Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs on Basslets/Grammas 1

Related Articles: Grammas

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

My favorite image of the Black Cap, Gramma melacara

Missing Gramma?! Dear WWM, As always, thank you for all you do. <Welcome> Anyway, in my last contact with you, my 30-gal was leaking, and I had put my two clowns, Gramma, and 5 hermits in a 10-gal. As you suspected, the "leak" was due to my protein skimmer not being tightened enough to the back of the aquarium. <Happens... frequently> It was easily fixed, and I'm back to using the 30-gal. I just recently moved. I did it the best way I could, put the water in 3 huge 5-gal plastic bottles, then moved the live rock and the fish in a 5-gal plastic bucket. The remainder of the water I threw out, to be changed at my new residence. All went well, until I set up my aquarium again. The clowns were quick to come out and ask for food (they do that by poking their heads at the top of the water), and the crabs moved around immediately, checking out the new aquarium arrangement. However, the Gramma was nowhere to be found! <Yikes> I know from past experiences that the little guy likes to hide when stressed, but he'd usually come out after a while. A week later, and still no Gramma. I took each piece of live rock out of the water individually, and checked as best as I could, each place where he could be hiding. I used a bright flashlight to help look, and I imagine I would have seen him easily, seeing as how my LR is brown and he is bright purple and yellow! However, he was nowhere. Possibilities? <Either "jumped out" (perhaps enroute), is "stuck" in the decor... or perished and consumed, quickly decomposed...> All I know for facts is that he is not outside of the aquarium, since I took care before and after the move to make sure there were no stragglers left behind, on the floor, or otherwise. However, I can't find him anywhere INSIDE the aquarium either! Could the crabs have made his body lunch?  <Yes, easily> Is live rock that intricate, that I could miss a fish hiding inside, even if I checked thoroughly? <Can be> If it's possible his body is still hidden in the live rock, how can I get it out? Wouldn't a rotting fish in the aquarium be detrimental the health of the entire aquarium? <Could be> Paul <Paul, not much to do re at this point... Either the fish will show up or it is gone. Bob Fenner> 

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)>

Royal Gramma Fin Rot part 2 3/22/05 I checked all water quality parameters including nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia and everything was undetectable. The pH is 8.2 and the water temperature is 77 degrees. The fish did not develop the fin rot until after I did my first water change (9 days after I got the fish) on the quarantine tank.  <Your water quality sounds fine, although there are many things that can affect water quality that we don't ever test for. Keep up water changes in the 20% per month range.> It was pretty freaked out when I was doing the water change so I wonder if this stress could have caused it to get the fin rot? My other conclusion is that the fish might have scrapped it's tail on a rock that I have in the tank for it to hide under and with the added stress developed the condition.  <Such infections often do start from an injury, but I agree with Bob that some other stress must be present to allow the infection to take hold.> I am feeding it formula one flake food, and it eats very well. Is this Ok nutrition wise for the fish? I have tried some meaty frozen foods, but it doesn't eat them as well. I end up trying to scoop out what it has left at the bottom, and this seems to stress the fish.  <This is a good quality food, but variety is the spice of life! Do try Sally's (San Francisco) brand Brine shrimp plus and Piscine Energetics Mysis shrimp as well as bits of squid. All are high in HUFAs and other important nutrients.> The black smudge that is on the side of the fish seems to be fading, do you know what it could be? <Hard to guess, but it is encouraging that it is getting better.> Is there anything else you recommend that I do for the fish? I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my e-mail. Thanks, Thresa.  <Good food and good water quality are paramount. If it is getting better (even slowly), simply continue on. If it gets worse, you could try antibiotics, but I would avoid them if at all possible for many reasons, especially the fact that they also kill beneficial bacteria as well as the fact that the disease organism can develop resistance. Best Regards. AdamC.>

Sick Gramma follow up 3/30/05 Thanks for the advice and I will give the fish food that you mentioned a try. What are the other water quality issues that could be causing the problem? I work in a water quality lab so I might be able to test for them.  <Potassium, Magnesium, Sulfate, Iodine, etc. are all things that are biologically important but rarely tested for. Also, the presence of just about any chemical (household chemicals, oils, pesticides, etc.) could theoretically cause problems. These are admittedly unlikely possibilities, but regular water changes are a great way to eliminate any of them at one time.> My quarantine tank is a 30 gallon tall tank that was given to me, could this cause the dissolved oxygen to be too low? If so could this be the source of the problem? I keep a live rock in there with the fish, I know it's not good to keep live rock in a quarantine tank, but I had an extra one.  <Low DO is a possibility if water movement is inadequate, especially at night when no photosynthesis is occurring. You can use pH as an indicator of gas exchange. Test the pH right before the lights come on in the morning. Take another sample outdoors and aerate it well. If the pH rises more than about .1, CO2 is accumulated (and O2 likely low.).> I really want to resolve the underlying problem, because I plan on quarantining more fish in this tank once the Gramma gets better and is moved to the main tank. Again I really appreciate you taking the time to address my questions. Thanks, Thresa  <If the pH test indicates poor gas exchange, the addition of an airstone or more water movement may solve the problem. Otherwise, I would suggest regular water changes along with good general husbandry. Best Regards. AdamC.>

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 -- >  Royal Gramma scare!! Hello there,   I've visited the website plenty of times and I get plenty of great advice but this time. I'm stumped. I recently put up a 12 gallon nano cube marine setup and I have a FOWLR set up. I just got a royal Gramma yesterday and today he was swimming around and eating and we went out for dinner tonight and we came home and I looked in the tank and too my surprise he was sucked up next to the filter and my mother kinda poked him to see if he was awake and sure enough he swam off and fled to his little cave. My question is do royal grammas usually need a babysitter for a while? Even though I've heard plenty that they're very hardy fish and can take care of themselves. I'm just scared that he's going to up and die on me in the next week or so. we've had a string of bad luck with our marine tanks. we've done everything to take care of all of our fish but everything seems to go wrong at the worst possible times. We had a 110 gallon setup and it got ich the first time and wiped out almost everything except the inverts! :( so we sold that tank and moved out of state and we just got this nano cube last month and now it seems the bad luck has followed us. any advice on their behavior and any signs we must look for that this fish is getting sick would surely help. and anything you can think of as to why he got sucked up at the filter and he lived to go back to his home. would help also!   Thanks so much for your time! Erin P.S. All levels are good and the tanks been up for a month now if that helps any! >Hello Erin, To start off with, having an ich outbreak that wipes your tank out has more to do with husbandry procedures (or lack of them) than bad luck most of the time. Always quarantine your fish before introducing them into the display. Secondly, about your Gramma - what kind of filter are you speaking of? There isn't always a logical reason of these things. As far as if he's sick or not, is he alert? Is he eating? Is his color good? Any spots or discoloration? Cheers Jim<

