saltwater fish for beginners

Saltwater Fish For Beginners – #7 Is the our favorite!

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Saltwater or marine fishkeeping as it’s know can be a very expensive hobby if you get it wrong. We’ve heard many stories of people buying the wrong equipment or wrong fish and losing hundreds of dollars and quickly giving up on the whole idea of keeping saltwater fish.

This isn’t good for the hobby as it deters people from keeping saltwater fish and they soon get out of the hobby.

With the right information and advice, you can achieve an amazing aquarium in your own home and one that won’t cost the earth.

Once you have purchased a suitable beginners aquarium like the Corallife Biocube then you can start to think about suitable saltwater fish for beginners.

One of the biggest expenses in keeping saltwater fish are the fish themselves. Often costing hundreds of dollars each it can be a costly mistake to choose the wrong fish.

Let us guide you in the right direction and give you some helpful information on some of the more hardy species of marine fish.

These fish are affordable and easy to keep, especially for beginners who have little experience in keeping saltwater fish.

We want more people to get involved in this amazing hobby and for as little money as possible. Children love these amazingly bright and colorful fish tanks and they also have a therapeutic and calming value making them perfect for a child’s bedroom. Our son finds the sound of the water calming and with him having special needs this is great as it helps him go off to sleep much quicker. A Win Win for us too! Mum and Dad get a better nights sleep. Ha Ha

Let us get stuck in!  And don’t forget to check out our personal favorite #7

Here is a list of the best Saltwater Fish For Beginners. All the fish on this list are inexpensive, hardy and easy to keep. They cover many species and will add a variety of color and character to your new aquarium. We hope this answers the question we hear so many times ” What’s the best saltwater fish for beginners”

  1. Green Chromis
  2. Sailfin Blenny
  3. Orchid Dottyback
  4. FireFish Goby
  5. Banggai Cardinalfish
  6. Ocellaris clownfish
  7. Yellow Watchman Goby
  8. Yellowtail Damselfish
  9. Royal Gramma
  10. Volitan Lionfish
  11. Coral Beauty Angelfish
  12. Bicolor Dottyback
  13. Carpenters Flasher Wrasse

Best Saltwater Fish For Beginners

#1 The Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)

green chromis

Green ChromisChromis atripectoralis
FamilyPomacentridae
OriginIndo-Pacific & South Pacific
Care LevelVery Easy
TemperamentPeaceful
Size4-5"
Reef SafeYes
Tank Size 30 Gallons plus
Price$40

The green Chromis fish likes to be in a school so being that it’s relatively inexpensive it’s easy to pick up 5 or 6 of these beautiful fish for your saltwater aquarium. They are very hardy and adapt really well to aquarium life even to the point where they have actually have been known to breed within a saltwater aquarium.

Costing around $5 each which is the typical asking price for a green Chromis makes it a great fish for somebody looking to get started in the Saltwater aquarium hobby.

This fish is not just for beginners, it’s one of the most popular saltwater fish due to its striking blue and green color and how beautiful they look in a small school of around 5-6 fish.

The Green Chromis is not only a beautiful looking fish but it’s also very peaceful and lives in harmony in any community aquarium. These fish are also perfectly safe with invertebrates and corals making them a great choice for reef aquariums.

Given good water conditions and a balanced and varied diet, these fish should live to around 8-10 years. This is a lot of fish for around $5.

We recommend feeding your Chromis several times throughout the day with a variety of meaty foods, herbivore flakes, and frozen Brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, and other Vitamin-enriched foods which are known to enhance their body colorations.

#2 Sailfin Blenny (Salarias fasciatus)

sailfin blenny

Scientific NameSalarias fasciatus
Family Blenniidae
DietHerbivore
Care LevelEasy
TemperamentPeaceful
Reef SafeYes
Size5” Max
Tank Size 20 Gallons
Price$20-$30

The Sailfin Blenny also referred to as the Jewelled Rockskipper, Lawnmower blenny, algae Blenny or Rock Blenny is native to the reefs across the Indo-Pacific.

