Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank

If you are looking for the best saltwater fish for a 30-gallon tank, there are a wide array of options available. The main question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to keep aggressive or peaceful fish. If you plan on keeping aggressive fish that might limit the types of fish you can safely keep in a 30-gallon aquarium. If instead you plan on keeping peaceful fish, you might be able to keep a wider variety of fish and invertebrates.


– Best Saltwater Fish for a 30 Gallon Tank –



Flame Angelfish

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Flame Angel
Credit: Andreas März

The Flame Angelfish (View Price) is one of the most popular saltwater fish for medium to large aquariums. Out of all the pygmy angels, the Flame Angelfish is one of the most vibrant and beautiful Angelfish available. The deep red and orange body with vertical black stripes and electric blue fin accents will make the Flame Angelfish a centerpiece of any aquarium.

The Flame Angel is a relatively simple fish to care for and is considered a good saltwater fish for beginners. The only real concern when it comes to keeping Flame Angels is their tendency to nip and damage corals. But this behavior is easily controlled by keeping a Flame Angel well fed. Flame Angelfish can also show a moderate level of aggression towards other fish, and this can be especially true in smaller aquariums.

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The minimum tank size that is required for keeping a single Flame Angel is 30 gallons. If you want to keep more than one Flame Angel a larger tank is recommended. But if you want to keep a single Flame Angel with a few smaller fish and invertebrates a 30-gallon tank will be more than acceptable.



Royal Dottyback

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Royal Dottyback

The Royal Dottyback (View Price) is a very attractive outgoing fish with a semi-aggressive temperament. The most prominent feature of the Royal Dotty Back is their half yellow and half purple body. The Royal Dottybacks unique coloration and outgoing personality will undoubtedly bring life to any sized saltwater aquarium.

Royal Dottybacks make a good saltwater fish for beginners since they tend to be very low maintenance. The one thing to be aware of when it comes to keeping a Royal Dottyback is that they are very territorial. Dottybacks will fight with fish of their own size and other members of their own species. If you want to keep more than one Royal Dottyback in the same tank, make sure to add the fish at the same time and have enough hiding spaces to limit territorial conflicts.

The minimum recommended tank size for a Royal Dottyback is 20 gallons. With a 30 gallon tank, you will be able to keep multiple Royal Dottybacks while limiting the risk of conflict. Or you can keep a single Royal Dottyback with a wide range of other semi-aggressive species.



Pajama Cardinal

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Pajama Cardinal
Credit: Brian Gratwicke

The Pajama Cardinal (View Price) is a peaceful schooling fish with a myriad of eye-catching colors. The rear of their body is mostly a silver color with red and orange dots, which to some people mimics the appearance of a pair of polka dot pajamas. And since the Pajama Cardinal is a nocturnal fish, they have very large red eyes that give them a great deal of character.

The Pajama Cardinal is one of the best saltwater aquarium fish for beginners, they are very easy to care for and they easily adapt to most aquarium conditions. They are also a very peaceful reef safe fish and are a great addition to a community tank or a nano reef aquarium. Since Pajama Cardinals are a schooling fish they should be kept in schools of at least three fish at a minimum.

A 30-gallon community tank is the perfect size aquarium to keep a small school of Pajama Cardinals. As long as the other fish in the aquarium are also peaceful fish, the slow-swimming Pajama Cardinals will get along just fine. Pajama Cardinal will also need a lot of hiding places, especially during they day when they tend to be less active.



Striped Blenny

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Striped Blenny
Credit: Nhobgood

The Striped Blenny (View Price) is a peaceful fish with a big personality. The Striped Blenny has black and yellow horizontal stripes. Their head tends to be bright yellow which fades to white towards the middle of their body. Striped Blennies are primarily herbivores, and they have rounded heads and very sharp teeth. The sharp teeth which are sometimes called fangs are designed to strip algae from rocks and corals.

Striped Blennies are usually a very peaceful fish but they will defend their territory. In most cases, a Striped Blenny will protect their hiding areas. Other than some minor territorial behavior they will generally get along with other similarly peaceful fish.

A 30-gallon tank is a perfect size for keeping a Striped Blenny. One thing to be aware of is that Striped Blennies are very good jumpers. If you have an aquarium with any openings or an insecure lid make sure to remedy any of those problems be fore adding a Striped Blenny to the aquarium.



Purple Firefish Goby

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Purple Firefish
Credit: Nat Tarbox

The Purple Firefish Goby (View Price) is a very attractive small fish perfectly suited for life in smaller aquariums. The Purple Firefish Goby is guaranteed to be a stand out specimen in any tank. With their white body and vibrant purple fins with orange accents, they will stand out in almost any well lit environment.

The Purple Firefish Goby is a very peaceful fish and will get along with other similarly sized tank mates. Firefish Gobies do display aggression to members of their own species, so they should be kept as individuals or as a mated pair.

