Saltwater Fish are fish that are found in the oceans or marine environments. Saltwater fish are categorized based on the marine environment they live in. Attributes that define a marine environment for a saltwater fish are, the temperature of the water, the depth or flow of the water, the water’s PH, the amount of salt in the water, the alkalinity of the water, and the location of the water including coastal environments to coral reefs and open oceans. Saltwater Fish can either live alone or in big groups of fish, called schools. Saltwater Fish can be hunted for food or to keep in captivity, such as aquariums, for entertainment.

What do saltwater fish eat?


Saltwater fish can carry carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore diets. Herbivore saltwater fish consume both microalgae and macroalgae as well as seagrasses. A carnivore’s diet typically consists of shrimp, plankton, and tiny crustaceans. Some carnivores may eat worms, clams, and parasites. Most carnivore saltwater fish will not eat algae even if they are starving.

Why can’t saltwater fish live in freshwater?

Saltwater fish are not able to live in freshwater because their bodies are concentrated from salt solution. Saltwater fish would not be able to osmoregulate correctly in freshwater. Freshwater would flow into their body up to the point where all cells can accumulate water causing them to bloat and die.

How do you acclimate saltwater fish?

Saltwater fish can be acclimated in a couple of ways. This can be done by modifying the water’s salinity, altering the pH of the water, and using the drip method or the floating method. It is important to acclimate saltwater fish because changes in salinity, water temperature, and water chemistry can cause stresses that shock the fish to death.

