Dutoiti Dottyback (Pseudochromis dutoiti)

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Dutoiti Dottyback
Pseudochromis dutoiti
Dutoiti Dottyback (Pseudochromis dutoiti)
Name Dutoiti Dottyback
Name Lat. Pseudochromis dutoiti
Family Dottybacks
Family lat. Pseudochromidae
Order Ovalentarias
Order lat. Ovalentaria inc. sed.
Origin Indian Ocean
Habitat Coastal 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 4-7 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 9 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium ~ 200 l
US Units
Size 4"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium ~ 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of Pseudochromis dutoiti is the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to the Persian Gulf and the Maldives. They live there on nearshore reefs, hidden between corals and rocks.


They require a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure (branching coral sticks, small caves and crevices) 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 when pairs are formed, each animal often occupies its own territory, which is vigorously defended. The dominant, usually somewhat larger animal always has male status. To avoid territorial fights, they should be introduced into the aquarium at the same time. Group keeping is only possible in a larger aquarium with many hiding places. Towards other fishes they behave mostly peacefully.

Sex dimorphism

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, i.e. most males develop from functional females. No external distinguishing characteristics are known.

Reproduction and breeding

There are no known reports of successful breeding in the aquarium.


They rarely swim in the open water, but stay close to their hiding place, to which they retreat with lightning speed in case of danger. As coral reef dwellers, they should not be kept in a fish-only aquarium.

If different species are kept together, care should be taken to match the fish in terms of water quality and temperature requirements, as well as their social behavior, and to ensure 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: KUITER & DEBELIUS (2007): Atlas der Meeresfische: Die Fische an den Küsten der Weltmeere, Kosmos Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF