List of marine aquarium fish species

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Two clownfish and two tangs in a reef aquarium
A reef aquarium showcasing a few fish, primarily tangs
Numerous fish within a reef aquarium including damselfish, chromis, anthias, tangs, wrasses, butterflyfish, clownfish, a dwarf angelfish, and a few other species
Numerous fish such as tangs, squirrelfish, a butterflyfish, a rabbitfish, a grouper, a school of monos, and other species in a FO aquarium

The following list of marine aquarium fish species commonly available in the aquarium trade is not a completely comprehensive list; certain rare specimens may be available commercially but not yet listed here. A brief section on each, with a link to the page about the particular species is provided along with references for further information.

Reef-safe fish do not consume corals or invertebrates, while fish categorized as not safe do. Fish labelled as "with caution" may have individuals within the species that could potentially eat invertebrates or cause damage to corals.

Angelfish (large)[edit]

Queen angelfish

These large fish are considered to be quite hardy, but because of their size may present a significant challenge to the keeper. They need huge aquariums, up to 180 gallons to house one for its entire lifespan.[1] Two angels might be kept in the same aquarium provided it is a large aquarium, they are properly acclimated as juveniles, and they have very different colouring and body shape.[2] However, because all Angelfish have essentially the same diet, mixing them is a feat that should be left to only advanced keepers. Most are not reef safe, and a potential owner should be aware that they need to have plenty of vegetable matter in their diet. They undergo major changes in colouration while maturing, and unless specified given descriptions are for adult specimens.[3][4][5]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Blue ring angelfish, annularis angelfish
Pomacanthus annularis No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Arabian angelfish, Asfur angelfish
Pomacanthus asfur No 40 cm (15.7 in)
Bellus angelfish
Genicanthus bellus Yes Light blue all over. Exhibits strong sexual dimorphism: females have wide black bands, males' bands are orange. 18 cm (7.1 in)[6]
Blue angelfish
Holacanthus bermudensis No Blue Angelfish has an overall aqua hue with a yellow shimmer and yellow edges on the fins and scales. The Blue Angelfish does not have the striking blue crown or other blue highlights of the Queen Angelfish. This species has been known to reproduce with the Queen Angelfish, making a half breed that looks like a mixture between the two species. 45 cm (17.7 in)[7]
Bluespotted angelfish
Chaetodontoplus caeruleopunctatus No 21 cm (8.3 in)
Blueface angelfish
Pomacanthus xanthometopon With Caution 40 cm (15.7 in)
Cortez angelfish
Pomacanthus zonipectus No Darkly hued with yellow stripes. 46 cm (18.1 in)[8]
Emperor angelfish
Pomacanthus imperator No Juveniles are black with blue-white spiraling; adults are blue with yellow stripes, accented with white and black and a blue mask. Will easily be the dominant angelfish if housed with other angels. 40 cm (15.7 in)[9]
French angelfish
Pomacanthus paru No Juveniles are black with 3 yellow vertically running stripes, may also display blue on pelvic fins. Adults lard black with white vertical stripes. 41 cm (16.1 in)[10]
Gray angelfish
Pomacanthus arcuatus No Light grey with dark spots and bluish/grey mask over face. Closely related to French Angelfish. 60 cm (23.6 in)[11]
Griffis angelfish
Apolemichthys griffisi No An ashen white angel with thick black bands and spots, it is a rare find within the aquarium trade. 25 cm (9.8 in)
Half-moon angelfish, Yellow bar angelfish
Pomacanthus maculosus No Blue with yellow splotch-like marking on side. 50 cm (19.7 in)[12]
Koran angelfish
Pomacanthus semicirculatus No Grey towards the face, becoming a navy blue towards the caudal fin with striking iridescent blue accents throughout. 40 cm (15.7 in)[13]
Majestic angelfish or blue girdled angelfish
Pomacanthus navarchus No Yellow dorsal and caudal fins connecting to "saddal" with dark blue dots. Dark blue underside and anal fin. Electric blue separating yellow and dark blue. 30 cm (11.8 in)[14]
Passer angelfish or King angelfish
Holacanthus passer No Very dark blue with yellow caudal fin and distinctive white stripe. 36 cm (14.2 in)[15]
Personifer angelfish or Queensland yellowtail angelfish
Chaetodontoplus meridithii No 37 cm (14.6 in)
Queen angelfish
Holacanthus ciliaris No Tan coloured with yellow caudal fin and neon blue outlined fins. This species has been known to reproduce with the Blue Angelfish, making a half breed that looks like a mixture between the two species. 45 cm (17.7 in)[16]
Rock beauty
Holacanthus tricolor No 25 cm (9.8 in)
Royal angelfish
Pygoplites diacanthus No Orange and blue striped with dark blue dorsal fin and lemon yellow caudal fin. 25 cm (9.8 in)[17]
Scribbled angelfish
Chaetodontoplus duboulayi No 25 cm (9.8 in)
Japanese swallow angelfish
Genicanthus semifasciatus Yes Black and tan striped back with yellow blaze beginning at the mouth and tapering off towards the centre of the side, with light blueish grey underside. Has distinctively shaped tail resembling that of a swallow. 21 cm (8.3 in)[18]
Yellowtail angelfish
Apolemichthys xanthurus No 15 cm (5.9 in)[19]

Angelfish (dwarf)[edit]

Flame angelfish

Although Dwarf Angelfish are smaller and generally more manageable than their larger counterparts, they still have some specific care requirements. They are omnivores, but plenty of vegetable matter, preferably in the form of macroalgae, should be provided for their grazing pleasure.[20] Their suitability for reef tanks is hotly debated,[2] so add at your own risk. Specimens that have been successfully maintained in reef aquaria include the Flame and Coral Beauty angels. However, for obvious reasons they should not be put into tanks with expensive decorative macroalgae.[21][22]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Barred angelfish
Centropyge multifasciata With caution White fish with vertical black stripes that change to yellow at the belly 12 cm (4.7 in)[23]
Bicolor angelfish
Centropyge bicolor With caution 15 cm (5.9 in)
Blue Velvet Angelfish Centropyge deborae
Brazilian flameback angelfish
Centropyge aurantonotus With caution 8 cm (3.1 in)
Coral beauty angelfish
Centropyge bispinosa With caution Reddish body with blue back and orange fins. A shy fish that prefers multiple hiding locations. 10 cm (3.9 in)[24]
Cherubfish or Pygmy angelfish
Centropyge argi With caution Blue colored body with an orange yellow head. 8 cm (3.1 in)[25]
Eibli angelfish
Centropyge eibli With caution Tan coloured body with vertical brown stripes and large distinctive black splotch covering the back of the fish, including the caudal fin. 15 cm (5.9 in)[26]
Flame angelfish
Centropyge loricula Yes Vivid orange-red with vertical black stripes and blue patches toward the end of the dorsal and anal fins. 15 cm (5.9 in)[27]
Pearlscale angelfish
Centropyge vroliki With caution Anterior is gray to pearly white with orange accent around eye, posterior is deep black. 12 cm (4.7 in)[28]
Herald's angelfish
Centropyge heraldi With caution Completely lemon yellow, with a brown marking around the eye. 10 cm (3.9 in)[29]
Keyhole angelfish
Centropyge tibicen No Centropyge type species. Overall black with an elongate vertical black blotch on the middle of the upper sides. When small, mainly black with a white bar. Dorsal and anal fins with submarginal blue line; most of the pelvic and the anterior portion of the anal fin yellow. Caudal fin with submarginal blue line. 19 cm (7.5 in)
Lemonpeel angelfish
Centropyge flavissima With caution Bright yellow with distinctive dark semicircle by operculum. 14 cm (5.5 in)[30]
Multicolor angelfish Centropyge multicolor With caution 9 cm (3.5 in)
Orange-back angelfish
Centropyge acanthops With caution Dark blue with golden yellow blaze running from the face down the dorsal fin, with a colourless caudal fin. 8 cm (3.1 in)[31]
Pacific pygmy angelfish Centropyge flavicauda With caution 8 cm (3.1 in)[32]
Potter's angelfish
Centropyge potteri With caution Similarly coloured to the Coral Beauty, but with a blue body and reddish fins. 10 cm (3.9 in)[33]
Rusty angelfish
Centropyge ferrugata Yes Tan coloured body with dark spots and a reddish tint around the anal fin. 10 cm (3.9 in)[34]
Venustus angelfish Centropyge venustus With caution 12 cm

(4.7 in)


Squareback anthias

Although Anthias resemble damsels in shape and size, the two should never be confused. Anthias (also known as "fairy basslets") are finicky and many starve to death in captivity. In the wild, they eat zooplankton, and will not accept anything else in the aquarium. They also need to be fed nearly constantly, three times a day at least. The best way to ensure the health and longevity of an Anthias is to attach a refugium where copepods can be grown to "drip" into the display tank. Unlike many other saltwater aquarium inhabitants, they can be kept in groups.[35]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Bartlett's anthias
Pseudanthias bartlettorum Yes Back and face light yellow, underside pink with a swallowtail-shaped caudal fin. 9 cm (3.5 in)
Bicolor anthias
Pseudanthias bicolor Yes Similarly shaped and coloured to Bartlett's Anthias, but with a slightly more rounded back. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Cooper's anthias
Pseudanthias cooperi Yes Orange back and finnage with white patch below the mouth running down toward the anal fin with pink sides. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Diadem anthias
Pseudanthias parvirostris Yes Pink fish with yellow streak on top of head running along the lateral line. Caudal fin is red with yellow tips. 7 cm (2.8 in)
Orangehead anthias Pseudanthias heemstrai Yes Pink underside with orange back and mask, dark red splotch on caudal fin, along with iridescent blue anal and pelvic fins. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Redbar anthias Pseudanthias rubrizonatus Yes Tannish-pink with a single vertical red stripe and a dorsal fin with the skin between the rays pulled back like on a lionfish. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Lyretail anthias, Sea Goldie
Pseudanthias squamipinnis Yes Females are orange with lyre-shaped caudal fin. Males are fuchsia with red markings on fins 15 cm (5.9 in)
Squareback anthias
Pseudanthias pleurotaenia Yes Red back and pink underside with distinctive blue square shaped marking and blue fins. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Stocky anthias
Pseudanthias hypselosoma Yes Orange back with cream colored underside. As its name suggests, slightly stockier than other Anthias. 19 cm (7.5 in)
Threadfin anthias
Pseudanthias huchtii Yes Olive green with black caudal fin and red stripe running from the eye to the pectoral fin. 12 cm (4.7 in)

Bass and groupers[edit]

Blue dot grouper

In this exceedingly large group of fish, few are considered proper aquarium inhabitants, for various reasons including diet and size. Basses vary greatly from species to species. Appropriate research should be done before purchasing a specimen. Many unsuspecting hobbyists bring home cute little specimens of popular aquarium fish such as the lyretail grouper, only to realize several months later that they do not have the resources to care for a meter-long that may cost hundreds of dollars a month to feed.[36][37][38][39][40]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
African grouper Cephalopholis taeniops No 69 cm (27.2 in)
Vermillion seabass
Cephalopholis miniata 50 cm (19.7 in)
Blacktip grouper
Epinephelus fasciatus No The tips of the spines of the dorsal fin are black, and it may have a dark red cap above the eyes. There is a variant with a uniformly pale body except for the frontal part. 40 cm (15.7 in)
Blue and Yellow grouper
Epinephelus flavocaeruleus No 90.0 cm (35.4 in)
Blue dot grouper
Cephalopholis argus No Deep black to tan fish with blue spots throughout. 50 cm (19.7 in)
Blue line grouper
Cephalopholis formosa No Dark tan with horizontal blue stripes that are not particularly straight. The caudal fin has more of these stripes, and they radiate from the base of the fin out to the tips. 34 cm (13.4 in)
Chalk bass
Serranus tortugarum Yes Blue iridescent body with distinctive black topside that is interrupted by small vertical blue stripes. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Coney grouper
Cephalopholis fulva No 41 cm (16.1 in)
Golden grouper Mycteroperca rosacea No 86 cm (33.9 in)
Golden stripe soapfish
Grammistes sexlineatus No Chocolate brown with light yellow horizontal stripes. Similar in patterning to C. argus (with exception to the coloration). 30 cm (11.8 in)
Harlequin bass
Serranus tigrinus Yes Very striking black and white checkerboard pattern all over, with very long tapering nose. 29 cm (11.4 in)
Leaflip grouper
Pogonoperca punctata No Sports a large, hinged mouth and is tan with little spots. Has brown triangle shaped markings down the spine. 35 cm (13.8 in)
Marine beta
Calloplesiops altivelis Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)[41][42]
Pacific graysby Cephalopholis panamensis No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Panther grouper
Cromileptes altivelis No Gorgeous pure white fish with black spots and a distinctive "hump" on the head, leading to a popular common name, "Humpback Grouper". 75 cm (29.5 in)
Painted comber
Serranus scriba No Large fish with classic Bass body, Silvery in colour with vertical tan stripes and a blue underside. 36 cm (14.2 in)
Polleni grouper Cephalopholis polleni No 43 cm (16.9 in)
Red flag grouper
Cephalopholis urodeta No Very similar to C. miniatus, but the caudal fin is dark. 28 cm (11.0 in)
Lyretail grouper
Variola louti No Silver back changing to red around the underside, darkening toward the caudal fin, which is lyre-shaped with neon green edging. 80 cm (31.5 in)
Saddle grouper
Plectropomus laevis No 125 cm (49.2 in)
Spotted grouper
Epinephelus summana No Dark black fish with many light green spots all over body, increasing in number toward the posterior. 52 cm (20.5 in)
Strawberry grouper Cephalopholis spiloparaea No 30 cm (11.8 in)
V tail grouper Cephalopholis urodelus No 28 cm (11.0 in)

Basslets and assessors[edit]

Royal gramma

Basslets and Assessors are small, long bodied fish strongly resembling Anthias. Their care requirements, however, are closer to those of damsels. They should be kept individually, and generally not with other fish of similar shape and colour. Feeding is easy: they will generally eat any meaty foods offered. Good water quality should be maintained at all times.[43]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Black cap gramma
Gramma melacara Yes Purple with a black mask beginning at the mouth and ending at the base of the dorsal fin. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Blue assessor Assessor macneilli Yes Entirely navy blue with white edging of the dorsal fin. 7 cm (2.8 in)
Royal gramma
Gramma loreto Yes Purple head and anterior, abruptly changing to yellow about halfway down the body. Has black marking through eye and another on the dorsal fin. Do not confuse with the Brazilian Gramma or the Bicolor Dottyback. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Brazilian gramma Gramma brasiliensis Yes Very similar to the royal gramma, however the change from purple to yellow occurs farther down the body and the black markings are absent. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Yellow assessor Assessor flavissimus Yes Bright lemon yellow with peach fringing of the dorsal fin and around the eye. 7 cm (2.8 in)[44]


Dusky batfish

Batfish are gorgeous and striking fish that are not common in aquaria for one major reason: they get huge. A two or three hundred gallon tank is needed for one, minimum, and larger is better. They start out as tiny, manageable-looking cuties, which often fools aquarists into purchasing them for their small aquariums. However they quickly grow to gargantuan proportions, and require large amounts of food as well as space, so beware. They are not reef safe and should be fed plenty of large meaty foods. Batfish change greatly as they grow, however the potential aquarist is most likely to see them in their juvenile form, so that is the description of the colouration here. They all have generally the same body shape: disk-like with tall dorsal and anal fins, similar to a Freshwater Angelfish.

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Orbiculate batfish
Platax orbicularis No Brown with generally random black markings resembling a rotting leaf. 50 cm (19.7 in)
Dusky batfish
Platax pinnatus No Dark black body completely edged by distinctive yellow and orange. 45 cm (17.7 in)
Teira batfish
Platax teira No Silver with black fins and a black stripe across the face. 70 cm (27.6 in)

Blennies and engineer gobies[edit]

Lawnmower blenny

Blennies are popular aquarium fish, and for good reason. Most of them are peaceful to other fish, while very aggressive to other blennies which has a similar shape. Some blennies are colorful, and many are downright helpful. For example, the aptly named Lawnmower Blenny will keep your green algae well trimmed and presentable. With the exception of Fang Blennies, Blennies are totally reef safe- in fact a reef environment is really best for them because they can be shy and the intricate rockwork of a reef provides ample hiding spaces. They are omnivores and should be fed a varied diet of frozen or live foods and plant matter. Blennies do not have teeth or functional jaw, so food must be small enough for them to swallow whole.
Blennies are often confused with Gobies, but there is an easy way to tell the difference. Gobies have two distinct dorsal fins, Blennies have a single dorsal fin that runs the length of their body. Also, Gobies' pelvic fins are fused to form a sucker, similar to Remoras.[45]

The engineer goby is a close relative of cichlids and leaf fishes, the juvenile can often be found in aquarium trade, while the adult is rare.

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Spinyhead blenny
Acanthemblemaria spinosa Yes Brown checkered body with distinctive yellow frills on head. 2 cm (0.8 in)
Bicolor blenny
Ecsenius bicolor Yes Characterized by the striking contrast of a blue head and upper torso followed by a yellow orange lower torso. 11 cm (4.3 in)
Black combtooth blenny
Ecsenius namiyei Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Blackline fang blenny Meiacanthus nigrolineatus No Yellow bodied with bright blue mask and dark black line running from the eye to the caudal fin. 9 cm (3.5 in)
Black sailfin blenny Atrosalarias fuscus Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Blue & gold blenny Enchelyurus flavipes Yes 5 cm (2.0 in)
Bundoon blenny Meiacanthus bundoon No Black with lighter patch over caudal fin. Very distinctive swallowtail caudal fin. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Canary fang blenny
Meiacanthus oualanensis Yes Similarly shaped to M. bundoon, but canary yellow. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Diamond blenny
Malacoctenus boehlkei Yes Gray with black splotches, and a yellow mask. Shaped more like hawkfish than a blenny. 6.5 cm (2.6 in)
Ember blenny
Cirripectes stigmaticus No 12 cm (4.7 in)
Harptail blenny Meiacanthus mossambicus Yes Pale pinkish-grey body with jet-black dorsal and anal fins. Eyes are primarily white, sometimes seen with brown segmentation. 10cm


Lawnmower blenny
Salarias fasciatus Yes Tan and brown striped and spotted with iridescence. Requires Mature Tank. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Linear blenny
Ecsenius lineatus Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Midas blenny
Ecsenius midas Yes Although often seen yellow, this fish has the ability to change its color to match the surroundings. It has a very distinctive swallowtail shaped caudal fin. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Molly Miller blenny
Scartella cristata Yes Mottled tan, white, and black covering the body and fins. 12 cm (4.7 in)
One spot blenny Crossosalarias macrospilus No 10 cm (3.9 in)
Red lip blenny
Ophioblennius atlanticus Yes Black to grayish yellow with red patch over mouth. 19 cm (7.5 in)
Red Sea mimic blenny
Ecsenius gravieri Sky blue anterior fading to yellow towards the tail, with a black stripe running the eye to the base of the caudal fin. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Sailfin blenny
Emblemaria pandionis Yes Very similar to Salarias fasciatus but slightly darker and with a much larger dorsal fin. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Segmented sailfin blenny Salarias segmentatus Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Starry blenny
Salarias ramosus Yes 14 cm (5.5 in)
Striped blenny
Meiacanthus grammistes Yes 12 cm (4.7 in)
Tail spot blenny
Ecsenius stigmatura Yes Drab tan all over with dark spot at the base of the caudal fin and a light yellow line through eye. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Two-spot blenny Ecsenius bimaculatus Yes The top half of this fish is black towards the front and fades to white closer to the tail. The bottom half is white with two distinctive black spots right under the pectoral fins. 4.5 cm (1.8 in)
Engineer goby
Pholidichthys leucotaenia Yes Not actually a blenny but from closely related family Pholidichthys. Juvenile has black eel-shaped body with a distinctive white stripe running down the body. Adults are yellow and black striped. 34 cm (13.4 in)

Boxfish and blowfish[edit]

Dogface pufferfish

Members of the family Tetraodontidae, Boxfish, Blowfish or Pufferfish and their cousins Cowfishes and Porcupinefishes can be very personable and quirky pets, for the prepared.
They are not thought of as an ordinary aquarium tank mate, but are quickly gaining popularity. They do pose a hazard in the community tank however. They are capable of releasing a very powerful toxin which can kill other fish and in some cases, the boxfish itself. They generally only use it when threatened or dying, but can become disturbed easily with aggressive tank mates or overcrowded aquarium. Generally they are reef safe, though they will pick at invertebrates if not fed well enough.
Many people think puffed up Pufferfish, like in the picture, are cute, but an owner should never subject their pet to this as they are often unable to expel the air should they be out of the water. To prevent this, never remove a puffer from the water.[46]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Golden puffer
Arothron meleagris No 48 cm (18.9 in)
Hawaiian blue puffer
Canthigaster papua No 10 cm (3.9 in)
Hawaiian saddle puffer
Canthigaster coronata No 14.0 cm (5.5 in)
Hawaiian spotted puffer
Canthigaster jactator No 9 cm (3.5 in)
Helmet cowfish
Tetrosomus gibbosus Caution Tan with dark speckles and brown spots at the base of the caudal fin. 30 cm (11.8 in)
Immaculate puffer
Arothron immaculatus No 28 cm (11.0 in)
Longhorn cowfish
Lactoria cornuta Caution Grayish tan with very distinctive "horns" near the eyes and under the caudal fin. 46 cm (18.1 in)
Scribbled boxfish Ostracion solorensis Caution Dark navy blue with iridescent "scribbling" and spots. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Dogface pufferfish
Arothron nigropunctatus Caution Tan with a brown mask over eyes and other over mouth. Also has yellow markings on the pectoral and dorsal fins. 33 cm (13.0 in)
Map puffer
Arothron mappa No 65 cm (25.6 in)
Porcupine pufferfish
Diodon holocanthus No Tan with slightly darker spots throughout and very conspicuous spines that lay flat against the body. When puffed up, the spikes stand up and make the fish completely inedible. 50 cm (19.7 in)
Spotfin porcupinefish
Diodon hystrix No White and covered in small black spots. 91 cm (35.8 in)
Sharpnose pufferfish
Canthigaster rostrata Caution Cream, with reddish purple topside and underside, and yellow on the caudal fin. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Star puffer
Arothron stellatus No 120 cm (47.2 in)
Stars and stripes puffer
Arothron hispidus No 50 cm (19.7 in)
Striped dogface puffer
Arothron manilensis No 31 cm (12.2 in)
Valentini pufferfish
Canthigaster valentini Caution Tan with giraffe-like spots and dark brown markings that resemble saddles over the back. Has distinctive bright green eyes. 11 cm (4.3 in)
Whitebelly puffer
Canthigaster bennetti No 10 cm (3.9 in)
Yellow boxfish
Ostracion cubicus Caution Usually seen as a juvenile, bright yellow with little black spots. When it reaches maturity it is gray with yellow lines and pink lips. 45 cm (17.7 in)


Sickle butterflyfish

When properly cared for, Butterflyfish can make beautiful and distinctive additions to fish only marine aquariums. Specimens often grow to large sizes and are not well suited to smaller aquariums. Butterflyfish can be fussy and overparticular, but when fed a varied diet and kept in pristine conditions they will usually thrive. Some species in this family do not do well in captivity, and potential keepers must take care to purchase only those species that have a fighting chance. When selecting Butterflyfish especially, specimens presenting any sign or signs of mishandling are to be avoided.

