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FAQs on Basslets/Grammas Compatibility

Related Articles: Grammas

Related FAQs:  Grammas 1, Grammas 2, Gramma Identification, Gramma Behavior, Gramma Selection, Gramma Systems, Gramma Feeding, Gramma Health, Gramma Reproduction,

Grammas almost never bother invertebrates. Sessile or motile. Spondylus varians Sowerby 1829, the Variable Thorny Oyster.

Yellow Canary Wrasse and Royal Gramma?     2/16/19
Hey! I have a shallow 60g with about 60lbs of liverock in a mixed reef.
Have had my Yellow Wrasse for over a year, and was thinking of introducing a Royal Gramma. I know both are peaceful, but have a concern with the similar shape and mid-range habitat. Is it a bad idea? Other tank mates: Yellow Watchman Goby, two 3" Picasso Clowns, and a 3.5" Coral Beauty Angel.
<I give you good odds that all these fishes will mix, get along here. If it were me, mine, I'd go ahead with plans to put this assortment together. Bob Fenner>

Royal Gramma and Swissguard Basslet; comp.         2/19/15
I have been reading and researching every aspect of my future tank before setting anything up. I like to be sure about my choices and I don't want to make mistakes that could have easily been avoided just by doing adequate research. I read Tullock's book and it was definitely a big influence on my decision to stick with more of a biotope tank.
<Ah good>
I would really like to keep a Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto) and a Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre). So, I was wondering if there was a certain aquarium footprint that would enable me to successfully keep these two together?
<Large/r, flatter; more rock/cave work; reduced lighting>
The key word being successfully. If this is really not a viable option then I will certainly re-plan in regards to this combination. I have read many books and articles about the two I understand that they are related and occupy the same areas (which is where the my problem lies).
<Mmm; actually... Gramma loreto is found in much more shallow water generally and much more in open areas, overhangs... the Basslet being hidden deep in crevices>
Also, the Swissguard is more likely to get bullied by the Royal Gramma if the space is limited. It (Swissguard) should be the first one introduced.
These are the main two fish I really would like to have and the only other thing I would definitely want to add is Florida Ricordea. My concern in starting my tank is quality not quantity of fish.
Thank you for all your help and advice. It has taught me so much! Alexis
<Is do-able... the price of freedom is similar... Constant vigilance. Bob Fenner>

Hi Bob,
 I have 2 royal grammas that are a pair and I really would like a pair of Red Firefish, but I read on the Internet they would fight is this true? If they will, is there anyway around the problem?
Many thanks

Grammas and most species of Dart Gobies (family Microdesmidae) unfortunately do occupy about the same habitats, and often are at odds if kept together in captive systems. There are a few techniques, approaches to improving ones chances of co-mingling them though. One for certain is the size of the system itself. Given enough bottom area, with mixed size substrate (to 'hold up' burrows) and rock work strategically placed to block their viewing of each other, almost any kinds of life can be housed together. Another notable factor is introducing both species at the same time, toward lights out/evening time to negate either having becoming familiar with their surroundings, establishing territories'¦ excluding the new-comers. If this last isn't possible, rearranging the hard elements of the aquascape is advised just prior to introduction of new stock.
            Other than these preventative measures, there is no substitute for your diligently observing livestock interaction, and being ready to separate aggressors. Oftentimes, placing the bully-ies in a floating colander (plastic of course) in the system for a few days will go a long way to reducing inter-species aggression.

Royal Gramma Aggression Question     1/21/14
Hi Crew,
<Hi Kyle>
Sorry to bug you with such a trite question, but I was hoping you could lend a little knowledge on a quick compatibility quandary.
<That's why I'm here.>
 My neighbor is breaking down his tank and has offered me some livestock.
The only fish I'm interested in would be his Starcki's Damsel (Chrysiptera starcki). I've observed it in his tank for the better part of a year and never seen anything aggressive from him, and it is my understanding that Starki's are more mild than most other damsels.
<In my experience.>
 I would be adding him to my 150g reef, but I'm worried that he would be aggressive toward my Royal gramma (Gramma loreto) due to color/pattern similarities and both fish potentially being territorial. What are your thoughts?
<I have three Starcki Damsels and a Gramma in a four foot ninety gallon.
The Damsels squabble among themselves but rarely pay notice to anything else. Gramma sticks to his cave and waits for dinner.>
 Naturally the gramma is my wife's favorite fish, so jeopardizing it could cause some "territorial aggression" on the home front :)
<The tank is large enough that aggression between the two should not be an issue.>
Thanks for the help and keep up the good work!
<Quite welcome.>
Kyle Thaman

Surprised with a fish and coral, Firefish/gramma incomp.       9/24/12
Thanks for all the years of help first off. I was wondering if you could help me, I have a small 14 gallon tank that I've been taking care of for about 4 years since I got it when I was 16. It was a personal hobby that pretty much only I found interesting, but after four years of effort I've established a beautiful reef tank with many different types of soft coral and one purple Firefish. Recently, I came home and my mom, who's taken a sudden interest in my tank, said she got me a surprise fish and coral.

At first I was happy until I realized that she has no idea bout the dynamics of a tiny reef system and I was terrified that she had got me a tang or a lion fish. While it wasn't that bad she did purchase a royal gramma which I know would appreciate a larger system.
<Not likely to get along w/ a Firefish in such a small volume>

Unfortunately I cannot get it out, and I'm worried that it'll start fighting with my Firefish, since he's had free reign over the tank for about a year. Is there anything I can do to help keep the peace and keep them as comfortable as possible?
<Not really, no. Either they will co-exist (not likely) or one drive the other (likely the Gramma will win) out of the tank, life>
 Also she purchased a meteor shower Cyphastrea which I knew nothing about until I looked it up, but I've seen conflicting reports on how much light it should get and how much to feed it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much,
<Do search, read re these two on WWM. Many people have tried this combo... doesn't often work. Bob Fenner>

royal gramma Basslet attacking fire shrimp?    11/22/11
Hi I have a 14 gallon biocube. I just bought a fire shrimp last night and noticed this afternoon that his front legs seem to be ripped off.
I think that my royal gramma Basslet did this.
<Could be>
I saw him pull on his antenna when the shrimp went behind the rockwork which he wont let any fish go back there
Now the shrimp stays on the back wall behind the heater and wont come down.
I am afraid he is going to get attacked again or starve if he won't come down. Is there anything I can do? should i put a divider in the tank?
<Better by far to move one or the other to another system>
I have a ceramic cave that I could put into the tank.
<Not likely to work for long>
I appreciate your help asap.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

royal grammas keep disappearing   6/21/11
Greetings www crew
<<Hello Eric, Adam J with you this late night.>>
I'm hoping you can help me solve the mystery of my missing royal grammas.
I had one in my 55 reef tank when I initially got everything up and running about 8 months ago, but after roughly 10 weeks he perished from Ick. Since then I've tried adding RG's on two occasions, and both times the fish has disappear immediately... never to be seen again.
<<Is this tank covered? These fish...Basslets in general, are notorious for jumping.>>
I won't bother to list all the contents and conditions of my tank; however all parameters test perfect, and all other corals and fish are thriving.
<<Next time please do, as the definition of 'perfect' is variable, we may see something you do not.>>
The only thing my LFS suggests as a culprit are my serpent stars: 2 medium brown/maroon (8" across) and one rather large red one (16" across with a ~2" body). All the research I've done indicates that only green serpents tend to be aggressive towards fish. We keep the large red one well fed on silversides, and there seems to be plenty of scraps from regular tank feeding to keep all scavengers satiated.
<<While the latter is certainly large enough to be a fish 'stalker,' typically you're correct it's the green brittle starfish of the genus Ophiarachna that are known for being midnight fish trappers.>>
Further, the only other fish I've had go missing was a Christmas wrasse, and that's when I was on vacation and my tank sitter never came to tend the aquarium.
<<Unless you were gone for over two weeks I doubt the fish succumbed to hunger, again sounds like a possible jumping suspect or possible predation by 'something.'>>
Other fish: flame angel, pair of cardinals, pink spot goby, mandarin goby,
<<This is a slower moving fish if your echinoderms are snacking on fish, I would have guessed the dragonet to be the first to go. Secondly in a tank of your size I would not keep them with wrasses or Basslets, as they're likely to get outcompeted for food if not outright bullied.>>
Midas blenny, sail fin tang,
<<Your tank size will be far to small for this tang, if it's not already.>>
leopard wrasse
<<The dietary habits (eating micro-crustaceans) of this wrasse also make it a poor choice for housing with the dragonet as well as it's potential to bully, being the stronger swimmer.>>
maroon clown, and a red hawk. I can't decided if it's coincidence that 2 RG's have vanished immediately after introduction to the tank, or if they're being eaten. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.
<<Considering the health of your other inhabitants it does not sound environmental, these fish are either being bullied into submission/eaten or jumping from the aquarium.>>
thanks in advance for your help. Your site is simply invaluable.
<<Good luck Eric.>>
<<Adam J.>>

