Fairy Basslet (Royal Gramma)
The fairy basslet (Gramma loreto) is a good species for beginning aquarists. For a saltwater fish it is easy to feed and will usually even accept dry food. It is a colorful fish that will add beauty to your aquarium. It is also commonly called the royal gramma.
They are from the West Atlantic and the Caribbean and prefer a slightly alkaline pH. They are small fish that grow only to about 3 inches or 7.5 cm. It is okay to keep more than one of this species together as they usually don't fight.
Fairy basslets do well in reef aquariums. They are shy fish and like to stay near hiding places. They often become territorial about their hiding places, so they don't do well with other cave-dwelling species. It is compatible with other peaceful fish and also with its own species. You must provide plenty of live rock to make them feel safe and to prevent them from fighting over hiding places.
Although the fairy basslet will often accept dried foods, it is best to feed it a diet of frozen or fresh meaty foods and live foods, such as brine shrimp when possible. Improper nutrition in this fish often causes its colors to fade. You can find lots of frozen meaty preparations to help prevent this. In its natural habitat it often feeds on the external parasites of other fish.
Males and females look similar except that the female has much shorter pelvic fins and are smaller than the males. Fairy Basslets sometimes spawn in captivity. Spawning occurs in small caves or pits. Having lots of live rock in your aquarium is best for these fish (for spawning and to provide the appropriate amount of hiding places).