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Damsels are beautiful fish that stay fairly small (about 4 inches) in captivity. They are good eaters, readily consuming a wide variety of flake, freeze dried, frozen, and live foods. Damsels come in a rainbow of different colors, from black and white, to yellow, to blue-green. The only drawback to these lovely fish is their tendency toward aggression. To discourage this nasty habit, don’t keep more than one damsel of a particular species in the same tank. Also, try making your damsel the last addition to a community tank so he will be less territorial.

Damsels make an excellent choice for a first-time saltwater hobbyist. They are very adaptable fish, able to tolerate the ups and downs that often accompany a new aquarist's tank, such as temperature fluctuations.


The clownfish's playful disposition and brilliant coloring make this fish appealing to the majority of saltwater hobbyists. However, many people think that clownfish cannot survive without anemones. Well, the truth is, they can actually manage just fine in captivity without their stinging-tentacle equipped counterpart. In fact, the reputation clownfish have for being difficult to keep in captivity comes from the anemone: anemones are very difficult to maintain in captivity, but clownfish are an excellent choice for most saltwater aquariums.

Clownfish are close cousins to the damsels and are also excellent fish for beginners. Especially great choices include the maroon clownfish, Clark's clownfish, and the tomato clownfish.