three (I hope quick) compatibility questions... Mixing Meiacanthus, Gramma, Premnas in est. sys.s  - 2/9/11
Good evening,
A friend is moving and breaking down her tank and would like to give me her fish. The one is Meiacanthus grammistes and I don't think I can take it because my 65 gallon has a bicolor and a tailspot blenny and I have read on your site and elsewhere that the fang blenny is semi-aggressive with fish of a similar body shape.
<Is likely, too much so, to fight here>
My 90 gallon has a midas blenny so I am guessing it won't work there either.
<Better chance here>
(My Nano is super peaceful--gobies and pom pom crabs, so I wouldn't risk it. ) Just want to confirm with the experts I can't take the fang blenny.
The second fish is a royal gramma--the 90 gallon has an orchid and a splendid Dottyback, so that's out. The 65 gallon has a blackcap Basslet. He is rather reclusive though and stays in his cave most of the time. However, he is also very established, having been there two years or more. Do you think I could try the gramma in there? (I have kept the two species together previously but it was in a 150 gallon.)
<I wouldn't risk it; or be ready to remove>
The third fish is a small maroon clownfish. I do have an empty bubbletip anemone in the 90 gallon but I also have (for eight years now) a pair of Perculas in a Heteractis crispa. The anemones are at opposite ends of the tank--but her clown does not currently have an anemone of its own so may ignore the bubbletip.
<Mmm, this Premnas, started small, might learn to live w/ the other Clowns in this setting. No guarantee however in the longer term>
Thanks, as always, for your assistance and your wonderful site.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Gramma/Lysmata comp.  4/21/10
I've been reading your website faithfully since my fish store guy told me about it, but haven't seen an answer to my question: I have a 6 mo. old 90 g. FOWLR, wet-dry sump, protein skimmer, ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates about 2, salinity 1.023. So far, I have a royal gramma and an orange-spot shrimp goby--in the tank until just yesterday I added a skunk cleaner shrimp. The shrimp took up residence behind a live rock, next to the gramma's home. Of course, the gramma ("Rainbow"--I always name my fish) resents the intrusion. He makes darts at the shrimp, but so far, nothing else. I rearranged the rocks, and the shrimp decided to move behind the very rock the gramma claims! So I put all back as it was, and the two are now about 6 inches apart. Is the gramma going to eventually do serious
harm to the shrimp (I'll name him when I'm sure he will make it), or will they eventually calm down?
<Unless the shrimp is very small, likely they will do fine together in this 90 gal. system>
The shrimp is not shy about coming out to eat, but otherwise, stays hidden. Incidentally, I have had saltwater fish for over 20 years, and have been enjoying your books, and others. I lost my last fish, all at once, due my mistake in not cycling a new tank properly. I kept careful records, and my Longnose angel was 16 yrs. when he died, the hippo tang was 11, and the flame angel was 15! I even had a cleaner wrasse that was over 5. Needless to say, I was sick about my goof. That is why I am being especially careful this time. I have a raccoon butterfly in QT for another 2-3 weeks, but I don't expect him to bother the shrimp. Please let me know what you think of this aggression of the gramma's, and what I can do about it (if anything). Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
<Gramma loreto can be tough/mean, but this usually translates into trouble only in small, crowded settings. I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>
royal gramma and cleaner shrimp compatibility 4/21/10
Hi again,
I just sent you an email (my first, obviously, or I would know what I am dong). I forgot to put in a subject, so I hope it is not too late.
Thanks again,
<No worries Edie. BobF>

Re: Liopropoma carmabi purchase and potential tankmates  10/12/09
Hi Bob,
Boy, do I have a story for you...
I told you in my earlier emails that my Royal Gramma passed away a few weeks ago. Well, I want to elaborate on that further.
Several weeks ago, my oldest fish, a Royal Gramma was acting oddly. She was swimming near the top of the tank, trying to find a spot to call her own. She has been in the tank several years, with all of the existing tank mates, so I was concerned by her change in behavior. She was swimming a bit crooked, kind of on her side, and her tailfin was frayed. She looked kind of "beat up" and not well. She also looked very bloated.
I have a professional maintenance man who takes care of my tank weekly, along with me, as I adore the hobby. The morning he came, I had located the gramma in a hole in the live rock. We looked at her with a flashlight. He could not see her very well, but there were no indications of anything parasitic on her. He recommended I observe her over the next few days.
The next day she was gone. I looked everywhere for her for several days, and I could not find her, even at night with a flashlight looking everywhere I could. After several weeks, both my tank man and I agreed she probably did not make it and was consumed (how morbid!) by the cleaning crew and whoever else in the tank who would partake in this act. Since all other fish were vibrant, healthy, eating, and acting totally normal, and all parameters and anything else in the tank we could think of were in check, we decided it
was an isolated incident.
I missed her and did extensive research on the Liopropoma Carmabi, which I ordered and will be here tomorrow.
<... G. loreto?>
Still sickly and looking as if she had mere hours to live, my Royal Gramma was trying to crawl/swim on the
sand. She was breathing heavily, and when she lay still hermit crabs actually were trying to go onto her. She was fighting them. She was in a spot in the open sand and I netted her right out of the tank and put her in my
refugium. I did not have much hope for her, but I fed her some Thera -A Spectrum pellets and saw her try to eat them. She was laying on her side all day in the refugium and when I went to bed last night. I did not expect her to be alive this morning. To the contrary, she is eating and swimming around, albeit more horizontally on her side, and there looks to be marked improvement in her and her behavior. She even appears less bloated to me, although I can't be sure if this is accurate.
I plan on leaving her in my refugium and taking it day by day with her, nursing her back to health if possible. But here I am, wildly excited about the Liopropoma Carmabi arriving tomorrow! If the Gramma were to make a full recovery, can these two exist in the same tank?
<In how large a system? If over 50 gallons likely so>
I have your book, The Conscientious Marine Aquarist (revised edition), and it seems to clearly separate these two in terms of one being a "Liopropoma" and the other being a "Grammidae," and putting them in the same family falls prey to "the false-bass trap," as the grammas are not true basses. So, does this mean
they can or cannot co-exist in the same tank?
<If not too crowded, yes>
My tank man said if the gramma were to make a full recovery, she could live quite a happy life in my refugium, but I would prefer her to have a reef tank to live in. Mine, or someone who could care for her properly.
Any ideas you may have on compatibility and what could be wrong with the gramma would also be most welcome.
So appreciative of your advice,
<Welcome. BobF>

Compatibility (Help) 10/8/09
Hey all,
I am turning to you all for some advice. I have set up my 29 gallon nano tank for about 6 months now, and finally added my final livestock (Tail Spot Blenny) to my tank. I currently have a pair of false clowns (1
black/white and 1 orange) and one Royal Gramma. The 3 have been living in peace together for about 3 months now.
Since its been so long, I forgot that the most peaceful fishes should always be added to the tank first, and the Gramma seems to be bothering the blenny. I actually saw the Gramma take a pretty good bite of the blenny as he sticks his head out of his "hole". Unfortunately, he picked his spot right in front of the gramma's "nest" and the blenny is cornered in it seems. Its only been about more than a day but every time the blenny tries to leave his "hole" the Gramma scares him back in. Will this continue?
Should I be worried about the blenny? Also, the clowns are very curious, but I don't think they would do harm the blenny? Any suggestions?
<Yes, in lieu of the tank being on the small side and easier to work with, carefully rearrange the rockwork which will initially eliminate territorial behavior. We are hoping that after this remodeling, their new territories
will be much farther apart and hostilities will end.>
Your comments and advise are always greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Jonathan Tan

Basslets: Behavior and compatibility 7/26/2009
Hey all,
<Hi Jonathan.>
Great website. I've learned a lot by browsing the information on the site, great for newbies in the hobby!
<Happy to hear you find it helpful.>
I had a question regarding the Basslets, primarily the Black Cap and the Royal Gramma. I am planning to add one or the other into my 24 gallon nano which currently has one orange and one black and white false Perc.
<That will be a little crowded for a 24 gallon.>
I wanted to know more about the two different Basslets. I cannot seem to find much information on the black cap, and wanted to know if they behaved differently than the Royal.
<I have one of each, their behavior is very similar, but the Blackcap is a bit more aggressive.>
I've read that the Royal will defend his/her territory vigorously and open up his mouth quite large to intimidate trespassers, will the same happen with the Black cap?
I have yet to see an image of the black cap threatening another fish. I've heard that Basslets have a liking for shrimp, will they go after my 2 cleaner shrimps?
<It is possible>
Will one be more aggressive than the other, or be more likely to eat shrimp, harass the clowns?
<I would be more concerned with the clowns harassing the gramma, but the Blackcap is more aggressive than the Royal.>
The videos of the black cap that I've seen, I notice that they dig often.
<They do, mine has excavated an area under its favorite rock..
Will the royal gramma dig in the sand as well?
<They do not seem to dig, but rather hide themselves in the rock.>
Thanks for all your help.
<Read here: it also includes the response I sent the last time you wrote:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/grammasysfaqs.htm >

Royal Gramma, Stocking 7/25/09
Hey all,
Truly love the website. Thanks for all your help on my previous question.
I recently got one orange false perc and one black and white false perc based on your information and they are getting along great. A very interesting pair!
<I bet.>
Now to my next question, the 2 clowns are the only fish I have in my 24 gallon nano and I was thinking of either adding a Royal Gramma or a Purple Firefish. I am leaning heavily towards the gramma, but have heard that they eat shrimp. I currently have 2 cleaner skunk shrimp and they are my 3 yr old son's favorite. Will the Royal go after the cleaner shrimp?
<Most likely these shrimp will be too big to be meal, but there is no guarantee.>
I was also looking into some Sexy shrimp in the future, will they become an expensive meal for the gramma as well?
<These are typically much smaller than the cleaner and will fit quite nicely into the grammas surprisingly large mouth.>
Regarding the purple firefish, since I already have 2 clowns, will they scare the firefish into hiding?
<Depends on how territorial they have become, they could easily claim the entire tank themselves, or it could work out ok. Tough to predict.>
Thanks for your help again!