Emergency move!  30-gal Tank got a leak Dear WWM crew: <Paul> I never start an email to you guys without thanking you for everything you do... So thanks! <Welcome> It seems I am running into bad luck after bad luck starting up my aquarium.  I converted my 30-gal FW to SW and got a 10-gal as a QT tank.  My fish (two clowns, one Gramma, 5 hermits) seemed happy, ate relatively well, and were moderately active.  The Gramma mostly came out of the live rock for feeding, after which he would promptly go hide again. <Typical. Give it time> I woke up one morning to find a huge puddle on the floor and a good portion of the aquarium's water level gone!  The aquarium was leaking, so I decided to put everything in my 10-gal.  I filled the bottom with sand, put as much live rock as I could without stacking it while still making caves, filled it with water, and got my fish to safety.  Now, here's where my confusion comes in. My fish are much more active!  At feeding time, they are extremely anxious to get food, and will even take it out of my hand if I do not let it go in time!  The Gramma no longer spends his time hiding within the live rock.  The crabs are much faster than before.  Is this a bad thing?  Should I take this to mean the fish are happier, or just frantically claustrophobic? <Something/s are different... maybe you've raised the temperature... perhaps just a good water change...> I know small aquariums are dangerous because it's harder to keep the water quality consistent.  However, if I have the water tested by a LFS weekly, would it be impossible, and would the fish be unhappy?   <No store, no agency is able to actually test for all...> Since I live in a small apartment, the small aquarium looks much better than the large one, the fish are more active, eat better... everything seems to be better, except the actual size of the aquarium. I have been maintaining this small 10-gal mini-reef like this for the past two months.  I've been changing 25% of the water weekly, and the water I've been taking out of the aquarium, I've been getting tested the same day.  If I am diligent about these parameters, is it possible I may keep the aquarium as is?  Or is it still ridiculously small? <Mmm, you may have good success for a good long while... much of the probable negative interaction twixt and between the clowns and Gramma has been eliminated through their introduction in the larger tank> I only ask because my 30-gal is useless, I can't afford a new tank at the moment, and I'd have to give the LFS back all my fish and live rock... and something close to a $500 investment will have been wasted. Thanks for your time! Paul Ghica <Paul... did you actually ever find the leak in the thirty? Very often such "leaks" turn out to be gear failures, splash and spray from a powerhead, diffuser... I would definitely set this tank up (outside) with newspaper under it, and CAREFULLY fill it, check for the actual source (if any)... and even IF it did leak, I would simply reseal (silicone) the inside corners... easy to do. At the very least, sell all to someone who will test, repair it. Bob Fenner> Royal Gramma Hello, Thanks a million for your informative website. I was just wondering about the royal gamma that I added to my 23 g tank yesterday. Most likely its the only fish I am gonna keep apart from some juvenile sailfin blennies I have. The Gramma hides within the rockwork/caves and does not come out. Is the hiding behaviour normal or would I begin to see her more often swimming around the tank...Thanks a lot. Sid. >>>Hey Sid, You may need more fish. :) Fish (especially small ones) use the presence of other fish in the vicinity to determine if it's safe to be exposed or not. If he continues with this behavior add a few Chromis damsels or something to make him feel more comfortable, and you should see him out swimming more. This is also happening in combination with him just being new and not acclimated to the situation yet. Leave him be for a week or so and see what happens. You may not need the other fish. Cheers Jim<<< Interior Decoration I have a 10 gallon tank (18 months old) to which I added a Royal Gramma about a month ago. He is really digging up the place. I have about 2 inches of fine sand and many  clam shells that I prop up with stones for hiding places. This guy picked on one shell as his home even though it was very low to the sand. He is fixing it up by removing sand from beneath the shell. He dumps the sand about six inches away. I have never seen it since he does it during the day but my wife did see it. Is this usual for grammas. <It's not uncommon to see a fish of this genus "redecorate."  They're still predators, looking to beat the odds on their prey.  Enjoy, thanks for sharing! Ryan>  Maybe he thinks he is a Goby. 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>

Injured Gramma >Good evening Crew. >>Good morning, Marina today. >I need some advice, please. >>My pleasure. >I purchased a Royal Gramma on October 16.  Put her through a "freshwater" dip, then 21 days of quarantine.   >>A note - best qt protocol is 30 days minimum, disease free. >I moved her from the QT to my display tank on Sunday, Nov. 7.  She was fine and energetic.  I have some Yellow Tail Damsels, they bothered her for a few hours, but she went and hid for the rest of the day/night.  Monday afternoon I noticed she had some discoloration or patchy scale like areas near and in front of her dorsal fin.   >>Sounds as though the damsels did what dem damsels do and scraped the Gramma up a bit. >She is eating, is out and about, doesn't seem to be bothered by the other fish anymore.  Besides the 3 Damsels, I have a Canary Wrasse, and Lawnmower Blenny, various crabs, snails, shrimp.  All reside in a 55 gal with filter, skimmer, 2 powerheads, 70 lbs of LR and 30 lbs of live sand/crushed coral. Water Quality is 76.5 degrees, 8.2 pH, No ammonia, no nitrite, about 30 ppm Nitrate, and 1.024 SG. >>That level of nitrate can, over a period of time, be detrimental to the fish.  I recommend a few large water changes (on the order of 50% or better), then continue as needed to maintain.  Also, macroalgal growth can be helpful, as can the addition of a Tridacnid, T. derasa are hardy, attractive, and don't require huge amounts of light (I grew mine under normal output fluoros matched for best spectrum). >I have included a couple of pictures. >>Yes, very good shots at that, too.   >Should I be concerned with this?    >>Not overtly, but do have a hospital system and some antibiotic (I recommend Spectrogram) on hand in case.  I suggest first that, if you don't already, you begin a regimen of Selcon to the fishes' diet.  Nutrition is key to recovery, not just good water quality. >What is it?    >>External injury, in my opinion. >Treatment suggestions? >>Let the fish be, feed well, do those water changes. >Thank you. John McKnight
>>You're welcome, John.  Marina

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  >>

Gramma Suicide and Mbuna First I would like to say that your website has been of great help to me as I have been getting back into fish lately! Now for the questions. I will start with the Gramma since its shorter. :) I have a 10 gallon nano marine setup. It has been running for 6 months now and is doing well. I have no measurable nitrites, nitrates, or ammonia. Salinity and ph are constant. For the last several months now I have had an ocellaris clown and a royal Gramma in it. Suddenly a few days ago, my Gramma committed suicide by jumping out of the tank! Unfortunately he did this at night so by the time I saw him he was all dried out on the floor.  Any idea what might have caused this? The tank has a big seashell which he staked out as his home, as well as about 5 lbs of live rock. There is also a peppermint shrimp in it which I think the Gramma was nibbling the antennae off of. The Gramma has always been the top fish in the tank, so I cant figure out why he might have jumped. Now for my main question. I have recently decided to set up my 55 gallon tank as a freshwater tank. I have decided to go with African cichlids. I have chosen a group that I would like to keep together, but I would like to know if they will do well together. What I was thinking of keeping is a trio of electric yellows, 4 P. Socolofi, a trio of Pseudotropheus johanni, 4 cobalt blue zebras, and 2 buffalo cichlids with 1 male per group. This seems like a lot of fish but I read that you are supposed to overcrowd to help avoid anyone getting singled out to be picked on. I will be putting lots of cave work and decorations in to help them establish territories, and I will be using 2 HOB Whisper 30-60 gallon filters. Will these fish get along? If I need to switch some of them, please list several. I am getting them all at my LFS so I have a limited number from which to choose. I was thinking of using some small gravel for the substrate which I can get for free out of a relatives creek bed, but I am not sure if it would work. What do you think? If not I will buy some sand instead. Any brand/type recommendations for that? As for decoration, I wanted to use some rocks which I found but I am worried that they will be too heavy, so I am going to use fake rock decorations which I will buy at my LFS. If you have any suggestions I would be very grateful. Thank you! >>>Hey Michelle, I'll be happy to help out. First of all, your Gramma jumped out because you don't have a lid on the tank. Small tank + No lid = dead fish. If something spooks him, anything, he only has a very short distance to execute an escape maneuver. The other choice is up. As far as your plans for the African tank, it sounds like it should work just fine, but keep up on your water changes. I've kept that many Mbuna and more in a 55 without problems, but you have to manage the nitrogen cycle correctly. There is no such thing as Pseudotropheus johanni, and I think you mean Melanochromis johannii. These are very aggressive fish, but good additions to such a tank. Will they get along? No, but that's impossible, and never the object with these fish. You want to manage the aggression. You need visual barriers.   Whatever substrate you choose, keep in mind that you're going to have to clean it every few weeks. I like sand because it prevents detritus from settling down into the bed. Cheers Jim<<<  

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.>

- Loss of Color in Royal Gramma - Hello and thanks in advance to all the wet web crew!  I have a Brazilian Gramma, I've had her about 4 months.  She did fine in the QT  tank, and other than some open mouth arguing with the tanks alpha fish, a  bicolor angel, fit in fine in the main tank.  For the last couple months the pigment on her face is almost white.  She eats like a champ, she  doesn't have any other discoloration, she is bright and vibrant everywhere except her face. <I see no mention of "what" this fish eats like a champ.> I thought it would be best to just leave her alone and  watch, she eats fine, swims around with no problems, she has a favorite cave she  hangs out in so I see no other signs of disease.  She doesn't rub against  the sand or rocks.  It's a 120 gallon tank, the water checks out fine, I  change 35 gallons every 2 weeks, I have an Aqua C Remora skimmer (hope this  gives you the tank info you need).  Any idea why she lost her color? <Probably due to a lack of variation in the foods you've chosen. Most often, a loss of color is due to nutritional issues, either too much of one thing or not enough of another. If you've chosen for instance, brine shrimp, this just doesn't pass as a nutritious food. You'd need to alternate between this and Mysis shrimp, and perhaps some other meaty foods or combination items like Formula One.> It's been the same for a long time, not spreading.  Can fish lose pigment  in their old age? <Yes... but I'd expect that to happen over 10's of years.> I have NO idea how old she might have been, she'd only been at the LFS for a week, I couldn't wait to bring her home any longer as I'd  special ordered her. <Probably not that old.> Thanks so much for all your wise words! Concerned Mom! <Cheers, J -- > 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

Royal Gramma In A Royal Mess Hi crew, <Scott F. here today> You have been helpful in the past so I will try again. I have a 10 gallon (too small as you told me before) with a Royal Gramma, a Sixline Wrasse, a Clown Goby and a Rainfordi besides snails and hermits. Water quality good except nitrates about 20. I went on vacation and on the first day my daughter told me that the Gramma was not swimming around as usual but was hiding in his night spot. Eventually she saw a bulging eye and he was not eating. When I got back two weeks later he is alive but not more than that. He was on the bottom this morning barely breathing. There was no eye as far as I can tell. I can not get a view to see his other side and he is back in his night spot. Now that I checked about eye problems I see that Epsom salt may have helped. At this point can anything be done to save him. He does not seem to be eating. <I'm sorry to hear about the sad state of this fish. If you're getting good results with Epsom salts, then there is a good possibility that the fish suffered some sort of injury. As far as the lack of appetite and low respiration are concerned, this could be caused by many different things, ranging from a parasitic illness to environmental conditions. If possible, I'd remove this fish to a separate tank for further observation and possible treatment, if needed. Once of the best things that you can do is to provide a quiet tank and clean water. Keep trying to get him to eat. Perhaps you could administer some aquarium vitamin preparation directly to the water in this tank to help provide some nutrition and stimulate eating. Let us know if other symptoms manifest themselves. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Royal Gramma Vs. Parasite!  Just need a quick ID on a disease of a new Royal Gramma in QT. We had white mucous from behind both gill areas. Thought it was Oodinium but now thinking Gill Fluke (too)?. Gave two fresh water dips last w/e with methyl blue. Added copper at 0.25ppm.  <Hopefully, in the treatment tank-not the display, right?>  Seems like its not stressed: gill movement, feeding, general movement in tank all normal. It will rub on (artificial) rock but often on side not looking diseased. Water 0,0,0, 8.2 (30 gal glass bottom with Eheim Pro II minus carbon filter). Looks like a small white protrusion from gill and either mucous/scar around gill area. (Sorry - photo not perfect!)  Thanks for your advice.  Jonathan  <Well Jonathan, in my opinion, this is definitely some sort of parasitic growth. I would stay the course on the copper treatment (following manufacturer's instructions concerning both concentration and duration of the treatment), and you'll be able to assess rather quickly whether or not this course of action is working...Do stay the course, keep feeding the fish, and maintain good environmental conditions. Best of luck...Keep us posted! Regards, Scott F.>

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>

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>

Mystery Gramma (12/03/2003) Hey Bob, <You got Steve Allen tonight.> I'm relatively new to marine fish, only having my tank for about 6 months. I recently bought a royal Gramma which I'm starting to think is not actually a royal Gramma but a Lipogramma klayi. <Could be> It doesn't have the black spot on the dorsal or the line running through the eye, could this be a female royal Gramma <coloration is the same male/female for Gramma loreto> or a completely different species? <Hard to say without a picture. L. klayi is a deepwater fish seldom seen in the trade. It does sometimes appear in a shipment of G. loreto. I searched all over the web and could not find a picture. It does seem that it eats pretty much the same foods, so should be OK. Could you actually have a Pseudochromis paccagnellae? Check picture here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pseudoch.htm  You may also want to post your quandary on WetWebFotos forum to see if anyone there has experience with L. Klayi.> Thanks, Steven <You're welcome. Steve Allen>

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

Damma Gramma! >Hello Crew, >>Hello. >I started this morning pouring over the wealth of information you guys have amassed on fish illness and treatments and began to get sick myself!  Wow!  Lots of folks with lots of strange problems.  It's really nice to know that there is someone out there to help.  You guys are great! My problem:  I started up my 45 gal system (my very first) in January (Emperor 280 filter w/o bio-wheel, CPR-2R skimmer, 2-300gph pumps, 3.5 - 4 inches of substrate (2.5 inches of Aragonite, remainder sand), 48lbs LR, 96W 50/50 PC hood, 200W heater).  With work pulling me away from my home for several weeks, I was unable to introduce any fish for several months.  Just LR, 3 peppermint shrimp, a few hermit crabs and snails occupied the system.  Eventually, I bought my first fish, a Royal Gramma that appeared to be fully grown.   >>So, around 3" in length, yes? >Water parameters have been stable for months (Ammo = 0, Nitrite = 0, Nitrate = 0, Phos = 0, SG = 1.025, Temp = 80 degrees (a little high), Alk = normal, pH = 8.4).   >>Looks fine. >I have been doing 15% water changes every two weeks.  She lived in the tank alone for 5 months before I introduced 2 Clowns, a Firefish and a Scooter Blenny. >>All at once?  I do hope this was after each was quarantined for 30 days. >The next few days, I saw the Gramma "mouthing off" at the new arrivals.  The QT-mates didn't seem to care and pretty much huddled together.  The Firefish seemed to step in the middle of Gramma/Clown face-offs.   >>Curious as to the species of clowns, some are far more pugnacious than others.  In any event, clearly THIS tank belongs to the Gramma. >After about 5 days, the Gramma went into hiding.  There was a couple of days where she wouldn't come out to eat at feeding time (frozen Brine shrimp - a favorite of her's).  Eventually, she would come out to eat, then retreat into her hiding place behind the rocks at the back of the tank. >>Someone put her in her place, eh? >Now, about a month into the arrival of the new fish, the Gramma has been hiding under rocks in the front of the tank, more visible and eating. >>Sounds as though whoever she had it out with is top fish. >About two days ago, I noticed that the Gramma was rubbing herself against the plants and rocks ever so slightly at times and was remaining more hidden most of the day.  Also noticed that she didn't eat last evening.  So I pulled out my trusty book collection to figure out what might be the problem.  Ich was something that popped up that scared the living daylights out of me!   >>Common, and easily treated OUTSIDE the main display.. however, if this is it (you should see the cysts) then all fish would have to leave the tank. >All the new fish are very healthy (active swimmers, hardy eaters, no outward signs of disease, no abnormal behaviors).  The Gramma doesn't seem to have any white specks on her (a little difficult to see as Royal Grammas have some natural lite specks on their bodies) or any other abnormalities - well maybe her snoot appears to be a little darker than normal, maybe...  I'm concerned of course that the Gramma could be ill, but then again maybe not ... or not yet??  I'm still thinking that she is having issues with the introduction of her tank mates; more of a social problem.   >>This could very well be. >Do fish exhibit this "rubbing" when they are stressed as well as when they have a parasite on their bodies?? >>Honestly, not that I've noticed.  Usually, when they're rubbing because of parasites it's pretty easy to discern that there is physical irritation.  Many fish will do a "shimmy", that is part battle call and part show-off (they'll flare their fins to make themselves appear larger as well). >I tried to catch and remove the Gramma last night, but had no luck with all the rock in the tank.  I'm now dreading the idea of having to remove rock to catch her.  I don't want to infect the rest of the fish if she is ill.   >>If she is ill, they're already exposed. >Was even considering purchasing a UV sterilizer to help kill what ever could be in the water. >>In my honest opinion, a waste of money. >Should I remove the Gramma from the system?  Should I wait to see if there is anything physically wrong before I upset her any further and the other fish as well? >>I would wait and observe closely, yes.  Then, if you determine she's sick, she MUST be removed from the tank for treatment. >Are there any tricks to catching sick fish without moving/dismantling the setup?? >>Ha!  Yes, many, MANY years working retail makes one very good with the net.  Other than that, see of you can get a shop employee to do the netting up of the fish (get the oldest "hand" you can find).  Other than that, the other methods I've heard used take some time, as they involve training the fish to eat from the net, or trapping. >What about a UV sterilizer?  Should I go ahead with the purchase? >>As I said, I wouldn't. >Any other advice would be great!!!  Thank you for your help!  It is very much appreciated!  Rick >>At this point I would only observe.  If it seems there are still fish wars being fought, a little rearranging of the structure might be in order, or a reintroduction of everyone after a week's hiatus from the display.  Both involve moving the rockwork.  Marina

