aquarium fishes

List of freshwater aquarium fish species

A vast number of species of fish have been successfully kept in the home aquarium. This list gives only some of the most commonly-kept species.

Bichirs and reedfish

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Gray bichir Polypterus senegalus 14" Species Easy Predatory
Reedfish Erpetoichthys calabaricus 15.7" Species Easy/Intermediate Nocturnal


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Arapaima Arapaima gigas 118"
Asian arowana Scleropages formosus 35"
Black arowana Osteoglossum ferreirai 47"
Silver arowana Osteoglossum bicirrhosum 47"
Australian Arowana Scleropages jardini 35"
Featherback knifefish
African knifefish Xenomystus nigri 12"
Clown knifefish Chitala ornata 39"
Blunt-jawed elephantnose Gnathonemus tamandu 9"+ Difficult Also called worm-jawed mormyrid, the elephantnose is nocturnal, but may learn to come out during the day. The elephantnose fish is a carnivore and will accept all types of meaty foods. Only one elephantnose or more than five should be kept per tank because aggression can build up if two to four are together. The probe in front of the fish is a sensitive electrical organ that it uses to find food. An elephantnose does best with a home which can be a cave or cave like structure.
Peters' elephantnose Gnathonemus petersii 9"+
Freshwater butterflyfish Pantodon buchholzi not related to saltwater butterflyfish