Blackcap Basslet vs. Yellowhead Jaw fish [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]   6/23/09
<More public thievery? Defence.gov of what?>
I currently have a 280lt (Im Australian) Reef kicking along successfully, but which to own a few Caribbean species, so Im currently setting up a Caribbean corner tank appx 120lt or 31Us Gal. I was just wondering if it was possible to put in a pair of Yellowhead Jaw fish and a pair of Blackcap Basslet
<Need more room than this>
(owned previously) in this tank, apart from snails and maybe a blood shrimp, this will be the only livestock.
Filtration if sufficient for all of this. Being a corner tank I can set up artificial holes at either end (approx 32 inch apart) for the jaw fish even if they decide not to pair and burrow separately, my biggest concern is will these two species be compatible. Noting they are both from the same region.
<Found in different depths, habitats... in the same geographies. They are compatible... given sufficient room/space>
Do you have any definitive information on sexing of blackcap Basslets
and if so was wondering if you could point me in the right direction. I have found some information but it is limited.
<Just the usual Net, books re fishes of the region... Bob Fenner>
Thank you very much for you time,

Abused Royal Gramma 5/28/2009
Hello WWM Crew,
<Hello Scott.>
First off thank you all for your volunteered time to help all the aquarists out there.
<I think we all enjoy helping other aquarists.>
I currently have a 50 gallon FOWLR with 50 lb of live rock and a1 inch sand bed. Water chemistry is ammonia, nitrite at zero, nitrate at 30ppm, pH at 8.4 and SG at 1.025. Water changes are done biweekly at 20% increments. The tank itself is 2 years old and filtration is an AquaC Remora and two Maxijet 1200 powerheads for circulation. Tank inhabitants are an ORA ocellaris clown (22 months in tank), Royal Gramma (18 months in tank), Flameback (C. acanthops) angel (9 months in tank), and Fourline (P. tetrataenia) wrasse (1.5 months in tank). I feed twice a day with new line spectrum pellets and Spirulina in the morning and a varying mix of frozen formula 1, 2, prime reef, and PE mysis in the evening. Weekly I throw in a sheet of Nori for the fish to munch on. I have 4 red legged hermit crabs and 5 turbo snails as a 'cleanup' crew.
<Scott, excellent summarization of your tank, this is how every query should begin.>
Now for my problem, a week ago I left for a long three day weekend and the fish went without food for 2.5 days. When I got home I found my normally robust gramma looking sickly. Reading through WWM healthy fish should be able to go one week without food and I've gone five days in the past with no problems.
<And you did your research.>
The gramma's stomach appears sunken with some tail missing. It looks like there are scales peeling off the head of the fish. And under pectoral fin on both sides are dark blotches which look like the photos posted on WWM of grammas jumping out of the tank. But due to the symmetry of this condition on both sides and the overall state of the fish I thought it was most likely due to something else. Behavior wise it still acts like a gramma, darts in and out of the rock, eats, and stalls at random angles.
<A great description.>
So it comes down to environment, nutrition, and disease. Aggression wise the gramma is at the bottom in this tank. I've always been apprehensive about adding the Fourline wrasse as they are similar shape and the horror stories posted on WWM. The totem pole appears to go angel, wrasse and clown, then gramma.
<This pecking order is what would be expected with these fish.>
After reading for hours on end the fish should not be psychologically cramped for space and until now have enjoyed a successful tank. But I know things change as fish grow. I thought nutrition wise I was doing alright but would love to be corrected. I don't normally do vitamin soaks but can gladly start. I can't find any articles that match my gramma's condition but have attached photos (really hard to get a good shot of this fish) that can hopefully help. I have a 10 gallon QT ready to go but don't want to stress myself or the gramma trying to catch them from the main tank if unnecessary. Any thoughts? Thanks.
<Alright, based on the time the Royal Gramma has spent in the tank, the pecking order in the tank and the details you left me. My first though is that while a healthy fish should be able to go without food for a week, it doesn't mean they want too. My guess is that without daily feedings which likely curb aggression in your tank, that aggression levels increased in any one or all of your other fish, and the poor Royal Gramma got beat up while you were gone.  Keep a close eye on him for worsening of his condition. I imagine that with normal daily feedings with nutritious food he is going to recover just fine, so I would not contribute to it's stress by trying to catch it.  If you find the condition is worsening then I might try to remove him to a quarantine tank, and investigate other possibilities.>
<Good Luck. And keep me updated.
Josh Solomon>

Re: QT Female Filamented Flasher Wrasses? Now Royal Gramma comp.  - 04/06/09
Thanks for the reply.
<<Quite welcome>>
The male was in QT for 4 weeks (not your typical QT... It was my 2 year old 20g that needed to be broken down with tons of live mysids) I didn't have to feed him for three days.
Anyway, he was put in his new home Friday. My new issue is my Royal Gramma.
I currently have the tank now divided in half via eggcrate & 1/4" casting net. Will the gramma accept his new tankmates over time?
<<Mmm, as the 'established' fish here'¦you likely will have to remove it until the Flasher Wrasses have settled in and acclimated to the new system>>
If so, about how long would the divider need to be kept in place?
<<It is best to remove the Basslet altogether for a time to disorient it/provide the upper hand to the Wrasses upon its return>>
He seems to be showing less aggression today. Only if absolutely necessary I can move him to my frag tank.
<<It is up to you'¦ You can try the divider'¦but I would be more inclined to move the fish for a while, for the benefit of the Flashers>>
I have a catch net resting on the Monti cap for him to get used to should I need to try and catch him.
The females are supposed to be shipped today so they'll be here tomorrow.
<<Though less of a risk than the Basslet, do keep an eye out for excessive aggression towards the females from the male (being first in the tank)>>
Oh and rearranging the tank won't work. His fave spot is the 10x10 Monti cap attached to a large rock - not an easy piece to rearrange.
<<Agreed'¦temporary relocation of the Royal Gramma is best here I think>>
Thanks again!!!
<<Good luck with your Flasher Wrasses'¦wonderful little fish! EricR>>

Filamented Flasher Wrasses follow-up -- 04/12/09
I had ordered three female flasher wrasses to join my male and the shippers held them an extra week until they felt they were ready for shipping. In the meantime I moved the royal gramma the day before their arrival to another one of my tanks and he's doing well. Absolutely the best decision as the gramma owned my large Monti cap, slept there and swam in and out of all the holes... the wrasses have now taken it over. Before moving the gramma the male wrasse was out and about occasionally with a divider separating him and the gramma but still stayed hidden 90% of the time.
The females arrived early Friday morning and after a lengthy acclimation (4 hours) were put directly into the tank. The only other fish in there now was the male wrasse. The three females dove right into the huge Monti cap and hid. Even with the females hiding, within 5 minutes the male was out and hovering over the Monti cap darting in and out. Within 20 minutes the male and dominant female were hovering together over the Monti cap.
I saw him more yesterday after the females were in the tank than I have the whole six weeks I've had him. What a huge difference in his behavior... their interaction as a group is fascinating. I have a Vortech that they love to face into the outflow above the Monti.
<Very nice>
After another couple hours I decided to try feeding and had frozen mysis and Rod's food soaking in Selcon. As soon as the food hit the water the male and two of the three females were scooping it up and wanting more. I fed them 3 more times throughout the day. The remaining female who looked more stressed than the other two during acclimation remained hidden. I kept the lights on actinics only all day.
I made a tank cover using 1/4" monofilament casting net because during the male's stay in a holding tank the male was always jumping (just because he could) and kept hitting the acrylic cover on that tank. 1/4" black nylon casting net covers the Vortech.
For the slower to recover female Is there anything else I can do to help her through this?
<Mmm, possibly add/try some live foods, otherwise, nothing else I would do>
I'm running eight T5 HOs in the tank, no Halide, and was thinking of keeping the lighting subdued again today running only half of the lights.
I hope some of this is helpful to others thinking about getting flasher wrasses.
Thank you,
<And you. Bob Fenner>

Foxface Damage to Gramma? -- 01/23/09 Hi guys! <<Hey Jo!>> I know you are really busy and I only email you if I can't find anything on the web but this time I really could do with some advice. <<I'm happy to try to help>> It's an established reef tank, 2 years old, with most of the rock, corals and fish moved from our first tank so some fish have been with us for over 5 years. <<Neat>> We've had our beautiful royal gramma for about a year now. <<A splendid little fish'¦and great aquarium specimens>> He's always been a bit secretive and likes to hide and come out when the MH goes off and just the actinics are on but always comes out for food. <<Typical>> Got a Foxface 2-3 weeks ago and he settled in very well but decided to sleep near the Gramma's cave. We've seen the gramma half come out of his hole, opening its mouth at the Foxface but have never seen them fight. <<Doesn't like the Foxface so close, eh?>> We also added a small boxing shrimp who also decided to live in the same place - it's underneath a large plating Montipora. <<A popular block in the neighborhood>> Last week I noticed my gramma wasn't coming out to feed. In fact he wasn't coming out at all but hiding in his cave or in an empty barnacle. Today he looks almost dead - very still in the barnacle and kind of gasping/breathing fast. <<Mmm'¦>> There is no white spot/velvet on him but there is a single red/purple spot on his yellow tail? Could he have been stung by the Foxface <<Maybe>> and if so, is he likely to survive? <<From what you describe it doesn't sound promising'¦whatever the cause>> He looked as he was dying so we took him out in the barnacle full of water, <<As in simply lifted the barnacle and the Gramma didn't move/stayed within? A very bad sign>> placed in container of tank water and had a look but then put him back in the sump. I don't want to risk the rest of the fish catching whatever he's got couldn't put him to sleep so please help! <<First off, if indeed this fish has an illness/infection, placing it in your sump does not isolate it from the rest of the system'¦but I think this is likely a moot point. I have no way of knowing what ails this fish'¦it could anything from a venomous sting as you inquired, or internal parasites which you can do nothing about now, or even just old age. But if you can't bring yourself to euthanize it, leaving it in your sump until it either recovers or expires should be fine>> Many many thanks for your time and hope to hear from you soon. Jo <<Nothing really for you to do at this point Jo but watch and wait I'm afraid'¦I'll keep my fingers crossed that this fish recovers. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Foxface Damage to Gramma? -- 01/24/09 Hi EricR, <<Hello Jo>> Many thanks for your quick reply! <<Sorry it wasn't better news>> Yes, I didn't think that placing him in the sump it would prevent the other fish catching it but wanted to keep him away from crabs, etc as seeing livestock being picked on while still alive and suffering breaks my heart... <<Ah, okay>> Sadly, he was dead this morning. <<Sorry to hear'¦>> Still not sure what it was, possibly a sting from the Foxface as the red dot was still on his body when we took him out, apart from that, nothing unusual, maybe a bit swollen? <<Can only speculate'¦but if so, it is a probability the Gramma accidentally impaled itself rather than it being an 'overt' action on the part of the Foxface'¦and shouldn't keep you from obtaining another of these wonderful little fish>> Was going to frag that Monti but as you said, it has proven to be very popular place in the tank so I guess I'll leave it alone for now... Thanks again for your time and help! Jo <<Cheers mate. EricR>>

