekend, I was dissuaded by the LFS who insisted that I needed to acquire more live rock (I currently have roughly 25 lbs. and am adding 10 lbs. at a time) and better lighting (to encourage macroalgae growth) before purchasing the Coral Beauty. <Good for them. Good advice> Another fish caught my eye, what the LFS referred to as a tank-raised "New Holland Basslet." Although I was unable to find the species in any of the guides I consulted, I made the decision to purchase the rather expensive specimen based on information about Basslets in general. This was a mistake, and I could not feel more penitent. <You should...> I found the fish (a Dottyback, actually) on your site eventually (I should have looked here first, I realize) and have learned that in the wild it can reach 7.5 inches! <Yes, and sometimes become an unholy terror...> I am not planning to introduce any more fish into my system BUT I am greatly concerned that this fish will bring stress and strife to my developing reef. Should I return it now, consider it a lesson and find a more docile species, or should the Dottyback do well in my system? There are many shell and coral hiding places, but the False Percs are hardly an aggressive species. Help! (I suppose I could remove the clowns, return the damsel to the tank, and keep an "aggressive species" tank?) R. Duff <If it were my system, and I intended to add the Coral Beauty and/or keep the peace, I definitely would trade this specimen back in. Too much possibility for trouble. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dottyback Dear Mr. Fenner, I recently wrote requesting help w/an aggressive Australian (New Holland) Dottyback. Despite my incredibly stupid purchase of a fish I had not researched (but was recommended by my LFS) all is well, I removed the fish easily and returned it to the store for credit which I used for more LR. So no urgent action is necessary. Sorry for the bother, it is absolutely mystifying that despite the advice of many respected sources I purchased a species I was not familiar with, a mistake I will not repeat. R. Duff <Never a bother, and glad to hear this Pseudochromis novaehollandiae is on its way to a happier, more compatible setting. Bob Fenner>

Dottyback Hi Bob! Long time no chat. I emailed you earlier to let you know I thoroughly enjoy WWM. Now my dilemma. <Hmm> As you may recall, I struggled in finally deciding to add a Kole tang to my tank. I found a nice one at a LFS that was eating and he is doing great. He has made his place among the other tangs and everyone is getting along fine. I intended for the Kole to be my final fish. But you always see something new... <Human nature> I saw a splendid Dottyback, Pseudochromis splendens today and I was wondering how this fish might get along with my current tank population. My current tank inhabitants include 2 yellow tangs, purple tang, Kole tang, blue-sided fairy wrasse (C. cyanopleura), sand sifting goby, one yellow-tailed damsel, one maroon clown (he finally got his bubble-tip and both are in marital bliss...), and three bicolor Chromis. (Oh, I almost forgot--you probably don't remember the details of my system, but my tank is 180 gallons, 30g sump and 10g refugium.) I also have various softies, 'Shrooms, LPS, a few SPS frags and a new 2" T. maxima among other cleanup crew inverts. <Should do fine with this mix... this Pseudochromid is likely tank bred, reared... and for the family of Dottybacks quite easygoing> I've read up on these guys and note that they're generally little devils as far as territoriality goes, they like to jump and they should be added last or next to last. Also that they are ich-prone. But they seem to be very neat fish, always darting around. The specimen I saw was about 1 1/2 inches long or so and seemed pretty active. Based on my experiences with adding fish, I'd be most concerned with the ability of this fish to fit in with the bicolor Chromises and the yellow-tailed damsel--I'd perceive these of the current inhabitants to possibly present the most risk with this addition. (The yellow-tailed damsel is the smallest fish in the system and never picks on anyone else, but he really does like to pick on new additions until they put him in his place...) I really like the fish, but I really don't want to too terribly disrupt the current tank population as everyone has their "place" now. I also have never had an ich outbreak and that's always a risk--I'm assuming that you'd recommend FW dip/QT for this specimen? Or just FW dip? <I would quarantine the fish per our sites recommended protocol... barring this, at least a pH-adjusted freshwater bath as spec.ed there, yes> Also, as far as color goes, is it the norm for these fishes to fade out in captivity, or will they thrive and keep their color with good water quality and a varied diet? (If fading out is the norm, then the reward might not justify the risk.) <This species is relatively "color fast"> I'm just ruminating on this one for now. I'm inclined to pass on it just from the potential risks of adding a fish and the risks specific to this genus of fishes, but I'd appreciate your thoughts as always. <Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner> Thanks again! --James Deets

