Dottyback: Quick Guide To Keeping These Intelligent Saltwater Aquarium Fish

Dotty Back

Are you up for a challenge? Keep Dottybacks in your saltwater aquarium. They are said to be aggressive and territorial. You cannot keep them with docile fish in a small aquarium. Dotties can be some of the biggest bullies. 

They are a pleasure to keep. Their beautiful colors and interesting personalities are fascinating. Observing them can be a wonderful way to spend your free time. 

If you are willing to commit to taking care of Dottybacks and keep them, you should continue reading this guide. Let’s walk you through all the big and small details. 

Ideal Habitat

Dottybacks mostly live in the coral reefs present not only in the tropical but also in the sub-tropical regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. If you want to make them feel at home, you should provide them with caves and other hiding spots, as that’s what they have in their natural habitat.

Tank Size 

Dottybacks aren’t exceptionally long. However, due to their territorial and bully nature, it is best to keep them in big tanks i.e. at least 30 gallons. Add a sufficient amount of water whenever you add another Dottyback in the aquarium. 

Tank Set-Up

Temperature: Dottybacks prefer warmer waters. So, keep the temperature of water between 74 degrees to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. 

pH: They are most comfortable in alkaline waters. Hence, the pH should be around 8.0 to 8.4. 

Water hardness: Try to keep this between 8 dKH to 12 dKH. They don’t like extremely hard water. 

Specific gravity: This should be in a range of 1.020 to 1.025. 

Decorations: You should add rocks and corals. Dottybacks are fond of dark places. They can hide in them for a considerable amount of time. The coral you choose can be soft or hard. 

Tank Mates 

Even though Dottybacks aren’t the calmest fish, they can get along with certain species. Let’s take a look at which fish can be appropriate tank mates for Dottybacks. 

  1. Clownfish
  2. Angelfish
  3. Anthias
  4. Boxfish
  5. Damsels
  6. Butterflyfish 
  7. Gobies
  8. FoxFaces
  9. Chromis
  10. Blennies
  11. Jawfish
  12. Hawkfish

Don’t keep smaller more submissive fish in the same aquarium as the Dotties. Also, avoid keeping larger more aggressive fish with them too. They will bully the smaller one and maybe even the bigger ones. However, they can get harassed and attacked by bigger fish. 

  • Can you keep Dottybacks with other Dottybacks?

Yeah, you can keep a couple of Dottybacks of the same species in one tank. They may even swim together. Avoid keeping Dottybacks of different species together. They can bully their counterparts a lot. 


Dottybacks are believed to be omnivores. You can feed them with different food items. Below are a few options:

  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Plankton
  • Brine Shrimp 
  • Vegetation
  • Live rock
  • Pellets
  • Flakes
  • Fresh food
  • Frozen food
  • Chopped meat

Feeding routine: Feel free to feed your Dottybacks around 2 to 3 times a day. Not more than that. Overfeeding is never good for fish’s health. 


Though Dottybacks are hardy, they need a clean tank. 

Cleaning routine: Keep the water in check and change at least 25% of the water every week. Replace it with fresh and clean saltwater. 

Also, since there will be plenty of rocks and cave-like structures in their tank, make sure to clean them once in a while, maybe once in two weeks. They won’t like hiding in dirty places. Try to avoid some instances, so they don’t get frustrated. 


I am sure you must be falling in love with this popular saltwater aquarium fish. With proper care and compatible tank mates, they will not fight other them. 

Provide them with hiding spots, so their territorial insecurities don’t act up. LOL. You will enjoy keeping this saltwater fish that has an interesting personality, friendly yet aggressive. Good luck studying Dottybacks while you keep them. 

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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