Flame Hawk and Royal Gramma Problems, comp.   11/6/07 Hi. I have had several problems in my 34 gallon saltwater tank. I had a royal Gramma, flame hawk, and six line wrasse in my tank for about six months without any problems. <These fishes need more room than this> I then made the big mistake of adding a yellow tail damsel. <Yikes!> At first everything was fine, but eventually, the damsel started to harass the Gramma to the point that the Gramma went into hiding and could not come out without being chased by the damsel. I then removed the damsel. <Good> Meanwhile, since the Gramma was in hiding from the damsel for an extended period , the hawk apparently got the idea that he now owns the entire tank. <He does> Since the removal of the damsel, whenever the Gramma tries to come out of hiding the Gramma gets chased by the hawk and forced back into hiding. Now the Gramma only comes out to eat. I know that the hawk and Gramma can get along fine since they did so for over six months until I made the mistake of introducing the damsel. Before the damsel the hawk and Gramma both freely moved about the tank without bothering each other. I have been living with the Gramma in hiding from the hawk now for about 2 weeks without abatement. <Well stated> I was thinking of catching the hawk and putting him in an isolation breeder box in the tank so as to allow the Gramma to come out of hiding and re-establish its territory. This way the hawk will be able to observe the Gramma move about the tank and hopefully get used to the Gramma again. Will this help? <Yes... a good, possible plan> Alternatively, I could just continue to wait things out and hope that this abates. All fish are eating well and look healthy so at least I do not have to worry about the harassment leading to starvation. But having my Gramma live in a cave 24/7 and only come out to eat b/c of the hawk chasing is obviously not an acceptable status quo. Any suggestions on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. <Once these sorts of dynamics establish themselves, particularly in small/er volumes, they are very hard to unmake... but worth trying. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Follow Up On Flame Hawk and Royal Gramma Problems 11/08/07 Thank you so much for the reply. Well, I have successfully caught the hawk with a DIY 2 liter plastic coke bottle trap and confined the hawk to a breeders box. <Congrats!> I placed the breeders box on the opposite side of the display tank facing the cave home of the royal Gramma so that both fish can easily see each other. Immediately upon doing so, the Gramma came out and is starting to engage in its normal behavior of touring the tank. <Ah, good> My questions are as follow. How long should I leave the hawk confined in the breeders box? <A good week or two> Do I stand a better chance of success if I completely remove the hawk to a quarantine tank for a 1 week or so, or am I better off keeping the hawk confined in the display tank in the breeders box so as to allow the fish to get used to each other? Thank you for your assistance. <Best to leave, keep it where it is... for all's sake. Bob Fenner>

Jawfish killing help  11/6/07 Hi I have a question about my Jawfish to see if you might could help me. My current tank inhabitants are: a small maroon clownfish, yellow goby, cardinal Banggai, royal Gramma and pearly Jawfish, <Mmm, these last two...> and a yellow tang in my 75 gal tank which have all gotten along fine. I also have two cleaner shrimp and a peppermint shrimp. A few weeks ago my dad noticed my Jawfish swimming upside down and very funny in the current which he never did. My dad took him out of the tank and the Jawfish was very easy to catch and put him in our quarantine tank. The Jawfish acted just fine in the quarantine tank and ate like normal. Yesterday we decided to put my Jawfish back into the tank and acclimated him. He was fine yesterday, although he was very hard to catch. My dad left the light on acclimating him this time because in one of our fish books it said to leave the light on for the Jawfish for him to be able to find a home. We normally do not do this but we did this time. This morning I found my cleaner shrimp eating on part of my Jawfish which was not in one piece. My question is do you have any idea what could have killed him? <A best guess... the Gramma loreto... these two hail from overlapping habitats, but don't generally get along. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Tailed Damsel Harassing Royal Gramma 4/23/07 Hi Bob, I love your website. <Hello, Chris here today.>  It has been extremely useful.  Thank you. <Welcome from all of us.> I am a long time reader with a first time question.  I have read the FAQ's regarding my problem but I still felt compelled to ask.  I have a 40 gallon breeder reef tank.  It has housed a tomato clown and yellow tailed damsel together for 1 year or so.  I added a Royal Gramma a few days ago and he was immediately harassed by the damsel.  The Gramma has been hiding behind a powerhead nursing a lightly torn up tail fin.  He eats the frozen mysis shrimp when they pass within a few inches of his powerhead at feeding time, but I have not seen him venture out further than this.   Will he and the damsel ever get along? <Maybe, maybe not.> A gentleman asked the same question in the FAQ's, only he had a 75 gallon tank.  You told him that everything ought to settle down, and that he could "Leave all in" with a tank of that size.  So now I am wondering, what about a 40 gallon tank?  Otherwise is there anything I could do to ameliorate the situation?  Thank you so much, Tom <I would give it a couple weeks to a month and see if they can adjust to each other.  This is dependent on the Gramma continuing to eat of course.  If this stops he will have to be removed.  Otherwise you could remove the damsel for a couple of weeks and allow the Gramma to establish himself.  This helps sometimes in situations like this.  If none of these work then the two fish will just need to be permanently separated.> <Chris>

Strawberry Gramma & Clarks Clown   1/20/07 Hi there, <Hey Jo, JustinN with you today.>   I today purchased a beautiful strawberry Gramma, about 2-3 inches long, gorgeous colour. However after being in the tank for all of an hour, my Clarks clown fish grabbed it by the head, dragged it to its host anemone, and shoved it into its mouth, Then proceeded to encourage the anemone to close up, and then guarded the area until the anemone re opened. Fish gone! <Wow! What a show! Don't get me wrong, I'm very sorry for your loss, but this must have been QUITE the event to see!>   Is this considered normal behaviour of this type of clown fish?? <Oh, yes> He guards his home very strongly from all the other fish, and even attacked me while I was cleaning the tank and got too close, but I didn't expect it to feed its host with my new addition. Bits of food yes, but a fish that size? <Absolutely, especially if the clown sees it as a threat.>   Am I to expect this of all brightly coloured fish I introduce? <Is certainly a possibility. You don't mention the size of your aquarium -- if this is under 75 gallons, there may simply not be enough available territory for the clown to allow coexistence!> Could this be where my firefish disappeared to? <A very good possibility.>   Regards   Jo <Again, Jo, I don't mean to sound like I'm making light of your situation, but you've witnessed something that many will never get the opportunity to! Do plan on any future tankmates according to this newfound information, and do remember to properly quarantine any new arrivals! -JustinN> Re: Strawberry Gramma & Clarks Clown    1/21/07 Hi <Hey again, Jo!>   The tank size is approx 120 gallons so there should be enough space.   <I would tend to agree here... perhaps if/when you make another new addition, rearranging the tank aquascaping may break down this defense shield, and allow for another addition.> Funnily enough my husband said the same as you, what a sight to see. I wasn't as impressed as the two of you obviously are ! <Like I stated, Jo, it's a very unfortunate situation, and I am very sorry for the loss, but this is something that many people stipulate happens in their care, but few get to witness.. Nature/Survival of the Fittest at play, my friend.>   Anyway I won't be repeating the experience. Expensive lunch, and expensive lesson learned. <Yes, is certainly a regrettable experience, but you live and learn.>   Thanks for your reply   Jo <No problems, Jo. Good luck to you! -JustinN>

New Nano Saltwater tank 5/12/06 Hi Bob. <Hi, Chris with you tonight> I am really new to the salt world. I have kept freshwater fish for three years, and recently bought a 12 gallon AquaPod. <Tiny for a saltwater tank, especially for your first.> I wanted to do a reef, so my local store has been helping me get that set up. We let the little tank cycle for about a week with a thin layer of live sand (less than an inch thick) about 7 to 10 pounds of live rock. All water tests look great, with the exception of the nitrites are at .5. <Not great, nitrites need to be 0 before adding livestock.> Started off adding a turbo snail, and three blue legged hermits. Kept a close eye on all of them, and they are doing great. Dropped in some red algae, and one feather duster about three days later. All is well. <Too much too soon> So I moved on to wanting to add a fish. We purchased a Royal Gramma, and it is a riot to watch. He eats well, and is all over the tank. <Nice fish> My son wanted "Nemo" from the beginning, and I liked the Clowns as well, so I asked, and our LFS said they preferred I kept only one fish in the 12 gallon tank, but we could "probably get away with a small clown." So we bought a small False Perc. that they had. Added him yesterday, and he just sticks to the left side of the tank, and swims up and down with his reflection. Is this always going to be the case with him? Can a single clown be kept, or do they need to be in pairs to be happy? I would hate to have to get rid of my royal. He also would not even look at the shrimp I fed yesterday. Thanks for any advice you can give me. Gram M. <2 fish for a tank that size is a lot.  Plus the Gramma can be a terror, in my 46G my Gramma owns most of the tank, and is quite aggressive in keeping the clowns out of his territory.  I'm afraid in a 12G there just isn't enough room for both of them.  Really one fish is plenty for that tank.  Plus poor water quality with .5 nitrite she is getting a double whammy.> <Chris>  

Stocking order 5/8/06 Hello once again! <Hi> I have a saltwater aquarium that I'm finally ready to stock. <Now the fun begins> I'm looking forward to stocking it with a royal Gramma, 2 ocellaris clowns (tank-bred), and 1 flame angelfish (tank-bred). I'm getting all the fish from liveaquaria.com. The clowns and the angel will be 1 inch or under in size. I don't know about the size of the royal Gramma yet. All will be "QTed" <excellent> before adding into main aquarium. In what order should I add them in.   Sincerely,   Aqua Man   P.S. Would the royal Gramma disturb or kill any inverts in the aquarium? <I would add the two clowns first, then the Gramma, and finally the angel.  I have only heard of a Gramma bothering a invertebrate once, unfortunately it was mine.  It didn't care for an emerald crab I had and enjoyed grabbing it by the claws and flinging it into the rocks.  Never heard of anything like that before or since, but was quite a sight.  99% chance yours will be fine with anything you add, although they can be somewhat aggressive towards other fish.> <Chris>