Saltwater Fish Guides
Browse through our curated Saltwater Fish Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Saltwater Fish. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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.9”-1.5” | 2.4-3.8 cm
3.1”-5.1” | 8-13 cm
8-10 years
Amazon Puffer
3.800
13.000
10.00
3250
GUIDE
3D
Amazon Puffer
10”-23” | 25.4-58.4 cm
5.5’-14’ | 1.7-4.3 m
200-1800 lb | 90-816 kg
20-30 years
Atlantic Blue Marlin
58.400
430.000
816.000
30.00
1500
GUIDE
3D
Atlantic Blue Marlin
24”-50” | 61-127 cm
7’-15’ | 2.1-4.6 m
550–2000 lb | 250-907 kg
15-30 years
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
127.000
460.000
907.000
30.00
4300
GUIDE
3D
Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
13”-20” | 33-50.8 cm
7.5’-11’ | 2.3-3.4 m
132-220 lb | 60-100 kg
10-15 years
Atlantic Sailfish
50.800
340.000
100.000
15.00
450
GUIDE
3D
Atlantic Sailfish
12”-19” | 30.5-48 cm
5’-8’ | 152-244 cm
60-280 lb | 27-127 kg
30-55 years
Atlantic Tarpon
48.000
244.000
127.000
55.00
700
GUIDE
3D
Atlantic Tarpon
26”-49” | 66-125 cm
6.6-8.8 lb | 3-4 kg
10-15 years
Australian Ghost Shark
125.000
4.000
15.00
550
GUIDE
3D
Australian Ghost Shark
1.4”-2” | 3.5-5 cm
9.1”-13.8” | 23-35 cm
3-6 years
Big-Belly Seahorse
5.000
35.000
6.00
1250
GUIDE
3D
Big-Belly Seahorse
3.5”-6.5” | 8.9-16.5 cm
16”-30” | 40-75 cm
7-20 lb | 3-9 kg
10-20 years
Bonefish
16.500
75.000
9.000
20.00
100
GUIDE
3D
Bonefish
3.5”-12.6” | 9-32 cm
10”-36” | 25.4-91.4 cm
11-22 lb | 5-10 kg
8-11 years
Common Hogfish
32.000
91.400
10.000
11.00
45080
GUIDE
3D
Common Hogfish
.4”-1” | 1-2.5 cm
2.75”-6.7” | 7-17 cm;
1-4 years
Common Seahorse
2.500
17.000
4.00
240800
GUIDE
3D
Common Seahorse
5.1”-5.9” | 13-15 cm
7”-8” | 18-20 cm
4-10 years
Copperband Butterflyfish
15.000
20.000
10.00
3700
GUIDE
3D
Copperband Butterflyfish
.1”-.2” | .3-.6 cm
1”-2” | 2.5-5.1 cm
1-2 years
Dwarf Seahorse
0.600
5.100
2.00
3900
GUIDE
3D
Dwarf Seahorse
7.9”-22” | 20-56 cm
10’-26.2’ | 3-8 m; 36’ | 11 m (Max)
882-1,322 lb | 400-600 kg
7-12 years
Giant Oarfish
56.000
800.000
600.000
12.00
21900
GUIDE
3D
Giant Oarfish
10”-20” | 25.4-50.8 cm
33”-67” | 85-170 cm
33-132 lb | 15-60 kg
10-25 years
Giant Trevally
50.800
170.000
60.000
25.00
4700
GUIDE
3D
Giant Trevally
3.3”-3.9” | 8.5-10 cm
8.3”-9.8” | 21-25 cm
.9-1.2 oz | .02-.03 kg
15-20 years
Hairy Frogfish
10.000
25.000
0.030
20.00
5250
GUIDE
3D
Hairy Frogfish
1”-1.4” | 2.5-3.5 cm
5”-7.5” | 13-19 cm
1-4 years
Lined Seahorse
3.500
19.000
4.00
1800
GUIDE
3D
Lined Seahorse
6.5”-10.5” | 16.5-26.7 cm
33”-55” | 84-140 cm
15-40 lb | 7-18 kg
4-5 years
Mahi-Mahi
26.700
140.000
18.000
5.00
6200
GUIDE
3D
Mahi-Mahi
.6”-1.4” | 1.5-3.5 cm
1.5”-4” | 4-10 cm
.4-.7 lb | .2-.3 kg
3-6 years
Ocellaris Clownfish
3.500
10.000
0.300
6.00
10700
GUIDE
3D
Ocellaris Clownfish
5.5”-8.7” | 14-22 cm
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm
2.5-3.5 lb | 1.1-1.6 kg
15-20 years
Queen Angelfish
22.000
45.000
1.600
20.00
7650
GUIDE
3D
Queen Angelfish
3.1”-4.3” | 8-11 cm
11-15” | 28-38 cm
1-2.6 lb | .5-1.2 kg
10-18 years
Red Lionfish
11.000
38.000
1.200
18.00
10100
GUIDE
3D
Red Lionfish
2.6”-4.3” | 6.5-11 cm
9.8”-15.75” | 25-40 cm
.7-.9 lb | .3-.4 kg
9-12 years
Red-Lipped Batfish
11.000
40.000
0.400
12.00
11800
GUIDE
3D
Red-Lipped Batfish
3.7”-4.9” | 9.5-12.5 cm
9.8”-11.8” | 25-30 cm
5-10 years
Reef Triggerfish
12.500
30.000
10.00
5750
GUIDE
3D
Reef Triggerfish
13”-16.5” | 33-41.9 cm
48”-63” | 122-160 cm
25-80 lb | 11-36 kg
20-35 years
Roosterfish
41.900
160.000
36.000
35.00
3000
GUIDE
3D
Roosterfish
Wahoo
41000
6.5”-12” | 16.5-30.5 cm
40”-72” | 102-183 cm
15-40 lb | 7-18 kg
5-9 years
Wahoo
30.500
183.000
18.000
9.00
41000
GUIDE
3D
Wahoo
.6”-2.6” | 1.5-6.5 cm
3.9”-12.2” | 10-31 cm
5-8 years
Yellow Goatfish
6.500
31.000
8.00
430
GUIDE
3D
Yellow Goatfish
10.5”-20.5” | 26.7-52 cm
43”-83” | 110-210 cm
300-400 lb | 136-181 kg
5-10 years
Yellowfin Tuna
52.000
210.000
181.000
10.00
22000
GUIDE
3D
Yellowfin Tuna
Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Copperband Butterflyfish to other saltwater fish

The Copperband Butterflyfish, known scientifically as Chelmon rostratus, is a long-beaked fish that belongs to the chelmon family with two other species. The identifying traits of the Copperband Butterflyfish include its vertical yellow banding, dark spot on the top of its dorsal fin, and its appearance of being taller than it is long. The Copperband Butterfly fish is usually found populating coral reefs and shorelines, but can also be kept as aquarium pets. However, the Copperband Butterflyfish is not a beginner friendly aquarium fish and requires precision and dedication to be take care of properly.

You can’t miss seeing the Copperband Butterflyfish when snorkeling in either the Pacific or the Indian Ocean or during a visit to any aquarium. Some communities call it the beaked coralfish, orange stripe butterfly, or beaked butterflyfish. It has a compressed, deep-body, making it look taller than its length. The dorsal and posterior fins as well are long. It also has a false eyespot on the dorsal fin and a long narrow snout used for picking food in crevices and holes. There is a dark band visible at the base of the tail running perpendicular to the tail.



