Royal Gramma | How to Care

Also made famous by the popular Pixar movie “Finding Nemo”, the Royal Gramma is a beautiful fish that deserves a place in reefer’s tanks. With it’s distinct bold purple coloration that leads into a fiery yellowish/orange tail, it won’t be hard to spot as it ducks in and out of caves in your reef system. If you are considering adding one of these beauties to your system, you can learn all about the care requirements for keeping a Royal Gramma in your tank.

You may recognize this fish as ‘Gurgle’, the germophobic fish from the popular children’s movie Finding Nemo. It is little wonder why they chose the Royal Gramma to represent one of the fish in the animated movie. The colors make any tank brighten up with flashes or purple and yellow. The higher price that these fish generally command in your LFS (local fish shop) can turn some beginner aquarists off from making the purchase of the Royal Gramma. However, I can speak from experience when I say that they add a lot of variety to a tank and are generally one of the more commented on fish when visitors admire the tank.

Description Specification
3 inches
Tank size
At Least 30 Gallons
Tank type
Marine with rocks and crevices to hide
Reef Safe



In the wild, Royal Grammas can be found in and around the Caribbean. They live in the coral reef systems and swim around the warm waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean.


We have already touched on the coloration of this beautiful fish (which is the primary attraction for many reefers). The Royal Gramma has striking purple and yellow bodies (yellow at the tail end). They also have a distinct black dot on the dorsal fin (possibly to confuse predators).

If you look closely at a Royal Gramma you will see a small streat running from the eye back towards the dorsal fin. It looks like the Royal Gramma has applied some eyeliner to put on a show!

Royal Gramma Diet

Another reason to add a Royal Gramma to your tank is the easy maintenance factor. In terms of feeding in a home aquarium, the Royal Gramma will accept most foods you are feeding to your other fish. Such as frozen mysis shrimp, blood worms and other high protein foods.

As a responsible fish owner, you should always be feeding your fish a varied diet. This ensures that they are receiving enough nutrients and minerals for them to thrive. Plus is also keeps things interesting for your fish.

Royal Gramma Behavior

This is where a Royal Gramma can be a little bit tricky. Ensuring you have the right aquascape and tank mates for your Royal Gramma is the difference between having a thriving fish to a stressed fish. However once you know the things to look out for, it won’t be too hard to maintain.

Here are the key things to know about housing your Royal Gramma:

  • they like to hide in caves and small cracks within the rocks. My Royal Gramma loves to sit in small holes in the live rock. Poking it’s head out and darting in and out at passing fish it feels is encroaching on it’s space.
  • they are extremely territorial. This means that they will find a space they will claim as their home and ward off other fish if they feel they are too close. The Royal Gramma achieves this by performing an action commonly referred to as the ‘dive’. This is where the Royal Gramma will flare it’s fins to appear large and intimidating. It will also gape open it’s mouth in a show of aggression. This act is simply the fish sorting out who is the dominant fish in the territory. However if it continues for more than a day you should potentially create more homes for the fish in the aquascape.
  • On the whole, the Royal Gramma is a peaceful fish. However this leaves it vulnerable to larger more aggressive fish. It can usually hold it’s own against fish, however if you observe that it rarely leaves it’s home (and is not freely swimming around the tank), there is a potential stress issue.
  • Competitive with other ‘purple’ fish. This one is a unique characteristic completely owned by the Royal Gramma. For some reason it finds other purple fish threatening.

Tank Requirements

Since the Royal Gramma is a hardy fish, if you maintain a healthy aquarium with regular water changes and feeding, it will survive and thrive. This is what makes the Royal Gramma a great fish for beginner aquarists.

If you want specifics, an stable temperature between 72 – 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with a pH between 7.9 – 8.4 and a gravity of 1.020 – 1.025. All the details of the water parameters is included in the table above.


Royal Gramma’s make a perfect beginners fish that will wow your visitors with it’s striking coloration and unusual behaviors.

They make a great addition to any tank, usually keeping to themselves and swimming in and around the rock and aquascape.

Their maintenance requirements are low with no special treatment required. The only issue to look out for is any prolonged territorial behavior with other tank mates. However this is easily overcome by making more space for them to find other homes.

We highly recommend any person considering building out their tank to include one of these beautiful fish.

If you liked our article please share it with other reefers so they can explore and discover the joys of owning and caring for a Royal Gramma.


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