Freshwater Aquarium Fish - Types, Names and Photos

Freshwater fish are those that spend their entire lives in waters with a salinity of less than 1.05%, that is, in rivers, lakes or lagoons. More than 40% of the species of fish that currently exist in the world live in this type of habitat and, for this, they have developed different physiological characteristics throughout evolution, which allows them to be so successful. So much is the diversity, that we can find one great variety of sizes and colors within freshwater fish species. In fact, many of them are used within the aquarium due to their spectacular shapes and designs..

¿You want to know what the freshwater fish for aquarium? If you are thinking of setting up your own aquarium, don't miss this AnimalWised article where we will tell you all about these fish.

You may also be interested in: Freshwater turtle species Index
  1. Aquarium for freshwater fish
  2. Freshwater Aquarium Fish Names
  3. Other freshwater aquarium fish

Aquarium for freshwater fish

Before incorporating freshwater fish into our aquarium, we must bear in mind that they have very different ecological requirements from those of saltwater. Next, we will see some of the characteristics to consider when setting up our aquarium for freshwater fish:

  • Species compatibility: we must take into account which species we are going to have and verify their compatibility with other species, since there are some that cannot coexist with each other.
  • Ecological requirements: inform us about the ecological requirements of each species, since it will not be the same for an angelfish than for a puffer fish. We must take into account the ideal temperature for each species, if it needs aquatic vegetation, the type of substrate, the oxygenation of the water, among other factors..
  • Feeding: inform us about the food that each species needs, since there is a great variety and formats of food for freshwater fish, such as live, frozen, balanced or flake food, among others.
  • Space required: know the space that each species needs to, in this way, make sure that the aquarium will have enough space for our fish to be in the best conditions.

These are some of the issues that we must take into account when having an aquarium for freshwater fish. However, to complete your aquarium, we recommend reading this other AnimalWised article about Plants for freshwater aquariums..

Next, we will know the most striking species of fish for freshwater aquariums and their characteristics.

Freshwater Aquarium Fish Names

Neon tetra fish (Paracheirodon innesi)

The tetra belongs to the Characidae family and is one of the most common fish found in freshwater aquariums. Native to South America, where inhabits the Amazon river, neon tetra needs warm water temperatures, between 20 and 26 ºC. In addition, it has physiological characteristics that allow them to adapt to waters with high levels of iron and other metals, which for other species could be fatal. This, added to its very striking color, its calm character and that it can coexist in schools, make it a highly appreciated fish for aquarium enthusiasts..

Measures close to 4 cm and has transparent pectoral fins, a phosphorescent blue stripe that crosses its entire body on the sides, in addition and a short red stripe from the middle of its body to the tail fin. His feeding is omnivorous and accepts balanced fish feed very well, both of animal and vegetable origin. On the other hand, as it does not eat the food that falls to the bottom, it is a good companion for bottom fish, such as those of the genus Corydoras spp..

Carp, goldfish or goldfish (Carassius auratus)

The goldfish is undoubtedly the most famous aquarium fish, as it was one of the first species that humans domesticated and began to be used for private aquariums and ponds. This species is within the Cyprinidae family and is native to the east asia. The golden carp is small in size compared to other carp species, it measures approximately 25 cm and it adapts very well to different environmental conditions. However, its ideal temperature in water is around twenty ºC. In addition, it is a very long-lived species, since it can live close to 30 years.

It is a highly appreciated species within the aquarium due to the great diversity of colors and shapes that they can have, since there are fish orange, red, yellow, black, or white. Some varieties have a more elongated body and others rounded, as well as their tail fins, which can be bifurcated, veiled or pointed, among other shapes..

Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Native to Southeast Asian, zebrafish belongs to the Cyprinidae family and is typical of rivers, lakes and ponds. Its size is very small, it does not exceed 5 cm, the females being somewhat larger than the males and less elongated. It has a design with blue stripes along the sides of its body, hence its name, and appears to be silver in color, but is practically transparent. They are very docile, live in small groups and can live very well with other quiet species.

