Royal Gramma

Royal Gramma A.K.A Fairy BassletFairy Basslet or Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) is considered an excellent choice for the beginning marine aquarist, it is usually harmless to other tank dwellers, considered a hardy fish that loves meaty foodstuffs, lots of live rock to hide in and requires easy to moderate care taking.

Valued for its exquisite beauty of fading purple into yellow, Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) is not to be confused with its cousin the Royal Dottyback (Pseudochromis paccagnella) which does not fade, but is two distinct colors and is more territorial (also a favorite among many starter marine aquariums).

Royal Gramma is a lover of the tropical Atlantic waters of the Americas live casinos, near reefs and caves, especially the Caribbean Sea (Lesser Antilles, Venezuela, Honduras and Nicaragua), the Bahamas, Cuba, the coasts of Central and South America (usually outside the gulf of Mexico), from the tip of Southern Florida along the coast of central America all the way down as far as Espírito Santo in Brazil.

Royal Gramma usually swims between 1-40 meter below the surface near coral reefs, inside caves and under ledges, but will swim as deep as 60m making it appear blue in the front and orange toward the rear, deep in the sea.

Royal Gramma will swim with its belly towards substratum, thus usually upside down when under ledges, will feed off of the ectoparasites of other fish and retreats quickly into recesses when alarmed.

Live brine shrimp and other meaty foods make for an excellent source of nutrition that will tend to keep the Royal Gramma happy, but nothing is wrong with vitamin-enriched flakes for even better nutritional purposes.

Living between three and five years, the Royal Gramma can grow as much as four inches in the wild, usually only three in captivity (depending on the tank size; a minimum of 30 gallons for this species), while they enjoy a rather acidic pH of 8.1-8.4, they will usually need a carbonate hardness between 8-12 degrees, with a sensitive specific gravity from 1.020-1.025 and a temperature range from 72-80 degrees F.

When keeping more than one fish with the Royal Gramma it is important to provide a variety of hiding places to accommodate everyone more safely since the Royal Gramma doesn’t like to share its hiding places (especially with other Royal Gramma’s).

Also known as the Fairy Basslet, Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) is a colorful starter fish recommended for the first time marine aquarist, looking for a fish that needs between easy to moderate care, loves meaty foods like ectoparasites off of other fish or live brine shrimp, is usually harmless except when defending its hiding spaces and enchanting to look at with the fairy-like hues that start as purple and gradually fade into yellow.

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Posted in Articles, Fish on February 2, 2009.

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