The following species are relatively hardy and experienced aquarists should have no trouble with them, so long as they are diligent.[47]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Copperband butterflyfish
Chelmon rostratus Caution Silver with black edged gold stripes, a long nose, and a black eyespot on the dorsal fin. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Schooling bannerfish
Heniochus diphreutes No Sometimes referred to as the "Poor Man's Moorish Idol" because of the resemblance to one. White and black striped with yellow caudal fin and a dorsal fin that forms a long, thin banner. 21 cm (8.3 in)
Longnose butterflyfish
Forcipiger flavissimus No From the pectoral fins forward, black above the eye and silver below, with an exceptionally mouth. Past the pectoral fins, bright yellow with an eyespot on the anal fin. 22 cm (8.7 in)
Raccoon butterflyfish
Chaetodon lunula No Very distinctive and complexly colored. Is mostly yellow with a darker saddle and a black and white mask. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Redback butterflyfish
Chaetodon paucifasciatus No White with black stripes that form chevrons on the side and a bright red patch on the posterior. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Merten's butterflyfish
Chaetodon mertensii No White with fuzzy black stripes and a yellow posterior. Also has a black line through the eye. 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
Teardrop butterflyfish
Chaetodon unimaculatus No Completely yellow with the exception of black stripes at the base of the caudal fin and through the eye, and an eyespot directly below the dorsal fin. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Latticed butterflyfish
Chaetodon rafflesii No Very similar to C. unimaculatus, but with scales that are brighter than the body, forming a lattice-like pattern, and lacking the eyespot. 18 cm (7.1 in)
Pacific double saddle butterflyfish
Chaetodon ulietensis No Silver with two dark saddles over the body (plus a dark mask) and yellow dorsal and caudal fins. 15 cm (5.9 in)
Sickle butterflyfish
Chaetodon falcula No Often confused with C. ulietensis, but easily distinguished. The saddles are wedge shaped rather than stripes and do not reach the underside. Overall more yellow coloring. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Threadfin butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga No White anterior with thin black stripes at 45 and 120 degree angles from the head. Posterior is yellow, but with a black wedge shape where the stripes meet the yellow coloring. 23 cm (9.1 in)
Tinker's butterflyfish
Chaetodon tinkeri No White with small black spots, a yellow mask, and a black dorsal fin. 15 cm (5.9 in)
Masked butterflyfish
Chaetodon semilarvatus No Bright lemon yellow with subtle vertical orange stripes and a black splotch behind the eye. 23 cm (9.1 in)
Reef butterflyfish
Chaetodon sedentarius Yes 15 cm

(5.9 in)

Four-eyed butterflyfish
Chaetodon capistratus No 15 cm

(5.9 in)

Banded butterflyfish
Chaetodon striatus No 16 cm

(6.3 in)

Saddleback butterflyfish
Chaetodon ephippium Caution 30 cm

(11.8 in)


Banggai cardinalfish

One of the few groups of shoaling fish commonly available to marine aquarists, Cardinalfish are nocturnal and tend to be quite shy. They require meaty foods and will often not take prepared foods such as flakes and tablets. For the best chance of success, keep a wide variety of frozen foods on hand. In the event of a hunger strike, they will almost always take adult brine shrimp. As far as other care requirements they are similar to damsels: not picky. So long as they are properly acclimated, they tolerate a wide range of parameters. A marine aquarist should watch the ammonia/nitrite levels of the environment, as cardinalfish are particularly sensitive to these chemicals.[48]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Fragile cardinalfish Apogon fragilis Yes[49]: 133  5 cm (2.0 in)
Banggai cardinal
Pterapogon kauderni Yes Black and silver striped with very tall fins and many white spots. Wild populations have been decimated, consider captive bred specimens. Banggai Cardinalfish are mouthbrooders. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Blackstripe cardinalfish
Apogon nigrofasciatus Yes Body completely covered in horizontal yellow and black stripes, with red fins. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Bluebarred cardinalfish Apogon flores Yes[49]: 133  5 cm (2.0 in)
Bluestreak cardinalfish
Apogon leptacanthus Yes[49]: 133  6.5 cm (2.6 in)
Apogon maculatus Yes Bright red with black spots at the base of the caudal fin, under the second dorsal fin, and on the operculum. 11 cm (4.3 in)
Frostfin cardinalfish Apogon hoeveni Yes[49]: 133  5 cm (2.0 in)
Gilbert's cardinalfish Apogon gilberti Yes[49]: 133  5 cm (2.0 in)
Girdled cardinalfish Archamia zosterophora Yes[49]: 133  8 cm (3.1 in)
Orange-striped cardinalfish
Ostorhinchus cyanosoma Yes Light yellow with iridescent yellow horizontal stripes. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Orbic cardinalfish
Sphaeramia orbicularis Yes A thin, dark vertical 'waistband' with scattered dark spots toward the tail. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Pajama cardinalfish
Sphaeramia nematoptera Yes, caution with small shrimp[49]: 132  This fish displays three distinct color bands: the first, stretching from the nose to base of the first dorsal fin, is a tannish peach. The second, a thin band which runs down the center of the fish, is chocolate brown, and the posterior of the fish is white with brown spots. 8.5 cm (3.3 in)
Ochre-striped cardinalfish Ostorhinchus compressus Yes Almost identical to A. nigrofasticus, but with blue eyes. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Ringtailed cardinalfish
Ostorhinchus aureus Yes Yellow body with a black stripe (ring) at the base of the caudal fin and iridescent blue streaks across the eye. 14.5 cm (5.7 in)


Blue-green reef chromis

Chromis are perhaps the ultimate reef fish. Generally peaceful, most species are easy to take care of and quite colorful. Like anthias, they will school, but in many cases this tendency disappears as they age. They are, nevertheless, at least ambivalent with their own species, as well as completely reef safe. Like Damsels and Anemonefish, their close cousins, Chromis are omnivores and will accept most foods offered. A flake staple is usually sufficient, but for best color and health supplement with frozen and live foods when possible.[50]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Ambon chromis Chromis amboinensis Yes[49]: 192  8 cm (3.1 in)
Barrier reef chromis
Chromis nitida Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Black and gold chromis
Neoglyphidodon nigroris Yes Mostly silver, but with a large patch of yellow around the caudal fin and a distinct black line on the operculum. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Black bar chromis Chromis retrofasciata Yes[49]: 191  Yellowish with bright blue iridescent pelvic fins and a distinct black bar at the base of the caudal fin. 5 cm (2.0 in).
Blue chromis
Chromis cyanea Yes[49]: 188  Bright blue all over, although lighter toward the front. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Chromis chromis Yes Completely black. Despite the name, this is actually a chromis, in fact, it is the chromis. 25 cm (9.8 in)
Green chromis
Chromis viridis Yes Generally bluish green, but some specimens may be spring green. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Half and half chromis
Chromis iomelas Yes[49]: 190  Completely black from the middle of the dorsal fin to the nose, completely white from the middle of the dorsal fin to the end of the caudal fin. 9 cm (3.5 in)
Limbaughi chromis Chromis limbaughi Yes Dark navy blue with bright yellow spot that covers the dorsal fin and much of the posterior. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Lined chromis Chromis lineata Yes[49]: 192  5 cm (2.0 in)
Paletail chromis Chromis xanthura Yes[49]: 192  15 cm (5.9 in)
Black-axil chromis
Chromis atripectoralis Yes 12 cm

(14.7 in)

Spiny chromis
Acanthochromis polyacanthus Yes Dark chocolate brown, slightly lighter around the pectoral fins. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Sunshine chromis Chromis insolatus Yes[49]: 189  Rather drab tannish-orange throughout. 16 cm (6.3 in)
Yellowspotted chromis
Chromis flavomaculata Yes[49]: 192  15 cm (5.9 in)
Black and white chromis
Chromis margaritifer Yes Similar to half and half chromis, but there is more black. 3 in (7.6 cm)


False percula clownfish

Clownfish, more technically known as Anemonefish, are the classic aquarium fish. Both hardy and attractive, they are perhaps best known for their symbiotic relationship with Sea Anemones, a relative of coral. In the wild, Anemonefish are always found with a host, leading many potential keepers to believe that an anemone is necessary to keep them. Anemonefish are easy to keep, but their cnidarian counterparts are inordinately finicky and need high light levels, and luckily Anemonefish will thrive without them. Aquarists often find that Anemonefish will host in other things, from corals and Feather Duster Worms to powerheads and other equipment. Anemonefish care is identical to that of Damselfish, as they are actually very closely related.[51][52]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Cinnamon anemonefish
Amphiprion melanopus Yes Dark orange body becoming black towards the caudal fin, with a bright white stripe running from the front of the dorsal fin to the pectoral fins and golden colored fins. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Clarkii anemonefish
Amphiprion clarkii Yes Black or dark brown with bright yellow finnage and two thick white stripes running perpendicular to the body. 15 cm (5.9 in)
Amphiprion ocellaris Yes Bright orange or yellow body with white stripes. Fins are orange, rimmed with black. A. ocellaris from northern Australia are black. 11 cm (4.3 in)
Maroon clownfish
Premnas biaculeatus Yes but aggressive Maroon to bright red with three very thin white stripes. 17 cm (6.7 in)
True Percula
Amphiprion percula Yes Nearly identical to A. ocellaris, but the white stripes are edged with black. 11 cm (4.3 in)
Pink skunk anemonefish
Amphiprion perideraion Yes Pink to orange body with one white stripe over the operculum and another running from the tip of the snout, along the back to the dorsal fin. All fins are white. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Tomato clownfish
Amphiprion frenatus Yes Bright red with a single white stripe running from the front of the dorsal fin to the bottom of the head. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Saddleback anemonefish
Amphiprion polymnus Yes Similar to A. ocellaris and percula, but the second stripe does not extend the full with of the body and instead resembles a saddle. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Sebae anemonefish
Amphiprion sebae Yes Black or dark brown body from above the pectoral fin, yellow below. Has two white stripes, the second resembling that of A. polymnus. 16 cm (6.3 in)


Blue and gold damsel

All Damselfish can be considered reef-safe, sometimes excluding larger, more aggressive Dascyllus varieties. Some Damselfish will host in anemones like clownfish. Most Damselfish are aggressive and difficult to catch once you put them in an aquarium.

Damselfish change gender as they grow larger and older. Small damselfish are ungendered. Eventually, they become males if no males prevent them from doing so. One or sometimes two males live with a female and guard over the eggs. Females are the largest fish and dominant over the males and juveniles. They will not allow other females into an area they have claimed as their territory without a fight. They may not allow new males or juveniles, either. Aggression increases with each change.[51][53][54]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Ambon damsel
Pomacentrus amboinensis Yes[49]: 216  10 cm (3.9 in)
Azure damsel
Chrysiptera hemicyanea Yes A beautiful fish with neon blue on its body and a gold underside and caudal fin. Easy to care for and does best on a good diet. Fairly aggressive so choose tankmates carefully. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Black and gold damsel
Neoglyphidodon nigroris Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Blackmargined damsel Pomacentrus nigromarginatus Yes[49]: 216  9 cm (3.5 in)
Blue damsel, Orangetail damsel
Chrysiptera cyanea Yes An orange tail indicates breeding success. The males have orange on their tails while the females do not. This fish is hardy and aggressive. 8.5 cm (3.3 in)
Blue and gold damsel
Pomacentrus coelestis Yes[49]: 215  9 cm (3.5 in)
Blue velvet damsel
Paraglyphidodon oxyodon Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Blueback damsel Pomacentrus simsiang Yes[49]: 216  9 cm (3.5 in)
Blueline demoiselle, Yellowfin demoiselle Chrysiptera caeruleolineata Yes[49]: 202  6 cm (2.4 in)
Bluefin damsel
Neoglyphidodon melas Yes 18 cm (7.1 in)
Caerulean damsel
Pomacentrus caeruleus Yes[49]: 215  8 cm (3.1 in)
Canary deep water damsel Chrysiptera galba Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Cloudy damsel
Dascyllus carneus Yes 7 cm (2.8 in)
Cross' damsel Neoglyphidodon crossi Yes[49]: 202  13 cm (5.1 in)
Domino damsel
Dascyllus trimaculatus Yes also known as the three spot damsel, this fish is easy to care for, but is also very aggressive. The fish is black except for three distinct white spots that fade as the fish ages. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Fiji blue devil damsel
Chrysiptera taupou Yes This striking blue damsel is one of the most popular beginner fish. Like other damsels, it is very hardy, and very aggressive when mature. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Four stripe damsel
Dascyllus melanurus Yes The four stripe damsel is a perfect beginner marine fish as it is very hardy. This fish is highly territorial and is best suited for a semi-aggressive to aggressive tank. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Garibaldi damsel
Hypsypops rubicunda Yes These are temperate fish and require cooler water. They are much larger than most other damsels. 30 cm (11.8 in)
Honey head damsel Dischistodus prosopotaenia Yes 17 cm (6.7 in)
Hawaiian Dascyllus
Dascyllus albisella Yes 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
Jewel damsel
Microspathodon chrysurus Yes Among the largest and most aggressive Damsels 20 cm (7.9 in)
King demoiselle
Chrysiptera rex Yes[49]: 198  7 cm (2.8 in)
Lemon damsel
Pomacentrus moluccensis Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Longfin gregory
Stegastes diencaeus Caution[49]: 216  Turns brown, and becomes highly territorial as it ages 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
Marginated damsel
Dascyllus marginatus Yes The marginated damsel is noted for blue fins as well as the yellow head and white body. This fish is hardy like most damsels and is also highly aggressive when mature. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Neon damsel Pomacentrus alleni Yes 6 cm (2.4 in)
Ocellate damsel
Pomacentrus vaiuli Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Pavo damsel
Pomacentrus pavo Yes[49]: 215  11 cm (4.3 in)
Pink Smith damsel
Pomacentrus smithi Yes 7 cm (2.8 in)
Rolland's demoiselle Chrysiptera rollandi Yes[49]: 202  6 cm (2.4 in)
Sergeant major damsel
Abudefduf saxatilis Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Speckled damsel
Pomacentrus bankanensis Yes[49]: 216  9 cm (3.5 in)
Springer's damsel
Chrysiptera springeri Yes 5.5 cm (2.2 in)
Stark's damsel
Chrysiptera starcki Yes 7 cm (2.8 in)
Talbots damsel
Chrysiptera talboti Yes This damselfish is somewhat a little more delicate than other. It does best in small groups in large tanks with good water quality and an SG of 1.026. Feed on a good diet for best results. Fairly peaceful. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Three stripe damsel
Dascyllus aruanus Yes Highly aggressive and territorial. Will harass fish many times its size. Best kept in an aggressive/semi-aggressive tank. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Three Spot damsel
Stegastes planifrons Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Tuxedo damsel
Chrysiptera tricincta Yes 6 cm (2.4 in)
Two stripe damsel
Dascyllus reticulatus Yes the two stripe damsel is a very hardy fish. This fish is perfect for the beginner marine aquarist, as it can tolerate substandard water quality. This fish is highly aggressive, and requires many hiding places. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Yellow damsel
Amblyglyphidodon aureus Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Yellow threespot Dascyllus
Dascyllus auripinnis Yes[49]: 205  14.5 cm (5.7 in)
Yellowbelly damsel
Pomacentrus auriventris Yes 5.5 cm (2.2 in)
Yellowtail Dascyllus
Dascyllus flavicaudus Yes 12 cm (4.7 in)
Yellowtail damsel
Chrysiptera parasema Yes The yellowtail damsel possess an all blue body with a striking yellow tail. This damsel is a good beginner fish as it is very hardy and can tolerate substandard water quality. This damsel is also less aggressive than some other damsel species. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Yellowtail demoiselle
Neopomacentrus azysron Yes 7.5 cm (3.0 in)


