Dottybacks are some of the most colorful, small & hardy perfect aquarium fish, and this is especially true of the several different species of Pictichromis. These fish are packed with personality and are very easy to care for, but unfortunately they also come with a big helping of attitude.
The three main species we see in the aquarium trade from this genus are the purple, royal, and diadema dottybacks, but every once in a while we see individuals with intermediate patterns of the most common three. We used to think that these were mostly aberrant specimens with unusual colors, but more frequent collections by RVS Fishworld in the Northern Philippines has given us a steady stream of one particular variant.
Instead of being half purple in the front and half purple in the back, these semi-consistent variants are mostly purple on top and mostly yellow on the bottom portion. We believe these are possibly a regularly occurring hybrids of the diadema dottyback, Pictichromis diadema, and either the bicolored royal dottyback or the purple dottyback, P. paccagnellae & P. porphyrus respectively.
Knowing the extremely pugnacious nature of these fish, we acquired one of these aberrants/hybrids as a token first fish for the Reef Builders Studio to keep us company during the long buildout process. This individual has turned into quite a personable pet and with only starfish, corals and snails as tankmates, it has no one to pick on.
And with no other fish for us to look at, this particularly unique Pictichromis has turned into an awesome pet. With its purple and yellow body and deeper lilac blue eyes, ‘Abby’ the aberrant dottyback is also an excellent photographic subject. Well follow up very soon on the quasi perfect nano reef tank that Abby calls home very soon as this is one little reef & coral aquarium that has really blossomed over a short period of time.