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Armored catfish including Aspidoras, Brochis, Callichthys, and Corydoras
Aspidoras fuscoguttatus
Aspidoras lakoi
Aspidoras rochai
Sixray corydoras, false corydoras Aspidoras pauciradiatus
Britski's catfish Corydoras britskii 3.5"
Emerald catfish Corydoras splendens 2"-4" Green spots on the gills are normal and do not indicate disease.
Hognosed brochis Corydoras multiradiatus
Cascarudo Callichthys callichthys 8"
Adolfo's catfish Corydoras adolfoi
Banded corydoras Scleromystax barbatus 4"
Masked corydoras Corydoras metae
Barredtail corydoras Corydoras cochui
Blackstripe corydoras Corydoras bondi
Blacktop corydoras Corydoras acutus
Blue corydoras Corydoras nattereri
Bluespotted corydoras Corydoras melanistius
Bronze corydoras Corydoras aeneus 2½-2¾" The albino strain is common
Corydoras atropersonatus
Corydoras ehrhardti
Corydoras evelynae
Corydoras geoffroy
Corydoras latus
Corydoras loxozonus
Corydoras nanus
Corydoras narcissus
Corydoras ornatus
Corydoras osteocarus
Corydoras polystictus
Corydoras prionotos
Corydoras semiaquilus
Corydoras septentrionalis
Corydoras simulatus
Corydoras undulatus
Dwarf corydoras Corydoras hastatus
Elegant corydoras Corydoras elegans
False network catfish Corydoras sodalis
False spotted catfish Corydoras leucomelas
Green gold catfish Corydoras melanotaenia
Guapore corydoras Corydoras guapore
Masked corydoras, bandit corydoras Corydoras metae 2"
Mosaic corydoras, reticulated corydoras Corydoras haraldschultzi
Mosaic corydoras, reticulated corydoras Corydoras reticulatus
Panda corydoras Corydoras panda
Pastaza corydoras Corydoras pastazensis
Peppered corydoras Corydoras paleatus
Pink corydoras Corydoras axelrodi
Pygmy corydoras Corydoras pygmaeus
Sailfin corydoras Corydoras macropterus
Salt and pepper catfish Corydoras habrosus
Schwartz's catfish Corydoras schwartzi
Spotted corydoras, longnose corydoras Corydoras ambiacus
Sterba's corydoras Corydoras sterbai
Sychr's catfish Corydoras sychri
Tailspot corydoras Corydoras caudimaculatus
Threestripe corydoras, leopard catfish Corydoras trilineatus
Xingu corydoras Corydoras xinguensis
Armored suckermouth catfish (plecos)
Bristlenose pleco, bushynose placo Ancistrus spp. the bristlenose genus has at least 59 identified species and many others yet to be named
Gold nugget pleco Baryancistrus spp. many species exist but not yet officially identified; the three common aquarium species are known as L-018, L-081, and L-177
Whiptail catfish Rineloricaria spp. there are about 20 species of whiptail catfish
Twig catfish Farlowella spp. there are at least 20 species in the twig catfish genus
Panaque Panaque spp. Several species of panaque are popular aquarium fish
Pineapple pleco, orange cheek pleco Pseudorinelepis spp. there are 4 species in this genus
Common pleco, suckermouth catfish, Amazon sailfin catfish Pterygoplichthys pardalis one of the several fish sold under this name; there is also an albino variation
Common pleco, suckermouth catfish Hypostomus punctatus one of the several fish sold under this name
Common pleco, suckermouth catfish Hypostomus plecostomus one of the several fish sold under this name
Leopard sailfin pleco, clown sailfin pleco Pterygoplichthys gibbiceps other related fish also share this common name
Zebra pleco, L-046 Hypancistrus zebra
Sailfin catfish Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus
Golden dwarf sucker, golden oto Otocinclus affinis
Zebra dwarf sucker, zebra oto Otocinclus cocama
Airbreathing catfish
Walking catfish Clarias batrachus albino form is common in the aquarium trade
Banjo catfish
Banjo catfish Bunocephalus coracoideus
Talking catfish
Striped Raphael Platydoras costatus
Spotted Raphael Agamyxis pectinifrons
Squeakers and upside-down catfish
Cuckoo squeaker Synodontis multipunctatus
Decorated squeaker Synodontis decorus
Even-Spotted squeaker Synodontis petricola
Featherfin squeaker Synodontis eupterus
Lake Malawi syno Synodontis njassae
Polka dot syno Synodontis angelicus
Common syno, false upside down catfish Synodontis nigrita
Upside-down catfish Synodontis nigriventris 4" (9.6 cm) Community Prefers bottom feeding of Tubifex but main diet is algae.
Shark catfish
Iridescent shark Pangasius hypophthalmus Community albino form is common in the aquarium trade
Chao Phraya giant shark, Giant pangasius Pangasius sanitwongsei dwarf "balloon" form is available in the aquarium trade
Sea catfish
Colombian shark catfish Arius seemanni
Australian shark catfish Arius berneyi
Berney's shark catfish Arius graeffei
Glass catfish Kryptopterus bicirrhis 4-5", 6" in the wild. Needs to be kept in a group of 5 or more.
Two spot glass catfish Ompok bimaculatus 18" (45 cm) Looks very similar to Kryptopterus bicirrhis execpt the difference lies in the triangular dorsal fin of the Ompok in contrast to what looks like a small spine than a fin of the K. bicirrhis.
Bagrid catfishes
Crystal eyed catfish Hemibagrus wyckii 28" (71 cm) This fish is highly aggressive and must be kept alone.
Asian redtail catfish Hemibagrus wyckioides 50" (130 cm) This fish is highly aggressive and must be kept alone.
Horabagrus brachysoma 18" (45 cm)
Long-whiskered catfish
Leiarius marmoratus 39" (100 cm)
Leiarius pictus 24" (60 cm)
Redtail catfish Phractocephalus hemioliopterus 4' (1.3 m)
Spotted pimelodus, pictus, Pictus catfish Pimelodus pictus
Tiger shovelnose catfish Pseudoplatystoma fasciatum 3.4' (104 cm) This fish is easy to confuse with P. tigrinum.
Tiger shovelnose catfish Pseudoplatystoma tigrinum 4.3' (130 cm) This fish is easy to confuse with P. fasciatum.

