Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Royal Gramma!

I visited my LFS (Pet Kingdom) the other day to pick up some RO water, aragonite substrate and activated carbon. Ugh. How boring. It was like going to the grocery store. I treated myself to a slow, walk-through by the aquariums, "just looking".

I spotted this little guy and was instantly SOLD! The Royal Gramma has been on my list of fish to put in my aquarium. This fish is small, hardy, peaceful, reef-safe, and beginner friendly. Not to mention...G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.!

We took him home and put him in the tank. He immediately hid in the live rock for 2 days. I knew he would be shy but c'mon! We named him "Phillip". We thought it sounded "Royal" (kind of like our Louie--the Canary Wrasse). Plus, it's kind of wimpy. And Phillip is verrry wimpy! Even Scooter, our mild-mannered little Scooter blenny can bully him around (much to his chagrin).

Phillip is finally coming out to eat and explore on Day 3. I love this guy!

Phillip--emerging from the live rock but still not straying far from his hole.

Is Phillip hamming-it-up for the camera?
Yes, Phillip is definitely showing off.
Other Facts about Royal Grammas:
These guys are very strikingly colored with their heads being a dark purple and tails a bright yellow. They hail from the Caribbean region of the Atlantic and are also known as the "Fairy Basslet". Although peaceful and shy, they are territorial when it comes to defending their cave in the live rock. Phillip will dart out and try to chase Scooter and Louie away when they pick at the rock near his hole. These guys are also carnivores so they get the mysis mix I feed the tank in the a.m.
Royal Grammas are similar to looking to the Bicolor Dottyback. However, it's easy to tell the two apart. Dottybacks have a solid line that separates the purple from the yellow, whereas the Gramma bifurcation between the two colors is blended. In addition, the purple on the Gramma tends to be darker (the dottyback is more of a pink/pastel color). The dottyback is a bit smaller as well and lacks the flashy eyespot on the dorsal fin that the gramma has. Although the Dottybacks are another popular choice for beginner reef aquarists, they are considerably more aggressive despite their small size. For this reason, I selected the Royal Gramma since I'm going for a more peaceful community reef tank.

Bicolor Dottyback (NOT a Royal Gramma)

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