There is something both mesmerizing and beautiful about tropical fish. Scuba diving and witnessing these colorful creatures in their natural environment can be one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime. Here is our somewhat subjective list of the top 10 most colorful fish in the world, based on their beauty and color.
10. The Rainbow Parrotfish
The rainbow parrotfish are so named for their bright colors and the almost beak like shape of their face. The parrot part of the name is apt, as these fish will use their ‘beak’ to crush and ingest the tiny invertebrates that live among the coral. The “rainbow” part, however, is somewhat of an exaggeration. Their attractive looks earn rainbow parrot fish a place in our top ten, but they are not as eye catching as the other species featuring in our compilation.
9. Moorish Idol
The moorish idol – or to give it its correct name, Zanclus Cornutus – is a relatively small species of marine fish. It is very widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific, and can be found in many lagoons and sub-tropical reefs. It has distinctive black and yellow stripes, and is strikingly similar to many species of butterfly fish.
Although moorish idol can be purchased in the aquatic trade, they are generally not recommended for keeping in tanks. Their dietry needs are difficult to cater for, and they can sicken easily in a captive environment.
8. The Clown Fish
Thanks to the Disney-Pixar film “Finding Nemo”, most people are familiar with the clown fish. Although the majority of people most associate this species with the orange and white fish shown in the movie, clown fish can actually come in a number of colors, including yellow, red and black. They also may have white patches instead of white bars.
Clown fish can vary greatly in size. The smallest grow to less than 10 centimeters, while the largest can reach almost 20 centimeters in length. The smaller varieties are very popular among aquatic enthusiasts, and clown fish are relatively easy to keep in captivity.However, it should be noted that you should keep clown fish numbers to a minimum. Clown fish are one of the few species with the ability to change gender, so you can still be faced with a population explosion even if you start out with a tank full of males.
7. The Mantis Shrimp
Okay, so the mantis shrimp is a crustacean rather than a fish. But the Mantis shrimp’s appearance makes it well deserving of a place in the top 10 most colorful fish, because of its outstanding beauty. Despite the deceptive name it is neither a shrimp nor a type of mantis, it derives its name purely from the superficial resemblance it bears to these creatures. Although some mantis shrimps are brown in color, it is the ones which display eye catching neon colors which earn it a place in this list.
6. The Nudibranch
Since we have already included a species of sea creature which is not technically a fish, we are going to look at another type of marine life which is unsurpassed in its colorful splendor. The Nudibranch is a shell-less gastropod mollusk, which is renowned for its striking appearance and bright color.
Symphysodon are naturally found in the Amazon River basin in lowland Amazonia, but they are also commonly kept in freshwater aquariums. Because of their magnificent appearance they are sometimes referred to as “Pompadour fish”. Symphysodon Discus Discus can be kept in pairs if you wish to breed from them, but are generally best kept singularly alongside peaceful species such as tetra, smaller plecos and cories.
4. Clown Trigger Fish
The Clown Trigger fish is a tropical species found in the Indo-Pacific. This black fish has eye catching white, yellow and orange markings. It gets it “clown” name from its orange mouth – not unlike the painted on clown mouth – and a stripe that resembles thick, upturned eyebrows.
Because of its attractive looks, the Clown Trigger fish is the most popular of the Trigger family, and the only one which is bred for use in aquariums.
3. The Lionfish
The Lionfish ranks highly in the top 10 most colorful fish because of its distinctive appearance. It has very elongated spines and a striped appearance, and can be brown, red, yellow, orange green, black, maroon or white in color.
However, what sets the Lionfish apart from the other species in the top 10 is its venom. It is as deadly as it is beautiful. The Lionfish is also known as the Turkey fish, Scorpion Fish or Fire Fish.
2. Juvenile Emperor Angelfish
Angelfish are a stunning species, but the Juvenile Emperor Angel fish is unrivaled for breathtaking color, with neon blue and yellow stripes. It is a marine fish and can be found in both the Pacific and Indian ocean, as well as the Red Sea and around the Austral Islands.
1. Mandarin Fish
We believe that the Mandarin Fish is the undisputed most beautiful and colorful fish in the world. It is a small fish native to the Pacific area, and has colorful patterns that cannot be compared to any other species.
Because of its unique and attractive appearance, Mandarin fish – also known as Mandarin Dragonet – is very popular among saltwater aquarium enthusiasts. However, it should be noted that it is difficult to care for and keeping one in captivity should only be attempted by those with expert knowledge. Feeding Mandarin fish a suitable diet in an aquarium environment can be tricky.
It can be tempting to purchase fish for your home aquarium based on a specie’s stunning and colorful looks. However, many of the fish in this top 10 do not thrive as well in a home environment as they do in the wild. Make sure you seek plenty of expert advice before buying a new species for your aquarium, from either a pet store or from one of the many online aquatic community forums.