Neon Dottybacks Hi, I just return from the Western Marine conference where I heard your presentation and in it, (not the topic but) you mention some compatibilities between fishes. I have a question about the neon Dottybacks: I am very impressed with this fishes and I would like to have some of them (tank raised) but, how many could be put together in a 180-G tank without too much aggression? <Hmm, tank-raised? I would go with three or four individuals...> Thanks in advance for your help and indeed, as someone mention in the presentation, you have a GREAT website. Jorge S. <Thank you my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dottybacks Thank you for responding to my e-mail. I'm not sure how much e-mail you get, but I suspect that it is quite a bit. <Yes, a bit> I had to put the diadem Dottyback in my quarantine tank, it started attacking the royal Gramma.  <Yes, very common... similar, too similar appearing, habitat> When I first put them in the tank, the Gramma chased the Dottyback away from my larger group of rocks. (I don't have much rock in yet, about 4 pounds. I am building up my live rock slowly.) I noticed today that the Gramma had some frayed fins so I watched them for a while and observed a fight. I spent an hour trying to catch the dotty (they are fast little buggers) before I finally caught him. I am thinking from what you said in your e-mail that I will have to take him back and wait until I have more rock before replacing the Dottyback. <Yes> Thank you again. Jeffrey P. Schulz <You're welcome. Bob Fenner>

Dottybacks I recently purchased your book "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and am enjoying it. At the same time that I bought your book, I purchased a Royal Gramma and Diadema Dottyback for my two month old 55 gallon system. I think that I would like to add another Dottyback to the tank, perhaps a Sunrise Dottyback, and I was unsure from your book whether that would be possible. Are you limited to one Dottyback per system or one of each species of Dottyback. In addition to the fish already mentioned, I have two percula clowns in the tank. All are from the same LFS and are tank-raised from C-Quest. <Thank you for writing! The limit "per tank" of Dottybacks/Pseudochromids is a measure of three main factors: the size of the given system, the amount of rock/cover, and the given species of Pseudochromid... on the latter, some species are literally terrors... killing not just other Dotty's, but most any other fish in its assumed territory. Diademas are amongst the "more mellow", smaller species available, and the tank-raised Sunrise is a virtual marshmallow... If this tank were twice the size and has lots of cover, I would give you 50-50 odds of them making an uneasy truce... a fifty five though? Not a good gamble.> Thank you for your time and excellent book. Jeffrey P. Schulz <Thank you my friend, do take a look at the Dottyback materials stored on the site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Blue-barred Dottyback I have always wanted to try a Dottyback but I was waiting for the right one.... hopefully this one. I have a semi reef tank with a few anemones, hermit crabs, a variety of snails and fish, the largest of which is a 4" truncate Anthias (have seen one of these for sale?) <Yes> I purchased a blue-barred Dottyback (Pseudochromis cyanotaenia) yesterday with the thought that he might just fit into my community, although I am worried about the six line wrasse....they have flashed at each other, but there seems to be little problem, there is a lot of rock in the tank. I am a little worried about one thing, both books I have mention that this is a difficult species to keep but not why.  <http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=14 Not one of the "meaner" nor larger species of Pseudochromids... I don't have a pic, or much info. on this species: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm> So far the little guy has been a whirl wind of curiosity checking everything out all about the tank and eating right along with the other fish. The Anthias chased him once (he had to make sure the Dottyback knew who was boss!) and then has pretty well ignored him. (the Anthias likes to initiate all new comers... will this be a problem when I finally find him a buddy?).  <The Anthias? Likely so... you don't state how large this system is... please read over the Fancy Basses materials posted on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner> Any other info I can find would be wonderful. Thank you Kim

And the Dingo ate me Baby Dear Bob. I hope this finds you well and in good spirits. Quick one today. <Okay> I have just come back from a lecture this morning and have discovered to my horror that a hermit crab and the CBS the one that you recommended trading :) have been EATEN!!!. There are pieces of fore-claws and hermit crab legs over the bottom of the tank. Apparently the CBS had molted last night as his exoskeleton is still near him. Not sure what happened to the hermit crab. Quick review of the culprits. Would it be; a. The tomato clown. b. The Scooter Blenny. c. The two fire gobies. d. One of the Two Cardinals, Banggai and Pajama. e. The Royal Dottyback or last but not least, the Yellow Tang, who was always letting the CBS clean him. Please circle your choice :) <Almost certainly the Dottyback (Pseudochromid for browsers of elsewhere)> In mourning and do not want to run out and buy another Shrimp esp. the more expensive ones so that they can become Fish Fingers so to speak. <Yes> Oh and while I am keeping it short :) I have a quick question about the Pulsing Xenia. When we got it it was a whitish color and was pulsing away like mad. Now that it is in the larger tank it has changed color to purple and the polyps no longer pulse. It retracts at night, and seems to be growing longer day by day. There are also numerous small colonies sprouting up from the two larger stalks. <Stress symptomology... you do use iodide occasionally? I would... and add something in the way of wash/food about the area (while temporarily shutting down skimmer/s, mechanical filtration? Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/xeniidfaqs.htm> And also if you could settle a dispute that would be really helpful. After moving all of the live rock into the new tank about two weeks ago, everything was fine. Now the new coral substrate and everything is becoming covered with a layer of emerald green "algae" as well as on top of the green layer large spots of Maroon and Purple "algae" are developing. The argument is, when I said that it was good algae, as opposed to the hair algae that the tang has disposed of, I was told it looks like it will turn into a swamp. Do I have too much light. I have 130 Gallon tank with 2 watts of power compact 50-50 per gallon. <This is almost certainly mainly Blue Green Algae/Cyanobacteria... not desirable, not eaten by Tangs... Please read on WWM re its causes, control> Ok leaving you alone now. I very much appreciate your time. Look forward to your reply. No rush so if there are more pressing matters please answer them first. <Will do so. Bob Fenner> Regards as always. Julian Hunt Re: And the Dingo ate me Baby Cheers thanks so much <You're welcome my friend. Bob Fenner> Julian

Terror in the tank Dear Bob- <You got Steven Pro this afternoon.> You and your WetWeb folks have given me great advice in the past through both your website and your emails. I've written to you before about this fish, and your diagnosis was perfect. Thought I'd ask another question. In my 30 gallon tank, I have two fishes a maroon clown(< 2") and a Diadema Dottyback (3"), plus a large coral banded and a couple of hermits. Everyone has been happy and healthy to date, and the fish have been together for over six months. The problem is the Dottyback. He very suddenly decided "there can be only one" creature in this tank....and it's himself. I purchased more live rock and moved everything around in the tank. (except the fake fan plant that the clown fish calls home) <A good idea. Too bad it did not resolve the problem.> This calmed the Dottyback for a day or two, but now he's back at his old tricks. Knocking the crabs around, playing tag with the shrimp, but especially picking on the clown. The clown for the most part tries to ignore the Basslet, and has not shown any signs except a minor nipped tail, but it's disconcerting to watch the charges of the aggressor. <Not something to tolerate for long. Beyond the actual wounds inflicted there is the stress involved which may lower the Clownfish's immunity and allow for infection.> What to do? I believe that the clown when larger, will hold his own (with maybe some payback), but that's down the road. Should I consider an anemone? <Not a great choice.> More rock work? <If you have less than 40 pounds, maybe more would help.> Get a cat? (just kidding) A bigger tank is not an option right now as space is limited. <What about another tank?> One suggestion (LFS) is to get a Lunar Wrasse or something else to challenge him. <A little bit of the old woman who swallowed a fly story.> What's your advice? <I would remove someone.> BTW, the LFS I purchased the Dottyback from won't take him back. I've since found a new store with different policies. Unfortunately they don't sell Dottybacks. (for reasons I've already described)  Aside from his antics, the Dottyback is an extremely intelligent and amusing character. Any insight would be most appreciated. <See above notes.> Thanks. Thom <You are welcome. Good luck. -Steven Pro>

Compatibility <Greetings... Anthony Calfo in your service while Bob refines his technique for the synchronized swimming team> Can a Blue Spot Jawfish (Opistognathus rosenblatti) be kept with a New Holland Pseudochromis (Obgilbyina novaehollandiae)? <hmmm... somewhat of an odd mix. Although not competitive in niche, I fear that the famous temper of the New Holland Pseudo will be a long-term problem. The Blue spot jaw is not an easy fish to find... cherish it and work around it with more passive tankmates. Anthony>

Incorrigible Emperor and Tusk Update/Dottyback Anthony, I am a bit of a "fish stalker" I guess. I've actually talked people OUT of buying a small Asfur that I love because I didn't feel they would take good care of it. Too bad I have to work like the rest of the world so I can only go there on Sat. Well I was reading a section in WWM that I've never read before.......which is shocking! I was reading about the Dottybacks. I had no idea they were such bruisers.  <well... most just pack a powerful punch for their small size> The article says that some should be kept with large angels, triggers, etc.  <actually most Dottybacks would be eaten by these fish. There are few that are truly large and tough enough to hang with the big boys> Well I was wondering if one of these guys would mix well with my monster Emperor and my new Sohal.  <hmmm... I suspect not worth the aggravation for either of you> Before I went through this failed tusk experiment, I got rid of my Red Spot Goby, my purple tang (which is ironic because I ended up with another tang), and my Sergeant Major damsel. Now I have the Emperor, the Sohal, and Maroon Clown in a 75.  <wow... the angel and the Sohal really should outgrow this tank within a year or die of complications from the crowding. The tank is simply too small my friend. Bob and the WWM gang are just getting back from the Red Sea and have images fresh in their minds of nearly 2 foot long Sohals and foot long Emperors... your tang does not need another fish. You may need a shoehorn soon however, to get them out... heehee. Really, though... you don't want these fish to suffer from the crowding...please do not add any new fish in the interim. Your big boys will grow so fast already no matter how small they are> I was thinking that a larger Orange Dottyback would look great in there. Is it "too much" fish for my clown? I notice that aggressive natured fish tend to do better with the Emperor.  <the tank size is definitely an influence> The Maroon has never been afraid of him and as a result is the ONLY fish he's never gone after. The Sohal introduction could have gone horribly except for the fact that it got right in the angels face and as a result things have been pretty good....still the Emperors tank though. I have LOTS of liverock.  <Ahhh... even less swimming space <G>> I don't know how many lbs because I always get a piece at a time, but I'm sure it's way more then 50. Any particular Dottyback you would recommend? Or none? Thanks buddy. Rick <yes, none... and I do not mean to sound too critical my friend. I know that you are a very empathetic aquarist. But do take the advice to heart. Best regards, Anthony>

