The beauty and successful maintenance of a saltwater aquarium requires attention not only to the chemical and temperature balance of the water, but also to the temperamental aspect of the fish themselves. It is essential that you balance their personalities (thereby increasing compatibility) by grouping passive fish with other passive fish and aggressive fish with other aggressive fish. This is the only way to avoid difficulties with aggression among the tank's inhabitants, outbreaks of disease due to stress-induced lowered immune systems, and the inability to provide proper nutrition (aggressive eaters vs. passive eaters!).
You also want to avoid species that have unusual or unique food requirements. The health and longevity of marine fish depend on both a proper aquatic environment and a balanced diet that supplies complete nutrition, including trace elements they would receive in nature. Fish, unlike some invertebrates, obtain their trace elements from the food, not the water.
Typical choices for a non-aggressive community would include most cardinalfish, hardy butterflyfish, gobies, blennies, tilefish, green chromis damselfish, and certain wrasses. At the other end of the behavioral spectrum are the aggressive eels, certain scorpionfish, groupers, some of the larger damselfish and dottybacks, porcupinefish and triggerfish. If you are a beginning marine aquarist be sure to look for these compatibility factors before you stock your tank.
If you have any doubts or questions about your aquarium setup, please talk to our staff. They are always happy to advise and answer any questions you have. After all, we want to ensure the success of your saltwater venture and assist you to become an expert yourself!