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13 Best Saltwater Fish For 55 Gallon Tank (With Pictures)

If you are purchasing a marine aquarium for the first time, you want to get a big enough tank. Small tanks can actually be harmful to your pets, so at the lowest, a thirty-gallon tank should be purchased.

However, if you want the perfect balance in your saltwater setup, we recommend going with a fifty-five-gallon aquarium. This is the perfect starting size for new tank owners.

Still, what kind of fish can go in your 55-gallon tank?

In today’s post, we’ll go over the pets best suited for a tank of this size. Certain species of fish will do better in this type of marine tank. So it is important to get the best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tank setups.

The following pet fish will do great in your fifty-five-gallon tank. We have compiled some of the best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tank setups in our post.

You won’t have to google search for hours; you just need to read through our list of fish.

Royal Gramma Basslet

The first fish on our 55-gallon tank list is the royal gramma basset. Gramma Basslets can be put in smaller tanks, like a thirty-gallon setup. However, they can also be in larger fifty-five-gallon tanks and thrive just as well.

These specific saltwater fish are colorful and grow small. So you can put other types of fish in with them. In addition, there will be plenty of room for a school of Gramma Basslets too if this is what you are looking for.

Overall these are great fish to put in your larger saltwater tank. Some of the best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tanks and marine setups.

You’ll want to put in some coverage and keep the lights dimmed for the Royals. But, even if you are a beginner, the Gramma Basslet is easy to care for.


Clownfish are another good choice for your fifty-five-gallon tank. Especially if you are trying to create a vibrant tank with a lot of different fish.

Clownfish are compact, and normally only need thirty gallons to themselves. They are friendly fish that do well with other pets, and they like being in bigger aquatic spaces as well. These are one of the most iconic saltwater fish.

So, if you like their look and want some fun fish to look at definitely consider buying some of them for your tank.

Vibrant Mandarinfish

It’s a little harder to take care of this next breed of fish. But if you want a vibrant and beautiful looking pet in your tank, you should look into Mandarinfish.

These pets are small and originally from the Australian continent. They like thirty-gallon tanks but can do well in a fifty-five-gallon tank environment.

Mandarinfish are full of an array of colors. So they have really grown in popularity over the past few years because of their looks!

They aren’t exactly the most active fish you can get. And you will have to put a coral reef in your fifty-five-gallon tank to keep them healthy. But really, the Mandarinfish should be a great pet for any tank owner.


Miller’s damselfish by Rickard Zerpe (CC BY 2.0)

Damselfish are less exotic than the Vibrant Mandarinfish. But they do come in a number of colors that look striking in your marine tank.

Not all fish will get along with the Damsel. So, be careful of what breeds you put in with the Damselfish.

Still, the size of this fish goes great with a fifty-five-gallon tank. And there aren’t any excessive care requirements from the Damselfish. So people newer to a marine setup should have an easier time with this pet.

We just recommend adding extra tank coverage for this fish if you have other fish in your fifty-five-gallon tank.

Coral Beauties

coral beautie fish
Two-spined Angelfish by zsispeo (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Coral Beauties can be put in fifty-five-gallon tanks, but you should not put other fish in with your Coral. It’s not that these fish are unfriendly. In fact, they love being in a fully stocked tank.

However, at fifty-five gallons, the tank space will be too crowded. Coral Beauties have a really unique and cool color palette.

Beauties also can be bought in a pair or stay alone. You’ll need really nutritious and quality food for these fish, though. And you want to keep tank parameters ideal for the Coral Beauty.

Otherwise, this is a great pet to have in a fifty-five-gallon setup.

Butterfly Fish

Butterfly Fish are another type of fish to consider when buying a fifty-five-gallon tank. However, make sure you are getting the right breed of Butterfly for your tank.

Certain Butterfly fish need much larger tank spaces. So, you don’t want to put some Butterfly’s in tanks smaller than seventy gallons.

But, if you can find the right breed, these are really nice fish to have in a larger marine tank. Their colors are bright and they have a very appealing and regal look.

Make sure to research any type of Butterfly fish you get though, as each one has different needs.

Watchman Goby

Yellow Watchman Goby by Clay vanSchalkwijk (CC BY 2.0)

Watchman Goby fish are not the most beautiful fish but they are very interesting to look at. And, in a fifty-five-gallon tank, they will do very well. Watchman fish are ideal for almost any type of marine tank.

They have a really peaceful disposition and are one of the easiest marine pets to take care of. Other saltwater fish can be hard to look after. This is not the case with the Watchman Goby.

Goby fish come in many colors, and they are not at all hard to find. They also like most fish foods. So you won’t have to spend extra on specialized fish food.

Really, this is one of the best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tank setups.

Blenny Fish

Blenny fish are another different looking fish type. They don’t have an appearance like your usual saltwater fish. But they have a great personality overall. Their antennas, multicolored design, and blue faces make them look a little like aliens.