Characins and other characiformes

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Black phantom tetra Hyphessobrycon megalopterus 1.75" (4.5cm) Community Easy the black phantom tetra enjoy being in groups of 6 or more and a slightly shaded tank. Males may claim small territories and occasionally minor battles may occur. The Phantom tetra goes well with other tetras of similar size. They also prefer floating plants.
Black neon tetra Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi 1.6" (4cm) Community Intermediate this fish is similar to the neon tetra other than coloration.
Black tetra Gymnocorymbus ternetzi 2" (5cm) Community Easy a highly spirted fish that may occasionally chase its own species as well as harass slow moving fish with long fins. This fish is very hardy and can stand a variety of water qualities. Disease is not a big problem with the black tetra. The black tetra is also known as the black skirt tetra. The female black tetra is more robust and larger than the male.
Bleeding heart tetra Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma 2.5" (6.5 cm) Community Intermediate the bleeding heart tetra is distinguished by the small red spot on both sides of the fish. This fish is very prone to diseases, and can grow larger than most tetra species. It is not recommended for beginners.
Bloodfin tetra Aphyocharax anisitsi 2" (5cm) Community
Bucktooth tetra Exodon paradoxus 2" (5cm) will eat smaller fish and harass larger fish
Buenos Aires tetra Hyphessobrycon anisitsi 3" (7.5cm) Easy
Cardinal tetra Paracheirodon axelrodi 2" (5cm) Community
Cave tetra, blind tetra Astyanax mexicanus 4.7" (12cm) Easy cave tetra is the blind cave form of the Mexican tetra. The blind cave tetra is easy to care for and is hardy. The fish is born with eyes, but they quickly deteriorate leaving behind two scars where the eyes once were. The blind tetra needs to be in a shoal in order to show peaceful behavior, and to prevent fin nipping. Despite their lack of eyes, the blind cave tetra can easily avoid other fish and obstacles in the tank. This tetra prefers low to moderate lighting.
Congo tetra, Lufundi (native name) Phenacogrammus interruptus 3" (7.5cm) Community Intermediate Sufficiently peaceful for home aquariums, though it may bite fishes smaller than its size. It is more comfortable in indirect light. Over-head lighting is preferred and under no circumstances should light be directed at the front or rear glass.
Emperor tetra Nematobrycon palmeri 2" (5cm) Easy
Garnet tetra, pretty tetra Hemigrammus pulcher 2.5" (6.5cm) Community
Glowlight tetra Hemigrammus erythrozonus 1.5" (3.75cm) Community Intermediate
Green neon tetra Paracheirodon simulans 1" (2.5cm) Community Intermediate
Lemon tetra Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis 2" (5cm)
Neon tetra Paracheirodon innesi 1.6" (3.75cm) Community Intermediate the neon tetra is sensitive towards water quality and is susceptible to many freshwater diseases. However, the fish is very peaceful and will not attack another member of the tank. Females are larger than the males. Due to their small size, the neon tetra should not be kept with large fish. Neon tetras are also very delicate and any harassment they may receive can result in death. This can be prevented by putting them with other small community fish or fish known to ignore their tankmates. The neon tetra feels the most comfortable when in groups.
Penguin tetra, blackline penguinfish Thayeria boehlkei 2.5" (6.5cm)
Rummy-nose tetra Hemigrammus rhodostomus 2" (5cm) Community Intermediate
Serpae tetra Hyphessobrycon serpae 1.75" (4.5cm) Community Easy this fish may nip the fins of slow moving fish or fish smaller than it. It is best put with other large tetras or with fish of similar size or larger.
Common hatchetfish Gasteropelecus sternicla
Silver hatchetfish Gasteropelecus levis
Marbled hatchetfish Carnegiella strigata 2" (5cm) Community Intermediate Peaceful and dwells at the top of the tank in schools. Rarely breeds in captivity. This powerful leaper can easily jump out of an aquarium, so keep only in a fully-covered tank.
Black-winged hatchetfish Carnegiella marthae 1.5" (4cm) Community Intermediate Peaceful and dwells at the top of the tank in schools. The most hardy of all the hatchetfish, but not the most plentiful. Does not breed in captivity. This powerful leaper can easily jump out of an aquarium, so keep only in a fully-covered tank.
Pencil fishes
Three-lined pencilfish Nannostomus trifasciatus 2" (5 cm.) Community Intermediate Males defend small territories. Otherwise a peaceful, beautiful species.
Serrasalminae (pacus, piranhas, and silver dollars)
Silver dollar Metynnis argenteus 6" (15cm) The name "silver dollar" may also refer to Metynnis hypsauchen, Metynnis maculatus, or other related fishes. It will chew and eat plants.
Red bellied pacu Colossoma bidens 48" Difficult the red bellied pacu is a close relative of the piranhas, but without the sharp teeth and the aggression. However, care should be taken if interacting physically with the pacu as their powerful jaws can crush human bone. The Pacu is a peaceful fish that requires at least a 200 gallon tank when fully mature. It is omnivorous and can be put with large cichlids, but avoid smaller fish. Despite their similar appearance to piranhas, the pacu is not suited to eat meat very well, as their natural diet of nuts suggests. Be aware that this fish can grow to four feet and the owner must be prepared to house them in a very large tank if they wish to keep the fish (200 gal minimum). Also be aware that this fish grows very fast, and can grow as much as one foot in the first year.


