Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners

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The best saltwater aquarium fish doesn’t make it a good selection. Here is a list of the best saltwater aquarium fish species. In this article, I am going to talk about best saltwater aquarium fish.

The 20 best saltwater aquarium fish species

Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyan)
Domino Damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)
Three Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus)
Common Clownfish/Perculat Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris/percula)
Yellowtail Damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema)
Four Stripe Damselfish (Dasyllus manures)
Azure Damselfish (Chrisptera hemicyanea)
Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifier)
Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus)
Blue Hippo Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)
Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatrus)
Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula)
Maroon Clownfish (Premnas biaculeatus)
Coral Beauty (Centropyge bispinosa)
Six-line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexateaenia)
Tomato Clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus)
Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)

Recommended Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish

Not all fish are created equal. From this checklist of commonest fish, I’ve compiled a sub-list right here of the 6 greatest decisions, from amongst this checklist of the 20 hottest saltwater fish.

Listed below are my suggestions for a can’t miss and popular species:

Green Chromis
Common Clownfish (however choose the aquacultured variety)
Banggai Cardinalfish (aquaculture)
Coral Beauty
Royal Gramma
Pajama Cardinalfish

Green Chromis

The Chromis viridis, or Green Chromis, is the #1 most imported saltwater fish species in your entire aquarium commerce.

Principally due to their very inexpensive value, nice coloration, the boldness and power they create to the tank, and the truth that they have a tendency to shoal.

Aquarium homeowners who need that ‘education look’ mostly purchase these colorful little fish to offer that.

These saltwater fishes are comparatively small, rising to a measurement of three 1/2 inches, and require a very good quantity of open area for swimming.

In captivity, the Green Chromis could dwell 8 – 15 years–though in case you are buying a shoal, the lifespan is probably going shorter for many of them.

Common clownfish

Each tank ought to have a pair of common clownfish…that’s…except you already picked one other species of clownfish.

These are nice fish and ought to be an early buy for almost everybody. The information used on this report had been for wild-caught fish.

There is no such thing as a cause to purchase a wild-caught clownfish. Please ask your native fish retailer for aquacultured clownfish, additionally referred to as captive-bred.

There are just a few causes I’m such an enormous lover of and advocate of clownfishes.

Common clownfishes are sluggish, waddling swimmers which might be typically site-attached, that means, they choose a space of the territory and just about spend their time there–in order that they don’t want a number of areas and will be saved in all however the smallest aquariums.

They simply pair up. Which is enjoyable and typically meaning clownfish infants! You possibly can find out about clownfish breeding right here.

Banggai Cardinalfish

I believe folks are inclined to both love or hate the Banggai Cardinalfish, however, clearly, sufficient folks love them to make them one of the crucial well-liked saltwater fish.

This fish is comparatively simple to spawn in a reef tank (by saltwater fish requirements) and they’re going to pair up.

Use warning, they appear pleasant in direction of one another as juveniles, however when the adults develop up and pair-off, they will get down-right nasty.

Nonetheless, aquacultured Banggai Cardinalfish is one of my very favorite reef fish. Please, please, please (does it sound like I’m begging you? That’s high quality, so long as it really works) don’t buy wild-caught Banggai.

They’re on the IUCN Crimson Record of Threatened Species (which implies they’re headed in direction of extinction).

The difficulty is advanced and past the scope of this text right here–however, please take my advice and get this cool saltwater fish from an aquaculture facility, not from the ocean.

Coral Beauty Angelfish

The Coral Beauty is a newbie’s angelfish. They’re cheap (by Dwarf angelfish requirements), vibrantly colored, lively swimmers, and don’t have very restrictive or specialized dietary wants. They’re an important reef fish. Most significantly, they’re available at your native fish retailer.

Royal Gramma

The Royal Gramma, Gramma loreto, is a superb newbie fish for the brand new saltwater aquarium. and belongs to a gaggle of fishes referred to as the fairy basslets.

The explanations I really like them a lot are as a result of they’re completely sized, superbly colored, hardy, tolerant of the circumstances inside a saltwater tank, and spend their day trip within the open, fairly than in crevices, hiding.

With a brilliant purple head and a yellow physique/tail, this daring and exquisite fish will spruce up any tank.

They’re very hardy and comparatively cheap, which is a mixture that makes the Royal Gramma an important saltwater fish.

Royal Grammas are cave-spawning saltwater fish that reproduce in harems. Meaning a single male tends to spawn with a couple of feminines.

The male makes a nest out of macroalgae, which is the place the eggs are laid evening after evening.

Pajama Cardinalfish

The Pajama Cardinalfish is the fishy cousin to the Banggai Cardinalfish. You possibly can maintain them in teams, which is cool. PJ’s have superior coloration, so cool it nearly seems to be synthetic.

They’ve large eyes and are peaceable and can be found by means of aquaculture.

Store round for the aquacultured selection, as a result of a lot of the shops I see, have wild-caught fish as a result of their low cost and ample.

For those who can afford it, I like to recommend you spend slightly extra to get the aquacultured selection.


For no matter cause, these fish love to take a look at the ground. For those who love the look of the firefish and wish an excellent cooler saltwater fish, try the purple firefish.

Tomato Clownfish

There are just a few completely different species of clownfish inside the tomato clownfish advanced.

Many of those generally is a sensible choice for your personal aquarium, so long as you might have an area. They’re bigger fish, in contrast with the common clownfish, but are equally simply cared for.

The scientific title of the Tomato Clownfish is Amphiprion frenatus.

