As said before, one of the most unique things about the gramma loreto or fairy basslet is its coloration. They are any aquarists dream for an exotic and tropical looking aquarium. Sexing the fish in the early stages is near impossible, but as they grow older and gather in a shoal, the more dominant fish in the pack will change its sex to become male. Male royal gramma fish grow to be larger than the female counterparts.
The gramma loreto is a small fish that won’t take up much space. They can grow up to only about 3 inches in captivity.
They are a combination of opposite colors on the color wheel – purple and yellow. To sort of sew the two colors together, the band where the two colors touch around its torso is decorated with tiny little dots.
You will also notice if looked at closely that these fish have a thin black stripe that runs from the bottom of the mouth up past the middle of the eyes to the back. Males tend to be more brightly colored than females.
How long does a royal gramma live? The little fish can actually live quite long despite their size. You can expect them to be around for more than 5 years. Depending on the gramma care these fish tend to be able to live longer if the environment suits them.
Since they are so small, royal grammas can only feed on types of plankton in the wild. You can expect a royal gramma diet to consist mainly of zooplankton and phytoplankton. Another amazing ability that contributes to the awe of the royal gramma is they are known as cleaner fish. They clean other fish by feeding off of the parasites on their scales. It’s a symbiotic relationship that benefits both parties.
If there isn’t a lot of other fish in the aquarium with them, then their main diet should consist of mysis shrimp and brine shrimp since they are technically classified as carnivores. Any crustaceans or fish scales that have been shed and floating around the tank will also be cleaned up by the royal gramma. They are not only a colorful addition to the tank, but a beneficial one as well in maintaining the environment.
Keeping them on a steady diet of mysis shrimp and brine shrimp will keep the royal grammas happy and healthy for the most part. You can incorporate the easy to feed pellets and flakes from time to time as well since royal grammas are very easy to feed and will accept almost anything.
It’s best to keep rotating their diet and keeping them interested with a wide variety of foods. They are hardy little fish that can do well with any feeding schedule. Usually, the royal gramma should eat a few times a day. Even if they are in their hiding places and hidden from sight, you should still feed them as they will dart out from their spots and snatch up food quickly.
The royal gramma is a small and colorful saltwater fish from the Grammidae family and is native to the tropical waters of the Caribbean.
As said, the royal gramma is a hardy fish that can do well with the right tank size and water conditions. They need a reef tank since their natural environment is one thickly populated with reefs, coral and overhangings. They love to hide and they aren’t the best of swimmers. For this reason, you should decorate your tank with plenty of aquarium plants and rocks and little caves for them to hide in.
Since they are native to the Caribbean, your royal gramma fish are accustomed to temperatures ranging from 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 degrees Celsius) with a specific gravity of 1.020-1.025.
PH levels will be slightly alkaline at 8.1-8.4 and water hardness of 8-12.
Minimum Tank Size
As for the size of the aquarium, we would suggest no less than 30 gallons. 30 gallons is the minimum for one royal gramma, and if you intend to keep more, you would need to add 20-30 gallons per fish. If you plan to have enough for them to shoal together, then you are looking at a tank that exceeds 100 gallons. Even for such small fish, they do need a lot of space.
Maintenance and Care
The royal gramma also isn’t too fond of direct sunlight despite coming from the sunny Caribbean. This is due to the peaceful fish mainly living in deep water and not having much exposure to harsh light. Think about placing the royal gramma in a more shaded area in your home.
Don’t worry too much about your royal gramma as they are tough little creatures that don’t have the same disposition for common diseases. Not only that, but they can do wonders for the tank environment and other fish by feeding on dead organisms and cleaning up the tank.
Just make sure the water and tank conditions are right and you will never really have to worry about the health of your royal gramma. Gramma care is easy once you know all the basics that they need.