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Lake Malawi cichlids
Sunshine peacock cichlid Aulonocara baenschi 6"
Copadichromis borleyi
Eureka red peacock Aulonocara jacobfreigi 6"
Spilo Champsochromis spilorhyncus 16"
Blue dolphin cichlid, lumphead cichlid Cyrtocara moorii 10"
Afra cichlid, dogtooth cichild Cynotilapia afra 3.9" Mbuna
Rusty cichlid, lavender cichild Iodotropheus sprengerae 4" Mbuna
Fuelleborn's cichlid/Blue mbuna Labeotropheus fuelleborni 7" Mbuna
Electric yellow cichlid Labidochromis caeruleus 8" Mbuna Easy Very active and entertaining fish, need many rock caves to allow establishment of territories, less aggressive than other mbuna
Malawi eyebiter Dimidiochromis compressiceps
Hongi, Red-top kimpumpa Labidochromis sp. "Hongi" 5" Mbuna
Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba Bay" Labidochromis sp. "Mbamba Bay" 5" Mbuna
Auratus cichlid, Malawi golden cichlid Melanochromis auratus 3.9"
Chipokee cichlid Melanochromis chipokae 4.7" Mbuna
Blue johanni cichlid, Maingano Melanochromis cyaneorhabdos 4" Mbuna Easy Very active and entertaining fish, need many rock caves to allow establishment of territories
Melanochromis joanjohnsonae Melanochromis joanjohnsonae 3.9" Mbuna
Johanni cichlid Melanochromis johannii 4.7" Mbuna
Aurora Melanochromis aurora 4" Mbuna
Red zebra cichlid Metriaclima estherae 4.7" Mbuna Easy Very active and entertaining fish, need many rock caves to allow establishment of territories
Cobalt blue cichlid, cobalt zebra cichlid Maylandia callainos 4.7" Mbuna Easy Very active and entertaining fish, need many rock caves to allow establishment of territories
Kenyi cichlid Maylandia lombardoi 5" Mbuna
Fusco Nimbochromis fuscotaeniatus 10"
Livingston's cichlid Nimbochromis livingstonii 9.8"
Kaligono Nimbochromis polystigma 12"
Venustus cichlid, giraffe cichild Nimbochromis venustus 10"
Red empress cichlid Protomelas taeniolatus 5.9"
Bumblebee cichlid, hornet cichlid Pseudotropheus crabro 5.9" Mbuna
Pseudotropheus acei Pseudotropheus acei 4" Mbuna
Saulosi Pseudotropheus saulosi 3" Mbuna
Malawi barracuda Rhampsochromis cf. macrophthalmus 9"
Tyrannochromis macrostoma 15"
Lake Tanganyika cichlids
Boulengerochromis microlepsis Boulengerochromis microlepsis 36" The largest cichlid
Frontosa cichild Cyphotilapia frontosa 16"
Cyathopharynx Not readily available in the aquarium trade.
Frontosa cichild Cyphotilapia gibberosa 16" The frontosa have recently been broken up into three separate species. The gibberosa come from the southern part of the Lake
Frontosa cichild Cyphotilapia sp. "North" 16" This yet to be officially named species is intermediate in scale count between gibberosa and frontosa.
Julie cichlid Julidochromis dickfeldi
Masked Julie Julidochromis marlieri 6"f/4"m
Julie cichlid Julidochromis ornatus
Julie cichlid Julidochromis regani 6"f/4"m
Julie cichlid Julidochromis transcriptus 4"
Herring/Sardine cichlid Cyprichromis
Ectodus descampsii
Neolamprologus multifasciatus Neolamprologus multifasciatus 1½" A small shell-dwelling cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. Distinguished from the similar L. similis by the lack of striping on the face]]
Lamprologus ocellatus Lamprologus ocellatus 2"
Neolamprologus similis Neolamprologus similis 1½" A small shell-dwelling cichlid from Lake Tanganyika. Very similar to N. multifsciatus but similis has striping from the body continue to the head
Lobochilotes labiatus Lobochilotes labiatus 16"
Lyretail cichlid, fairy cichlid Neolamprologus brichardi 4"
Lemon cichlid Neolamprologus leleupi 4½"
Featherfin Opthalmotilapia ventralis 6"
Petrochromis trewavasae Petrochromis trewavasae 8"
Petrochromis sp. "Zaire Texas" Petrochromis sp. "Zaire Texas" 7"
Simochromis pleurospilus Simochromis pleurospilus 4"
Tropheus duboisi Tropheus duboisi 5"
Tropheus moorii Tropheus moorii 5½"
Tropheus polli Tropheus polli 5½"
Lake Victoria cichlids
Astatotilapia aenocolor 5"
Astatotilapia elegans 4"
Zebra obliquidens Astatotilapia latifasciata 4½"
Astatotilapia nubila Astatotilapia nubila 4½"
Astatotilapia piceatus 4"
Astatotilapia schubotziellus 4"
Haplochromis obliquedens Astatotilapia sp "Red Tail" 4½"
Astatotilapia sp. "Spot Bar" 5"
Hippo Point Salmon Ptyochromis sp. "Hippo Point Salmon" 5½"
