Which fish are best for a beginner to marines?

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Jeremy Gay gives his advice to a reader who after over 30 years of experience with tropical freshwater fish, is thinking of moving to marine fish.

Q) I have over 30 years of experience with tropical freshwater fish and now I am thinking of moving to marine fish. What size tank would you recommend for a beginner? I’d like to keep Common clownfish and a Yellow tang, but what other fish you would suggest? Also what invertebrates would you recommend?

GEOFFREY PRESS, VIA EMAIL

A) JEREMY GAY ADVISES: I would start with a 250 l tank minimum, although if you are intending to keep a Yellow tang, I’d recommend you went larger still, at something like 350-400 l. For other fish, I’d recommend a Royal gramma, firefish, Pyjama, Yellow or Peacock wrasse and a pair of Orange spot or Chalk gobies. You could also add a dwarf angel like a Flame angel.

For inverts you’ll need five of either hermit crabs or snails, and a Cleaner shrimp if you want one. Further down the line you may need Peppermint shrimp to control any problems with Aiptasia pest anemones. Sand-sifting starfish or Nassarius snails will help to keep the sand turned over if you decide not to opt for either of the gobies.

Use your experienced fishkeeper’s eye to watch for any signs of flicking, clamped fins, or lethargy in the fish, and keep them well-fed, on a varied diet. A separate quarantine tank can go a long way and help you to avoid any disasters early on.