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Basslets and their vibrant charm

Gold Assessor Basslet (Assessor flavissimus)

What are Basslets?

Colorful, hardy and an all-round favorite among aquarium enthusiasts, Basslets are a small family of marine fish that make for excellent additions to saltwater aquariums, for both pros and amateur aquarists alike.

Originating in the Western Atlantic Ocean, Grammatidae are ray-finned and come in various shades of colors; most notably red, yellow, orange, purple, tan, and black and white.

These peaceful favorites belong to either one of two genus, the Gramma and Lipogramma. To add more charm to this already endearing species, their tropical members are referred to as Fairy Basslets. Basslets are known for changing their genders from female to male, and you will find that the males of this species tend to be more brightly colored than the females.

Deepwater Candy Basslet
Deepwater Candy Basslet (Liopropoma carmabi)

How big do Basslets get?

Basslets are quite small and rarely exceed 2.5 to 3 inches in size.

Housing conditions for Basslets

Basslets will find a good home in most saltwater aquariums, including reef and nano reef aquariums. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is necessary, as are particular conditions to keep these deep-water dwellers happy.

Because Grammatidae prefer deep waters, their aquarium needs to have plenty of coral and rock cover. Subdued lighting will also go a long way in simulating the conditions this species needs.

Tankmates for Basslets

While Basslets have peaceful temperaments, it must be noted that they can exhibit some territorial aggression towards one another. Each Basslet will find itself a small territory along with a hiding place and then defend their territory.

Randall’s Assessor Basslet
Randall’s Assessor Basslet (Assessor randalli)

This behavior makes it absolutely important to provide plenty of coral and rock cover and introduce Basslets into your aquarium simultaneously. Refrain from having aggressive species in the aquarium prior to introducing Basslets, as they tend to spend weeks hiding in caves and small spaces until they feel comfortable enough to venture out and explore their new habitat. Having aggressive tank mates from the onset would be detrimental to the overall conditions the Basslet requires, as it would force the small fish to hide for longer periods than is necessary and that may result in starvation and even death.

What food does a Basslet eat?

These small species are carnivorous and will appreciate frozen foods such as brine shrimp and Mysis shrimp. While they may not initially prefer pellet and flake food, they can be trained to accept them.

Food Considerations for Basslets


LiveAquaria® Frozen
Mysis Shrmip

Brine Shrimp

Ocean Nutrition™ Frozen
Brine Shrimp Fish Food

Ocean Nutrition Formula Two Flakes

Live Foods


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