Flameback Pundamilia nyererei 4"
Xystichromis phytophagus Xystichromis phytophagus 4"
Miscellaneous African cichlids (non-Rift Lake)
African butterfly cichlid Anomalochromis thomasi
Jewel cichlid, two-spotted jewel cichlid Hemichromis bimaculatus other hemichromis species are sometimes sold under the same name
Lifalili jewel cichlid, blood-red jewel cichlid Hemichromis lifalili
Kribensis, krib Pelvicachromis pulcher
Zebra tilapia Tilapia buttikoferi
Guenther's Mouthbrooder Chromidotilapia guentheri
Allauad's haplo Astatoreochromis alluaudi
Pale usisya aulonocara Aulonocara steveni
Benthochromis tricoti
Dwarf cichlids (apistogrammas, rams and others)
Agassiz's dwarf cichlid Apistogramma agassizii
Nannacara adoketa
Yellow dwarf cichlid Apistogramma borellii
Cockatoo dwarf cichlid Apistogramma cacatuoides
Panda dwarf cichlid Apistogramma nijsseni
Three-Stripe Dwarf Cichlid Apistogramma trifasciata
Apistogramma eremnopyge
Two-Stripe Dwarf Cichlid Apistogramma bitaeniata 3" 10 gallon tank for one pair Intermediate
Checkerboard Cichlid Dicrossus filamentosus
Blue ram, German ram Mikrogeophagus ramirezi
Bolivian ram Mikrogeophagus altispinosa
Dwarf flag cichlid Laetacara curviceps
American cichlids (cichlasomas, acaras, angelfish, discuses, and others)
Midas cichild, red devil cichlid Amphilophus citrinellus Note that Amphilophus labiatus is also called red devil cichild
poor man's tropheus Hypsophrys nematopus
Red devil cichlid Amphilophus labiatus
Firemouth cichlid Cichlasoma meeki
Jack Dempsey cichlid Cichlasoma octofasciatum
Jaguar cichlid, managuense cichlid Cichlasoma managuense
Mayan cichlid Cichlasoma urophthalmus
Convict cichlid Archocentrus nigrofasciatus
T-bar cichlid Archocentrus sajica
Severum Heros severus the gold variety is more common than the natural green one
Green terror Aequidens rivulatus
Blue acara Aequidens pulcher
Thread-finned acara Acarichthys heckelii
Eartheater cichlid Geophagus altifrons
Greenstreaked Eartheater,cupid cichlid Biotodoma cupido
Keyhole cichlid Cleithracara maronii
Angelfish Pterophyllum scalare 6" Intermediate several color varieties; this species is the common anglefish in the aquarium trade. Angelfish can grow up to six inches, and therefore should be housed in a large aquarium. Angelfish should be kept alone, or kept with three or more. This is because that if two are kept together, the larger fish will pick on the smaller fish. Angelfish are not as hardy as other cichlids and should not be kept with small fish such as neon tetras. However, just the opposite is true: Angelfish should not be kept with fish that may nip and annoy it such as some large tetras.
Altum angelfish Pterophyllum altum
Spotted angelfish Pterophyllum leopoldi
Common discus, red discus Symphysodon discus 8" Difficult various color varieties, the discus requires high water quality and a varied diet. Do not keep with fast fish as the discus is a slow eater and will not fight for food. Despite their beauty, the discus is one of the least hardy aquarium fishes available. This fish should only be kept by the experienced aquarium keeper.
Blue discus, green discus Symphysodon aequifasciatus 8" Difficult fancy hybrids of this species and Symphysodon discus can also be found in trade
Chocolate cichlid Hypselecara temporalis
Oscar Astronotus ocellatus 18" has different varieties including long-fin, albino, golden, etc. The oscar cichlid is fast growing and can grow to a very large size when mature, and therefore should be housed in a large aquarium. The oscar can be messy to look after as they love to dig up plants and scoop up rocks. The oscar should be put with fish of similar size as they will eat any fish that can fit in their mouth. The oscar prefers to be with members of its own species, but this is not a necessity for its well being. The oscar is one of the more hardy cichlids, and can be put with other large cichlids, pacus, large plecos, large sharks, and other large fish.
Uaru, waroo Uaru amphiacanthoides
Peacock bass, butterfly peacock bass Cichla orinocensis
Texas cichlid, Rio Grande cichlid Herichthys cyanoguttatus
Other cichlids
Orange chromide Etroplus maculatus
Blood parrot cichlid
Parachromis dovii


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Arulius barb Puntius arulius 4.7"
Bigspot barb, Duncker's barb Puntius dunckeri 5" Peaceful when small but should not be kept with other species at adulthood.
Black ruby barb Puntius nigrofasciatus 2.5"
Checker barb Puntius oligolepis 2"
Cherry barb Puntius titteya 1.9" Community Easy very peaceful, and works well with white clouds and neon tetras
Clipper barb Barbus callipterus 3"
Clown barb Puntius everetti 6"
Gold barb Puntius semifasciolatus 3.1" Community Easy
Golden barb Puntius gelius 2"
Greenstripe barb Puntius vittatus 2"
Melon barb Puntius fasciatus 6"
Onespot barb Puntius terio 6"
Pentazona barb, fiveband barb Puntius pentazona 2" this species may be confused with tiger barb due to similarities
Pool barb Puntius sophore 7"
Partipentazona barb Puntius partipentazona 1.5"
Red line torpedo barb Puntius denisonii 6"
Rosy barb Puntius conchonius 5" Community Easy
Shortfin barb Barbus brevipinnis 1.8"
Sixband barb Puntius pentazona 2"
Spanner barb, t-barb Puntius lateristriga 7.8"
Spotted barb, common barb Puntius binotatus 7.75"
Spottedsail barb, dwarf barb Puntius phutunio 3.1"
Swamp barb Puntius chola 6"
Ticto barb Barbus ticto 4"
Tic-tac-toe barb Puntius stoliczkanus 2"
Tiger barb, sumatra barb Puntius tetrazona 3" Community Easy There are many varieties as well as hybrids with other barbs. Good community schooling fish. They are fin nippers.
Tinfoil barb Barbonymus schwanenfeldii 14"
Cold-water cyprinids
Goldfish Carassius auratus 6"+ Community Easy variations: Black Moor, Bubble Eye, Butterfly Tail, Calico, Celestial Eye, Comet, Common, Fantail, Lionchu, Lionhead, Oranda, Panda Moor, Pearlscale, Pompom, Ranchu, Ryukin, Shubunkin, Telescope eye, Veiltail
Koi, common carp Cyprinus carpio 12"+ Community Easy the fancy variations of common carp are known as koi.
White Cloud Mountain minnow Tanichthys albonubes 1.5" Pond Easy lutino variety can also be found in the aquarium trade
Common dace Leuciscus leuciscus 16"
Rosy red minnow, fathead minnow Pimephales promelas 2"-3" Pond/Minnow Tank Easy sold as feeder fish; the gold variety known as "rosy red" is very common
Southern redbelly dace Phoxinus erythrogaster 3"-4" Pond/Minnow Tank Easy
Danios and other danionins
Bengal danio, Sind danio Danio devario
Giant danio Devario aequipinnatus
Malabar danio Devario malabaricus 4,5-5,5" Community Easy
Pearl danio Danio albolineatus 2,6" Easy subspicies:blue-redstripe danio, Kedah danio
Queen danio Devario regina
Spotted danio Danio nigrofasciatus
Turquoise danio Brachydanio kerri
Zebra danio Brachydanio rerio 2" Easy there are many variations of this fish: leopard danio,the spotted colour morph, and GloFish, the genetically modified fluorescent fish.
Harlequin rasbora Trigonostigma heteromorpha 2" Also known as Harlequin tetra
Blackline rasbora, red-tailed rasbora Rasbora borapetensis
Red-striped rasbora Rasbora pauciperforata 3" Community Range: Sumatra; Temperature: 22 - 29 °C (72 - 85 °F)
Volcano rasbora Rasbora vulcanus
Other cyprinids
Bala shark Balantiocheilus melanopterus Community
Flying fox Epalzeorhynchos kalopterus this species may be sold as Siamese algae eater
Red-tailed black shark Epalzeorhynchos bicolor
Red-finned shark Epalzeorhynchos frenatum albino variation available
Cambodian log sucker, false Siamese algae eater Garra cambodgiensis this species may be sold as Siamese algae eater
Chinese algae eater Gyrinocheilus aymonieri this species may be sold as Siamese algae eater
Siamese algae eater Crossocheilus siamensis many other cyprinids are sometimes mistakenly sold under this name