These fish have a tonne of personality and are awesome for a number of reasons. These fish are on our list because they are very hardy and easy to keep fish but also for what they do for your aquarium.

These fish actually help you to keep your aquarium clean as they spend their entire day just picking and nibbling at the rocks eating up any type of algae that’s growing on the rocks. Not the flashiest fish on the list but they’re definitely one of the highest performing fish on a list and will help keep your tank looking amazing. Even though they eat lots of algae they are perfectly safe in a reef aquarium and will not harm or eat any corals or invertebrates.

It has been known to nip at small-polyped stony coral and clam mantles but it’s not common if kept well fed.

These fish love to jump from rock to rock and love to hide in caves, so providing plenty of living rock and decor is very important to make them feel at home. They will need a well-established aquarium with large amounts of natural algae to feed on. If your tank is new them you will need to supplement their diet with ALGEA/SEAWEED STRIPS or other forms of vegetable matter.

Sailfin Blenny is very peaceful but should be housed singly and might attack other blennies of similar size and shape. Growing to an impressive 5″ which for a blenny is big and living to around 6-7 Years these fish make a great beginners saltwater fish.

#3 Orchid Dottyback (Pseudochromis fridmani)

orchid dottyback

Scientific NamePseudochromis fridmani
DietCarnivore
Care LevelEasy
FamilyPseudochromidae
Tank Size 30-40 Gallons+
Water Conditions72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Reef Compatibleyes
Price$40-$70 Depending on Size and color

The Orchid Dottyback or Fridman’s Dottyback, Fridman’s Pseudochromis as they’re often called make an excellent addition to most reef tanks. They are an absolutely stunning fish with beautiful purple coloration. We have never seen one that hasn’t had amazing colors on it making it probably one of the most stunning fish it is available to beginners for a low price.

One of the best things about this fish is that nine times out of ten when you see one in aquarium it’s captive bred and the best thing about captive bred fish is that they don’t need to be acclimated in to aquarium life as they are raised and bred in captivity so they are 10 times more likely to be successful which for a beginner starting at the hobby is what you’re looking for.

Most pet stores and aquariums shops sell these fish as peaceful fish but I would say as to that they’re probably bordering on the semi-aggressive side and they’re definitely a one fish per tank species. You don’t want to have multiples of these fish in a tank at any one time unless it’s a very large tank of over 200 Gallons. If you do want more than one Orchid Dottyback and why wouldn’t you?, it’s advised to add them at the same time.

These fish will defend their territory in and around the caves and rocks they love to call their home. Once acclimatized these fish will swim out into the open water and you can then admire their beauty up close. On first adding them to your tank they will retreat to a safe dark cave or rock but will slowly come out and investigate their new home.

In the wild, they can be found darting around the coral reefs of the Red sea eating passing zooplankton. In captivity, they should be fed a varied diet consisting of foods specifically designed for carnivores. If kept in a reef aquarium, the Captive-Bred Orchid Dottyback should be fed once or twice a day.

It will prey on pests such as small mantis shrimp and bristleworms, making this fish ideal for the reef aquarium.

They grow to around 3″ in size and do well in aquariums with good water quality filtration and around 30+ Gallons.

#4 FireFish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica)

firefish goby

Scientific NameNemateleotris Magnifica
FamilyMicrodesmidea
Common NameFirefish Goby, Fire Goby,Firedart Fish
OriginAfrica, Coral Ocean, Maldives, Indonesia
SociabilityPeaceful & Timid
Size3 Inch Max
DietOmnivore
Minimum Tank Size20 Gals
Experience Level NeededAll levels
CareEasy to moderate
Water ParameterspH 8.1-8.4, 8-12 dGh, 72-80F
Reef/Coral SafeYes
BreedingEgg Layer

The firefish goby, now these fish are one of my favorite. They are an absolutely stunning fish. They can be a little bit timid and shy especially when first introduced to your tank but once they are relaxed they will be at the front of the tank and you can then see their beauty up close.

