23 Options for Beginner Saltwater Fish

Do you know that there is actually beginner saltwater fish that you can try if you just start out? There are reasons why this fish is included within the list of ideal fish for beginner – mostly because they are easy to care and they are pretty harmless for beginner aquarists. The list is actually pretty long – which is great because you have a wide option of fish that can decorate your house.


Green Chromis

beginner saltwater fish

This is one of the most ideal beginner saltwater fish because of the natural characteristics. It is inexpensive. It is peaceful and not aggressive. It is ubiquitous, which means that it would be great for display because it simply loves exploring around. If you want to have more than one of the Green Chromis, they are great shoaling fish, so you would be able to see them grouping together. They are also easy to feed, meaning that they would be eager to eat almost anything, such as pellets, flakes, and frozen food. When it comes to food or eating, you won’t have to worry about having issues with them.


Striped Blenny

The fish has somewhat unique shape and color. It has a shape like a torpedo that is combined with attractive colors – yellow head and bold black lines on the body. Not only gorgeous, but the fish is also easy to care and maintain. And even better, many of the local fish shops have bred the species so you can find the captive-bred fish without having to capture one from the natural habitat.


Ocellaris Clownfish

Thanks to ‘Finding Nemo’, everyone is familiar with this clownfish. This is one of the most popular beginner saltwater fish that is easy to care – plus, it will definitely add colors to your water tank. With bright, bold, and shocking orange color with white stripes and cute waddling movement, it’s not hard to see why everyone loves the fish.


Sharknose Goby

You probably think that this fish is just as wild and ‘scary’ as other sharks species. But this small and adorable fish is actually quite hardy, peaceful, and super easy to care. If you are thinking about adding an exotic and unique type of fish to your aquarium, then you should seriously add this one. They are unlike other sharks – you will see that they are peaceful and they mind their own business.


Banggai Cardinalfish

This is one unique fish with also unique color and shape. The combination of black stripes, long fins, and white dots are just gorgeous. They can breed in the aquarium too. The male would bring the babies inside its mouth – and when it’s time to go, those live babies would be ‘shot out’ from his mouth. This is one cool image, for sure! They are definitely a great beginner saltwater fish although breeding one may present another challenge for you. But it’s so worth it, considering that you can have many baby cardinalfish in your water tank!


Tomato Clownfish

beginner saltwater fish

This is another clownfish species that share similar resemblance to the previous Ocellaris Clownfish, and yet there are differences between the two. Just like the other clownfish, this one is pretty easy to care and maintain. And let’s not forget that the fish has adorable physical appearance that is just too cute to miss.


Canary Blenny

Are you into yellow? Because this fish would be an ideal pick for you. With bold burst of yellowish color, and combined with special swagger and motion, the fish would be the focus of attention. It has bold color as well as personality, and it’s not difficult at all to care at all. Beginner aquarists would love having this bold fish in their fish tank.


Longnose Hawkfish

beginner saltwater fish

This fish is undoubtedly one of the coolest fish that can be present in your aquarium. It is hard and bold, and it likes eating invertebrate lurking in the water tank. Because of the unique shape and colors, the fish is just perfect for a display. They like to perch on the live rock – waiting for their meal to show up. And they are fast too! You will be amazed at their speed. Once they have found their meal, they would zip right away to their prey and enjoy feeding time in a matter of seconds.


Yellow Watchman Goby

Yellow Watchman Goby

For some people, the Yellow Watchman Goby may not be the prettiest type of fish (they do have a certain peculiar look that is completely different from the others), but if you want something unique and different, this would be just the perfect option for you. The fish is hardy and quite inexpensive. They are colorful – making them one of the most ideal beginner saltwater fish to think about. Another unique trait of this fish is its ability to develop a symbiotic relationship with (certain) shrimps. However, this task isn’t designed for beginners, so if you are new to this, simply choose the Goby because of its simplicity and easy care. When you buy it from the shop, you can either buy a solo Goby or the one already having a bonded relationship with a shrimp. That should be exciting!


Tailspot Blenny

Tailspot Blenny is a small fish that is easy to care. It has a unique blue shade that makes it pop from other fish in your tank – provided that you are going to mix this Blenny with other types of fish. Another fun thing about this fish is its ability to live just about anywhere, without considering the size. Whether you have this big reef tank or a small nano tank, the fish will live and strive well. Try one and see how straightforward it is in the caring department!


Percula Clownfish

Also known as the ‘Perc’, this is another type of clownfish that can be added to your fish tank. Just like the other clownfish species, Percula is pretty straightforward to care. Many have stated that growing a Perc is totally a breeze. They aren’t fussy or drama. After all, wouldn’t it be exciting to have several species of the clownfish in your aquarium? In this way, you can learn about the details of their body shape or patterns – it should be fun!


Neon Dottyback

Neon Dottyback

Many aquarists would have considered this option as a bit controversial because it isn’t exactly the type of fish that is beginner friendly. However, the fish has superb appearance and gorgeous natural look. This is a fish that is packed with energy – which makes it quite reasonable if they can be pretty aggressive. But they are fun to look at and they are quite vibrant. They are hardy fish. Most of them can be purchased as aquacultured type that is so easy to care for.


Yellowline Goby

You can add the Yellowline Goby to your fish tank – especially for beginner. The fish has this unique appearance with its neon (yellow) line extending from their (unique) glowing eyes to the tail. This is the fish that is often considered as a cleaner. It likes to perch on the tank’s rocks and then clean the dead scales and parasites (from the fish). It’s quite interesting to see the fish cleans the entire tank – or moving around the rocks.


Clarkii Clownfish

This is another clownfish that has different color hues and shades from the rest of the pack. This fish is bold and hardy. It’s one of the beginner saltwater fish that is easy to maintain and care. It’s a good idea to include this fish into your tank, especially if you have other types of clownfish. This Clarkii species will certainly a unique but beautiful harmony inside the aquarium.


Engineer Goby

Engineer Goby

They are the active type of fish – the worker type. A lot of people say that watching this fish work is quite fun. Moreover, they are also great for beginner aquarist. But make sure you have a sand bed for this fish, so they can dig it. Without the bed, where would they dig?


Pink Skunk Clownfish

When compared to other popular and mainstream cousins, this type of clownfish may not be overly well-known. But rest assured that they are pretty easy for beginners, considering their mild-mannered nature. If you want a cool type of fish, but not so traditional or common, then this fish can be a great option. It’s nice to compare them with their other cousins – no doubt about it!


Bicolor Blenny

beginner saltwater fish

Want another unique beginner saltwater fish that will spark up your fish tank? Choose the Bicolor Blenny. The fish is small and hardy. And despite the unique two-color arrangements on the body, it is pretty inexpensive. They aren’t fussy or demanding either. However, make sure that your algae supply is enough so this fish will remain healthy and happy.


Flame Hawkfish

beginner saltwater fish

Want to have some bold colors in the tank? Then add this fish into your aquarium. The combination of red and black is just natural and gorgeous. They are also inexpensive and hardy. However, this fish can’t be put together with your naturally ‘clean-up crea’, such as small snails or hermits. The flame hawkfish will definitely prey on those small creatures. But if you are thinking about growing this fish alone or with reefs or corals only, then it would be a perfect pick.


Pajama Cardinalfish

beginner saltwater fish

With bluish and silver-ish hues, the fish is absolutely gorgeous. They are easy to purchase (yes, they are available everywhere). They are inexpensive and super hardy.


Firefish Goby – or Dart Fish

If you are a beginner aquarist and you have a lid (the tight fit one) on the water tank, then Firefish Goby would be a perfect pick. The fish may look delicate – and it’s super gorgeous – but it is a hardy type. And it’s inexpensive. Expect to spend less than $15 for it. The fish has always been known for its natural grace and color. It’s also a not aggressive type – well, in general. However, the fish tends to jump out of the tank whenever it is threatened or stressed out. That’s why you want to have a lid for your aquarium.


Midas Blenny

Just as the name suggests, the fish has a unique combination of gold and bright yellow hues. Not only it is a great addition for the fish tank, but the fish itself is easy to care. When compared to other reef fish, the Midas Blenny definitely stands out.


Coral Beauty Angelfish

Coral Beauty Angelfish beginner saltwater fish

The fish is an absolute piece of art work. It is naturally beautiful with unique color combination. If you take a look at it, it is difficult to believe that such fish is actually one of the beginner saltwater fish that you can care for. The only downside is that the fish is prone to the saltwater ich.

Royal Gramma

Royal Gramma has a nice combination of purple and yellow hues that make them different from the others. Despite their seemingly complicated appearance, they are quite inexpensive, hardy, and simple to care for.

Final Words

Those are some options for your fish if you are a beginner aquarist. With these beginner saltwater fish, you can really spark up your fish tank in the most visually pleasing way.


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