|Minimum Tank Size||30 Gallons|
|Water Parameters||72-78 F, pH 8-8.4, Salinity 1.020-1.025|
The Royal Gramma Basslet can be found in the Western Atlantic Ocean making their home among colorful corals and rocks. With their rich, colorful bodies of purple and yellow their is no better hiding spot. These fish feature a bright yellow back half and purple front. On their dorsalfin there is a single black dot. Finally an orange streak runs from their mouth past their eye but not reaching their dorsal fin. These qualities combine to give the Royal Gramma Basslet a look that draws a lot of attention in the aquarium.
The basic requirements for this fish are:
- No other purple fish
- Plenty of rocks
- No predatory fish
This page will focus on the behavior, feeding and breeding of the Royal Gramma Basslet. If you have any questions unanswered feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll be sure to reply.
Behavior & Aggression
These fish can almost be treated the same as a firefish at first. They are very shy and will stick to hiding in rocks when first introduced to the aquarium. They will quickly find their own home in the rockwork and claim it for themselves, only leaving their home when they feel completely safe in the tank.
Once the have settled in you can expect to see the Royal Gramma to either follow around other, more confident fish or stick to their own homes. They should not always be hiding in the rocks and will often be free swimming, bot not too far from their home.
When placed in small tanks or with other fish who like to hide in the rocks you may see some aggression from these fish. The Royal Gramma is famous for its dives, meaning it will flares its fins, open its mouth and charge other fish. They will always turn and barely touch the other fish, but it can be quite alarming to the aquarist. If you see this behavior carry on for too long you have a couple of options.
- Rearrange the rocks to reset teritories
- Add more rocks to create additional hiding places
- Add a slightly bigger fish to calm the Gramma down
- Let the fish resolve the issue themselves
More often than not the diving will not last more than a few hours. One of the outcomes would be the bullied fish will leave the Royal Gramma’s area and learn not to go back there. The other is the fish puts up resistance and the Gramma learns it cannot harass the fish. This is very common with clownfish, as the Royal Gramma Thinks it can harass the smaller male but will soon stop when the larger female shows up.
Fish that the Gramma may be aggressive to would be those of similar shape and color. The only big thing you need to watch for is the purple color. Not a whole lot of fish have this so it shouldn’t be too hard. If you do have similar colored fish it should only be in a much larger tank where they can work out their own space.
The other odd behavior they share with the firefish is sticking to the rocks they live in. The Royal Gramma will often push itself against the rocks, making it swim awkwardly or even upside-down. If you see this don’t be too alarmed. It’s just something they do in their rocks.
As these fish are shy you will need a well fitted lid with covered holes. The Royal Gramma Basslet likes to jump when scared and can aim for small holes to escape whatever it is afraid of. Be sure to cover any extra space with mesh netting or extra filter padding.
Diet & Feeding
Royal Gramma Basslet are very easy to breed in the home aquarium, meaning many new ones will be aquacultured. This makes them much more accepting of frozen foods, such as mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, blood worms and bits of frozen fish. They are also much quicker to accept prepared foods like flakes and pellet foods.
The Royal Gramma Basslet should have an easy time competing for food, darting from its area to wherever the food is. The should be fed twice a day, but can get by with a once a day feeding if need be. The Basslet is capable of getting fairly fat, meaning they can store food much better than a lot of other small fish.
While these fish are very accepting of prepared foods you should always keep rotating what you feed your fish. This helps ensure they are getting a balanced diet which helps their bodies fight against disease. An easy cycle is mysis shrimp, flakes, blood worms and pellets. You could keep only one prepared food instead of both flakes and pellets if you would like to.
Breeding & Sexing
The Royal Gramma Basslet is a Protogynous hermaphrodite, meaing they are born female and will change male when required. For the Basslet this is the most dominant fish in the group. This makes pairing the Royal Gramma Basslet very easy when they are young but more difficult as they age. For this reason if you plan to breed this fish start with a larger tank.
Even when young and opposite genders you can expect a decent amount of fighting as they look similar/are the same fish. A larger tank will reduce the stress this puts on the fish until they form a pair with each other.
Once they have paired they will only breed after the male has built a nest out of algae and small rocks. The female will then lay a clutch of eggs which the male will fertilize. The eggs will stick to the nest until they hatch. This should take under one week.
To rear the fry you will either want to remove all the fish from the tank or transfer the rock their eggs are on into an incubation tank. The new tank should have water parameters as close as possible to the tank the eggs were laid in.
Once the eggs have hatched you will need to wait at least one day before feeding. You can then feed them rotifers or copepods until they are able to eat live brine shrimp.