Royal Gramma Care Guide: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

The Royal Gramma, also known as the Fairy Basslet, is a captivating and relatively easy-to-care-for addition to any saltwater aquarium. With its striking purple and yellow coloration, it’s no wonder that this small, peaceful fish is a favorite among both beginner and experienced aquarium hobbyists. Caring for these beauties might seem challenging at first, but with the proper guidance, you’ll have your aquatic friends thriving in no time.

Royal Gramma care involves providing a suitable aquarium environment, proper diet, and regular maintenance. These small, colorful fish require a tank with plenty of hiding places and open swimming space. They need a varied diet of meaty and vegetable-based foods, including frozen shrimp, squid, and algae.

I remember the first time I brought home a Royal Gramma, I was mesmerized not only by its vibrant colors but also by its unique behaviors and personality. It quickly became one of my favorite fish in my tank. With proper tank setup, good water quality, and regular tank maintenance, even a novice aquarist can successfully care for these enchanting creatures.

Royal Gramma 2 1

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure proper tank setup and maintain good water quality for Royal Gramma care
  • Feed a balanced diet and monitor for common diseases in your fish
  • Watch for signs of a healthy fish and learn about breeding possibilities

Species Summary

The Royal Gramma, scientifically known as Gramma loreto, is a colorful and fascinating fish. Its origin traces back to the tropical reefs of the Western Atlantic, specifically the Caribbean.

With proper care, the Royal Gramma has a respectable lifespan of around 3 to 5 years. I once cared for a Royal Gramma that lived for nearly 6 years, showcasing its potential to thrive under the right conditions.

The appearance of these fish is striking, featuring a unique combination of colors. The front half is a vibrant purple, while the back half gradually transitions into a bold yellow. A black marking runs through the eye, resembling a bandit mask.

Adult Royal Grammas typically reach a size of 3 inches long. Their growth rate is relatively fast, often achieving full size within their first year.

In terms of behavior & temperament, these fish are generally peaceful, making them suitable for community tanks. However, they can be territorial, so providing ample hiding spots is essential. In my previous tank setup, I noticed how one Royal Gramma established a rock cave as its territory.

Male vs Female distinction can be difficult, but males tend to exhibit slightly larger size and more pronounced dorsal fins. In terms of behavior, however, there isn’t much difference between the sexes.

This captivating species is a stunning addition to any marine aquarium. Their relatively easy care and beautiful appearance make them a popular choice for both newcomers and experienced enthusiasts alike.

Tank Setup

Tank Size: The minimum tank size for a Royal Gramma is 20 gallons. I once had a Royal Gramma in a 20-gallon tank, and it worked well for the fish.

Lighting: Moderate lighting is ideal for Royal Grammas, mimicking their natural environment.

Filtration & Aeration: It’s crucial to have a good filtration system and proper water movement. I recommend a power filter to ensure clean and well-oxygenated water.

Heater: Royal Grammas require a stable temperature of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A heater can help maintain the appropriate temperature.

Substrate: A sandy substrate is suitable for Royal Grammas since they like to dig and hide in the sand.

Decoration: In my experience, providing hiding spots like rockwork and caves is essential for these fish. They feel safe and secure in these places.

Plants: Incorporating live or artificial plants will create a suitable habitat for the Royal Gramma and improve water quality in the tank.

Water Quality

When it comes to Royal Gramma care, maintaining optimal water quality is essential. In my experience, this colorful fish thrives in specific conditions.

Water Temperature: Royal Grammas prefer a stable water temperature between 72-78°F. I use a reliable aquarium heater and thermometer to monitor and maintain the temperature.

Water pH: A balanced pH level is crucial for the health of your fish. Royal Grammas thrive in a slightly alkaline environment, with a pH between 8.1 and 8.4.

Water Hardness: These fish do well in a moderate water hardness level. I aim for a hardness of 8 to 12 dKH, as it keeps their cell function optimal.

For Royal Grammas, you should carry out Water Changes regularly. I recommend exchanging 10-15% of the water weekly. This helps in maintaining optimal conditions in the tank.

Please note that these are general guidelines, and individual circumstances might require adjustments. I once had a Royal Gramma that seemed to prefer slightly cooler waters, but you should still aim for the recommended levels.

Tank Maintenance

Proper tank maintenance is essential when keeping a Royal Gramma in your aquarium. Frequent water changes are crucial to maintaining a healthy environment. I remember when I first got into the hobby, I found it best to change about 20% of the water every week.

