Springer's Dottyback

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Pseudochromis springeri - Lubbocke, 1975
Springer's Dottyback

An elegantly colored Red Sea endemic species. Scott W. Michael


Jet black with bright blue blazes above and below its eyes, this is an unusually beautiful and interesting-to-observe species. In the wild, it is found weaving between the branches of Acropora and Pocillopora spp. stony corals, and it with bring these natural behaviors into a captive reef, where it is easy to keep and exceptionally hardy.

A Red Sea native, it was once considered rare and commanded very high prices. Today captive-raised individuals are readily available.

Family: Pseudochromidae

Other common name(s):

  • Bluestriped Dottyback

Native range:

Habitat: Reef. It will live among the branches of stony corals (live or skeletons) and in nooks and crannies in the live rock.

Maximum length: 1.6 cm (1 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 38 L (10 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to bottom.


Carnivore. Feed meaty foods such as Mysis Shrimp, enriched brine shrimp, reef plankton, and the like at least once a day. Color-enhancing foods will help prevent fading, although it tends to be more color-fast than many others in the family.

Aquarium Compatibility

Like other dottybacks, Springer’s Dottyback can present problems in a small tank, as it is prone to picking on smaller, substrate-oriented fishes such as gobies, dartfishes and blennies. Aggression is less problematic in a larger tank. Keep one per tank unless you can obtain a pair (try adding two smaller individuals, or one large and one small, to increase the likelihood of getting a male and female). It may bother small shrimps, but is otherwise not a threat to ornamental invertebrates.


Demersal (on or near the bottom) spawners that produce a mass of gelatinous eggs in a dark cave and then tend and protect their broods.


This is a somewhat furtive fish that will dash about the tank, never very far from shelter, occasionally stopping at the opening of a hideout to assess its situation or to dash out to grab passing food items.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM