Royal Gramma Basslets

a close up of a Royal Gramma Basslet swimming

Royal Gramma Basslets are a great fish for your family’s saltwater aquarium. They’re a great addition to any saltwater tank and easy to care for. They’re playful fish and they will spend all day swimming around the aquarium looking for food.

If you are looking for a fish for your saltwater aquarium that is colorful, family-friendly, and doesn’t require a lot of upkeep, then the Royal Gramma Basslet may be the perfect choice. The Royal Gramma Basslet can be kept in a community aquarium with larger fish and invertebrates.

There aren’t a lot of people that know about Royal Gramma Basslet, but if you have a chance to pick up one of these fish you should. They are great for your saltwater aquarium and are one of the best fish you can have for your home. They are very docile and easy to care for.

One of the most beautiful fish in the saltwater category is the Royal Gramma Basslet. This is an extremely popular fish and is usually one of the first fish that a family purchases. This fish will get along with many other types of fish in their aquarium. They don’t need a lot of room. Approximately 3 gallons per Basslet is good.

This fish will grow up to 3-4 inches in length. They do get along well with other species, but not as well with their own. They do best when sharing a tank with other peaceful fish. Overall, this is an easy to care for fish that is suitable for families or experienced aquarists.

Royal Gramma Basslet Information

  • Average size: 3 to 4 inches
  • Colors: Purple and yellow
  • Good Pet: Yes
  • Tolerance to Heat and Cold: More cold than warm
  • Good with Other Royal Grammas: Moderate
  • Good with Other fish Species: Yes
  • Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
  • Health Concerns: The fish are disease resistant and aren’t prone to any specific illness
  • Average Life Span: 5 to 6 years

Physical Appearance of Royal Gramma

a close up of a Royal Gramma Basslet swimming over a rock

Royal Grammas have a bright purple color on the front of their body. There is a small transition area where the bright purple changes to golden yellow toward the tail. They have a black stripe running from their mouth through to their eyes. Their dorsal fin has a black spot at the front of the fin.

Temperament and Behavior of Royal Gramma Basslets

Royal Gramma Basslets can be aggressive towards other Royal Gramma Basslets but the fights are always territorial. They are known to occupy caves and other hollow decorations in the tank and any fish that approaches their hiding place is chased away.

Royal Gramma Basslets also are known for swimming upside down especially when moving past plants, coral, and caves. The behavior isn’t abnormal because it’s the method they use to navigate past obstacles in the water.

The fish are also known to be good jumpers especially when placed in a new environment. It’s important to have a lid on your tank to keep them from jumping out of the water.

Best Habitat for Royal Grammas

In their natural habitat, Royal Grammas occupy deep ocean waters. They are very territorial, the minimum tank size for one Royal Gramma is 30 gallons. If you want to have more than one, then we highly recommend having a minimum of a 100 gallon tank.


a Royal Gramma Basslet swimming along side of a large rock

Despite the territorial nature of Royal Gramma Basslets, they’re quite timid and prefer hiding in rocks and crevices in the tank. A good fish tank for them will have plenty of rocks, crevices, caves, and lots of live plants. Without these hiding materials, your fish may become stressed. It’s also worth noting that they are reef safe and won’t damage coral.

Tank conditions

In the wild, they are used to the warm waters of the ocean. In the aquarium setup, their ideal water temperature should be kept between 72°F and 78°F. The water pH is best between 8.1 and 8.4.

The tank should have low lighting to provide your fish with an environment as close to its natural home. In the wild, the fish swims deep in the waters where not much light penetrates. Having bright lights in the tank can stress your fish.

The Royal Gramma fish is a good cleaner fish, eating leftovers in the water and also removing parasites from the bodies of other fish. Because they’re a scavenger fish you may not need to have a complex filtration system. The fish helps maintain a clean aquarium where less organic matter can break down into toxic chemicals.

