16 Saltwater Fish for Beginners

Beginner-Friendly Saltwater Fish
By Sarmistha Banerjee Updated

At the very beginning of fishkeeping, people may like to pet easy saltwater fish or freshwater fish in their aquarium because they like keeping beginner-friendly breeds that are easy to care. And our article is crafted for the amateur fish-keepers who are looking for the saltwater fish for beginners.

It is not a daunting task to find beginner-friendly saltwater fish; you just need to collect ideas from experienced aquarists or aquarium fish sellers before buying any breed. Let’s try to follow some factors while you are finding beginner-friendly fish to pet:

  • Check whether the saltwater fish is hardy and adjustable to every place or not.
  • Do not keep large saltwater fish in your aquarium because they can eat small fish breeds.
  • Avoid petting highly-aggressive fish in your tank because they can disturb peace-loving fish and other water species in the tank.
  • Also, make sure that the fish does not require a huge tank because every fish enthusiast does not have a big space in their home to keep a large aquarium.

Common Easy-to-Care and Familiar Saltwater Fish

As per expert aquarists, there are a few saltwater fish for beginners which you can keep in your fish tank if you are just a newbie and have less idea about maintaining fish. Take a detailed look at some names and care guides given below:

01

Firefish (Nemateleotris decora)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Indo Pacific Ocean
  • Life Span – 10-15 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Carnivore
  • Family – Gobiidae
  • Tank Size – 20 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy to Moderate

This small and slender bi-color fish is adorable to aquarists because of its cute looks and peaceful nature. You may know Firefish by other names like Fire Dartfish, Fire Goby, Firefish Goby, and Nemateleotris Magnifica. Evident from its name ‘Magnifica’, this tiny fish is magnificent and attracts fish enthusiasts by its charm.

This shy fish needs plenty of hiding place because it likes hiding behind the plants and the caves. So, while planning to keep this 3-inch saltwater fish, create an eco-friendly ambiance, moderate lighting, and meaty foods to Firefish to keep it happy.

Also, clean the tank once every week to make the fish comfortable in its little aquatic home. This little care can make your little pet Firefish healthy and happy in your aquarium.

02

Klein’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleinii)

Klein Butterflyfish - The Easy to Care Beautiful Saltwater Fish

 Quick Details

  • Origin – Red Sea
  • Life Span – 5-10 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 6”
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Family – Chaetodontidae
  • Tank Size – 120 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

This bright yellow-white fish just looks like a butterfly and you will also find other butterflyfish with beautiful patterns in their body like red, white, blue, orange, yellow and black. Klein’s Butterflyfish is the most easy-to-care and peaceful fish for beginner’s aquarium. Aquarists are not only attracted by its body color and patterns, but also by the calm nature of the fish.

You just need to provide a large and reef-work decorated tank to bring the ambiance of saltwater. Moreover, you need to keep marine water in the artificial aquatic home of Klein’s Butterflyfish.

Also, try to provide rockwork and caves, so that this fish can take rest behind the caves. As the fish is omnivoros, so you can feed simple fish foods to your beautiful swimming-buddy.

03

Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum)

 Quick Details

  • Origin – Western Atlantic Ocean
  • Life Span – 8-12 years
  • Temperament – Semi-Aggressive
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Carnivore
  • Family – Serranidae
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

Chalk Bass is the most charming Bass fish from Serranidae family that is neither very aggressive nor very peaceful, but easy to care because it is adjustable to different water types and environments.

Fish enthusiasts need to manage the ambiance and compatibility of Chalk Bass. Don’t keep large predators, fighter fish breeds and highly-aggressive fish with Chalk Bass, rather try keeping small-sized peaceful or semi-aggressive fish with this Bass fish.

To keep your chalky-shaded buddy happy, just arrange a deep-ocean ambiance in your fish tank by keeping rocky overhangs, corals, oysters and other things found inside the sea. Also, choose simple insects and worms to feed this carnivoros saltwater fish.

04

Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Oceans of Japan and the Philippines
  • Life Span – 10-15 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 4”
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Family – Pomacanthidae
  • Tank Size – 70 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

This saltwater fish is a replica of beauty, found under the deep oceans. Other names of Coral Beauty Angelfish are Dusky Angelfish and Twospined Angelfish.

The deep blue shade on the entire body with yellow highlights just make this saltwater fish the most aesthetic species in marine deep. Moreover, its peaceful nature makes the fish lovable to beginner aquarists.

These fish are both tank cleaner and algae eater, which are the beneficial points for the fish-keepers. Therefore, own this fish for your tank but feed meaty foods and vegetative foods to the fish. Also, make the ambiance of this easy-to-care Angelfish green because this species loves greenery.

