10 Colorful Saltwater Fish to Keep in Aquarium

Putting together this list of ten saltwater fish that is worth talking about is such fun when you have a wide variety of fish to choose from. This list is not a “top ten” but more a discussion starter for persons who love fish. So here you go!

1. Clownfishclownfish picture

The distinctive yellow or orange body with white stripes complete with black lining on its fins is a recognizable feature of the Clownfish. Alternatively, you’ll see this fish with black bodies with orange / yellow sections along its fins and lower body. The fish, also called the Anemonefish can grow to be 18 centimetres of 7.1 in.

2. Mandarinfishmandarin fish picture

A popular choice for saltwater fish aquariums, the mandarinfish or mandarin dragonet (not the same as the Mandarin Fish or Chinese Perch) is found in the Pacific, specifically on the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia. The colors are striking and attractive to pet owners who don’t mind this small addition to their saltwater aquarium.

3. Lion Fishlionfish picture

You won’t have trouble recognizing this fish again after being introduced. The Lion Fish is covered with dorsal spines that are quite poisonous. Lion Fish use their spines to defend themselves when threatened. If you were ever to come into contact with this fish and are stung, be prepared for extreme pain, vomiting, headaches, and breathing difficulties, but not death. Apart from being toxic, the Lion Fish is regarded as a colorful and attention grabbing fish.

4. Juvenile Emperor Angel FishJuvenile Emperor Angelfish picture

Juvenile Emperor Angel Fish are well known for their distinctive color, which they will lose as they become adults. Juveniles are dark blue with electric blue and white rings. These colourful fish take around four years to acquire their final, adult color, of yellow with blue stripes. In the meantime, you can enjoy this fish in your aquarium.

5. SymphysodonSymphysodon fish picture

Every Symphysodon species has a body shape that looks pressed together from the side. With fins that extend from its body, the fish looks a little more rounded. Symphysodon fish are commonly known as “discus”, perhaps because of their shape. You’ll recognise its patterns of red, brown, green and blue. Typically, a grown fish can measure around 20 – 25 cm (8 – 10 in).

6. Rainbow Parrot FishRainbow Parrot Fish picture

This fish is not hard to recognize. Simply look at its “beak-like” mouth, which looks very much like that of a parrot. The Parrot Fish uses its beak to break and eat the critters that live in the corals. In fact, the sand you see on the beach is also the product of the Parrot Fish after its meal – they spit out the calcium that remains after eating. At first, the young Parrot Fish is a dull brown, red, or grey but as they get older, they assume the familiar vivid green or blue with distinctive yellow or pink patches.

7. Clown TriggerClown Trigger fish picture

Another fish to take note of, the Clown Trigger Fish, found in tropical and subtropical regions across the globe. They are also most common in the Indo-Pacific region. Clown Trigger Fish love being among coral reefs, along coastal habitats where the waters are generally less deep. You’ll recognize these fish by their spots and lines. The Clown Trigger Fish is one of 40 species from the Ballistae family.

8. Mantis ShrimpMantis Shrimp fish picture

You’ll find the Mantis Shrimp in a range of colors that are eye catching and fascinating. These include bright neon colors and shades of brown. Mantis Shrimp are actually predators found in shallow waters in tropical and sub-tropical locations. It is not well understood as this creature spends much of its time hiding in holes and burrows.

9. Moorish Idolmoorish idol fish picture

This saltwater fish has distinctive black, white, and yellow bands that contrast. For aquarium keepers, this pattern makes for an attractive effect in the aquarium. This fish is not the easiest to keep in an aquarium though, as they can be quite costly. You might also recognise the Moorish Idol by its disk looking shape, but don’t get it confused with a similar fish, the Bannerfish (also called the False Idol).

10. NudibranchNudibranch fish picture

A Nudibranch, also known casually as a “sea slug” is not really a fish but a mollusk. What is attractive about this creature is their color which is eye catching and their striking forms. The Nudibranch can be an interesting addition to your saltwater aquarium.

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