Royal Gramma Help... actually, an example of punctuated knowledge, learning in our species... A useful paradigm for military conflicts, government manipulation of the masses   3/16/06 Hi, I started a fish only saltwater aquarium about 7 weeks ago. I cycled the tank with damsels and removed them as I was told by my fish consultant when I was ready to get other fish. <Mmm, see WWM re this practice... the damsels may have left you a nasty (disease) surprise...> I bought 2 percula clowns and 1 royal Gramma. In about 2 days, one clown died and from the way I described it, my fish consultant believes it was clownfish disease. <There's more than one... Brooklynellosis? Should not have occurred if these were tank bred...> About a week later, I lost the other one. I am waiting about 2 weeks before I buy anymore clowns. <... in the meanwhile, please read on WWM re these animals needs> I have now had the royal Gramma for about 3 weeks and over that time I have added a Heniochus butterfly, a coral beauty angel, and a strawberry Pseudochromis. <... how large is this system? How filtered?> The Pseudochromis charged at the royal Gramma once or twice when I first added him to the display tank, and they have seemed fine ever since. <Will be unless this system is "at least four feet long"> I see no tension between any of the fish right now. They are all eating fine and look healthy, except the royal Gramma. A couple days ago, I noticed his top fin was a little rigid and had a tiny tear in it. I also saw that his left fin looks like the cartilage has been torn. <Likely from tussling with the Dottyback> He can still swim fine, but I am concerned. I also saw that one of his bottom fins looks like half of it was sort of snapped off. I also see 2 whitish lines back above his eyes, but I don't know if they were there before. Could these characteristics be from the Pseudochromis or could it be an infection of some kind? <Both, from one, then the other... will likely die if not removed, treated elsewhere> I am very concerned and if you have any advice, please let me know. Thanks! <... as time goes by you'll understand how little useful information you have provided here. Please, do yourself and your livestock the favor of educating yourself. Don't rely on a consultant, me... read. Bob Fenner>

Damsel and Royal Gramma Fighting   2/26/06 Hi, <And you> I'd like to compliment you on a great website: Long time reader, first question. Today I added a Royal Gramma to my 75 gal FO tank (after a 5 week quarantine).  I rearranged the decor, thinking the Gramma would be picked on, as I read they are a peaceful fish (boy was I wrong, the Gramma is one feisty little fish!) <Ah, yes>   After scrapping a little with most of my other fish, all fighting has subsided; except with my Yellow Tail Blue Damsel (Chrysiptera parasema).  Whenever they come into close proximity of each other they start fighting.  They are pretty evenly matched, and both are showing a little "wear" and stress from the fighting.  I was wondering if maybe they look a little to similar to each other, with yellow tails, and the fighting is going to continue. <Mmm, likely not...> Should I let it go for another day and see what happens, or should I remove one of them immediately. <In this sized system, all should settle down/in> When I searched, I found plenty of information on fighting, but not between these two types of fish, and couldn't ascertain the chances of these two settling down and cohabitating relatively peacefully.   <Odds are pretty good... more than 90%> I, of course, would really like to keep them both.  The Damsel was my first fish, and has never fought with any of my other fish when they were added, so this kind of surprised me. Thanks, Greg <I'd leave all in. Bob Fenner>

Compatibility/Marine   2/26/06 Hi Crew, <Hi Sam.> There seem to be many questions about compatibility and most of us, myself included, ignore your advice. You can see it in the question where they say 'and they all get along fine'. I have a 10 gallon with a firefish, neon goby and clown goby and wanted to add a royal Gramma. I was told it would be overcrowding and the Gramma may be to aggressive in such a small tank. But I wanted the color so I bought a baby Gramma and all was fine for 9 months with the Gramma and firefish staying near each other and chasing after the same food in the water column. Sometimes the Gramma lost his cool when the firefish beat him to some food and he opened his mouth wide at the firefish. The firefish would either turn his tail towards the Gramma or would scoot away. I was sure I had a compatible group. Then all of a sudden the firefish did not show up for feeding. After a few days I found him hiding and he was pretty shredded up. So to all who ask your advice I say- listen to the experts-unless you are willing to sacrifice a pretty animal just so you can have it your way for a while. <Well said.  James (Salty Dog)>

Damsel vs. Gramma Deathmatch  11/7/05 Thanks Sabrina! <Sure thing, Jon.> Well here is my update. <Alrighty!> I have removed the Pink Damsel because along with the addition of the Gramma, we had major fighting and tail fin tearing. Now whenever I have to do this with a fish it upsets me, but I have the damsel in a specimen container with aeration. Is there anyway that this fish could calm down, and be returned to the display tank?  <Uhh, I wouldn't hedge any bets on it. You can try with a significant change in decor, but I really doubt this fish will reform.> It had lived with other fish before but when many of my fishes died because of the hurricane, I guess the fish took it all to himself. I hate to give him up, it is a nice fish, but I can't handle the aggression. <It is, of course, your call. Be very, very cautious if you choose to try adding him back.> Thanks for your help! -Jon <You bet. Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Gramma Compatibility Can a Royal Gramma and a Black Cap Basslet coexist if added at they same time? Which one do you prefer for a reef tank? I think the Black Cap is absolutely gorgeous. Thanks, Michelle >>>Hello! Yes, then can coexist, but it's more complicated than just a simple YES answer. You just never know with these fish. My advice is try it in at least a 55 gallon aquarium, and as you said, add them simultaneously. Alternatively, if you like the Black Cap that much, just go with one of those. :) Good luck! Jim<<<

Injured Gramma and Damsel Aggression (4/17/2005) Hello all at WWM,  <HI. Steve Allen with you this evening.> First I, like everyone else, have to say how great your site it. It is a great resource for everyone, but especially for beginners like me.  <Glad to here it helps.>  I have a 55 gal. with a pair of yellow tail damsels, a chocolate chip star, and a Coris wrasse. I bought a Royal Gramma, put him in QT for a month, <smart>  then added him to the main tank and rearranged the decor. The damsels instantly attacked him. The tank is covered except at one spot around the heater and filter, so I placed the plastic filter top over the opening. The Gramma got spooked, crashed through it, and landed on the floor about 4 feet away.  <Sorry to hear.>  I have put him back in QT and he's not looking good.  <Give it time. Grammas do tend to be resilient. If you got him back in water quickly, I'd be optimistic.>  Is there anything I can do to help him pull through?  <Excellent water conditions, minimize stress, feed properly.>  If he lives, will the damsels get used to him?  <Unlikely>  I know that damsels are aggressive and territorial, but I have also read that the yellow tails were somewhat more laid back.  <I'd use the term "a little less aggressive" rather "laid back.">  They have always been pretty laid back, until about two days ago, when they started chasing and nipping at each other.  <They usually do this eventually.>  Also, will the Gramma be compatible with the wrasse (He was buried the whole time)?  <Probably OK>  I do really like the damsels since they are the first fish I bought. But I will get rid of them if necessary, but I do not want to get rid of the wrasse. I've read through many of the FAQ's and know that I should probably get rid of the damsels, but I am very overprotective of my fish and want to know your advice on my situation.  <Sounds like you already know what's best. I would not advise you to keep them. You could consider trying to keep only one. There is a possibility this could work. If your catching one, you might as well catch both. If the Gramma makes it, let it settle in for a few weeks before adding back one of the Damsels if you really must have one. But I'd suggest you consider less aggressive species.>  I thank you for your time as well as both your past and future help. ~Jeff  <You're welcome. I certainly hope it remains useful.> 

Flashing royal Gramma Evening to all. I have an 80 gal marine tank with deep sand bed and live rock as well as a wet dry. Current residents are ocellaris clown and royal Gramma (almost a year), Foxface (coupla three months) two emerald crabs, some snails and a skunk cleaner shrimp that recently shed its shell. The Gramma has developed a fear of the Foxface which pays no attention to the Gramma. The Gramma is definitely intimidated at feeding although he does get enough food. <Likely fine> Lately the Gramma has been flashing on the rocks. As far as I can tell there are no visible indications of a problem with the Gramma other than the flashing and this is not constant. <Also probably not problematical... all fishes flash somewhat> Five gallon water change weekly, salinity temp. ph and other parameters check out fine. I was wondering if you folks might have any thoughts on the Gramma's behavior? Appreciate any insights you may have. Thanks a bunch!! <I doubt you have an actual problem... given the size of your system, the presence of a cleaner shrimp... I'd just keep your eye on all. Bob Fenner> 

