This list is a comprehensive selection of popular saltwater fish. It is better to pair fish with the same temperament together to keep aggressive fish from attacking their shy tank mates. Add plenty of hiding spaces for the fish, and they should get along fine.
The temperaments stated below are the norm for the species, but individuals may differ. Watch any new additions to see if they need to be moved to their own tank. Lids are essential when keeping saltwater fish as many of the omnivores and carnivores jump out of the tank.
Adding live rocks is vital for the omnivores. These rocks will help keep your fish tank in balance and add micro material into the environment that will help your corals too.
Popular Saltwater Fish That Are Peaceful Carnivores
For carnivorous fish, you need to make sure that you are feeding them correctly alternating between live and frozen food. Some are happy with high protein fish flakes.
Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
This fish is a peaceful carnivore about 3 inches in length. It has white spots on a darker body with vertical black stripes. The stripes extending into the fins, which are accented with white dots along the edges. Their unique appearance makes them one of the most popular saltwater fish to keep. You can vary their diet by alternating between live and frozen fish food.
Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
This fish is a carnivore about 3 inches in length and has a peaceful character. The Pajama Cardinalfish white with yellow stripes and dots on the body, which is divided by a unique black line which gives them their name. The tail is firm and well-shaped. They can be picky eaters and may not eat fish flakes, which means you will have to supply them frozen shrimp and brine a few times a day.
Purple/Elegant Firefish (Nemateleotris decora)
The Purple or elegant Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) is about 4 inches in length, with a peaceful temperament. A Carnivore with a long slender line shape and a bright purple-pink pointed face fading from white to blue towards the tail. It has small but bright orange fins and tail. It is a colorful fish. For the most part, they tend to stay at the bottom of the tank. They are not fussy eaters and will eat flakes, live, or frozen food.
Royal Gramma (Gramma loreto)
This fish is sometimes called the Fairy Basslet. This fish is a peaceful carnivore about 3 inches in length. It has a brilliant blue face fading to purple on the body into an orange tail. It is egg-shaped with small flowing fins with dark accents. These fish are known for eating parasites off other fish and not picky eaters. Hardy and easy to care for makes it a popular saltwater fish. Although small in size, they need caves, and if you have a 55 gallon tank, you can only have two. If your tank is too low, you may want to upgrade to one. This article will give you all the help you need How to Choose the Best 55 Gallon Fish Tank on the Market.
Scissortail Dartfish (Ptereleotris evides)
This fish is a peaceful carnivore about 5 inches in length. Its body faded green colors on its slim and thin, contrasting large flowing dark fins. These fish are quiet but painfully shy and will hideaway if you are keeping more aggressive fish. It needs to be kept in a large school. This fish would be perfect in its own fish tank.
Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons)
The Yellowhead Jawfish is a peaceful carnivore about 4 inches in length. It has yellow face fading to write long and thin fins fading from light to brilliant blue, and it is a popular saltwater fish.
Popular Saltwater Fish Peaceful Herbivores
Herbivore fish are the easiest to feed, but these fish will benefit from live rocks and seaweed clips.
Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus)
This fish is an herbivore about 9 inches in length and has a peaceful character. The Foxface Rabbitfish has a white face with dark markings on it. Its orange-yellow body is oval with a defined firm tail. Sharp spikey fins contrasting the smooth body. Its unusual appearance makes it a popular saltwater fish; just remember you need to add plenty of hiding places for this shy fish.
Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias fasciatus)
Lawnmower Blenny is a peaceful herbivore about 5 inches in length. This fish is soft in color with dark markings and an interesting texture. It can form part of your clean-up crew as it loves algae and will hop from rock to rock, cleaning it. This fish is an excellent choice for any aquarium.
Popular Saltwater Fish That Are Peaceful Omnivores
Omnivores are a bit tricky to feed and benefit from live and frozen food, live rocks and veggie clipped seaweed in the tank will help keep them fed.
Aiptasia Eating Filefish (Acreichthys tomentosus)
The Aiptasia Eating Filefish is 4 inches in length, with a peaceful temperament. An omnivore with a white body speckled with shades of brown to blend into the flora of your tank. Easy to look after makes it a popular saltwater fish.
Bicolor Blenny (Ecsenius bicolor)
This fish is a peaceful omnivore about 4 inches in length. It has a blue square face tapering into a yellow tail with tiny, almost translucent fins. It is better to keep this fish on its own, and it can be aggressive with other Blenny fish.
Firefish Goby (Nemateleotris magnifica)
The Firefish Goby is an omnivore about 3 inches in length and has a peaceful temperament. It has a light head with a bright orange body with dark geometric markings on the tail and medium fins, making the fish appear broader.
Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
These fish grow to about 4 inches in length with a peaceful nature. It is an omnivore with an oval shape luminescent body with a sharp spiky dorsal fin. This fish will help keep your fish tank clean and is super easy to look after, making it a popular saltwater fish.
Klein’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon kleinii)
The Klein’s Butterflyfish is 6 inches in length with a peaceful temperament. An omnivore with a square shape and small faded tail. Its white face fading into receding white dots disappearing into a yellow body with a dark stripe through its’ eyes. The waving fins creating the square look of the fish. Their attractive appearance makes them a popular saltwater fish; however, there are a few problems. They have to be fed multiple times a day. Feeding them is another problem, needing live food in addition to flakes and sponges. These fish are not compatible with corals.
Also read – How to Choose the Best Aquarium Heater in 2020
Neon Blue Goby (Elacatinus)
This fish is a peaceful omnivore about 2 inches in length. It has contouring dark and bright blue stripes across its body, which is long and thin. Two reasons make this fish a popular saltwater fish its unusual appearance, and it eats parasites off other fish. Unless you have a large aquarium (75-gallons), you can only keep one or two fish.
Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
The Ocellaris Clownfish is 3 inches in length (other types maybe an inch longer. It has a peaceful temperament. Omnivore with an oval shape and orange with white geometric shapes and black trims on its small flowing fins. There are others with different coloring. Finding Nemo made this fish a popular saltwater fish and has to be paired with anemones. This fish is not an easy one to care for, approach with caution.
Popular Saltwater Fish That Are Semi-Aggressive Carnivores
You need good quality food like the Hikari Fish Food brine shrimp food for the carnivores in your fish tank.
Bartlett’s Anthias (Pseudanthias bartlettorum)
This fish is a carnivore about 3.5 inches in length and has a semi-aggressive character. The Bartlett’s Anthias is stunning with yellow along the back fading into a pink body and blue-white underside with elongated oval tiny flowing fins; it is a popular saltwater fish. This fish cannot be housed with aggressive fish, and the larger the fish tank, the better.
Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum)
This fish is a carnivore about 2.5 inches in length and has a semi-aggressive character. The Chalk Bass is deep orange, color broken with uneven blue white stripes, and a long slim body. It has small wavy fins. It is small and cute and easy to look after and gets on well with others.
Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus)
The Flame Hawkfish is 3.5 inches in length with a semi-aggressive temperament. A carnivore with a thin long shape orange-red body. A dark line along the top and has small tight fins. This fish is advanced and needs to be fed multiple times a day.
Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus)
This fish grows to about 5 inches in length and has a semi-aggressive nature. It is a carnivore with a long thin body and an elongated nose shape. White with vertical and horizontal lines creating squares with sharp and spikey. Their unusual appearance making them a popular saltwater fish. They can be bullies and pick on invertebrates and are not compatible with corals.
Six Line Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia)
This fish is a semi-aggressive carnivore about 4 inches in length. It has an orange face fading into a blue body broken by long orange stripes and green peacock tail with long tight small fins. Some individuals may take time to adjust to the new environment, and larger tanks will keep them from becoming aggressive.
Sunrise Dottyback (Pseudochromis flavivertex)
The Sunrise Dottyback is a carnivore 3 inches in length. This fish is semi-aggressive. It has a blue and yellow face fading to a white underside. Their bodies start with a thick face tapering to the tail. Although this fish is a popular saltwater fish because it is easy to care for. They can be aggressive and must be kept in their own tank or introduced last.
Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre)
This fish is a semi-aggressive carnivore about 3 inches in length. It has white with red-orange stripes running along the body of the fish. Its long and slim fins and a tail ending in dark tips. Easy to care for this fish needs plenty of places to hide. It needs to eat zooplankton but may eat other live food.
Popular Saltwater Fish That Are Semi-Aggressive Omnivores
With all omnivores, you need to feed them a variety of food.
Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)
Coral Beauty Angelfish is semi-aggressive omnivore 4 inches in length. Its orange body with yellow checks and blue-purple markings making it attractive. It has flowing fins; this is a popular saltwater fish, but feeding may be a problem. They need a balanced diet but don’t like eating the food you give them only the algae off rocks. Try Seaweed in a veggie seaweed clip.
Yellowtail Blue Damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema)
The Yellowtail Blue Damselfish is 3 inches in length with a semi-aggressive temperament. It is an omnivore with an egg-shaped brilliant luminescent blue body and face with subtle dark markings and an orange tail with small and tight fins. These fish tend to be on the aggressive side, and it is better to pair them with other semi-aggressive fish. They are easy to care for, and that makes them a popular saltwater fish.
FAQ’s on Popular Saltwater Fish
What is the best size tank for saltwater fish?
Beginners should opt for a larger tank between a 30- and 55 gallon aquarium. The larger tanks will remain cleaner for longer, and this will give you time to learn this new hobby. This article will help you find the perfect tank. How to Choose the Best 55 Gallon Fish Tank on the Market.
This size fish tank will give you more choices when it comes to fish, and you can find fish that are easy to look after.
Are marine fish hard to keep?
How hard is it to keep fish? That depends on the type of fish. Select hardy fish that are tolerant of temperature and pH changes in the beginning and move to other more delicate fish later.
How often does a saltwater tank need to be cleaned?
Most tanks need to be cleaned weekly, but it is not as hard as you think. Your fish and aquarium don’t like sudden changes, and thus most things you will only clean every other week. You can make your life easier by creating a self-cleaning fish tank. This guide Self Cleaning Fish Tanks That Actually Work, will help you on your journey.
Ready to Introduce Your Fish to Your Aquarium?
It is easier to pair similar temperaments together as more peaceful fish can be hunted by their more aggressive tank mates. Shy fish may hide away and die or become stressed, which could cause eek in the tank. Eek is hard to get rid of, and that is why it is vital to make the correct selection of fish for your fish tank.
After you go out and buy it, you think you are ready to add in your new fish. Not quite yet, you need to keep the new addition in quarantine before adding it. Corals plants and other fish can carry diseases that could destroy your aquarium. Keep all the fish separate for at least a month. If they show no signs of illness, you can introduce them to the environment.
Hi there! I’m Richy, the founder of AquariumStuffs. Since I was young, and had my very tiny plastic fish bowl, I’ve been passionate about fish and aquariums. I went to school to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Marine Biology, and have continued to educate myself and share my knowledge in this field. For almost 20 years, I’ve been obsessed with collecting and learning about everything to do with fish keeping and aquascaping. My goal with this site is to bring all that I’ve learned – the principles, how-to guides, and more – to you. Learn about the art and science behind aquariums, and let me simplify each process around building a sustainable home for your fish through this blog.