Labyrinth fish

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Chocolate gourami Sphaerichthys osphromenoides 2.75"
Croaking gourami Trichopsis vittata 2.5" Often confused with the pygmy gourami
Dwarf gourami Colisa lalia 2" Community Intermediate the dwarf gourami is perfect for small to mid sized aquariums as it will not grow as large as its larger relatives. A beautiful, peaceful gourami.
Giant gourami Osphronemus goramy 4" Occasionally, some other gouramis are also referred to as "giant gouramis"
Paradise fish Macropodus opercularis 3" One of the few freshwater aquarium fish that survive in cold water. Most common variety is the Blue Paradise.
Pearl gourami Trichogaster leerii 4.5"
Pygmy gourami, Sparkling gourami Trichopsis pumila 1.5" Often confused with the croaking gourami
Kissing gourami Helostoma temminckii 6" The pink variety is more popular than the natural green one. They are called Kissing Gouramis because the seem to pucker their lips outwards. they require aquarium salt in the water or hard water
Moonlight gourami Trichogaster microlepis 6"
Snakeskin gourami Trichogaster pectoralis 8"
Three spot gourami Trichogaster trichopterus 4" Various color varieties each given a different name (blue gourami, gold gourami, and opaline gourami)
Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens 3" Numerous color and fin pattern varieties. In the U.S., the fish is often called "betta", although this word is actually the name of the genus that includes more than 60 species other than the Siamese fighting fish. Multiple males in a tank will result in conflicts and possibly death. Females can be housed together in groups of 4+ in a tank, though they may become territorial and attack each other. Males have long flowing fins with vibrant colors, and females have shorter fins. This fish is best put with fish that do not nip fins, as the fins of the betta are easy to attack. They should also not be housed with other fish with long, flowing fins as the Betta may confuse it with another, and attack.


