The best marine aquarium fish for beginners
Don't know where to start? Here's the best marine fish for beginners
The chances are, if you thinking about a marine aquarium you may have already had a freshwater tank before, and generally speaking, we recommend doing so to get you used to the general processes involved in indoor fish keeping before tackling a marine tank. But even then, some marine fish are better than others for beginners in salt water chemistry.
At Swell UK, we give a lot of advice about setting up first marine tanks, and before we even mention the fish, we must recommend you conduct some fishless cycling in your tank first. A quick internet search should tell you how to do this, but basically it is where you run your tank without fish for a while, adding ammonia manually to help your filter system mature to be able to handle real fish.
The best starter marine fish
Ocellaris (False Percula) Clownfish OR True Percula Clownfish - Well, we all know which film we recognise these funny little guys from, and good news for fans, clownfish are amongst the easiest marine fish to care for. A little odd (no surprises there), these fish tend to make a home of an anemone, so providing you have one in your tank, your clownfish are likely to be quite happy, seldom straying more than a few inches from the anemone itself, even in a huge tank!
Yellowtail Damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema) - Brilliant bright blue, with a yellow tail (obviously), these guys are happy on tank fed food and rarely have altercations with other non-aggressive species of marine fish. They leave corals and plants alone too, so you can get to grips with growing them without fishy-interference.
Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) - Among other species of smaller tang, these guys inject a fabulous colour into your aquatic environment, and providing you introduce 2 or 3 at the same time, they are unlikely to be aggressive to each other, or other fish (apart from surgeonfish). They tend to swim communally too, so if your tank is big enough for around 3, you might be in for some synchronised swimming displays!
Eightline Wrasse (Pseudocheilinus octotaenia) - Another real beauty for newbies and advanced keepers alike, these fish really stand out with their beautiful and eye-catching striped pattern. A little harder than some of the others previously mentioned, you need to ensure a clean substrate as they occasionally like to burrow for protection, and can otherwise pick up diseases if not in a clean environment.
Talbot’s Damsel(Chrysiptera talboti) - These guys are pretty indestructible as far as water quality is concerned, and unlike clownfish, they don’t get too pick quickly either. Easy to feed and maintain, this is a winner.
Of course, there are thousands of other options too. We have simply thrown in our tuppence based on the experience of some of our staff and customers. The important thing to remember is to research how your fish will interact with other fish, corals, plants and inverts. Adding the wrong fish to the mix can devastate your corals or microplankton stocks, tipping over the balance in your marine ecosystem. Try not to add too much too early, and monitor the effects of new additions closely to work out how they are getting on with their new friends.