Common names for the Black Cap Basslet include: Black Cap Gramma, Balckcap Basslet, Blackcap Gramma, and Gramma melacara.

Black Cap Gamma
Black Cap Gamma

This peaceful, hardy fish injects a splash of colour and interest into any aquarium. Though peaceful, they should not be housed with any similar Basslets, particularly those sporting the bright purple colours (such as the Royal Gramma & the Orchid Dottyback), as a territory war will likely result in the demise of one of them.

These colourful fish prefer tanks with lower lighting as they are deep water dwellers in the wild, they also prefer an aquarium with lots of rockwork and crevices to hide in.

An easy to keep fish, that adapts well to aquarium life ensures they remain popular amongst reef keepers. Though they are generally considered reef safe, some specimens have been known to nip at hermit crabs and other smaller invertebrates.

Tank Requirements & Facts

Black Cap Basslet
  • Minimum tank size: 30 Gallon (136 Litres)
  • Prone to disease: No
  • Beginner Compatible: Yes
  • Adult Size: 4 inches (10cm)
  • 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
  • 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.


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


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

Blackcap Basslet
Blackcap Basslet

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.

 Personal Review

I really enjoy watching my Blackcap 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.


This website is expensive to run in both monetary value and time. If you like what you see, and find this site helpful, please consider donating towards the running costs of the site.