Top Saltwater Fish for a 65 Gallon Tank

65 gallon (246 liters) tanks are a somewhat overlooked aquarium size, especially when saltwater fish are concerned. However, they are perfectly suited to many hobbyists looking to create a medium-sized saltwater fish community.

There is enough room to house some of the most interesting and beautiful saltwater fish, whilst also creating a beautifully decorated environment that can represent awesome reef terrains.

Unlike with some of the smaller tank sizes, like 40 and 55 gallons, you will have access to more fish and different types of tropical fish due to the larger-sized 65 gallon (246 liters) saltwater tank.

Common 65 Gallon Tank Dimensions

Typically, 65 gallon (246 liters) aquariums come in one main shape, with the same dimensions as the majority of 65 gallon (246 liters) tanks.

The classic dimensions for a 65-gallon (246 liters) aquarium are 36 inches x 18 inches x 24 inches (91 cm x 46 cm x 53 cm) and the weight when filled with water is 772 lbs (350 kg). When empty, the tank will weigh around 126 lbs which is the equivalent of 57 kg.

65 Gallon Saltwater Fish List

Picking the right fish for a 65 gallon (246 liters) fish tank is somewhat of a daunting task, however, it most certainly doesn't have to be. Fortunately, due to the larger size of the tank, there are many great options.

Ideally, you will want to fill your tank up with peaceful and friendly fish that will not behave too erratically or aggressively towards others.

But if you did want to introduce a predatory fish, you have the space to do so without worrying too much about your other fish "going missing", so long as you are providing them with enough live food.

Not only are there fantastic options when it comes to fish but you can create an awesome reef environment too, by adding various corals and live rock, but we will get into that later on.

For now, enjoy our list consisting of the best saltwater fish for a 65 gallon (246 liters) tank!

Dwarf Angelfish

Due to the larger tank size, you will unlock some more options when it comes to the beautiful dwarf angelfish species. Flame angel, coral beauty, bicolor, pygmy, cherub, flameback, lemonpeel, rusty, and red stripe angelfish are all brilliant options.

All of these angelfish are considered to be peaceful by nature, and will typically keep themselves to themselves. Not only this, but they are all incredibly bright in color and unique in patterns. It is best to keep just one dwarf angelfish in your 65-gallon tank to avoid them fighting with each other.

Reef Safe Wrasse

A single six line, melanurus, or yellow coris wrasse would make for fantastic 65-gallon saltwater fish. They are all good-sized fish for this tank too, only growing to around 4 inches (10 cm) in length.

This will allow them to establish their own territories and leave their tank mates alone, which is especially important when it comes to the more aggressive six line wrasse. All of their patterns and colorations are jaw-dropping too, as you can see on the graphic.

One Spot Rabbitfish

The one spot rabbitfish is an extremely unusual yet beautiful fish. They have peaceful personalities and will stay out of trouble, whilst gracefully gliding around your aquarium.

Their bright yellow body and white and black face, paired with a somewhat strange body shape make them truly mesmerizing and a sight to behold. You should only keep one of these fish, however, as they can be aggressive toward their own.

Their venomous dorsal spines are also great for fending off aggressive and predatory fish, making them a good choice if you want to house a type of lionfish in your aquarium.


Between 1 to 5 pajama, banggai, yellow, or longfin cardinalfish will thrive within a 65-gallon aquarium. They do not grow particularly large, which means you can keep a small group of them and their lack of aggression toward other fish certainly helps.

Each of these subspecies comes in unique shapes and patterns, which make them fascinating to observe for hours on end. Additionally, they provide a lot of entertainment when feeding them live foods such as brine or mysis shrimp.


A single neon or orchid dottyback would be another brilliant option, they are so brightly colored and active swimmers that you will constantly be seeing flashes of purple and neon colors within your aquarium.

They are incredibly peaceful too, keeping themselves to themselves for the most part. It is advisd to only keep one from the dottyback family as they have a tendency for being a little aggressive with one another.

Fancy Goby

Keeping just one clown, two spot, yasha, or court jester goby is a good choice for any fish tank of this size. Gobies are the heart and soul of saltwater aquarium communities as they are peaceful and as entertaining as anything.

Despite being incredibly small in size, especially when compared with some of the fish on this list, they must be kept without other gobies as they can behave aggressively towards one another as they are territorial fish, and have been known to battle over small pockets of the reef in captivity and in the wild.


One single aiptasia-eating filefish is a great option if you want to introduce one of the strangest yet awesome-looking fish to your 65-gallon saltwater community.

Their body is a mottled green color, but can also be brown and also tan. They are shy and peaceful fish who keep themselves to themselves unless living with another filefish, which is why it is recommended to keep one of these species.


Pufferfish have become incredibly famous over the past few decades, and with 65-gallon tanks being larger than most, you can keep your very own saddle valenti puffer in this aquarium.

These guys provide much entertainment and are peaceful when it comes to other species of fish, which is ideal for creating a community environment.

Their unique "puff up" is quite possibly the reason for their immense popularity. Nevertheless, it is a sight to behold when it does happen!

Dwarf Lionfish

Dwarf lionfish are more than suitable for a 65-gallon saltwater fish tank. The only consideration is that they are aggressive predators, so make sure to not keep them in there with tiny vulnerable fish that will likely become a snack.

A single fuzzy dwarf, dwarf zebra, fu manchu, or mondbasa will do absolutely fine in a tank of this size, and you will be provided with hours of entertainment when you watch them going about their business. If you want to learn more fun facts about lionfish we have created a whole article on this.

Moray Eel

Yes, that's right! By acquiring a tank of this size you have now unlocked the opportunity to keep a moray eel in your aquarium! Both the snowflake and blue ribbon eels are the only choices for this tank, but they are incredible options.

Something to be careful of is their aggressiveness and predatory instincts. Make sure you keep them with peaceful fish that will not enter their territory or provide them with a tasty meal. These eels must be fed a balanced diet too and can grow to over 40 inches (101 cm) in length!

How Many Saltwater Fish for a 65-Gallon Aquarium?

There is no right or wrong number of saltwater fish you should keep in your 65 gallon (246 liters) tank, however, from experience, we recommend between 10 and 13 of the fish listed above.

Not only will this require much less maintenance for your tank, but it will make adding corals and invertebrates much easier due to more available space and less crowding.

Obviously, if you are going to acquire an eel or a lionfish, which are both predators, you will either need to reduce the number of smaller fish or increase the number of hiding spots they have.

Required Equipment for a 65-Gallon Tank

It is not only the inhabitants that you must consider when setting up a 65 gallon saltwater fish tank. It's equally as important to know all the equipment needed to create the most healthy and happy aquarium environment.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A heater, 200 to 300 watts should be fine.
  • Protein skimmer.
  • Reef tank aquarium lighting.
  • Aquarium lid to prevent fish from jumping out.
  • Powerhead to create good water flow.
  • Water test kits to constantly measure and improve the water quality.

If a 65-gallon saltwater fish tank is not the right size for you and your fishkeeping ambitions then don't sweat! We have created lists for many different sized aquariums:

10 gallon saltwater fish

20 gallon saltwater fish

30 gallon saltwater fish

40 gallon saltwater fish

55 gallon saltwater fish

75 gallon saltwater fish

90 gallon saltwater fish


These fish tanks are such a brilliant size for ensuring you have enough space to populate them with an amazing saltwater aquarium community. Not only can 10+ fish live comfortably within it, but you can also add plenty of coral and live rock to create a realistic reef environment brimming with life, fancy colors, and jaw-dropping patterns.