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

In my experience, the Royal Gramma is a magnificent addition to any saltwater aquarium due to its striking colors and hardiness. This vibrantly hued fish is famous for its peaceful temperament, making it an ideal choice for hobbyists looking to add a touch of beauty to their tanks.

Royal Grammas require a tank size of at least 30 gallons, with a temperature range of 72-78°F and a pH range of 8.1-8.4. They are carnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and krill. They also require a well-lit aquarium with plenty of hiding places and live rock. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are important for their health.

As a reef-safe species, the Royal Gramma can coexist with corals and invertebrates without harming them. I remember one time when I was cleaning my tank, and the Royal Gramma didn’t seem to mind my intrusion – instead, it gracefully swam around my hand, as if welcoming me into its world.

In order to ensure the well-being of this captivating creature, it’s essential to understand its specific care requirements. Creating a suitable habitat, providing a balanced diet, and maintaining proper water parameters will keep your Royal Gramma happy and thriving in its saltwater home.

Royal Gramma 2

Species Summary


The Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) is a popular saltwater fish species native to the reefs of the Caribbean and Western Atlantic under depths of up to 200 feet.


With proper care, these vibrant fish can live up to 5 years in an aquarium setting, making them an ideal choice for many hobbyists.


Their iconic coloration is a striking blend of purple and yellow – purple on the front half and yellow on the rear half, separated by a thin, iridescent blue line.


Fully grown, a Royal Gramma typically reaches about 3 inches long, making them suitable for smaller and larger aquariums alike.

Growth Rate

They have a moderate growth rate, usually reaching their full size within a year.

Behavior & Temperament

Royal Grammas are known for their peaceful and inquisitive nature, often hiding among rocks and caves to observe their environment. However, they can be territorial with their own species if they feel threatened. I remember a time when my own Royal Gramma, named “Roy,” would dash between rocks and plants while curiously inspecting his tank mates.

Male Vs Female

Sexual dimorphism is subtle in Royal Grammas. Males are slightly larger and more colorful with elongated dorsal fins, while females are smaller and have more rounded dorsal fins.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

A good tank size for the Royal Gramma is 20-30 gallons to ensure adequate swimming space. I once started with a smaller tank, but quickly realized this fish species need room to explore.


Royal Gramma fish aren’t too picky about lighting; moderate lighting will suffice. You can use either standard fluorescent or LED lights in your setup.

Filtration & Aeration

A proper filtration system is crucial. Utilize a hang-on-back filter or a canister filter for optimal water quality. Aeration can be achieved with an air pump and air stones.


Maintain a temperature between 72°F-78°F in the tank. A reliable, adjustable heater is necessary to provide stable water temperatures.


Choose substrates that don’t easily trap debris, such as crushed coral or coarse sand. This can help maintain water quality and ease cleaning efforts.


Since Royal Gramma fish are territorial, provide ample hiding spaces with decorations like:

  • Rocks
  • Caves
  • PVC pipes

Keep in mind that they prefer dimly lit areas to hide in.


Live or artificial plants can be added to the tank for added visual appeal and additional hiding spaces.

Water Quality

Water Temperature

Royal Gramma fish thrive in water temperatures between 72-78°F (22-26°C). I remember when I first started keeping Royal Grammas, I found it essential to maintain a stable temperature using an aquarium heater and monitoring it with a thermometer.

Water pH

The ideal water pH level for Royal Grammas is 8.1-8.4. Maintaining this pH range will ensure the health and longevity of your fish. You can easily test your water’s pH levels with a test kit available at most aquarium shops.

Water Hardness

Royal Gramma fish require water hardness within the range of 8-12 dKH. This can be achieved using a high-quality marine salt mix that provides necessary minerals and trace elements. I’ve personally had success maintaining water hardness with a proper salt mix and regular water changes.

Water Changes

It’s crucial to perform 10-20% water changes weekly to maintain proper water parameters and reduce waste buildup. Following this routine has worked well for me in keeping my Royal Gramma fish healthy and vibrant.

Tank Maintenance

When it comes to Royal Gramma care, maintaining a clean and stable tank environment is essential. One key factor for a healthy aquarium is water quality. Regular water changes (25%-30% every two weeks) keep the water parameters in check. It’s crucial to also monitor the temperature, salinity, and pH levels.

In my experience, I found that Royal Grammas do best in a tank with a temperature between 72-78℉. The salinity should be between 1.020-1.025 sg, and the pH levels should be around 8.1-8.4. Be sure to check these parameters often, as rapid fluctuations can cause stress to this sensitive species.

Good filtration is another important aspect. Use a quality filter that can handle the amount of bioload in the tank. Also, consider using a protein skimmer to remove waste and promote a healthier environment.