Royal Gramma question 9/8/05 Bob (or whomever I am lucky enough to speak to...) I have a very mature 230 reef with lots of rock.  I have had little success with Bartlett Anthias and am considering 5-7 royal grammas as a "poor man's Bartlett."  I have heard conflicting reports about introducing them at the same time.  Any thoughts? Any suggestions for a purple schooling fish? Thanks for your help.<Richard Wulwick, Esq. <Richard, did you read info on the Bartlett Anthias on the WWM.  May be something you are doing wrong for their adaptability.  Grammas aren't really a schooling fish in my opinion.  Also search the WWM on these guys for more info.  James (Salty Dog)> Royal Gramma aggression against Pacific Blue Tang 8/11/05 Good morning WWM Crew! <Hi there, Leslie here for the crew this evening> A bit of background:  I have the royal Gramma who wasn't doing so well in the QT. You suggested adding an air stone and he perked up over night!   <Glad to hear that worked for you and that the fish is doing well.> A week later I added him to the main tank.  I also had a 2 inch Pacific Blue Tang in a QT (different tank) which I added to the display tank last night.  The Royal Gramma immediately started posturing at the poor fellow.  I let him posture thinking he'd settle down, but after ten minutes of that I actually saw him take a nip at his flank. <Ak, bummer> I turned the lights off and everyone went to their respective "corners" and the tang found a cave in which to settle down for the night.  I realized this morning (albeit a bit belatedly) that I hadn't rearranged the rocks to confuse everyone. <Woops, its never to late!> Display Tank parameters: 90 gal MegaFlow All-Glass aquarium (48"L x 18"W x 24"H) single strip 40 watt light so far (upgrading fixture in a few months for corals) 23 gal sump w/Mag-7 for return Aqua-C Urchin Protein Skimmer closed loop manifold with Mag24 2 - 600gph powerheads in opposite corners 120 lbs live rock 120 lbs live sand (4" DSB) Temperature:  80 degrees Fahrenheit pH: 8.1 salinity: 1.023 Ammonia:  0 Nitrite:  0 Nitrate:  10 - 20 (hard to tell with the strips) 2 - A. percula clowns (mated pair, 1 is 1 1/4", 1 is 2") 1 - Brown Striped goby (3 1/2") 1 - Lawnmower Blenny (3") 1 - Royal Gramma (2 inch) 1 - Pacific Blue Tang (2") The tang is the last fish I am planning to add.  My question:  is it too late to rearrange the rockwork to help the Tang settle in better without the Gramma's aggression issues?   <Nope, not at all.> Should I simply allow them to figure it out for themselves (not sure I like that idea).   <I am not fond of that idea either.> I'm tempted to remove the Gramma (though I'm not looking forward to the chase) and put him in solitary confinement in QT for a week to let the tang settle in better before adding him back. <This is actually a pretty good idea. However you are right the chase will not be fun and can be stressful on the inhabitants. The times I have had to remove fast moving trouble makers, I opted for removing all the rock. Although a big and messy a project, I find it less stressful on the fish. You may want to consider this as long as you are planning to rearrange the rock.> Your thoughts or suggestions would be most helpful.  Thank you. <Your most welcome, Leslie>

Royal Gramma aggression against Pacific Blue Tang (Follow up) 8/15/05 Thanks, Leslie.   <Hi Bekha, Your very welcome!!!> By the time I got home last night, my husband had already rearranged the rocks <My kinda guy º!> and everyone was behaving themselves. <That's great news!> He said that as soon as the rocks were rearranged, they settled down to ignoring each other.  This morning, it was the same - no flank nipping, no aggression, nothing.  Everyone ignored everyone else. <That's wonderful. I am glad it worked for you. I am sure the fish, especially the Tang, are happier.> It looks like the rearranging of the rock did it's job, but we're keeping an eye on them just the same. <Always a good plan.> I have to admit, I really wasn't looking forward to rearranging the rocks and removing them to get a fish out of there! <I certainly do not blame you. It is a messy job! If you want to re do the aquascaping that's one thing but to have to, to remove a  misbehaving fish is another story.  If we see any more aggression, we'll snag the aggressor and put into QT for a week. <Excellent plan.> But from the looks of things this morning, all looked well. <What a relief eh?> I'm attaching a pic of the tank now (I actually like the way he rearranged the rocks!) Bekah Rogers <Wow not only is your husband thoughtful, he's talented as well. Best of luck with your tank, Leslie>

Wrasse And Gramma Compatibility - 08/04/2005 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?   <Yes, highly likely.  I have a pal with a fourline and a royal Gramma in a 55g, and over the past year that he's had them, there have been no compatibility issues whatsoever.  There are, however, exceptions to every rule.> Thanks. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Fish Compatibility 8/4/05 Would a sixline wrasse and a royal Gramma likely be compatible in a 90 gallon tank?  Thanks. <Hi Jon... Provided your fish load is low, you shouldn't run into any serious situations with these two particular fish. Both do have the potential to be somewhat aggressive, therefore it would be best if you add them as juveniles simultaneously. - Ali>

Skimmer, missing Gramma Can a skimmer break down?  <Yes> I don't see anything mechanical on it but there is no separation process occurring just water flowing in and out. <No separation process? You mean no collectant? Likely not a worry... but a matter of establishment of "balance" in your system... the live rock, substrate organisms taking up, changing many of the phobic molecules that your skimmer used to remove.... As long as air and water are mixing in the units contact chamber, and water level in it are about right... no worries. If you consider that some element of water flow is occluded, you would do well to disassemble the unit, take it to a deep sink or outside area, rinse the affected parts with a dilute, weak acid (like vinegar/acetic), rinse and return to operation> as a bonus question: would a long nose hawk eat a royal Gramma.  <Not unless the two are very different in size> needless to say my new rg mysteriously disappeared (and I thought the stock market was hard) <It is my friend. Look around the floor, your smiling cat... tremendous jumpers. Bob Fenner>

Adding Royal grammas Bob, I have a 6 yr. old reef tank w/ a 6.5 yr. old Royal Gramma. Would it be unwise to add 2 or 3 more in hope of them perhaps breeding? Or would my current Gramma most likely attack the new fish? The setup is a 110g. w/ 2 Chromis viridis,1 Centropyge argi, 2 Gobiidae okinawae and a Halichoeres (golden / yellow wrasse). <A semi-tough question... on the one hand, this is quite a good age for a Gramma loreto (in captivity or otherwise)... on the other hand, the tank is likely big enough (and likely has lots of rock, decor...) to accommodate more than one. If it were me, I'd try introducing just one more... during a day when you can observe them closely... and float the newcomer in a perforated plastic gallon jar so they can "get acquainted" w/o getting to each other... and make sure you have provision for removing the new one should there be trouble. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your input! G. Ski

How aggressive is a royal Gramma? Hey Bob, <You got Steven Pro tonight.> So, I finally found my Purple back Pseudochromis a new home, seeing as it was making it extremely difficult to get any new fish for my 25 gal mini reef! The little devil already has managed to kill a watchman goby, green Chromis damsel, and was on its way to tormenting to death a Firefish goby that was twice its size! Anyway... so now that its has a new home in my LFS's display tank, I was wondering if replacing it with a royal Gramma (I like the purple yellow color scheme) is a good choice? <Not much better than the Pseudo.> Right now my tank has a bicolor blenny, and a Firefish goby, with some yellow and button polyps, and I'd also like to get a 6 line wrasse. <25 gallons is not very big. Whatever your third fish is, it should be your last. I would get the Six-Line over the Gramma.> Thanks!! -David <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Royal Gramma I am reading conflicting information on Royal Grammas. According to Scott W. Michael, author of "Marine Fishes", the Royal Gramma can be kept in groups of one large and several small specimen. The website of AquaLive and a few others suggest to only keep one. Which information is correct? <I would only keep one in most tanks. I have seen two kept alive comfortably in a 450 gallon tank.> The reason I ask is I was looking to create a small school of colorful fish. I would like add these fish to a 55 gallon currently containing 1 Tomato Clown, 1 3-striped Damsel, 1 Fiji Blue Damsel, 2 Large Pajama Cardinals and a purple lobster. In the future I would like to add a juvenile Yellowbar Angelfish along with the Royal Gramma. I realize that I might be exceeding my inches per gallon once I reach that point I am willing to remove the Damsels. My second question is, are two Fluval 304 canister filters and a Sea Life 60 plus 20 lbs. of liverock adequate for a fish only tank? <I am not familiar with the Sea Life 60 (sounds like a skimmer), but the circulation seems low to me. The canister filters are going to become clogged and the flow slow over a few weeks. I would consider more liverock and a few powerheads.> Your website is incredibly informative. I am very new to this hobby. I get a 110% more information from looking over your FAQ's than asking questions at the local LFS's). Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. Carmina <Glad to be of assistance. -Steven Pro>

Bicolor Gramma Bob, I know that bicolor grammas are aggressive to their own species, but what about clownfish? <All fish are territorial to an extent. There should be no strong reaction between a clownfish and a Gramma or Pseudochromis if the tank is large enough.> I want to get the bicolor and a flame angel at the same time and house them in my hospital tank. I think they will get along fine. <If large enough, but better to quarantine separately.> Thanks <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Compatibility WWW Crew, Thank you for all the great service you deliver to aquarists. Presently the problem I have is that my fourline wrasse has apparently intimidated my royal Gramma to the point that "Roy" is completely spooked and rarely comes out of the live rock. I had begun looking for his remains, then I saw him again. And since the wrasse patrols every nook and cranny of LR I don't see how the Gramma can get much comfort there. The royal Gramma is a 5 month resident, the wrasse just 5 weeks, and the problem developed 5 days ago. They live in a 90 gallon tank with lots of LR nooks and caves, total bliss with Bannerfish, yellow tank, a fat and grumpy clownfish, and a well assimilated blue damsel--then these two have decided to have a spat. I have seen the wrasse charge--they are of similar size--about 4 inches, but very different swimming styles--a rowboat vs. a torpedo. I am concerned the Gramma will get worried or starved to death, <Possible> although I see no physical damage. I've considered the following steps--please advise. Plan A--Let it go for a while longer (already the Gramma has come peaking out at dinner time) <A good sign.> Plan B--try to net the wrasse <I am guessing this would be extraordinarily difficult with this fish.> (maybe the barbless fishhook method that Anthony describes) <I like the method, but with this species and its small mouth I don't know if it would work.> and isolate it for attitude adjustment and reintroduce it <Likely to have little effect on its temperament.> Plan C catch wrasse or Gramma (I love 'em both) sell it back to LFS. <Probably the best plan> Any suggestions gratefully appreciated. <You could always setup another tank!> Mark in Raleigh NC <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Soft Coral and Royal Gramma questions. Thanks for that. No it's not Dendronephthya sp. <Good! The word cauliflower scares me> Actually we don't see those too often in the U.K. (or at least not in the shops I visit, which is quite a range), which is a good thing. <Yes it is> My coral is most like the Capnella, but without the 'trunk'. The polyps are more 'fluffy' and are very low down, touching the rock, the 'trunk' being only a centimetre or so tall, and completely hidden by the polyps. Anyway I'll do as you say and attach the pieces to small rocks. Apart from falling of the main rock they look healthy enough, and are fully open. <Excellent, I hope you end up with a few extra colonies from this.> Thanks again. Excellent stuff as always! Brian P.S. Any views on small shoals of Royal Grammas. Everything I've been told says only one Royal Gramma per tank, and then I see one of your colleagues mentioned how good a small shoal looks. <Hmmm... who was that, I'd be happy to swing this question to them also> Indeed, this sounds great. What constitutes a small shoal in a 5' x2'x2' tank with LR & DSB in sump (plus skimming). <Grammas hang out in and close to the rocks so you will need plenty of live rock for them. A tank your size with ample live rock could support a nice group of 5-6 individuals. They're very cool, especially when they hang out in a cave upside-down.> Other inhabitants ... 1 yellow tang, 1 small blenny, 2 common clowns. Presumably a shoal of grammas would all have to be added at the same time. <I would. Good luck! -Kevin>