Copperband Butterflyfishs have a total length between 7”-8” (18-20 cm) and body height of 5.1”-5.9” (13-15 cm). The typical lifespan of the Copperband Butterflyfish is in the range of 4-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Copperband Butterflyfish in various poses
The Copperband Butterflyfish, known scientifically as Chelmon rostratus, is a long-beaked fish that belongs to the chelmon family with two other species. The identifying traits of the Copperband Butterflyfish include its vertical yellow banding and dark spot on the top of its dorsal fin.

Copperband Butterflyfishs have a total length between 7”-8” (18-20 cm) and body height of 5.1”-5.9” (13-15 cm). The typical lifespan of the Copperband Butterflyfish is in the range of 4-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Copperband Butterflyfish in various poses
Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus)
Height:
5.1”-5.9” | 13-15 cm
Width:
Length:
7”-8” | 18-20 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Chelmon rostratus
Lifespan
4-10 years

Drawings include:

Copperband Butterflyfish side elevation, front

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Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Lined Seahorse compared to other saltwater fish

The lined seahorse can be found in aquariums and traditional medicine. They are very good at imitating their habitat. The Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) belongs to the family Syngnathidae and is also called spotted seahorse, seahorse, northern seahorse, and horsefish. They are found in western Atlantic oceans from Canada to the Caribbean, south of Mexico, and Venezuela. Males are distinguished from females by their large bodies and long tails. The lined seahorse practices a monogamous lifestyle with males being the primary caregiver. They have a brawny and upright appearance and also an armor-like body covered in several bony plates. Their names come from the distinct white lines on their neck.

Lined Seahorses have a total length between 5”-7.5” (13-19 cm) and body height of 1”-1.4” (2.5-3.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lined Seahorse is in the range of 1-4 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Lined Seahorse
The lined seahorse can be found in aquariums and traditional medicine. They are very good at imitating their habitat. The Lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus) belongs to the family Syngnathidae and is also called spotted seahorse, seahorse, northern seahorse, and horsefish.

Lined Seahorses have a total length between 5”-7.5” (13-19 cm) and body height of 1”-1.4” (2.5-3.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Lined Seahorse is in the range of 1-4 years.

Set of scaled elevation drawings of the Lined Seahorse
Lined Seahorse (Hippocampus erectus)
Height:
1”-1.4” | 2.5-3.5 cm
Width:
Length:
5”-7.5” | 13-19 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Hippocampus erectus
Lifespan
1-4 years

Drawings include:

Lined Seahorse side elevation, front

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Atlantic Tarpon
Dimensioned comparison drawing of the Atlantic Tarpon compared to an average person

The Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) can be found in the Atlantic ocean and Indo-Pacific seas and also often in freshwater environments. They belong to the family Megalopidae and love warm shallow darker waters having sandy and muddy bottoms.

They sport large eyes, shiny silvery scales, and blue to green backs plus an elongated dorsal fin ray and anal fin ray. The Tarpon exhibit three distinctive levels of development that take place in varying habitats. It is a popular game fish because of its high-flying antics, elusive nature, size, and fighting spirit. Besides, the tarpon also has a swim bladder that it also uses as a respiratory organ.

Atlantic Tarpons have a total length between 5’-8’ (152-244 cm), body height of 12”-19” (30.5-48 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 60-280 lb (27-127 kg). The typical lifespan of the Atlantic Tarpon is 30-55 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Atlantic Tarpon seen from the side and front
The Atlantic Tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) can be found in the Atlantic ocean and Indo-Pacific seas and also often in freshwater environments. They belong to the family Megalopidae and sport large eyes, shiny silvery scales, and blue to green backs plus an elongated dorsal and anal fin rays.

Atlantic Tarpons have a total length between 5’-8’ (152-244 cm), body height of 12”-19” (30.5-48 cm), and an overall weight in the range of 60-280 lb (27-127 kg). The typical lifespan of the Atlantic Tarpon is 30-55 years.