When it comes to decorating the tank, some crucial elements include:

  • Plenty of hiding spots: caves, PVC pipes or rockwork
  • Open swimming areas: Royal Grammas enjoy swimming around their territory.

During the setup process, I vividly recall putting in extra effort to make sure that enough hiding spots were available. As a result, my Royal Gramma flourished and displayed vibrant colors.

Lastly, keep an eye out for algae growth on tank surfaces. Using a scraper, gently remove algae from the glass or add natural algae eaters like snails or hermit crabs.

Remember, maintaining a thriving aquarium environment is the key to keeping a happy and healthy Royal Gramma.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

When choosing tank mates for a Royal Gramma, it is essential to consider the compatibility with other fish species. In my experience, good tank mates include:

  • Clownfish: They are peaceful and can coexist well with Royal Grammas.
  • Dwarf Angelfish: These fish typically keep to themselves and have similar diets, making them compatible.
  • Gobies: These small and colorful fish can share the tank with Royal Grammas without causing problems.
  • Tangs: They are usually peaceful and can share the same tank, although some species may grow quite large.

Incompatible Fish Species

On the other hand, some fish species should be avoided as tank mates for Royal Grammas:

  • Dottybacks: These fish can be aggressive and territorial, making them unsuitable tank mates.
  • Large predatory fish: Fish like groupers, lionfish, or eels may view the Royal Gramma as prey.
  • Very docile fish: Extremely shy and delicate fish, such as pipefish or seahorses, might be stressed by the presence of a Royal Gramma.

In my tank set up, I once paired my Royal Gramma with a Firefish. Both fish peacefully coexisted and seemed to enjoy their shared environment. Remember, every fish has its personality, so always observe their behavior in the tank.


What To Feed

Royal Gramma fish are omnivores, so they require a varied diet. Offer them a mix of live foods and prepared foods. Some suitable options include:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Mysis shrimp
  • Copepods
  • High-quality flake or pellet food
  • Seaweed or nori


Feed your Royal Gramma twice a day. The portions should be small, so they consume all the food within a few minutes.


Remember to soak dried foods before feeding, as it helps prevent air ingestion and bloating. Also, don’t forget to rinse frozen food to remove any potential contaminants.

Adding a supplemental herbivore diet can contribute to maintaining their vibrancy and health. When I added seaweed to my Royal Gramma’s diet, I noticed a significant improvement in their activity and coloration.

To keep your fish engaged and enthusiastic, try rotating food types. Mixing up their diet will not only promote better health but also create a more interesting environment for your aquatic pet.

Common Diseases


Royal Gramma fish are generally hardy and resistant to many diseases. However, they can still be affected by common diseases like:

  • Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis)
  • Marine Velvet (Amyloodinium ocellatum)
  • Brooklynella (Brooklynella hostilis)


Watch for the following symptoms in your Royal Gramma:

  • White spots or patches on the body, fins or gills (Ich)
  • A velvety or dusty appearance (Marine Velvet)
  • Excess mucus production, loss of appetite, and rapid breathing (Brooklynella)


When treating an affected fish, I quarantine them in a separate tank. Here are the treatments for each disease:


  • Raise water temperature to ~86°F (30°C) for 3-5 days
  • Use copper-based medications

Marine Velvet:

  • Use copper-based medications
  • Maintain excellent water quality


  • Treat with formalin
  • Increase water temperature to ~82°F (28°C)


To prevent diseases in your Royal Gramma, follow these practices:

  • Quarantine new fish before adding them to your main tank
  • Maintain proper water parameters, including salinity, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates
  • Regularly clean and vacuum the substrate
  • Feed a varied diet and avoid overfeeding

Signs Of A Healthy Fish

A healthy Royal Gramma will have vibrant colors, with a distinctive purple-to-yellow gradient. Their eyes should be clear and bright.

The fish should swim actively, using its pectoral fins with ease. It’s essential to observe them swimming without any signs of distress.

As a voracious eater, a Royal Gramma will quickly go after the food you provide. I remember mine always chased every morsel with a sense of excitement.

Pay attention to the fish’s breathing; it should be regular, with its gills opening and closing in a smooth rhythm.

A sign that the fish is disease-free is the absence of white spots or other growths on their body.

Finally, make sure their fins are intact and that there are no signs of frayed or torn edges.

Maintaining a healthy environment, providing proper nutrition, and closely monitoring these signs can help ensure a long and happy life for your Royal Gramma.

Signs Your Fish Is Sick

A healthy Royal Gramma will exhibit vibrant colors, swim actively, and eat regularly. However, when they become sick, you might notice some alarming changes.

One sign to look for is if your fish is gasping for air near the water’s surface. This could indicate poor water quality or low oxygen levels. I remember one time when I noticed this behavior in my Royal Gramma, I took immediate action to rectify the water conditions, and it bounced back to good health.

