Basslets are a family of saltwater fishes, popular for marine aquarium. Read this article to know more about the lifestyle and different types of these beautiful fishes.

Scientific Classification


Table Of Content

Scientific Classification


Basslets are small fishes found in the western parts of the Atlantic Ocean. These brightly colored fishes basically live in coral environments. There are several species of this fish and they are all popular for marine aquariums. They can be called the “Fairy Basslets” together. These fishes are very easy to take care of.

Basslet Genera

There are two genera of this fish:

  • Gramma
  • Lipogramma

Basslet Picture
Picture 1 – Basslet
Source –


There are various types of this fish. Here is some detailed information about the different types of Basslet:

Royal Gramma Basslet

The habitation range of the Royal Gramma basslets covers Venezuela, the Bahamas and the Lesser Antilles. The front parts of these fishes are of a purple color that fades and turns into yellow towards the tails. The average length of these fishes is a little over 3 inches.

Black Cap Basslets

These fishes are found in the deep waters of the Caribbean Sea. They have a brilliant purple body with a little jet-black diagonal cap and can grow up to 4 inches in size. These fishes can be a nice addition to a reef aquarium. They are carnivores in nature and eat small invertebrates, fishes shrimp etc. They live in the deep parts of the sea. So, they should not be kept in a brightly lit aquarium.

Bicolor Basslet

These fishes are the inhabitants of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. They can grow anywhere between 1 inch to 3 inches in length. The front half of these fishes is of a bright pink and the rear half is bright yellow. They earned their name from the bi-colored body.

Chalk Basslet

These fishes are found in the Caribbean Sea. They are of a light purple color with bright blue and orange bands along their backs. They can often be found in dark under-water caves. These fishes are a great choice for marine aquariums as it is exceptionably easy to take care of them. They can grow 3.1 inches in length.

Tobacco Basslet

This fish is known by many names like Golden Fish, Sand Fish etc. These fishes can be found in the shallow parts in coral areas of the Tropical Western Atlantic Ocean. These are bigger in size than other varieties of Basslets. They can grow up to 7 inches in length.

Harlequin Basslet

These are one of the rarest species of Basslets. These fishes are found near the Caribbean.  They should be kept in a large aquarium with a lot of space to swim. The Harlequins does not usually grow more than 4 inches in length.

Gold Assessor Basslet

The fins of the golden colored fishes have red outlines. These fishes usually grow 3 inches in length. They are found near Coral Sea and Fiji.

Swiss Guard Basslet

These fishes can be found in the Caribbean Sea and Tropical Western Atlantic. They have a red, mustard-yellow and black striped body. The fins are outlined with black. Like the Gold Assessor, these fishes also grow 3 inches in size.

Swalesi Basslet

These fishes are originally from Indonesia. They have horizontal stripes of orange and purple all over their bodies. These Basslets are excellent reef dwellers.

Strawberry Basslet

These bright purple colored fishes are mainly found in the Pacific Ocean. The maximum length of these fishes can be 2.4 inches.

There are subtypes under each of the two genera of this species. In the “Gramma” genus, there are different varieties such as Brazilian (Gramma Brasiliensis), Yellowlined (Gramma Linki), Royal Gramma (Gramma Loreto) and Blackcap (Gramma Melacara) basslets.

In the “Lipogramma” genus too, there are many basslet varieties like

  • Dusky (Lipogramma Anabantoides)
  • Banded (Lipogramma Evides)
  • Yellow (Lipogramma Flavescens)
  • Bicolor (Lipogramma Klayi)
  • Royal (Lipogramma Regium)
  • Yellowbar (Lipogramma Robinsi)
  • Rosy (Lipogramma Roseum)
  • Threeline (Lipogramma Trilineatum)

Fishes from the family of “Serranidae” and the genus “Liopropoma” are also called Basslets.

There are many other types of Basslets like the Cave, Lantern and Purple Basslet etc.

There is another group of Basslets called the “Dottybacks”. Sunrise, Orchid, Indigo, Neon- these are some of the varieties of Dottyback Basslets.

Pictures of Basslet
Picture 2 – Basslet Photo
Source –


All the members of this family are carnivorous. They eat meaty foods like:

  • Small fishes
  • Squids
  • Mysid shrimp
  • Brine shrimp
  • Frozen carnivores and other fishes (fishes living in aquariums)

Behavior in Aquarium

There are a few things one should know about these fishes before they can keep them in aquariums.

These fishes are known to be quite aggressive. They defend their own territory and chase other fishes away. It is better not to keep them together in the same aquarium with other smaller fishes as they might sometimes hurt them. Usually, these fishes are quite peaceful towards their neighbors. However, keeping more than one Basslet in one aquarium is not advisable. The male members of this family are very aggressive towards each other.

Intresting Facts

Go through these pieces of information to know some interesting facts about these beautiful fishes:

  • These fishes can change their gender from female to male.
  • All the tropic members of this family are called the “Fairy Basslets”.
  • The male fishes of this family are more brightly colored than the females.
  • The average weight of these fishes is 1-2 ounces.
  • Basslets breed at dusk so that they can avoid the predators.
  • Some species of basslets can weigh up to 700 lbs.
  • The larger members of this family sometimes attack divers.


Do you want to know how these fishes look like? Here are some photos of the Basslets for you to check out and see how beautiful they are.

Images of Basslets
Picture 3 – Basslets Picture
Source –

Photos of Basslet

Picture 4 – Basslet Image
Source –

All the fishes from this family are very beautiful and highly popular as pets. They are very easy to take care of and can add significantly to the beauty of your marine aquariums.

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