Still, they do amazing in fifty-five-gallon tanks, and even smaller tanks. You can put any type of fish in with your Blenny. Just make sure not to put dangerous or aggressive fish in the same tank area. Blenny fish are an easygoing and sweet breed that could potentially be bullied.

We also recommend putting a lot of plants or rocks so your fish can feel more secure in their home. These fish are a little shy, so this helps them.

Lastly, don’t put other Blenny fish in your tank. They could end up fighting each other, unfortunately. There are a few different varieties of Blenny, as well. So pick a Blenny that looks matches your tastes.


Firefish by Clay vanSchalkwijk (CC BY 2.0)

Firefish is another peaceful breed you could choose for your marine setup. And, luckily, they also like fifty-five-gallon tanks.

Firefish are on the small side, so you can put in other fish with your Firefish. And, they have a bright coloring that goes well in saltwater tanks and makes them stand out.

These fun fish are easy to take care of. Firefish also have plenty of energy and charisma. They get along with a multitude of pets.

You can put your Firefish in with one other Firefish as well. In fact, they prefer not to be alone in a tank system. But don’t make a large school of these fish because they will attack each other in big groups.

Other considerations with this fish include lighting and diet. You want a mix of foods for this fish and you want medium level lighting. Besides these needs, though, your Firefish shouldn’t give you many issues.


Magenta dottyback by Rickard Zerpe (CC BY 2.0)

The small and agile Dottyback is an ideal fish for fifty-five-gallon tanks. You can get Dottybacks in all kinds of bright hues, and put them in with several fish breeds.

There are many styles of Dottybacks from bi-color to single-colored and even spotted fish. Look into all the different types of Dottyback fish so you can get a feel for their style and visuals.

In regards to their care, the Dottyback fish is pretty laid back, especially in comparison to other marine fish. You have a little leeway with temperature and tank conditions.

This is because these fish are a little bit hardier. Still, do try and keep your tank stable for your fish’s health.

Like other small fish on this list, also make sure to provide enough coverage for your Dottyback. This will make them more comfortable and happier in a fifty-five-gallon tank.

Green Chromis

If you want a school of fish in your fifty-five-gallon tank, we suggest going with a Green Chromis fish. Green Chromis fish are pretty fish with plenty of energy. These fish are popular for their beautiful shade of metallic green.

They are light-colored fish but they really shimmer under aquarium lights. The biggest appeal of this fish is the level of care required, though. Pretty much any tank owner can take care of this fish. They are very low maintenance, as long as your tank conditions are right.

In addition, Chromis fish also live a long life. They can live up to fifteen years if you treat them the right way. You can put them in a reef aquarium for better results. And we also suggest putting in six of the Green Chromis to keep them happy and social. But this is up to you as a tank owner.

Ultimately, this is a great fish for fifty-five-gallon tanks. One of the best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tank setups.

Longnose Hawkfish

Longnose hawkfish by Kenneth Lu (CC BY 2.0)

Longnose Hawkfish are the perfect size for a fifty-five-gallon tank! These cute pets have a fun design on their bodies and are born with a nice long nose.

So, they definitely look cool in your marine aquarium. Longnose Hawkfish come in shades of red and white and have lines running all along their body.

The Longnose will not get along with all fish types. So, you want to consider this when you put in other fish with your Longnose. Just do a quick google search to see what fish can go in with a Longnose.

In addition, make sure you have a secure tank for these fish. If the lid gets a little loose, your Hawkfish will escape. Also, consider putting in a coral reef with this breed. Reefs will help them live longer and stay in better condition.

Flame Hawkfish

Flame Hawkfish by Brian Gratwicke (CC BY 2.0)

The last fish on our list of best saltwater fish for 55-gallon tank setups is the Flame Hawkfish. Flame Hawkfish are from the same family of fish as the Longnose, but they don’t really look that similar.

They both have a deep red color, but Flame fish are covered in a red hue and have some black intermixed. Flame Hawkfish will live in thirty-gallon tanks up to fifty-five-gallon tanks.

Also, like the Longnose, the Flame fish can be a little on the aggressive side. They are not vicious, so you need to be a little careful setting up your tank. Flame fish like to eat small aquatic pets like shrimp, as well.

So think about this too with the Flame fish. Still, Flame Hawkfish are beautiful to see swimming in your tank. And, they are not so hard to look after, considering that they are saltwater fish.


We talked about a lot of great saltwater fish for fifty-five-gallon sized tanks. Saltwater fish normally need much larger tanks to thrive and stay healthy.

But our post went over some of the fish that can stay in these more medium-sized tanks. Fifty-five gallons is actually a great tank size to start out with. And you will have a great time introducing your fish to their marine water tank.

Just make sure to set up your tank properly and keep water parameters right. This way your pets won’t develop health complications.

You have a lot of fish breeds to choose from, so pick wisely, and do some research on the pet you choose. You want them to have a good life in their 55-gallon tank!

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Saltwater Tank Setup for Beginners

Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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