Best suited fish for marine aquariums

There are so many marine organisms suitable for your aquarium that they cannot be listed here. Nevertheless we would like to pass on some information and tips.

Animal species in marine water

Unlike in the freshwater aquarium you will find lots of other animal species apart from fish in the seas. These include: Hydrozoans, sponges, hard and soft corals, anemones, snails, slugs and mussels, squids, flatworms, tube worms, starfish, brittle stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea squirts.

Fish families

Surgeonfish (Acanthuridae)

Its name derives from the scalpel-like spines, which this family of about 80 species has on its tail ends.

Cardinalfish (Apogonidae)

This species broods its eggs in its mouth and some, such as the Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni), are therefore easy to breed.

Triggerfish (Balistidae)

Unfortunately all triggerfish need to be kept in very large aquariums (from 1000 l) and the majority is also incompatible with each other and eats corals.

Combtooth blennies (Blenniidae)

Cute-looking, small fish, which eat small animals and often also algae.

Dragonets (Callionymidae)

The most popular species of this family are mandarinfish which remain small, are peaceful and are suitable for aquariums from 100 litres.

Butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae)

Most species are specialised coral eaters, which grow large and are therefore unsuitable for most aquariums.

Hawkfish (Cirrhitidae)

Likes living in a harem as male with several females.

Gobies (Gobiidae)

A lot of goby species are the perfect, small aquarium dweller.

Basslets (Grammatidae)

Very beautiful animals which grow only 8-10 cm in length.

Wrasses (Labridae)

A very species-rich family, which includes very diverse types, from the over 2 m large growing Napoleon wrasse to the 6 cm small Minilabrus striatus from the Red Sea.

Longfins (Plesiopidae)

The comet (Calloplesiops altivelis) must be one of the most beautiful reef dwellers and it has already been bred in aquariums.

Marine angelfish (Pomacanthidae)

The large marine angelfish species are not only unsuitable for aquariums because of their size but also because of their penchant for eating corals and sponges.

Anemonefish (Amphiprion species)

These damselfish, known to everyone from the film Nemo, are perfect aquarium dwellers if you have an aquarium of at least 200 litres.

Damselfish (Chromis, Chrysiptera, Dascyllus, Pomacentrus species)

Sociable small shoal fish which definitely need to be kept in a small group.

Dottybacks (Pseudochromis species)

Very colourful species which, with their maximum length of 7 cm, are ideal for aquariums of 200 litres and more.

Anthiadinae (Anthias and Pseudanthias species)

Plankton-eating shoal fish in free water.

Rabbitfish (Siganidae)

The foxface rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) is the only member of this family suitable for aquariums of 600 l upwards

Seahorses (Syngathidae)

Seahorses are NOT suitable for community reef aquariums although they are not difficult to keep and are often bred.



Most corals, kept in marine aquariums, originate from shallow water (reef top) and have symbiotic algae, which live in their tissues and feed the coral mainly through their metabolic products.


Fire jellyfish belong to the most unpopular animal species in the sea.


Among the crustaceans there are very useful and beautiful animals which act as cleaner shrimps and free the fish from pests and/or eat algae. There are also some very predatory species which eat everything they can find at night.


Shrimps are a must-have for anyone who doesn’t keep large predatory fish.


Slugs must be amongst the most colourful sea dwellers of all. But they are mostly difficult or impossible to keep because they often only eat one food, e.g. a single sponge species.


The most popular and most beautiful clams are the Tridacna species to which also belongs the (unfairly) notorious “killer clam” (giant clam).


You rarely intentionally purchase sponges.


Some very beautiful starfish species are easy to keep in well established aquariums.

Sea urchins

The class of the sea urchins is very diverse.

Sea cucumbers

Most sea cucumbers are useful rather than pretty: they chew through the substrate to find food and loosen it that way.

Sea squirts

Among the sea squirts you can find incredibly beautifully coloured and graceful species which are real gems.

Tube worms

Unlike bristle worms tube worms are very popular and desirable aquarium dwellers.

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