By Jeremy Richards on Thursday, January 21st, 2016 in Exotic Fish
Many hobby aquarists make the switch to a saltwater tank because of the stunning beauty and fascinating habits of saltwater fish. Even though there are quite a few breathtaking freshwater fish such as the Discus or Killifish, the variety and depth of color to be found in marine fishes exceeds them by far.
A common question beginners and (experienced) saltwater lovers often have is “what are the most beautiful fish I should add to my saltwater tank”. While everybody has different preferences and considers different fish to be beautiful, here is the top 7 of the most stunning saltwater fish you should add to your tank now:
Dottybacks are Pseudochromids that are easily recognized by the way they move. Rather than swimming it looks like they slither through the water like a snake sliding through grass. What makes them easy to take care of is that they are very hardy (if tank bred) and only grow to be about 3 inches long, which makes them a great choice even for smaller tanks. Keep in mind that they are territorial and if you pair them with another Dottyback, they should be added to the tank at the same time to prevent territorial conflicts. One of the most popular Dottybacks are bicolored with purple head and yellow tails.
If you have a child who has watched “Finding Nemo” you probably have one begging for a clownfish and for good reason, they are truly beautiful. Improper catch and shipping handling can cause them to pass away before they can bring colorful joy to your tank. While not as hardy and easy to take care of a the Dottyback, once you have successfully acclimated them to your tank, they thrive well. There are different kinds of Clownfish while the most popular one is the common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) is also the least hardy one. Tomato, fire and sebae clowns are bigger species and thrive well in a saltwater tank setting.
While they not necessarily need an anemone to thrive and be happy, it is a nice touch to add. Always make sure to handle them with gloves, as they can sting. No matter if you are adding and anemone or not, make sure that the temperature in your tank is between 74-78 F and that you provide your clownfish with plenty of hiding spots they can retreat to and feel safe. They rarely express territorial aggression which makes them an attractive addition to any saltwater or reef tank.
The big draw of the damselfish is its combination of vibrancy and hardiness. It is the ideal beginner fish for saltwater aquarists. The yellowtail blue damsel is an inexpensive but beautifully vibrant fish that won’t lose its stunning colors in captivity, as is the case with some other saltwater fish. It grows to be about two inches long, is not a picky eater and not too territorial. Some other damsels such as the Talbot’s Damsel are also quite beautiful but can become increasingly aggressive toward other fish, the older they get.
If you are the lucky owner of a larger Ahwatukee saltwater tank and like to work with fish that exhibit a more aggressive temper, triggerfish, might be the fish for you. They eat pretty much everything and are fairly easy to care for. They are named because of their dorsal fin which is locked into place by a second fin behind it. Instead of using it to attack as one may assume, when scared, it swims into a hiding spot and lodges itself in tight with the aid of this fin, making it impossible to unlodge it. They are very intelligent fish and it is said that they even recognize the person feeding them. Their colors range from blue-green to orange-brown and includes spots and stripes. They are one of the more aggressive fish though. At around $60 per fish they are not quite cheap and definitely not a fish for beginning saltwater tank hobbyists.
Wrasses are another group of tropical fish that look beautiful and do exceedingly well in an aquarium setting. They don’t need too much space and enjoy burying themselves in sand so adding live rocks and sand to your saltwater tank is a must. Wrasses like to linger close to the ground and in case they get spooked they dive head first into the substrate and hide out. Be prepared that your wrasses may dig themselves in the sand of your tank for a few days straight after you bring them “home” until they are confident enough to check out their new home. They are great for beginners and get along well with other fish and are tolerant of different conditions and climates. Their color pattern ranges from fuchsia and yellow to green and blues, with male wrasses being slightly more stunning and displaying feathery extensions.
If you are after stunning, eye popping color, those fish may not be colorful enough, but should be included in this list, because of their colorful personalities. They like to move around and are constant motion. Many saltwater tank owners consider them to be the “little fish with the big personality”. They are hardy and social, but don’t get along well with other species of blennies so stick to one blenny type in your tank. Many blennies to not have a swim bladder and stay close to the bottom of the tank. Colors range from yellow to beige and gray. Despite their muted colors they make a vibrant addition to any saltwater tank.
The neon goby is an especially stunning example of the goby family. It is an exceedingly easy fish to keep and suitable for beginners as well. Because, they too, lack a swim bladder, they are hanging out close to the tank substrate. They get along well with almost any other species and are suitable for tanks as small as 5 gallons to the biggest saltwater reef tanks possible. However, it is best to not hold them along with other fish that tend to eat them. The neon goby has a black body with two bright blue racing stripes along its side.
Of course there are many other stunning and beautiful saltwater fish that will make stunning additions to your saltwater fish or reef aquarium. The Happy Fish can help you determine which species are right for your individual Ahwatukee custom tank settings. Contact us today to learn more about the beautiful world of saltwater fish.