30-gallon Saltwater Tank Stocking Ideas

So you are looking to start a saltwater aquarium. You bought your 30-gallon tank and you are ready to start adding fish. If you have never kept an aquarium before, you may feel lost as to what you should add to your tank, which fish are aggressive towards others, which organisms are pests, etc.

Don’t let the complexities of a saltwater aquarium overwhelm you. There are plenty of fish and other organisms you can add to your tank that get along well together and do not require much maintenance. This article provides a list of the best creatures to add to your 30-gallon saltwater tank.

Tips for introducing new fish and other creatures to your tank

It is best to add new fish and invertebrates gradually. Always check if a new species is compatible with the species already in your tank. Give your aquarium creatures time to acclimate to the new additions before you add more.

Remember to be patient with your aquarium organisms. When adding new fish or invertebrates to your tank, use the drip acclimation method or floating bag acclimation method to avoid shock. Give them time to acclimate to your tank’s conditions.

What makes certain fish better for beginners?

A fish species is considered suitable for beginners if it is:

  1. Hardy – A hardy species of fish means it can tolerate less than perfect aquarium conditions. They are not all too challenging to care for because they acclimate well to new conditions.
  2. Non-aggressive – A beginner species of fish should have a peaceful temperament. This is a must for a community aquarium. You do not want to add territorial fish to your tank.
  3. Community fish – Community fish get along well with other species. Only adding fish that get along with all other species ensures that you do not have to worry about aggressiveness or unwanted fish fights in your tank.

What to add for a community 30-gallon aquarium?

A community aquarium refers to a peaceful aquarium filled with plants, fish, and decorations. In order to achieve a community aquarium, you must not add aggressive organisms to your tank.

You also must pay attention to whether or not fish species are compatible with each other. Below are some non-aggressive fish and other organisms that make great additions to saltwater tanks.


Gobies are known for their hardiness. This makes them an excellent choice for aquarium beginners. Gobies are captive-bred, so they are used to captivity, meaning they are more likely to survive than fish that weren’t bred in captivity.

Gobies start out tiny, but you can watch them grow over time. This type of fish can be a great choice for your saltwater tank if you have children who want to take care of the fish.

What do gobies eat?

Pajama Cardinalfish

The Pajama Cardinalfish has a curious coloration and a bold pattern. They are inexpensive, hardy fish that get along with others.

Royal Gramma Basslet

This type of fish is half purple, half yellow. The Royal Gramma Basslet is easy to take care of and perfect for beginners.

Another species of fish, the Royal Dottyback, has similar coloration but is an aggressive species that is not suitable for community tanks. Be sure not to mix up these two species!

Ocellaris Clownfish

The Ocellaris Clownfish is also known as the Common Clownfish. If you are a fan of Finding Nemo, your tank wouldn’t be complete without one! This species of fish are popular additions to aquariums and are one of the hardiest fish you can buy.

Coral Beauty Angelfish

Pygmy Angelfish, such as the Coral Beauty Angelfish, are peaceful fish that are great to add to your saltwater tank. Regular angelfishes are harder to take care of and can harm coral, so it is best to add dwarf or pygmy angels to your tank if you would like to add an angelfish but not corals.

Soft corals

Soft corals, or leather corals, are the best choice for adding corals to your saltwater tank. They are hardy and can survive the shock of transporting. Some of these soft corals can live in a symbiotic relationship with clownfish.

Mushroom anemones

Mushroom anemones like Rhodactis, Discosoma, and Ricordea grow quickly and spread throughout your tank. You can choose different colors of mushroom anemones to add more color to your tank.


Shrimp are great to add to saltwater aquariums because they clean up the tank. Shrimp eat leftover food and algae.


Crabs also clean up your tank by eating algae and leftover food. Crabs can be fascinating to watch as they use their claws to scavenge for food around your tank.


Snails like strawberry conch move around your tank under the sand to eat pests. They also aerate the sand. If you are looking to add fascinating creatures to your tank, a snail could make a great addition. You may find your snail crawling up the glass!

A species-only tank

Your community aquarium doesn’t have to consist of more than one type of fish. You can also just keep a school of the same species (a species-only tank). This is a simple way to ensure a peaceful aquarium, and you can still add variety with decorations and plants.

If you have never had an aquarium before, always do your research on whatever species you want to add to your tank. Even if you are a more experienced aquarium hobbyist, it is still good practice to learn about the creatures in your tank.

There are so many complexities when it comes to aquariums. For example, some male fish of the same species will get aggressive over females, some fish do better in larger tanks, etc. To keep your fish happy and healthy, be sure to learn their requirements and preferences.

Some creatures are easier to take care of than others, so if you are a beginner, it is best to choose low-maintenance, hardy organisms. This is especially true if your aquarium is meant for pets for your children to take care of.

As long as your fish and other organisms do not appear stressed, are active, and eat regularly, your tank is doing great and you can add new fish, invertebrates, and plants.

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