Fish Identification

There are so many fish available for the marine aquarium. What could the aquarist do to be sure of the identity of a fish and therefore be sure it is the one for the aquarium?

The aquarist may have a ‘possible’ list and wish to reduce it to ensure there isn’t any overstocking and still be sure the fish are the ones really wanted. Maybe a new fish is being contemplated to add to existing stock and a check needs to be made.

The trouble is that many aquarists, and retailers too for that matter, use common names rather than the ‘proper’ Latin ones. Common names can lead to confusion, which could lead to the wrong fish, particularly if an order is being placed to obtain a fish unseen.

Out of the ‘possible’ list compatible fish with a good mix of colours and shapes are required. Or perhaps one fish is required for the collection. Whatever, the internet is a wonderful source of information and so it is in this case.

Following is a link to an identification database:

Having got to the website the aquarist can choose to search for the fish by species, by common name, or by type. If the common name or species is not known, then type of fish can be used. If the common name is known clearly that should be used. The fish can be seen and confirmed – or not – to be the one required. If it is the one, note the common name and also note the Latin name given. When ordering, the Latin name and common name should about guarantee the correct fish. If buying a fish already seen, a visual check will confirm the choice.

The fish list is alphabetical and a great number of fish are present so the list is long. Most of us aquarists can safely ignore the sharks and the obvious ‘not for me’ fish so it is not as difficult as it could seem. If a common name such as ‘Emperor Angel’ for example is known, scroll to the E’s and click on that.