Cleaning the substrate and tank walls is also a necessary task. This helps to keep the tank looking pristine and controls algae growth, which can become problematic if left unchecked.

Tank Mates: Royal Grammas are generally peaceful fish but can be territorial. They usually get along well with other peaceful tank mates, such as:

  • Clownfish
  • Blennies
  • Dartfish
  • Gobies

It is important to avoid aggressive or large fish that might bully or eat your Royal Gramma. Incompatible fish species include:

  • Dottybacks
  • Groupers
  • Lionfish

Ensuring proper tank maintenance and choosing the right companions for your Royal Gramma will create a harmonious environment for them to thrive in. Providing ample hiding spots and a well-balanced diet will also contribute to their overall health and happiness.


When it comes to the diet of a Royal Gramma, variety is essential. What to feed these fish is an important aspect of their care. In the wild, they mainly consume zooplankton and small crustaceans. Therefore, offering various high-quality, frozen and live foods is beneficial. I once observed how quickly my own Royal Gramma took to a mix of frozen mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and copepods.

Frequency plays a key role in maintaining their health. Feeding them small portions 2 to 3 times a day is ideal. Overfeeding should be avoided as it can lead to poor water quality and health issues.

Here are some tips for a Royal Gramma’s diet:

  • Supplement their diet with vitamin-enriched foods to ensure proper nutrition and to maintain their vibrant colors.
  • Occasionally include live foods as a treat, such as ghost shrimp or small worms, to stimulate their natural hunting behavior.
  • Make sure the size of the food offered is appropriate for their small mouths.

Remember, a balanced and varied diet will contribute to a healthy and happy Royal Gramma.

Common Diseases

The Royal Gramma is generally a hardy species, but they can be susceptible to certain diseases. It is crucial to maintain a healthy aquarium to prevent these diseases from affecting your fish. In this section, I will discuss some common diseases, their symptoms, as well as treatments and prevention measures.

  1. Ich is a common parasitic infection in many marine fish, including the Royal Gramma. It presents as small white spots on the fish’s body. To treat Ich, I’ve found that raising the water temperature and adding a copper-based medication usually works well. Remember to quarantine the infected fish to prevent further spread. Regular water changes and maintaining ideal water parameters can help prevent Ich.
  2. Flukes are tiny parasites that can affect the gills and skin of the Royal Gramma. Symptoms include rapid breathing, twitching, and mucus buildup. I’ve found that using a freshwater dip or treating with an anti-parasitic medication can be effective. To prevent flukes, quarantine new fish and use proper aquarium maintenance techniques.
  3. Gut blockage can occur if the Royal Gramma consumes an improper diet or sand as it forages for food. The fish might display lethargy and a swollen abdomen. In such cases, I try to drop the water temperature and encourage the fish to defecate. To prevent gut blockage, feed a varied diet, and avoid overfeeding.
  4. Brooklynella is a parasite that affects the skin, gills, and fins of the Royal Gramma. Symptoms include sloughing skin, rapid breathing, and fin rot. Treatment involves administering a formalin solution while maintaining high water quality. Keep your fish stress-free, and practice proper aquarium hygiene to prevent Brooklynella.

Maintaining a healthy environment and understanding the needs of your Royal Gramma can significantly reduce the risk of disease. Keep a watchful eye on their behavior and appearance, and you’ll enjoy your vibrant, active fish for years to come.

Signs of a Healthy Fish

A healthy Royal Gramma displays vibrant colors, an active demeanor, and a good appetite. Swimming smoothly without difficulty is also an essential sign of a healthy fish. I remember how excited I was when my first Royal Gramma showcased all these signs, reflecting its excellent health.

However, it’s crucial to know the Signs Your Fish is Sick as well. The first indication could be loss of coloration or appetite, which may signify illness or stress. A fish rubbing itself against rocks, also known as flashing, could indicate parasites.

Erratic swimming patterns or spending a lot of time hiding and inactive could be a sign of illness. Look for any physical abnormalities, such as bumps or spots, which may be cause for concern. Regular monitoring of your fish is essential in catching these signs early.

Having a quarantine tank is also a great idea. When I first introduced new fish, I always placed them in a separate tank for a few weeks to observe any signs of illness before introducing them to the main tank. This practice helps avoid the spread of diseases and ensures a healthy environment for your Royal Gramma.


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Breeding Royal Grammas is a rewarding experience for aquarists. Setting up a proper breeding environment is crucial to their success. I recall my first successful breeding experience which was a thrilling moment for me.

