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Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners - Top 5 Choices for a Successful Saltwater Aquarium

Buying saltwater fish for your newly set up aquarium is the most exciting and rewarding part. The beginner fish recommended in this article are saltwater species that have proven to be very hardy, undemanding, and are very forgiving when it comes to less than ideal water conditions. By choosing these easy species, you will find that keeping a successful saltwater aquarium can be an amazing experience.

Always research any new additions you would like for your saltwater aquarium. In particular, know how and what to feed and any specific care requirements. Be careful not to base your choices on color and appearance alone. If you really want a particular type of saltwater fish - do your homework. LiveAquaria is a great resource for stocking options and information on your new altwater aquarium.

QUICK STATS
  Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Approximate Size: 3"
Color Form: Blue, Green, Orange
Diet: Omnivore
Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners - Court Jester Goby Court Jester Goby (Koumansetta rainfordi)

Court Jester Goby as its name suggests is a brightly colored fish with playful stripe pattern. Also known as the Rainford's Goby, or Old Glory, the Court Jester Goby is a peaceful fish that makes a wonderful addition to reef or fish only aquarium housing fish with similar peaceful temperaments. As an active forager, the Court Jester Goby does best in systems aquascaped with an abundance of live rock and sand on which the fish can graze. It is rarely aggressive towards other species.

QUICK STATS
  Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Reef Compatible: Yes
Approximate Size: 3"
Color Form: Black, Orange, White
Diet: Omnivore
Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners - Clownfish Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Clownfish are very hardy saltwater aquarium fish, readily available, and not very expensive. Clownfish have a somewhat unique way of swimming. They swim in a "bobbing" fashion rather than smoothly through the water. They will accept most types of marine food available and can be very easy to keep. Over time, they may even take food out of your fingers. Clownfish are now captive bred so they are readily available and much hardier than wild-caught clowns.

QUICK STATS
  Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Approximate Size: 3-1/4"
Color Form: Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Diet: Carnivore
Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners - Firefish Firefish (Nemateleotris decora)

The Firefish is a magnificent fish with brilliant coloration, a unique body shape, and unparalleled personality. Considered a great beginner's fish because they are very hardy, they should eat most foods offered. Firefish will be about 3.5 to 4 inches when fully grown and can be kept in aquariums as small as 10 gallons. Keep with species of similar size and temperament. These fish are accomplished jumpers, so do not house in an aquarium with an open top; a fitted aquarium hood is a necessity. Provide live rock or other suitable items for shelter.

QUICK STATS
  Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Reef Compatible: Yes
Approximate Size: 3-1/2"
Color Form: Green, White
Diet: Carnivore
Popular Saltwater Fish for Beginners - Pajama Cardinalfish Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)

The Pajama Cardinalfish is a rainbow of playful colors. It has a greenish-yellow face, bright orange eyes, and a silver-based body dressed with a bold black scalar margin and a posterior dotted with orange polka-dots. Though its bold coloration may stand out, Sphaeramia nematoptera has a peaceful nature that lets it blend perfectly into any peaceful community saltwater aquarium.For the best care, the Pajama Cardinalfish should be kept in small schools in suitably sized aquariums of at least 30 gallons.

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