One of the reasons why so many of us love saltwater aquariums is because of all the weird and wonderful creatures that exist out there! Marine life contains such an amazing array of fish, all with their own special characteristics. Many saltwater aquarium enthusiasts get into the hobby with the wish to create their own unique tank with the coolest fish available! 

But what are some unique fish for saltwater aquariums that are suitable for beginners? 

The Volitan Lionfish 

A unique fish that is easy to look after but looks incredible is the lionfish. The lionfish is a carnivorous fish that is native to the reefs of the Indo-Pacific, however, they can be found worldwide. According to the National Ocean Service, they are actually seen as an invasive species in the Atlantic ocean. This is because they have no natural predators in the Atlantic ocean and therefore thrive in these waters. They feed on fish and crustaceans and are therefore having an effect on the levels of marine life in this ocean. 

These fish are pretty striking to look at, with red and white stripes and an array of spikes on their dorsal fins that stick out like needles. They also have wonderfully large pectoral fins that really look magnificent. They can grow up to 15 inches, so definitely don’t add them to a small tank! They need at least 80 gallons to really thrive in a saltwater aquarium setup. 

The spikes of the lionfish are coated in poison and can really hurt, however, they are not usually fatal. If you get stung by the spikes of a lionfish it will be like a bee sting, but do seek medical attention. 

They only use the venom for defensive purposes and does not use it for capturing prey. However, you do need to be careful about what you put in the tank with your lionfish as these creatures are known to eat anything they can! If you put a lionfish in a tank with fish that are smaller than it, it will probably eat them. They are generally not aggressive with fish that are about the same size or bigger. 

These fish mostly hideout at the bottom of the tank during the day and will hunt at night, preferring live meaty foods. A lot of rocky hiding spots for these fish is a must!

Mandarin Fish

This fish, native to the Pacific, is a unique fish suitable for beginners with mesmerizing colors. Probably one of the most beautiful fish for saltwater aquariums, the mandarin fish has colors and patterns that look like a psychedelic painting. They are pretty small fish, never growing bigger than three inches. They are reef safe and very peaceful but watch out for bigger fish that might harass the mandarin fish.

These fish are picky eaters and tend to only feed on copepods and amphipods. In order for these wonderful fish to thrive in your saltwater aquarium, make sure that you provide them a decent supply of copepods and amphipods. Once they settle in, however, these fish are known to be hardy to aquarium disease. 

Like the lionfish, this unique fish also is poisonous. According to the Australian Geographic, the mandarin fish is covered in little spikes that will inject a venomous mucus into anything that touches it. This mucus also smells really bad and suggests that its bright colors are not about attracting a mate, but warning others! 

Another reason why these fish are so amazing is their unique courtship dance that occurs in the wild. The mating of these fish occurs shortly after sunset, where the males will dance for the females. If the female likes what they see, they will go and join the male and mate. 

Royal Gramma

The wonderful hues of color that royal grammas have make it a truly unique fish for saltwater aquariums. Their heads are a purple color that fades to a yellow and this wonderful contrast can make a great addition to your tank. They also have a small black dot on their dorsal fin. 

They are native to the reefs in central and southern America and are hardy and peaceful creatures. Only growing to around 3 inches they are suitable for those with smaller saltwater aquariums and are reef compatible. They are, however, territorial with other royal grammas so should be kept either alone or in a couple. They need an aquarium of a range of crevices and rocky places for them to hide out in. They become attached to these places, making the area their territory. They normally spend most of their time hiding out in the rockwork, only coming out for food. 

Royal gramma fish feed off zooplankton and phytoplankton in the wild but are also known to snack on meaty foods such as shrimp. They are easy to feed and should be fed a varied diet. 

These fish are known to swim upside down, up and down the tank, but this is not because they are unwell, so don’t worry if your royal grammas do this! They are also known to jump out of the water, so make sure you have a lid on your aquarium if you are wanting to add a royal gramma. 

This is unique fish for your saltwater aquarium as the colors are really striking, and their little quirks make them an interesting addition to your tank. 

Enjoy These Wonderful Fish!

Interesting and unique fish for saltwater aquariums are not just for those that have been at the hobby for years. There are so many interesting fish that are suitable for beginners, and these are just three of them!

These fish really show us the diversity of nature, specifically in the marine world. Their traits, characteristics, colors, and behaviors are all truly unique and wonderful to experience in a saltwater aquarium.

Go ahead and look into adding these amazing fish into your saltwater aquarium, and remember that we are always here for any of your aquarium needs!