You’ll want to make sure that you have plenty of hiding places in a saltwater aquarium if you want to keep these also probably one of the better fish to add first to your tank especially when you’re first starting out. If you add them into a tank that is already established with other fish that are more aggressive they’re not going to have much of a chance.

The other thing to watch out for with these fish is jumping out of your tank, so you want to make sure that you have a closed lid fitted. If you have an open top tank you may get away with them if you have a large rim around the edge as these fish jump out from the glass edge. They normally only jump out of the tank if they are stressed or chased by other fish.

Also known as the Firefish Goby, Fire Goby, and Magnificent or Fire Dartfish, Nemateleotris magnifica they have a white anterior, yellow head and pink to orange-red posterior. The dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are highlighted in black.

These are one of the most popular saltwater fish and you can see why. These reef safe fish are very hardy and easy to keep.

Part of the Gobiidae family these fish have amazing personalities and provided they have lots of hiding places, caves and holes to explore will provide you with hours of entertainment.

Like most Gobies, they generally are not aggressive towards other fish except those of its own species. However, a mated pair can live peacefully together. In the wild, they are found in large groups in and around the coral reef edge feeding on Plankton. They never far away from a safety hole that they can retreat into when they feel threatened. It’s important to replicate this in the home aquarium.

Being Carnivores these fish will feed on finely chopped small crustaceans, vitamin-enriched brine fish (live or frozen), mysis shrimp, and prepared foods. They are not fussy eaters and once they have settled into their new home will feed happily once or twice a day.

#5 Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)

Banggai Cardinalfish

Scientific Name Pterapogon kauderni
FamilyApogonidae
TemperamentSemi-Aggresive
Care LevelEasy
Size3"
DietCarnivore
OriginCaptive bred Indonesia and Asia
Tank Size30+ Gallons
Price$20

We absolutely love Banggai Cardinalfish also known as Kaudern’s Cardinal or Longfin Cardinalfish. Their silver bodies are highlighted by black stripes and white spots on the body with long impressive and elegant fins.

They are hardy fish which makes them a great candidate for somebody brand new to the hobby and they are very forgiving and inexpensive.

Semi-aggressive towards other fish and its own kind they should not be kept in large groups or fights will break out. They do, however, like to have a few of the same species in the tank with them. I have always kept 4-5 in the same tank without any issues or fighting. I did try to keep a school of 12 once but I had to split them up due to arguments over territory which lead to the death of a few.


The Banggai Cardinal is relatively easy to breed in the home aquarium given the correct environment. Once they pair spawn the male will carry the young fry in their mouths until the fry is big enough to go it alone.

The popular reef safe fish grow to around 3″ given a well-balanced diet of meaty foods such as feeder shrimp, marine flesh, bloodworms. They will also accept dried flake food once established.

A 30-40 gallon or larger aquarium with a cave, rocks, hiding places, and peaceful tank mates is ideal for this slow and peaceful fish.

Look out for captive bred fish from Indonesia and Asia as they are hardier than their wild harvested counterparts. These captive bred fish will suit a newly established saltwater tank and make the ideal saltwater fish for beginners.

#6 Ocellaris Clownfish  (Amphiprion ocellaris)

Ocellaris clownfish

Scientific NameAmphiprion ocellaris
FamilyPomacentridae
DietOmnivore
TemperamentPeaceful
Care LevelEasy
OriginMost are now Captive Bred
Size3"
Tank Size20+ Gallons
Price$20

Their scientific name is Amphiprion ocellaris but most people call the simply Clownfish. Also known as Clown anemonefish, clown anemonefish, false percula clownfish, false clownfish, false perc.

Made famous by the film Finding Nemo, this fish overnight became the staple in every saltwater aquarium. One of the best things about these fish is that they don’t need a lot of water and they do great in a small aquarium.

I have seen 15 Gallon tanks with just living rocks, one anemone and a pair of clownfish and it looked great!

This is a fish that is also very forgiving of poor water quality which isn’t something to strive for but at the same time if something happens you have a chance to correct it before something horrible happens. That’s what makes it a great candidate for somebody that’s not got a lot of experience because if there is something that happens they’re going to be a bit more forgiving than other fish that are available on the market.

