Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners
Getting started with your first saltwater aquarium can seem overwhelming initially but can be extremely rewarding when done correctly! Taking the time to research the basic needs of the aquarium and inhabitants is a key component to keeping a successful saltwater aquarium. Ensuring your home aquarium is of the correct size and has the proper equipment and is set up to house your desired marine-species is essential for happy and healthy fish. Just like with a freshwater aquarium, the water parameters must be stabilized before it is safe to add any aquatic life. Once your aquarium is properly set up with appropriate lighting, filtration, heater and other accessories for marine life, the fun part begins – choosing fish to bring your aquarium to life!
Clownfish are popular for many reasons beyond being the star of a popular movie. These hardy, colorful fish can come in several different colors and patterns, and are often fearless and active in the aquarium, making an entertaining inhabitant. Most species of clownfish reach only a couple inches for their adult size, so are well suited for a smaller sized home aquarium. Although these fish may choose a host anemone, this partnership is not a requirement in keeping a clownfish. Petco Clownfish are all captive bred, which contributes to a fish already adapted to aquarium life verses their wild-caught counterparts.
Although many species of chromis are known for being hardy and adaptable to the home aquarium, Green Chromis are one of the more recognizable and peaceful species, making them a great beginner saltwater fish. These moderately sized fish can be housed in as small as a 30-gallon aquarium or can also be kept in larger schools in an appropriately sized aquarium.
Firefish gobies are hardy, active fish that can do great in an aquarium with other peaceful species. These colorful fish are generally passive but can be territorial with others of the same species. Firefish gobies maintain a small size so they can be kept in a 30-gallon aquarium or larger, but a secure lid is a must for these fish with a reputation for jumping.
A unique addition to the home aquarium, Longnose Hawkfish are an easy to care for species, making them a great fish for the beginner saltwater aquarist. This fish is one of the least aggressive species of hawkfish but should not be housed with ornamental invertebrates that it might make a meal of.
Bangaii Cardinalfish are semi-aggressive, moderately sized fish that can be kept in a 30 gallon or larger aquarium. These fish wear a bold pattern of black and white markings and can be kept in groups if enough swimming room and hiding spaces are provided. Bangaii Cardinalfish are generally easy keepers that do well for the beginner saltwater aquarist and have even been known to breed in an aquarium setting.
Coral Beauty Angel
A popular species of dwarf angel due to their striking color and hardiness, these fish are one of the best beginner dwarf angels. Coral Beauty Angels are normally not as aggressive as many other species of dwarf angels but can be territorial if kept in smaller aquariums, especially with other dwarf angelfish. Caution should be taken when housing with corals and clams as these fish may nip at them.
This small fish is a peaceful bottom dweller that can be kept in a wide array of aquarium sizes. These brightly colored fish will not generally cause problems with other fish in the aquarium but should be housed with certain corals with caution as they may nip at SPS coral polys.
A colorful and inexpensive addition to the aquarium, the Six-line Wrasse is generally peaceful and active, making them a great addition to the beginner saltwater aquarium. These fish may bully other peaceful wrasses but generally keep to themselves. They prefer an aquarium with lots of live rock with caves to hide and forage from.
The Niger Trigger, also known as the Redtooth Trigger is an unusual species of fish with scales in shades of deep blue/green and purples and a shocking smile displaying bright red teeth! Like several other species of Triggerfish, Niger Triggers are known for their amiable personality and may learn to recognize and choose to interact with their pet parent. Although these fish often adapt well to captivity, they can obtain a large size at maturity so an aquarium of 150 gallons or larger is recommended.
Although there are many different types of saltwater fish that are identified as having easier requirements for keeping in the home aquarium or recommended for the beginner saltwater hobbyist, special care should be considered in maintaining any marine inhabitants. All marine fish require special water conditions, stable parameters and specific gravity levels, and a well-established aquarium in order to thrive. Always do research as to the recommended aquarium size and care needed for any species you have interest in keeping!