Tank Maintenance

Saltwater tanks generally require more effort with maintenance compared to freshwater aquariums. Because Royal Gramma Basslets can also act as cleaner fish, their tanks require only a 10 – 25 percent water change each month. It may require a higher percent depending on the tank size and number of occupants. The more fish in a single tank, the more waste can accumulate in a short while and the more water that should be replaced.

Other than water replacement, monitor the nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels. A spike in these compounds can make your fish sick. Ammonia burns are especially common and tend to damage the fins of your fish.

The water temperature and pH should also be regularly monitored to avoid drastic fluctuations that could kill your fish.

a Royal Gramma Basslet swimming over some coral

Best Tank Mates for Royal Grammas

Royal Grammas can live with other fish species that aren’t aggressive. Here are some fish that make good tank mates for your Royal Gramma.

Avoid some fish like the Dottyback fish because it looks similar to the Royal Gramma Basslet and could provoke your Royal Gramma into a territorial fight. It’s also a good idea to avoid them because the Dottyback fish is aggressive and may end up killing your Royal Gramma. Other fish like the Lionfish, Snapper fish, Groupers, and the Eels also cannot live with Royal Grammas because they’re aggressive and predatory fish.

Also avoid having fish that enjoy hiding in caves and rocks within your aquarium because even though they’re harmless, the Royal Grammas may view them as competition.

It’s possible to have more than one Royal Gramma Basslet in a single tank as long as you have a big tank to give each Gramma space to swim and hide. The males tend to be more aggressive towards each other compared to females.

The Attention Requirements for Royal Grammas

a close up of a Royal Gramma Basslet swimming with coral in the background

This fish makes a good pet for novices and experienced aquarists alike. The Royal Gramma can eat any food offered to them. Since the fish also acts as a cleaner fish, it should only be fed once a day. Knowing that they will feed on leftovers means you don’t need to worry about multiple feedings each day.

Health Issues

Luckily, there aren’t any specific illnesses that affect the Royal Grammas. They still may develop something if they aren’t taken care of, but they are much more resilient than other fish.

One of the most important factors to their health is that the water quality remains within the optimal levels. Also key is that your fish are fed a well-balanced diet. By doing so, you strengthen the immunity of your fish such that they don’t catch some of the common marine fish illnesses.

Stress can also lead to illnesses especially Marine Ich among Royal Gramma Basslets. Stress is caused by other fish harassing the Royal Gramma or lack of enough space to swim. Here are some signs of a sick Royal Gramma.

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hiding for too long
  • Scratching against objects
  • Weight loss

Feeding Royal Grammas

a pile of colorful fish flakes

In the wild they mainly feed on live plankton which are hard to find in a home aquarium. The good news is that the fish easily adapts to meat and plant foods. A well fed Royal Gramma Basslet is able to fight diseases and to live for a long time.

The fish tends to grow fat if overfed and should only be fed once a day. Since they also eat leftovers and other parasites off other fish, one feeding a day is ideal. Here are some of the best foods for your Royal Gramma Basslet.

  • Frozen or dried plankton
  • Bloodworms
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Brine shrimp
  • Fish flakes
  • Fish pellets

Experts also recommend feeding them each of the above meals in rotation. For example, if this week you feed the fish on Bloodworms, the following week feed them Brine shrimp and so on. Rotating what they eat will make sure that they’re getting all the nutrients that they need.

Despite their small size, they have a big mouth giving them the ability to eat larger food.

Related Questions:

Is it Possible to Breed Royal Grammas in a Home Aquarium?

Due to the territorial nature of this fish, breeding in the aquarium is difficult but not entirely impossible. In the cases where spawning occurs between a paired mate, the males create nests where the females lay eggs.

After making the nests, the males lead the females into the nests. A female can lay up to 40 eggs each day. After the eggs are laid by the females, the males pour their sperm on the eggs for fertilization. After the eggs are fertilized, hatching will take place within 4 to 5 days.

Author Profile
A woman with curly hair holding a cat.
Contributing Author & Social Media Expert

Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.