Clownfish has an amazing relationship with Anemones and live in perfect harmony together. The Ocellaris clownfish has a protective coating on the skin that stops the Anemones from stinging them. They both have benefits of living in harmony, the clownfish gains protection from predators and the Anemone gets a food source. As the clownfish grad food, they bring it back to the anemone to eat then some of this food is captured and eaten by the anemone.

Clownfish can like or dislike anemones, they have been known to move from one to the other without warning. I had a pair that totally disliked the anemones in my tank. They preferred to live in and around my powerhead for some reason. So don’t get too disappointed if you buy an anemone and they don’t take to it straight away. Clams are a favorite for many clownfish. They shouldn’t really live in clams but they do. I have personally seen clownfish breed and lay eggs directly on the clam.

Another interesting fact about clownfish is that they are all born male. They also have the ability to change into females. The strongest male will usually make an irreversible change into a female when the female of the group dies. Once they change into a female they can never change back. Once the strongest male turns into a female the second strongest clownfish becomes the breeding male.

These fish have a very long lifespan in captivity with some fish living to a ripe old age of 20 Years old.

# 7 Yellow Watchman Goby (Cryptocentrus cinctus)

Scientific NameCryptocentrus cinctus
FamilyGobiidae
TemperamentPeaceful
Care LevelEasy
Reef SafeYes
DietCarnivore
Size4"
Tank Size10+ Gallons
Price$20

There are so many saltwater fish with big personalities but none more so than the Yellow Watchman Goby. One of my personal favorites in the saltwater aquarium hobby.

The yellow watchman goby is great for smaller Nano reef tanks of around 10-20 gallons. They have some of the best characteristics of any fish in the Saltwater aquarium hobby and I could watch them and often did for hours.

It’s a great addition to any tank and very pretty with striking yellowish green color and it has a bluish hint around their spots and fins. They’re really good looking fish that likes to burrow into the substrate. Quite often you’ll see them appearing out of their hole in the sand looking as to what’s going on around them that’s how they get their name the Watchmen.

They are reef safe and non-aggressive except when it comes to the same sex of their own species, so only house one single fish or a mated pair. They grow to around 8-10cm in length making them a perfect choice for smaller saltwater tanks and nano reef tanks.

Like all Goby they are good jumpers so care should be taken to install a tight-fitting lid or at least for the first few weeks until they become settled in their new home.

The watchman goby has an amazing relationship with the Pistol shrimp. The shrimp have limited eyesight and needs the goby to alert them of predators while the goby uses the shrimp’s hole as shelter. They both benefit from the close relationship. I have always ensured that when I buy a Yellow Watchman Goby I also introduce a Pistol Shrimp at the same time.
https://youtu.be/FEslHsv-HF4
These fish were first discovered in 1936 and later introduced into the home aquarium. From then on they have been a must have fish for any saltwater tank and are now in such demand they are proving more and more difficult to find.

The Yellow Watchman Goby seems to be very resistant to most saltwater fish disease and is a hardy little fish but you still need to take the proper precautions and use a quarantine tank until you’re 100% sure the fish is disease free before introducing them to your main aquarium.

Another reason why they make good saltwater fish for beginners is that they are easy to feed and provided they receive a good varied diet then they will thrive in most newly established aquariums. Try to give them a varied diet of live, frozen, freeze-dried and vitamin-enriched flake foods. Mine really loved freeze-dried Brine Shrimp.

These fish should always be considered for any new inexperienced saltwater fish keeper.

#8 YellowTail DamselFish (Chrysiptera parasema)

yellowtail damselfish

Scientific NameChrysiptera parasema
FamilyPomacentridae
Origin Indo-Ppacific & South Pacific
Temperament Semi-Aggressive
Care level Easy
DietOmnivore
Size2.5"
Tank Size30+Gallons
Price$10

This is one of the first saltwater fish I ever purchased and I have owned one ever since and that was many years ago now. These small but brightly colored Damselfish are one of the hardy fish you can buy. Perfect for newly setup aquariums.

All Damselfish are aggressive and have been known to bully other fish including much larger fish. The YellowTail is semi-aggressive but compared to other Damselfish they are the more peaceful of all Damsels.

Native to the reefs of the Indo-Pacific, this member of the Pomacentridae family is best kept in a home aquarium in small groups in large aquariums or with other fish of similar size. Then if fights break out they tend to be restricted within the school. If they are within a small school in your tank they will be more worried about themselves getting hurt than chasing other fish around the tank. Or if you have a smaller reef/saltwater tank then a single YellowTail Damselfish would be best. They will ignore most fish, corals, and invertebrates but will become territorial with other Damsels, but a single Damselfish will often do the most damage.

The Yellowtail Blue Damsel is very hardy and is easy to feed eating almost anything, they have a shorter lifespan than other saltwater fish of around 5-6 Years.  We would recommend a varied diet and feed them small but often portions 6-7 times a day. I set an automatic fish feeder on my tank to ensure they got the correct portions throughout the day.

These fish are often confused with the Azure Damselfish (Chrysiptera hemicyanea). The difference is that the Yellowtail Damselfish has exactly that just Yellow on their tail where the Azure Damselfish has yellow on the underside of its body not just on the tail.

If you’re looking for a risk-free fish tank then we’d probably say stay away from Damsels as they are too aggressive but if you’ve got a little bit of experience then you will be okay and be able to tell the telltale signs of trouble brewing.

They are very inexpensive and hardy fish so that’s one of the main reasons most beginners buy them and why shops recommend them.

#9  Royal Gramma (Gramma loret)

royal gramma

Scientific NameGramma loreto
Family NameGrammidae
Temperament Peaceful
Care LevelEasy
DietCarnivore
Reef SafeYes
Size3"
Origin Caribbean, Tropical Western Pacific
Tank Size30+ Gallons
Price$20

In the wild, these beautifully colored fish can be found swimming in and around the coral reefs and rocky overhangs and vertical walls where they stay within bolting distance to safe holes where they live. If they sense danger they will bolt straight into their holes for protection.

In the home aquarium, they will need similar conditions to those to find in the ocean. Plenty of rocks and caves/holes for them to inhabit and call home. Just ensure the rocks are safely secured as we have had occasions where gobies like Green Clown Goby and other sand bigging fish like Green Mandarin Dragonets have dug away at the sand causing the rocks to tumble and crush Royal Grammas.

Royal Grammas are very peaceful fish, however, they will show aggression to any fish that tries to interfere with their resting place. They like to pick spots in the tank where they can hide and rest and if they feel that area is threatened then they will defend themselves.

You can keep these fish as a single or in groups of 6-7, we would recommend if you do this to ensure they are all introduced to their new home simultaneously and if possible purchase a larger one and several smaller ones to ensure less fighting amongst themselves.

Adult males are usually larger than the females, and sometimes have longer pelvic fins but this is not 100% guaranteed.

We have seen many instances of these fish breeding in a home aquarium. You will notice the start of the breeding process with the male bringing pieces of macroalgae into his cave or hole. The male will then entice the female into his love nest by spreading his fins and performing a mating dance. Once the female accepts the invitation and releases and fertilizes her eggs, the female leaves the spawning site, with the male remaining in the cave to guard them.

The average size for a fully grown Gramma is around 3″ in captivity and in the wild, they have been seen slightly bigger at around 3.5 – 4″ maximum.

#10 Volitan Lionfish, Colored(Pterois volitans)

volitan lionfish

Scientific NamePterois volitans
FamilyScorpaenidae
Size15” Max
Tank Size100-130 Gallons
OriginCaribbean, Indonesia, Vanuatu
Diet
Carnivore
Reef CompatibleWith Caution
Temperament
Semi-aggressive
Water ConditionsSaltwater 72-78° F, dKH 8-12, pH 8.1-8.4, sg 1.021-1.023
Price$50+

A lot of people and website wouldn’t put the Volitan Lionfish in their top 10 saltwater fish for beginners due to its dangerous spikes on their fins that contain a toxin which causes pain equivalent to a bee sting. Not life threatening unless you have an allergic reaction to it.

