The Blackcap Gramma (Gramma melacara) is also known as the Blackcap Basslet.
Gramma melacara has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Geographical distribution, habitat and habits
The Blackcap Gramma inhabits the Western Central Atlantic, where it can be found in the West Indies (including the Bahamas) and Central America. It is a deep water species found from 11 down to 60 meters (from 35 to 200 feet). It is most common at depths greater than 30 meters / 100 feet, and gradually replaces Gramma loreto at depths of 15-30 meters / 50-100 feet.
The Blackcap Gramma is typically found along almost vertical cliffs and drop-offs beyond outer reefs. It likes to be able to hide inside a cave, crevice or similar when frightened. You can often see this fish swimming upside-down with its belly pointing towards the ceiling.
Size and appearance
The largest scientifcially measured Blackcap Gramma was 10.0 cm / 3.9 inches.
The body colour varies from magenta to purple and there is a jet-black diagonal cap running from the lip to the foredorsal fin.
Blackcap Gramma care
It is not advisable to house the Blackcap Gramma in an aquarium smaller than 30 gallons / 115 litres. Include a lot of rocks, crevices and caves in the set up. Since this species is commonly found in deep waters, it is best to avoid sharp aquarium lights.
The Blackcap Gramma is considered reef compatible and is commonly kept in reef aquariums. You should however keep in mind that it might devour really small invertebrates, such as copepods, amphipods and isopods. The Blackcap Gramma can start acting territorially towards other basslets, including members of its own species, once it has settled in an aquarium.
The recommended water temperature for Blackcap Gramma is 72-78º F / 22-25.5º C. Keep the specific gravity at 1.020-1.025 and the pH-value between 8.1 and 8.4.
Feeding Blackcap Gramma
The Blackcap Gramma is a carnivore species that needs to be kept on a meaty diet in the aquarium. It will normally accept dead food without much ado and you can for instance feed it mysid shrimp, fish flesh, crustacean flesh, and mixed frozen preparations suitable for marine carnivores. It may also eat devour really small invertebrates that lives in the aquarium, such as copepods, amphipods and isopods.
Breeding Blackcap Gramma
This species has been successfully bred in captivity.