Types of Saltwater Fishes

Types of Saltwater Fishes
With so much of the face of the earth covered in ocean, it's no surprise that some salt water fish are the most common in the world. There is an almost infinite variety of fish found in the world's oceans, but there are a few groups that the most popular, common, or sought after salt water fish fit into.

Tropical Fish

When you refer to salt water fish, this is likely what most people immediately think of, the colorful, usually small fish that can be found around coral reefs in places like the Caribbean and the Great Barrier Reef. These fish are also commonly associated with scuba diving, as tropical waters tend to be clear, so the fish are easy to spot and photograph. Tropical fish are also popular for salt water fish tanks, due to the fish's bright colors and beauty. Some examples of tropical fish include Clown Fish, Angel Fish and Butterfly Fish.

Sport Fish

Another kind of fish that many people immediately think of when they think of salt water fish are the large, powerful fish that sport fisherman pursue. These are also typically found in warmer waters, and the Pacific Coast of Mexico is a favorite destination for fishing for these kind of fish. Examples of sport fish include Sailfish, Blue Marlins and Swordfish.


Sharks are not usually considered fish, but they do belong to the same subclass as fish. They also live in salt water and breathe through gills. The Whale Shark is the largest fish in the ocean. While some whales are bigger, they are not fish. Sharks are found in all the world's seas, and range in size from just over a foot to almost 40 feet long. Sharks are generally the dominant predator in their food chain. The Bull Shark is known to swim up rivers and spend time in fresh water, but it is the only shark that does.

Food Fish

While many fish congregate in schools, the open temperate ocean is home to particularly massive schools of fish that are largely prized for their edibility. An excellent example of this kind of fish is Tuna, but other breeds include Cod, Whitefish and Haddock. In areas like the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, more than a hundred years of fishing have seriously affected populations of local fish.

Deep Sea Fish

Some of the most fascinating and bizarre types of salt water fish are those that live in the deep oceans, beyond the light of the sun. Volcanic vents create warm patches where uniquely evolved fish live in complete darkness. These fish are sometimes blind, due to the lack of light, and may also be marked with luminescent patches to attract or intimidate other fish. While many fish may travel into the deep sea, deep sea fish are considered those that are uniquely adapted to this environment. The most famous deep sea fish is the Angler Fish, which uses a small luminescent "lantern" that hangs from its forehead to lure in fish to feed on. Other examples include Viper Fish, Hag Fish, Lantern Fish and Flashlight Fish.

Article Written By Beau Prichard

Beau Prichard has been a freelance writer and editor since 1999. He specializes in fiction, travel and writing coaching. He has traveled in the United Kingdom, Europe, Mexico and Australia. Prichard grew up in New Zealand and holds a Bachelor of Arts in writing from George Fox University.

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