Todd’s Top 5 Predatory Fish for a Marine Aquarium

What do you think of when you hear the word predatory? First thing in my mind, is a great white shark or an apex predator hunting its food source, but is there any animal which is not predatory, I think not. I have listed my five top predatory marine fish which are available to aquarists. These are no hard to find specimens on my list. Each fish has been chosen for a particular reason. Each are predatory in their own right, but are spread apart by huge differences. So here we go:

5. Miniatus Grouper (Cephalopholis miniata)- No list would be complete without a grouper and what would be better than a fire engine red, electric blue dotted miniatus. This is one of the most striking groupers you can look at. Ranging to a max length of 15”, it will eat anything it can fit in its mouth and has a bottomless pit for a stomach. A miniatus grouper is a great pick for an aggressive, large fish aquarium, but not a peaceful reef aquarium.

4. Blueline Neon Goby (Elactinus oceanops)- Who says a predator has to be a big fish with gnarly teeth. A blueline neon goby is an absolute beast on taking care of parasites on their fellow tank mates. They only grow to about an inch and eat all prepared foods you can give. A bonus to these gobies is they live, unlike a cleaner wrasse which is temporary. These gobies do come in a couple other colors such as yellow and a hybrid teal.

3. Kleinii Butterfly (Chaetodon kleinii)- Do you have aiptasia in your reef tank? Tired of injecting each one with aiptasia x? Well, try a kleinii butterfly. An alternative to a copperband butterfly, kleiniis are a great choice to rid your reef of aiptasia. They eat all prepared foods as well and are very hardy. The one thing to keep in mind is it is still a butterfly. They may still go after your prized zooanthid colony or torch coral once the aiptasia is gone.

2. Harlequin Tusk (Choerodon fasciatus)- I can’t think of any big fish tank not having a harlequin tusk. How can you deny the bright orange, red bars with gnarly blue teeth. They are a show piece for a tank with larger fish and no mobile invertebrates. Harlequin tusks are one of most popular marine fish many aquarists want to keep. They are a hardy species which eat larger prepared foods and grow to a max length of 12”



1. Volitan Lionfish (Pterois volitans)- One of the most exotic marine fish you can buy. The long pectoral fins and striped body makes the lionfish one of the most recognizable fish you will see. These fish grow to 15” and can pack a wallop with their venomous dorsal spines. Volitan lionfish will eat anything smaller than most of its body. They were primarily from the Pacific Ocean but have become a nuisance in the Atlantic. Their appetite is voracious which makes for a bad environmental impact where they are not kept in check by a larger predator.

So if you are looking for a fish for your predator tank or just the right predator for the job, hopefully one of these fish will fit your needs. All of these species mentioned above can be found in stock at Absolutely Fish. Please feel free to contact us at or at 973-365-0200if you have any questions or recommendations for your aquarium.