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FAQs about Dottybacks, Family Pseudochromidae Identification

Related Articles: Dottybacks

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

Dottyback id.      7/15/15
Was hoping to get a proper id of my Pseudochromis.
Thank you
<My guess is on Ogilbyina queenslandiae. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dottyback id.      7/15/15
That's what I thought, the intensity of it's colors made me question it, thanks Bob.
<This can be one of the real mean Pseudochromids. Do watch what you place with it. BobF>
Re: Dottyback id.      7/15/15

I have a 44x20x9.5 shallow reef, Tonga branch and real reef rock. It was to be dedicated to a Cypho purpurescens male or pair(good luck right?), however finding them was highly improbable for me. A friend of mine brought this back for me today and I couldn't resist, so my reef is now a solo home for this fish....pairing would be difficult, but I may try to introduce a
mate down the road.
<Sounds good. I'd net up the present one and keep it in a floating plastic colander or such, separated from the new for a few days. BobF>

Re: Dottyback id.      7/16/15
Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it. Cheers!
<Ah; glad to share. B>

I.d. Needed      2/27/14
Good day!
I purchased this fish in a "take it all or nothing" deal and I cannot figure out what it is.
I have searched your site as best as I can but am at a loss.
Can you please I.d. Him for me?
<Is a Pseudochromid... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm
Bob Fenner> 


Fish ID     10/19/12
Hello Bob.
It's not Belontia, nor any Sphaerichthys, Parasphaerichthys, Pseudosphromenus or Parosphromenus that I'm familiar with.
Are you sure it's a freshwater fish? The jugular pectoral fins remind me more of marine Perciformes.
Where was the fish collected / exported from?
Cheers, Neale
Have seen something like this... but escapes me... Don't know the answers to your pertinent questions below. Have sent to a marine fish friend for his input. Thank you, B

Re: Fish ID     10/19/12
Thanks Bob. Was burning midnight oil last night myself and was wondering if it might be a Belonepterygion fasciolatum - Banded Longfin?
Looks spot-on to me, Chris. The vertical banding and the eye spots on the gill covers seem to be very distinctive.
Cheers, Neale
Fish ID     10/19/12

Hey Bob,
<Hey Chris>
Any thoughts as to what this may be?   Genus would be fine...
<Have seen this... thought it might be a Bedotia species, but... nah... A Pseudochromid? Don't see it/this in my pix files nor on a general search on the Net for "new Dottybacks">
Many thanks,
<Am asking others for their input. BobF>
Re: Fish ID
Very much appreciated guys. Enjoy the weekend.
<Ah yes... Think you're spot on Chris: Belonepterygion fasciolatum

Last ditch effort at fish ID..? 1/3/12
<Hello, Lynn here today.>
I can't get a decent pic of this little guy, but he hitchhiked in on a pulsing xenia, hiding in its small piece of LR a few months ago and has been poking his nose out, growing, and finding new places to hide ever since.
Shaped like a long, thin Dottyback, with a rounded tailfin and thin, solid dorsal fin. Orange-red face and fin edges, with the tailfin solid back and edged with orange.
<Sounds pretty>
Eyes like the sixline wrasses, with the horizontal black bar.  Body color is a dark purple-blue, like the Pseudochromis fridmani.  Face color blends into body color. He started off at about an inch and is now about two inches...Cannot find an image of anything that looks like this guy and it is bugging me deeply...
<I wish I could help, but I'd need at least a photo in order to pursue an ID.  In the meantime, I'd recommend searching Fishbase at: http://fishbase.org/search.php .  Take care and good luck. --Lynn Z>
Re:  Last ditch effort at fish ID..? Possible Pseudochromid  -- 1/3/12