Dottyback Intervention... Mr. Fenner, <Scott F. with you today!> I have a question about housing two fish together. I'm not getting a good feel from what I'm reading. I've read that Dottybacks shouldn't be kept fairy wrasses, as the Dottybacks will even harass them. <Ounce for ounce, these guys can be the nastiest fishes around!> However, I've also read about how gregarious the orchid Dottyback is. Can I put an orchid with an expensive Cirrhilabrus species, or will they bother each other? 48"x18" 75g tank. <The orchid, or fridmani Dottyback is definitely more sociable than some of its relatives, however, I'd still keep an eye on things and prepare to intervene if it becomes necessary. With plenty of hiding spaces and rockwork to create and divide territories, I think you should do okay. Perhaps you could add the Dottyback later in the game, or even last- to reduce or eliminate any potential problems. Good luck!>

There's A  New Dottyback In The Neighborhood Pseudochromis diadema:  I presently have this fish in quarantine. Will it bother my fire goby in 55 gallon reef system? Thank you, Miguel <It's really hard to say, Miguel. Pseudochromids are some of the toughest fish in the ocean, ounce for ounce! If there are plenty of hiding spaces for everyone, there is a good chance that you won't have too much trouble with this combo. I would be a lot more concerned if you were adding the Firefish to a tank where the diadema was already in residence! With enough food, territory, and open space, this can work out. Do keep a close eye on things just to make sure, and take quick action to remove somebody if it becomes necessary! Take care!  Scott F.>

P. fridmani compatibility with Firefish and royal Gramma? Hi bob (and crew!), <Hola!> I have a fridmani, a yellow tang, and two clownfish in a 65g with plenty of rockwork. do you think either a pair of Firefish or a royal Gramma would be bothered much by the fridmani? <Mmm, too likely a problem with either> I've heard the fridmani may have a more even temper out of the Pseudochromis family; have you had any experience mixing them with Firefish or grammas? thanks! <Well, actually as the family of Dottybacks go, Fridmani are about "medium" in terms of territoriality/aggression (being tank bred nowadays), but still... they don't like fishes that are similar appearing or that occupy their niche. Bob Fenner> - Javier

Blue fish Thank for the reply. I like the look of the Pseudochromis fridmani, but it sounds like it is pretty aggressive.  <You're probably thinking of the pseudo. Porphyreus as the fridmani usually stays pretty peaceful.> Will I have trouble in the future if I introduce a new fish? <You should be ok as long as you don't overstock.> I don't plan on adding other fish, but unfortunately they do die and need replaced eventually.> While I have your attention, I'd like to ask you about a colt coral. I already have a Rasta coral, but I've read that the colt coral is somewhat  toxic in a reef aquarium. Is this true? Should I not add a colt coral?  <I'm not familiar with the Rasta coral but as long as it is a soft coral and they are placed at least 6' from each other they should be fine.  Cody> Thank you for your time and help! Jeff

Dottyback in a small crowded space Hi Bob and crew, you guys are the best. I have always wanted a Dottyback/Pseudo but I have been apprehensive because of their notorious personalities.  Just when I forget about them, I see one in the store that is just awesome to watch.  I thought that at the least I would ask you your opinion on the matter.  Currently I have: 30 gallon tank with: 45-55 lbs premium Fiji live rock 1 Halichoeres chrysus 1 percula clownfish (true) 1 pistol shrimp 1 cleaner shrimp. 1 Linckia starfish 1 Cryptocentrus leptocephalus 1 Midas Blenny Assorted tiny blue leg hermit crabs.  All of the above fish are very small in size. My question is: Could I add a Dottyback, and if on the odd chance it may be a possibility, would I be best off with the orchid Dottyback (because they are considered to be more docile than most)? Could I add a springeri Dottyback to my current tank? <The Orchid would be better... but... your tank is really getting crowded... any chance of a bigger one coming soon? Bob Fenner>   Thank you very much for your time.  You guys do a tremendous service to hobbyists and fish alike.

Marine fish compatibility In the interest of marine life, and the expertise of WWM, could an orchid Dottyback co-exist with a fairy wrasse? I don't want anyone chasing anyone else in the tank. It's a 75g with lots of liverock. Thanks <likely fine under the circumstances... Orchids are quite peaceful... and enough fairy wrasses are too. The tank is large enough. DO be sure to QT all new fishes... if buying both at once, a clear divider in QT will give you your answer right quick. Best regards, Anthony>

