Are you ready to start your saltwater aquarium? You have many options when it comes to fish. Learn about saltwater aquarium fish for beginners in this guide.

Saltwater aquariums create an enjoyable pastime for many fishkeepers because saltwater fish are so exquisitely colorful and vibrant. Not to mention that you can also keep coral and other small sea creatures like seahorses and urchins. But, starting out with a saltwater aquarium requires significant research and care.

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Before you acquire your new fish, there are several steps involved to set up a saltwater tank properly. After it has settled for a few days, it’s time to go get your fish!

If you’re interested in keeping a saltwater tank, but you’re not sure where to start, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re discussing several different saltwater aquarium fish for beginners. Keep reading to learn more.

11 Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners

Creating a population for your first saltwater aquarium can be a bit challenging at first. You will want fish that get along and won’t outgrow the tank. Of course, you’ll also want starter fish that are easy to take care of so your tank will be a great success.

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Before you decide on your first set of fish, consider comparing them in a saltwater aquarium fish compatibility chart, first. This will help you determine what type of fish will thrive together and which fish will be more likely to attack each other.

Once you’ve decided that your fish are compatible, it’s time to start filling the tank!

  1. Ocellaris Clownfish (False Percula Clownfish)

The Clownfish is easily one of the most favored beginner saltwater fish because it is also such an easy fish to care for.

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This clownfish typically stays within an established territory in even large tanks. They eat well and will pair with a mate if provided one.

  1. Tangs (Surgeonfish)

Tangs or Surgeonfish are best suited for reef tanks. They are herbivores with a diet consisting solely of algae.

Be careful if you have a small tank as Tangs are known for outgrowing small spaces.

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There are several different species of tang including the Achilles Tang, Pacific Blue Tang, Sailfin Tang, and Yellow Tang, among others.

  1. Clown Anemonefish (True Percula Clownfish)

Another easy fish to care for and great for beginners is the Clown Anemonefish, also known as the True Percula Clownfish. These are easy to care for even if you are an inexperienced fish keeper.

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True Percula Clownfish are usually very bright orange or black with white body stripes. They also have wonderful personalities.

  1. Angelfish (Centropyge)

Angelfish do well in saltwater aquariums or reef tanks but tend to prefer reefs. They will pick at reefs and eat shrimp if they are not well fed.

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Among the species of Angelfish are the Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish, Fisher’s Angelfish, Flame Angelfish, Multicolor Angelfish, and the Masked Angelfish.

  1. Coral Beauty Angelfish (Two-Spined Angelfish)

The Coral Beauty Angelfish is worth mentioning separately from its cousin because it acclimates so well to aquarium life. This is also a favored fish among fishkeepers for its attractive colors and it’s easy to find. It’s also a hardy fish that will live for years if cared for properly.

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Keep in mind that some Angelfish can be territorial and are best kept in larger aquariums.

  1. Small Gobies

For live saltwater fish that will always put on a magnificent show, don’t forget a few Small Gobies. They adapt particularly well to aquarium life and remain small even as adults.

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Among the species of Small Gobies are the Gold Line Goby, Yellow Clown Goby, Black Clown Goby, Brown Clown Goby, and Panda Clown Goby, as well as others.

  1. Raccoon Butterflyfish (Crescent-Masked Butterflyfish)

The Raccoon Butterflyfish is one of the easiest fish to keep in a saltwater aquarium for beginners. It does like to hide so it’s important to give it plenty of space and places to sneak away to.

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The most difficult hurdle to get over with this type of fish is feeding tank foods. It can take a while for them to become accustomed to flakes so you may be better off starting with frozen shrimp.

  1. Dragonettes and Mandarin fish

Dragonettes and Mandarin saltwater tank fish are some of the most docile of the bunch on this list. They can be more difficult to keep, however, due to their specific dietary requirements – they feed on amphipods and copepods.

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A few varied species of Mandarin fish include the Green Mandarin fish and Psychedelic Mandarin fish.

  1. Flame Angelfish (Japanese Pygmy Angelfish)

11 Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners 37The Flame Angelfish is another Angelfish that made this list for it adapts so well to aquarium life. You can keep Flame Angelfish alone or in pairs as long as they are in a tank with other non-aggressive fish. The Flame Angelfish also likes reefs.

  1. Shrimp Gobies

Shrimp Gobies are known for sharing their habitats with shrimp which is how they got their name. They also tend to share their food with the shrimp which makes them compatible companions in a smaller tank.

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A few different species of Shrimp Gobies include the Diagonal Bar Prawn Goby, Orange Spotted Goby, Wheeler’s Watchman Goby, and the Yellow Watchman Goby, among others.

  1. Lawnmower Blenny (Jeweled Rock skipper)

Also known as the Algae Blenny for its strict dietary needs. These fish are great for beginners because they can actually help to keep your new tank clean, especially as nitrate levels rise.

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Other names for the Lawnmower Blenny include Jeweled Blenny, Jeweled Rock skipper Blenny, Rock Blenny, and Sailfin Blenny.

Final Thoughts

These saltwater aquarium fish for beginners should be enough to get you started on your journey to keep a saltwater fish tank. Start slow with a few fish at a time in order to properly acclimate everyone to the tank. Maintain proper cleaning and feeding and your fish will be the delight of your day every time you walk into the room.

We hope you found this post helpful. Keep checking back for more informative posts on all the subjects you are most curious about!