The ideal temperature of the aquarium should not exceed 26 ºC and one detail to keep in mind is that these fish venture, from time to time, to jump on the surface, so it is vital keep the aquarium covered with a mesh that prevents it from being thrown out.

If you are thinking of adopting a zebrafish, we encourage you to read this other article on Zebrafish care.

Angelfish or scalar fish (Pterophyllum scalare)

Angelfish is from the Cichlidae family and is endemic to South America. It is a medium-sized species, being able to reach 15 cm long. It has a very stylized body shape. Therefore, added to its colors, it is highly sought after by aquarium lovers. Sideways, its shape is similar to a triangle, with very long dorsal and anal fins, and they have a great variety of colors, there may be gray or orange varieties and with dark spots.

It is a kind very sociable, so in general it coexists well with other fish of similar size, but being a omnivorous fish, it could consume other small fish, such as neon fish, for example, so avoid joining them with this type of species. The ideal temperature for the angelfish aquarium should be warm, between 24 to 28 ºC.

To provide the best care for your pet, we recommend you read this other article on Caring for angelfish.

Guppy fish (Poecilia reticulata)

Also known as guppies, guppy fish belong to the Poeciliidae family and originate from South America. They are small fish, they measure close to 5 cm females and males approximately 3 cm. They have great sexual dimorphism, that is, males and females differ, presenting the first very colorful designs on the tail fin, being larger and with blue, red, orange colors and often with brindle spots. The females, meanwhile, are of greenish color and only have orange or red coloration on the dorsal and tail fin.

It should be taken into account that they are very restless fish, so they need a lot of space to swim and with a optimum temperature of 25 ºC, although it can support up to 28 ºC. It feeds both on live food (such as mosquito larvae or water fleas) and on balanced food for fish, since it is an omnivorous species.

In this other article we show you which are the Fish compatible with guppies.

Spotted Coridora (Corydoras paleatus)

Species of the family Callichthyidae and native to South America, It is one of the most seen fish in freshwater tanks, since in addition to being very beautiful, they play a very important role in the aquarium, in addition to the fact that they coexist perfectly with other species. This species is small in size, measuring about 5 cm, although the female may become somewhat larger.

They are in charge of keep the bottom of the aquarium clean due to their eating habits, since, thanks to the shape of their body, flattened ventrally, they are continually stirring the bottom substrate in search of food, which otherwise decomposes and could cause health problems for the rest of the aquarium inhabitants . They also do this thanks to the tactile sensory appendages that they have under their jaw as a beard, and with which they can explore the bottom. The ideal temperature for the coridora aquarium water is between 22 and 28 ºC.

Black molly (Poecilia sphenops)

The molly belongs to the family Poeciliidae and is native to Central America and part of South America. It has sexual dimorphism, since the female, in addition to being larger, since it measures around 10 cm, It is orange in color, unlike the male who measures about 6 cm, is more stylized and is black color, hence his name.

It is a peaceful species that coexists very well with others of similar size, such as guppies, coridora or angelfish. Nevertheless, needs a lot of space in the aquarium, as it is a very restless fish. Its diet is omnivorous and accepts both dry and live food, be it mosquito larvae or water fleas, among others, in addition to feeding on food of plant origin, especially algae, which it seeks in the aquarium, avoiding its excess of growth. Being a species of tropical waters, it needs an optimal temperature that varies between 24 and 28 ºC.

Betta fish (Betta splendens)

Also known as the Siamese fighter, the betta fish is a species in the Osphronemidae family and native to the Southeast Asia. Without a doubt, it is one of the most striking and beautiful freshwater fish species that aquarium lovers choose for their aquariums. Medium in size, its length is around 6 cm and owns a great variety of colors and shapes of their fins.