Purple firefish

Most should be kept as pairs or small groups where all individuals are added at once.[55][56]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Blue gudgeon dartfish
Ptereleotris hanae Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Fire fish
Nemateleotris magnifica Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Purple fire fish
Nemateleotris decora Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Scissortail dartfish
Ptereleotris evides Yes 14 cm (5.5 in)
Zebra barred dartfish
Ptereleotris zebra Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)


Mandarinfish (Synchiropus splendidus)

Dragonets are often mis-categorized as gobies or blennies by fish sellers. They are bottom-dwelling fish that constantly hunt tiny invertebrates for food. Most starve to death in a marine aquarium unless you provide a refugium or place for the invertebrates to reproduce safely without any fish being able to reach them.[57][58]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Synchiropus splendidus Yes A brightly colored member of the dragonet family. Eats only copepods and will die in captivity without an adequate supply, which can only be had in very large, well established reef tanks 6 cm (2.4 in)[59]
Starry dragonet Synchiropus stellatus Yes Also known as red scooter blenny though not a true blenny. Will often only eat live copepods and amphipods. 12 cm (4.7 in)
Ocellated dragonet
Synchiropus ocellatus Yes Also known as scooter blenny though not a true blenny. Will often only eat live copepods and amphipods. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Spotted mandarin
Synchiropus picturatus Yes Often only eats live copepods and amphipods. 10 cm (3.9 in)


Laced moray

Most eels are easily kept in a large aquarium, although several species such as the blue ribbon eel should usually be avoided. With any moray eel care must be taken to secure the lid as one of the most common causes of death is escaping from the tank, and onto the floor.[60][61]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Banded snake eel
Myrichthys colubrinus No 97 cm (38.2 in)
Banded eel
Echidna polyzona No 69 cm (27.2 in)
Black edge moray eel
Gymnothorax saxicola No 60 cm (23.6 in)
Blue ribbon eel, black ribbon eel Rhinomuraena quaesita No 130 cm (51.2 in)
Chainlink moray eel
Echidna catenata No Can be kept with fish too small to swallow 165 cm (65.0 in)
Dragon moray eel
Enchelycore pardalis No A fish eater that will eat anything it can fit in its mouth. When available is typically quite expensive[62] 92 cm (36.2 in)
Golden dwarf eel Gymnothorax melatremus Yes Rarely available, among the smallest of the moray eels 26 cm (10.2 in)
Golden moray eel
Gymnothorax miliaris May eat fish and shrimp These fish should only be kept in fish-only tanks as any small invertebrates will be looked on as food. Keep with fish large enough not to be eaten. Feed on a diet of whitefish, cockles, cod roe, haddock and frozen foods. 70.0 cm (27.6 in)
Green moray eel
Gymnothorax funebris No Requires a 180-gallon tank with tight fitting lid. Compatible with rays, sharks, and other large fish. 250 cm (98.4 in)
Jeweled moray eel
Muraena lentiginosa No 61 cm (24.0 in)
Kidako moray eel
Gymnothorax kidako No 91 cm (35.8 in)
Peppered moray
Gymnothorax picta No 135 cm (53.1 in)
Snowflake eel
Echidna nebulosa May eat shrimp if underfed A pebble-tooth moray that generally eats crustaceans and similar. Safer in reef aquariums than other species but be prepared to remove it in case it starts to eat desired invertebrates. 100 cm (39.4 in)
Spotted garden-eel Heteroconger hassi With Caution NEEDS a very deep substrate (8 inches) and only eats plankton, when housing multiple make sure that there is enough space for each eels to be far enough away from each other 40 cm (15.7 in)
Spotted Snake eel
Myrichthys maculosus No Requires at least six in of substrate 100 cm (39.4 in)
Tessalata eel, or laced moray
Gymnothorax favagineus No 300 cm (118.1 in)
Yellowhead moray eel
Gymnothorax fimbriatus No 80 cm (31.5 in)
Yellow mouth moray eel
Gymnothorax nudivomer No 178 cm (70.1 in)
Whitemouth moray eel
Gymnothorax meleagris With Caution 120 cm (47.2 in)
Zebra moray
Gymnomuraena zebra No One of the easier moray eels to keep, is usually safe with most fish but will eat most invertebrates. 150 cm (59.1 in)


Orange spotted filefish

Less often kept than their relatives the triggerfish and puffers, there are many filefish that make good aquarium residents, and a few that require specialized diets, making it hard to sustain them in an aquarium.[63][64]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Clown filefish
Cantherhines dumerili Caution 38 cm (15.0 in)
Colored filefish Pervagor melanocephalus Caution 15 cm (5.9 in)
Fantail orange filefish Pervagor spilosoma No 18 cm (7.1 in)
Horseshoe filefish
Meuschenia hippocrepis No 51 cm (20.1 in)
Japanese filefish
Paramonacanthus japonicus No 13 cm (5.1 in)
Mimic filefish
Paraluteres prionurus No 11 cm (4.3 in)
Orange spotted filefish
Oxymonacanthus longirostris No 13 cm (5.1 in)
Tassle filefish
Chaetodermis penicilligerus Caution 30 cm (11.8 in)


Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Care Level Description Max size
Peacock flounder
Bothus lunatus No Moderate 46 cm (18.1 in)
Flowery (Indo-Pacific peacock) flounder
Bothus mancus with caution Moderate 45 cm (17.7 in)
Banded sole
Soleichthys heterorhinos Will eat shrimp and other invertebrates, will not harm coral[49]: 413  Moderate[49]: 413  18 cm (7.1 in)


Giant frogfish

A type of Anglerfish, Frogfish are ambush predators with huge mouths. They are capable of eating fish up to twice their length so care should be taken in choosing tank mates.[65]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Longlure frogfish
Antennarius multiocellatus No 20 cm

(7.9 in)

Giant anglerfish
Antennarius commerson No 38 cm (15.0 in)
Sargassum frogfish
Histrio histrio No 20 cm (7.9 in)
Striated frogfish
Antennarius striatus No 15 cm (5.9 in)
Wartskin frogfish
Antennarius maculatus No Has the ability to change color to match its surrounding. 10 cm (3.9 in)


Yellow goatfish

While not as common a choice for aquariums as many other species, they are typically hardy and brightly colored[66]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Bicolor goatfish
Parupeneus barberinoides With Caution 25 cm (9.8 in)
Goldsaddle goatfish
Parupeneus cyclostomus With Caution 51 cm (20.1 in)
Manybar goatfish
Parupeneus multifasciatus With Caution 30 cm (11.8 in)
Yellow back goatfish
Parupeneus barberinus With Caution 41 cm (16.1 in)

Gobies and clingfishes[edit]

Black-ray goby

Are typically hardy and do not harm invertebrates which makes them a good choice of fish for a reef tank.[67][68]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Black barred convict goby Priolepis nocturna Yes 4 cm (1.6 in)
Black clown goby Gobiodon acicularis Mostly; can destroy unhealthy Acropora by laying its eggs in the coral's tissue Similar to Yellow clown goby, but black
Bluespotted watchman goby Cryptocentrus pavoninoides Yes 12 cm (4.7 in)
Catalina goby
Lythrypnus dalli Yes A cold water species that doesn't live long at reef temperatures. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Cave transparent goby
Coryphopterus glaucofraenum Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Citron clown goby
Gobiodon citrinus Mostly; can destroy unhealthy Acropora by laying its eggs in the coral's tissue 8 cm (3.1 in)
Court jester goby
Amblygobius rainfordi 6 cm (2.4 in)
Diagonal bar prawn goby
Amblyeleotris diagonalis Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Diamond watchman goby
Valenciennea puellaris Yes Burrow and sift sand constantly; very good algae eaters 20 cm (7.9 in)
Dracula goby Stonogobiops dracula Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Gold neon eviota goby Eviota pellucida Yes 3 cm (1.2 in)
Green banded goby
Elacatinus multifasciatus Yes Small burrowing goby with green vertical stripes 3.5 cm (1.4 in)
Green clown goby Gobiodon atrangulatus Yes 4 cm (1.6 in)
Hector's goby
Amblygobius hectori Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Hi fin red banded goby
Stonogobiops nematodes Yes 5 cm (2.0 in)
Neon goby
Elacatinus oceanops Yes A Caribbean cleaner species that sometimes eats larger parasites from other fish.
Orange marked goby Amblygobius decussatus Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Orange spotted goby
Amblyeleotris guttata Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Orange stripe prawn goby
Amblyeleotris randalli Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Pinkspotted shrimp goby
Gobius melanopus May eat ornamental shrimp White fish with pink bands around the body and pink spots on face and fins. One of the most handsome members of the group. 15 cm (5.9 in)
Pinkbar goby Cryptocentrus aurora Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Red head goby
Elacatinus puncticulatus Yes A small goby that can clean like the neon goby but is easily frightened. Often said to 'disappear' in a larger tank, as it never swims out into view. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Red striped goby
Trimma cana Yes 3 cm (1.2 in)
Sleeper banded goby
Amblygobius phalaena Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Sleeper blue dot goby
Valenciennea sexguttata Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Sleeper gold head goby
Valenciennea strigata Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Sleeper railway glider goby Valenciennea helsdingenii Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Sleeper striped goby Valenciennea longipinnis Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Steinitz goby
Amblyeleotris steinitzi Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Tangaroa goby
Ctenogobiops tangaroai Yes 5 cm (2.0 in)
Tiger watchman goby
Valenciennea wardii Yes 12 cm (4.7 in)
Two spot goby
Signigobius biocellatus Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Violet goby
Gobioides broussonnetii No Also a freshwater and brackish water fish and often sold as Dragon Fish or Dragon Goby 21"
Wheeler's watchman goby
Amblyeleotris wheeleri Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Yellow watchman goby
Cryptocentrus cinctus Yes A species of "watchman" or "shrimp" goby that can form a symbiotic relationship with pistol shrimp 7 cm (2.8 in)
Yasha goby
Stonogobiops yasha Yes A species of "watchman" or "shrimp" goby that will form a symbiotic relationship with the red and white banded pistol shrimp, Alpheus randalli. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Yellow clown goby
Gobiodon okinawae Yes Small yellow fish that likes branching corals 3.5 cm (1.4 in)
Yellow priolepis goby Priolepis aureoviridis Yes 6 cm (2.4 in)
Yellow stripe clingfish
Diademichthys lineatus Yes 5 cm (2.0 in)
Flaming Prawn Goby
Discordipinna griessingeri Yes A very small goby species with bright colors and a large dorsal fin. Hides in crevices and holes during the day and is nocturnal. 1.8 cm (0.7in)


