10 Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners – The Complete List

10 Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners – The Complete List

You are currently viewing 10 Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners – The Complete List

10 Best Saltwater Fish for Beginners

You may have heard that maintaining a saltwater tank of fish is quite challenging. This is true since you need to understand the different variations between fresh and salt water, how to maintain it and what type of fish can live in it.

However, it is not impossible. As long as you understand the basics of a marine tank and how to maintain the different parameters in the water, you can be able to create a lovely and hospitable living space for your fish. You will just need some patience and time to set up all the stuff you need.

On the other side, saltwater fish are very beautiful and different from freshwater fish. They will be some beauty you can keep in your home. If you are one of those who want to proceed with the saltwater fish way, you have come to the right place. This article gives you the 10 best saltwater fish for beginners.

1. Raccoon Butterflyfish

Raccoon Butterflyfish

This is the only species of butterfly fish in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. They are commonly called for their colorful bands. The adult fish can reach up to 30 centimeters in length, with a slender body, slightly rounded head, wide mouth with slender teeth, and long tail. The adult fish has a black base color with a brilliant red belly, while the tail is white. These saltwater fish for beginners have a yellow and dark red belly and tail.

Care level: Easy
Size: 12 inches
Temperament: Peaceful

2. Clownfish


This is one of the most famous saltwater fish for beginners. The clownfish is also known as the Red Puffer, or the Cuttlefish. They are usually black, but some can be white or yellow. Their bodies are oval-shaped and streamlined with a large mouth that has several sharp teeth. They are also known to create amazing sounds and often imitate other fish. This saltwater fish for beginners is aggressive and should be kept with their species.

Care level: Easy
Size: 12 inches
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: White, yellow, black, and more

3. Cardinalfish


This saltwater fish for beginners is a very popular species in many ponds and reef aquariums. They are very lively and colorful, so they are commonly found in fish tanks. They like to stay in coral reefs, so a saltwater tank with coral is the best place for them. They have a deep red body with black vertical stripes. They also have a bright yellow head and cheek patch.

Care Level: Beginner friendly
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
size: 10 cm

4. Sleeper-Banded Goby

Sleeper-Banded Goby

This is a colorful saltwater fish for beginners with brilliant blue, green and yellow bands. The eyes are black and some of the fish have white spots on their head. This beautiful species can reach up to 6 cm in length. This species is territorial and will not get along with other fish in the tank, especially the other goby species. This Goby is easy to care for making it one of the best saltwater fish for beginners.

Care level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Size: 6 inches

5. Clown Triggerfish

Clown Triggerfish

The clown triggerfish is a very friendly, colorful, and hardy species. The triggerfish has bright red bands on its head and body. This species is also known as the red sea dragon. This species is one of the best saltwater fish for beginners. They can live up to 10 years, but you can get them from two to five years old. Hobbyists like this breed since it is very hardy and constantly comes to the surface and is always happy.

Care level: Beginner- Intermediate
Temperament: Aggressive
Size: 19.7 inches

6. Ghost Pipefish

Ghost Pipefish

These small species of fish can be found in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. This species is also sometimes called the blue-eyed pipefish. It has a very beautiful pattern of blue and red. The body color of its parents is usually gray or white with a gray dorsal pattern. Its head is yellow with vertical black stripes on the forehead, and its tail is also yellow. The female of this species is larger than the male. Without a doubt, this is the ideal saltwater fish for beginners since it is colorful and gentle.

Care level: Easy
Temperament: semi-aggressive
Size: 12 cm

7. Flame Hawkfish

Flame Hawkfish

This is a vibrant red color of small size with a personable nature. It is a hardy saltwater fish for beginners. It is quite small, reaching only up to 6 cm in length. They are easy to care for and can live up to 2 years in captivity. In a reef aquarium, they should be kept in small groups or they will fight with other fish. This species is also called a blue hawkfish. They are very rare in the wild, but you can find them in captivity. It is the perfect saltwater fish for beginners.

Care level: Easy
Size: 4 inches
Temperament: Semi-aggressive

8. Longnose Hawkfish

Longnose Hawkfish

This species is very similar to the flame hawkfish, but it is much larger. You can find them in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. They are sandy-brown or yellow with a dark brown or black pattern on their body. This predator fish can reach up to 26 cm in length.

The longnose hawkfish can be kept in female and male pairs, but should not be kept with other species of fish. You can find this species in the wild, but they are not very common. If you want to keep this species as a saltwater fish for beginners, it is best to have it in a reef aquarium where they will be safe from predators.

Care level: Easy
Size: 5.1 inches
Temperament: Semi-aggressive

9. Yellow Tang

Yellow Tang

This is one of the most popular saltwater aquarium fish. It is a medium-sized fish reaching up to 16cm in length. The body is bright yellow, the eyes are black and it has green stripes on the side of the body. They are found in the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii. If you keep this species in your aquarium, you will be entertained by its incredible color as well as its ” follow the leader” pattern.

Care level: Easy
Size; 8 inches
Temperament: Semi-aggressive

10. Bird Wrasse

Bird Wrasse

The bird wrasse is a hardy, beautiful and rare species that are hard to find in the wild. They have a yellow-orange body with black and yellow stripes. Some even have blue lines around their eyes. They are found in pairs or small groups in the ocean but are territorial in captivity. They can reach up to 2.5 inches in length. They are great for beginners since they are hardy, unique, and have wonderful colors.

Care level: Easy
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Size: 12 inches


Saltwater fish are fun and easy to care for. They are aggressive and come out at night to hunt smaller fish. The best thing about them is the live food they bring in your tank. You can find many saltwater fish in your local pet store or online. They are quite expensive, but they can bring you a lot of joy and entertainment. They are perfect for adults, children, and beginners in the aquarium world. These 10 best saltwater fish for beginners are beautiful and easy to care for.

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