Here is a list of the 21 easiest saltwater fish to keep in an aquarium. Whether you are a beginner or just looking for that next fish to add to your tank, the fish on this list are known to be hardy, easy to acclimate, and easy to feed in most situations. Let’s take a closer look.
Several species of damselfish are at the top of the list of the most popular saltwater fish—and for a good reason. They are beautiful, inexpensive, and readily available at most aquarium stores. In addition to that, here are a few of the easiest saltwater fish to keep:
All the world loves a clownfish. They are some of the easiest saltwater fish to keep because they acclimate so well to life in a home aquarium. In fact, most of the individuals you will find at the store were most likely born and raised in an aquarium. The smaller clownfish species can be kept successfully in a 10-gallon or 20-gallon saltwater tank.
Here are a few specific species to consider a bit more closely:
Small and graceful, the king of the Fairy Basslets and one of the easiest saltwater fish to keep is the Royal Gramma. With a gorgeously purple head and yellowtail, this stunner does well in most aquarium settings.
8. Royal gramma
Two popular Cardinalfish species are perfect for this list of the easiest saltwater fish to keep: Pyjama and Banggai Cardinalfish
Peaceful, inexpensive, and hardy—many goby species are great in a saltwater aquarium even as small as a 10-gallon tank. Here are 3 of my favorites.
11. Neon goby
12. Diamond goby
13. Yellow watchman goby
Hardy, colorful, and full of personality, several hawkfish species are easy-to-care-for saltwater aquarium fish
16. Flame hawkfish
17. Longnose hawkfish has to be one of the absolute coolest saltwater fish. Take a look.
18. Six-line wrasse
Dottybacks have a reputation for being aggressive. Sometimes even downright pugnacious. The two dotty backs on this list are two of the most amazing and easiest saltwater fish to keep.
19. Orchid dottyback
2o. Royal dottyback
If you are interested in adding a Dwarf Angelfish to your aquarium, one of the absolute best options is:
Advice on building a community
If you will use this list to plan out your own saltwater aquarium community, here is some advice to consider.
Damselfish and Clownfish
Between the 7 Damselfish and Clownfish options listed here, you should pick only 1 species. If you decide to go with the damselfish species, you should get either 1 individual, or a small shoal of 5-7, if the tank is large enough. You can get 2 of the same species for clownfish, and they should pair up and may even spawn in your tank.
You should also be able to make a shoal of PJ cardinals if you want, and you can mix Banggai cardinals and PJ Cardinals, but Banggai’s are aggressive with each other, so it is probably best to have a big shoal of 7, a bonded pair or a lone ranger.
Just pick one, and add them to the tank after your other fish have had some time to establish their territories in the tank first. You don’t want to mix dottyback species and even use caution to keep two of the same species. They may pair up or tear each other apart.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the 21 Easiest saltwater fish to keep. While all of these fish are individually hardy and easy to care for, they may not be the best fish for your tank at this time. Please use the information on this article as a starting point to dive deeper into your research about the care of the individual species you have in mind.
What to read next
Don’t stop there. There is a big ocean out there. Once you have some success caring for the easiest saltwater fish to keep, you can branch out to some moderate-difficulty fish.
Check out these other great articles for some more inspiration:
- 6 Shy saltwater fish
- 21 Best Algae-eating saltwater fish
- 3 Functional fish
- Best beginner saltwater fish
Michael, Scott W. Marine Fishes: 500+ Essential-to-Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications. Neptune City, NJ 2001.