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Fish of the Month
Issue: September 2008

Gramma loreto

POEY 1868

FOTM 0908

Mike Mesgleski

Common Names: Royal gramma, royal gramma basslet, fairy basslet

Type Locality: Matanzas, Cuba

Range: Tropical Western Central Atlantic, from Bahamas to Venezuela, reef associated

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;

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 breeding setups.

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 until hatching.

Description: Front half purple, aft yellow, dark oval blotch forward on dorsal fin, dark oblique line from lower lip through eye.

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