The Final Resident (Adding A Royal Gramma) Hi, Hope things are going well for all of you there. <Couldn't be better! Scott F. here today!> I have a 75 gallon F/O tank with the following inhabitants:  2 clowns, 1 butterfly, 1 dwarf angel and a flame hawk.  I was thinking of adding a royal Gramma, but wanted to know if you think the others would cause trouble.  I know fish are supposed to be added according to their aggressiveness and I should have added the Gramma before the angel and hawk. If you think It is all right to add him, would you recommend moving the decorations around? Thanks for your help, James <Well, James, the Royal Gramma is one of my favorite fishes, and I think that it would do pretty well with the other fishes that you have. My only concern might be the hawkfish, if it tends to be a bit overzealous in protecting its turf. Your idea of rearranging the decor would be most helpful in diffusing any potential territorial disputes before they get out of hand....After adding the 'Gramma, I'd consider the system fully stocked, and hang the "No Vacancy" sign on the tank! Have fun! Regards, Scott F> -- James Hall

- Livestock Question -  Hi, I hope all is going well for you there. I have a couple of questions, please. First of all, I have a 75 gallon F/O tank with the following inhabitants: 2 false perculas, 1 lemon butterfly, 1 coral beauty angel and 1 flame hawk. I want to add a royal Gramma. I know fish are supposed to be added in the order of their aggressiveness and should have added it sooner. Do you think there would be any problems with adding one now? <Provided all these fish have plenty of places to hide, get out of the way of others, I think the Royal Gramma will be fine.> Also, I have 2 types of flake food I feed the fish in addition to frozen. The containers are large (5.5 ounces). I have heard that it is better to buy smaller size containers to ensure freshness of the food. Will the food lose its freshness and/or nutritional value if not all used up quickly? <It will lose its freshness, but personally am not a big fan of flake food - if you look at the price you pay per ounce, it's a rip off never mind the fact that it's just not as nutritious as the frozen foods.> Thank you for your help.  James  <Cheers, J -- > 

ADDING A ROYAL GRAMMA I have a 75 gallon F/O tank with a pair of clowns, 1 butterfly fish and 1 coral beauty angel.  If I add a royal Gramma will it cause problems with the angel?    I know the angel likes to stay mostly in my rocks and I know the royal Gramma likes rocks also.  Please advise.<There should not be a problem with adding the royal Gramma...enjoy!, IanB>  Thank you, James

Another Gramma? 3/13/04 Greetings!  I love your FAQs, very, very good for this hobby! My tank: 75g with 30g refugium / 15g sump.  Total water 'space' 120g.  About 100 lbs LR in main, 20 lbs LR in refug.  Up and going for 1 year this month. Am 0, trites 0, trates, 5.  In inhabitants (some moved from an earlier tank): SPS, brains, and clams.  2 Clarkii clowns (2 year old and 2 month old), 2 Royal Gramma (1 year 3 months), 1 Foxface (6 months), Lawnmower Blenny (3 months), Mandarin (2 weeks, plenty of pods with the refug I hope ... watching), Serpent Star (1 year 6 months), 2 Cleaner Shrimp and a cleaner crew.  *takes a deep breath* <All sounds good!> The Gramma, 1 male (3 1/2") and 1 female (2") (I think this because they got along for 5 months in a nano tank together).  The male has his nest and I only see him at feeding time.  He is fat and energetic when he is out.  He and the female will 'yell' (open mouth about 1/2 inch away) every few days.  The female has an area of the tank she hangs out in (about a 1 foot cube area).  Does my assumption on their sex sound right? <Hard to say.  I could not find any info on the difference between sexes, or if they make pair bonds or only associate during mating season.> What's the chances, or things to look for, that they are breeding.  I know the male will keep the babies in his mouth, but he's not seen that often.  I've read that one male can have several females (talking the Gramma's here obviously ... I can barely handle my wife!).  With all the fish I have already would it be a stretch to add another Gramma if I can either get a female or one that hasn't decided yet?  Any advice to try to get these little cuties to procreate? <My hunch is that your tank is big enough and has enough hiding places that your current grammas are tolerating each other.  Adding another may cause problems regardless of sex (even if you could differentiate!).  Grammas are not mouth brooders.  They most likely lay eggs in a nesting site.  Even if you successfully spawned them, rearing the larvae is probably very difficult.  If you have an interest in breeding marine fish, Banggai cardinals are about the easiest to try.> Last question that I think I know the answer to, but I just have to ask for my wife.  If I don't get another Gramma, do I have room for a purple tang?  She really wants something that constantly swims and is a tang ... and is not yellow (she says I have to much yellow! lol).  Thanks for your time!!!  T.J. <A 75g tank is (or will quickly become) cramped quarters for a purple tang.  A half dozen or so green Chromis or blue reef Chromis provide a lot of movement, are inexpensive and quite attractive.  Best regards.  Adam>

Bristleworms in a Nano (3/30/04)  First of all I live in Singapore and most of our marine fish come from Indonesia and the Philippines. I however stumbled across a store that only deals with seahorses and the shipper had added a couple Royal Grammas along in the shipment. Nice guy huh. We don't get Royal Grammas in Singapore, we only get false grammas. So to my luck, there was a Royal Gramma pair for sale. How do I know they were a pair? Because they were living in the same cave. So I happily bought them both for $50 bucks and even bought the LR that was the roof of their home. After dipping them for an hour in Paraguard-Seachem, I acclimatized them to my tank water and subsequently released them. My other inhabitants are 1 medium golden maroon clown, 1 firefish goby and 1 fire shrimp and a turbo snail. <The Maroon Clown will get too big for your tank an will likely kill all other fish as it gets bigger--they are very aggressive.> Upon entry into my tank, the grammas went into separate caves, All was well for a few hours until I noticed that the larger of the two was out and about and "exploring" the new surroundings and the smaller female, was not. I decided to investigate. The cave in which she was hiding was lifted from the tank and turned upside down, to my horror, she was dead. Stuck by the mouth to an opening in the LR and entire stomach was eaten away and appeared greeny blue. My tank has been running for a year and I have constantly had fish disappear mysteriously. <Hmm. Either something's getting them or they're dying of some sort of shock or illness or toxin.> Damsels, clowns, Chromis even 2 humpback shrimp. Months ago I removed a 1/2 inch mantis and a mushroom covered rock that contained about 20 large bristle worms. I thought I got them all. Bristle worms eat fish. <No, most do not eat living fish, only dead ones.> It's a shame that so many people think that they eat left over food scraps alone and do not touch the livestock. They do and they do it often. <What evidence do you have of that. Just because you have fish dying in your tank and the Bristleworms appear to have eaten them does not mean they killed the fish. Most Bristleworms are scavengers that cannot catch a living, healthy fish unless maybe it's sleeping.> I lost 5 Chromis in a week at one time. <Still, unless you actually saw a Bristleworm catch and kill a living fish, you cannot be certain the Bristleworm did it. The sun came up the morning my grandmother died. That doesn't mean it killed her. Coincidence does not prove causality.> My water parameters have been constant and within those recommended by everyone. <Zero ammonia, Zero nitrite and minimal nitrate are the only acceptable numbers.> I really do not know what to say. I was dreaming of breeding grammas to make them available to other reef keepers here in Singapore and I am only left with a male Royal Gramma now. <It is virtually impossible to breed Grammas. You need a system of hundreds of gallons. They simply do not get along in such a tiny tank. Even though they appeared to be "mated" they were very unlikely to stay so in such a tiny tank. I wouldn't be surprised if the one mortally injured the other and then it died in its cave. No way to know. I can tell you that your tank is too small for more than a couple of small fish.> Bristle worms are a pain and should be boiled if not deep-fried and fed to Osama Bin Laden. I also strongly believe that they carry parasites that can be transmitted to the fish when they are bitten. <There is no evidence of this. Bristleworms perform many beneficial functions and get a bad rap. Not to say they are not without risk, but only a few of the bigger ones pose a real risk. They make a convenient target for your wrath, but I suggest you thoroughly review your techniques. As for the Gramma, it may have died of the stress of being shipped so far or from the dip. No way to know for certain.> My firefish goby once had his entire pectoral fin ripped off right to its body and till this day, lucky he survived the trauma, has a retarded fin that refuses to grow back. His pectoral fin resembles a strand of human hair in terms of what is left. <And how do you know that a Bristleworm did it? Did you watch the actual event? Perhaps you still have a mantis hiding in your tank.> Bristle worms should not be in any tank. <Not so. As stated, the smaller ones serve useful functions.> They are pests, eat/attack livestock and corals. <Corals yes, fish seldom.> So what if they eat excess food? reefers should control the amount of feeding in the first place. <I will not argue with this last point, but they eat more than just "extra food" They also eat fish poop.> I'm seriously pissed off with these worms. <Well, I'm sorry you're having such trouble with your tank, but I would not be so quick to blame the Bristleworms. It is very unlikely that they are the cause of all of this. If you want them gone, you could pull out all of your rock and dip it for a few moments in hypersaline water (SG about 1.035). This will drive most of them out of the rock. Read more about this technique on WWM. As for your fish losses, I'd suggest a little introspection and openness to other, more likely problems than the Bristleworms. As for my tank, I'll keep my worms because they are not causing any problems. Of course, it is 180 gallons, and any problem is going to be much bigger in a 15. I wish you good luck and hope things turn around for you. Steve Allen>

