Abby the ‘aberrant’ dottyback is a unique specimen of Pictichromis that was the first fish we ever got at the Reef Builders Studio. Nearly two years after first receiving this fish and starting it out in its own bare bones nano reef, the unusual dottyback is now living its best life in 75 gallons of Eupyllia heaven.
By now you may have noticed that we once referred to this fish as an aberrant dottyback, but after observing this fish and considering its pattern, along with those of many other Pictichromis over the years, we have shifted our opinion of these fish to be the result of hybridization. There’s several species of beautiful pink/purple and yellow dottybacks in the Pictichromis genus, and the spectrum of ‘aberrant’ specimens that have been documented seem like they could more plausibly be the result of hybridization, than of so many one-off aberrant specimens.
Many dottybacks and especially the Pictichromis have a bad reputation for being pugnacious, and it’s well deserved too, but that doesn’t mean that you must avoid these colorful reef jewels entirely. In our case we added Abby to the 75 gallon reef aquarium display full of Euphyllias well after all the other fish. Some of the other tank mates include a very old captive bred yellow assessor, yellow tang, gem tang, spotcinctus clownfish pair, and a nice distracting school of saltwater mollies to serve as dither fish.
As you can see in the original post of this fish from 2018, the color has mostly stayed the same while the fish has grown about 3/4th of an inch – in that time the flawlessness of her skin and scales has subsided a little bit due to fighting and just living that reef life. However the color has almost intensified, becoming very blue in the tail while the yellow ventral area has grown larger with the body.
The aberrant/hybrid dottyback is one specimen that many of our viewers often ask about, so we are glad we could circle back to spotlight this very interesting nano reef fish. It’s been very interesting to watch the demeanor of this fish change over time, becoming slightly more relaxed with time and as the fish population became comfortable with each other.