Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gramma loreto

Image: © Brian Gratwicke
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Scientific Name: Gramma loreto
Species Authority: Poey, 1868
Family: Grammatidae
Common Name: Royal Gramma, Fairy Basslet, Bicolor Fairy Basslet, Königs-Feenbarsch (DE)
Distribution: Western Central Atlantic: Bermuda, Bahamas, and Central America to northern South America. In Australia, they come in waves but are never readily available or common.
Environment: Reef-associated; depth range 1 to 60 meters, usually 1 to 40 meters. Often found in caves or under ledges. Swim with belly toward substratum, thus under ledges seen upside down. Gramma spp. live next to steep reef fronts, so called “walls”. This is also the typical habitat for the other members of the genus Gramma. At the top of the wall, you can find Royal Gramma from the surface down to a depth of roughly 18 to 24 meters.
Reef Safe: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 200 liters, preferrably larger
Tank Set-up: Marine aquarium with corals, plenty of live rocks / rocks, live sand, macroalgae. Provide plenty of hiding places to help make them feel secure. This fish will stake out one or more holes in the rockwork of the tank, and defend that territory with great vigor. While it is always best to keep just one Royal Gramma in a tank, multiple fish can be kept if the tank is large enough and there are plenty of hiding places – at least twice as many as there are fish.
Water Region: Bottom, Middle
Lighting: Moderate - Because the Royal Gramma is a deep-water dweller, a somewhat subdued lighting arrangement is best.
Water Flow: Moderate to strong, normally found in nano reef or reef tanks and/or FOWLR aquariums.
Size: Up to 9 cm
Lifespan: 3 to 5 years or longer - reports of 13 years +
Diet: Carnivore. Feeding the Royal Gramma is not a problem, as it will eat almost any kind of meaty food such as brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp or chopped up pieces of fish, clam or shrimp. Supplement diet with vitamins.

In the wild, they are also planktivores, eating mostly zooplankton and crustaceans. They also feed on ectoparasites of other fish.
Temperament: Peaceful to Semi-aggressive. As far as temperament goes, the Royal Gramma is a good candidate for just about any aquarium, as they will get along well with other peaceful tank mates. As long as they have established themselves in a cave or niche within the tank the are peaceful. They do exhibit signs of aggression towards other Royal Grammas when defending their territory. Constant intrusions into their domain will be met with hostilities however, by opening it's mouth very wide in a threatening gesture to ward off intruders. Recommended to keep either singly or as a mated pair.

In the wild, Basslets shoal by the thousands in their native habitat.
Care Level: Easy to Moderate.
Resilience: No reliable estimate is available.
Reproduction: Egg Layer. Royal Grammas have successfully been bred in captivity. Males show various types of nest care behavior. 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.

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.

Fairey Basslets are protogynous hermaphrodites. They are all born as females. If a group consisting of only females is introduced to an aquarium the largest most dominate female will undergo a morphological change in gender. Basslets are also sexually dimorphic. In the wild, these are harem fish. Harem fish function in a communal setting with an established hierarchal structure.
Gender: All are born females but can change sex to males. Males are more colorful than the females and will darken when they are ready to mate. Males may also become slightly larger than females.
Special Requirement/s: A high protein diet will help induce the spawning cycle. Supplementation with color-enhancing rations will help maintain its vivid pigmentation. Royal Gramma should not be housed with larger or more aggressive species. Keep only one Gramma species per tank unless you have a large enough aquarium for them to establish territorial boundaries. Care should be taken with invertebrates as they have a propensity to view smaller crustaceans such as hermit crabs and mollusks like turbo snails as a source of nutrition.
Red List Status: Not Evaluated
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Specific Gravity: 1.020 to 1.025
Temperature: 24°C to 27°C
pH: 8.1 to 8.4
Angelfish (Dwarf) Groupers
Angelfish (Large) Grunts / Sweetlips
Anthias Jawfish
Basslet Hawkfish
Batfish Hogfish
Blenny Lionfish / Scorpionfish
Boxfish Parrotfish
Butterflies Pseudochromis
Cardinals Puffers / Porcupines
Chromis Seahorse / Pipefish
Clownfish Sharks / Rays
Damsels Squirrelfish
Dartfish Tangs / Surgeons
Dragonets Triggerfish
Eels Wrasse (Reef Safe)
Filefish Wrasse (FO/FOWLR)
Foxface / Rabbitfish Corals
Gobies Invertibrates
With Caution
Not Compatible
Brian Gratwicke (
Encyclopedia of Life ( (
Exotic Aquariums (
Pet Education (
Meerwasser-Lexikon ( (
Hubpages (
Fish Channel (
Reefland - (
RTAW Reefpedia (
Wikipedia (
Baensch Marine Atlas
The New Marine Aquarium (Michael S. Paletta)
World Atlas of Marine Fishes (Helmut Debelius & Rudie H. Kuiter)

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