Common names for the Royal Gramma Basslet include: Royal Gramma, Fairy Basslet and Gramma Loreto. They should not be confused with the Royal Dottyback.

This peaceful, hardy fish injects a splash of colour and interest into any aquarium.

They are not the best swimmers in the aquarium and as a result like to stay fairly tight to the rock work. They will pick a cave in your aquarium to call their own, and they will defend it. They are not bullies though, they will just chase away other fish if they get too close to their caves.

Tank Requirements & Facts

Royal Gramma
Royal Gramma
  • Minimum tank size: 30 Gallon (136 Litres)
  • Prone to disease: No
  • Beginner Compatible: Yes
  • Adult Size: 3 inches (7.6cm)
  • Reef Compatible: Yes
  • Predator Tank Compatible: No
  • Care Level: Easy
  • pH: 8.1 to 8.4
  • Temperature: 22°C to 27°C
  • Preferred Tank Level: Middle, close to rockscape.
  • Lots of hiding places required for these little fish
  • Tight fitting lid, these fish have been known to jump.
  • Number to a tank: Can sometimes be kept in pairs but should be added at the same time and tank should be large, other tank mates should not look similar to them or have the same purple colour as this may cause aggression.

Feeding

  • These are omnivores
  • They catch their food in the water column as it passes them
  • They are not overly aggressive eaters
  • They don’t tend to graze on Nori
  • They don’t show much interest in pellets
  • Flaked food, frozen food & live foods are readily accepted

Acclimatisation

When acclimating your Royal Gramma it is best to do so in a deep bucket that the fish is unable to jump out of.

Place your fish in the bucket and then drip acclimate for about 45 minutes at a rate of 3 drip per second. This should bring the fishes water parameters in line with your tanks parameters.

Once your fish has been drip acclimated, catch the fish with a net and place it gently into your tank. Do not put any of the water the fish originally came in, into your tank.

Care should be taken after adding the fish to ensure there is a tightly fitting lid on the aquarium at all times. These fish are known to be jumpers and they are more likely to jump when first introduced to an aquarium.

How to tell the difference between the Royal Gramma & the Royal Dottyback

Royal Dottyback
Royal Dottyback

It is important to know the difference between these fish as the Royal Gramma is a peaceful fish, but the Royal Dottyback is a bully! You don’t want your community being upset by a bully you mistook for being a friend!

There are some key visual traits of each fish that allows you to easily distinguish the difference between the Royal Gramma and & the Royal Dottyback.

Royal Gramma
Royal Gramma
  1. Where the purple colour meets the yellow, on the Royal Gramma the colours fade together to create a gradient. The Royal Dottyback has a harsh straight line where the two colours meet.
  2. The Royal Gramma has a black “eye” on its dorsal fin (it appears as a black dot at the start of it’s fin), the Grammas fins are also solid in clour. They Dottyback has slight colour to its fins but eventually fades to transparent, it has no obvious “eye” on its dorsal fin.
  3. The Royal Gramma has markings on its face, often yellow, sometimes black. The Dottyback has a plain purple face.

 Personal Review

I really enjoy watching my Royal Gramma. It hugs the rockwork looking for little bits of food, never straying too far away from its home. It is a curious little fish, it likes to come and have a look at you if you sit quietly by the tank, however, if you startle it, it will dart out of sight quicker than you can blink!

So far, mine has not been aggressive towards other tank mates, even when they get very close to the Grammas house.

Because they are hardy and beginner friendly they are a popular choice with new and seasoned reefers. The fact they are so colourful and reef safe, is just another cap in their feather.

I don’t think a reef tank can be a reef tank without one of these stunning little fish.