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Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners

Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners
If you are just beginning your journey into saltwater fish keeping you should know that some marine fish are easier to keep in captivity than others. The following saltwater fish are good choices for the beginner:


These are great saltwater fish for beginners. They come in several different colors. They tolerate changes in water fluctuations better than most other saltwater fish and they will eat a variety of aquarium foods, such as flakes, frozen, freeze-dried, and live food. They are also relatively small about 3-4 inches at most.

The yellow-tailed blue damsel (Chrysiptera parasema) and the blue damsel (Chrysiptera cyanea) in particular are beautiful and peaceful fish that will even spawn in captivity. You can usually purchase them for around 3 to 5 dollars each.


ClownfishClownfish (also known as anemonefish due to their symbiotic relationship with anemomes) are also good beginner fish. They are from the genus Amphiprion and there are several different species.

Despite the ability of clownfish to exist among anemones without getting stung by their tentacles, it is possible to keep clownfish without anemones. Clownfish are relatively easy to keep, but keeping anemones is more difficult and so if you are a beginner you may want to wait until you are more experienced at marine fishkeeping before you acquire one. Because clownfish like to hide among anemones they may feel safer with one present however.

Also, note that clownfish tend to be somewhat territorial toward members of their own species. Depending on the species of clownfish you are interested in they can be acquired for around 10 to 30 dollars each.

Cleaning Goby Goby Aquarium Care Requirements Cleaning gobies are pretty hardy little fish and they usually do well in captivity. They often spawn in the aquarium.

While it is true that they will eat external parasites off of other fish, you will still need to supplement their diet. Feed your cleaner gobies marine foods for carnivores - mysid shrimp, brine shrimp, finely chopped seafood, and other meaty-based preparations for saltwater fish.

In addition, you should provide them with plenty of well-established live rock. Cleaner gobies not only graze on the live rock, but they also use it for hiding places. Almost ALL fish feel more secure when they have places to hide.

Cardinal Fish

Cardinalfish don't grow very large and the Banggai cardinalfish only reaches an adult size of about 3-4 inches (8-10 cm). They are good fish for reef tanks and they are peaceful fish that shouldn't be kept with agressive species or fin nippers. You should keep a group of about 6 cardinalfish together providing you have room in your tank. Be sure to provide plenty of rockwork for hiding places.

Cardinalfish are carnivores. They will eat meaty frozen or live foods as well as vitamin enriched brine shrimp. You can also feed them finely chopped shrimp or squid.

Bicolor dottyback The bicolor dottyback (Pseudochromis paccagnellae) is also known as the royal dottyback. It is a brilliantly colored marine fish from the Indo-Pacific.

This fish is very similar in coloration to the Fairy Basslet (Royal Gramma). However, the bicolor dottyback is even smaller than the fairy basslet. The bicolor dottyback reaches a maximum adult size of only 2 inches (5 cm) in length.


Hawkfish are small fish that lack swim bladders. They can't swim well and so they spend most of their time resting on the bottom of the aquarium. They get around by hopping from one place to another. They are relatively peaceful fish and there are several different kinds. They are meat eating fish and generally don't eat plants. They will eat live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods, and possibly flakes (but not always). In the wild they prefer shallow water and they feed on small fish and crustaceans.

One interesting aspect of hawkfishes is that they seem to have a bit of a personality in that they seem to be more aware of what is going on both in and outside of their tank. They generally cost between 10 to 30 dollars each depending on the species.

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