Shrimp and the dotty... 07/15/03 <Hi James, PF with you tonight> Hi, I want to thank all of you first of all for all of your help and support.  You all are doing a great job!  I have several questions for you.  I have a 75 gallon saltwater tank (fish only).  I have been considering getting a couple of shrimp but was told that many fish (even the peaceful ones I have) may try to eat the shrimp.  I have a pair of clowns and in the future plan on a bi-color Dottyback, a dwarf angel and a flame Hawkfish.  What are your thoughts about adding shrimp to a tank with these fish?  Are the fire red shrimp hardy and do they come out with the tank  light on?  How many would you recommend in a 75 gallon tank?   Also, Is there any type of butterfly fish that would be suitable for beginners and are very hardy?  I was considering a pair of the black and white ones.  Thank you in advance for your help. James <Thanks James, it's what we're here for. On to your questions. Shrimp and Dottybacks (well, most any fish actually) are a crap shoot. My two orchids lived peacefully with my cleaner and peppermints till I bought two more cleaners (in a 75g), and then they hunted them all down and ripped them to shreds. Go figure. The Hawkfish though, rules them out. It will eat them. The fire shrimp come from cooler waters than most reef tanks, in the low 70's (there from deeper in the reefs (IIRC, under 100'), thus their higher price, red color, and preference for cooler waters. As for butterfly's, I would recommend a Klein's Butterfly Chaetodon kleinii, hardy and they stay relatively small. Have a good night, PF>

Pseudochromis fuscus >I am in the process of stocking my 135 gallon reef tank with livestock.  I impulsively bought (zero research, I know, very stupid of me) a  fish sold as a "yellow grouper" over the weekend. It appears that this a yellow Dottyback, Pseudo. fuscus. I would to eventually add cleaner (and other) shrimp to my tank. Will this fish eat cleaner shrimp (and others)? >>This animal doesn't get very large, so I would think the different Lysmata spp. (and similar in size/habits) would do alright.  Of greater concern is interspecific aggression, watch this animal when introducing other fish!  Marina >Love your site! Thanks in advance.  Dave

-Springer's pseudo- Hey Gang, Hope y'all are having a wonderful day! <Actually, it's been raining ALL DAY LONG. :) > I recently bought a Pseudochromis springeri, it was sold as a "neon goby", for $15. <Oooo, sounds like a PetCo thing! I hope it was tank raised as they're readily available and hardy as nails.>  I've read conflicting info about these fish, everything from "nastier than Damsels" to "nicest fish in the waters". this one I got seems to be very peaceful & seems to be searching constantly for food, possibly bristle worms (?) <Been known to eat small ones> At this time, it's a tiny (1.5") fish that is a great addition to my 70g softy reef. What are Anthony's opinion, or any of the fine crew members <Fine Kevin at your service!> , regarding the species? <I think they're great little reef fish. Could be a problem with fish of similar size, even a bit larger. They've even been known to gobble up a small shrimp here and there, so be wary about the size of new tank additions. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks, Scott in Denver.

-Green wolf eel with an appetite for flesh- We're having a problem with our Green wolf eel. It has eaten 2 Lunar wrasses 1 4 inches and the other 6 inches. <Ouch!> The eel is 14 inches. Would a Niger Trigger fish be OK with it or can you recommend another fish? <Triggers are pretty precarious to swallow, but you may want to choose a more aggressive species. this selection would depend on the adult size of the trigger and the size of your tank.> We also have a Dog Face Puffer and a Yellow Eyed Tang. The Puffer and the Tang seem to be fighting also. But I think it more of a territorial dispute since the Tang is new. <If the tank is too small, they may dispute indefinitely. Since the tang is new, however, a little bickering is expected. Hope this helps! -Kevin> Any help would be appreciative

Dotty back with a shrimp! I've read that splendid Dottybacks can be know to go after some shrimp. Are any shrimp safe with this fish or would my skunk cleaner shrimps most likely be left alone? I have two of those and would like to keep them if you know what I mean.<I would say you should be fine, these guys are usually pretty peaceful. Cody>

Orchid Dottyback Help!   <Sure> I went to my LFS and got an Orchid Dottyback. After getting home I started doing some research (because I don't trust what the LFS salesperson says) and many sites are saying that I will have problems with the Orchid Dottyback when introducing new fish. <That's the problem when you do research after you have already bought the fish. Always do research before hand!> I don't know what to do.  I have a 55 gal, about 50# of LR, and only a tomatoe clown and six-line wrasse. I just started this tank about 2 mos. ago.   The guy at the LFS told me he would be fine but now I am worried. If I keep him in the tank what else can I put in with him that he will not harass?   <Almost any fish will harass newcomers in an aquarium - it's a way to establish territory. Unfortunately, some of these Dottybacks can be quite aggressive to new tankmates. To prevent some harassment towards new fish, I would recommend redoing the rockwork right before you add in your new fish specimen. By doing so, the fish will both get an equal chance to get their territory which will therefore prevent fighting which may have occurred. Other than that, there's really not much else you can do other than to take the fish back to the pet store, or, to find a temporary home for the Dottyback until you have gotten the fish you plan to buy (Remember that it's important not to rush when buying fish. It can take several months to establish the correct biological load for some species of fish)> Thanks for your help. <No problem. Graham.>

Steene's Pseudochromis I recently purchased what I was told is a "Steene's Pseudochromis.  I've searched the web for information on this type of Pseudochromis and haven't been able to find anything.  Additionally I haven't been able to find a picture of a Pseudochromis that looks like what I bought.   It's hard to describe a fish, but it's most distinguishing characteristic is it's yellow head and dark almost black body.  It also looks to have fairly large teeth, but it may just be the color of the mouth that appears to look like teeth.   Have you ever heard of a "Steene's Pseudochromis? <Yes, our pix and coverage are here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm named in honor of Roger Steene... a meanie! More on fishbase.org Bob Fenner> Thanks Phil

