Royal Gramma - Facts On The Royal Gramma
Scientific Name : Gramma loreto
Origin : Caribbean Sea
Difficulty : Easy
Minimum Size Tank : 20 Gallons
Temperament : generally peaceful
Temperature : 72 - 82°F
Reef Safe : Yes
Maximum Size : 3 Inches
Diet : Carnivore
The royal gramma is one of five of the most popular and recognizable fishes in the hobby. The other four are the flame angel, yellow tang, blue tang and the clownfishes (Ocellaris Clownfish and Percula Clownfish). Me and this fish go way back. The year was 1998 and i was buying a baby California king snake at the local pet store. Waiting to be served, i sauntered over to their marine section and i saw three fishes that left me breathless. The blue damselfish, the flame angelfish and the royal gramma. I bought my first tank within the week and here i am 11 years later, still reefing.
Royal Gramma close up
The royal gramma is stunning. Its front half is a rich magenta while the back half is a bright yellow-orange. It has a thin dark stripe that runs from its snout through its eyes.There is also a single black spot at the front of its dorsal fin. Royal gramma's are found around the Caribbean Sea where they are quite common. They are a cheap fish, a specimen can be had for as little as $15. They are also known to be quite hardy and disease resistant. All these elements combine to make the royal gramma a great candidate for the home aquarium.
They share some similarities with the bicolor dottyback (Pseudochromis bicolor). They are both two toned and they both have magenta and yellow in the exact same areas on the body. The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at their eyes, bicolor dottybacks do not have a black streak running through them.
A Royal Gramma defending its territory against a six line wrasse
As far as temperament goes, the royal gramma is a good candidate for just about any aquarium. As long as they have established themselves in a cave or niche within the tank the are peaceful.
I've kept them with all sorts of fishes large and small and have found they get along fine with all of them. Constant intrusions into their territory will be met with hostilities however. The video i've added to the right illustrates how it defends its territory. Fins are flared, its mouth gapes wide open and chasing may occur.
Royal Gramma not happy with a red scooter blenny
In the wild they can reach lengths of up to 4 inches but as usual, such lengths are generally not seen in captivity. 3 inches is a more realistic figure in an aquarium.
At least a 20 gallon tank should be used for these fishes. When they're little they can be housed in aquariums as little as 10 gallons. They are a site attached fish so they don't really move around much. Expect to see them near they caves at all times.
Royal grammas are reef safe. They are strictly carnivores in the wild that pick on passing plankton and copepods.
Feed them a good mix of meaty foods like mysis shrimp, krill and even chopped bits of shrimp, oysters, squid and fish. Avoid feeding too much squid as fishes tend to develop fatty livers.
Prime Reef by Ocean Nutrition is especially noteworthy as it contains a wide variety of sea foods plus added trace minerals and vitamins.
They generally start feeding within
days of introduction. Let them establish themselves in a hole or cave somewhere then try feeding.
Royal gramma building a nest
The most comprehensive guide to marine fish breeding to date
Royal grammas have successfully been bred in captivity. The males build nests out of macroalgae. When the male is ready to mate he will begin gathering bits of macroalgae and putting them in his cave. Courting postures are assumed during this period. View the video on the right to see how the male collects his nesting material.
Once the nest is built, full courting commences, fins are flared, its body starts to quiver and it arches its back. All of this is done in full view of the female. If the female accepts, she will follow him into the nest and spawning will occur.
Royal gramma larvae have been raised on rotifers (Initial food) and baby brine shrimp.
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