Harlequin sweetlips
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Crescent banded grunt
Terapon jarbua No
Dogfish prientalis
Plectorhinchus lineatus No 86 cm (33.9 in)
Oriental sweetlips
Plectorhinchus orientalis No 84 cm (33.1 in)
Painted sweetlips
Plectorhinchus picus No 84 cm (33.1 in)
Anisotremus virginicus No 41 cm (16.1 in)
Spotted sweetlips
Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides No 74 cm (29.1 in)
Striped sweetlips Plectorhinchus diagrammus No 51 cm (20.1 in)
Twostriped sweetlips Plectorhinchus albovittatus No 99 cm (39.0 in)


Blue hamlet
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Barred hamlet
Hypoplectrus puella No 15 cm (5.9 in)
Black hamlet
Hypoplectrus nigricans No 15 cm (5.9 in)
Blue hamlet
Hypoplectrus gemma Not with shrimp 13 cm (5.1 in)
Butter hamlet
Hypoplectrus unicolor Not with shrimp 13 cm (5.1 in)
Golden hamlet Hypoplectrus gummigutta Not with shrimp
Indigo hamlet
Hypoplectrus indigo 14 cm (5.5 in)
Shy hamlet
Hypoplectrus guttavarius Not with shrimp 13 cm (5.1 in)


Spotted hawkfish

Attractive and relatively small, Hawkfish make excellent additions to fish only or FOWLR aquariums. With extreme caution taken, they could be kept in reef aquariums, but because of their propensity to eat small ornamental shrimps and other mobile invertebrates (usually leaving sessile invertebrates alone) they are not considered reef safe. Lacking a swim bladder, Hawkfish can often be found resting in crevices of rocks or among the branches of corals or gorgonians. Hawkfish are easy to care for and not picky at all about water quality. A varied diet, including spirulina and small meaty foods like Mysis is recommended.[69]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Arc eye hawkfish
Paracirrhites arcatus Caution; will eat shrimp[49]: 127  Brown to yellow body with reddish dorsal fin, distinctive white caudal fin, and small semicircular marking behind eye. 20 cm (7.9 in)
Blood red hawkfish Cirrhitichthys fasciatus Caution; will eat shrimp[49]: 123  12.7 cm (5.0 in)
Coral hawkfish
Cirrhitichthys oxycephalus Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 122  8.5 cm (3.3 in)
Falco's hawkfish
Cirrhitichthys falco Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 122  7 cm (2.8 in)
Flame hawkfish
Neocirrhitus armatus Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 125  Striking red body with black on fin tips and yellow lips. 9 cm (3.5 in)
Freckled hawkfish
Paracirrhites forsteri Caution; will eat shrimp[49]: 128  22.5 cm (8.9 in)
Golden hawkfish Paracirrhites xanthus Caution; will eat shrimp[49]: 128  12 cm (4.7 in)
Longnose hawkfish
Oxycirrhites typus Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 126  White with red lattice-like markings resembling a grid. Nose is elongated and tissue between the spines of the dorsal fin is missing. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Lyretail hawkfish Cirrhitichthys polyactis Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 124  14 cm (5.5 in)
Redspotted hawkfish
Amblycirrhitus pinos Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 120  9.5 cm (3.7 in)
Spotted hawkfish
Cirrhitichthys aprinus Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 122  Bright red with distinctive diamond shaped markings down back, becoming darker towards the topside of body. 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
Whitespot hawkfish Paracirrhites hemistictus Caution; will eat shrimp[49]: 128  29 cm (11.4 in)
Yellow hawkfish
Cirrhitichthys aureus Caution; may eat small shrimp[49]: 122  7 cm (2.8 in)


Spanish hogfish
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Coral hogfish
Bodianus mesothorax No 20 cm (7.9 in)
Cuban hogfish
Bodianus pulchellus Caution 28.5 cm (11.2 in)
Hawaiian hogfish
Bodianus bilunulatus Caution 55 cm (21.7 in)
Red diana hogfish
Bodianus diana No 60 cm (23.6 in)
Spanish hogfish
Bodianus rufus No 40 cm (15.7 in)
Twin spot hogfish
Bodianus bimaculatus No 10 cm (3.9 in)


Moorish idol
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Moorish idol
Zanclus cornutus With Caution 23 cm (9.1 in)


Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Pilot fish
Naucrates ductor ? Because they live in the open ocean, they are rare in the aquarium trade.[70] They host sharks, rays, and sea turtles[71][circular reference] and eat food scraps, ectoparasites,[71] and possibly the feces of their host.[70] Juvenile Golden trevally are occasionally sold as Pilot fish.[70] In the picture, the Pilot fish are hosting an Oceanic whitetip shark. 70 cm (27.6 in)


Golden trevally
Gnathanodon speciosus No
Indian threadfin
Alectis indicus No 165 cm (65.0 in)
Threadfin lookdown
Selene vomer No 48 cm (18.9 in)


Yellowhead jawfish

Jawfish are burrowers and require a sandy substrate of sufficient depth.[73]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Black cap jawfish
Opistognathus lonchurus Almost always Requires a 30-gallon tank and 3 inches (7.6 cm) substrate. Tank should remain tightly lidded. May eat small shrimp. 10 cm (3.9 in)
Blue dot jawfish Opistognathus rosenblatti Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Dusky jawfish
Opistognathus whitehurstii Yes Requires a 30-gallon tank and 3 inches (7.6 cm) sand substrate. Tank should remain tightly lidded. 14 cm (5.5 in)
Yellowhead jawfish
Opistognathus aurifrons Yes Requires a 30-gallon tank and 5–7 inches (13–18 cm) soft substrate. Tank should remain tightly lidded. 10 cm (3.9 in)


Radiata lionfish

"Lionfish" specifically refer to the genus Pterois within the family Scorpaenidae. They have venomous spines and should be treated with caution.[74] Other species within Scorpaenidae but outside Pterois may also have "lionfish" in their common names. Feeder goldfish are not the proper nutrition for a lion fish.

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Antenneta lionfish
Pterois antennata Caution 20 cm (7.9 in)
Blackfoot lionfish
Parapterois heterura Caution 23.0 cm (9.1 in)
Devil lionfish
Pterois mombasae Caution 20 cm (7.9 in)
Fu Man Chu lionfish
Dendrochirus biocellatus Caution 13.0 cm (5.1 in)[75]
Fuzzy dwarf lionfish
Dendrochirus brachypterus Caution Carnivore; Males 6< stripes on pectoral fin femals >6 18 cm (7.1 in)
Green lionfish
Dendrochirus barberi Caution 16.5 cm (6.5 in)
Radiata lionfish
Pterois radiata 24 cm (9.4 in)
Russell's lionfish Pterois russelii 30 cm (11.8 in)
Volitan lionfish
Pterois volitans Caution Semi-aggressive; carnivore 43 cm (16.9 in)
Zebra lionfish
Dendrochirus zebra Caution 25 cm (9.8 in)


Princess parrotfish
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Bicolor parrotfish
Cetoscarus bicolor No 76 cm (29.9 in)
Princess parrotfish
Scarus taeniopterus No 25 cm (9.8 in)


Messmate pipefish

Pipefish are relatives of seahorses and require a similar level of care. They should only be bought by experienced aquarium owners. Captive bred specimens are sometimes available, and are significantly more likely to survive.[76]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Banded pipefish
Doryrhamphus dactyliophorus Yes 20 cm (7.9 in)
Dragonface pipefish
Corythoichthys haematopterus Yes 18 cm (7.1 in)
Janss' pipefish Doryrhamphus janssi Yes 20 cm (7.9 in)
Yellow multibanded pipefish
Doryrhamphus pessuliferus Yes 18 cm (7.1 in)


Splendid pseudochromis

Usually only a single specimen can be kept in an aquarium. Sometimes multiple specimens can be kept in larger aquariums, but usually this requires them to be added at the same time or they will be too territorial.[77]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Allen's dottyback Manonichthys alleni May eat shrimps[49]: 106  12 cm (4.7 in)
Australian multicolor pseudochromis Ogilbyina novaehollandiae May eat shrimps 10 cm (3.9 in)
Bicolor pseudochromis
Pseudochromis paccagnellae May eat shrimps Resembles royal gramma in coloration. The bicolor pseudochromis is semi-aggressive and will defend its territory against fish several times its size. This fish is fairly hardy, and is a good beginner fish. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Blue flavivertex pseudochromis
Pseudochromis flavivertex May eat shrimps Captive bred specimens are sometimes available 8 cm (3.1 in)
Bluelined dottyback
Pseudochromis cyanotaenia May eat shrimps[49]: 106  6.1 cm (2.4 in)
Brown dottyback or yellow pseudochromis Pseudochromis aureus May eat shrimps 10 cm (3.9 in)
Cherry dottyback Pholidochromis cerasina May eat shrimps[49]: 96  7.9 cm (3.1 in)
Dilectus dottyback Pseudochromis dilectus May eat shrimps
Dusky dottyback
Pseudochromis fuscus May eat shrimps 10 cm (3.9 in)
Elongate dottyback Pseudochromis elongatus May eat shrimps[49]: 107  6.4 cm (2.5 in)
Firetail dottyback Pseudochromis flammicauda May eat shrimps[49]: 107  5.6 cm (2.2 in)
Fridmani pseudochromis or orchid dottyback
Pseudochromis fridmani May eat shrimps Community fish does well in most aquariums. is not nearly as aggressive as other dottybacks. 8 cm (3.1 in)
Longfin dottyback Manonichthys polynemus May eat shrimps[49]: 106  12 cm (4.7 in)
Lyretail dottyback Pseudochromis steenei May eat shrimps 12 cm (4.7 in)
Neon pseudochromis, Arabian dottyback or neon dottyback
Pseudochromis aldabraensis May eat shrimps Captive bred specimens are sometimes available 10 cm (3.9 in)
Oblique-lined dottyback
Cypho purpurascens May eat shrimps[49]: 91  7.4 cm (2.9 in)
Orangetail dottyback Pseudochromis coccinicauda May eat shrimps[49]: 102  5.8 cm (2.3 in)
Purple stripe pseudochromis or diadema basslet
Pseudochromis diadema May eat shrimps 6 cm (2.4 in)
Red dottyback
Labracinus cyclophthalmus With Caution Large and aggressive for a dottyback 22 cm (8.7 in)
Sailfin pseudochromis Pseudochromis veliferus May eat shrimps 12 cm (4.7 in)
Splendid pseudochromis
Pseudochromis splendens May eat shrimps 13 cm (5.1 in)
Springeri pseudochromis
Pseudochromis springeri May eat shrimps Captive bred species are sometimes available 5 cm (2.0 in)
Striped dottyback
Pseudochromis sankeyi May eat shrimps Captive bred specimens are sometimes available 8 cm (3.1 in)
Strawberry pseudochromis or purple pseudochromis
Pseudochromis porphyreus May eat shrimps A generally hardy fish, resembles the orchid dottyback, in that the body is a solid purple (sometimes pink), but is missing the black line/marking through the eye characteristic of orchids. This fish semi-aggressive in a home aquarium. 6 cm (2.4 in)
Twolined dottyback Pseudochromis bitaeniatus May eat shrimps[49]: 101  6.9 cm (2.7 in)
Carpet eel-blenny
Congrogadus subducens with caution Despite being eel-like in appearance, Carpet eel-blennies are part of the family pseudochromidae. 45 cm (17.7 in)

Rabbitfish and Foxfaces[edit]


Less commonly kept than some other species, many still make hardy and colorful aquarium residents.[78][79]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Bicolor Foxface
Siganus uspi With Caution 24 cm (9.4 in)
Blue-Lined Rabbitfish
Siganus doliatus With Caution 25 cm (9.8 in)[80]
Siganus vulpinus they have poisonous spines 23 cm (9.1 in)
Magnificent foxface
Siganus magnificus 24 cm (9.4 in)
One Spot Foxface
Siganus unimaculatus With Caution 18 cm (7.1 in)
Yellow Blotch Rabbitfish
Siganus guttatus With Caution 42 cm (16.5 in)


Southern stingray

Most rays have a venomous spine near the base of the tail. Care must be taken to avoid this animal when performing tank maintenance and during capture.