Re: Pseudochromis (steenei) Thanks for your reply.  Shortly after sending you the email we found the information on your website. We added him and a blue sided wrasse to our tank that contained a clown and damsel and all of them seemed to get along well enough.  We added a blenny yesterday in an attempt to control an algae problem and the Pseudochromis showed his true colors. Are there any fish that can be added to the tank that can handle this Pseudochromis? Phil Johnson <Only larger, more aggressive, faster fishes. Perhaps a few generations of successive culture will soften this species disposition to be more like P. splendens. Bob Fenner>

Dottyback Compatibility Guys,<Howdy!> My 72G tank has 6 Lysmata shrimp, two hermit crabs and a Banggai cardinal with some eye "fungus" that appears to be in stable condition. I also have one false percula clown in QT that is two weeks away from being released in to the 72G. Basically I have my hands full... I went to the LFS to get some salt mix and saw a gorgeous Pseudochromis fridmani in a tank full of tomato clowns that were shredding it one fin ray at a time!!! I feel bad for him and want to purchase him. I've read that these guys are not as aggressive as most Dottybacks. So, do you feel that he would get along with the clown, cardinal and the shrimp -especially the shrimp? <He should be fine but just keep an eye on him. These guys are hardy so I bet he would pull through fine.> I also have a 30G with one 3 inch blue devil damsel and one coral banded shrimp. I'm pretty sure that won't be any better than his current situation.<Probably not since the damsel is established. Cody> Thank you, Narayan 

Dottyback Compatibility II Thanks Cody!<You Bet!> The Dottyback is in QT right now. I hope I don't regret this, but rather than leave the clown in the QT with the Dottyback, I moved him to the display after only 2 weeks of QT since he 'seemed' fine. <Good to hear! Good luck! Cody> Narayan 

Dottybacks Hi! << Hi. >> I would like to ask for your opinions and expert advise, as you have shown throughout this fantastic website. My Orchid Dottyback passed away....=T, I am really sad about it. While I was cleaning the tank and changing the water, it flew right out of the tank, and died! I've had him or her for at least half a year, which makes this event even more to handle. I would like to buy a new orchid Dottyback, except this time I was curious if the sunrise Dottyback would be a better choice. << Not better, about the same. The best advise I can give here is to see if you can get a tank raised Dottyback since they are becoming more and more common. >> Could I possibly buy the two as long as I put them in at the same time, because I would like to have 2, an d there is plenty of live rock. << If there is lots of food and space I say yes. >> If not, could I get a pair, either orchid, or sunrise? << I think a mix would be better than trying to get a pair. >> Thanks... <<  Blundell  >>

Orchid Dottyback Thank you for your quick response.  I have many fish still living.  Lyretail Anthias which thanks to my Dottyback only has one eye, a lot of gobies around 15-20, blood shrimp, cleaner shrimp.  All live fine.  I have 25 corals that are all doing extremely well.  I recently removed an orchid Dottyback from my tank.  I was thinking that due to it's aggressive nature that it could of been the culprit.  Do you think this lil' bastard could of been the reason I was losing fish?  My water parameters are proper. thank you From the desk of Graham Bishop >>>Orchid Dottybacks are not normally very aggressive, and it is doubtful that it was responsible for your fish deaths. Make sure you have an orchid (P. fridmani) and not another, more belligerent species. Jim<<<

Steene's Dottyback temperament Hey Mr. Fenner, I was reading your web page on Pseudochromis and saw that you think the Pseudochromis steenei is a complete terror.  I really like  this fish and really wanted to get it for my 65g FOWLR tank.  I have a  percula clown, two Chromis, one hippo tang, two cleaner shrimp, and  Eibli angel and a fairy wrasse in my tank rite now.  Do you think I mite  have a shot with this fish not being a terror since he's one of the last ones in  putting in and the other fish have already established territory, or do u think  I should take the chance?  I put a deposit down on this fish so if  possible, I'd like to get a reply ASAP. Thanks a lot, Chris <I wouldn't risk it... but one can never tell. If you decide to get this fish, I would do so on a day when you can place it early, and have some means of separating it if WW III breaks out. Bob Fenner>