Mystery Malady Help WWM strange-disease guru: <Ho about "WWM Strange Guru"? Scott F. here today!> I have a Royal Gramma that looks exactly like it was tagged by a porcupine. There are dozens of very fine, clear-ish with a bit-of-white needles about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch long poking out of its left eye, left eye socket, and mouth. The fish seems unchanged behavior wise (normal and healthy.) <Weird...Sounds almost like some kind of external fungal infection> I cannot find anything on your site about what this might be. I did recently introduce a purple Gorgonian that this Gramma likes to swim around and through; perhaps the Gorgonian has something to do with this? Any help is most appreciated, SLC <Well, before you rush in and administer medications, I'd observe this fish for a while longer. It may be that you'll see this material clear out on its own. On the other hand, if it begins to interfere with the fish's ability to eat, etc., then you may need to take some action. I'd operate on the assumption (and it IS an assumption) that you are dealing with some sort of fungal disease, and treat with appropriate medication in a separate aquarium...Keep an eye on this fish to make sure that things don't progress. Good luck! Regards, ScottF>

Stranger Than Fiction...(Follow-up To Mystery Malady) Scott F: Thanks for the reply. I took your advice and did nothing, just carefully observing my R.G.'s state. The mysterious needles went away completely within a day or so. Strange.... SLC <Sometimes, doing nothing is better than doing something...Nothing ever surprises me in this hobby any more! Take care! Scott F.>

Royal Gramma with Tan Mark on Mouth >Sorry to bother you but I could not get through on the message board for a follow-up to my original post. >>Lately, not an uncommon problem.  Marina to help, and no worries, eh? >I have a Royal Gramma 4 days into its acclimation quarantine.   >>Ah, you're warming my heart with those words. >It has remained in the corners or behind the heater the entire time except when feeding.   >>Have you provided cover in the form of PVC pieces and elbows?  This will go a long way towards reducing its overall stress levels, and they are EASILY sterilized for next time. >It did have one nip out of its tail when I picked him up but that seems to be doing fine.  The problem is I noticed some tan mark or small growth right on its mouth tonight.  When I went to check later it was twitching in the bottom corner of the tank.   >>Puzzling.. >What might be wrong and what should I being doing to help it? >>It's difficult for me to say without seeing the animal.  Do try the boards again, but I would definitely recommend reducing the salinity level to around 1.010, just to rule out parasites.  If this is something else (bacterial/viral infection), then hypo won't affect it much.  At this point, ensure water quality is best, provide the cover for the fish, and observe.  Have some Spectrogram on hand in case you decide there's a bacterial infection present, if it's viral we hooman beans have nothing to treat ourselves, let alone fish.  Best of luck, Marina

Royal Gramma with tan mark on mouth, II >Marina, Thanks for getting back to me.   >>Very welcome. >I will go the hyposalinity route starting tonight.  I have had PVC in the tank since it was set up but until today he has not used it.  Twitching seems to no longer be an issue.  I admit I turned on the light that night to "get another look" just before the twitching occurred.  Tan spot also seems smaller but I reduce the salinity in any case.  Other than spot, Gramma eats well and seems to be in good health.  John >>Your most important indicators.  Good luck, I'm sure the animal will be fine.  Marina

Royal Gramma I have a small tank with a 4-5 inch Gramma, a Blue damsel, and a percula clown in it.  I know that the Gramma is a shy fish, but I worry that the food I put down by his hideout for him is not enough, or that he is not eating it.  Is there a better time of the day to feed him than the morning (such as night) or is he probably getting more food than I realize?? <he probably is getting more food than you realize. if he starts getting really thin is when I would take action. Good luck, IanB> I would appreciate any input you have.<I used to have one and I fed him once in the morning and then another time in the late afternoon> Thank you, Mariah H.

Rockin' In The Quarantine Tank! Hello Scott. F <Hi there!> How are you today??? I hope you had a GREAT weekend!!! <Doing great! Hope you're doing well, too! My weekend was about two days too short! LOL> Well, all is good so far with my Royal Gramma! <Glad to hear that! Aren't they awesome fish? Even as an admitted Indo Pacific "snob", I love grammas!> My next two fish are going to be 2 Banggai Cardinals. I would like to buy a male and a female, how can I tell them apart??? <My understanding is that there are some external sex differences, but they are somewhat unreliable. I've heard that the females have more full bodies, other people swear by the fins- more rounded in the females...I dunno-none sound too reliable to me. If it were me, I'd either shop for a proven pair, or consider a small group to allow them to pair off on their own...> Also, do you think is a good idea to put 2 small pieces of live rock in my QT tank for more bio filtration for my 2 fish, then when the QT is over put them back in my main tank??? <Honestly, I favor inert materials in the QT for a couple of reasons. Number one- even live rock carries with it the possibility of "on board" parasites or other undesirable animals. Number two- If it becomes necessary to medicate, live rock can essentially "suck up" medications, making it more difficult to maintain a correct therapeutic dosage. I'd use inert products (PVC or ceramic flower pots) for hiding places. I do occasionally make an exception and use a piece or two of cured live rock when attempting to acclimate fussy Centropyge angelfish, which may "graze" on it as they transition to captivity. However, for most situations- I'd pass on any live materials in quarantine...>   Thanx for all you do, talk to you soon Alex <Any time, Alex! I wish you luck with your efforts! Sounds like things are going well! Regards, Scott F.>