05

Yellow Prawn Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Southern Japan
  • Life Span – 5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 2”
  • Diet – Herbivore
  • Family – Gobiidae
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy-Moderate

This yellow-orange shaded vegan saltwater fish for beginners is very small in size and easy to pet because of its friendly and passive nature. The bright-blue twinkling spots in the body of this yellow fish gleam the entire aquarium, which is one of the reasons that fish hobbyists like to pet Watchman Goby in both their residential and commercial places.

The little water species is so active that it jumps in the tank whole day, so you need to provide a spacious 30-gallon tank for its comfort. Try to keep sandy substrate at the bottom of the tank and also feed sea plants and other vegetables to this herbivore fish.

You won’t need much effort to take care of this fish, just feed them twice a day and make the living environment of Yellow Prawn Watchman Goby green and covered with sea reefs.

06

Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Ocellaris Clownfish - Best Saltwater Fish of Every Beginner

Quick Details

  • Origin – The Pacific Ocean and Eastern Indian Ocean
  • Life Span – 3-6 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Family – Pomacanthidae
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

Do you remember the popular film – “Finding Nemo?” The Clownfish is one of the family members of the fish who used to live with ‘Nemo’ and other aquatic species in the same aquarium.

This cute little fish is really adorable for its size, calm nature, and the color patterns in the body like orange, white with black borders on the sides. This beginner-friendly fish is familiar to human beings because its intellectual power helps it in understanding human language.

So, you can train them very easily, but avoid keeping Ocellaris Clownfish with aggressive water species that can harm this peace-loving fish.

As an omnivoros, this fish really doesn’t have a complicated food regime, you can provide simple meaty and vegetative foods to this saltwater fish.

07

Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)

   Quick Details

  • Origin – Western Pacific Ocean
  • Life Span – 5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Carnivore
  • Family – Apogonidae
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

You will find this little fish with a splash of different colors in its body. This colorful fish has orange eyes, green-yellow face and orange dotted back. The fins of this fish really look like the aesthetic fins of a butterfly.

This slow swimmer prefers living with the passive-natured fish breed, so try to house them with slow-swimmers and small companions of similar sizes which will never harm Pajama Cardinalfish.

Your children can even take care of this 3-inch species because it is the calmest and easy-to-care saltwater fish with familiar and friendly nature.

Try to decorate your aquarium with plenty of crannies and nooks, so that this shy fish can hide behind the nooks and caves whenever necessary.

08

Black Molly (Poecilia sphenops)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Oceans of Mexico
  • Life Span – 5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3-5”
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Family – Livebearers
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy-Moderate

Mollies are known as both freshwater and saltwater fish for beginners because this breed is comfortable to survive in every type of water.

This short-finned black-shaded fish is not very attractive but this breed is peaceful and not very hard to care. The male fish has a large dorsal fin and pointed anal fin, and the female fish has spots on the fins and the other parts of the body.

This fish is a plant lover, so it prefers living inside the surrounding of rocks and seawater plants in the aquarium. Also, arrange a good filtration system for the tank of Black Molly, so that the tank of the fish is not polluted by poops and other waste products.

You will just need to put some more effort in cleaning the fish tank because of the excretion system of Black Molly.

09

Blue/Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Red Sea and Indo-Pacific Ocean  
  • Life Span – 5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 4”
  • Diet – Omnivore
  • Family – Pomacentridae  
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

This blue and green saltwater fish is familiar to other water species, so it can be kept in a community tank with other fish of same and different peaceful breeds. You can also keep invertebrates and corals with this fish.

The baby blue dorsal fins and light green anal fins are appealing for both children and adult fish enthusiasts. So, different fish hobbyists like to pet Blue/Green Chromis in their tank.

You just need to keep peaceful breeds with this fish because Chromis are not compatible with aggressive and fast-swimmer fish.

10

Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)

Six-Line Wrasse - Cute Saltwater Fish

Quick Details

  • Origin – Red Sea
  • Life Span – 5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Carnivore
  • Family – Labridae 
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Moderate

Wrasses are of several varieties but Six Line Wrasse is one of the most attractive fish breeds that is lovable to the fish hobbyists for its bright colors and patterns in its entire body.

Moreover, this cute little saltwater fish is peaceful and obedient to the fish-keepers because it understands the facial and hand signs of human beings.

Don’t make the tank of Wrasse fish over-crowded because this species is comfortable to live alone or with other peace-lover species.

Try to provide a good diet and proper hiding place to this marine fish, so that the ambiance of the tank is similar to the sea.

11

Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)

Quick Details

  • Origin – Caribbean Sea
  • Life Span – 3-5 years
  • Temperament – Peaceful
  • Size – 3”
  • Diet – Carnivore
  • Family – Grammidae
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

Royal Gramma is also known as the crowning glory of the sea because of the shinning bi-color (purple and orange) in its body.

Gramma’s cute black bright eyes attract fish enthusiasts of different ages. Beginners love to breed this fish because of its peaceful nature, vibrant colors, and familiarity. Moreover, this fish is really easy to care.