Pair of elevation illustrations of the Atlantic Tarpon seen from the side and front
Atlantic Tarpon
Height:
12”-19” | 30.5-48 cm
Width:
Length:
5’-8’ | 152-244 cm
Depth:
Weight:
60-280 lb | 27-127 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Megalops atlanticus
Lifespan
30-55 years

Drawings include:

Atlantic Tarpon side elevation, front

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Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Queen Angelfish to other saltwater fish

The Queen Angelfish, scientifically as Holacanthus ciliaris, is a colorful, coral dwelling marine fish identified by its notable forehead marking. It is the forehead marking that differentiates the queen angelfish from the similar (to the point of being able to interbreed) Bermuda blue angelfish. Queen Angelfish are found near the ocean floor in warm, Atlantic waters that house coral reefs. The Queen Angelfish lives in harems that consist of one male and as many as four females. Within this group, the male Queen Angelfish tends to the females and they breed in correlation with the full moon.

On the heads of the Queen Angelfish is a speckled blue-ringed black spot, from which it gets its name. It is easily identified by its colorful appearance. The body is covered in electric blue, while the tail has a yellow blaze with light purple and orange highlights. It has long upper and lower fins streaming dramatically behind it. The head is round, and the mouth beak-like. The Queen Angelfish is a shy marine ray-finned fish found in the warm parts of the Western Atlantic Ocean, preferring to be near reefs. It is also called golden angelfish, blue angelfish, or yellow angelfish, found in pairs or alone and prefer forming monogamous relationships.



Queen Angelfish have a total length between 11.8”-17.7” (30-45 cm) and body height of 5.5”-8.7” (14-22 cm). The typical weight of the Queen Angelfish is in the range of 2.5-3.5 lb (1.1-1.6 kg). Queen Angelfish have lifespans between 15-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Queen Angelfish in various poses
The Queen Angelfish, scientifically as Holacanthus ciliaris, is a colorful, coral dwelling marine fish identified by its notable forehead marking. It is the forehead marking that differentiates the queen angelfish from the similar (to the point of being able to interbreed) Bermuda blue angelfish.

Queen Angelfish have a total length between 11.8”-17.7” (30-45 cm) and body height of 5.5”-8.7” (14-22 cm). The typical weight of the Queen Angelfish is in the range of 2.5-3.5 lb (1.1-1.6 kg). Queen Angelfish have lifespans between 15-20 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Queen Angelfish in various poses
Queen Angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris)
Height:
5.5”-8.7” | 14-22 cm
Width:
Length:
11.8”-17.7” | 30-45 cm
Depth:
Weight:
2.5-3.5 lb | 1.1-1.6 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Holacanthus ciliaris
Lifespan
15-20 years

Drawings include:

Queen Angelfish side elevation, front

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Reef Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Reef Triggerfish to other saltwater fish

The Reef Triggerfish, known scientifically as Rhinecanthus rectangulus, are small, yet aggressive, brightly colored diamond shaped fish. Also known by its Hawaiian name, the Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a, the reef triggerfish is the state fish of Hawai’i. However, Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a is also the name for a separate fish, the lagoon triggerfish. In Hawaiian Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a means “triggerfish with a snout shaped like a pig.” The Reef Triggerfish uses this snout to blow air to disrupt the sandy ocean floor in search of food. The Reef Triggerfish is found in the Indo-Pacific ocean and is known to bite those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it in its natural habitat, coral reefs, as it is not welcoming to newcomers in its home.

It is also called wedgetail triggerfish or rectangular triggerfish. This triggerfish is easily identified by its "pig-like" snout, angular body, fin arrangement, distinctive color pattern, and characteristic dorsal spine. The teeth and top lip are blue, while the whole body is covered in blocks of colors. It can change body color depending on its surroundings. The eyes are set atop the head, and it has a very strong rigid forward spine on the dorsal fin used for self-defense. The reef triggerfish is a solitary animal and very aggressive.



Reef Triggerfishs have a total length between 9.8”-11.8” (25-30 cm) and body height of 3.7”-4.9” (9.5-12.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Reef Triggerfish is in the range of 5-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Reef Triggerfish in various poses
The Reef Triggerfish, known scientifically as Rhinecanthus rectangulus, are small, yet aggressive, brightly colored diamond shaped fish. Also known by its Hawaiian name, the Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a, the reef triggerfish is the state fish of Hawai’i.

Reef Triggerfishs have a total length between 9.8”-11.8” (25-30 cm) and body height of 3.7”-4.9” (9.5-12.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Reef Triggerfish is in the range of 5-10 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Reef Triggerfish in various poses
Reef Triggerfish (Rhinecanthus rectangulus)
Height:
3.7”-4.9” | 9.5-12.5 cm
Width:
Length:
9.8”-11.8” | 25-30 cm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Rhinecanthus rectangulus
Lifespan
5-10 years

Drawings include:

Reef Triggerfish side elevation, front

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