Pseudochromis fridmani compatibility 8/30/04 Hey all, <cheers> Came back researching on your fantastic site again, but couldn't exactly find what I needed in amongst all the expanses of information... So I thought I would ask one of you fabulous people to help me out... I have a 3 foot tank (approximately 45-50 gallons). The tank has a 2.5 inch sand bed, and a lot of live rock (exact weight unknown). The tanks current inhabitants are a Lawnmower Blenny, an Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani) and a pair of coral banded shrimp (along with various clean up crew (that are slowly being eaten by my CBS))... I would really like to get a royal Gramma (Gramma loreto), but am worried about the Dottyback psyching out on the Gramma. <hmmm... or the Gramma establishing and being aggressive towards the peaceful Fridman's> If its not possible to have the Dottyback and Gramma together, could you possibly give some suggestions for other fish? <the list of useful and attractive marine fishes numbers in the hundreds perhaps. Do express some personal preference here mate. Take a browse through a good aquarium atlas and see what appeals to you. Scott Michaels pocket guide to "Marine Fishes" is excellent here> I've had both Ocellaris and Percula clownfish (both Perculas were wiped out by clownfish disease a few weeks ago, I have carefully monitored the fridmani and blenny, but they don't seem afflicted, but were put into quarantine/hospital tanks and medicated anyway, just in case). There are SOME pygmy angels I like, such as the Rusty Angel, and the Flame Angel, but I've heard its rumoured that they might nip at my corals as well as nip at clams, <possible yes... but then, most blennies are also not reef safe for the same reasons over time> and I plan on getting a clam in future. I was also thinking of getting a Cleaner Wrasse or something (the CBS prefer to attack the fish as opposed to cleaning them. They used to clean them but don't do it anymore). <no cleaner wrasses please... dismal survival on import if nothing else> Any suggestions would be welcome. <Lysmata cleaner shrimps are best here perhaps> Thanks for all the previous advice you've given me, and all the future advice I'm sure to get from your site! The site rocks! Laney <best of luck, Anthony>

Pseudochromis companion Well, we learned a lesson that we thought we already knew - research every purchase before you make it!  We recently added a Pseudochromis porphyreus to our 20g reef tank.   <Yikes...> Existing inhabitants were an Ocellaris Clown and a Sixline Wrasse.  We had read some about it, just not as in depth as we normally like to.  We were aware of the reputation of the Pseudochromis, but felt that being added last that the other two would be able to work things out.  Not so.  The Pseudochromis really went nuts on the wrasse, kicking him out of his home and then harassing him to no end.  We have since moved the wrasse into another tank in the system (a couple 10g that are plumbed in with it).  He's recovering (quite happily, I might add since the pod population in the tank he is in was quite large). In any case, the Pseudochromis doesn't pay any attention to the clown, and the clown has nothing more than his usual curiosity for the Pseudochromis.  My real question is what other fish might we be able to add that would work out with the two already in there? <Doubtful most anything... in such small quarters... especially if/with the Dottyback there first> Either something that the other two will ignore, or something that can stand up to the Pseudochromis can stand up to yet won't harass them either.  We were thinking about a small angel of some variety.  Any help much appreciated. Ben <A brief couple of declarative statements. Pseudochromids are by and large "testy"... with some species being pretty consistent terrors! Though there are some species that almost always "get along" with fishes of dissimilar shape, habitat (particularly if they are amongst the growing number that are cultured, captive bred), there should always be allowance for possible ultra-antagonism... and they should be the last livestock added. Either trade this specimen in for another more easygoing Pseudochromid species, or seek other livestock types completely. Bob Fenner> Orchid with bristles Hey, thanks a lot for telling me that Dottybacks or Pseudochromis are good predators of bristle worms. I was lucky enough to find 3 in the store, but they did not get a long. <No... most Pseudochromis are territorial with their own or similar shaped, habitat-using life> So I considered about buying one of them. To my surprise there was only one left the following day for an astonishing price of 10 dollars ( Canadian). Quickly I bought him. I am a bit curious if I could get another orchid Dottyback...? <Not a good idea unless you have a large system... a hundred gallons or more> In some books I heard that in this situation you would buy a bigger one. The final question is will an my orchid Dottyback be able to eat big bristle worms as he grows, because today he attempted to bite one, but it was much too thick...? I also have a growing six line wrasse; will it eat them too? Thanks! <They are not able to eat larger worms... some Polychaetes grow to more than a few feet, pounds. Bob Fenner>

Pseudochromid compatibility and Banggai cardinal breeding 12/16/04 I have a few important issues regarding my aquarium. Firstly, I just added a pair of sunrise Dottybacks( a definite pair!), <I believe it... if they are not trying to kill each other, then they most likely are a pair> and a orchid Dottyback, <a poor choice mixing Pseudochromids, and this one prefers to be in shoals> to accompany the existing one. However, this orchid seems to be quite aggressive, but its size is not as big as the old one. There is definitely enough  hiding spaces, will killing be an issue over a duration of time. <very likely... do separate them please> Also, I have a 10 gallon mini tank with two Banggais which I purchased about 2 months ago. The purpose was to achieve success in the breeding of these fish. Recently I added a flame Hawkfish in hopes to quicken this activity and one week later boom! Today one of my Banggais mouth was super full it, it was sticking out, and it kept on trying to keep something in its mouth by opening a bit and closing. If I am not mistaken is the male carrying babies. If so what methods, procedures, and materials do I need. <there are many thorough spawning reports on this fish at big message boards like reefcentral.com as well as the Breeders Registry reports online... do some keyword searches my friend and enjoy the journey towards resourceful enlightenment> How much preparation time will be needed (the flame Hawkfish might eat everything.) <remove the Hawkfish, mate... its too aggressive and the tank is too small> Another concern is will the fish even make it through this time span (these fish do not seem very old, the male has a super long fin though.) Food is also another concern, there is no place where I can find baby brine shrimp or live ones.... Thanks..... <no worries... the babies are large enough to eat fine dry foods... mail order online some freeze-dried and frozen Cyclop-eeze. Best of luck! Anthony> Mixing Pseudochromid species... yikes! 12/16/04 Hey, In accordance to your previous reply, my newly added orchid Dottyback did not get killed by the older orchid Dottyback other. I don't think removing them is a wise process. <ahhh... OK. But do consider the long term (months/years) and not short term (days/weeks). And you did ask us for advise, right?> However, the old Dottyback occasionally attempts to nip at the other one's tail, but never actually follows the Dottyback for a long time. Is this a big issue to be concerned with, Thanks! <ahhh... this was exactly the point of my first e-mail and seems to contradict your previous estimation that the separation is not "wise". This would be the second time I am suggesting you separate the fishes... Pseudochromids generally do not mix well or play nicely together. Anthony> Dottyback, when are you coming back? Hey fellows, <And the few women here> My orchid Dottyback totally disappeared...Hard to imagine, but it's just gone. I lifted the rocks and sands and no trace of it. It didn't jump out because I looked on the ground and everywhere else. <Mmm, do you have a (smiling) kitty?... Might have exited stage right and flipped into another area...> I believe it either died and was devoured, or just devoured. The possibilities are a flame Hawkfish (very peaceful towards other tank mates), a Banggai cardinal whose fins where shredded by the Dottyback, and  a lawnmower blenny. <Not likely any of these... unless the Pseudochromid was tiny, the Hawk huge> I'm also deciding to move my flame Hawkfish into the main tank, which would make it a fascinating addition. The only problem is that  I have one large cleaner shrimp, and mandarin dragonet. Otherwise the other fish mates are all fairly territorial, do you think I should move the flame Hawkfish at this moment??? <Might lose the shrimp... I don't think the Dottyback was eaten, killed by it... may still be hiding even. Bob Fenner> Pseudochromis fridmani Hi, <Hello there>       I had a Pseudochromis porphyreus in a 450L tank with a Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto), 2 fire gobies (Nemateleotris magnifica), 4 purple gobies (Nemateleotris decora), 3 Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), 1  yellow clown goby, 4 cleaner shrimp, 6 fire shrimp without any problems but I recently lost my Pseudochromis porphyreus and was thinking of replacing it with a Pseudochromis fridmani. <Good to find one that is tank bred and reared... much tougher, easier going> For future I plan to get: 2 Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) 2 Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) <I do hope you have plenty for these to eat, perhaps a working refugium> 2  Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) 1 Fireball Angelfish (Centropyge aurantonotus) <Very nice choices>       I was advised not to keep the Pseudochromis fridmani with Royal Grammas, Fire Gobies or Anthias. <Generally not fishes of similar shape, occupying similar habitats, yes>       Will the Pseudochromis fridmani kill the Royal Gramma, Fire Gobies, Anthias, shrimps or the fish I plan to get in the future? Thanks     Mohamed. <I give you very good odds of all getting along IF the Fridman's Dottyback is captive produced. Most are, though not all. Bob Fenner> Go Aquacultured, My Friend...1.11.05 Hi, <Hello, Ryan handling your query.>       I had a Pseudochromis porphyreus in a 450L tank with a Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto), 2 fire gobies (Nemateleotris magnifica), 4 purple gobies (Nemateleotris decora), 3 Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis),1 yellow clown goby, 4 cleaner shrimp, 6 fire shrimp without any problems but I recently lost my Pseudochromis porphyreus and was thinking of replacing it with a Pseudochromis fridmani. For future I plan to get: 2 Green Mandarin (Synchiropus splendidus) 2 Spotted Mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) <It will be HIGHLY difficult to even feed a pair of any fish from the genus Synchiropus.  They require live foods, and large amounts.> 2  Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) 1 Fireball Angelfish (Centropyge aurantonotus)       I was advised not to keep the Pseudochromis fridmani with Royal Grammas, Fire Gobies or Anthias.       Will the Pseudochromis fridmani kill the Royal Gramma, Fire Gobies, Anthias, shrimps or the fish I plan to get in the future? <If you can secure a tank-raised Fridmani, I'd say your chances are good that his attitude will be passive.  I've kept a captive Fridmani for years and never had issues with aggression.  I would encourage you to try something a little more natural for the animals involved- How about you pick an ocean, and build a list from there?> Thanks     Mohamed. Snowflake moray and a green wolf 2/11/05 Just a quick one, since I can't seem to find anything on this anywhere, maybe you guys can answer it for me. Would a Snow flake moray and a green wolf ell be able to coexist in a 46gallon bow front tank? Thanks in advance Nick <its rather poor mix... the green wolf "eel" is a fast and furious eater (keep sighted) while the moray is not. Without target feeding the latter, it may suffer over time. Do reconsider. Anthony>  

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