So why is it in our list of saltwater fish for beginners? Well, apart from their dangerous spines they are really hardy fish. Very easy to introduce into a new aquarium as long as you have a nice big tank. They like to swim in open waters so providing a nice rocky background with plenty of space at the front will be perfect for these fish to thrive.

Also, their feeding habits would put some people off but I never had a problem with feeding mine small live feeder foods. Mine eventually accepted dried foods and frozen fish but at first small feeder fish was all I could get him to accept. Once he was eating properly, this fish was one of the easiest fish I have ever kept.

They will eat smaller fish so ensure you have tank mates of equal size or at least half his size. This isn’t always true however, I have seen large lionfish living in peace and harmony with smaller fish like Clownfish, Foxfaces, Mimic Saddle Filefish, and other smaller fish without them eating or attacking them.  It just depends on how well fed you keep your Lionfish and the temperament of the fish itself. There’s no knowing until you try!

When first introduced to your aquarium which should be 100 Gallons minimum they will shy away and hide, but once this amazing fish has grown in confidence they will swim out into open waters and spread its amazing fins and become a real centerpiece of your tank.

Do you need to feed these fish live food? Not always but in the beginning yes, probably. Once they have settled you can introduce a diet consisting of chunks of fresh, uncooked table shrimp, frozen silversides, and pieces of frozen squid and stop feeding them live foods if you so wish.

#11 Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)

coral beauty

Scientific NameCentropyge bispinosa
Family Pomacanthidae
TemperamentPeaceful
Care LevelEasy
DietOmnivore
Reef SafeWith Caution
Size4"
Tank Size70-80 Gallons Plus
Price$50

Angelfish are not known for being easy to keep fish, especially for beginners but the Coral Beauty is one Anglefish that breaks the rule. They are very easy to keep and small enough to be housed in most saltwater aquariums of 70 Gallons plus.

We wouldn’t say they are reef safe as they have been known to nip at stony and soft corals (sessile invertebrates).

Very common on the Great Barrier Reef these fish from the Pomacanthidae family are brightly colored semi-aggressive fish. Sometimes known as the Dusky Angelfish, they have a body and head that is royal blue, highlighted with an iridescent orange to yellow. They really are amazingly beautiful fish when you look close up.

The Coral Beauty requires lots of living rocks, and Algae to pick at which will form part of their main diet along with other foods such as Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, sponge-based Angelfish foods, and finely chopped krill, squid, cockle, mussel.


These fish are very small, around 4″ Maximum which is small for an Angelfish but they do like to swim a lot in open water so providing plenty of rocks and hiding places and large areas of open space will require a reasonably sized tank.

Whilst the Coral Beauty is not as aggressive as some other members of the same family, this fish will become territorial if newcomers are added to the tank after it has become established. You will need to think about stocking your tank carefully and planning what types of fish you will intend to keep in advance. This will reduce the risk of having an unstable population of fish. It can be a costly mistake if you get this part wrong. The Coral Beauty also offers amazing value at around $50 each this is a fraction of the cost of some other Angelfish.

The number one issue with a beginner keeping these fish is feeding, without a doubt, this will have to be your focus especially if you have a new aquarium with little natural rocks and Algae. They primarily eat algae and will graze on the algae growing on your live rock. With time your Coral Beauty will be trained to eat dried foods and flakes but this will take time. Normally around 6-8 weeks before they will start to accept a varied diet.

My Coral Beauty loves dried marine seaweed and I use a saltwater suitable veggie clip to hold it in place in the tank.


 #12 Bicolor Dottyback(Pictichromis paccagnellae)

BICOLOR DOTTYBACK

Scientific NamePictichromis paccagnellae)
Family Pseudochromidae
OriginIndo-pacific
TemperamentPeaceful
Care LevelEasy
DietCarnivore
Size3"
Tank Size30 Gallons
Reef SafeYes
Price$15

The Bicolor Dottyback is native to the tropical reefs of the Central Indo-Pacific where it can be found in large numbers. As one of the hardiest and undemanding reef fish available to the home aquarist, this fish is a sensible option for saltwater beginners.

