Here is a list the most beautiful species that I have seen. There is no particular order, since beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder.

There are so many beautiful fish with amazing colours and markings to gaze upon during a dive. Watching the sun rays glistening off of their scales provides an experience that sticks in one´s memory for a lifetime.

  1. 1.     Juvenile Emperor Angel Fish


Illustration from children´s picture book “Fins and Tales” by Jessica Shilling:

My personal favorite is the strikingly beautiful juvenile Emperor Angelfish. Juveniles have a dark blue body adorned with concentric electric blue and white rings glowing as if a blue light were being shined on them.

The Emperor Angelfish is a species of marine angelfish. It is a reef-associated fish, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the Red Sea to Hawaii and the Austral Islands.



The Mandarinfish or Mandarin dragonet is a marvelous fish to come across with its beautiful and colorful body. Its back is yellow, green or brown with many irregular black spots and patches. The Mandarinfish is native to the Pacific, ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia.



Photo by David Lutzer of the Ocean Awareness Community

Witnessing a magnificent Lionfish glide through the water with its memorizing fan-like fins is a fantastic sight. The Lionfish is without a doubt one of the most graceful and intricate looking fish that you can come across.

Lionfish have several names like zebrafish, firefish, turkeyfish, and more. An adult can grow as large as 18 inches, while juveniles may be as small as 1 inch or less.

The Lionfish is one of the most venomous fish on the ocean floor. The venom of the Lionfish is delivered through up to 18 needle-like dorsal fins. It is purely defensive and relies on camouflage and lightning-fast reflexes to capture prey of mainly shrimp and fish.

4. Splendid Toadfish


Another very colorful and interesting creature to find is the Splendid Toadfish. The Splendid Toadfish is a sluggish, bottom-dwelling species, which are usually found in or around rocky cracks and caves just below coral colonies. They have a toad like broad and flattened head and a very wide jaw that bears very small and sharp teeth. Their chin is covered with barbels giving them a rastafari bearded look.  The face is distinctively patterned with densely packed dark and white stripes and they have strikingly beautiful bright yellow marked fins.



Clown fish are small fish that live among anemone. The anemone’s tentacles kill other fish that touch them, but not the Clown fish as they are immune to its poison. The anemone and Clown fish are the perfect partner, the anemone protects the Clown fish from most predators, who know not to go near the anemone’s tentacles while the Clown fish helps the anemone by cleaning it and by scaring away predators of the anemone.

Photo credit: Beth Shilling, David Lutzer, Google Images

Illustration: Jessica Shilling, author / illustrator of the picture book “Fins and Tales” – Ocean Awareness Community

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