Bahamas Reef Fish Species

The Beautiful Fish of Bahamas Reef Diving

If you're planning a trip to the Bahamas, make sure diving is a part of your plan. Bahamas diving introduces you to much of the beautiful ocean life that the Caribbean has to offer in pristine waters. While there are thousands of creatures you may see while Bahamas diving, the reef system has a few common characters. Below are the 10 most common fish you'll see while diving in the Bahamas.

French and Blue-striped Grunts

These beautiful fish live in almost every shallow reef in the Caribbean. They make little grunting noises by grinding their teeth, and they can use air bladders to make the noise even louder. Grunts swim in schools and can be identified by their yellow color and blue stripes. The first rows of stripes are perfectly straight, running horizontally along their body, but then the stripes fan into a beautiful diagonal pattern. They are easiest to spot by their dark brown tail and dorsal fin.

Smooth Trunkfish

The Smooth Trunkfish is a kaleidoscope of brown, black, and white coloring, giving them the appearance of Italian Milefiori glass. These curious creatures blow water streams onto sand to find food buried below. They can be identified by their puckered lips and white polka dot pattern. While they are slow moving and friendly to divers, it is best to not touch them, as with any creature you may see while diving.


The Trumpetfish gets its name due to its trumpet-shaped mouth. This character is one of the easiest to spot, as it is a very long and tube-shaped fish with white and brown coloring. Preferring to work smarter rather than harder, these fish hunt by hanging on sea fans and coral; since they blend in, they can simply wait for their prey to swim by and capture it.

Sand Diver

The Sand Diver is one of the many fish that have camoflauge capabilities, much like a lizard. They have no trouble changing from dark to light in order to blend in with either the sand or the surrounding reef. While they are very hard to spot, you can view a spectacular show if you do happen to see one. Simply fan some water over in the sand diver's direction to watch it move to another location and blend into its surroundings.

Banded and Foureye Butterflyfish

These beautiful creatures swim in pairs, and while many other butterflyfish species exist, these are the easiest to spot. They tend to swim in shallow reefs and are a stunning white and black combination. The banded butterflyfish is white with thick, black, vertical bars on its body, while the foureye is white with delicate black diagonal stripes running in different directions, and a large black circle by its tail fin.


The angelfish has the same body shape as a butterflyfish, except that the angelfish's dorsal (or top) fin and bottom fin extend out beyond its tail fin. These beautiful fish come in a variety of species, but three are most common to the Bahamas. The gray angelfish is a beautiful metallic gray with light black spots; the french angelfish is black with a light scattering of bright yellow dots on the top of its body; the queen angelfish earns her crown by showing off a vibrant yellow color and nearly glowing electric blue accents.


Aptly named with big, dark eyes, this salmon-pink fish has a defined yellow dorsal fin and light blue tail and side fins that are almost translucent in certain lights. These party animals usually stay up all night, but you can sometimes find them during the day, as well. Their shape resembles an enlarged goldfish.


Among the most unusually shaped fish in the Caribbean, this box-like fish has lips that appear to be smiling at all times, block, oblong eyes, and a brown coloring with yellow-green tones towards the tail and bottom fins. It has black dots that cover its entire body, even the fins, and it is slow and gentle. Much like the blowfish, the porcupinefish will puff up instantly if it senses danger by taking in water. While it might be fun to see this display, it is a sign that the fish is stressed out, and it is best to let them be.

Goliath Grouper

Displaying the typical grumpy look of a grouper with is thick lips and down-turned mouth, this giant fish can grow up to six feet in length. It will change its coloring as it passes different areas of the ocean and reef. There are many sizes and colors of grouper species in existence.

Spotted Drum

The spotted drum is one of the rare treats of Bahamas diving with is black body and vibrant white stripes and spots. The juvenile fish do not have spots, but adults sport both stripes and spots year-round.