Saltwater Fish: Salt Water Fish Guide

Saltwater fish swim in water that has a higher amount of salt than their own bodies. Because of this reality, a saltwater fish actually loses water to its environment and therefore needs to drink water to remain healthy. Salt water fish must get rid of the excess salt in their bodies for them to be in harmony with their saltwater environment. This means that their bodies have to work harder than freshwater fish have to with their environment.


Angelfish are a popular sight in saltwater environments because of their distinctive look and their vibrant colors and patterns. Angelfish generally come in two varieties: the larger size and the dwarf size, both of which break down even further into more distinct types. These saltwater fish need a large amount of vegetable matter in their diets. When an angelfish undergoes its maturation process, it is not uncommon for it to change its coloration in a major fashion.

· Angelfish Behavior: Explores different angelfish and their varying behavior.

· Fishlore: Provides details and specifics about angelfish.


Anthias are a common form of saltwater fish that are observable in many reef settings. A member of the same family of fishes that belongs to the bass and grouper set, anthias are generally smaller fish that are known for developing sophisticated social structures founded upon the number of males and females. An interesting fact about anthias is that they are protogynous hermaphrodites and start out their lives as females. This means that females will often change their sex to become males if a dominant male somehow dies.

· Aquatic Community: Information on how to care for these saltwater fish.

· Aqua Con: Details about many different kinds of anthias.


The cardinalfish is a kind of shoaling fish, and it is mostly nocturnal and shy in nature. They are picky eaters that will reject tablets and other kinds prepared foods in preference of meaty foods. Those who keep cardinalfish as part of their saltwater fish tanks are advised to keep frozen foods on hand. Cardinalfish are very sensitive to chemical levels of both ammonia and nitrates in their environment.

· Oceans, Reefs & Aquariums: Information on many different types of cardinalfish.

· Fish Channel: Information on the cardinalfish.


Rabbitfish, at times called foxfaces, are generally found in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Indo-Pacific in shallow lagoons. Their name comes from the fact that their mouths resemble those of rabbits. Size-wise, they can grow to almost 16 inches, and they are defined by their dark, large eyes and shy temperament. They can be identified by an unconventional feature: their pelvic fin. It is actually formed out of two spines and features three, soft rays in between them.

· Ocean Portal: Slideshow that features a rabbitfish; found in the slide entitled “Chimaera from the Deep.”

· Live Aquaria: Description and photos of one type of rabbitfish.


Gobies make up one of the most sizable families of fish: There are more than 200 genera and 2000 species of the family Gobiidae. These are a small kind of salt water fish, with most of them measuring no more than four inches in length. On more rare occasions, there are larger types of gobies that can even exceed one foot in length, but that is not the norm. The territory of gobies is primarily in shallower waters like seagrass meadows, coral reefs and tide pools.

· Breeder’s Registry: Article that goes into in-depth detail about gobies.

· Fish of the Great Lakes: Description of the Round Goby that lives in the Great Lakes.


Hawkfish are types of saltwater fish that are great in saltwater fish tanks that contain fish-only. Hawkfish are not regarded as reef safe fish because they have a habit of preying on smaller shrimp and mobile invertebrates. They lack a swim bladder, too, which is why they can be seen resting among branches of corals or in the crevices of rocks. Diet-wise, hawkfish require small meaty foods and spirulina, a type of cephalopod, to establish a varied diet.

· Oceanoasis: Brief information concerning a type of hawkfish, the coral hawkfish.

· Reef Guide: Brief statistical information about hawkfish, along with many, vibrant photos.


Scorpionfish tend to generally be more inactive than other saltwater fish, which is why they can be kept in smaller aquariums of even 30 gallons. This type of fish is a very picky eater in that it will never eat anything except for live food. Some of its most favorite types of prey species include ghost shrimp, mollies and guppies. Scorpionfish are venomous saltwater fish, so if people want to include this type in their fish tanks, they must exercise precise caution in handling them.

· Spiny cheek Scorpionfish: Close-up photo of this kind of scorpionfish.

· Marine Bio: Detailed description of a kind of scorpionfish, the spotted scorpionfish.


A family of perciform fish, snappers are found mostly in saltwater environments, but on more rare occasions, they can be found in estuaries and feeding in freshwater. One of the most famous types of snapper is the common red snapper, and any snapper can generally be found in all regions of the world’s oceans, so long as the region is in a sub-tropical or tropical location. The family of snappers is quite large with approximately 100 species belonging to 16 genera. Most of these snappers grow too quickly and too large to become ideal pets for keeping in saltwater aquariums.

· Louisiana Fisheries: Information about habits and characteristics of the red snapper.

· University of Southern Mississippi: Information about a program to conserve the red snapper.


While batfish can be considered attractive to look at, they are not ideal pets inside of saltwater fish tanks because of their tendency to become huge in size, relative to the proportions of a regular saltwater fish tank. They tend to quickly grow into footlong saltwater fish, which creates havoc for aquarium owners who often will then require a 200 or 300-gallon tank to accommodate just one. They are not considered reef safe fish, but they will eat a huge quantity of meaty foods. Their body shape is disk-like; they have long and tall anal as well as dorsal fins.

· Polka-dot Batfish: Information concerning this specific type of batfish.

· Rense: Article about an unusual-looking batfish being caught.


Triggerfish can sometimes be seen as a threat to invertebrates, which they like to devour. Their temperament can at times be considered aggressive, so much so that they sometimes require their own saltwater fish tank with no other fish species present. Triggerfish can on average grow to a size of between 8 to 20 inches. Saltwater fish tanks that are spacious and possess effective filtration are also necessary for this salt water fish type.

· Florida Museum of Natural History: Description of one kind of triggerfish, the gray triggerfish.

· Triggerfish: Descriptions and photos of different kinds of triggerfish.

Saltwater fish are harder to care for than freshwater fish, but they are more exciting to look at. With so many different types of saltwater fish, the sky is almost the limit with regards to what kinds of species you can fill your aquarium with. Here are some links to more information about saltwater fish.

· Saltwater Fish of Western Washington: Talks about the different kinds of saltwater fish in Western Washington.

· Marine Ornamental Market: Highlights the growing trend of saltwater fish tank owners.

· Newsline: Article discussing the problems with mercury contamination in saltwater fish.

· Floating Fish: Series of experiments that involve saltwater fish.

· Animals – water balance and excretion: Discusses saltwater fish and osmosis, in part.

· Encyclopedia of Alabama: Informational article talking about fishing for saltwater fish in Alabama.

· Saltwater Fish: Website that sells all kinds of saltwater fish tank equipment.

· Department of Health and Human Services: Information about saltwater fish in Maine, which may be contaminated.