Royal Grammas

Royal Grammas

Royal Grammas

Royal Grammas (Gramma loreto) or fairy basslets are a popular tropical marine species among aquarists. Their trademark coloration and friendly nature make them a great addition to almost any reef aquarium. In this article, we are going to look at the characteristics and tank requirements of these beautiful fish.


The coloration of Royal Grammas (Gramma loreto) is quite striking and unique. The fish’s colors are split in half, with the front of the fish displaying a lustrous purple or violet pigmentation and the back portion displaying a bright yellow coloration. These colors tend to fade into each other at the center of their body. Royal Grammas can also be identified by the black line that runs across their eyes and the black spot on their dorsal fin. They are relatively small, with the adults of this species coming in at just over three inches in length.

Tank Requirements

For a single Royal Gramma, a tank with a volume of at least 30 gallons is recommended. Due to their territorial nature, they prefer to have lots of rockwork and caves to live in. A reef tank can provide this type of cover, giving them places to hide and reside. The pH in your aquarium should be maintained between 8.2 and 8.4 and your water temperature should be kept between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit.


Although they are typically friendly tankmates, it is usually best not to stock them with other members of their own species. If you stock two or more Royal Grammas in the same tank, be sure the tank is large enough to accommodate them and that they have plenty of caves to use. They do not generally swim around the entire tank, preferring to stay in a small area near their chosen territory. They are also known to sometimes swim vertically, which can be mistaken for a disease issue.


Royal Grammas are typically not fussy eaters as they can eat a diverse diet in both the wild and in an aquarium setting. Mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, and other meaty foods are recommended but they will also eat prepared pellet or flake feeds. It is recommended that you rotate the types of feed you offer them in order to keep them healthy and happy.

The Takeaway

Royal Grammas are a great addition to reef tanks and can be stocked with almost any other species. They can be fed an array of different feeds and varying their diet is recommended. If kept under ideal conditions, these beautiful marine fish can make an interesting addition to any saltwater aquarium.

-Richard Bryant
contributor for Aquarium Network