There is sexual dimorphism in this species, and the male is the one with the most striking colors that vary between the red, green, orange, blue, purple, among another range of colors that seem iridescent. Their tail fins also vary, as they can be highly developed and veiled, while others are shorter. The males are quite aggressive and territorial towards each other, since they can see them as competition against the females and attack them. Thus, it is advisable to have only one male with several females. However, with males of other species, such as tetra, platys or catfish, they can get along well.

On the other hand, they prefer dry food and it must be taken into account that there is specific food for betta fish. As for the ideal aquarium for bettas, they need warm waters, between 24 and 30 ºC. Before having a betta fish, find out very well, since this species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Platy fish (Xiphophorus maculatus)

The platy is a freshwater fish in the family Poeciliidae, native to Central America. Like other members of its family, such as mollys and guppies, this species is very easy to care, so it is also an excellent companion for other fish in your aquarium.

It is a small fish, about 5 cm approximately, the female being somewhat larger. Its coloration varies a lot, there are individuals bicolor, orange or red, blue or black and with stripes. It is a very prolific species and the males can be territorial, but without being dangerous to their mates. They feed on both algae and food of animal origin. It is ideal that the aquarium has floating aquatic plants and some mosses, and the ideal temperature is around the 22-28 ºC.

Discus fish (Symphysodon aequifasciatus)

Of the family Cichlidae, discus fish are native to South America. Flattened laterally and in disk shape, can reach close to 17 cm. Its coloration can vary between brown, orange or yellow to blue or greenish tones..

Prefers to share the territory with calm fish such as mollys, tetra fish or platy fish, while more restless species such as guppies, angels or bettas, may not get along well with discus fish, as they can cause stress and lead to illness. Furthermore, they are sensitive to changes in water, so it is advisable to keep it very clean and at temperatures between 26-30 ºC. It feeds mainly on insects, but accepts balanced food and frozen insect larvae. Keep in mind that there is specific food for this species, so it is necessary to inform yourself very well before incorporating a discus fish to our aquarium.

Gourami fish or pearl gourami (Trichogaster leeri)

The gourami belongs to the Osphronemidae family and is native to Asia. Its elongated laterally flattened body measures about 12 cm. It has a very striking coloration: its body is silver with brown tones and is covered by small polka dots similar to pearls, which has given the species its name, in addition to having a dark zigzag-shaped line that crosses laterally its body from the snout to the tail fin.

The male is distinguished by a more showy coloration and a reddish belly, and the anal fin ends in thin filaments. It is a very gentle species that gets along well with other fish. Regarding his diet, he prefers the live food, as mosquito larvae, although it accepts very well balanced food in flakes and from time to time algae. Its optimum temperature varies from 23 to 28 ºC, especially in the breeding season.

Ramirezi fish (Microgeophagus ramirezi)

Of the Cichlidae family, the ramirezi is native to South America, more specifically from Colombia and Venezuela. It is small, it measures 5 to 7 cm and in general it is peaceful, but it is recommended that, if you live with a female, they are alone, since it can be very territorial and aggressive during the breeding season. However, if they are not with a female, they can peacefully coexist with other similar species. However, it is recommended that live as a couple, since they do so in nature.

They have one very different coloring depending on the type of ramirezi fish, since there are oranges, golds, blues and some with striped designs on the head or on the sides of the body. It feeds on both live and balanced food, and being a species of tropical climate, it needs warm waters from between 24 and 28 ºC.

Other freshwater aquarium fish

Other popular freshwater aquarium fish include:

  • Cherry barbel (Puntius titteya).
  • Rainbow (Melanotaenia boesemani).
  • Killi (Nothobranchius rachovii).
  • Spotted Globe (Tetraodon Nigroviridis).
  • Convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata).
  • Golden cleaner (Otocinclus affinis).
  • Amber tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae).
  • Danio galaxy (Danio margaritatus).
  • Eats Siamese algae (Crossocheilus oblongus).
  • Neon green (Paracheirodon simulans).

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