Royal Gramma acting up? 06/17/03 <Hi Luke, PF with you tonight> I've bought a Royal Gramma today, never had it before. The fish appeared to be swimming normally in store. However, when I added it to the tank, it hangs upside-down, by the filter, near the water surface, as if it was dead, yet it is not as it swims away if I touch it :-) Then it goes near the heater and stays totally vertical... and it doesn't move much at all, just stays motionless. Is this normal behaviour for those fish? Thank you, Luke <Well Luke, from what I know, it's not normal. At the same time, I don't know your acclimation procedures, or your tank parameters (size, other inhabitants, chemistry, temp, yada, yada, yada...) so it's hard to answer your question. Talk to you later, PF>

Royal Grammas >PF: >>He's at a wedding in Colorado this week.  Marina to garner benefit from your wisdom today! >Thanks for your (& entire crew) ongoing mentoring and guidance on matters marine. My fish and I are better off for reading & heeding WWM advice. >>We're all glad to hear it.  Do spread the word! >I noticed the post about a new Royal Gramma staying upside down near a filter in someone's tank. It seemed to readily swim away when approached.  This may not be as bad as it seems. It is the natural behavior of Royal Grammas in the wild to hang out upside down along the roofs of caves. >>Indeed.  Though I missed that post, I would heartily agree with you on that assessment.  Up and down don't quite have the same meaning in a relatively weightless environment, so it makes no difference to the fish, especially if it was an animal collected at some depth. >Perhaps this new Gramma has no better place to hide in that tank. >>Agreed, or this was its habit in the first place, maybe. >If it swims normally and eats well ("a fish that eats is a fish that lives"), I'd bet it will be OK. >>The adage I was taught by the old-timer who gave me my first job in the trade used to tell me a few things, "A hungry fish is a healthy fish", "A dirty tank is a healthy tank", and (pardon the language, but this was exactly how old Dougie put it!), "Get your goddamned hands outta the tank!  Quit messin' with it all the time!"  LOL!  God love that man. >Grammas like lots of live rock nooks & crannies. I have one that has almost doubled in size since I got it 6 months ago (my first marine fish). >>I bet he's going to end up a serious little piece of meat. >It has a specific nook in the live rock that is its home. It eats heartily and will go up against any tankmate for a morsel and it roams freely around the tank.  Still, it always eventually returns to and hides in that one spot, especially when the tank is dark, but comes out and eats heartily whenever food hits the water. It is a beautiful & fun fish. >>Steve, thank you for your input, this will add to the knowledge base, and when others with oddly-behaved Grammas go looking for information, this should put their minds at ease.  Marina

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>

Sick Royal Gramma Hi guys, <Sorry for the delay Steve> I would like to ask your advice about something please.  Here's the situation: About 6 weeks ago I bought a Royal Gramma which I dipped in FW (buffered, aerated and temp. adjusted) for 7 min.s before putting in a 10 gal. QT.    After 2 days, the RG showed signs of velvet so I immediately began a copper treatment.  The treatment lasted 19 days at a concentration of 0.25-0.30.    The RG responded very well and quickly to the treatment.  I left him 13 days in QT after the end of the treatment and it showed no signs of the parasite, so I put him in my MT last Thursday. <Potential problem here. The 4-6 wk QT time starts over AFTER all signs are gone> On Friday, I got a Flame Angel which I also dipped in FW for 8.5 min.s before putting in a 10 gal. QT.  The Angel is doing well (also eating well) for now and has been in QT for 5 full days. The problem is the RG in the MT is now showing 4-5 ick spots, I can't understand how this happened?  What do you think I should do?  Should I: a) Leave the Angel in the QT and give FW dips to the RG putting him back in the MT after each dip and maybe add a cleaner shrimp to help him out? <This would be an option if it does not stress the fish too much to catch it> b) Remove the Angel from the QT (even if it's only 5 days), FW dip him for 10 min.s and put him in the MT, allowing me to remove the RG from the MT to administer a second copper treatment in QT?  Maybe I should add a cleaner shrimp in this scenario as well to help prevent an outbreak since the parasite is now in the MT? <I would not advise this. The flame needs QT> c) Any other suggestions? <I would put the Gramma back into QT and keep the water as pristine as you can> Other inhabitants in MT are a small false percula and a small 4-stripe damsel.  I feed my fish Formula 1 and 2 and Tetra Marine Flakes, varying their diet to try to boost their immune system. Of the cleaner shrimps, is there one which is more efficient between the white stripe cleaner and the blood/fire shrimp?   <I like the white stripe cleaner> Also, it is not clear on your website how much and how often I should be adding iodide to help the shrimp molt?  Due to the situation, do you think I could do without a QT for the shrimp (maybe just a rinse in a bucket of system water?)? <No need to QT shrimp. I don't add anything (other than regular weekly water changes) and my shrimp molt every 3 weeks or so> You have to understand that I had a complete tank wipeout due to ick or velvet 4 months ago so I left the tank fallow for 4 weeks and having learned my lesson now follow the QT and dip procedures recommended on your website.    I am extremely discouraged and do not want to go through another wipeout and start everything over a third time.  Help! <Steve, can you get a thermometer that records hi and low over a period of time? Extreme temperature swings (more than 2-3 degrees F) can cause a stress to allow the ick to get hold. Check it out. Don> Thank you for your response.  Frustrated Steve.