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Round stingray
Urobatis halleri No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium. Recently purchased individuals can be startled easily by quick movements and loud noises, but they will become quite tame after spending a while in captivity. Unhealthy individuals will become a light grey color and their markings will fade.[70] Occasionally called the Cortez ray and thus misidentified as Urobatis maculatus.[81] 58 cm (22.8 in)[82]
Cortez round stingray
Urobatis maculatus No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium and is hardy and attains a small size[70] although rarely available[citation needed]. May be misidentified with Urobatis halleri as that species is occasionally called the Cortez ray.[81] 42 cm (16.5 in)[83]
Bullseye round stingray
Urobatis concentricus No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium. An occasionally available. A hardy species.[70] 47.5 cm (18.7 in)[84]
Leopard round stingray
Urobatis pardalis No Probably is a hardy species.[85] 46.2 cm (18.2 in)[86]
Yellow stingray
Urobatis jamaicensis No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium and readily acclimates to suitable captive environments. It is also readily available in the aquarium trade and will eat any small fish that it can catch.[70] 76 cm (29.9 in)[87]
Chilean round ray
Urotrygon chilensis No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium.[88] It is small and well suited for captivity.[89] 41.9 cm (16.5 in)[90]
Bluespotted ribbontail ray
Taeniura lymma No Requires a minimum 260 gallon aquarium. It is notorious for doing terribly in aquarium confines. Many individuals never eat and others may die or stop feeding for no apparent reason. Force-feeding shows promise with this species.[70] Not to confused with the Bluespotted stingray Neotrygon kuhlii. 35 cm (13.8 in)[91]
Bluespotted stingray
Neotrygon kuhlii No Requires a minimum 260 gallon aquarium and is quite hardy, however it should not be disturbed as it acclimates to aquarium life (which takes around 2–3 days). Provide it with a 5 cm (2 in) deep fine sand bed. Do not confuse this species with the much less hardy Bluespotted ribbontail ray Taeniura lymma.[70] 70 cm (27.6 in)[92]
Southern stingray
Hypanus americanus No Requires a minimum 4,200 gallon aquarium as this ray grows to a very large size. It is quite hardy, yet it will devour any fish or invertebrate it can capture.[70] 200 cm (78.7 in)[93]
Atlantic stingray
Hypanus sabinus No Requires a minimum 135 gallon aquarium. Is relatively small yet may or may not easily adapt to life in an aquarium. It is best kept in saltwater or brackish systems although they can survive in freshwater.[70] 61 cm (24.0 in)[94]
Bluntnose Stingray
Hypanus say No Requires a minimum 560 gallon aquarium. Well suited to captive life.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[95]
Reticulated whiptail ray
Himantura uarnak No Due to its massive proportions, this occasionally available ray should be avoided.[96] 200 cm (78.7 in)[97]
Red stingray
Hemitrygon akajei No Requires a water temperature of in between 15 °C (59.0 °F) and 25 °C (77.0 °F).[98] 200 cm (78.7 in)[99]
Cowtail stingray
Pastinachus sephen No Like other Whiptail stingrays, Pastinachus sephen should be provided with an aquarium containing a sand bed and little aquascaping.[70] 183 cm (72.0 in)[100]
Common stingaree
Trygonoptera testacea No Seems to be well suited to captive life.[70] 47 cm (18.5 in)[101]
Striped stingaree
Trygonoptera ovalis No? Seems to be well suited to captive life although it should be kept at cool temperatures.[70] 61 cm (24.0 in)[102]
Spotted stingaree
Urolophus gigas No Seems to be well suited to captive life.[70] 70 cm (27.6 in)[103]
Shovelnose guitarfish
Pseudobatos productus No Requires a minimum 825 gallon aquarium with a 7 cm (2.7 in) deep sand bed and no rockwork. May live for 8 to 10 years in an aquarium.[70] 119 cm (46.9 in)[104]
Atlantic guitarfish
Pseudobatos lentiginosus No Requires a minimum 200 gallon aquarium preferably with no aquascaping. Uncommon in the aquarium trade.[70] 76 cm (29.9 in)[105]
Speckled guitarfish Pseudobatos glaucostigmus No Like other guitarfish, it should be kept in an aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork.[70] 89 cm (35.0 in)[106]
Eastern shovelnose ray
Aptychotrema rostrata No Like other guitarfish, it should be kept in an aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[107]
Giant shovelnose ray
Glaucostegus typus No Like other guitarfish, it should be kept in an aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork.[70] 270 cm (106.3 in)[108]
Bowmouth guitarfish
Rhina ancylostoma No Like other guitarfish, it should be kept in an aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork.[70] Also called the Shark ray and the Mud skate.[109] 300 cm (118.1 in)[110]
Eastern fiddler ray
Trygonorrhina fasciata No Requires a minimum 560 gallon aquarium. It is durable but it may have trouble feeding with more agile bony fish tankmates.[70] 126 cm (49.6 in).[111]
Thornback ray
Platyrhinoidis triseriata No Requires a minimum 360 gallon aquarium without any aquascaping. It may consume benthic fishes and its thorns are tangled in nets easily.[70] 91 cm (35.8 in)[112]
Shortnose guitarfish
Zapteryx brevirostris No Requires a minimum 200 gallon aquarium with little aquascaping and preferably a sand bed. Given such an environment, it will readily adapt to captive life. It can create a cave by lifting the center of its body off the ground to lure in potential prey.[70] 59.3 cm (23.3 in)[113]
Banded guitarfish Zapteryx exasperata No Requires a minimum 300 gallon aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork, and a ledge under which to hide under. Under such conditions, it is somewhat hardy. It is rarely encountered in the aquarium trade.[70] 97 cm (38.2 in)[114]
Southern banded guitarfish
Zapteryx xyster No Is rarely available. Like other guitarfish, it should be kept in an aquarium with a sand bed, much open swimming area, and little rockwork.[70] 78 cm (30.7 in)[115]
Leopard torpedo ray
Torpedo panthera No Requires a minimum 180 gallon aquarium with a thick sand bed and little to no decoration. Like other species in the genus Torpedo, Large individuals should be carefully handled as they are capable of shocking their owners. This ray should be kept alone.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[116]
Marbled electric ray
Torpedo marmorata No It is relatively hardy although it usually will only target moving food. Like other species in the genus Torpedo, Large individuals should be carefully handled as they are capable of shocking their owners. It should also be kept in an aquarium with a thick sand bed and little to no decoration.[70] Not to be confused with the Marbled electric ray (Torpedo sinuspersici). 100 cm (39.4 in)[117]
Marbled electric ray
Torpedo sinuspersici No Occasionally available to European hobbyists.[118] It is relatively hardy although it usually will only target moving food. Like other species in the genus Torpedo, Large individuals should be carefully handled as they are capable of shocking their owners. It should also be kept in an aquarium with a thick sand bed and little to no decoration.[70] Not to be confused with the Marbled electric ray (Torpedo marmorata). 130 cm (51.2 in)[119]
Bullseye electric ray
Diplobatis ommata No Requires a minimum 40 gallon aquarium and is hard to feed. Like the Lesser electric ray, it can be sustained if fed live food including small grass shrimp and annelid worms and should also be provided with a sand bed 6 cm (2.3 in) deep. Also like the Lesser electric ray, it may shock other tankmates, yet it can be kept with others of its own kind. It is rarely encountered in the aquarium trade.[70] 25 cm (9.8 in)[120]
Lesser electric ray
Narcine bancroftii No Requires a minimum 70 gallon aquarium. Like the Bullseye electric ray, it can be kept successfully if fed live food such as annelid worms and provided with a layer of sand 6 cm (2.3 in) deep. This ray may shock tankmates although they can be kept with other Lesser electric rays.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[121]
Brown numbfish
Narcine brunnea No Like other rays in the genus Narcine, it is difficult to feed (should be fed annelid worms) and should not be kept with rough surfaced rocks. It can be kept with others of its own kind.[70] 22 cm (8.7 in)[122]
Unknown electric ray Narcine barinnus No Like other rays in the genus Narcine, it is difficult to feed (should be fed annelid worms) and should not be kept with rough surfaced rocks. It can be kept with others of its own kind.[70] ?
Elat electric ray Heteronarce bentuviai No?[123] Also known as the Eilat Sleeper Ray.[124] 17.6 cm (6.9 in)[123]
Spiny butterfly ray
Gymnura altavela No Requires a minimum 8,750 gallon aquarium. Like most butterfly rays, it usually does not do well in aquarium confines as it is often hard to feed (thus force feeding shows promise with this species). Also like most butterfly rays, it is an active ray that requires much swimming space like some active sharks. It is rarely available.[70] 400 cm (157.5 in)[125]
Smooth butterfly ray
Gymnura micrura No Like most butterfly rays, it usually does not do well in aquarium confines as it is often hard to feed (thus force feeding shows promise with this species). Also like most butterfly rays, it is an active ray that requires much swimming space like some active sharks. It is rarely available.[70] 137 cm (53.9 in)[126]
California butterfly ray
Gymnura marmorata No Like most butterfly rays, it usually does not do well in aquarium confines as it is often hard to feed (thus force feeding shows promise with this species). Also like most butterfly rays, it is an active ray that requires much swimming space like some active sharks.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[127]
Bat ray
Myliobatis californica No Requires a minimum 4,850 gallon aquarium and if given the space, does quite successfully. Unfortunately, they host large amounts of parasites, requiring quarantine and treatments. May jump out of an open aquarium.[70] 180 cm (70.9 in)[128]
Bullnose eagle ray
Myliobatis freminvillei No Requires a large system as it is quite large and active.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[129]
Southern eagle ray
Myliobatis goodei No Requires a large system as it is quite large and active.[70] 125 cm (49.2 in)[130]
Spotted eagle ray
Aetobatus narinari No Requires a covered, large system as it is quite large, active, and is capable of leaping out of the water. It can be difficult to feed and is very sensitive to trichlorfon.[70] 330 cm (129.9 in)[131]
Cownose ray
Rhinoptera bonasus No Requires a large system in which to live in although it does not need to be deep. Is a schooling fish so keeping several of these rays is recommended.[96] It is also quite active.[70] 213 cm (83.9 in)[132]


Leaf fish

Because they are relatively inactive fishes, most species can be kept in smaller aquariums than other equally large fish, and 30 gallon tanks are not unusual. Because they are capable of eating fish that are surprisingly large, but will often be picked at by fish that eat invertebrates a species tank is often set up for them. Some fish will never accept anything but live food, typically these specimens are fed on gut packed guppies, mollies, or ghost shrimp. Similarly to the lionfish, care should be taken when handling these fish as they are also venomous.[133][134]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Ambon scorpionfish
Pteroidichthys amboinensis Not with shrimp or small fish 12 cm (4.7 in)[49]: 46 
Decoy scorpionfish Iracundus signifer Not with shrimp or small fish 13 cm (5.1 in)[49]: 48 
Eschmeyer's scorpionfish
Rhinopias eschmeyeri Not with shrimp or small fish 19 cm (7.5 in)[49]: 46 
Flasher scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis macrochir Not with shrimp or small fish 13 cm (5.1 in)[49]: 48 
Lacey scorpionfish
Rhinopias aphanes Not with shrimp or small fish 24 cm (9.4 in)[49]: 46 
Leaf scorpionfish
Taenianotus triacanthus With Caution 10 cm (3.9 in)[135]
Mozambique scorpionfish Parascorpaena mossambica Not with shrimp or small fish 10 cm (3.9 in)[49]: 48 
Papuan scorpionfish
Scorpaenopsis papuensis Not with shrimp or small fish 20 cm (7.9 in)[49]: 48 
Poss's scorpionfish Scorpaenopsis possi Not with shrimp or small fish 19.3 cm (7.6 in)[49]: 48 
Rogue scorpion Amblyapistus taenianotus With Caution 10 cm (3.9 in)
Sea goblin
Inimicus didactylus Not with shrimp or small fish 18 cm (7.1 in)[136]
Stone fish
Synanceja verrucosa No Highly venomous! Have caused human deaths 40 cm (15.7 in)
Weedy scorpionfish
Rhinopias frondosa Not with shrimp or small fish 23 cm (9.1 in)[49]: 46 
Yellowspotted scorpionfish Sebastapistes cyanostigma Not with shrimp or small fish 8 cm (3.1 in)[49]: 48 


White's seahorse

It takes a special aquarist to maintain these delicate beauties. A potential keeper must be dedicated and willing to throw artistic creativity to the winds- as what seahorses need is not always beautiful. They require taller tanks, live/frozen food, and many hitching posts, as well as very peaceful tankmates. In fact, beginners would be well-advised not to mix seahorses with any other species until they have more experience. Good tank mates would include other peaceful, microfauna consuming species such as pipefish and dragonets.
Seahorses found in stores are generally Captive Bred, but occasionally one might find a wild caught (WC) specimen. WC Seahorses should only be purchased by seahorse experts who are going to breed them, as they tend to be finicky and most are endangered in the wild.
One of the advantages of Seahorses is that many species stay small and can (in fact, some should) be kept in smaller tanks, making them ideal for aquarists who are pressed for space or money.[137][138]

