Marine Aquarium Fish for Beginner Saltwater Aquariums
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Marine Aquarium Fish For Beginners


The beginner saltwater fish enthusiast has entered a saltwater aquarium hobby which is like no other hobby. It will be difficult to resist the temptation to pile in the most exotic of the saltwater fish species, such as most angelfish, anthias, butterflyfish, lionfish, wrasses, etc. But the beginning saltwater aquarist really should avoid these species, which are relatively fragile. Our collection of 50 beginner marine aquarium fish is based on hardiness, ability to get along with tank-mates, and overall ease of care. Aquarium Creations assembled some great choices of popular marine aquarium fish that still meet their strict requirements for the perfect beginner saltwater aquarium fish. You will not find any marine aquarium fish more suited for the beginning saltwater enthusiast. Far better to start slowly, populate with hardier species, and get the hang of maintaining the appropriate marine environment with a group of aquatic pets that can survive your mistakes.

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Purple Firefish
Nemateleotris decora
Picture of Purple Firefish YouTube Video of the Purple Firefish
Identification: The Purple Firefish from Maldives is a magnificent little fish that's perfect for reef tanks. These fish have a light lavender colored body with purple markings on their face and towards their tailfin, along with dark red and purple colored fins. The Purple Firefish also has an elongated first dorsal spine that "jumps" up and down. These little fish have lots of personality and should be kept in a tank with lots of rockwork. The Purple Firefish likes lots of crevices, caves, and overhangs where they can "hang" in place. Purple Firefish do best when kept in pairs of 2 or more.

Tank Recommendations: e the best possible aquarium the Firefish requires a 20-gallon or larger system with moderate lighting conditions and a moderate current passing over the live rock "reef." When putting together a tank containing firefish, remember when stressed they will try to jump out of your aquarium. As such, house the Firefish in an aquarium system with a lid.

Food and diet: Feed frozen crustaceans of suitable size, such as Artemia or copepods (i.e., red plankton), finely chopped mysis or krill, and fish roe are good staple foods. Flake foods will also be taken provided they are broken into small-enough pieces and preferably presented in midwater, as firefishes sometimes have difficulty learning to feed from the surface.



Level of Care: Easy

Acclimaton Time: 1+ hours

Reef Compatibility: Reef or Community Aquarium

Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 1-1/2"; Medium: 1-1/2" to 2"; Large: 2" to 3"





Small $29.99 Medium $32.99 Large $34.99



Orange Firefish
Nemateleotris magnifica
Picture of Orange Firefish YouTube Video of the Orange Firefish
Identification: The Orange firefish is a terrific little ornamental saltwater fish that is an inhabitant of reefs where it can be found at depths from 20 to 230 feet. It is usually found just above the bottom, facing into the current, where it awaits its prey of small invertebrates.. With tons of personality and its bright colors they stand out very well in the aquarium. Native to the Indian and Pacific oceans from the eastern coast of Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and from the Austral Islands north to the Ryukyu Islands. In the wild, this fish can be found in groups hovering above the reef, close to its numerous hiding places, feeding on the planktonic food that drifts by in the current. Orange firefish do best as a school of fish from 3 to over a dozen. Of course your aquarium size must be in line with the number of fish you are keeping. The name "dartfish" comes from this fish's habit of darting quickly back and forth and hiding whenever it feels threatened or frightened. It spends its days flitting around the tank, then neurotically diving into cover.
Tank Recommendations: To provide the best possible aquarium the Firefish requires a 20-gallon or larger system with moderate lighting conditions and a moderate current passing over the live rock "reef." When putting together a tank containing firefish, remember when stressed they will try to jump out of your aquarium. As such, house the Firefish in an aquarium system with a lid.
Food and diet: Feed frozen crustaceans of suitable size, such as Artemia or copepods (i.e., red plankton), finely chopped mysis or krill, and fish roe are good staple foods. Flake foods will also be taken provided they are broken into small-enough pieces and preferably presented in midwater, as firefishes sometimes have difficulty learning to feed from the surface.
Level of Care: Easy
Acclimaton Time: 1+ hours
Reef Compatibility: Reef or Community Aquarium
Approximate Purchase Size: Small: 1" to 1-1/2"; Medium: 1-1/2" to 2"; Large: 2" to 3"