A 10-gallon tank is the minimum size aquarium that is recommended for keeping a Purple Firefish Goby. If you have a 30 Gallon tank a Purple Firefish Goby will be perfectly happy living in a community tank with other peaceful fish. Just be sure your 30-gallon tank is tightly sealed since Purple Firefish Gobies are strong jumpers and will escape when given the opportunity.



Firefish Goby

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Firefish Goby

The Firefish Goby (View Price) is one of the most popular saltwater fish amongst marine aquarium hobbyists. And for good reason, the Firefish Goby is an extremely peaceful fish and is able to handle a wide range of water conditions. Firefish Gobies are also one of the most nonaggressive saltwater fish, and they will readily get along in a community aquarium. They also get along with other Firefish Gobies and prefer to be kept in at least a pair but they will be even happier in small schools.

The Firefish Goby is a very attractive fish with its yellow head that transitions to a white body and a bright fire red tail. Another unique feature of the Firefish Goby is their large erect dorsal fin. The dorsal fin can reflect their mood. When it is fully erect that means they are confident and happy. And when it is flat against their body that usually means they are fearful or uncomfortable.

Firefish Gobies need to be kept in a 10-gallon tank or larger. If they are kept in a larger 30-gallon tank with a variety of other fish they will need some places to hide. Since Firefish Gobies are a very timid fish giving them a lot of hiding areas will keep their stress levels to a minimum. Firefish Gobies are also very strong jumpers and will need to be kept in an aquarium without any easy to escape openings.



Blue Spotted Jawfish

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Blue Spotted Jawfish
Credit: Rhododendrites

The Blue Spotted Jawfish (View Price) is a unique goby that is perfectly designed to be an ambush predator. With its oversized mouth and powerful jaws, the Blue Spotted Jawfish likes to lie in wait in the sand or under a rock. And when they are not hiding they are a very beautiful fish to admire. The Blue Spotted Jawfish is covered in neon blue spots from their bright yellow head all the way down their yellow-brown body.

Like most gobies, the Blue Spotted Jawfish is a peaceful fish that will get along in most community aquariums. The only time a Blue Spotted Jawfish will show signs of aggression is with other Jawfish. For this reason, only one Blue Spotted Jawfish should be kept in an aquarium.


A 30-gallon tank is the minimum recommended tank size needed to comfortably house a Blue Spotted Jawfish. Since Blue Spotted Jawfish like to hide it’s a good idea to have a tank with a deep sand substrate and plenty of coral or live rock for them to hide under.



Green Mandarin Dragonet

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank | Green Mandarin Dragonet
Credit: Luc Viatour –

The Green Mandarin Dragonet (View Price) is one of those rare saltwater fish that are not only beautiful but extremely affordable. What truly sets the Green Mandarin Dragonet apart from most other saltwater fish is their vibrant colors. Their primary base color is a deep emerald green that is accented by blue and orange lines that artistically cover their whole body.

Beyond their sheer beauty, the Green Mandarin Dragonet is a peaceful reef safe fish that will get along with most other non-aggressive species. Green Mandarin Dragonet males do however display aggression to other males. Because of this inter-species aggression, only a single male Green Mandarin Dragonet or a mated pair should be kept in an aquarium.

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The Green Mandarin Dragonet does have some rather specific tank requirements. First off a Green Mandarin Dragonet should not be added to a new aquarium. This is mainly due to the fact that they prefer to eat amphipods and copepods that are more abundant in established aquariums. Beyond their dietary requirements, a Green Mandarin Dragonet needs to be kept in at least a 30-gallon tank. And the tank should have a good assortment of live rock and a deep live sand substrate.



False Percula Clownfish

Best Saltwater Fish for 30 Gallon Tank  | False Percula Clownfish

The False Percula Clownfish (View Price) is a very well known and probably one of the most popular saltwater fish, thanks to a certain animated movie. Not only will the False Percula Clownfish put a smile on almost any child, they are also a great saltwater fish for beginners.

While the name False Percula Clownfish might sound ominous. The only major difference between the “Real” and “False” Clownfish is that False Percula Clown Fish are all captive bred. Since they are all captive bred they handle home aquarium conditions better than their wild harvested “Real” counterparts.

The False Percula Clownfish is a very easy fish to keep and is considered one of the best saltwater fish for beginners. And since the False Percula Clownfish is captive bred they are used to eating a commercial diet, and as an added bonus they are also disease resistant. And they get along very well with other fish and with members of their own species.

To keep an individual or pair of False Percula Clownfish a 30-gallon tank is recommended. Having an Anemone in the tank will also more closely simulate their natural habitat. While having an Anemone will make a Clownfish feel more comfortable it is not mandatory. As long as you provide a False Percula Clownfish with some decorations or coral they will feel right at home.

Mark Young
Mark has worked with a wide range animals for over 10 years, and he regularly volunteers at his local animal shelter. Mark has decided to share his years of knowledge by writing helpful guides for both new and experienced pet owners