Gramma loreto POEY 1868 (Perciformes, Grammatidae)
basslet, fairy basslet
Taxonomic Troubles: This is the original name. It may be confused with Pictichromis (Pseudochromis) paccagnellae,
the bicolor or royal dottyback, due to their similar coloration.
Size: 8 cm TL ( 3¼ inches).
Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical marine.
Difficulty: A hardy aquarium fish, as long as water quality is maintained. In fact, this species acts like a miner’s canary—
its color fades if water quality deteriorates. Being extremely territorial, it will fight with conspecifics and other basslets
and dottybacks; the species is otherwise peaceful.
Tank Setup: A reef tank is ideal. Unless there are enough nooks and crannies, this shy fish will remain hidden. Live
rock piles are perfect, but artificial caves such as PVC pipe sections will also be accepted and are frequently used in
Description: Front half purple, aft yellow, dark oval blotch forward on dorsal fin, dark oblique line from lower lip
Feeding: Being a micropredator, it will consume most meaty foods in the aquarium.
Breeding: One of the first marine ornamentals to be captive bred. The male makes a nest and guards the egg mass
The striking coloration of this fish (blue-violet front, yellow rear) is found in three popular aquarium
species: the royal gramma, its cousin Pictichromis paccagnellae, and the freshwater rainbowfish Melanotaenia
boesemani. A reef tank is ideal for this species, as it provides the necessary caves to give the fish the
security it needs. It will make regular forays out into the tank to feed or to defend its territory against
all comers. Unless you are trying to spawn them, keep only one per tank; in fact, you should only have
one dottyback or basslet. A royal gramma will either subjugate or be subjugated by another basslet in the
aquarium. Buy captive-bred specimens whenever possible.