Small $12.99 Medium $14.99 Large $17.99



Zebra Barred Dartfish
Ptereleotris zebra
Picture of Zebra Barred Dartfish YouTube Video of the Zebra Barred Dartfish
Identification: The Zebra Barred Dartfish, Ptereleotris zebra is also called the The Shotsilk goby. I believe it is one of the hobby's most under-rated little fish. Also known as the Chinese zebra goby, this is a dartfish and therefore a relative of 'true' gobies. Arguably this is the most attractive of all the dartfish; their slender body exhibiting bright, metallic green coloration, punctuated by vertical stripes of pink with blue facial markings. Their behaviour involves hovering above the reef's substrate in groups, exhibiting a 'nervous' demeanour and always ready to dart to the nearest crevice. These diurnal (daytime-active) fish also use such crevices to sleep in. They can be kept individually, but never seem to look as good as pairs or small groups. Best introduce pairs or small groups at the same time to reduce the possibility of territorial squabbling.P. zebra normally spend their first few days in an aquarium hiding, but soon will emerge if conditions are right. They live normally in the reef's shallow water zone in quite turbulent conditions and will similarly thrive in vigorously-moving water.

Tank Recommendations: A deep sand bed is a must for burrowing, and a minimum tank size of 30-gallons or more will do well to accommodate for their six-inch maximum length. When spooked, P. heteroptera may attempt to jump ship, so make sure you have a tight-fitting lid in place to prevent tragic and unnecessary loss. These are really timid fishes, and putting them in a tank with anything even remotely aggressive will make them hide all day, every day, denying you the pleasure of admiring your beautiful fish!

Food and diet: Feed frozen crustaceans of suitable size, such as Artemia or copepods (i.e., red plankton), finely chopped mysis or krill, and fish roe are good staple foods. Flake foods will also be taken provided they are broken into small-enough pieces and preferably presented in midwater, as firefishes sometimes have difficulty learning to feed from the surface.

Level of Care: Easy

Acclimaton Time: 1+ hours

Reef Compatibility: Reef or Community Aquarium

Approximate Purchase Size: Small 1-1/2 to 2", Medium 2" to 2-1/2", Large 2-1/2" to 3", Xlrg 3" to 4"



Small $19.99 Medium $23.99
Large $26.99 XLarge $34.99





Orchid Dottyback, Captive Bred
Pseudomchromis Fridmani
Picture of Orchid Dottyback, Captive Bred YouTube Video Captive Bred Orchid Dottyback

Identification: .The Captive Bred Orchid Dottyback, Pseudomchromis Fridmani is quite peaceful as dottybacks go. It can even be kept in mated pairs and small groups. However, I wouldn't suggest this unless your tank is fairly large with liverock to provide a lot of different territories to choose from. The perfect fish for a reef system, you won't run into any problems there. This species is an ideal reef candidate, being totally inoffensive toward corals and other sessile invertebrates and posing a threat to none but the tiniest motile invertebrates. The Orchid Dottyback will work for its master by preying on pests such as small mantis shrimp and bristleworms. If more than one Dottyback will be maintained together in the aquarium, it is important to add them at the same time.

Tank Recommendations: Minimum housing for P. fridmani is a tank in the ballpark of 20 to 30 gallons, and the aquascaping should consist of rockwork with lots of hidey holes to retreat into. Also, all dottybacks are good jumpers, so make sure the top of the tank is covered.

Food and diet: Dottybacks are carnivorous and naturally prey upon small shrimp, amphipods, copepods and bristleworms. In the aquarium they should be fed a variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, finely chopped mysis shrimp, finely chopped krill and other sea foods; as well as carnivore/omnivore pellets and flake foods. To preserve the stunning coloration of a Dottyback, variety and vitamins are very important (their beautiful color may fade without them). Feed 1 to 2 times per day.

