ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Pets and Animals»
  • Tropical Fish & Aquariums

Royal Gramma - Facts On The Royal Gramma

Updated on September 15, 2010

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
: 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

Tank Size

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.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Tina Zhang (Junior Student) 11 months ago

      I am doing an essay on 'Aquarium Fishes' and I picked the royal grammer because it's my favourite fish in the world! Thanks for the tip! I think my teacher is going to be so proud!

    • profile image

      Gator 88 2 years ago

      O was wondering how you tell if a royal grammar is a male or female ?

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Great info on Royal Grammas and their behavior. We really enjoy having one in our reef tank.

    • profile image

      Azucena Barjas 5 years ago

      This reseach is really helping me THANX;)

    • profile image

      andy do 5 years ago

      i have a 144 gallons reef tank, can i keep a small group of royals or only one per tank, thank you

    • profile image

      nathan 5 years ago

      i saw one the other day in a shop in nz, it was $200 nzd!

    • profile image

      neil walker 5 years ago

      I know it seems like ive completely changed the subject from grammar loreto to pegging corals but there is a reason for this,

      gamma's love roofs and cavy areas so pegging corals near the bottom of your live rock will naturally create caves and it will be very attractive to see him under a coral instead of just in a cave, also gramma's seem to become more tollerant of other rock dwellers, dont really know why but he wont chase fire fish out of its den maybe because hes not interested in leaving his den, fish are attracted to colours too, sometimes the simplest things work. besides its just enhancing.

    • profile image

      neil walker 5 years ago

      very well described project Pirate FX, good work !!!

      if i may, i want to discuss pegging corals because it is so important to drill holes in the live rock when introducing them into the tank or when rocks are rearanged.

      when you get a coral get a small rock and drill a quarter inch hole in the rock introduce a quarter inch tube into the hole leaving about two or three cm's of tube visible, then break a plastic fork and put it in the tube to make a peg, using super glue gel and marine epoxy will bond that tube like rock once dry, leave in water for half an hour or so and its done. also epoxy or glue the coral to the small rock.

      your final piece can now be placed in a drilled hole or an appropriate secure hold, gap on your live rock, this way you can lean corals off the side of the reef and can be placed in areas in the tank thet most meet your requirement plus its way more attractive by far than just placing corals in certain areas where they fit. remember to drill holes in your live rock next time u do a water change or something, happy pegging everyone

      Pls leave ur thoughts on this idea

    • profile image

      29 Gal Reef 6 years ago


      Has the fish come out? Mine was out first day and now he is mock charging my new wrasse. Should get over it eventually.

    • profile image

      cool 6 years ago

      i just got a royal gramma 2 weeks ago and it is hiding and the rock and wont come out.. What do i do?

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 6 years ago

      Hi Esther - They should be fine with the clowns and jawfish. But they will lay claim to a small territory (cave etc) and defend it.

    • profile image

      esther 6 years ago

      oh also y tank is 26 gallons

    • profile image

      esther 6 years ago

      thanks! i am thinking of getting a royal gramma, but i cant find much on mates for it :P .

      Would you happen to know if they can be kept with 2 ocellaris clown fish and 1 blue spot jawfish....

    • profile image

      jared 6 years ago

      im doing a projest on it

    • profile image

      Chuckage:35 7 years ago

      I am doing a school project and this helps

    • Kevlin profile image

      Kevlin 7 years ago

      Hi Friend..

      Nice and Cool Article

      Like This

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 7 years ago

      @For.Saken - A Royal Gramma going after shrimp is rare at best. Your shrimp should be safe. How big is the tank?

    • profile image

      for.saken 7 years ago

      Hi Everyone, just a quick question about the royal gramma fish, does anyone know if it is just as aggressive towards shrimps IE Peppermint\Cleaner Shrimps as the royal dottyback? I've been told the dottyback is a shrimp eating machine

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 7 years ago

      Hi Rebecca, if you have removed all the rock and can't find it, its either lodged in a hole in the rock or it has likely been consumed by something.

    • profile image

      rebecca robinson  7 years ago

      cant find my royal grammar fish could it be hiding tried to move the rocks but still cant find him? any clues?

    • profile image

      jolean 7 years ago

      My tank isn't that big at all. Only 55 gallons. I do not wish to breed any fishes but the nest building caught my eye. I each fish has its own territory but the Grammar scopes them all out. They chase ea. other around and then go separate ways. The Lfs owner I bought the wrass and shrimp from seems very knowledgable and said the grammar and wrass would be fine. He knows the aquarium size and quantity of LR. The reason I bought the wrass was cause I have found a bristle worm in the tank. May have others too. Who knows. The parasite problem is being managed by the shrimp.

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 7 years ago

      Hi Jolean,

      May i know how big the tank is? In a smaller tank i fear the six line and the gramma will keep going at it until one perishes.

      If you have the space for another gramma and you're interested in having a pair, there are a few guidelines to follow. The males are typically larger than the females. Only the males create nests out of macroalgae so lets assume that yours is a male. You want to find a much smaller specimen to pair him with.

      The male may initially be quite hostile to the smaller specimen so its important to have a larger tank that will allow the smaller gramma to find shelter.

    • profile image

      Jolean 7 years ago

      Just bought a cleaner shrimp and a Six Line Wrass today. My Royal Grammar and Six Line Wrass keep going at it. My Royal Grammar opens it's mouth wide and the Wrass turns it's body from side to side, pointing its mouth toward my Royal Grammar's. My Royal Grammar is building a nest in the entrance of my Fire Fishes territory out of the Macro Algae. I don't know if I should get another Royal Grammar or how to tell the difference in the sex.

    • profile image

      Jolean 7 years ago

      I have had a Royal Grammar for about 2 wks I'd say. My 55 gallon long aquarium isn't pretty at all. Just live rock w/ the begining stages of coraline algae. He/she keeps scoping out the my Firefish Goby's territories though it has it's own. It is funny to watch, except the flicking (need cleaner shrimp). It gets macho and chaces the Damsels around, trying to attack them for being too close to it's territory. Doesn't bother the Firefish too much any more. The second day I had it it charged a Damsel an inch from a rock and Smack, Hit its nose on the rock full force. It learned I guess cause it wiggled its nose around expressing that it hurt. He seems to yawn away from it's territory, but never as a threatening gesture.

    • profile image

      Grace  7 years ago

      I'm working on a biome project for school,and I have to list info about fish.This blog entry was SO helpful!Thank you!

    • profile image

      jay 8 years ago

      well described! Helped a lot. One of my cromise went missing since last night, in my tank there is 2 clown fishes 1 1/2 inches each and 1 grammy and total 4 cromise but 1 seem missing, suggestions are welcome at

    • PirateFX profile image

      PirateFX 8 years ago

      Thanks for the kind words you two :)

    • profile image

      savannah 8 years ago

      like liegh said its reat for projects. if you have one, if not its still interesting!:)

    • profile image

      leigh 8 years ago

      im doing a royal gramma project and this page helps!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)