Australian Mulitcolor Dottyback (Ogilbyina novaehollandiae)

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Australian Mulitcolor Dottyback
Ogilbyina novaehollandiae
Australian Mulitcolor Dottyback (Ogilbyina novaehollandiae)
Name Australian Mulitcolor Dottyback
Name Lat. Ogilbyina novaehollandiae
Synonym Pseudochromis novaehollandiae
Family Dottybacks
Family lat. Pseudochromidae
Order Ovalentarias
Order lat. Ovalentaria inc. sed.
Origin Great Barrier Reef
Habitat Coral reefs
Diet Carnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-10 °KH
Behavior Semi-aggressive
Keeping Individual, pair
Reef Compatible Yes
Care Level Moderate
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 10 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 250 l
US Units
Size 4"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 65 gal

Distribution and habitat

Ogilbyina novaehollandiae occur exclusively (endemically) on the Great Barrier Reef (northeastern Australia). They live there in coral and rock hiding places on nearshore inner reefs at depths of 10-20 m.


They require a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure that allows for territoriality (shelters, crevices, caves, branching coral sticks) and live stones that act like a biological filter, as well as fine-grained sandy areas. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free sands, gravels, stones or sea sand of various grain sizes may be used as substrate

Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must correspond to the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 8.1-8.4
Carbonate hardness: 8-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention must be paid to consistently good water quality and water values.


They are ambush hunters that prefer to eat planktonic small crustaceans. The food change usually succeeds without problems. The food supply should consist of a combination of live and frozen food, such as artemia, mysis, shrimp and krill, with chopped fish, mussel and shrimp meat or a commercially available frozen food mixture enriched with vitamins. Dry food (flakes, granules) is rarely accepted

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are very territorial and even in pairs each animal often occupies its own territory, which is vigorously defended. Keeping them in groups is only possible in a larger aquarium with many hiding places. To avoid territorial fights, they should be put into the aquarium at the same time. Towards other fish they behave mostly peacefully.

Sex dimorphism

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means that most males develop from functional females when needed. The males have a red head and a gray-black body.

Reproduction and breeding

Breeding has often been successful. The male lures the female into his cave to lay eggs. The spawn ball is guarded and cared for by the male until the fry hatch after about 1 week. Special food, such as brachionus (rotifers), is needed for rearing.


They hardly swim in the open water, but stay close to their hiding place, to which they retreat in a flash in case of danger. As reef dwellers, they should be kept together with corals and not in a fish-only aquarium. Care should be taken when keeping them with shrimp, as they may be considered prey

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to ensure that the fish match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements and social behavior, and that the setup meets the needs of all species kept together. New fish to be introduced must be acclimated slowly to the water in the aquarium

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: BAENSCH & DEBELIUS (2006): Meerwasser Atlas Bd. 1, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF