Top 10 Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners

Saltwater Aquarium fish 101

Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners

Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners.

What peaked my interested in starting and maintaining a saltwater aquarium more than likely was seeing a fully stocked reef aquarium fully stocked with beautiful saltwater fish. I was an afican cichlid and found myself in the local saltwater aquarium shop one day (looking for PH buffer) and I turned around the conner and my jaw hit the ground. The 220 gallon reef aquarium that stood before me was breathtaking.

Not long after that day I decided to turn my unused 55 gallon aquarium, into a saltwater aquarium. After getting some help form my local fish shop, I made the necessary purchases needed to start a saltwater. I got my aquarium set up and running. Then I started doing some research on selecting fish for my saltwater aquarium.

8 years later my  55 gallon saltwater aquarium venture has spawned in to Youtube channel, a Blog and many other projects to come. If you are new to the hobby, getting back into it below you will find some get fish to start with due to their hardiness and easy care level requirements. 

Top 10 saltwater aquarium fish for beginners video

Top 10 saltwater aquarium fish for beginners:

Blue-green Chromis#10 Blue-green Chromis. I have never owned a saltwater aquarium without a group of blue-green chromes. They are a great beginner fish. This fish is considered one of the most popular saltwater aquarium fish amongst hobbyist. Native to reefs of the Indo-Pacific and South Pacific. Best kept in groups in the home aquarium and is well know for breeding in captivity. Minimum aquarium size requirement is 30 gallons.

#9 Flame Hawkfish. The flame hawkfish is a beautiful fish with a interesting behavior. A great fish for reef aquariums but not recommend to keep with small shrimp. They require a 30 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of live rock for hiding and perching. This carnivore is semi-aggressive and best to be the last fish added to the aquarium (to curb aggression to it’s tank mates).

 #8 Midas Blenny. This is a fish straight off my wish list. The Midas Blenny is an excellent candidate for any saltwater aquarium. A beautiful yellow fish needs a 30 gallon or larger aquarium with plenty of live rock for perching. Unlike most blennies, the Midas Blenny requires a meaty diet. They can grow to 6 inches in length.

#7 Orchid Dottyback. The Orchid Dottyback is an excellent addition to any reef tank. This gorgeous lavender colored fish has a wonderful personality in the aquarium and will surely become a favorite. A 30 gallon or larger aquarium is required. They are known to occasionally chase smaller fish and defend their hiding places from intruders.


#6 Cardinalfish. The Cardinalfish has black stripes and white spots on the body and long fins. A 30 gallon or larger aquarium is required. Peaceful tank mates are ideal for this slow, easy going swimmer. They can become aggressive towards it’s own species but many hobbyist have found success keeping just a few cardinalfish together. This fish is so easy to breed in captivity it’s been referred to as the guppy of marine fish.

#5 Firefish. The Firefish is one of the more popular fish in the saltwater aquarium hobby. In addition to being a beautiful fish, the Firefish Goby is also known for being extremely peaceful, with a lot of personality. The Firefish Goby small size makes a great addition to the smaller saltwater aquariums. The firefish is a known jumper, so a tight fitting canopy is recommended.

#4 Orange-Back Fairy Wrasse. This reef safe wrasse is very peaceful, active fish that will bring both color and activity to a fish-only or reef aquarium of 75 gallons or larger. They will not bother any corals or invertebrates making them a perfect fish for the reef aquarium. Like most wrasses they are known to jump, so a tight fitting canopy is recommended.


#3 Clownfish. No saltwater aquarium is complete without a Clownfish. They are extremely hardy and thieve in a saltwater aquarium. Pairs of clownfish should added to the aquarium at the same time. The clownfish has become one of the most popular marine fish in the saltwater aquarium hobby.

The Disney movie Finding Nemo introduce people to the world of saltwater aquariums and they fell in love with the clownFish. There are over 30 breeds of clownfish and each one of them more beautiful than the next. 

#2 Coral Beauty. I love the coral beauty angelfish. It’s a beautiful addition to any saltwater aquarium. The Coral Beauty Angelfish is a member of the dwarf angelfish and one of the easiest angels to care for. They requires a 75 gallon or larger aquarium with lots of hiding places and live rock for grazing. Many hobbyist have successfully kept this fish in reef aquariums but the Coral Beauty has been know to nip at corals.

#1 Bicolor Blenny. The Bicolor Blenny is one of my favorite saltwater aquarium fish. Not based on it’s looks but more so on it’s behavior. They can be found peaking out form crevices of live rock and perching on high points. They require aquariums of at least 30 gallons with scattered rocks for perching and hiding. They are considered peaceful, but have been known to pick at other blennies, smaller gobies and dart fish.

This list is a great place to start for selecting fish for your saltwater aquarium but keep in mind that the fish in the list above do not belong in the same aquarium, at the same time. It is intend to give you an idea of what you may what to consider for your on saltwater aquarium venture.

Save a reef   …grow your own.

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