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All Saltwater Species

Achilles Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Achilles Tang

The Achilles tang is one of the most spectacular fish available for the aquarium, but it is also one of the most difficult to keep. This fish swims continuously, and usually at a very high speed, so it requires a large tank with plenty of open space. It also requires fairly turbulent water movement.

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Angelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Angelfish

Marine angelfish, of the family Pomacanthidae, are found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and western Pacific oceans.

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Anthias Saltwater Species Profile

Anthias

The anthias is a subfamily in the grouper family. They are found in all tropical oceans and seas of the world. A length of 2 to 4 inches is average. Anthias are often recognized for their bright colors, elongated bodies and large mouths.

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Atlantic Blue Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Atlantic Blue Tang

Changing coloration between juvenile and adult stages is a popular survival strategy for reef fish, including many surgeonfishes. Most surgeons with this strategy, however, become drab and rather uninteresting as adults.

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Banded Pipefish Saltwater Species Profile

Banded Pipefish

Physical Description: The banded pipefish also known as a flag tail pipefish or ringed pipefish, Dunckerocampus dactyliophorus, is an extraordinary saltwater fish. It is part of the Syngnathidae family, which makes it a relative to the seahorse.

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Banggai Cardinal Saltwater Species Profile

Banggai Cardinal

The Banggai cardinal is a truly wonderful fish for the marine aquarium; so much so that it has been overfished to the point of possible extinction in the wild. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest marine fish to get to spawn, and raising the babies is a fairly easy task.

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Bay Pipefish Saltwater Species Profile

Bay Pipefish

Bay pipefish, aka the slender-nosed pipefish, inhabit coastal wetlands, swaying to and fro in the gentle current while utilizing a near-vertical swimming posture; they mimic the movement of eel grass Zostera spp blades, which they themselves resemble.

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Blue Devil Saltwater Species Profile

Blue Devil

The blue devil is often confused with the yellowtail damsel because they both look so similar to each other. The main differences between the two species are that the blue devil has yellow on the mouth, face, and into the belly region and tail.

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Bluespotted Boxfish Saltwater Species Profile

Bluespotted Boxfish

The bluespotted boxfish is a beautiful fish that is not really suited for a marine aquarium unless you are willing to devote a tank to it.

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Boxfish Saltwater Species Profile

Boxfish

Boxfish, in the family Ostraciidae, are found in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They achieve a length of 3 to 18 inches and exhibit a variety of colors. They also feature hexagonal or "honeycomb" platelike scales. Boxfish may pose a hazard in a community tank.

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Butterflyfish Saltwater Species Profile

Butterflyfish

Butterflyfish are tropical marine fish of the family Chaetodontidae. They are found on the reefs of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. A length of 6 inches is average. Their small size, rounded bodies and slightly concave foreheads distinguish them from the larger angelfish.

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Cardinalfish Saltwater Species Profile

Cardinalfish

Though somewhat shy, cardinalfish are popular with aquarists because of their peaceful nature and attractive colors and patterns. Cardinalfish are hardy and can be easily kept in reef tanks. The average size of most species is 2 inches.

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Catalina Goby Saltwater Species Profile

Catalina Goby

The Catalina goby is a very interesting and attractive fish, and they will actually do fairly well in an aquarium environment – but they are not a tropical fish.

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Clownfish Saltwater Species Profile

Clownfish

Clownfish, or anemonefish, are of the subfamily Amphiprioninae of the family Pomacentridae. They average 3 inches in length. Most are brightly colored orange fish with white stripes on the head or side of the body.

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Convict Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Convict Tang

By Steve Bitter- The convict tang (Acanthurus triostegus) is an attractive surgeonfish for many medium to large aquariums. It is silvery white with contrasting black or gray vertical bars, and adults can sometimes display a subtle yellow color particularly above the lateral line.

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Crowned Squirrelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Crowned Squirrelfish

The crowned squirrelfish is an interesting fish, but it requires some special considerations to be kept in an aquarium. First of all, as you can tell by the size of the eye, this fish is primarily nocturnal.

