Types of Saltwater Fish

One of the first living creatures on Earth was a fish. They have created into a variety of distinct species by holding the fundamental design for all sorts of body architectures on the planet.

Over 32,000 species of fish have been discovered in the world since the first evidence of evolution from fish to other species was found 500 million years ago.

Bony Fish, Plated Skin Fish, and Cartilaginous Fish are the three major types of jawed fish that sprang from their jawless forebears.

970 of the remaining species that we know of include chimeras, sharks, and rays, while 108 are hagfish and lampreys. These make up about 84% of all fish species. Only the hagfish and lampreys from that group are left today, as the Plated Skin Fish became extinct.

Here are some of the most common saltwater fish species if you’re just starting out.

Green Chromis

The most imported saltwater fish species in the entire aquarium industry is the Chromis viridis, commonly known as Green Chromis. The fact that they shoal, their affordable price, vibrant coloration, and boldness and energy they bring to the tank are all factors contributing to their popularity.

These colorful little fish are most often purchased by aquarium owners who want that “schooling look.”

These saltwater fish grow to a maximum size of 3 1/2 inches and need a lot of open water for swimming. They are tiny in comparison to other saltwater fish species.

The Green Chromis can live in captivity for 8 to 15 years, but the average lifespan of a shoal is probably shorter.

Sword Fish

The only species in the Xiphiidae family, swordfish are often referred to as broadbills. They move as the seasons change, and they are big predatory fish.

They have elongated round bodies and are popular sports fish. They prefer to live in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic Oceans’ temperate and tropical zones.

They injure the animal with their long ‘sword,’ making it simpler to capture and consume. Their long legs allow them to pursue their prey and are making them agile and quick.

They’ve been recorded going as fast as 97 km/h. If they are not hunted for sport and food, they may live up to 9 years.


The Disney film Finding Nemo has undoubtedly helped the Clownfish become one of the most popular saltwater fish today.

Nemo, the Clownfish, was a character in Finding Dory, and if you’ve been hoping to add him to your saltwater tank, you’re in luck. Clownfish are simple to maintain (particularly the tank-raised kind). It is one of the most common saltwater species, so finding food for it is simple.

Ocellaris Clownfish raised in tanks are more vibrant than those caught in the wild. These active fish make an entertaining addition to a beginner’s saltwater aquarium, in addition to being colorful and not hiding as much as their tank mates.

Barracuda Great

Only Florida waters are home to the Great Barracuda, a member of this huge family. The majority of Great Barracuda captured in Florida are between 2 and 3 feet and 5 and 20 pounds in length.

Barracuda travel alone or in loose schools in open seas, lurking around reefs in search of the chance to ambush prey, and can be found offshore all over Florida. When you reel in a fish or something shiny, this fish has been known to leap into a boat to pursue it.

Barracudas have been recorded swimming at speeds of 25 miles per hour! Their teeth are rather large and pointed, so they should be avoided. Most people cut barracuda into steaks and grill them, or smoke the meat, which is really good.

Banggai Cardinalfish

The Banggai Cardinalfish is one of the most popular saltwater fish, I believe, because some people love it while others despise it. In a reef tank (by saltwater fish standards), this fish is rather simple to spawn and they will pair up.

As juveniles, they appear to be friendly with each other, but as adults grow up and pair off, they may turn out to be quite nasty. However, one of my favorite reef fish is still aquacultured Banggai Cardinalfish. (It feels like I’m pleading with you?) Please, please, please. That’s acceptable, as long as the wild-caught Banggai is effective.)

They are on the IUCN’s Red List of Endangered Species (which indicates they will go extinct in the future). This is a difficult subject that I don’t have time to cover in detail here, but please heed my advice and get this cool saltwater fish from an aquaculture facility rather than the ocean.

Atlantic Cod

The Gadidae family includes the Atlantic Cod, which is primarily fished for food by humans. Because of over-fishing for human consumption, the ICUN has classified it as vulnerable. It has green or brown colors with spots on the dorsal side and may live up to 25 years.

It is easier to catch because it lives in habitats ranging from the main continental shelf to the coast. They range in weight from 30 kg to 40 kg and have a length of 61 cm to 1.2 m.


For a beginner, it may be difficult to keep several saltwater species in big tanks of 100 gallons or more. Because they only need a 30-gallon tank, the Damselfish is a terrific option. They’re also incredibly hardy.

