Scientific Name:
Gramma loreto
Other Common Names for the Royal Gramma:
Fairy Basslet


Native to the Caribbean, the Royal Gramma is a favorite among marine fishkeepers. Royal Grammas belong to the Grammatidae family. They are deep purple from the head to the middle of the body and vibrant yellow from the middle of the body down to tail. The transition from purple to yellow is gradual and blends in a gorgeous, pinkish gradient in the middle. A black line goes from the mouth, through the eye, and toward the back of the head. The Royal Gramma also has a black spot on the front part of its dorsal fin. Be aware that there is a similar looking fish found in the reef hobby called a “Dottyback” or “Pseudochromis.”  The Dottyback has a harsh line separating the pink and yellow.  They also don't have the colored dorsal fin with the black dot or the black face line. Guess what they also don’t have? The friendly, peaceful nature of the Royal Gramma. Although they look alike, they have different behaviors, so take note of the difference before you add one to your mixed reef tank. It is not recommended to have a Royal Gramma with a Dottyback.

Male and female Royal Grammas look the same. The only way to tell them apart visually is when and if they bond with another and mate.  The male of the pair will appear longer, while the female will swell in the belly with eggs to make it more apparent. 


Royal Grammas are carnivores. They need a varied diet consisting of meaty foods, such as brine and mysis shrimp, high-quality frozen foods, flakes, and pellet foods. A good variety of foods will keep your Royal Gramma healthy and brightly colored.


Royal Grammas can reach up to 3 to 4 inches and require an aquarium of at least 30 gallons with live rock and a cave to claim for itself. If your Royal Gramma becomes startled or is ready to sleep, it will go into its cave. During the day, they generally swim around close to their cave. They will try to defend their territory against other fish by shaking at them and opening their mouths as wide as they can - which is hilarious to see - but they are rarely aggressive unless another Royal Gramma (or Dottyback)  is present. It’s recommended to only have 1 Royal Gramma per tank as could become territorially aggressive with another fish that looks like them. If you intend to keep fish - especially a basslet, a netted lid is recommended. 

BassletFairy bassletGrammatidaeMarinefishMarinefishguideReefReefchaserRoyal gramma

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