However, never get confused between Royal Dottyback which looks similar to Royal Gramma because Dottyback is an aggressive fish and Royal Gramma is passive in nature.

Moreover, Dottyback has no color blending like Gramma, and they also don’t have dots on the fins like Royal Gramma.

Try to decorate the fish tank with reef and rocks which are found under the deep oceans. This will bring the looks of saltwater aquarium similar to the sea.

12

Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor)

Bicolor Blenny - The Smallest Bicolor Saltwater Fish for beginners

Quick Details

  • Origin – Indo-Pacific Ocean
  • Life Span – 2-4 years 
  • Temperament – Peaceful 
  • Size – 4”
  • Diet – Herbivore 
  • Family – Combtooth Blenny 
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons 
  • Care Level – Easy 

This small herbivoros fish is easy to upkeep by the beginners because it is very small and just a 30-gallon aquarium is needed to keep this fish.

Moreover, Blenny fish is easily adjustable to different types of water because it can live both at the top and bottom level of the water.

So, you don’t need to provide any special environment for this fish, just don’t mix this peaceful breed with predator water species who can harm this saltwater fish adversely.

13

Tangs ( Acanthuridae )

Quick Details

  • Origin – Hawaii 
  • Life Span – 8-12 years   
  • Temperament – Semi-Aggressive   
  • Size – 7”
  • Diet – Herbivore  
  • Family – Acanthuridae       
  • Tank Size – 100 gallons
  • Care Level – Easy

Tang is a great choice for beginners because it is resilient, hardy, bright and very beautiful. This saltwater fish is also found in powder-blue color.

You should try to avoid keeping the same breeds together, but you can keep other peaceful water species with this fish.

However, because of its size, you need to provide a 100-gallon tank for the comfort of Tang fish. This fish is easy to keep because of being a vegetarian and adjustable in nature.

Fish hobbyists are also attracted to breed this fish because one of the famous movies, Finding Dory was a Tang fish.

14

Talbot’s Damsel Fish (Chrysiptera talboti)

Quick Details

  • Origin – the Pacific Ocean, Australian Seas  
  • Life Span – 5+ years     
  • Temperament – Semi-Aggressive     
  • Size – 2.5” 
  • Diet – Omnivoros   
  • Family – Pomacentridae        
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons  
  • Care Level – Moderate

This silver-yellow vibrant saltwater fish is comfortable with every type of environment whether it is reef-surrounded or not.

It is one of the tank cleaners and algae eaters, so you don’t have to take much stress in cleaning a fish tank if Talbot’s Damsel is in your aquarium.

Don’t keep any peaceful or aggressive fish with this breed because it is a semi-aggressive fish and keeping wrong tankmates can be really a mess. Try to keep other semi-aggressive and compatible fish with this species.

15

Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus)

Longnose Hawkfish - The Aesthetic Saltwater Fish for beginners

Quick Details

  • Origin – Hawaiian Island, Red Sea   
  • Life Span – 5-7 years      
  • Temperament – Semi-Aggressive       
  • Size – 5”  
  • Diet – Carnivore    
  • Family – Hawkfish            
  • Tank Size – 30 gallons   
  • Care Level – Moderate 

The white and red box-striping body of the Longnose Hawkfish really makes it an attractive species for an aquarium.

This is comfortable to eat any kind of food and can stay at different types of temperatures but don’t keep aggressive breeds with this semi-aggressive saltwater fish, otherwise, bloodshed and fighting in the tank might take place.

16

Big Eye Black Bar Soldierfish (Myripristis berndti )

Quick Details

  • Origin – Sri Lanka, Maldives   
  • Life Span – 3-5 years       
  • Temperament – Peaceful      
  • Size – 8”   
  • Diet – Carnivore    
  • Family – Holocentridae         
  • Tank Size – 70 gallons   
  • Care Level – easy 

Soldierfish is also another tank cleaner, so beginners will like keeping this large-eyed bright red saltwater fish. Just keep sea rocks, reefs and sea water plants in the aquarium of this nocturnal species.

Collect marine meat, feeder shrimp, freeze-dried shrimp and Bloodworms for this carnivore light red peaceful fish to keep it healthy and happy.

You can easily collect this saltwater fish in your fish tank because they are easy to breed and familiar to the beginner hobbyists; you just need to learn the exact way to take care of this fish breeds.

Interesting Facts about Saltwater Fish

  • Most of the tank-cleaning species are saltwater fish.
  • Today, over 1000 breeds of saltwater fish are threatened by extinction.
  • Some saltwater fish can hide and change their color according to the floor of the ocean, so they are great at camouflaging.

More Saltwater Fish Breeds for Aquarium

There are other saltwater fish breeds which can be kept in your fish tank, but know the entire care guide before breeding them: