Nutrition is an important factor for your saltwater fish and invertebrates to thrive and survive.

It is hard for the saltwater hobbyist to provide foods that are good substitutes for those normally eaten in the saltwater fishes’ natural habitat since majority of them are caught in the wild.

They rely entirely on you to meet their dietary needs. The diet must include a wide variety so that it can support the correct amount of nutrients they need.

Many species have strict requirements for only certain types of food. Some examples are:



They only eat live foods.





Butterfly Fish

Some selection of butterfly fish only feed on live corals.







Lion Fish

Lion Fish requires a regular supply of live small fish.




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Beginning aquarist sometimes may be fascinated with the colors and variety of saltwater fish and invertebrates that they tend to buy them without knowing that they are difficult to keep alive and healthy.

The health and longevity of saltwater fish depends on the quality and quantity of the diet.

To reduce disease and other stress related problems, their diets must be varied.

It can include:

Feeding Categories

3 Classification of Saltwater Fish Species:


Powder Blue Surgeon Fish

Herbivores feed on plant materials. Some examples are surgeonfish and parrotfish.

Large quantities of algae are consumed in their natural habitat.

You can also substitute their diet with household vegetables, like lettuce or spinach.

Make sure you wash any fresh foods from the market before adding hem to your aquarium.

They have long intestinal track which allows them linger time to digest food.



Carnivores are fish and invertebrates that are predators.

They feed on other fishes, invertebrates or both.

Examples of carnivores are hawk fishes, gobies, eels and sharks.

They eat a variety of animals ranging from tiny plankton to large species of fish.

On the contrary to herbivores, they have shorter intestines for digesting foods.


Omnivores feed on a variety of both plant and animals. They have no specific dietary needs. Majority of the saltwater fish belongs to this category.


They have developed an intestinal track that is suited to digest a selection of foods.

Many invertebrates are omnivorous as well and will find organic matter and algae from the substrate.

As a beginner hobbyist, don’t worry about special feeding strategies when setting up your aquarium for the first time.

These fish will eat commercially prepared fake and pellet foods. But you should also provide a variety of foods which is necessary to meet their food requirements.

At the end of this all, always remember that by feeding them different types of food that the saltwater fish requires, they are more likely to obtain all the requirements of their nutrition.

Related Article:
Building Blocks of Saltwater Fish Nutrition

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