They’re stunning fish with a reddish-orange color that can flip to a darker brown color in additional mature females.

As juveniles, they’ve Three white stripes, similar to the common clownfish–however, A. frenatus clowns lose their second and third stripes as they grow old.

The enduring juvenile-to-adult has a single giant white band simply behind the attention, like within the photos above. Being very hardy, they may eat live, frozen, and ready meals with gusto. Tolerant of water circumstances and daring/lively contained in the aquarium glass, They’re an affordable selection for a first-time aquarium proprietor or anybody who’s on the lookout for a substitute for the ubiquitous common clownfish.

best saltwater aquarium fish

Maroon clownfish

Maroon clownfish are very cool wanting–and I’d even think about them to be extraordinarily cute, as juveniles, which can affect your buying choice.

Nevertheless, they’re additionally one of the crucial aggressive and territorial species of clownfish. They’re notoriously territorial and ought to be the final fishes you add to the tank, if doable.

If you wish to have a mated pair of those fish in your tank, the normal recommendation is to purchase a really giant fish with a really small fish. The bigger saltwater fish will very possibly be feminine.

The smaller one will most likely be a juvenile male. Clownfishes all begin out as males when they’re juveniles.

The biggest, most dominant fish turns into a feminine. Since these saltwater fish are so aggressive, you don’t need two equally sized people making an attempt to struggle for dominance.

For those who stack the deck by mixing a big and small fish, they’re every extra prone to settle for their place without a number of bloodsheds (and fin shed).

Flame Angelfish

The Flame Angelfish, Centropyge loricula, is among the hottest dwarf angelfish species. Simply check out the breathtaking coloration of this spectacular fish and you may see why.

They show vertical black bars on firey pink sides and deep blue again fin ends.

Their common lifespan is between 5 – 7 years, however, some could dwell longer. All Flame Angelfish are born feminine.

Within the wild, the alpha fish modifications gender to male whereas the remainder of the harem stays feminine.

Assortment pressures are powerful on these fish, they are often costly, however, they’re beautiful to have a look at.

I’ve saved them from time to time and have at all times appreciated the color and character they dropped at the tank. The value tag is actually all that places them in this class.

Mandarinfish Dragonet

The mandarin fish, often known as the mandarin goby, is an amazingly stunning fish. They’re small, slow-swimming, and exquisite, which is why they’re so often collected and bought.

These fish are shy, choosy eaters which might be usually not greatest saved with the hustle and bustle of a blended reef.

You must solely maintain them for those who’re prepared to tradition dwell meals 0r spend a small fortune on bought dwell meals.

For those who can meet their demanding dietary wants, they’re comparatively long-lived fish. Their anticipated lifespan is corresponding to clownfishes.

You possibly can anticipate fats, well-fed mandarin to dwell 10- 15 years for those who’re fortunate.

Since they solely develop to be about 3-4 inches in size, have a slim body shape, and aren’t open-water swimmers, they’re appropriate for nearly any measurement task.

The best problem is that you need to present it with a continuing provide of dwell copepods to eat.


Blue Devil Damselfish (Chrysiptera cyan)
Domino Damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus)
Three Stripe Damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus)
Yellowtail Damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema)
Four Stripe Damselfish (Dasyllus manures)
Azure Damselfish (Chrisptera hemicyanea)

As a common rule, these damselfishes will be territorial and aren’t price it. Attempt to choose one thing else.

A couple of those are the fish I began out with once I started within the hobby, so I don’t imply to sound hypocritical–fairly I hope you’ll be taught from my expertise and never buy them.

Blue Hippo Tang (Also called the Regal Tang)

Typically bought as tiny, 1-inch juvenile saltwater fish, the grownup blue hippo tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) may appear to be a tiny, fish-nugget-sized fish, however, it could actually develop as much as to be 6-inches in size.

Most significantly, this fish is an open-water swimmer–which is a troublesome atmosphere to create within the house reef tank.

It’s typically beneficial that you simply maintain this majestic fish in a really giant tank (180 gallons or extra) as a way to present it with the swimming room required to remain wholesome.

Made extraordinarily famous within the movies Finding Nemo and Discovering Dory, this regal fish is commonly bought at a particularly small measurement and saved in a tank that’s too small for it and is subsequently susceptible to pores and skin parasites, like saltwater ich and to go and lateral line illness.

For those who do resolve so as to add one to your reef tank, be sure you feed it commonly (2 or extra instances every day, for those who can handle) with nori or different high-quality seaweed meals.


Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse (Labroides dimidiatrus)
Six-line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexateaenia)

Cleaner wrasse

The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse usually starves in captivity as a result of it actually wants parasites to be abundantly available to remain alive.

Hopefully, you don’t have a permanent abundance of parasites in your tank. That might be a really troublesome factor to maintain.


The one massive caveat for this knowledge set is that the info about the preferred saltwater fish reveals the preferred saltwater fish when it comes to the quantity of fish that are imported into the nation.

What is completely lacking listed below are the preferred aquacultured fish–and it may not mirror the buying habits of different international locations.

I’d anticipate that possibly another fish just like the pink skunk clownfish or neon goby may pop onto the checklist for those who included aquacultured fishes.

Otherwise, it seems that this knowledge set is a reasonably strong manner of assessing the true demand within the pastime.

There are additionally fish just like the yellow tang, which are extraordinarily well-liked however have grown to be tougher to amass as a consequence of fishing rules.

I think this article on Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish was worth reading.

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