To set up the breeding tank, provide hiding spots using live rock or PVC pipes. Adequate space and a peaceful environment encourage mating behavior. Maintain water temperature between 72-78°F, with a pH of 8.1-8.4.

Royal Grammas are hermaphrodites, so you need a pair for breeding. Observe their behavior to determine which fish have paired up. Once they’ve formed a bond, move them to a separate breeding tank.

Eggs are laid inside caves or crevices and the male guards them. He’ll also fan them, ensuring proper oxygen flow. You can spot eggs by their transparent, orange-yellow color.

Once the eggs hatch, feed the fry with live rotifers, slowly transitioning to brine shrimp after about a week. Maintain good water quality by keeping up with regular water changes. As the fry grow, move them to larger tanks to accommodate their needs.

Product recommendations for Royal Gramma:

  1. Hikari Marine S Pellets: This fish food is specially formulated for marine fish, including Royal Gramma, and provides a balanced diet for optimal health.
  2. Seachem Stability: This product helps to establish a healthy biological filter in your aquarium, which is important for maintaining good water quality for Royal Gramma.
  3. Fluval Sea Protein Skimmer: This protein skimmer helps to remove organic waste from your aquarium water, which can be harmful to Royal Gramma.
  4. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This circulation pump helps to create a natural water flow in your aquarium, which is important for the well-being of Royal Gramma.
  5. Instant Ocean Sea Salt: This sea salt mix is perfect for creating a healthy marine environment for Royal Gramma and other saltwater fish.
  6. API Aquarium Salt: This product helps to promote healthy gill function and reduce stress in fish, including Royal Gramma.
  7. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner helps to detoxify ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in aquarium water, which can be harmful to Royal Gramma.
  8. Coralife BioCube 16 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit: This aquarium kit is perfect for keeping Royal Gramma in a small space, and comes with a powerful filtration system.
  9. Koller Products AquaView 3-Gallon Aquarium Kit: This aquarium kit is perfect for beginners and includes a built-in LED light and filtration system.
  10. Marina Floating Thermometer: This thermometer helps you to monitor the temperature of your aquarium water, which is important for keeping Royal Gramma healthy.


In this Royal Gramma care guide, I shared my experience with these fascinating fish. Their striking purple and yellow colors immediately caught my eye when I first saw them at a local aquarium store. I’ve come to appreciate their unique characteristics and features, which make them stand out in a marine aquarium.

Caring for a Royal Gramma is relatively easy, especially since they are hardy, adaptable, and generally low-maintenance. A suitably sized tank with plenty of hiding places and live rock is essential for their well-being, as well as maintaining pristine water conditions. Remember to provide a varied diet of high-quality, small, meaty foods to ensure their health and longevity.

Building a peaceful, compatible community in the tank is important, as Royal Grammas can exhibit territorial behavior if they feel threatened. Nevertheless, their docile nature makes them a welcome addition to any reef-friendly aquarium. Keeping these unique, colorful fish has been a rewarding experience for me, and I’m confident that it can be for you too, with proper care and attention.

Good luck on your Royal Gramma journey, and enjoy the captivating presence of these beautiful marine fish in your aquarium!


What do Royal Grammas eat?

Royal Grammas are omnivores, so they eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on small crustaceans, algae, and fish eggs. In captivity, I’ve found that they readily accept frozen and live brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and high-quality flake or pellet food.

How big should the tank be?

A minimum tank size of 20-30 gallons is recommended for a single Royal Gramma. They prefer lots of cave-like hiding spots, so be sure to include live rock and other decorations for them to find refuge in.

What are appropriate tank mates?

Royal Grammas are generally peaceful and can coexist with many other reef-safe fish species. However, they may not tolerate having their own kind or other similar fish in their territory. Choose tank mates that are not overly aggressive or territorial.

What are the ideal water conditions?

These fish thrive in water with a temperature range of 72-78°F, a pH level of 8.1-8.4, and a specific gravity of 1.020-1.025. Regular water testing and maintenance are essential for their health and well-being.

Should I keep multiple Royal Grammas together?

It’s generally not recommended as they can become territorial, especially if they are of the same sex. However, if you have a larger aquarium (50+ gallons) and plenty of hiding spots, you may be able to keep a male and female pair together.

Do Royal Grammas require special care?

I’ve found that Royal Grammas are pretty hardy and adaptable fish, making them excellent choices for beginner hobbyists. As long as you maintain appropriate water conditions, provide a balanced diet, and keep them in a stress-free environment, they should thrive.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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