Blackcap Grammas – Gramma melacara
Species name: Gramma melacara
Common names: Blackcap Basslet or Grammas!
Family: Grammatidae (Basslets)
Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Maximum length: 4 in.
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
Aggressiveness: Semi-aggressive. May become territorial once established. Large specimens will defend their cave with great fervor. Should not be kept with other basslets usless you have a five or six foot plus wide system. Should be one of the last fish added to tank.
Reef Compatibility: Yes
Distribution: Western Central Atlantic: West Indies including the Bahamas and Central America.
Diet: Carnivore. Diet should include meaty foods including fish, crustacean, mysid shrimp, brine shrimp, and frozen preparations. Will also accept flake and dried foods.
The Blackcap Grammas or Blackcap Basslet is a solitary species from the Western Central Atlantic found on nearly vertical cliffs and drop-offs beyond outer reefs. It is a deep water fish found at about 40 to 200 feet (usually at depths greater than 160 feet).
The Blackcap Grammas has a brilliant magenta to purple body, a black diagonal cap running from its lip to foredorsal fin and frosty-white forked tail. It is an hardy and durable fish that stay small and do not bother invertebrate. It is a great additions for the reef aquarium.
One of the first thing people notice is it’s interesting swimming behavior; upside down, right side up or at all angles. Looks like it makes no difference for the grammas.
It should spend most of its time in the open during the day and only retreat into its hole when frightened. Grammas don’t live in their hidey-holes. Eventually, it will get pretty confident, providing there are no aggressive fish harrassing them.
The ideal aquarium should have a temperature of 72 to 78F with a specific gravity of 1.020 to 1.025 and a pH of 8.1 to 8.4.
It will thrives in tanks with plenty of live rock, places to hide and room to swim. Because it is a deep-water fish, it will do better in an aquarium with low illumination. They are good jumpers so keep the aquarium tops completely covered.
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