Hi, me again,
<Hi, Lynn here again.>
I emailed earlier today trying to describe the little hitchhiker wrasse I'm going crazy trying to ID. 
<Heheeee, how well I know that feeling!  It drives you nuts, doesn't it!>
Finally got a couple of very bad pics...he is less than two inches long, very shy, and very quick...
<Gotcha, thanks.>
[IMG] http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff438/waytiuk/strangewrasse2.jpg[/IMG]
[IMG] http://i1235.photobucket.com/albums/ff438/waytiuk/strangewrasse1.jpg[/IMG]
<Mmmmm, my best guess is that it's a Dottyback of some sort (family Pseudochromidae).  The closest I can find is Pseudochromis elongatus (the Elongate Dottyback) but there are many other possibilities, not all of which I can find available in photos.  Complicating matters is the fact that tank lighting can skew colors on a fish and photos can be misleading as well.  Beyond that, fishes in general can vary in color and may change from juvenile to adult.  The best bit of help would be to know where this fish originated.  Without that information as a starting point, it's a guessing game.  I do, however, have some links for you that I hope will be helpful:
Alleged Pseudochromis elongatus:  http://reefbuilders.com/forums/large-reef-tanks/15171-my-mixed-reef-tank.html
ORA's P. elongatus: http://www.orafarm.com/products/fish/dottybacks/elongate.html  
Fishbase - Pseudochromidae: http://fishbase.org/identification/specieslist.php?famcode=291&areacode= 
Fishbase - Labridae (Wrasses) for comparison: http://fishbase.org/identification/specieslist.php?famcode=362&areacode= 
Pseudochromids: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm  
The good news is that if you do have Pseudochromis elongatus, it sounds like they're terrific little fishes in that they're less aggressive than the typical Dottybacks we see in the hobby.  There also seems to be plenty of information regarding them on the internet.   Hope this info helps.  Take care, Lynn Z.>

Pseudochromis ID/Differentiation Question  2/4/11
Hey Crew,
Not a system-specific question, but what are the major visual differentiating factors between the Orchid (fridmani) and Magenta (porphyreus) Pseudos?
<The latter is much more dark purple and shorter bodied by far>
I've read WWM re: Dottybacks and the FAQ on Dottyback ID and from the pictures/descriptions, I'm having a hard time deciding which species my LFS is currently stocking. Also, how different are they in terms of behavior (aggression, etc?)
Joe V.
<Fridman's is superior... tank bred. Do search on WWM by these two species scientific names and read the cached views. Bob Fenner>

Need help identifying a fish, sans photo/s 2/17/10
Hello. My fiancé and I have just purchased a saltwater aquarium over the weekend. When we brought the live rock home last night, we noticed a strange fish pop out that we haven't been able to identify yet. I've tried to take pictures, but no luck getting anything but blurry shots of his head, as he likes to hide in the crevices of the rock most of the time. He is very long and thin, about 2 1/2 inches maybe. He's very smooth looking, charcoal black with a faintly muted yellow fin down his back and has very slightly protruding eyes. If you could help us identify this fish, it
would be much appreciated; we want to make sure anything we add to the aquarium will be compatible. Thanks~Andrea
<Ah, hon... we really need some pix to be able to help you here. There are just way too many possibilities given this scant physical description. Bob Fenner>

Re: Need help identifying a fish  2/17/10
Ok. I figured the description might be too vague. I managed to take some pictures last night, so I have attached them.
<Ahh... appears to be a Dottyback, Pseudochromid of some sort. See here:

Pseudochromis and sea star ID?   2/15/10
Howdy all at WWW!
You guys have been a great help to me over the past 4 or 5 years. I have found on your archives questions I asked, eons ago. Many thanks!!
I have two critters I can't ID. You may download these pics for use on your site if you want, and if you want bigger pics, I can email them to you. I have browsed both of the ID pages for these animals and only have a slight clue on the fish... totally clueless on the sea stars.
The first, I have suspected is a Pseudochromis cyanotaenia, but mine has a lot more yellow than the ones I've seen online. He's blue and yellow, with markings you can see in the pics.
<I do think this is the fish. There is some regional variability in coloring, markings>
He was purchased as a "blue back pseudo". He wants to fight the royal gramma that is in the tank BESIDE him, which is hilarious to watch. Both fish go nuts, so I'll have to put a sheet of paper in between the tanks if they keep it up.
Next is an identical pair of sea stars that are a rescue. I normally do not keep sea stars, but a friend of mine purchased a used 120g tank and these came with it (along with a few blue hermits). My friend had nowhere to put
them and I ended up with them.
I have no idea on the origin and I do not know the original owner. They could be a temperate specie from the North Carolina coast, since those sort of things make their way inland here to Raleigh on the occasion. I have
sent an inquiry to some students at the University in Wilmington to help ID them if they are native. They appear to be detritivores but will come out of hiding for some Mysis. Slowly. But surely. They are only 3/4" across, very small right now. They have not messed with any soft corals or LPS at this point, but I can move them to the 29g refugium if needed.
Notice the orange spot. They both have that. Maybe a clue? I can't tell.
Skin is definitely rough.
<Mmm, can't quite make out details on your pix. Could/would you try "shooting from above" with the pumps turned off? Bob Fenner>
Any help is great!!!
Many thanks!!

Fish ID... w/ wart  2/12/07 Thank you Bob! Still unable to find anything but my daughter has taken this pic with her phone..... what type of fish is it??!!  I'm only concerned the wart growth on the gill (other side) may be something infectious as we've only had the fish 2 weeks & it's developed in the last week...... Where are you by the way, obviously the States.......but where??!! <Is a Royal Dotty: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm I would avail yourself of a purposeful cleaner organism... likely a Lysmata sp. shrimp... to aid in removing this "wart". BobF> <<Oh, and San Diego, currently/half the year or so... elsewhere a few months per annum in HI, traveling. RMF>>

Pseudochromis coccinicauda   8/24/06 Bob, crew <Wayne> I have seen Pseudochromis coccinicauda on some export/import lists but am unable to find any more than the most basic of info on them. <Here on fishbase: http://fishbase.sinica.edu.tw/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=25685&genusname=Pseudochromis&speciesname=coccinicauda>   I haven't even seen an image of them yet despite a variety of internet searches. <Me or Google neither> Have you seen them/kept them/ best still an image? <Mmm, might have as unknown pix from visiting the Maldives...> Are they in any of the Scott Michael books (which I sadly don't have copies of) <Don't know>   I have speculatively ordered a pair so I guess if all else fails you'll get an image form me in a months time! Hils Wayne Oxborough Norway <Some Dottybacks are not all that attractive, I hope these are... and some are downright agonistic (e.g. steenei), I hope these are not. Bob Fenner> Impulse Buying Makes Adam Sad: Eels (not really but sort of) Pseudochromis/Congrogadinae 10/29/05 Hello I just got an eel that when I bought it they said it was a green wolf eel but it is yellow with a little green under its mouth what kind is it and what can I feed him/her thanks for the help. <The fish commonly sold as the 'Green Wolf Eel.' This eel is not really an eel it is actually from the family Pseudochromidae (basically on overgrown dottyback), in a sub genus Congrogadinae. These animals are occasionally sold in freshwater to brackish conditions but are best kept (they require) marine conditions. I would offer meaty foods of a marine origin, depending on the size of the animal anything from mysis to chopped silversides.  Also in the future it is prudent to research animals prior to purchase as often impulse buys lead to trouble. Incompatibility with current tank mates, expert-care species and so on. Just remember this phrase: 'If you don't know what it is you don't know how to take care of it.' Adam J.> 

I've been trying to find this P. Splendens you referred to as an alternative to Pseudochromis porphyreus. The only thing I could find were flowers and Siamese fighting fish. Is this a commonly sold fish? I looked at WetWebMedia, and your site also only has reference to this as the fighting fish. Where can I find some info on it? <Just a more recent than the books popular species... It is a Dottyback, Pseudochromis splendens... a much "nicer" member of the family/genus that is being cultured in good numbers by ORA/Harbor Marine in FL.> >> >> What a day... ever get the feeling that something isn't quite right? Me, most all the time... The instance I'm referring to is the fish actually called P. polynemus, Fowler, 1931, aka the Longfin Dottyback... this is the fish in question... Sheesh, and mea culpa, Bob Fenner

Re: Restocking and my previous/egregious Error Bob, I tracked down ORA, and found that my LFS gets their clownfish from them. The catalogue that the LFS had included a photo of the P. Splendens, in fact they had a specimen in the store. It looks like it would be a great addition to my tank (though expensive at $70). I have not been able to find a pic of the P. polynemus however. Any idea where I might be able to see a pic? <Ah, yes... cut and paste this URL: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/PicturesSummary.cfm?ID=12714> Given that my main tank is now 82 degrees and SPG 1.020, (I'll take it down to 1.019 or 1.018 tomorrow) and that it contains ONLY inverts, I have a question. Is it necessary for me to quarantine whatever I buy first? I'm thinking that the conditions in my main tank are much better than I could create in my quarantine tank. I would do a dip, of course.  <Yes, unless you want to risk introducing and entrenching infectious, parasitic problems in the system...> Also if I place them straight into my main tank, it has the bio system to handle a larger initial load. What is your opinion on restock? If I proceed gradually, territorial disputes would be a bigger problem. If I go all at once, and treatment is required, I don't think my quarantine tank could handle the load. <Here's where intelligent planning will shine... shy, more tough, less rambunctious species, specimens first... in batches if need be> Thanks o' wise one..., for all your past present and future help.  Marty >> Soitainly, Bob Fenner

Re: Restocking and my previous/egregious Error Bob, No fair! the link you sent is for Pseudochromis splendens, not Pseudochromis Polynemus. Thanks, Marty >> <Don't know if you can sense my chuckling over the Net... okay, let's give trying to clear this confusion up one last go: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=14281& genusname=Pseudochromis&speciesname=polynemus is Fishbase's shot at the species (the real one...) w/o an image (!)... And yes, this is a different, though closely related species to P. splendens... and here's the clincher... both are sold "interchangeably" in the trade/industry... Yikes... Take a longer look at polynemus (the real, most commonly available species... the one you saw that was cultured by ORA)... as it is the more peaceful... Bob Fenner Green wolf eel I saw a green wolf eel in the LFS they said it would not eat hermit crabs and was not in the moray eel family. Do you know anything about this type of eel? <Yes... as bizarre as it may seem, this is a member of the family of Dottybacks, Pseudochromidae. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm This species is covered here. Bob Fenner> thanks, j Colgan

Green Wolf Eel/Pseudochromid Dear Mr. Fenner, I have a green wolf eel and I cant seem to find any information on it. can you help me?  <A little perhaps... this fish, Congrogadus subduscens is actually classified as an Eelblenny (subfamily Congrogadinae) of the Dottybacks (family Pseudochromidae) of the tropical Indo-Pacific. It's actually not an uncommon offering in the trade... and generally takes most all types of meaty foods with little training...> I also have 2 lion fish, I cant seem to get the one off gold fish, I tried starting him on frozen foods, he would not eat them, I gave him gold fish and he loved them. how can I get him on frozen?  the other lion fish eats it but he wont. and are silver sides a good food or are they the same as gold fish. well, those are my questions. thanks again, Mike Mastronardi <Please read over the "don't feed goldfish" and pseudochromid pages and FAQs posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com for answers to your queries. Bob Fenner>

Dottyback Identification <<JasonC here helping out while Bob goes diving>> hi I bought what I think is called a flame head Dottyback it is doing great in my tank and its body has gone from gray to a blue colour I was just wondering if this is the right name for it because I have only found one site where someone has one is there something wrong with this fish? THANKS <<without any more description, I can't be of much help. Better for you to perhaps help yourself to the following link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm which has a good set of photos of most of the Pseudochromis [Dottybacks] - perhaps you will see your fish there. Sometimes a name like a "flamehead" is more of a descriptive name, applied at the fish store, than the actual common name... happens sometimes. Good luck, J -- >> 

Strange Pseudochromis I purchased a gorgeous pseudo a couple of weeks ago that was i.d.'d as an "Australian flame pseudo".  Interestingly I have not been able to find a photo in a book or on the net that is really very close.  Of course I don't have a photo - partly due to the problem I'm having (see below).  It looks vaguely like the female Queensland Dottyback on your website, but much more intense.  The front is dusky blue/gray, quickly blending to the most gorgeous rose color on the back 2/3.  The margins of the upper and lower fins are bright blue in a very fine line, and the last 1/8" of the tail is yellow.  It is currently about 3-4" long.  An id would be nice, but I can live without it. <I would try fishbase.org (run a search for Australia... and re-sort by family... then look at all the species listed for Pseudochromids... it may not be shown... or even described... there are a few species to go (pers. comm. Dr. Jack Randall)> This is my first pseudo, and I'm surprised by how shy it is! I rarely ever see it full body. <Not atypical... some species are more outgoing... but only the tank bred/reared ones come, stay out much> Usually it is only a dusky blue head peeking out of the rockwork.  I have a fairly active full reef with 2 Zebrasomas tangs, a flame angel, and 2 polymnus clowns.  It has shown absolutely no signs of aggression, and turns tail if another fish comes into view. I'm concerned about feeding.  It doesn't come out at feeding time - the activity seems to drive it deeper into the rocks.  It still seems fat, but if it is eating, it must be doing the worms, copepods, etc. diet.  Is this possible, and is it a long term option in a 135 reef?  Any ideas on how to feed it? <Keep offering small meaty foods... it is likely consuming what you're producing in situ> Will it become more outgoing with time? <Likely yes. Bob Fenner>

