First Marine Fish For Your Tank [Top 5]

The first marine fish is the most difficult when it comes to buying your aquarium livestock. We need to be cautious about what we bring back home. The first time the tank is being tested, we recommend go slow on the livestock. These fish travel a long way before they enter your aquarium. We also recommend buying fish food with the fish or before buying the fish.

Here are some of the first time fish we think are best:

1. Chrysiptera hemicyanea, Azure Damsel or Steel Blue Yellow Tail and Belly Damsel or Half-Blue Damsel

First time marine fish buys usually ends up with a pair of damselfish and there is a huge selection. Azure is the least aggressive fish in their family. They have striking gold color from their belly to tail.

They are easy to keep and care, they are very hardy in nature. Most of the time they immediately start eating pellet or flake food. Being a reef species, this fish is found in a larger population in the Coral Triangle, located form the Solomon Islands to Indonesia, Bali and the Philippines. They can grow up to 3 inches in length. Keeping other small or equal size tank mates should be with caution as they would defend their territory. Aquarium plenty of rock work and hiding spot is ideal. It can tolerate a certain level of changes in the water parameters, this is a popular fish among hobbyists. This fish would just bring colors to your aquarium.

2. Amphiprion melanopus, Cinnamon Clownfish or Red and Black Anemonefish

Clowns are the most common first-time marine fish after Damsel, there are different patterns of clowns available. Widely distributed Anemonefish chiefly found in the western and southern parts of the Pacific Ocean.

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Like all Anemonefishes, it forms a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones. They would feed on flakes and pallets, they are easy to care and is a great beginner fish. They can be kept singly or in true mated pairs. A. Melanopus adults can grow up to 4.7 inches. These species have successfully been bred in an aquarium. A. Melanopus may become territorial and aggressive once established in a tank. Tank bread is easy to feed and keep. There is no need for a complicated setup for this fish. They can tolerate slight variation in the water parameters. It is a great first time marine fish for your home.

3. Sphaeramia nematoptera, Pajama Cardinalfish or spotted cardinalfish as first-time marine fish

The Pajama Cardinalfish is one of the most different looking of all fish species. The Pajama Cardinalfish is most suitable for nano reef tank due to their size and temperament.

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Pajama Cardinal is easy to keep as well as inexpensive, they adapt really well to aquarium life. They swim slowly and they are a non-aggressive fish. They swim to their own tune and keep to themselves. Some may also try to hide against long-spined sea urchins. Once added in the tank they immediately start eating. Pajama can grow up to 3-4 inch in size. Their unique structure makes them a very good stater collection. It is from the Fiji, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. They eat most of the food variety available. They are advised to be kept with the non-aggressive community tank.

4. Chromis viridis, Chromis

A very popular fish among the hobbyist community for its striking colors. They can grow up to 4 inches. Chromis is easy to care for, beautiful, and peaceful fish. It belongs to the damsel family.

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They are from the tropical and subtropical waters near to coral reef. Fish is reef safe and be kept with non-aggressive tank mates. They easily feed on flakes and pellets. Adding more than one Chromis would bring the shimmer in the marine aquarium. You will notice that they have slight color variations from pale green to a light blue. They are moderately hardy, great for beginner tanks and can live up to 15 years with good water quality. This fish is very much suitable for first time purchase. Some hobbyist has successfully bred the Blue Green Reef Chromis in their home aquarium.

5. Amphiprion ocellaris, Nemo or Clownfish

This is a famous first marine fish that everyone knows as Nemo. There is plenty of variation now, as the industry is successfully able to breed them in aquariums. They are easy to keep and our first choice as a starter fish.

They can grow up to 4-5 inches. Clownfish is an aggressive eater. It will eat most food available. Like other Clownfish, they also have a symbiotic relationship with the sea anemone. A. ocellaris male can change its gender to a female during its life period. Its vibrant orange body dressed with white bands outlined in black brings colors to the marine aquarium. We recommend you to avoid keeping first time along with Damsels. Peaceful in nature and be kept in a community tank. They are reef safe. A. ocellaris typically lives in small groups on outer reef slopes or in sheltered lagoons at a maximal depth of 15 meters.

So, I would suggest you do your homework before you buy any livestock as a first marine fish buyer, you might not be equipped to host them.

Must Read: My Aquarium with some Toxic Corals


Like always it's my day one in the hobby. Always been a hobbyist but never knew would dive so deep in the hobby. I too started with a freshwater aquarium. When I first started saltwater aquarium it just grew on me and I knew that had to do more in this hobby. I am a Post-Grad in Business Administration have worked with Coldstar Logistics, Amazon and Jindal's before jumping completely in the ocean. Other than aquarium hobby I have my interests in travel, digital games and consumer web technology.

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