Listed are five starter aquariums you can use as a guide and starting point for your first collection of species.
Try to balance sizes, temperaments, activity levels, and colors for a successful and pleasing mix of fishes.
40-Gallon Peaceful Community Tank
- 1 pair Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion Ocellaris)
- 2 Pajama Cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
- 1 to 2 Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica) or 2 to 3 Neon Gobies (Gobiosoma oceanops)
- 1 shrimp goby (e.g. Cryptocentrus or Amblyeleotris ssp.), if available.
NOTE: A 36-inch-long tank will be enough as a choice for starter aquariums for this collection of docile but very colorful and interesting fishes.
40- to 50-Gallon Mixed Community Tank
- 3 to 5 Yellowtail Damselfishes (Chrysiptera parasema) or 1 to 2 Golden or Canary Wrasses (Halichoeres chrysus)
- 1 Flame Angelfish (Centropyge loricula) or 1 Flame Hawkfish (Neocirrhites armatus)
- 1 Midas Blenny (Ecsenius midas) or 1 Lawnmower Blenny (Salarias Fasciatus)
- 1 small Foxface Rabbitfish (Siganus vulpinus) or 1 small Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavescens)
NOTE: A 40-gallon “long” aquarium (48-inch length) is required to accomodated a growing Foxface or tang.
55- to 75-Gallon Mixed Community Tank
- 1 to 2 Yellowtail Blue (Hippo) Tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus)
- 5 to 7 Blue Green Chromis (Chromis viridis)
- 1 Coral Beauty Angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)
- 1 Longnose Hawkfish (Oxycirrhites typus)
- 2 to 3 Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni)
NOTE: The Yellowtail Blue Tangs suggested will coexist in this starter aquarium, but most other surgeonfish or tang species should be kept 1 in an aquarium at a time to avoid fighting.
70- to 90-Gallon Caribbean Community
- 1 Cherub Angelfish (Centropyge argi)
- 2 adult Royal Grammas (Gramma loreto) or 2 Blackcap Basslets (Gramma melacara)
- 2 Flamefish (Apogon maculatus)
- 1 to 2 Blackbar Soldierfish (Apogon maculatus)
- 3 Chalk Bass (Serranus tortugarum)
- 1 Spotfin Hogfish (Bodianus pulchellus)
- 1 Swissguard Basslet (Liopropoma rubre) or 2 Blackcap Basslets (Gramma melacara)
NOTE: This collection takes a simplified biotope approach, with all species from the same general geographic area. Provide caves and some coral rubble in your starter aquarium to allow these fishes to display their natural behaviors.
120-Gallon Predator/Aggressive Tank
- 1 Volitans Lionfish (Pterois volitans) or 1 Zebra Lionfish (Dendrochirus zebra)
- 1 Picasso Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus aculeatus) or 1 Redtooth (Niger) Triggerfish (Odonus niger)
- 1 Arc-eye Hawkfish (Paracirrhites arcatus)
- 1 Purple Tang (Zebrasoma xanthurum) or 1 Yellow Tang (Zebrasoma flavascens)
- 1 V-taled Hind/Grouper (Cephalopholis urodeta)
- 1 moray eel (Family Muraenidae) e.g., Snowflake Moray (Echidna nebulosa) or Zebra Moray (Gymnomuraena zebra)
NOTE: This collection includes aggresive and large-growing species, some of which may eventually demand more space. In planning fo a system with an ell, the usual stocking rules based on teh body length of fishes can be relaxed somewhat to accomodate the moray’s elongated body plan and generally sedentary habits.
Reference: Paletta, Michael S.. 2001. The New Marine Aquarium, Step-by-Step Set Up and Stocking Guide. T.H.F. Publications, Neptune City, NJ