Gramma In Distress? I have a 180 gal. reef with about 8 fish, only the Royal Gramma is showing signs of disease.  About three weeks ago the Gramma lost it's tail. I initially thought something was picking on it but I never noticed any aggression between the fish.  They have all been in this tank for over 1 year. Now the Gramma's tail is growing back and there is a white film covering the front 1/3 and the fish is itching on rocks. I can't remove this fish, I've tried to trap it but it's too shy.  What is this and how can I treat it??   Frustrated In GR Tom <Well, Tom- it sounds like some sort of bacterial or fungal problem from the appearance and circumstances involved, but the scratching seems indicative of a parasitic ailment. If it is, indeed Amyloodinium, then you may notice other signs, such as rapid breathing, dashing around the tank, and difficulty swimming. At this point, if trapping the fish is impractical or impossible, you may have to run the risk of letting nature take its course, and hope that maintaining great water conditions and a steady environment will do the job. There is also the huge potential of a total infestation of your aquarium, if the malady does turn out to be Amyloodinium. My best advice- also the most aggravating: Break down the decor and get the fish out for observation and/or treatment in a separate aquarium. This basically sucks, I know- but it seems infinitely preferable to a potential wipe out in your tank. You could observe the for another several days, to see if any other problems manifest, but action is definitely required if this is one of parasitic diseases that we discussed. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Royal Grammas Keep Dying I have a dogface puffer, percula clown, and watchman goby that get along fine. I then added a small royal Gramma that died within 2 days. Water was fine, fish seemed fine at the end of the first day and the second day seemed fine until I saw it deceased.  The next week after a water change and check after a couple of days I went to LFS and bought a larger one thinking maybe the small one was too weak (young). Same thing happened only 3 days later. I have several small blue legs living and took my water to LFS for testing several times to be sure my tests kit are accurate. I acclimate them just as suggested and I saw no signs of attack. What do you think? <If all tests are fine and all of the other fish are doing fine, I suspect you are just having bad luck with this fish. Maybe try a different store?> Am I just a murderer? <Ouch! I hope not! Do you quarantine your fish? That would give a little Gramma time to get comfortable with captivity before it gets thrown in with the other established fish> I would like to stock my tank 65 gal-60lbs LR, LS, wet/dry, protein skimmer, and power compact. Please help me I don't want to kill anymore. Jill <Just sounds like you've had bad luck. Keep the faith...David Dowless>

Sudden Fish Death Hi <<Hello, JasonC here...>> Three days ago I bought a royal Gramma and today he hid all day in "his" coral. A short while ago, he emerged from the coral and began thrashing about wildly, eventually chasing his tail all over the tank, splashing around at the surface for a minute, and then he sank, mouth wide open gills motionless, fins frozen wide open. When I netted him, he was already stiff. There were/are no visible signs of a problem until this sudden death today. Do you have any idea as to what may have happened to him? <<Hmm... that is a bit of a mystery. Were you home all day to observe this day of hiding? My first suspect would be some type of environmental contagion - do you smoke cigarettes? Did anyone clean the glass in/near/around the tank? Did you feed this fish before this happened? There are many possibilities of this nature. It's also possible, although less likely that this poor creature had a genetic problem, or was cyanide caught, but these fish are typically pretty durable. I'd look first for household causes as these are the most likely culprit in "sudden" deaths like this - you will need to be the detective on the scene. Sorry to hear of your loss.>> Thanks, Patrick <<Cheers, J -- >>

Sick Basslet Dear Mr. Fenner, <Steven Pro today.> I have a thirty-five gallon tank and up till now have had very healthy fish. I am very upset however because three or four days ago I noticed a white spot on the lower jaw of my fairy Basslet. I called the dealer I buy my fish from and told him about it. He said he didn't think it sounded like ick and for me to just watch it. Well last night, I noticed that the Basslet had little white spots all over his body and he is rubbing himself against the sand. I've never had to treat ick before and I don't know the best medicine to buy. <Quarantine and treat with copper.> Also should I treat him in a hospital tank? <Absolutely!> I know that the medicine would be toxic to my invertebrates, but what about my other fish (two clowns and a Sailfin tang)? Will they end up with ick too? <Possible> Should I sacrifice the invertebrates and treat my whole tank <No, never.> or just isolate my Basslet? <First isolate and treat the Basslet, cross your fingers, but be prepared to quarantine everyone. Do see our extensive writings on www.WetWebMedia.com regarding parasitic infections.> Thank you. Very concerted, Laura <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Re: sick Basslet Thanks for the quick reply. <You are welcome.> I'll quarantine the Basslet ASAP! <Good!> Ummm, if the others end up with ick too, can I put all four of them in a five gallon tank for treatment for an extended amount of time? Laura <No, that is too small. You will need at least 20 gallons for your fish. -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>

Royal Gramma health Hello, First off, you guys rock!  <live rock, that is!> Now to unashamedly take advantage of your brains. <quick... before the recreational drugs take their toll!> I recently purchased a Royal Gramma from my LFS (The Fish Store & More in Atlanta, GA.). I introduced the fish into my tank as the first and only occupant except for a small cleanup crew of snails and hermits which has been doing fine (it is a ten gallon FOWLR and this will be the only fish I keep). The tank had cycled for 1 month with live rock and all water tests were nominal before adding the Gramma. Immediately after introducing the fish into the tank, I noticed that its face had a slight white/glaze looking color covering just part of the face near one eye. I assumed that the fish came with this color variation from the store so I immediately called the fish store and asked if I should bring it back but they said to watch it and make sure it doesn't change and that some of the fish naturally have color variations.  <eh... not really white, but onward...> I know that this particular fish store keeps their livestock salinity at something near half of the .025 value, so probably .0125 and that they also copper their water.  <fine for some fishes...quite stressful for many others. I favor lower salinity for fish only systems, but no lower than 1.017 without a very good reason. I would strongly discourage you from buying wrasses or dwarf angels from this system for example as they will be very stressed> The fish had been at the store for over two weeks when I purchased it.  <very good> This kind of makes me doubt that it was sick coming from the store but I am unsure of the color on its nose. <don't be so sure... a full month is a proper QT and disease can wait to be expressed after two weeks easily. These newly imported fishes are quite stressed> Over the next 3 days in my tank, the fish ate well (twice a day) and moved about normally even when I was near the tank. Yesterday there seemed to be a change in habit. I wasn't able to feed it in the morning since I had to go to work early, but when I got home and fed the fish (mix of many types of small meats including Mysid shrimp, all soaked in Zoe) it didn't come out to eat. I kept the room lights off and watched the fish but it did not come out at all throughout the evening. From what I can tell at this point, the fish hasn't come out for two days now (but I am gone to work for a good 8 hours) and sits under a rock moving only half an inch or so at most to reposition. This seems very abnormal compared to the habits of the fish for the first 3 days.  <agreed> I haven't been able to really tell if the white/gloss on its nose has changed because it stays under the rock. From what I can see the color hasn't seemed to spread over the body. I began to wonder if my aragonite substrate was simply rubbing off on the fish's nose as it dug out a home under the live rock.  <unlikely> I perform weekly 10% water changes and also have a Prizm skimmer that produces a small amount of dark gunk daily (not a cup but then it is only a 10 gallon). I also have a HOB filter for water circulation and a Microjet mc450 that is moving 117 gph. My real question is, should I be concerned at this point?  <tough to say without a better look at the fish but it is still yet another piece of evidence in support of quarantining all new fish in a bare-bottomed QT tank in case meds are needed. 2 weeks in the pet shop were helpful, but who's to say that your fish wasn't caught with a net that just came out of a tank of new or sick fishes? Was the fish alone for 2 weeks too or had new shipments been added to the tank... or worse... was the fish in a central filtration system? That fish had almost no practical QT stay. It is a strict rule that all livestock should be quarantined unless a life threatening emergency negates the need (rare)> Also, at what point is it considered 'not the fish store's problem' with most quality fish shops?  <never assume that a LFS livestock is clean. If they QT'ed all fish like we should, then likely you and most people would not want to pay for the expense of them setting up and keeping 5 full weeks of inventory in rotation and separately quarantined. Assume it is your responsibility from go but do play the deposit game with them and hold the fish as long as you can at their shop> I don't know if it is appropriate to bring the fish back since it seemed to come with the odd color on its nose.  <good heavens my friend... please don't move it yet or be so willing or whimsical to move any fish or coral so quickly. It may kill such an animal that otherwise just needs some time to settle in. Moving animals is VERY stressful. That's another reason why QT of your own is so important. Put the fish in a good place (QT) the first time and leave it alone (4 weeks). Once acclimated to your husbandry it can be moved to the main display without fear of infecting the whole collection (albeit small/new in this case). > Thank you for your time and information. Andy Weaver <you are quite welcome my friend... do read up in our WetWebMedia archives on diseases and QT protocol for preparedness. Do call again if an unclear symptom manifests. Best regards, Anthony>

