A beautiful fish for saltwater aquariums

Most Beautiful Saltwater Fish for Aquariums

Most people in the reef or saltwater aquarium hobby can agree that it is the fish that attracted them to the hobby in the first place. While corals may have taken a closer place in your heart, fish can be equally as crucial to adding another level of depth to your aquarium. You should take advantage of having access to the most beautiful fish in the world. Seeing those bright colors swim in and out of the rocks is a satisfying thing. Here are some of the most beautiful saltwater fish for aquariums.


Mandarin Dragonet

Maybe one of the most sought after fish in the hobby, the Mandarin Dragonet has one of the most intriguing color combinations. An orange body with light blue lines in artistic patterns, along with dark blue lining the edges and green highlights: what more could you want? The fish also has an interesting shape. Unlike most fish, this fish has a wider, dragon shaped body. The males have a large dorsal fin that they rise every now and then, giving them an extra level of beauty.

Aside from diet, these fish are fairly easy to keep and don’t require enormous tanks. Unsurprisingly, this makes them especially desired in the hobby.

Now that you know you want a Mandarin Dragonet, you need to know how to take care of it. These fish are labeled as difficult to keep, but over the past years, that has changed slightly. With dragonets that are accepting frozen food and more convenient availability to copepods, it has been easier than ever to keep a Mandarin Dragonet. If you buy a captive-bred one, it may already be eating frozen food or easy to train to eat frozen food. Along with that, you can seed your tank with copepods to ensure that it won’t starve. Do these things and you should be certain to have a healthy Mandarin Dragonet.

It can be easy, but it is also important that you keep in mind a few other things, such as tank size and maturity. A brand new tank may have a hard time keeping a stable supply of copepods because of the imbalances in chemistry and fluctuating levels of beneficial bacteria. Aside from that, a more mature tank will have a larger population of copepods because they are given more time to reproduce and grow. As for tank size, it is crucial to have a big enough tank for your Mandarin Dragonet, which may seem silly since it is a fairly small fish. In fact, it has nothing to do with the size of the fish, but rather the amount of space its prey needs. Dragonets can easily wipe out a copepod population in a smaller tank, leaving them without food. In a larger tank, there is enough rock work and space that large portions of copepods can continue to breed while the dragonet feasts. 50-gallons or larger is the ideal size tank for this fish.

Everyone knows about the Mandarin Dragonet and its beautiful colors, but the Psychedelic Dragonet is often looked past. In terms of care, it is the same fish, but it has a much different color pattern. On its white-gray body are orange, black, and neon blue spots with interesting stripes around its head. If you want something a little different than everyone else but just as stunning, go with Psychedelic Dragonet.

Coral Beauty

The Coral Beauty has colors from deep purples and bright blues to fiery oranges. There is no doubt about it, it is a beautiful fish.

It is categorized as a dwarf angel, as it is similar in shape to other angelfish, but is nowhere near as large. It is also capable of being put in a reef tank with some degree with caution. There is a chance that it may nip at some corals, but it just depends on the individual fish. If you are worried about it, you could put it in a separate system with some corals and see if nips at it. Other than that, this fish is easy to care for. It will eat most prepared foods and seaweed or nori. Avoid putting it with other angelfish unless you have a massively large tank. There are some instances where someone has gotten a Coral Beauty and a Flame Angle to get along in a smaller tank, but in most cases, they end up killing each other.

While these fish originate in the reefs of Indonesia and Fiji, they are now being captive bred, which gives hobbyists like you a higher chance at successfully keeping one of these magnificent fish. Like other captive-bred fish, these Coral Beauties are less susceptible to diseases such as ich and marine velvet and they better adapt to aquarium life. This makes the fish more happy and comfortable living in reef and saltwater aquarium systems.


Leopard Wrasse

The Leopard Wrasse is both a vibrantly colored fish and an active fish. As its name suggests, it has a captivating leopard pattern covering the entirety of its body. There are a few different types of leopard wrasses with different color varieties. Males are usually orange with blue spots, while females are white with black spots with orange and green accents. Some can have an intense green color or a mixture of black with blue spots and red with white spots. There are a few different types of Leopard Wrasses, but they are all generally the same in terms of care.

Being wrasses, they have the same care requirements as many other wrasses. You should always make sure there is a tightly secured lid on your tank. You would be surprised at how well a fish could get through a small opening. Along with that, it is important to have a deep sand bed because wrasses will sleep in the sand and hide there when they are scared. You will need at least a four inch sand bed.

Like the Mandarin Dragonet the fish’s dietary needs is what makes it difficult to keep successfully. These fish have a fast metabolism, which means they need to be fed two to three times per day. They are extremely finicky as well. Having a mature tank is important too, as matured tanks have a higher and more sustained population of copepods and other tiny crustaceans. For this reason, the Leopard Wrasse should be left for the experts of the hobby only.

The flashy colors of the Leopard wrasse are sure to catch the eyes of anyone who looks at your tank, but that comes at the price of a high level of difficulty


Blue Dot Jawfish

Also known as the Bluespotted Jawfish, the Blue Dot Jawfish originates from Mexico. It has a long body that displays iridescent blue spots on orange yellow. Jawfish are known for creating burrows in the sand bed. Unlike other Jawfish, the Blue Dot Jawfish build its burrows vertically. With that being said, you will need a fairly deep sand bed; five inches deep is the shallowest it can be.

Caring for this fish is simple to do. It will eat a wide variety of food such as pellets and frozen food. As long as it feels comfortable coming out of its burrow to eat, it will have no problems diet wise. If it feels threatened because it can not build a proper burrow or because there is a predator in the tank, it will not eat. This should not be an issue as long as you have a deep enough sand bed and peaceful tank mates. Like wrasses and many other fish, the Blue Dot Jawfish will jump out of your tank if there is no lid. Unless you want a Jawfish potato chip, make sure you have a tight lid on your tank.

The only downfall to this fish is the price. They can get up to $170. Although it is pricey compared to other fish, the expensive value makes one of the most beautiful saltwater fish for aquariums more desirable because of it rareness.

Even though some of these fish have special requirements that may be too difficult, you can still plan to have one of these fish in your tank later down the line. If you have the skills to keep one of these fish, don’t be afraid to give one a try. Adding a beautiful saltwater fish for aquariums such as a Leopard Wrasse or Blue Dot Jawfish is truly rewarding.

53 thoughts on “Most Beautiful Saltwater Fish for Aquariums”

  1. Mandarin Dragonets are on my wish list. I started seeding pods but I want to make sure that I have a large population before I buy one!

  2. I have 2 of these and absolutely adore them! Dragonet and Leopard Wrasse! I hope to add a jawfish soon too!
    Been a little nervous about the “with caution” for the coral beauty and my reef though. Don’t want to loose corals

  3. I want to get a captive bred mandarin dragonet from you guys, I cant wait till they are back in stock. I will be first to order one once they are!

  4. Wilfredo Robles

    i think the Parrot fish is also beautiful it was the first colorful saltwater fish i laid eyes on when i was snorkeling in the Caribbean when i was t 12 the i was hooked i have been in the hobby of reefing ever since then remember seeing so many of the

  5. A Mandarin Dragonet at the Brookfield Zoo is what got me to actually start a marine aquarium. It wasn’t until after that I found out how difficult they are to care for. Maybe one of these days I’ll have a tank that I feel is large enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle for one, but not today.

  6. superiorislandservices

    All beautiful fish. I have a Coral Beauty. The closer you look, the more amazing it’s colors are. Model citizen in my reef.

  7. Scott Carpenter

    I too am a wrasse fan as I have three…Red coris wrasse, melanurus (hoeven’s wrasse), yellow coris wrasse. All in a reef tank and two of those fish are saposaidly not reef safe; the red coris and yellow coris. I got hem when they were very young and never had any problems with either. I’ve had the red coris for 12 years now and hope he lives a few more.
    I have 11 fish total. The 3 wrasse and a mated pair of snow onyx clownfish, 2 yellow tail damsels, purple tang, blue throat trigger, flame angel and an aptasia eating filefish. I have had many different fish over the last 28 years. Most don’t die on me but sometimes I trade them for other beautiful fish. There’s nothing more calming and awesome than gazing into your own tank.

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