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10 Colorful Marine Fish You Should Add to Your Aquarium!

 If you’re looking to brighten up your home, it might be time to revisit your childhood days, when you’d ask your parents for a dog, and in response, you’d be gifted a goldfish. As adults, however, we can embrace the real nuances and beauty of aquatic animals by putting together a truly beautiful aquarium. You can build (or buy) your very own miniature ecosystem, complete with stunning plant life, crafty little crustaceans and, the finishing touch, colorful and uniquely-finned fishes. Aquariums can brighten your home and soothe your soul in a single swell. Maintaining an aquarium at home is a task in itself, of course, and requires regular upkeep and research, be it freshwater or saltwater. For those wishing to bring a touch of the ocean into their homes, these marine fish are a great addition to any saltwater aquarium.      

 

1. The humpback grouper (Cromileptes altivelis)  

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, The humpback grouper (Cromileptes altivelis), polka dot

(By Udo Schröter, Wikimedia Commons)  

These polka-dotted divers are extremely popular as they can be easily caught by collectors. They get along well with other fish, usually hovering near the floor of the tank. It is usually recommended to give them live feed, but certain frozen and canned brine shrimps are equally effective.  

2. Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus)

(By Brocken Inaglory, Wikimedia Commons)  

This multicolored marine fish is a treasured addition to aquariums because of its unique appearance. However, you won’t find them in every saltwater aquarium, despite their beauty, as these fish have extremely restricted dietary habits and are difficult to feed in captivity. Some success has been found feeding them certain freeze-dried foods, like tubifex worms with chlorella algae, Norwegian brine shrimp and fairy shrimp. 

3. Blue Surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Blue Surgeonfish (Paracanthurus hepatus)

(By DerHans04, Wikimedia Commons)  

The most popular and brightly colored of the surgeonfish, this stunning swimmer is a must-have in any saltwater aquarium. They are easily fed, usually with freeze-dried foods, and require a healthy amount of light and algae. They are slightly large, growing up to 3-4 inches. 2 of these fish can swim comfortably in a 30-gallon tank. 

4. Spotted Box Fish (Ostracion meleagris) 

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Spotted Box Fish (Ostracion meleagris)

(By Rickard Zerpe, Wikimedia Commons)  

The males and females of this fish look similar but bear different colors. Males are typically dark blue with orange spots, while females are usually dark brown with white spots. This fish is best kept in isolation, as it has a defense mechanism that releases a toxic mucus when stressed, which can be fatal to all other aquatic life in its vicinity. They can be inducted into community tanks under careful observation and when the fish is determinedly happy and content. 

5. Royal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) 

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Royal Angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus)

(By Rainer Kretzberg, Wikimedia Commons)  

This gorgeous striped seafarer can brighten up any aquarium and is easily fed and maintained. Adult royal angelfish are quite large, growing upwards of 4 inches. It is advisable to keep adults of this fish in 75-gallon tanks or larger. Juveniles can be kept with other smaller fish in 30-50 gallon tanks, but they are much harder to come by and are difficult to collect as they generally stick to dark crevices and caves in reefs.  

6. Moon wrasse (Thalassoma lunare)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Moon wrasse (Thalassoma lunare), lyretail wrasse

(By Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)  

These fish are common in the pet trade as they are coveted for their beautiful color and small size. They are mostly found in small numbers and pairs, making them difficult to collect. They feed primarily on frozen, freeze-dried or live brine shrimp. These fish thrive in larger aquariums of 50 gallons and upward. 

7. Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Harlequin Filefish (Oxymonacanthus longirostris)

(By Richard Ling, Wikimedia Commons)  

Bearing breathtaking blue and yellow patterns, the harlequin is the most coveted of the filefish for marine aquariums. They are, however, extremely difficult to catch and equally difficult to maintain in captivity, though they are very much worth the effort. As their natural diet is the polyps of living coral, viable substitutes, like Dead staghorn coral, must be provided to ensure their health and sustenance. 

8. Yellowface Angelfish (Pomacanthus xanthometopon)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Yellowface Angelfish (Pomacanthus xanthometopon)

(By Leonard Low, Wikimedia Commons)  

This beauty is one of the most sought after marine aquarium fishes. From tip to tail, this angelfish is covered in a wide array of colors and intricate patterns. These fish require extreme care to keep in captivity. It is best to keep them on their own, or with at most one or two other smaller fish that keep to themselves. Early stages of feeding require live brine shrimp but they can become accustomed to a variety of foods. 

9. Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Yellow Longnose Butterflyfish (Forcipiger flavissimus)

(By Nhobgood, Wikimedia Commons)  

This species is quite rare and found almost exclusively on the Kona Coast in Hawaii. Despite its rarity, you are likely to find this beauty in most specialty pet stores and aquariums. They thrive in aquariums of all sizes and on simple diets of freeze-dried foods. It is best not to keep more than one of this species together in a tank as they are prone to fighting with their own. 

10. Neon goby (Elacatinus oceanops)

Beautiful, colorful and bright ocean fish with unique features that are ideal for marine and saltwater home aquariums, Neon goby (Elacatinus oceanops)

(By Jmk7, Wikimedia Commons)  

Most commonly found in Florida, this small fish is extremely popular both for its bright colors and unique behavioral traits. They are known for picking parasites off neighboring fishes and function well in varied ecosystems. Spending most of their time on red corals, they are easily collected. The neon goby thrives on a diet of canned brine shrimp and certain live foods.  

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