Common clownfish

So, you want to set up a marine tank? It's an exciting prospect and we're sure you're keen to dive right in and purchase your first fish. But before you do, we advise that you take the time to learn what the best saltwater starter fish species are for your tank.

Keeping saltwater fish is an incredibly interesting hobby and we're sure you'll be amazed by the graceful nature of marine life. But it's easy to get ahead of yourself and choose species that look good but aren't necessarily the easiest to look after.

Over time, as you learn to care for more challenging fish, you can add lots of different marine species to your tank. But if you're just starting out, we'd recommend choosing species that are fun to watch and easy to care for.

It's vital that you do your research so you know which fish are can live together harmoniously. There's no point choosing your starter fish in a hurry, only to find that a more exciting species can't be added to your tank later down the line.

Here at Rock and Critters, we offer a wide range of marine fish that are ideal starter fish for your saltwater tank. Let's meet some of them now.


1. Angelfish

Angelfish are a delightfully colourful species that make great marine tank starter fish. Not only are they vibrant in colour, elegant and remarkably interesting to watch, but they're also one of the easiest fish to care for.

There are lots of different species of Angel fish to choose from, and naturally, some are easier to care for than others. If you're a complete beginner, we would recommend taking a look at the coral beauty dwarf angel fish (pictured below), a species of angelfish acclimates to aquarium life quite quickly and is suitable for smaller tanks.

Coral beauty dwarf angel fish

We're sure you'll adore watching them swim around and interact with other species in your tank. Don't worry, they're not usually aggressive so you shouldn't need to worry about tankmate tiffs!


2. Common Clownfish

When people imagine their dream marine tank, they usually picture a clownfish swimming around (I mean, who doesn't love Finding Nemo?). Thankfully, clownfish are good starter fish for your marine tank, so you can make your Disney Pixar dream a reality. If you're not sure which clownfish species you should choose, we'd recommend an ocellaris clownfish, also known as a common clownfish.

These peaceful fish live happily amongst coral and other reef creatures to form a wonderfully diverse marine tank. Clownfish are fairly small in size which makes them ideal for beginners with small or medium sized marine tanks.

If you're wondering how you can tell the common clownfish apart from the (very similar) percula clownfish, the answer is in the black banding. Common clownfish have a noticeable lack of black banding on their bodies and may even have no black banding at all!


3. Damselfish

If you've been researching marine fish for a while, you might be surprised to see a Damselfish species included in our 'best starter fish' roundup. Damselfish can be aggressive, but as with all fish species, there are certain damselfish that are gentler in nature than others.

The best damselfish starter species is the blue green chromis. This is because it's known to have a much nicer in temperament than its Damselfish cousins. Blue green chromis are exceptionally small starter fish, only growing to 3.5 inches in length. This makes them even more fascinating to watch as they weave and swim between tiny gaps in the rock.

We'd recommend purchasing a few of these Damselfish for your marine tank because they love to live in groups!


4. Gobies

As far as entertaining starter fish go, gobies are a firm favourite! Gobies are wonderful saltwater fish to watch because they pick up the sand, filter it to remove bits of food and fire it out through their gills. Their feeding routine is quite unique compared to some other marine starter fish we've covered.

We'd highly recommend including a sand sifting goby in your marine tank for a few reasons. Not only will the goby help to remove uneaten food that falls to the bottom of the tank, but it will also give your tank some interesting personality and character. These little guys will provide you with hours of entertainment!

So, which goby species should you choose? In our opinion, the best goby starter species is the orange-spotted goby. These gobies have a gentle nature and will thrive in a marine reef environment with other creatures.


Longnose hawkfish


5. Longnose Hawkfish

If you're starting off with a larger marine tank (30 gallons or more), then a longnose hawkfish might be an ideal starter fish for you. As the picture above shows, they have an intricate red and white design on their body that makes them stand out against other starter fish in your tank.

Longnose hawkfish are easy to care for, although they do have a tendency to try and escape if your tank is left uncovered, so be wary of this and ensure you have a securely fitted lid. Longnose hawkfish can be a little bit aggressive, but we've found that if you put them with the right tankmates they settle right into the reef environment without a problem.

View All Marine Fish >

If you're about to embark on your first saltwater tank journey, we hope that you've found this roundup of marine starter fish useful. All of the starter fish we've mentioned are available to order. Give us a call on 01446 737210 now!

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