News / Species Spotlight / Highly Underrated Fish - Queensland Dottyback (06/04/14)

Highly Underrated Fish - Queensland Dottyback

In The Wild

Ogilbyina queenslandiae has a small wild range off the Queensland coast of Australia, while listed as an endemic to only the coast, the range extends out a bit further. They are generally found in protected areas in and around tropical reefs, which they defend vigorously. This is a fish that can be found within a foot of the surface and down to about 100 feet. They have a max size of just under six inches.

Queensland Dottybacks are sexually dimorphic, meaning that the males and females have different appearances. Females are primarily blue and red and pictured in the photo below on the left). Males are largely red headed and that color fades into blue/grey toward the tail, as illustrated in the photo below on the right. They appear very similar to another dottyback that shares their distribution, the Australian Dottyback (O. novaehollandiae) but can be differentiated with the aforementioned color scheme. The Australian Dottyback also doesn't get quite as large at roughly 4 inches.

In The Aquarium

This is a unique aquarium fish. It is in the running for the most hardy aquarium inhabitant, being both extremely hardy and very disease resistant. They are notoriously easy to get weaned onto prepared foods and seemingly regardless of what you feed them, they stay absolutely brilliantly colored. In addition, they are known eaters of many aquarium "pests," with reports of them even consuming mantis shrimp. While this diet makes these fish incredibly easy to feed in your aquarium, it also means they are very likely to consume ornamental shrimps, crabs and clams.

Like many other fish in their family, Queensland Dottys have been known to spawn regularly in captivity. However, If attempting to keep pairs, expect some fin damage as this is an aggressive fish, and they are known to have somewhat "tumultuous" relationships. They are also likely to be very aggressive with other Dottybacks and just about anything else they can get away with picking on. The takeaway here is do not keep with other similar, or passive fish. Smaller fish can be kept with them, but only small fish with large attitudes like Four Line Wrasses or the like.

By no means should that eliminate them as a choice for your aquarium; either keep this fish singly, or with other aggressive fish like Maroon clowns, Triggers, Damsels etc. In fact, one of the most beautiful displays I've seen had a pair of these with a large group of Domino Damsels and it was stunning.

World Register of Marine Species: WoRMS
Scott W. Michael, Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2004).
Matthew L Wittenrich, Breeders Guide To Marine Aquarium Fishes, 1st ed. (T.F.H. Publications Inc, New Jersey, 2007).
Internal References: Eli Fleishauer, Adam Mangino