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>

Gravid Royal Gramma? I have had a Royal Gramma fish for about 3-4 months. Her stomach is very large-swollen, and is continuing to get larger. She is still eating, color ok, expect a little faded in stomach area. Could she be full of eggs, or is she sick?  <tough to say... but this fish does spawn in captivity. Try adding 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per five gallons to the tank (split dose over two days and add dissolved in aquarium water). This may help if she has blockage instead. If she is simply gravid, try adding a large shell like a conch to inspire the spawning event> She has been more secretive than usual, and a couple of times she has not come out to eat. I see her busy in back of the live rock, I cannot see what she is doing. None of my other fish have these symptoms. Please do not tell me she is sick..... Thanks, Nikki <best regards, Anthony> Re: Gravid Royal Gramma? Epsom Salt safety It is ok to add the Epsom salt to the tank with corals, other fish and an anemone?  <yes... very safe. It is a common salt in sea mixes and is an ingredient in many fish foods. Juts be sure to dissolve it fully in seawater first, split dose in two or more parts over a period of ours or a couple days, and add to a strong stream of water in the tank> Will I know immediately if it is blockage by use of the Epsom salt, or will it gradual and I should wait a while to see results?  <3-5 days> Can I add dissolved Epsom to sump, or do I need to add directly to the tank?  <the sump would be better> Will this impact any other water parameters? <it increases water hardness> If it is not blockage, in order to attempt to inspire the spawning to take place should the conch shell be placed in a favorable spot for her? <anywhere is likely fine... she will take to it naturally. They commonly spawn in such shells in the wild> Thanks, Nikki <best regards, Anthony>

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>

Glass and Grammas Dear Anthony, <Salutations to Greece!> just for your info, the EHFI SUBSTRAT is an EHEIM product, a specially-designed sintered glass with an enormous surface area of 450 m2 per liter and ideal for the colonization of nitrifying bacteria colonies. I already use it in my biological filter in one of its compartments. In the other compartment I use the so called "stars" , I do not remember the type and brand. <yes... thank you for the clarification, my friend. I am familiar with the sintered glass products after all. The have advantages and disadvantages over bio-balls. They seem to have more surface area, but subsequently require more oxygen for the biological colony. They also clog easier if the prefiltration is not adequate. Since you are experienced with this product already, you may use it instead of bio-balls if you like it well enough. I prefer the extra gas exchange of the open media like bio-balls and am willing to trade a little of the bio-load for it. But that is largely just a personal preference> For the history, I have taken out the Loreto and it quite o.k. The only problem is that there was a fight with the damsel and the Loreto put the entire head of the damsel's mouth into its mouth (!) causing a small wound to the damsel (hope to be better soon!). <initial disputes are sometimes inevitable...the damsel will likely be OK> The Gramma does not come to the surface to eat,  <correct.. a cave dweller and not likely to do so> so I try to let some food come close to the bottom, and then he gets it. The problem is that the other fishes do not the food come down! They are aggressive eaters! I hope to find the solution soon... <you may need to use a feeding tub> "Kalinichta", Thanassis <"Good night", my friend. Anthony>

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>

Catchin' fish? Bob, <Bob is out traveling the great Midwest for awhile. Anthony Calfo and myself, Steven Pro, are helping out with answering the daily questions.> I have a couple of fish with ICK I believe, and am trying to get them in my hospital tank, but I can't catch my Royal Gramma. I have a large and small net but as soon as I put it in, he hides deep in the live rock. I can't seem to find a fish trap. Any tricks of the trade? (This seems to be the hardest part) <I have a couple of suggestions. Try to lure him to the top with food and then scoop quickly with your net. Also, does he hide in a hole in a particular rock? If so, you may want to remove the entire rock if you can.> Thanks in advance once again. John Kummer

AN UPSIDE DOWN FISH A recent introduction to my marine tank 7 days was attacked by the other fish. I now have him in isolation in a 'breeding box' which is hanging from the top of the tank. I think the fish is a veil tailed Gramma who is bright yellow in colour. Since the attack he spends at least half his time upside down. His damaged tailed has really grown back strongly and he swims well. Will he recover and what is the problem. Thank you. <Good to read of your fish's recovery. And actually members of the genus Gramma do spend quite a bit of time oriented at odd angles. Not to worry about this 3-D situation. 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

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>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: