Suitable Livestock for Beginner Saltwater Aquarists

kangadrew

HI guys, I just thought I would share my experience I had with being a manager of a saltwater aquarium store, plus from my years of experience under my belt. This may have to be moved into the aquarium stocking forum, but I'm not sure. My definition of a good beginner saltwater aquarium is anything from 20 gallons to 55 gallons. This is a good starter size, although bigger is usually better when it comes to saltwater. This thread will go over fish, and inverts that are suitable for an aquarium that fits the size criteria. The creatures listed are ones that are hardy (and therefore suitable for beginners), and at least somewhat reef safe. So, let's get started!

ANGELS

BASSLETS
  • Blue Assessor
  • Chalk Bass
  • Harlequin Bass
  • Lantern Bass
  • Marine Betta
  • Pinstriped Basslet
  • Royal Gramma
  • SwalesI Basslet
  • Tobacco Basslet
  • Swissguard Basslet
  • Yellow Assessor
BLENNIES
  • Bicolor Blenny
  • Convict Blenny
  • Lawnmower Blenny
  • Linear Blenny
  • Segmented Sailfin Blenny
  • Starry Blenny
  • Tail Spot Blenny
  • Yellow Eye Blenny
  • Convict Blenny
  • Dusky Yellow Streak Blenny
  • Emerald Blenny
  • Midas Blenny
  • Pictus Blenny
  • Triplespot Blenny
BUTTERFLYFISH
  • Klein's Butterflyfish
CARDINALFISH
CLOWNFISH
DAMSELFISH
  • Allen's Damselfish
  • Bicolor Chromis
  • Blackbar Chromis
  • Blue Damselfish
  • Blue Fin Damselfish
  • Domino Damselfish
  • Electric Blue Damselfish
  • FijI Blue Devil Damselfish
  • FijI Green Chromis
  • Four Stripe Damselfish
  • Golden Domino Damselfish
  • Green Chromis Damselfish
  • Jewel Damselfish
  • Kupang Damselfish
  • Lemon Damselfish
  • Neon Velvet Damselfish
  • Rolland's Damselfish
  • Sergeant Major Damselfish
  • Snowflake Damselfish
  • Springer's Damsel
  • Talbot's Damselfish
  • Tasmanian Devil Damselfish
  • Three Stripe Damselfish
  • Tuxedo Damselfish
  • Two Stripe Damselfish
  • Vanderbilt's Damselfish
  • Yellowbelly Damselfish
  • Yellowtail Blue Damselfish
  • Black and Gold Damselfish
  • Blue Head Chromis
  • Flame Damselfish
  • Orangelined Chromis
  • Pacific Jewel Damselfish
  • Princess Damselfish
  • Scissortail Damsel
  • Smith's Damselfish
  • Starck's Damselfish
  • Yellow Damselfish
DARTFISH/TILEFISH
  • Blue Gudgeon Dartfish
  • Firefish
  • Purple Firefish
  • Scissortail Dartfish
  • Zebra Barred Dartfish
EELS
  • Golden Dwarf Moray Eel
  • Snowflake Eel
  • Yellowhead Eel
  • White-Eye Moray Eel
  • Wolf Eel
GOBIES
  • Banded Sleeper Goby
  • Black Clown Goby
  • Blue Stripe Neon Goby
  • Bluespotted Watchman Goby
  • Citron Clown Goby
  • Decorated Goby
  • Diagonal Bar Prawn Goby
  • Diamond Watchman Goby
  • Green Clown Goby
  • Hector's Goby
  • Orange Banded Prawn Goby
  • Orange Spot Shrimp Goby
  • Pink Spotted Watchman Goby
  • Pinkbar Goby
  • Railway Sleeper Goby
  • Randall's Goby
  • Red Striped Goby
  • Striped Sleeper Goby
  • Tiger WardI Goby
  • Wheeler's Watchman Goby
  • Yellow Clown Goby
  • Yellow Watchman Goby
  • Black & White Clown Goby
  • Brown Clown Goby
  • Bullet Goby
  • Green Banded Goby
  • Masked Goby
  • Sharknose Goby
GROUPERS/HAMLETS
  • Indigo Hamlet
HAWKFISH
  • Arc-Eye Hawkfish
  • Coral Hawkfish
  • Falco Hawkfish
  • Flame Hawkfish
  • Longnose Hawkfish
  • Redspotted Hawkfish
  • Spotted Hawkfish
  • Swallowtail Hawkfish
  • Red Bar Hawkfish
LIONFISH
  • Volitan Lionfish
PSEUDOCHROMIS/DOTTYBACKS
  • Bicolor Dottyback
  • Bluelined Dottyback
  • Diadem Dottyback
  • Flavivertex Pseudochromis
  • Multicolored Dottyback
  • Orangetail Dottyback
  • Orchid Dottyback
  • Strawberry Dottyback
  • Dampiera Dottyback
  • Dilectis Dottyback
  • Dusky Dottyback
  • Elegant Dottyback
  • Oblique-Lined Dottyback
  • Pink Dottyback
  • Polynemus Pseudochromis
  • Red Spotted Pseudochromis
  • Splendid Dottyback
TANGS/SURGEONFISH
WRASSES
  • Angular Flasher Wrasse
  • Blue Sided Fairy Wrasse
  • Clown Fairy Wrasse
  • Exquisite Fairy Wrasse
  • Naoko's Fairy Wrasse
  • Pygmy Possum Wrasse
  • Red Fin Fairy Wrasse
  • Rosy Scale Fairy Wrasse
  • Six Line Wrasse
  • Tricolor Fairy Wrasse
  • Whipfin Fairy Wrasse
  • White Banded Possum Wrasse
  • Yellow Banded Possum Wrasse
  • Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse
  • Black Spot Cleaner Wrasse
  • Kwa Zulu Fairy Wrasse
  • Longfin Fairy Wrasse
OTHERS
  • Gumdrop Coral Croucher
CRABS
  • Anemone Porcelain Crabs
  • Arrow Crabs
  • Blue Leg Reef Hermit Crabs
  • Blue Porcelain Crabs
  • Electric Blue Knuckle Hermit Crabs
  • Emerald Mithrax Crabs
  • Halloween Hermit Crabs
  • Horseshoe Crabs
  • Pom Pom Crabs
  • Red Leg Reef Hermit Crabs
  • Sally Lightfoot Crabs
  • Scarlet Reef Hermit Crabs
  • Anemone Hermit Crabs
  • Decorator Arrow Crabs
  • Flame Tip Hermit Crabs
  • Green Leg Reef Hermit Crabs
  • Orange Knuckle Hermit Crabs
  • Strawberry Crabs
  • Zebra Hermit Crabs
CUCUMBERS
  • Tigertail Sea Cucumbers
FEATHER DUSTERS
  • Dwarf Feather Dusters
  • Hawaiian Feather Dusters
LOBSTERS
  • Purple Lobsters
  • Red Lobsters
SEA SLUGS
  • Green Sea Hares
SHRIMP
  • Blue Coral Banded Shrimp
  • Blue-Legged Yellow Coral Banded Shrimp
  • Camel Shrimp
  • Candy Stripe Pistol Shrimp
  • Coral Banded Shrimp
  • Fire Shrimp
  • Glass Anemone Shrimp
  • Peppermint Shrimp
  • Red-Legged Pistol Shrimp
  • Saron Shrimp
  • Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp
  • Sexy Shrimp
  • Tiger Pistol Shrimp
  • White Spot Anemone Shrimp
  • Bruun's Cleaner Shrimp
  • Bullseye Pistol Shrimp
  • Caribbean Pistol Shrimp
  • Crown Shrimp
  • Feeder Shrimp
  • Gold Coral Banded Shrimp
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Mysid Shrimp
  • Orange Spot Anemone Shrimp
  • Pederson Cleaner Shrimp
SNAILS
  • Astraea Snails
  • Brown Chestnut Turban Snails
  • Bumble Bee Snails
  • Cerith Snails
  • Margarita Snails
  • Nassarius Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Ninja Star Snails
  • Onyx Nassarius Snails
  • Orange Chestnut Turban Snails
  • Queen Conch
  • Tiger Cowries
  • Tiger Sand Conch
  • Tiger Turbo Snails
  • Tonga Fighting Conch
  • Tonga Nassarius Snails
  • Top Crown Snails
  • Zebra Turbo Snails
  • Key Hole Limpets
  • Money Shell Cowries
  • Red Foot Snails
  • Trochus Snails
  • Turbo Snails
STARFISH
  • Black Brittle Starfish
  • Bubble Tip Brittle Starfish
  • Green Brittle Starfish
  • Sand Sifting Starfish
  • Serpent Starfish
  • Red Serpent Starfish
URCHINS
  • Atlantic Pincushion Urchins
  • Black Longspine Urchins
  • Royal Urchins
  • Sand Dollars
Well, this is my opinion on beginner's fish and inverts for a tank from 20 to 55 gallons. Hopefully this helps people out that need it.
 

Aquarist

Thanks!

I went ahead and moved the thread to Saltwater Stocking Questions. I'm sure members will find this information very helpful.

Ken
 

kangadrew

Thank you! Hopefully this is some helpful information
 

biller

I think this will be helpful to new reefers! One thing I would add is minimum tank size, just to avoid confusion and what not. Good job!

Sent from my Z752C using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
 

kangadrew

I think this will be helpful to new reefers! One thing I would add is minimum tank size, just to avoid confusion and what not. Good job!

Sent from my Z752C using Fish Lore Aquarium Fish Forum mobile app
Oh no, I am not sure how I forgot that
 

kangadrew

If any new reefers would like to hear minimum tank sizes for any specific fish or invertebrates, feel free to PM me and I usually will get back to you in the same day. But as a general rule for the fish mentioned above:

Dwarf Angels: 30 gallons
Basslets: 30 gallons
Blennies: 30 gallons
Klein's Butterflyfish: 55 gallons
Cardinalfish: 15 gallons
Clownfish: 20 gallons
Damselfish: 10 gallons
Dartfish: 10 gallons
Eels: 55 gallons
Gobies: 10 gallons
Indigo Hamlet: 55 gallons
Hawkfish: 30 gallons
Volitan Lionfish: 55 gallons
Pseudochromis: 30 gallons
Tangs: 55 gallons
Wrasses: 30 gallons
Gumdrop Coral Croucher: 10 gallons
Crabs: 10 gallons
Tigertail Sea Cucumber: 55 gallons
Feather Dusters: 15 gallons
Lobsters: 20 gallons
Green Sea Hare: 15 gallons
Shrimp: 10 gallons
Snails: 5 gallons
Starfish: 55 gallons
Urchins: 25 gallons
Again, those are general rules, so PM me if you want info on a specific fish, or really any types of fish, freshwater or salt. I'm always glad to help!
 

Coradee

Lots of good info, thanks for posting it.
I would suggest any members needing information on specific fish post in open forum not in Pm, that way the information is available to everyone.
 

kangadrew

Good idea, let's do that!
 

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