The GOOD FISH/BAD FISH tool
for saltwater aquariums

Search for the most common saltwater aquarium fish, and learn how you can help protect the reefs and marine wildlife.


Easily identify the fishes most commonly seen in saltwater tanks and learn their origin:

  • Good Fish may be captive-bred
  • Bad Fish are definitely captured in the wild

For a Good Fish rating, captive-bred status of individual animals must be confirmed.

If a species is not on the Good Fish list, it cannot be captive-bred and is considered a Bad Fish.

Why Do Aquariums Put Reefs and Wildlife at Risk?

Nearly all the animals housed in saltwater tanks began their lives on coral reefs thousands of miles away. As of late 2021, only about 50 of the 2,000+ reef fish species kept in saltwater aquariums were bred in captivity at a commercial scale and suitable for the hobby. The Good Fish list is comprised of those species. Tank Watch also exposes the 50 species sold in large numbers by the marine aquarium trade that are wild-caught and cannot yet be captive-bred.

Consumer demand drives the annual capture of tens of millions of wild reef fishes and other creatures. Most of this fragile wildlife quickly succumbs to the stressors of capture, handling, transport and captivity. For each one surviving the journey from reef to tank, up to nine others likely die along the way.

Corals are destroyed and wildlife suffers and dies from poisonous cyanide illegally used in the capture of millions of fish. Reefs lose their resilience from depletion of animals key to ecosystem health and balance.

Successful breeding of many highly sought-after species is still years (and possibly decades) away, making the identification process simple for conscientious aquarists and coral reef champions:

Become a Coral Reef Champion

Fishes bred in captivity typically fare better within the small confines and artificial diets inherent in saltwater fishkeeping. Dozens of captive bred species are now available for saltwater tanks.

Make a difference by pledging to protect wildlife and reefs:

  • Discourage the keeping of wildlife in saltwater tanks
  • Urge consumers and businesses to only keep captive bred animals in their tanks; or better yet, switch to a virtual reef display with an UNtanked system, available at www.UNtanked.com

WITH ADDITIONAL GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM:

Lynn Allen (Potter’s Angelfish, Fire Dartfish)
Brian Mayes (Neon Dottyback): www.flickr.com/photos/brianmayes
Jim Greenfield (Disco Blenny, Sunrise Dottyback): www.oceaneyephoto.com
Daniel Knop (Yellow Assessor): www.danielknop.eu
Matthew Meier: www.MatthewMeierPhoto.com
Philippe & Guido Poppe: www.poppe-images.com
Michele Westmorland: www.westmorlandimages.com
Robert Wintner (Flame Angelfish): http://robertwintner.zenfolio.com
and the International League of Conservation Photographers

If it’s not on the

Good Fish list,

it’s a Bad Fish.

Just like you, conscientious people across the U.S. and around the world want to ensure saltwater aquariums do no harm to coral reefs and wildlife. You can increase your positive impact with a donation to help us expand our reach.