Your First Fishy


So your tank is all set up. All your parameters are at a good level and your tank has been fully cycled. You have set your aqua scape over and over again until you are happy with it and now its finally time to get some fish in your system. But there are so many fish out there? Which one do you choose? What is the best fish for your tank? well…here is my advice and I hope it helps.



Ever since I can remember beginners have gone with the same type of fish as their starter fish, and that is the Damsel fish. These fish are beautiful and hardy which is probably the main reason why these fish are such a popular choice with beginners. But soon after, as more fish are added to the aquarium, problems start to arise and people start asking themselves “Why did I Choose this fish!”.


Now this isn’t me saying all damsels are bad as many are a great fish for beginners. The problem arises when beginners choose certain types of damsels that are very aggressive and territorial when they grow. This is normally down to a lack of research on the fish and simply taking the advice from their LFS and the fact most damsels are relatively inexpensive.


Below is a basic list of the peaceful and more aggressive types of damsels that are quite common in most LFS. Aggressive damsels are not bad fish, its simply their nature and the mistake is us placing them in a peaceful tank expecting them to change. We  need to work with the nature of our fish and not against it.



# Damsels To avoid



Three/Four strip damsel

Domino Damsel

Blue Devils

Yellow tail Damsel (hit and miss)


Like I said, these are not bad fish, its simply in their nature to be territorial and therefore aggressive. When young most are cute and brightly colored but as they grow many tend to lose their coloration and turn into a duller basic color. Basically, if you want a peaceful communal tank then I would recommend staying away from these fish.

TRUST ME. In me second tank I got a four strip damsel fish as they look interesting and are a very active fish. At first it worked well and settled in great. This didn’t last as soon after the fish settled in, all hell broke out and the little damsel started to harasses and stress out all my other fish. Until all I was left with was a shy clown and a proud damsel.



# Damsels Ideal for Beginners



Blue Chromis

Green Chromis

Talbot’s Damsel


My personal recommendation is the Green/Blue Chromis. They are a peaceful communal fish that lives in a shoal. These are best kept in groups of 3+ and are very active fish adding colour and movement to the community tank. They are ideal reef fish and seldom bother any other  aquarium inhabitants. All in all, these guys are great for the beginner. They are relatively hardy and wont break the bank. These fish wont necessarily be the stars of the show, but they enhance any reef with their beautiful colours and shoaling patterns.


Through my own personal experience (and the reports of many others) I suggest you avoid certain types of damsel and lean towards the more peaceful communal fish such as the Blue/Green Chromis. It will mean less stress on both you and your reef inhabitants as there is nothing more annoying than trying to catch a fish in a fully stocked reef tank.


Whatever fish you choose as your first, be it a clownfish or damsel fish, always do your homework and research the fish before purchase.



Found this post helpful?

Then join our facebook group and share photos of your aquariums progress and let us know what your first fish was?