Level of Care: Easy

Acclimaton Time: 2+ hours

Reef Compatibility: Excellent

Approximate Purchase Size: 1-1/4" to 2-1/2"

$49.99

Electric Indigo Dottyback,Captive Bred
Pseudochromidae fridmani x Pseudochromidae sankeyi
Picture of Electric Indigo Dottyback,Captive Bred
Identification: This dottyback's predecessors sport two color schemes while the electric sports three. It has a black band running down the center of its body, it is a much bolder stripe than that of the Indigo Dottyback. Also the bottom portion of the fish is a very crisp white color. Its best feature would have to be the light blue slightly turquoise coloration on top. The Electric Indigo also has a beautiful caudal filament found in its Striped Dottyback lineage. Like other dottybacks the Electric Indigo Dottyback can change its color depending on this mood or comfort level. Once completely acclimated and settled in your aquarium they are just a fish to have. The Electric Indigo is also rather peaceful. An excellent choice in our aquacultured and captive-bred aquatic life. The Electric Indigo Dottyback has the mild and social nature of the Striped Dottyback and unlike many other Dottyback, it can be kept in groups without concern. An excellent additional benefit to the Hybrid Electric Indigo Dottyback is that they prey on reef aquarium pests such as small mantis shrimp and bristleworms.

Tank Recommendations: A 30 gallon or larger aquarium is the correct size. Using live rock provide ample hiding places, caves, crevices for these fish to go within, seek as home, or use as a hiding place when necessary. Just like other dottybacks, keep the quantity to one unless the aquarium is large enough to handle more.

Food and diet: Dottybacks are carnivorous and naturally prey upon small shrimp, amphipods, copepods and bristleworms. In the aquarium they should be fed a variety of meaty foods such as live, frozen, freeze-dried, and vitamin enriched brine shrimp, finely chopped mysis shrimp, finely chopped krill and other sea foods; as well as carnivore/omnivore pellets and flake foods. To preserve the stunning coloration of a Dottyback, variety and vitamins are very important (their beautiful color may fade without them). Feed 1 to 2 times per day.

Level of Care: Easy

Acclimaton Time: 2+ hours

Reef Compatibility: Excellent

Approximate Purchase Size: 1-1/4" to 2-1/2"

$59.99

Foxface Lo
Siganus vulpinus
Picture of a Foxface Lo YouTube Video of the Foxface Lo


Description: This species is commonly called the foxface rabbitfish, and is the most commonly-offered species of the group. It can reach a maximum length of almost eight inches. It also has a broad distribution, being found in the Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Great Barrier Reef, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, the Caroline Islands, the Marshall Islands, Tonga, and Kiribati. It is a very peaceful species and can be housed with more aggressive fish since its venomous dorsal spines will make aggressive fish leave it alone. Rabbitfish are generally reef safe if well fed. If not they may taste LPS corals and soft corals. They can grow to a maximum length of about eight inches. Juveniles live in large schools, but adults live in isolated pairs.

Recommended Tank: Requires a tank of at least 125 gallons with lots of open space to swim in.

Food and diet: The diet should include fresh vegetables and algae. Provide a variety of frozen herbivore foods that are rich in vegetable matter and supplement their diet with algae sheets to help reduce potential nipping damage to soft and hard coral polyps.

Reef Compatability: with Caution

Level of Care: Easy

Approximate Purchase Size: Small 1-1/2" to 2" Medium 2" to 4" Large 4" to 6" XLarge: 6" to 8"




Small $39.99 Medium $49.99
Large $74.99 XLarge $119.99

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Copyright 2018 Aquarium Creations Online
Photos are representative of each species. All marine life will be unique and variations should be expected, color and sizes may vary.
*Guarantee Restriction: All of our livestock are guaranteed. However for one or more of these species, they may be marked with a guarantee restriction. If it does, it means the specific animal may not handle stress from environmental conditions well. These stresses can include poor water quality, harassment from tank mates or confined aquarium conditions. When stressed, these species can lose the ability to ward off infection and disease. Other species may be listed as Restricted because they have such specialized feeding requirements that is difficult recreate in a aquarium and may succumb to malnutrition.