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Intermediate Level Saltwater Fish

Updated on May 29, 2013

If you have had a marine aquarium for a little while, you may be ready to move up to a more advanced level of marine life for your tank. These intermediate level fish are great for people who are past the beginner stage, but are not quite ready for advanced fish. These fish may have some needs that are different from beginner level fish. They may need a larger tank, more precise temperatures, or special foods.


The Batfish is a really unique looking fish that is fairly easy to care for. Batfish are not reef compatible, as they will eat corals and anemones. One thing hobbyists will need to watch out for is ich, which can be devastating to a Batfish very quickly. Other than that, these fish are fairly hardy and they like other peaceful fish. They may be best fed three times a day. Batfish grow very quickly, so be sure that your aquarium is large enough for them when they reach full size. They will need lots of swimming space!


The Butterflyfish is gorgeous, colorful fish that is well suited for intermediate aquariums. They are peaceful omnivores, and they need a fairly large tank to thrive. Butterflyfish like to have a tank with lots of hiding places. Many hobbyists do not recommend Butterflyfish for a reef tank, as it will eat invertebrates and the corals can harm the fish. Butterflyfish are omnivores and need a variety of meat and plant based foods in order to be healthy.

Bicolor Blenny

Blennies are small, colorful fish that are perfect for intermediate aquarium hobbyists. A medium to large sized aquarium is best for these fish. These Blennies are safe for reef tanks, and they are peaceful herbivores. A well-fed Blenny will get along with most other fish, but only one species of Blenny should be included in your tank. Blennies need lots of rocks for hiding and resting. They spend most of their time around the bottom of the tank.


Flame Hawkfish

Hawkfish come in a variety of colors and shapes, and they are great for reef aquariums. The Flame Hawkfish is mostly carnivorous, and it will eat any small shrimp in the tank. They can be aggressive to smaller species of fish. They require an aquarium of over 30 gallons, and they like to dwell near the bottom of the tank.

Volitan Lionfish

The Volitan Lionfish is also known as the Common Lionfish. Lionfish are very unique and look great in any tank. However, they are best suited for intermediate aquariums for several reasons. One important thing to remember is Lionfish are poisonous, and can sting you if you are not careful. However, Lionfish are mostly quite peaceful and they are a hardy fish. They need a large aquarium, as they can get to be 10-15 inches long.

One Spot Foxface

This fish is a type of Rabbitfish, and it comes in different patterns. The Foxface needs a large tank to live in, and it does not get along well with other types of Rabbitfish. They can be reef compatible if they are properly fed, but if they are too hungry they will eat your corals. They do make a beautiful, colorful addition to any tank.

Dragonface Pipefish

Pipefish are unique fish that look a bit like eels; they are very long! They are not very good swimmers; instead, they slide along the bottom of the tank and it uses its tail to anchor onto corals and rocks. Dragonface Pipefish come in many different patterns. This particular pipefish is more difficult to care for because it is a picky eater. It prefers live food, like baby brine shrimp. Dragonface Pipefish also prefer a well-established aquarium with lots of live rock.

© 2012 Nora B


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    • Volitans profile image


      7 years ago from Seattle

      Another great blenny is the flametail blenny, wonderful fish! Lots of personality and just a joy to watch. He's appropriated a hole in one of my rocks as his hideout. He'll often follow my cherub angel around the tank; the angel doesn't seem to mind and actually seems to enjoy the company.

    • Kellyb7478 profile image


      7 years ago from Ohio

      The Blenny was my favorite! I also had one Butterfly fish in my reef tank. It seemed to do just fine with the reef... then we added another to make a pair! They became troublesome as a couple? The Xenias suffered the most. I miss my tank, we could not take it with us when we moved 5 years ago... but reading your hub has got me thinking I could start all over! Very interesting. Thanks.


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