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Guppies and mollies
Guppy Poecilia reticulata 2" Community Easy Many color and tail pattern varieties exist
Endler's livebearer Poecilia wingei 1.5" Community
Black molly Poecilia sphenops Community Easy
Sailfin molly Poecilia latipinna Community Easy Gold and silver varieties commonly found; also thrive in brackish water
Platies and swordtails
Southern platy Xiphophorus maculatus Community Easy Many color varieties exist
Variable platy Xiphophorus variatus Community Many color varieties exist
Green swordtail Xiphophorus hellerii Community Easy Many color varieties exist

Loaches and related cypriniforms

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Burmese border loach Botia kubotai
Clown loach Botia macracantha Clown loach has a sociable personality and should be kept in at least groups of 2. They may eat pond snails kept in aquariums.
Dwarf loach Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki formerly named Botia sidthimunki
Dojo loach, weather loach Misgurnus anguillicaudatus
Horseface loach Acantopsis choirorhynchus
Kuhli loach, coolie loach Pangio kuhlii a number of similar Pangio species are sold under the same name
Longnose loach Acantopsis octoactinotos
Skunk loach Yasuhikotakia morleti formerly named Botia morleti
Yoyo loach Botia almorhae
Zebra loach Botia striata
Other related cypriniforms
Chinese high fin banded shark Myxocyprinus asiaticus 36"+ Goldfish/Large Pond Difficult the highfin shark is a truly unique fish. At youth, the shark has a high dorsal fin, a plump body, and radiant colors. However, as the fish matures, the characteristics of the fish changes drastically. The dorsal fin becomes shorter, the fish achieves a more cylindrical shape, and the color fades to a dark brown. The fish is not suitable for fish tanks because of the size it can grow to. The highfin cannot be housed with tropical fish due to their lower temperature preferences. The highfin prefers to be in a school, so more than one should be housed together. The "shark" is a peaceful fish, and will not openly attack others. Highfins are bottom dwellers and omnivorous. They will eat invertebrates and scrape algae off rocks.
Chinese hillstream loach Beaufortia kweichowensis

Neotropical electric fish

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Black ghost knifefish Apteronotus albifrons Not to be confused with the featherback "knifefish" of the Bonytongue group (see above)
Brown ghost knifefish Apteronotus leptorhynchus
Electric eel Electrophorus electricus Despite the name, this is not an "eel" but rather a huge knifefish; illegal to possess in some areas


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Figure 8 pufferfish Tetraodon biocellatus 2.4" Intermediate often sold as freshwater fish, but this species prefers brackish water
Green spotted puffer Tetraodon nigroviridis 6" Difficult often sold as freshwater fish, but this species actually thrives in brackish water and may even require saltwater when reaches adulthood
Giant freshwater pufferfish Tetraodon mbu 30" Difficult This fish also occurs in estuaries.
Dwarf pufferfish Carinotetraodon travancoricus 1.18" Intermediate
Congo pufferfish Tetraodon miurus 6" Difficult


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Salmon-red rainbowfish Glossolepis incisus 5-6" aka Red rainbowfish
Tami River rainbowfish Glossolepis pseudoincisus 3" aka Millennium rainbowfish
Lake Wanam rainbowfish Glossolepis wanamensis 5-6" aka Emerald rainbowfish
Threadfin rainbowfish Iriatherina werneri Difficult Threadfins have very tiny mouths and cannot compete well with other fish for food. Keep in species only tanks or with small pseudomugil (ie: gertrudae)
New Guinea rainbowfish Melanotaenia affinis 5"
Boeseman's rainbowfish Melanotaenia boesemani 4-5"
Duboulayi's rainbowfish Melanotaenia duboulayi 5-6" aka Crimson-Spotted rainbowfish
Australian rainbowfish Melanotaenia fluviatilis 5-6"
Lake Kurumoi rainbowfish Melanotaenia parva 3-3.25" aka Flame rainbowfish
Neon rainbowfish Melanotaenia praecox 2.5-3"
Eastern rainbowfish Melanotaenia splendida splendida 5-6"

Spiny eels

Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Fire eel Mastacembelus erythrotaenia
Spotfinned spiny eel Macrognathus siamensis
Tire track eel Mastacembelus armatus
Lesser spiny eel ""Macrognathus aculeatus""


Common name Taxonomy Picture Size Tank Type Care Level Remarks
Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus

See also

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