ADDING A ROYAL GRAMMA <Hi, MikeD here> Hi, hope all is going well there.<If you only knew!>  I just had a royal Gramma die because of being picked on by a yellow tang, which has since been taken out of the tank.<OK. This begs a question. Royal grammas are small members of the sea bass family that live in caves, nooks and crannies in the reef.  If he had sufficient shelter, how could the tang pick on him?>  I know fish should be added in the order of their aggressiveness; and the royal Gramma was the first fish I added after setting up my tank.  Do you think I could add another one now after having added the rest of my inhabitants without problems?<That's entirely dependent on the question that I asked about the amount of LR and hiding places, and the smaller the tank the more important this becomes. If you have an "open, airy tank" where all of your fish HAVE to be in the open, you'll have a repeat performance.>  I have a pair of Percula clowns, flame hawk, coral beauty angel and a butterfly fish.<The clowns, the hawkfish and the angel are all tough enough to kill a royal Gramma with nowhere to hide.> Thank you for your time.<You're welcome and good luck!>  James

Gramma Compatibility Hi all!<Howdy, Cody here today.> After three weeks in quarantine my new Royal Gramma was put into my main reef tank (72 Gallon) two days ago. My tank is just over a year old and the few fish I have gotten along great. The problem is that my usually docile Coral Beauty is having a fit. The Royal Gramma headed for a hole in the rocks two days ago when put in the tank and is still in there. Any time she (he?) ventures a nose out the Coral Beauty flies at her and drives her back in. I've squirted some brine ship near the hole, but I'm pretty sure she isn't get much to eat. I rearranged the rocks around her hide out to try to lessen the territory claims the Coral Beauty might hold, but no dice. Here's my question. Will they get used to each other after a while? Should I just let them work things out? Beside the food thing I think the Gramma is safe and happy in her little cave. I thought about trying to catch the Beauty and putting here in the quarantine tank for a few weeks, then putting her back in the main tank. Would that help? Would she then be the "newbie"? She'll be hard to catch, but I think I can do it if it's a good idea. It seems to me that the Coral Beauty is reacting to the color of the Royal Gramma. The purple and yellow are very close to the same color. Do you think she thinks it's another angel fish like herself?<This would help out a ton.  If you can't catch the angel I would just let them sort it out.  They will probably be okay with time.  Cody> Thanks for all your great advice and help! Jim C

Compatibility question 13 Aug 2004 Hello, Frank here, yes, again. <Hi Frank, MacL here with you this fine evening.>  Thanks for all the quick responses.  I would just like to know your opinion on adding a royal Gramma to a tank with a percula clown, bicolor blenny, and six-line wrasse. I am thinking it's okay because it's a totally different fish, not only in terms of species, but dwelling, shape, and color, and general niche (all my fish do different things-if you know what I mean). <It get it! Seriously I think they would do fine.> I read that similar looking fish or fish from the same species tend to not get along.  What do you think about adding the royal Gramma?  Can feeding predators suppress aggression (just in case someone ever pics on someone)? <Honestly I know that fish that are well fed to seem more complacent. Perhaps you can avoid the over feeding problem by feeding directly at them with a turkey baster.>  Do compatible relationships in the tank tend to sour as fish mature or can this be avoided to by keeping them well fed?  The new guy would have places to hide and rock structure to go in and out of.  Thank you in advance, Frank. <I think the big thing is just to make sure that as they grow they continue to have enough room.>

Royal Grammas Blundell, I believe you and trust your expertise, but am just curious as to why not the Gramma with the Yasha haze goby? << Well don't think of me as an expert.  Just think of me as someone who's purchased about 8 royal grammas.  I just think they are much more difficult than most people say.  So it has nothing to do with the goby, it is just the size and maturity of the tank that worries me with grammas. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Marine quarantine, clownfish behavior, mixing grammas 1. I have an empty 20g tank that sits in the garage.  I would like to set it up for a QT tank, but don't want to have the heater running 24/7.  I am thinking of an insulated blanket of some sort - perhaps a modified moving <When the fish are in the tank, a heater is a must for a constant temperature.> blanket.  Will total darkness for extended amounts of time (2-3 weeks) cause fish to go psycho? <Total darkness for such a long time would not be beneficial for the fish. Just about any light will do just fine for a QT. You can also purchase a standard socket/reflector and run a regular 50wt bulb off of that for less than $10.00 from Home Depot. This is a very cheap way to go about getting light for the QT.> I don't need the fishy version of Hannibal Lechter causing havoc in my display tank after doing hard time in a dark QT... 2. Do clowns rest?  I was up at 0300 last night, whipped out my...flashlight, and had a look at things.  Everyone was "asleep" except for the two clowns...they were bobbing along - fat, dumb and happy.  Do they ever "sleep"? <No, they do not sleep in the way that we think of sleep. They do not have eyelids, and they do not loose consciousness during the night due to sleep. Instead, they rest. They will always be on a constant alert, but they will rest -- they will often lay in the anemone for a few seconds, or swim around it very slowly.> 3. I have a Royalus grammiticus (my version of scientific naming...).  Your faq says not to add another...c'mon, can I?  Please?  He's the coolest fist in the tank - along with the duskimus jawfishicus.  I have a 120g, 6 feet long - isn't that enough room for them to roam?  I mean, c'mon - can't we all just get along? <It would be very very risky to add two of them. If you did, you would need to add them at the same time. Because your tank is so long, however, it may be possible. If you did decide to get another, I would first re arrange your rockwork so that both will establish their territory again. This is likely to reduce any aggression. I would also turn the lights completely off when adding the fish. But as I said above, this is extremely risky. You may end up loosing the newly added fish due to aggression. And as you likely already know, the Royal Gramma is a very aggressive fish.> Thanks, Dave Brooks <Take Care! Graham.> San Diego

Compatibility issues Hi Crew, <Samuel> I have a six line wrasse and a clown goby in a 10 gallon tank which is 1 1/2 years old and very stable. I want to add a royal Gramma. <... I would not do this... too small a volume principally> I searched through responses and found the question, but the answer was 'it would be nice if you can pull it off'. Did you ever get a confirmation as to whether the 2 did tolerate each other. <Maybe not... I and sometimes Marina and Anthony place the ongoing "FAQs", and try to put them in order...> I know my tank is small but I would like to try it if there is a chance it will work. <Not a real good chance... if you do try this, be prepared... put the new animal in early in the day when you can be around to observe it... and have means (like a plastic, floating colander) for separating the new addition, okay from the store to return it> From my own small experience I have found that what looks like a good match may not last. I used to have 2 peppermint shrimp for over 6 months and then they disappeared without  a trace. I have no doubt it was the wrasse since at that time I found him with an injured eye. <Good observations. Bob Fenner>

Gramma Death (2/14/05) Hello. I love your site. Very valuable info! Anyway, tonight I had my first fish death. I'm very sad, and I don't want it to happen again.  <So sorry to hear. Steve Allen with you tonight.>  I have a 75 gallon FOWLR. I have 4 of the original damsels I originally cycled the tank with (started 3 months ago), 2 peppermint shrimp, a few hermit crabs and snails, and I HAD (until tonight) a royal Gramma (introduced about 3 wks ago). There has always been some aggressive behavior of the damsels (the yellow tail is especially territorial) towards the Gramma, but I had never seen anyone actually fighting. I have plenty of hiding places for everyone.  <But if the hiding fish is too scared to come out, it will starve.>  Last night I saw some external wounds on the Gramma and his tail was a little torn.  <Somebody got 'im.>  Today I couldn't find him, and tonight he's dead. He looks pretty bad, like another fish just really tore into him!  <Much of this damage was probably done after he died.>  I'm devastated...should I remove the damsels (or that one) before getting any more fish?  <I'd pull all of them. They are notoriously aggressive and your particular yellow-tail seems more so than average for this species. I think those who advocate using damsels for cycling do a disservice to unsuspecting aquarists and to the fish. It is easy to cycle a tank without fish. This avoids causing unnecessary stress to the fishes and does not leave folks stuck in your situation.>  2 Ocellaris clowns were going to be my next purchase.  <Pretty fish. Even these are occasionally aggressive, but seldom a problem. Why two? They do not need mates (or host anemones) to thrive. With only one, you can have something else too. But if you like the appearance, two is fine if they pair up properly. Search WWM for tips.>  Thank you so much for your advice! Tait  <Hope this helps.>

- Chalk Bass Compatibility - Hi there! I've been looking through your FAQs and info, and as far as I can understand, chalk basses are from the same family as royal grammas...  <Yes, both basses [Serranidae] although in different genera.> <<Mmm, actually Grammas are in a separate family, Grammatidae... but these families are not very distally related. RMF>> I have a well-established 32 gal reef tank with a chalk bass, green Chromis, ocellaris clown, firefish and a few inverts (shrimp, hermit, etc...) They are all really peaceful and seem to do greatly together. I also have LPS and soft corals... My question is, will it be OK if I put a Royal Gramma with these guys?  <I'd recommend against it only because your tank is full, livestock wise... the fish would likely get along given more space but I think this will put your tank over the edge both socially and biologically.> Will there be any territoriality/species problems with my bass? (I love this guy!! so bright and beautiful colors, and lots of personality ;) Thanks a lot!!!  Ivan <Cheers, J -- > 

My Gramma's Dead! I found my new royal Gramma dead recently in my QT tank. His fellow mates in the QT tank were 3 Ocellaris clowns less than 2 inches each. He was about the same size as they were. His tail fin was frayed when I found him but no obvious external wounds on the body. Could those sweet looking clowns have ganged up on him? Everyone was eating heartily in the QT tank.  <Very unlikely C. Do. James (Salty Dog)>

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