Give damselfish plenty of hiding places and they will usually stay to themselves, since they can be a little aggressive. There are also many hues to choose from.


During the winter months, bluefish migrate from the north Atlantic to Florida’s waters and are a favorite game fish. Behind large schools of bait fish, bluefish swim in schools of similarly sized individuals. Bluefish may reach a weight of 20 pounds and a length of 40 inches.

Bluefish’s teeth are very pointy and are used to consume squids and schooling fish. To attract this fish to your line, use cut bait chumming with menhaden, mullet, herring, spot, ballyhoo or mackerel. To avoid your line being sliced by this fish’s razor-sharp dorsal, use wire leaders.

This hefty fish can be caught with the help of porgies, mackerel, and sand eels. Freshly fillets gently sauted in butter with fresh garlic are the best way to enjoy the Bluefish’s flesh.

Coral Beauty Angelfish

The Coral Beauty is an angelfish for beginners. They are bright, active swimmers with minimal dietary restrictions and no particular nutritional requirements (by Dwarf angelfish standards).

They’re a popular reef fish. Most importantly, they’re available at your neighborhood fish shop.


The pelagic fish known as mackerel belongs to the Scombridae family and is a frequent name. They live off the coast or along the shore in tropical and temperate oceans all over the globe.

They move in huge schools to ward off predators and have black vertical stripes. Atlantic Cod, bigger mackerels, sharks, seabirds, whales, dolphins, and tuna are all predators of these species.

Because they are so ideal as a food fish, they are frequently preyed upon by a variety of predators. Humans have a high Omega-3 oil content, so they capture them in large numbers.

Bicolor Blenny

Since they are so calm, the Blenny is not just a lovely fish; it is also a fantastic starter choice. They spend the majority of their time hiding among the rocks and plants, only occasionally peeking out to take a look at their surroundings.

Blennies may live with other species in the aquarium, but they will battle among themselves, so it is advised that you keep just one.


Bonefish feed on shrimp, shellfish, crabs, and fish at the bottom while mangrove roots while traveling in loose schools. As the tide goes out, the Bonefish return to deeper water and feed on shallow backwater in between mangroves. They move onto shallow mud flats as the tide retreats.

Bonefish will move into deeper channels adjacent to flats during the hot summer months. Chumming is very effective in extremely hot or cold weather when you’re chumming with shrimp chunks up stream from your regular hangouts. Fly angers like bonefish, but they are not commonly eaten.

Crushing live shrimp to release more scent is a tried and true method to attract bonefish, since they feed by smell. Bonefish are best caught during an overcast sky, when the tide is rising, the water is less than 3 feet deep, and the temperature is over 70 degrees.

Bonefish in South Florida and the Florida Keys typically weigh 6-9 pounds and may weigh up to 12 pounds. Captain Eric Ryan of the Key West Flats Fishing Club provided the photo.

Royal Gramma

For first-time saltwater aquariums, the Royal Gramma, Gramma loreto, is a fantastic starter fish. It is a member of the fairy basslets family of fishes.

They’re just the right size, have lovely hues, are tough and tolerant of the conditions inside a saltwater aquarium, and prefer to spend their time out in the open rather than hiding in corners.

This bold and beautiful fish will spruce up any tank, with a bright purple head and a yellow body/tail. The Royal Gramma is a great saltwater fish because they are hardy and inexpensive.

The cave-spawning saltwater fish Royal Grammas reproduces in harems. As a result, a single guy will produce multiple females. The eggs are placed night after night in the male’s nest, which is made out of macroalgae.


The Rainbow Trout, a Pacific Ocean species found in North America and Asia, belongs to the Salmonid family. It prefers chilly water, and when it breeds, it returns to fresh water.

The wide reddish stripe running from the gills to the tail is a sign that they are known. Steelhead, the official state fish of Washington, are freshwater varieties of Rainbow Trout. They can grow up to 2.3 kg, although some breeds may reach 20 kg.

They have been introduced in 45 different countries across the globe and are hunted for sport and food in 45 of them. They may have an harmful impact on the new habitat. Under the Endangered Species Act, their breeds are classified as either endangered or threatened.

Clown Goby

Since it is calm, comes in a variety of beautiful colors, is cost-effective, and Hardy, the Clown Goby is an excellent addition to any saltwater aquarium.

It will make a fantastic addition to any reef aquarium with polyp coral colonies, and is most often found perched on live rock or coral. However, since the Clown Goby may nip at the smaller polyps, be careful when placing it with SPS corals.

The Clown Goby should be kept with other docile species because they will fight with one another.

Bonito, Atlantic

The Little Tunny Bonito and the Atlantic Bonito are frequently misidentified. It has no teeth on the roof of its mouth, and grows to 30 inches and weighs 12 pounds. It has a compressed body with distinct vertical stripes.

This fish isn’t suitable for eating, and it’s best utilized as bait for larger species like Shark.

Pajama Cardinalfish

The Banggai Cardinalfish has a fishy relative called the Pajama Cardinalfish. They’re good in clusters, which is great. PJs have a beautiful color scheme that is practically unnatural. They are peaceful and may be obtained through aquaculture with enormous eyes.

Since most of the shops I visit have wild-caught fish since they are cost-effective and plentiful, search around for the aquacultured variety. I suggest you spend a bit more to get the aquacultured variety if you can afford it.

Atlantic Salmon

A ray-finned fish, the Atlantic salmon belongs to the Salmonidae family. The Atlantic Ocean’s northern shores, the North Pacific Ocean’s northern shores, and the rives of the North Atlantic are all home to this species. Commercial and recreational interests are used to hunt them.

The primary reason for the reduction in their numbers has been habitat destruction, which has also led to their extinction. Many conservation efforts are undertaken to prevent the species from going extinct in the near future.

Salmon are territorial to a certain extent, and they may fight each other on rare occasions. A number of times, they do get together to form schools. Mayflies, blackflies, caddisflies, and stoneflies are among the foods these carnivores consume.

Yellow Watchman Goby

Since they are not choosy about their food and will eat readily accessible at the pet shop items, the Yellow Watchman Goby is one of the greatest saltwater aquarium species for beginners. In addition, goby fish are quite frequent in many pet shops because they are so popular.

While the Watchman Goby is calm and gets along with other species, they do not get along well with other Gobies, so be sure to keep them apart if you acquire more than one.

Bonito (False Albacore, Little Tunny)

Bonitos may be found in schools that are up to a half-mile square. Bonito are most commonly caught while fishing for Kingfish, and they will bite on any bait in the vicinity. Once hooked, this fish becomes an entertaining adversary that fights ferociously.

The Bonito, which weighs 4 to 15 pounds and is part of the Tuna family, isn’t often eaten in Florida. False Albacore or Little Tunny’s spots on the belly (not visible in this photo but present) and a wavy blue and silver pattern on their tops distinguish it from other Bonitos.

In terms of structure, this Bonito looks a lot like the Atlantic Bonito, which is frequently mistaken with it. Since the Little Tunny Bonito is from the Tuna family, the Atlantic Bonito is not acceptable when compared to the Mackerel family’s Mackerel.

Before cooking it like any other Tuna, the bloody red flesh of this Bonito must be bled in ice water for hours and the thick blood line removed. Anglers Trash Sushi Grade Tuna has more information.


The mackerel shark species The Great White Shark lives in the world’s major oceans, primarily in coastal surface waters. The females of this species are larger than the males, making it famous for its gigantic size.

They may reach a height of 6.1 meters and a weight of over 2,000 kilograms. In the wild, they can live up to 70 years and take 26 years to reach sexual maturity.

Apart from the rare Killer Whales, there are no natural predators of Great White Sharks. They are the only species in the genus Carcharodon that has not gone extinct, and they are the main predators in marine mammals.

Due to ecological difficulties, it has been designated as a vulnerable species. Despite the fact that humans are not their desired prey, they are feared among humans because of their portrayal as “man-eaters” in popular films like Jaws.

Firefish Goby

The Firefish is a long, slender fish with a light-colored body and a red, orange, or magenta tail (which gave them their name). It’s another gorgeous Goby for saltwater beginners.

A calm demeanor makes the Firefish Goby an excellent candidate for community aquariums. They’re tranquil, non-aggressive, and won’t turn down a meal. Since they move quickly and seek out concealment, they’re also fascinating to observe.

Red Mullet

The Black Sea, eastern North Atlantic Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea are all home to the Red Mullet. Crabs, shellfish, small lobsters, marine worms, and even dead fish are among the foods that this demersal fish scavenges and scours along the seabed for. They reach a size of 18 inches and a weight of 550 grams when they reach adulthood.

In the Mediterranean area, where it is prepared in a variety of ways, the Red Mullet is a beloved delicacy. The fish has long been admired, and Ancient Romans raised it in ponds throughout history.