Seahorses are among the few popular marine aquarium species that can be temperate. Species vary in their temperature requirement, so here an extra category has been added.
TR=Tropical ST=Sub-Tropical TM=Temperate

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Temp. Description Max size
Brazilian seahorse
Hippocampus reidi Caution ST Usually bright yellow, with a particularly long snout. 17 cm (6.7 in)
Spotted seahorse
Hippocampus kuda Caution TR Generally yellow, but can also range from tan to dark black. 30 cm (11.8 in)
Great seahorse
Hippocampus kelloggi Caution ST Light tan, with some darker specimens. 28 cm (11.0 in)
Pot-bellied seahorse
Hippocampus abdominalis Caution TM Light-colored with dark spots and a large abdomen. 25 cm (9.8 in)
Pygmy seahorse
Hippocampus bargibanti Caution TR White with pink (occasionally yellow) knobby protrusions. 2.4 cm (0.9 in)
Short-snouted seahorse
Hippocampus breviceps Caution TM Grayish to tan with short snout and a spiny head. 15 cm (5.9 in)
Tiger tail seahorse Hippocampus comes Caution TR Varying colors with dark striped tail. 18 cm (7.1 in)
Lined Seahorse
Hippocampus erectus Caution ST Dark colored with lighter belly and white ridges. 19 cm (7.5 in)
White's Seahorse
Hippocampus whitei Caution TM Fuller bodied with a comparatively larger head. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Dwarf Seahorse
Hippocampus zosterae Caution ST Similar to H. reidi but much smaller. 5 cm (2.0 in)
Thorny Seahorse
Hippocampus histrix Caution TR Varying colors with distinctive spines all over body. 17 cm (6.7 in)


Glass eye squirrelfish

Typically are hardy fish that can be kept with a wide variety of tankmates.[139][140]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Big eye soldierfish
Myripristis vittata With Caution 25 cm (9.8 in)
Blackbar soldierfish
Myripristis jacobus With Caution 25 cm (9.8 in)
Glass eye squirrelfish
Heteropriacanthus cruentatus With Caution 30 cm (11.8 in)
Popeye catalufa soldierfish
Pristigenys serrula With Caution 34 cm (13.4 in)
Scarlet squirrelfish Sargocentron tiere With Caution 33 cm (13.0 in)
Striped squirrelfish
Sargocentron xantherythrum With Caution 18 cm (7.1 in)


Juvenile Brownbanded bamboo shark

Many sharks will outgrow most home aquariums[141][142] and/or adapt poorly to captivity.[70] However, numerous coastal and coral reef sharks do well in good aquarium surroundings[70] although you should have experience in keeping other saltwater fish before trying to keep sharks as they are more difficult to care for.[143] In a shark aquarium setup (preferably an oval-shaped tank for more active species), there should be much surface area (wide and long tanks with good gas exchange/more room for biological filtration and room for sharks to swim, glide, and turn with little constraint opposed to tall, thin tanks), fine substrate (coarse substrate can irritate the shark's underside), little décor and rockwork (which should be secure) for swimming space (sharks in the orders Orectolobiformes and Heterodontiformes however, feel more secure in tanks with caves and ledges), excellent filtration (sharks are messy eaters and need good water conditions), protected heaters, filter intakes, etc. by surrounding them in polyurethane foam barriers (unprotected equipment can be dangerous to active sharks), and a secure canopy (sharks can jump out of the water)[70] as well as, strong, steady, linear water flow (10+ x the volume of the aquarium per hour) moving in a gyre circling the aquarium, dissolved oxygen levels of 7-8ppm (slightly more if you are using ozone), low light levels, and no stray electrical currents/amounts of metal in the aquarium water.[118] Many sharks feed on invertebrates to a great degree along with fish (even ones that are larger than themselves), and although they don't eat coral, they can knock them over and rest on them. There are also many fish and invertebrates that can harm/irritate sharks such as Scorpionfish, Butterflyfish, Angelfish (large), Filefish, Triggerfish, Pufferfish, Suckerfish (over time), Porcupinefish, certain other sharks, large crabs, Hermit crabs, sea anemones, and stinging corals. Also, sharks need iodine which can be provided through regular water changes or supplements for sharks (iodine deficiencies and possibly the buildup of nitrates can result in goiter), and feeding frequency is species-specific.[70] Copper treatments should not be administered to most shark species.[70]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Whitespotted bamboo shark
Chiloscyllium plagiosum No Requires a minimum 160 gallon aquarium.[70] Does well in home aquaria and will mate/reproduce in larger aquariums.[70] Sometimes called the Marbled Bamboo Cat Shark.[144] 83 cm (32.7 in)


Brownbanded bamboo shark
Chiloscyllium punctatum No Requires a minimum 170 gallon aquarium.[70] One of the most common sharks in the North American aquarium trade and does well in home aquaria as it will easily acclimate to captivity and will mate/reproduce in aquariums.[70] Juveniles may take a while to begin feeding if newly acquired.[70] Sometimes called the Banded catshark.[70] 132 cm (52.0 in)[146]
Epaulette shark
Hemiscyllium ocellatum with caution (eats inverts) Requires a minimum 260 gallon aquarium.[70] One of the best sharks for home aquaria as it will easily acclimate to captivity and will mate/reproduce in aquariums.[70] Adult males might behave aggressively to other male sharks including male Epualette sharks, and harass females.[70] they aren't very active so a 200-gallon may be acceptable 107 cm (42.1 in)[147]
Horn shark
Heterodontus francisci No[148] Requires a minimum 240 gallon aquarium.[70] A sub-tropical species of shark.[118] The most common bullhead shark in the North American aquarium trade.[70] 122 cm (48.0 in)[149]
Port Jackson shark
Heterodontus portusjacksoni No Requires a minimum 750 gallon aquarium.[70] A sub-tropical species of shark which may be a host to numerous parasites.[118] It will also eat small fish at night.[118] 165 cm (65.0 in)[150]
Coral catshark
Atelomycterus marmoratus No Requires a minimum 110 gallon aquarium.[70] Active during the night and will try to eat fish housed with them (even ones that are too big to swallow).[70] Two color variants are commonly found in fish stores in the US.[70] Also called the Marbled catshark[151] which is a different species of shark (Atelomycterus macleayi). 70 cm (27.6 in)


Marbled catshark
Atelomycterus macleayi No[153] Requires a minimum 70 gallon aquarium.[70] Uncommon in the aquarium trade although it is an ideal aquarium species of shark.[70] Commonly confused with the Coral catshark (Atelomycterus marmoratus).[153] Unlike the Coral catshark which is black with white spots and bars, the Marbled catshark is pale with black spots and seven grey saddles and is smaller and more docile.[70][153] 60 cm (23.6 in)[154]
Nurse shark
Ginglymostoma cirratum No Requires a minimum 4,800 gallon aquarium.[70] Although durable, the Nurse shark will grow too large for most home aquariums.[70] It is an aggressive feeder which will make it harder for you to feed more reclusive sharks and it can knock over/rearrange aquarium decorations in a small aquarium.[70] 430 cm (169.3 in)[155]
Zebra shark
Stegostoma fasciatum No[156] Requires a minimum 6,200 gallon aquarium.[70] The Zebra shark will grow too large for most home aquariums.[70] Sometimes the juveniles of this shark (20–36 cm or 7.9–14.2in long[157]) are sold[70] and require a minimum 100 gallon aquarium.[156] A juvenile Zebra shark is shown in the picture while adults are much larger and have pale coloration with black spots.[157][circular reference] Also called the Leopard shark which is a different species of shark[70] (Triakis semifasciata). 354 cm (139.4 in)[158]
Leopard shark
Triakis semifasciata No[159] Requires a minimum 4,500 gallon aquarium.[70] A sub-tropical species of shark[118] and may live a long time in captivity (there are reports of over 20 years).[70] 198 cm (78.0 in)[160]
Banded houndshark
Triakis scyllium With Caution[161] Requires a minimum 750 gallon aquarium.[161] Markings on the shark fade with age but not completely.[161] 150 cm (59.1 in)[162]
Gray smooth-hound
Mustelus californicus No[163] Requires a minimum 1,700 gallon aquarium.[70] A sub-tropical and active species of shark that requires a tank with plenty of room to swim which will do better in circular and oval shaped tanks rather than rectangular ones.[70] It will jump out of uncovered aquariums.[70] 116 cm (45.7 in)[164]
Brown smooth-hound
Mustelus henlei No[70] Requires a minimum 1,200 gallon aquarium.[70] A sub-tropical and active species of shark that requires a tank with plenty of room to swim.[70] This shark will do better in circular and oval shaped tanks where they can have an uninterrupted swimming pattern rather than rectangular tanks.[70] It will jump out of uncovered aquariums and it is more likely to suffer from shipping stress than its less active relatives.[70] 100 cm (39.4 in)[165]
Tasselled wobbegong
Eucrossorhinus dasypogon No[70] Requires a minimum 360 gallon aquarium.[70] Will eat any fish or crustacean housed with it that can be swallowed entirely.[70] Slow-growing when not overfed.[70] 125 cm (49.2 in)[166]
Japanese wobbegong
Orectolobus japonicus No[70] Requires a minimum 170 gallon aquarium.[70] Rare in the North American aquarium trade.[70] 118 cm (46.5 in)[167]
Ornate wobbegong
Orectolobus ornatus No Requires a minimum 3,150 gallon aquarium.[70] The Ornate wobbegong will grow too large for most home aquariums and will eat other elasmobranchs.[70] It is the most common wobbegong in the North American aquarium trade.[70] 290 cm (114.2 in)[168]
Spotted wobbegong
Orectolobus maculatus No Requires a minimum 3,150 gallon aquarium.[70] Although durable, the Spotted wobbegong will grow too large for most home aquariums and will eat other elasmobranchs.[70] 320 cm (126.0 in)[169]
Northern wobbegong
Orectolobus wardi No Requires a minimum 110 gallon aquarium.[70] The Northern wobbegong has a passive personality and a small maximum size, and may not eat initially when it has been added to an aquarium and is rarely collected.[70] An aquarist can handle this shark without a lot fear of getting bitten.[70] 63 cm (24.8 in)[170]
Blacktip reef shark
Carcharhinus melanopterus No[70] Requires a minimum 5,750 gallon aquarium.[70] Easily startled by quick movements and the sudden entry an aquarist in their aquarium which may cause them to jump out of an open tank or hit the walls of their aquarium, leading to death.[70] Must keep swimming in order to breath[171] thus requiring a very large aquarium.[172] 200 cm (78.7 in)[173]
Whitetip reef shark
Triaenodon obesus No[70] Requires a minimum 8,400 gallon aquarium.[70] Can destroy aquarium decorations when moving through the décor to find food.[70] Often has goiter.[70] 213 cm (83.9 in)[174]
Bonnethead shark
Sphyrna tiburo No[70] Requires a minimum 2,600 gallon aquarium.[70] Occasionally available and requires expert care.[70] When newly added to an aquarium, the Bonnethead shark will often swim at the surface of the water and lift the front of its head above the surface. When it has settled in, the shark will stop this activity or begin to do it less often.[70] Must keep moving in order to breath.[175][circular reference] 213 cm (83.9 in)[174]
Shark egg case
Selachimorpha sp. Egg case (Chondrichthyes) N/A May take 70-90+ days to hatch.[70] Chiloscyllium shark egg cases are hardy and available.[176] Heterodontus,[177] Scyliorhinidae,[178] and Stegostoma[70] shark egg cases are also available. Mixed[179][circular reference]


Black snapper
Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Black snapper, black and white snapper
Macolor niger No 76 cm (29.9 in)
Emperor snapper
Lutjanus sebae No 114 cm (44.9 in)
Threadfin snapper
Symphorichthys spilurus No 58 cm (22.8 in)
Yellowback fusilier
Caesio xanthonota No 38 cm (15.0 in)
Yellow-Banded Snapper, Hussar Emperor Snapper
Lutjanus adetii No 50 cm (19.7 in)