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Damselfish Saltwater Species Profile

Damselfish

Damselfish belong to the Pomacentridae family. They are closely related to clownfish and are found throughout the world. They generally achieve a length of 2 to 3 inches. Some species of damselfish adapt well to the average aquarium.

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Domino Damsel Saltwater Species Profile

Domino Damsel

The domino damsel is readily available at most local fish stores. It is very hardy and is often used to get the nitrogen cycle going in a new aquarium. However, it has a number of drawbacks that makes it a less-than-ideal aquarium fish in the long run.

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Eel Saltwater Species Profile

Eel

Eels are popular among marine aquarists. The snowflake moray is commonly kept in tropical saltwater aquariums and averages 2½ feet in length. Moray eels are hardy and adjust well to life in captivity.

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Eibl's angelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Eibl's angelfish

The Eibl’s angelfish (Centropyge eibli) is a pygmy angelfish found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific region.

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Emperor Angelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Emperor Angelfish

The emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator) has to be one of the most stunning fish you could encounter underwater.

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Firefish Saltwater Species Profile

Firefish

The firefish does exceptionally well in almost any type of marine aquarium. This fish is almost always available at local fish stores at very reasonable prices.

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Forceps Butterfly Saltwater Species Profile

Forceps Butterfly

The forceps or longnose butterfly is a striking fish – the majority of the body is bright yellow, with the front being dark blue above the mouth and silver below. And the mouth consists of a very long snout, ending in a small mouth.

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Frogfish Saltwater Species Profile

Frogfish

Frogfish are members of the Antennariidae family. They are found in tropical oceans and seas around the world. Frogfish are relatively small; the largest is about 15 inches, but most only grow to around 2 to 4 inches in length.

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Goby Saltwater Species Profile

Goby

Gobies form the family Gobiidae, which is one of the largest families of fish, with more than 2,000 species in more than 200 genera. Gobies are small fish, reaching an average of 3 to 4 inches in length.

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Green Chromis Saltwater Species Profile

Green Chromis

The green chromis makes an excellent aquarium fish, as do most chromis fish found in local fish stores. It is almost always available at reasonable prices, and the only word of warning is that it is best kept in groups of six or more fish of the same species.

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Grouper Saltwater Species Profile

Grouper

Groupers are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae. The common name “grouper” is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus and Mycteroperca.

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Hawaiian Wrasse Saltwater Species Profile

Hawaiian Wrasse

The Hawaiian wrasse, like its cousin the common cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus, should not be purchased by hobbyists or sold by local fish stores. It is an obligate parasite feeder, which means that it eats only the parasites that it picks off other fishes.

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Hawkfish Saltwater Species Profile

Hawkfish

Hawkfish are tropical marine fish of the family Cirrhitidae. They are found on coral reefs in tropical ocean waters around the world. A length of 3 to 5 inches is average. Popular aquarium species include the longnose hawkfish and the flame hawkfish.

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Hippo Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Hippo Tang

The hippo tang has become extremely popular since Disney’s Finding Nemo came out. In the movie, Marlin, Nemo’s father, befriends a hippo tang named Dory.

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Jawfish Saltwater Species Profile

Jawfish

The jawfish (also called the “pearly” jawfish), is one of the most interesting and easy-to-keep fish available. This little fish is quite comical looking, always standing on its tail, bobbing up and down and eager to either dash out for a morsel of food or quickly back into the safety of its burrow.

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Koran Angelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Koran Angelfish

One of the most amazing things about keeping a juvenile Pomacanthus angelfish is to watch the transformation of the color pattern as it changes from a juvenile to an adult. The pigmentation of the various size classes are very different.

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Lionfish Saltwater Species Profile

Lionfish

A lionfish is any of several species of venomous marine fish in the family Scorpaenidae. Lionfish are native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region of the world, but have been spotted in the warmer coral regions of the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.

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Longhorned Cowfish Saltwater Species Profile

Longhorned Cowfish

Although the cute little yellow longhorned cowfish that is offered for sale in your local fish store are so adorable that it literally begs to be taken home to your tank, this is not a fish to be bought on impulse (actually, no fish should be bought without knowing about it’s habits and mature size).

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Longnosed Hawkfish Saltwater Species Profile

Longnosed Hawkfish

This very interesting and comical fish makes a fine addition to most tanks, although it is not to be trusted in a reef tank with small shrimps.

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Lyretail Anthias Saltwater Species Profile

Lyretail Anthias

Of all of the anthias, the lyretail is just about the most cantankerous and territorial.

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Marine Comet Saltwater Species Profile

Marine Comet

The marine comet (also known as the “marine betta”) is an absolutely stunning fish and makes a wonderful addition to any marine tank where the fish are not too aggressive. When the fish completely spreads its fins, it appears to be many times its actual size.

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Maroon Clown Saltwater Species Profile

Maroon Clown

The maroon clownfish is a strikingly beautiful fish, with its basic body color really not seen in any other marine fish. It is the only fish in the genus, and it is separated from the other clownfishes by the fact that it has a large cheek spine on each side of its head.

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Naso Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Naso Tang

The naso tang goes by a number of different common names, often called the “lipstick” tang for the fact that the lips of the fish look like they were painted in place. However, it is universally called “Naso”, which is its genus.

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Pajama Cardinal Saltwater Species Profile

Pajama Cardinal

Very similar to its cousin the Banggai cardinal, the pajama cardinal (also called “PJ”) is found in a much greater range throughout the western Pacific, whereas the Banggai is limited to one group of islands.

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Panther Grouper Saltwater Species Profile

Panther Grouper

If you drop in at any good seafood restaurant in Hong Kong (or other places in the Far East) you will often see panther groupers in aquariums. These fish are food, not pets, and the clientele of the restaurant like their fish fresh.

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Peach Anthias Saltwater Species Profile

Peach Anthias

The peach anthias is found in the wild in great numbers, and in an aquarium it needs to be kept in schools of at least 10 to 12 fish. Because it needs a lot of swimming room it should be kept in as large a tank as possible, with a 100-gallon tank being the minimum size.

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Pennant butterflyfish Saltwater Species Profile

Pennant butterflyfish

Butterflyfishes are some of the most eye-catching fish in the aquarium hobby. The pennant bannerfish (Heniochus acuminatus) closely resembles the elegant Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus).

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Percula Clown Saltwater Species Profile

Percula Clown

The percula clownfish is probably the most easily recognized of all marine fish, especially after the movie where it starred as “Nemo.” The vision of a percula clownfish nestling in amongst the tentacles of a sea anemone has probably gotten more hobbyists started than any other fish.

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Porcupine Puffer Saltwater Species Profile

Porcupine Puffer

This fish probably has more common names than any other fish – in addition to being called the porcupine puffer, it is also called the spiny puffer, hedgehog fish, balloon fish, plus a slew of others.

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Powder Blue Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Powder Blue Tang

The powder blue tang (often called by its scientific species name leucosternon) is one of the most beautiful and coveted fish for marine aquariums.

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Pufferfish Saltwater Species Profile

Pufferfish

Pufferfish belong to the family Tetraodontidae, which includes puffers, balloonfish, blowfish, bubblefish, globefish, swellfish, toadfish and toadies. Puffers are known for certain species’ ability to inflate when threatened, which they achieve by swallowing water.

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Queen Angelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Queen Angelfish

The moniker angelfish is a misnomer in the case of the queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) — this fish is often anything but angelic.

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Rabbitfish Saltwater Species Profile

Rabbitfish

Rabbitfish are perciform fish in the family Siganidae. They are found in shallow lagoons in the Indo-Pacific and eastern Mediterranean. Rabbitfish have small mouths, large dark eyes and a peaceful temperament. They are colorful, but have venomous dorsal and anal fin spines.

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Royal Gramma Saltwater Species Profile

Royal Gramma

The royal gramma is really an excellent fish for a marine aquarium, including a reef tank. Very hardy, colorful and interesting to watch, this fish’s coloration consists of purple to dark blue in the front half of the body, bright yellow in the rear, and a black lighting strike through the eye.

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Seahorse Saltwater Species Profile

Seahorse

The seahorse is by far one of the most interesting fish the hobby has to offer. Available in sizes from the very small dwarfs, who barely reach 2 inches, some of the huge Pacific seahorses can be a foot long.

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Sergeant major Saltwater Species Profile

Sergeant major

When it comes time to stock a new marine reef tank, a fish-only-with-live-rock tank or a specialized marine biotope (coral reef lagoon, reef face, reef cave, etc.), domestic aquarists are most often predisposed to go with Indo-Pacific fishes, corals and invertebrates.

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Soldierfish Saltwater Species Profile

Soldierfish

The Holocentridae is a family of ray-finned fish known as squirrelfish or soldierfish. These are found in the tropical Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. They generally grow to a length of 10 to 14 inches.

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Squarespot Anthias Saltwater Species Profile

Squarespot Anthias

The squarespot anthias takes its name from a square or sometimes rectangular spot on the side of the male fish. This spot may vary in size from being very small to almost taking up more than half of the fish’s side.

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Squirrelfish Saltwater Species Profile

Squirrelfish

Squirrelfish are saltwater species belonging to the family Holocentridae. They are typically found in tropical waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

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Striped Burrfish Saltwater Species Profile

Striped Burrfish

In a Seussian world of diffendoofers, bar-ba-loots and loraxes, one might certainly expect to cross paths with a striped burrfish (aka the spiny puffer).

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Surgeonfish Saltwater Species Profile

Surgeonfish

Surgeonfish, also known as tangs, are marine fish belonging to the family Acanthuridae. These fish are characterized by a pair of sharp spines located on either side of the tail. Several species are popular in the home aquarium, including the yellow tang, blue tang and purple tang.

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Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Tang

Tangs, also known as surgeonfish, are marine fish belonging to the family Acanthuridae. These fish are characterized by a pair of sharp spines located on either side of the tail. Several species are popular in the home aquarium, including the yellow tang, blue tang and purple tang.

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Threadfin Anthias Saltwater Species Profile

Threadfin Anthias

The threadfin anthias is a wonderful fish with lots of things to recommend it to the hobbyist. It is beautifully colored, almost always on the move, and once it begins to take food in an aquarium it is a good feeder.

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Triggerfish Saltwater Species Profile

Triggerfish

Triggerfish are marine fish from the family Balistidae. Many are brightly colored and can grow quite large, with some species reaching up to 2½ feet in length.

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Twinspot goby Saltwater Species Profile

Twinspot goby

Physical description: Signigobius biocellatus is a small (3-4 inch) goby that features two black spots on each side of its dorsal fins, giving it its name. Its colorful pelvic fin (blackish with blurplish dots) serves as a perch of sorts as the fish moves about the substrate.

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Wrasse Saltwater Species Profile

Wrasse

Wrasses, marine fish belonging to the family Labridae, are considered “reef safe” and inhabit coral reef environments around the world.

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Yellow boxfish Saltwater Species Profile

Yellow boxfish

The yellow boxfish is an interesting but challenging fish to keep in the marine aquarium. While cute as juveniles, the yellow boxfish can grow up to 18 inches so a very large aquarium is required to house this species.

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Yellow Tang Saltwater Species Profile

Yellow Tang

The yellow tang is a standard fish for marine aquariums. It is hardy, fairly resistant to disease, and in general a good citizen for either a fish-only or reef aquarium. The yellow tang is probably the fish caught in the most quantities in Hawaii.

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Yellowtail Damsel Saltwater Species Profile

Yellowtail Damsel

One of the more peaceful damselfishes, the yellowtail damsel is an excellent fish for beginning hobbyists. It can be kept in small groups if the tank is large enough and there are sufficient hiding places and bolt-holes for it in the rockwork.

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