Another symptom could be a loss of appetite or irregular swimming patterns. If you notice your fish hiding more than usual, this might be a sign of stress, which can lead to illness.

Sometimes, you may also see physical signs such as white spots or patches on the fish’s body. These could indicate a parasitic infection or fungal disease.

Furthermore, be vigilant for signs of fin rot, characterized by tattered or decaying fins.

It’s crucial to address any health concerns promptly to prevent them from deteriorating further or spreading to other fish in your aquarium. Regular water changes and periodic water quality tests are preventative measures that can help maintain your Royal Gramma’s overall wellbeing.


Royal Gramma

Breeding Setup

To breed Royal Grammas, I suggest setting up a separate breeding tank with a volume of 20-30 gallons. Provide plenty of hiding spots using live rock and PVC pipe sections to mimic their natural sheltered environments.

  • Water parameters: Maintain stable temperature (72-78°F), salinity (1.020-1.025), and pH (8.1-8.4)
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting with a consistent day/night cycle

How To Breed

Condition the breeding pair with a high-quality diet, including vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, and finely chopped seafood.

  • Introduce the pair: Acclimate the female first, followed by the male
  • Breeding behavior: The male will display his vibrant colors and perform a courting dance

Once the pair has successfully mated, the male will guard the eggs, which are typically laid on the roof of a cave or rocky crevice.


After hatching, focus on the following:

  1. Baby care: Keep the lights dimmed for the first few days
  2. Feeding: Offer rotifers and newly hatched brine shrimp
  3. Growth: Gradually transition to larger foods as the fry develop

Note: Multiple hatchings are common, so monitor the breeding pair closely and ensure their optimal care to increase the chances of successful breeding.

Product recommendations for Royal Gramma:

  1. Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit: This kit includes everything you need to get started with keeping Royal Gramma, including a tank, filter, and heater.
  2. Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Cartridge: These filter cartridges can help keep the water clean and clear in your Royal Gramma tank.
  3. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner can help remove harmful chemicals from tap water and make it safe for your Royal Gramma.
  4. API Aquarium Test Kit: Regular water testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Royal Gramma, and this test kit can help you monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your tank.
  5. CaribSea Arag-Alive Bahamas Oolite Sand: This sand substrate is perfect for creating a natural-looking environment for your Royal Gramma.
  6. Hikari Micro Pellets: These pellets are specially formulated for small tropical fish like Royal Gramma and contain high levels of protein and other essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant coloration.
  7. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This compact and efficient pump can help improve water circulation in your aquarium and provide your Royal Gramma with a more natural environment.
  8. Zoo Med Laboratories AquaSun LED Aquarium Hood: This energy-efficient LED hood can provide ample lighting for your Royal Gramma tank and help promote healthy plant growth.
  9. Coralife BioCube Protein Skimmer: This protein skimmer can help remove organic waste from the water and keep your Royal Gramma tank clean and healthy.
  10. Omega One Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp: This tasty treat can provide your Royal Gramma with a high-quality source of protein and help promote healthy growth and coloration.


Caring for a Royal Gramma can be truly rewarding. These colorful and charming fish make a vibrant addition to any reef aquarium. With proper care, they can thrive and bring joy to their keepers.

Maintaining optimal water parameters is essential. However, they are relatively hardy and can adapt well to various conditions. Always remember to acclimate them gradually when introducing them into a new tank.

A suitable diet for Royal Gramma consists of a mix of both frozen and live foods. I remember noticing a significant improvement in the color and activity levels of my first Royal Gramma when I started including live brine shrimp in their diet.

Ensure your aquarium offers them adequate hiding spots and, if possible, house them as the only fish of their species in the tank to avoid territorial issues.

To sum up, keeping things simple and staying mindful of your fish’s needs can lead to a happy and healthy Royal Gramma. The satisfaction of successfully maintaining these captivating creatures is well worth the effort.


What type of tank is best for a Royal Gramma? A 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for housing a single Royal Gramma. Ensure it has plenty of live rock and hiding spaces for them to feel secure.

How can I tell if my Royal Gramma is healthy? Look for a vibrant purple and yellow coloration on their body, and make sure they are actively swimming and feeding.

What do they eat? Royal Grammas are omnivores, so provide a varied diet of meaty foods like brine shrimp and vegetables like spirulina.

Are they reef-safe? Yes, these fish are considered reef-safe and can coexist with other invertebrates and coral in a well-maintained reef tank.

Can I keep multiple Royal Grammas together? It is not recommended, as they can become territorial. However, if your tank is large enough, you may be able to keep a pair if they are introduced simultaneously.

I remember when I first introduced my Royal Gramma into my tank, it was such a fascinating and colorful addition. Its presence brightened up the environment and added life to the entire setup. Watching it swim around and explore its new home was truly a rewarding experience for me as an aquarist.

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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