Can You Identify a Fish? Attached is a pic of a fish - wrasse I believe. Do you know the common name? He's about 2.5" in length, white body, iridescent blue along the top & bottom fins, with a bright yellow tail. <Your picture was a little small and blurry, but enough for an ID. You actually have a Pseudochromis, the Splendid Dottyback, Pseudochromis splendens. You can see a better picture and some additional information here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm> Thanks, Craig
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>
Re: Can You Identify a Fish? That's him! And the LFS told me it was a wrasse. :-P Thanks. <Well... (you put me up to this!)... I would go back in there and ha-wrasse them with re identification skills! Bob Fenner>
- Information about Pseudochromis paccagnellae - Thanks for all the help I now know that my mystery Gramma is actually a Pseudochromis paccagnellae. <Yep... somewhat similar.> Just a few more questions. Is this species quite common and would it be fine in my tank with one Bicolour Dwarf angel (Centropyge bicolor), one six line wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), two Sulphur gobies (Cryptocentrus cinctus) and soon a bicolour blenny (Ecsenius bicolor) it is VERY aggressive towards my wrasse but the wrasse looks like its coping with all the aggressiveness by hiding in the rocks most of the time but will this aggressive behaviour eventually go away? <Probably not... Pseudochromids are known for their aggressiveness, in spite of their small size. Do keep an eye on things. The six line wrasse can likely fend for itself but some of those other fish could be in trouble if your Pseudochromis turns its attentions to them.> Thanks
<Cheers, J -- >

- Which Fish is This? - My LFS recently got in a beautiful fish I have never seen before.  They have labeled it a "blue barred Pseudochromis", but the only picture I can find that looks anything like it (navy, almost black, with two longitudinal metallic blue lines down each side) is a red sea cleaner wrasse. <Hmm... well, there are a lot of Pseudochromis that aren't even described. Could be you have the genuine article.> What's more, I observed it trying to clean a couple fish in the tank. <Well... there are quite a few non-standard cleaners that clean as juveniles. Could be this is the same behavior.> Is there some other fish, i.e. a "blue barred pseudo" this might be (best guess without a picture, I know), and assuming it is a red sea cleaner Larabicus quadrilineatus, this is a fish you would recommend strongly against (cause it is beautiful!)? <Actually, would recommend against the Larabicus quadrilineatus because the adults are obligate coral polyp eaters.> Jim <Cheers, J -- >

Mystery Dottyback! Hey guys.. <Scott F. your guy tonight!> I found this dotty back at a local shop labeled "pink orchid Dottyback", but could of course come up w/ no info on it.. I did however find this pic http://www.themarinecenter.com/pseudounid.htm which is an exact match... You ever seen these?  Know how large they get? <Well, my guess is as good as yours! Could be a geographic color variant on a known species, or, indeed- an undescribed species. It kind of looks like a Pseudochromis tauberae to me, but I'm basing this on some not-so-good pictures and personal "sightings" of this fish at local fish stores myself. If it is a P. tauberae, it reaches a length of about 2 1/2-3 inches. On the other hand, if it is Labracinus cyclopthalmus (another possible suspect here), it can reach up to 8 inches, and be a holy terror! You might want to check out fishbase.org, and do an old-fashioned search using the various Dottyback genera: Pseudochromis, Cypho, Labracinus, and Obgilbyina, and look at the pictures there. Maybe you'll find something! > The two in the shop are eating flake/frozen  and seem fairly easy going.. One of them in fact is quite timid in a tank w/ clown fish and some Anthias. The other is quite active despite the presence of a neon dotty and some other normally aggressive Pseudochromis fish..  Any ideas are appreciated.  Joe <Well, Joe- fire up the 'puter, make some strong coffee, and shuffle of to Fishbase! Happy hunting! Regards, Scott F.> Longest Running Aquarium Club in Oklahoma - Since 1949! Oklahoma City Aquarium Association http://petsforum.com/okcaa/ http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OK-AquariumAssociation/

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>

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