Yellow tang

Tangs generally feed on algae, though there are a few carnivorous species. Most tangs will not tolerate other fish the same color and/or shape as them. They have a spine on their tails that can cut open other fish and unprotected hands. All tangs should be given plenty of swimming room; try to have at least a 4' tank. Contrary to popular belief they will tolerate smaller (4' to 5') tanks just fine but tend to live better in larger tanks, over 5'.[180]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Achilles tang
Acanthurus achilles Yes Passive aggressive. This fish is native to the waters of Hawaii and the South Pacific and therefore requires substantial turbulent flow and circulation to be kept in an aquarium. This fish should only be kept in a six-foot or large aquarium as it requires a large amount of swim room. Very prone to Cryptocaryon irritans 28 cm (11.0 in)
Atlantic blue tang
Acanthurus coeruleus Yes Less aggressive than Achilles or Powder Blue 16 in
Blue eyed tang
Ctenochaetus binotatus Yes
Blue lined surgeonfish
Acanthurus nigroris Yes
Bristletooth tang
Ctenochaetus striatus Yes
Chevron tang
Ctenochaetus hawaiiensis Yes Bright orange when young and dark olive green when transitioned fully to juvenile.
Clown tang
Acanthurus lineatus Yes One of the most aggressive tangs 15 inches
Convict tang
Acanthurus triostegus Yes
Desjardini tang
Zebrasoma desjardinii Yes
Acanthurus chirurgus Yes
Dussumieri tang
Acanthurus dussumieri Yes 53 cm (20.9 in)[181]
Eibli mimic tang Acanthurus tristis Yes
Gold rim tang
Acanthurus nigricans Yes
Regal / Hippo tang
Paracanthurus hepatus Yes Very prone to Cryptocaryon irritans. More tolerant of other tangs than most other species.
Kole tang
Ctenochaetus strigosus Yes
Lavender tang
Acanthurus nigrofuscus Yes
Lopezi tang Naso lopezi Yes
Mimic tang, Chocolate tang
Acanthurus pyroferus Yes
Naso tang, blonde naso tang
Naso lituratus Yes
Orange shoulder tang
Acanthurus olivaceus Yes
Powder blue tang
Acanthurus leucosternon Yes Very prone to Cryptocaryon irritans.
Powder brown tang
Acanthurus japonicus Yes
Purple tang
Zebrasoma xanthurum Yes
Sailfin tang
Zebrasoma veliferum Yes
Scopas tang
Zebrasoma scopas Yes Similar to the yellow tang in shape and feeding.[182]
Sohal tang
Acanthurus sohal Yes One of the larger more aggressive tangs 40 cm (15.7 in)
Tennent tang
Acanthurus tennenti Yes
Thompson's surgeonfish
Acanthurus thompsoni Yes 28 cm (11.0 in)
Tomini tang
Ctenocheatus tominiensis Yes This fish requires ample swimming room and is difficult to feed.
Unicorn tang
Naso unicornis Yes
Vlamingi tang
Naso vlamingii Yes
White freckled surgeon Acanthurus maculiceps Yes
Yellow tang
Zebrasoma flavescens Yes
Yellowfin surgeon
Acanthurus xanthopterus Yes


Though often categorized as gobies, tilefish are a separate species.[183][184]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Blue-headed tilefish
Hoplolatilus starcki 10 cm (3.9 in)
Purple tilefish Hoplolatilus purpureus 15 cm (5.9 in)
Yellow tilefish Hoplolatilus luteus 15 cm (5.9 in)
Redlined tilefish Hoplolatilus marcosi


Clown trigger

While they are generally considered monsters that will chomp invertebrates, a few species can make great reef fish. Other more aggressive species such as the undulated trigger, and clown trigger will sometimes be so aggressive that it is necessary to keep as the sole inhabitant of the aquarium. All will require large tanks, with good filtration.[185][186][187]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Assasi trigger
Rhinecanthus assasi No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Blue jaw trigger / blue throat trigger
Xanthichthys auromarginatus Widely regarded as the only reef safe trigger. 30 cm (11.8 in)
Blue line trigger
Pseudobalistes fuscus No 55 cm (21.7 in)
Bursa trigger
Rhinecanthus verrucosus No 23 cm (9.1 in)
Clown trigger
Balistoides conspicillum No 50 cm (19.7 in)
Crosshatch trigger Xanthichthys mento No A shy reserved fish when first added to the aquarium, comes into its own when it associates itself with the aquarist. Infrequently available[188] 29 cm (11.4 in)
Goldenback trigger Xanthichthys caeruleolineatus No Rarely available 35 cm (13.8 in)
Golden heart trigger
Balistes punctatus No 61 cm (24.0 in)
Halfmoon trigger
Sufflamen chrysopterum No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Hawaiian black trigger
Melichthys niger No 50 cm (19.7 in)
Lei trigger
Sufflamen bursa No 25 cm (9.8 in)
Indian black trigger
Melichthys indicus No 25 cm (9.8 in)
Niger trigger
Odonus niger No Among the more peaceful of triggers, can usually be kept in a community tank 50 cm (19.7 in)
Picasso trigger
Rhinecanthus aculeatus No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Pinktail trigger
Melichthys vidua No 40 cm (15.7 in)
Queen trigger
Balistes vetula No A large fish that should only be kept in very large aquariums. 60 cm (23.6 in)
Rectangular trigger
Rhinecanthus rectangulus No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Sargassum trigger
Xanthichthys ringens No A shy reserved fish when first added to the aquarium, comes into its own when it associates itself with the aquarist. Infrequently available 25 cm (9.8 in)
Starry trigger
Abalistes stellatus No 60 cm (23.6 in)
Titan trigger
Balistoides viridescens No Can only be housed in the largest of marine aquariums 75 cm (29.5 in)
Undulated trigger
Balistapus undulatus No Probably the most aggressive fish kept in marine aquariums. Older specimens should be housed alone. 30 cm (11.8 in)
Whitetail trigger
Sufflamen albicaudatum With Caution 22 cm (8.7 in)


Moon wrasse

A diverse group of fish with an equally wide range of characteristics. Some wrasse species are aggressive towards small fish and invertebrates, others are reef safe. Some are quite hardy, some typically die within weeks.[189][190]

Common name Image Taxonomy Reef safe Description Max size
Banana wrasse
Thalassoma lutescens No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Bicolor cleaner wrasse
Labroides bicolor Yes
Bird wrasse
Gomphosus varius No 28 cm (11.0 in)
Bluehead wrasse
Thalassoma bifasciatum With Caution 28 cm (11.0 in)
Bluestreak cleaner wrasse
Labroides dimidiatus Yes as the names suggests it is a cleaner fish and will eat some parasites
Carpenter's flasher wrasse
Paracheilinus carpenteri Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 8 cm (3.1 in)
Cheeklined maori wrasse Cheilinus diagrammus No 36 cm (14.2 in)[191]
Christmas wrasse
Thalassoma trilobatum No 15 cm (5.9 in)
Cortez rainbow wrasse
Thalassoma lucasanum No 15 cm (5.9 in)
Dragon wrasse
Novaculichthys taeniourus No 30 cm (11.8 in)
Eight line wrasse
Pseudocheilinus octotaenia Yes; feeds on tiny organisms
Exquisite fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus exquisitus Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 10 cm (3.9 in)
Fine-spotted fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus punctatus Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 10 cm (3.9 in)
Flame wrasse
Cirrhilabrus jordani Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)
Formosa wrasse
Coris formosa No 61 cm (24.0 in)
Four line wrasse
Pseudocheilinus tetrataenia Yes; feeds on tiny organisms
Goldbar wrasse
Thalassoma hebraicum With Caution 23 cm (9.1 in)
Greenback fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus scottorum Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 15 cm (5.9 in)
Harlequin tusk
Choerodon fasciatus Generally, yes, but may eat shrimp
Hawaiian cleaner wrasse
Labroides phthirophagus Yes
Hoeven's wrasse
Halichoeres melanurus With Caution 13 cm (5.1 in)
Jansen saddle wrasse
Thalassoma jansenii No 20 cm (7.9 in)
Labout's fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus laboutei Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Leopard wrasse
Macropharyngodon meleagris Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)[192]
Lineatus fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus lineatus Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Longfin fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubriventralis Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Lyretail wrasse/Moon wrasse
Thalassoma lunare No 25 cm (9.8 in)
Marble wrasse
Halichoeres hortulanus No 28 cm (11.0 in)
McCosker's flasher wrasse Paracheilinus mccoskeri Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Multicolor lubbock's wrasse
Cirrhilabrus lubbocki Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 8 cm (3.1 in)
Multicolor velvet wrasse
Cirrhilabrus cyanopleura Yes; feeds on tiny organisms
Mystery wrasse
Pseudocheilinus ocellatus Yes
Orange-back fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus aurantidorsalis Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Pastel-green wrasse
Halichoeres chloropterus With Caution 20 cm (7.9 in)
Pinkface wrasse
Thalassoma quinquevittatum With Caution 15 cm (5.9 in)
Potter's wrasse
Macropharyngodon geoffroyi Yes; feeds on tiny organisms
Red coris wrasse
Coris gaimard No 36 cm (14.2 in)
Red-head fairy wrasse
Cirrhilabrus solorensis Yes; feeds on tiny organisms 13 cm (5.1 in)
Red velvet wrasse Cirrhilabrus rubrisquamis Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Scarlet pin stripe wrasse
Pseudocheilinus evanidus Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Six line wrasse
Pseudocheilinus hexataenia Yes Small pink fish with six purple horizontal lines. Sometimes added to help control flatworms or parasitic snail populations. Semi-aggressive and may pick on shy fish.[193] 8 cm (3.1 in)
Radiant wrasse
Halichoeres iridis Yes 15 cm (5.9 in)
Rhomboid fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus rhomboidalis Yes Golden body with purple horizontal stripes on head. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Whip fin fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus filamentosus Yes 9 cm (3.5 in)
Yellow wrasse
Halichoeres chrysus Yes Yellow body with three or occasionally four black dots on dorsal fins. Require sand bed for sleeping. 13 cm (5.1 in)
Yellow & purple wrasse Halichoeres trispilus Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Yellowband wrasse Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus Yes 13 cm (5.1 in)
Yellow fin fairy wrasse
Cirrhilabrus flavidorsalis Yes 8 cm (3.1 in)
Yellow-flanked fairy wrasse Cirrhilabrus lyukyuensis Yes 10 cm (3.9 in)

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ a b Fenner, Robert (2001). The Conscientious Marine Aquarist: A Commonsense Handbook for Successful Saltwater Hobbyists. Neptune City, NJ: THF Publications. ISBN 978-1-890087-02-9.
  3. ^ "Aquarium Fish: Large Angels in the Home Aquarium, Part 1". Archived from the original on 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
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  5. ^ "Marine Angelfishes, Family Pomacanthidae". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  6. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Genicanthus bellus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  7. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Holocanthus bermudensis" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  8. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus zonipectus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  9. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus imperator" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  10. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus paru" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  11. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus arcuatus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
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  13. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus semicirculatus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  14. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pomacanthus navarchus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  15. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Holocanthus passer" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  16. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Holacanthus ciliaris" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  17. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Pygoplites diacanthus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  18. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Genicanthus semifasciatus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  19. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2011). "Apolemichthys xanthurus" in FishBase. November 2011 version.
  20. ^ Hargreaves, Vincent (2006). The Complete Book of the Marine Aquarium. San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 978-1-57145-762-2.
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  22. ^ "The Pygmy Angelfishes". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  23. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge multifasciata" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  24. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge bispinosus" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  25. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge argi" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  26. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge eibli" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  27. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge loricula" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  28. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge vroliki" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  29. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge heraldi" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  30. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge flavissima" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  31. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge acanthops" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  32. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge flavicauda" in FishBase. December 2008 version.
  33. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge potteri" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  34. ^ Froese, Rainer; Pauly, Daniel (eds.) (2008). "Centropyge ferrugata" in FishBase. July 2008 version.
  35. ^ "Anthiinae - the Fancy Basses". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
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  37. ^ "The Basses, Family Serranidae". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  38. ^ "The Basses Called Hinds, Genus Cephalopholis". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  39. ^ "The Soapfishes, Family Grammistidae, or Tribe Grammistini of the Serranidae, in part, or..." Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  40. ^ "Some Guys Like 'em Big:The Genus Plectropomus". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  41. ^ "The Comet (Calloplesiops altivelis)". Archived from the original on 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  42. ^ "The Roundhead Called the Marine Betta, Calloplesiops altivelis, Family Plesiopsidae". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  43. ^ "Grammas". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  44. ^ "Yellow Assessor, Assessor flavissimus". Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  45. ^ "Blennioids: Blennies and Blenny-Like Fishes". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  46. ^ "All My Puffers, Tobies, Box, Porcupine, Cowfishes". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  47. ^ "Butterflyfishes; Separating the Good Ones and Those You Don't Want". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
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  49. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj Michael, Scott (2005). Reef Aquarium Fishes, 500+ Essential-To-Know Species. Neptune City, NJ: T.F.H Publications, Inc. ISBN 978-1-890087-89-0.
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