The royal gramma (Gramma Loreto), along with the percula clownfish, flame angel, yellow tang and the blue tang make up the five most recognizable fishes in the marine aquarium hobby. It is also known as the fairy basslet.
The royal gramma is brilliantly colored. Its front half is a rich blueish-purple while the rest of its body is a bright yellow mixed in with some orange. There is a single black stripe that streaks through its eyes.There is also a single black spot at the front of its dorsal fin.
They are commonly fond throughout the Caribbean Sea. They retail for as little as $15 dollars and are disease resistant and hardy. A winning combination. Cheap, beautiful, plentiful and easy to keep in an aquarium.
They are commonly mistaken for the bicolor dottyback (Pseudochromis Bicolor) as they both have very similar colors. Telling them apart is easy. The bicolor dottyback does not have a black streak running from its snout through its eyes.
The royal gramma is a good candidate for a wide variety of aquariums. They are a relatively peaceful fish, provided they have a small territory of their own.
I have personally kept the royal gramma with clownfish, dwarf angels, large angels, gobies, damsels and dottybacks and have found that it does well with all of them. Again, only if they have their own territory. There can be trouble if any fish continually attempts to enter its shelter.
They can reach lengths of nearly 4 inches in their natural habitat. Such lengths are generally unseen in captivity. Expect your royal gramma to get as big as 3 inches.
I’ve seen hobbyists successfully keep one in a 10 gallon tank. Personally i think at least a 20 gallon is the minimum size you should use with the royal gramma. The only way i’d ever keep one in a 10 gallon is if its the only fish in the tank.
Royal grammas are carnivores that eat copepods and plankton in the wild. They are completely reef safe so you don’t have to worry about any coral nipping.
A variety of meaty foods should be offered. Krill, Mysis shrimp and Prime Reef (A great blend of seafood) are all great frozen foods to feed. They normally begin eating very quickly after introduction.
Efforts to breed the royal gramma have been successful. They are nest builders that use macroalgae as material for their spawning site (usually a cave).
The male attempts to lure the female into its newly built spawning site by quivering and flaring his fins. If the female is receptive to the males advances, she will then enter his cave and begin spawning. Their larvae accept rotifers and eventually baby brine shrimp without hesitation.
While breeding in captivity has been successful, the vast majority of royal grammas sold are still wild caught. Breeding of this fish isn’t wide spread by any means and high rearing costs normally mean losing out to cheaper, wild caught specimens.