Gramma melacara

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Latin name Gramma melacara - Böhlke & Randall, 1963
Local name Blackcap basslet
Family Grammatidae - Gramma
Origin The Mexican Golf, West Atlantic
Max length 10 cm (3,9")
As aquarium fish
Minimum volume 100 cm (26 gal)
Hardiness Hardy
Suitable for aquarium Suitable for most aquarium
Reef safe Always reef safe
Aggressiveness Might be aggressive towards similar species
Recommended Zooplankton (Cyclops, pods...)
Small crustaceans (Krill, mysis, artemia...)
Beware of
Jumps out of open aquaria

This species is known to jump out of open aquaria.

Can be aggresive

This species is not neccessarily aggresive, but it has a greater tendency towards aggresion then other species of the same genus.

Keep in mind
Requires a varied diet

This species must be fed with an appropriately varied diet.

Needs dimmed light at first

Out in wild this species is used to faint light, so to acclimitize it, it is advantageous to dim the light at first and gradually increase it to normal.

Hiding places

This species needs good hiding places, for example, between live rocks.

Number of fish

This species can live with many of its own kind, when provided with enough space.


This species is very shy and docile, so one should be careful when keeping it with more aggressive fish.

Bred in captivity

This species can be bred in captivity, one can therefore consider asking your local fish store for a captive bred specimen.

Descriptions and further reading
Family description (Grammatidae)

Basslets (Grammaer) are suitable for most aquaria, as they are a relatively easy and peaceful fish.
They are similar to Dottybacks (Pseudochromidae) in appearance and colour, but are more gentle and therefore a good alternative.

Basslets will always stay hidden if kept together with aggressive Wrasses, for example.
They like vertical rocks with many hiding spots, as it resembles their natural habitat. 

Several Basslets can be kept together, but not without risk. One must be ready to separate them, as they sometimes fight by locking jaws.
It can be an advantage to have different sized fish, as this increases the chance of having both males and females. They also require a spacious tank to be able to live together >65 gal (300 liters)

Aquarium trade Yes
Distribution Western Central Atlantic: West Indies including the Bahamas and Central America.
English common names Blackcap basslet
References and further reading

About references

Scott W. Michael. 2001. Basslets, Dottybacks & Hawkfishes: v. 2 (Reef Fishes) - TFH Publications / Microcosm Ltd. - (English)
Scott W. Michael. Reef Basslets & Grammas - Part 2 - Live Aquaria - (English)
Henry C. Schultz. 2002. Grammas - Reefkeeping Magazine - (English)
Bob Fenner. The Basslets that We Call Grammas, Family Grammatidae - Wet Web Media - (English)