Common name: Dash-and-dot Goatfish, Bicolor Goatfish, Half and Half Goatfish, Swarthy-headed Goatfish
Scientific name: Parupeneus barberinoides
Max size: 10 in / 25 cm
Temperature: 72-78ºF (22- 26°C)
The Dash-and-dot goatfish is known under several names of which the two most common are Dash-and-dot goatfish and Bicolor goatfish. It is a beautiful fish that is relatively common in the trade. If you want one your local fish store should be able to get you one. You can also order it online.
The Dash-and-dot goatfish has a two-colored body which has earned it its other name Bicolor goatfish. The front part of the fish is burgundy and the posterior is yellow. The two segments are separated from each other by a vertical white stripe across the body of the fish. There are two horizontal white lines in the burgundy part of he body and a black spot on the white field covering the posterior of the fish. The head and tail usually displays blue markings. It has two barbells located beneath its mouth. The barbells have the same color as the anterior of the body. All goatfish species have these barbells and it is these barbells that have given the group their name: goatfishes.
Dash-and-dot goatfish are not reef safe as they will eat any and all invertebrates that are small enough to be eaten. It is a relatively friendly species and should never be kept with aggressive species. Ideally Dash-and-dot goatfish should be kept with other friendly fish species of similar size. The Dash-and-dot goatfish can be kept both as a solitary fish and in schools.
The Dash-and-dot goatfish originates from the eastern part of the Indian Ocean and the western part of the Pacific Ocean. Their main population can be found in the Pacific Ocean. They are mainly found in calm lagoons surrounded by protective reefs. They spend their days swimming slowly over the bottom of the lagoon searching for food in the bottom substrate using their barbells to locate the food. They are found down to a depth of 100 m / 33 ft.
This species is not suitable for beginners but Dash-and-dot goatfish can be recommend to all those how have kept saltwater fish for some time and would like try something a little harder without having to be an expert to care for the fish.
The Dash-and-dot goatfish will keep the bottom of your tank very clean in areas it can reach.
Dash-and-dot Goatfish care and aquarium setup
The Dash-and-dot goatfish is a relatively large fish and you will need an aquarium no smaller than 50 gallons / 200 L if you want to keep a Dash-and-dot goatfish. This species is best kept in a "fish only" or a "fish with live rock" setup. Do not keep them in reef aquariums. The most important part when decorating a tank for the Dash-and-dot goatfish is a bottom covered with sand in which they can use their barbells to search for food. Don't use a sharp bottom substrate as that might cause them to hurt their barbells. They appreciate a cave or two but caves are not necessary and an open bottom area is the most important factor for their well being.
The aquarium should be well filtered and well lit.
Feeding Dash-and-dot Goatfish
This fish prefers to eat fish that has fallen to the bottom of the tank. They can sometimes, but not always, be trained to accept marine pellets. Some Dash-and-dot goatfish will never accept anything besides live, fresh and frozen food. They should be feed a varied diet of frozen food and chopped up sea food. Give them live food as often as you can. A Dash-and-dot goatfish should be fed 3-4 times a day.
Breeding Dash-and-dot Goatfish
Little is known about breeding Dash-and-dot goatfish in aquariums and as far as we know no reports exist about successful spawning of this species in home aquariums. We do however have some information on how Dash-and-dot goatfish breed in the wild that might be helpful of you want to try to breed this species in captivity. The spawning period extends from May to June (sometimes into August) and most spawning males are 4-5 years when they spawn. The males create temporary territories during this period and try to entice females into their territory to mate. Mating is done in open water. The fish swims upwards a few meters into open water and release egg and milt before returning to the bottom. No egg or fry care have been observed. The eggs and fry are on their own as soon as they are released. Dash-and-dot goatfish fry grow fast.