This striking fish has a great color combination of half purple and half yellow making it one of the easily recognizable fish in the aquarium store. Thanks to their small size and striking colors they are often the number one choice for nano saltwater aquariums.

They are middle to bottom dwellers that generally mix well and live happily with other reef inhabitants, but they are territorial and can become aggressive towards their own kind. They have been known to stand up to 2 or 3 fish at a time that comes within their territory making them no pushover to any fish that threatens their space.

These fish are reef safe but have been known to eat ornamental shrimp and is a predator of nuisance bristleworms.

The Royal Dottyback is a carnivore and to ensure your Bicolor Dottyback keeps its striking bright colors feed them a good variety of foods. Easy to feed you should have no problems getting them to accept live foods, dried food, and even flakes. They love finely chopped mysis shrimp, finely chopped krill and try to feed them twice a day.

As with a lot of beginner-friendly saltwater fish, these ones can also jump and are often found on the floor the day after introducing them to your aquarium. It is essential that you have some kind of lid on top of the tank to prevent them for jumping out, especially in the first few weeks.

#13 Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse(Paracheilinus carpenteri)

CARPENTERS FLASHES WRASSE

Scientific NameParacheilinus carpenteri
FamilyLabridae
TemperamentPeaceful
Care LevelEasy
DietCarnivore
Reef SafeYes
OriginWestern Pacific Ocean
Size3"
Tank Size55 Gallons
Price$40

Our final choice had to be a Wrasse of some description and we have chosen the Carpenters Flasher Wrasse for its amazing colors and patterns.

Commonly known as Carpenter’s Wrasse, or sometimes Redfin Flasher Wrasse they are orange with blue vertical stripes as a small juvenile fish, and as the fish matures and turns in to an adult the coloration becomes yellow with a series of broken blue horizontal stripes. The dorsal fin has three elongated rays and is red in color accented with yellows and blues.

We would highly recommend keeping these in a small group in a tank no less than 60-70 Gallons. In small groups, the females will encourage the male to perform colorful displays. The females should be introduced into the tank first. It is often harassed by other fish so the Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse should be the first species introduced into the aquarium. It is best to keep it with peaceful tankmates and with fish of a similar nature.

Native to the western Pacific and only grows to around 8cm (3 inches) and inhabit depths of around 89 to 148 ft, these fish can be found in large numbers which look amazing with a mixture of brightly colored males and lesser females.

The Carpenters Flashing Wrasse is considered “reef-safe” in the aquarium as it does not attack or harass invertebrates or nibble at coral polyps. Very popular in the trade these days and easy to find and inexpensive.

Most wrasses are great first saltwater fish but this one is really eye-catching, easy to keep and readily accepts dried foods making them perfect for beginners. I had one of these a few years back before I moved home and it had a great relationship with a Jewel Damselfish, they seem to follow each other all around the tank. It was fun to watch.

Final Thoughts

No matter which one of these fish you choose they will all make great additions to your new saltwater fish tank. There are so many fish that could have made it onto our list but these are some of the most popular saltwater fish for beginners.

Let us know what you think makes a good beginners fish and why. We may add it to our next update.

We love our hobby and encourage everyone to get involved and try saltwater or marine fish as some people like to call them. So many people get caught up in the expensive and technical equipment that it scares them off trying saltwater.

Yes, there are more things to watch out for over freshwater but don’t let that put you off. There are some amazingly simple to run starter kits available online now like the ones on Amazon that make it easier for everyone to try saltwater. We like the Fluval 13.5 Gallon Starter tank.


By the way, if you do like freshwater check out our Coolest Freshwater Aquarium Fish list. 

Thanks for taking the time to read our review of about saltwater fish for beginners, we hope you found it helpful. For more information and help please feel free to join our Facebook group where you’ll find lots of people willing to offer advice and top tips.

Happy Fishkeeping Forever!

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