fish landscape aquarium

When considering the shallow freshwater rivers of Africa, South America, and Asia, the words “unique” might not always enter your mind.

Many “unique” fish are deep-sea ocean residents with additional appendages and also unusual patterns.

You could be surprised to learn that certain unusual freshwater fish, some of which you can add to your very own recreational fish tank, are found in the slow-moving shifting waters of the Amazon river basin as well as many other shallow tributaries.

13 Cool & Exotic Freshwater Fish (That You Can Keep at Home)

Here are a few unusual freshwater fish species that you can keep inside. Remember that not all of these fish make excellent beginner fish, so consider the level of care required before choosing!


  • Treatment degree: Advanced.
  • Character: Semi-aggressive.
  • Life span: 10-15 years.
  • Water demands 75-82 ° F, 6.5-7.5 pH.
  • Tank demands 250+ gallons.
  • Diet plan: Live or icy bugs, little fish, krill, worms, shrimp, as well as meat-eating fish pellets.

The semi-aggressive Arowana fish are skilled swimmers that were created for their native Amazon river in South America. If given enough space, these organized, meat-eating assassins known as streamlined silverfish can grow up to 4 feet in length.

It’s also important to keep in mind that arowanas might not make good aquarium companions for other fish because they are killers who will undoubtedly eat most fish that are smaller than themselves and also because of their semi-aggressive nature, they are not the easiest to match with aquarium companions. Consider angelfish, catfish, Plecostomus, Oscars, and cichlids among other fish. However, if the private fish do not get along, there is no guarantee of maintaining a peaceful container with arowanas.


  • Treatment degree: Intermediate.
  • Personality: Generally serene.
  • Life span: ~ 10 years.
  • Water demands: 82-86 ° F, 6.0-7.0 pH.
  • The tank needs: 75+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Algae flakes, shrimp pellets, exotic fish flakes.

Discus are native to the Amazon river delta, but they prefer the calmer waters next to the banks of the river, where there are often fallen branches and trees. Due of the limited printing, there are numerous color and pattern variations available. The discus can be recognized by its squashed, “disk”-shaped body, large dorsal fins, and yellow or red eyes. They are beautiful fish to keep, but because they require a little bit more care than certain hardier fish, they are recommended for hobbyists with a little bit more experience.

Discus is another another unusual freshwater fish that can be kept with other fish but does best in a tank all to itself. If lower inhabitants prevent them from feeding off the base of the storage tanks or if antagonistic fish or fin-nippers intimidate them, their management may become challenging. Advanced athletes might want to keep their discus in a small container. However, beginners must only home talk with other beginners in a 75+ gallon container.

Zebra Plecostomus (Zebra pleco)

  • Treatment degree: Beginner-Intermediate.
  • Character: Peaceful.
  • Life span: ~ 10 years.
  • Water needs: 82-86 ° F, 6.5-7.5 pH, oxygen-rich water.
  • The storage tank needs 30+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Live or icy lobster eggs, blood worms, shellfish, mussel, algae wafers, smashed peas, as well as pellets.

Zebra Plecostomus are native to the tributaries of the Amazon river, along with a large number of other distinctive freshwater fish. For the fish to feel comfortable and thrive, the container needs to be equipped with hiding spots and grabs. Although they are calm fish, they are not the best fish to keep in a container with other fish.

istockphoto 1257152025 612x612 1

Elephantnose fish

  • Treatment degree: Intermediate.
  • Character: Semi-aggressive.
  • Life span: 7-10 years.
  • Water demands: 73-80 ° F, 6.5-7.0 pH.
  • The tank needs: 50+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Live bloodworms, insect larvae, black flies, saltwater shrimp; some might consume flakes or frozen food.

The astonishing and unusual freshwater fish for aficionados are elephant nose fish. The Niger River in Africa is home to these fish. Due to the electromagnetic environment it has developed to observe its surroundings and connect in the murky seas it calls home, they are also significantly more uncommon. These fish will undoubtedly stand out from the rest in your collection if you can meet their needs.

Freshwater African Butterflyfish

  • Treatment degree: Intermediate.
  • Character: Aggressive.
  • Life span: 5+ years.
  • Water demands 77-86 ° F, 6.8-7.2 pH.
  • Tank demands 30+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Live little fish, saltwater shrimp, pests, and also some frozen foods.

An remarkable fish native to Africa, the African Butterflyfish lives in lakes and slow-moving rivers. It is one of the earliest lasting fish species, and its form hasn’t changed in over 100 million years! When viewed from above, these unusual fish resemble butterflies, and their lengthy dorsal, forward, and rear fins contribute to this image.

Although the African butterflyfish can live in residential areas, they are predators and may hunt on any fish that is smaller than them. To keep these fish happy, healthy, and balanced, it is preferable to keep them in shallow aquariums with other butterflyfish.

istockphoto 1305787451 612x612 1

Flowerhorn Cichlid (A.k.a Flower Horn)

  • Treatment degree: Intermediate.
  • Character: Aggressive.
  • Life span: 8-10 years.
  • Water needs: 80-89 ° F, 6.8-7.8 pH.
  • Tank demands 75+ gallons for one cichlid, 200+ with tankmates.
  • Diet plan: Crickets, insects, mealworms, anchovies, icy shrimp.

The large “horn”-like growth on the front of their heads, which gives them their name, makes flowerhorn cichlids one of the most recognizable freshwater fish. These fish are beloved not just for their appearance but also for their incredible character.

Due to their attitude toward any other fish species, flowerhorns are categorized as “hostile” fish. Since these fish are crossbreeds and are typically not occurring—they have been purposefully reproduced into existence—it is known that they occasionally experience health problems.

Dwarf Puffer

  • Treatment degree: Beginner.
  • Personality: Aggressive.
  • Life span: ~ 5 years.
  • Water needs: 77-79 ° F, 7-7.8 pH.
  • Tank demands 10+ gallons per flatterer fish.
  • Diet plan: Bloodworms, shrimp, snails, blackworms.

Due to their attitude toward any other fish species, flowerhorns are categorized as “hostile” fish. Since these fish are crossbreeds and are typically not occurring—they have been purposefully reproduced into existence—it is known that they occasionally experience health problems.

Dwarf flatterer fish are appropriate for starting enthusiasts as long as a couple of fundamental demands are fulfilled. Flatterer fish call for pristine water with no traces of ammonia, which can be dangerous.

istockphoto 1208508624 612x612 1

Snakehead Fish

  • Treatment degree: Advanced.
  • Personality: Aggressive.
  • Life span: 8+ years.
  • Water demands: 68-79 ° F, 6.0-7.0 pH.
  • Tank needs: 450+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Fish, shellfishes, birds, tiny animals, and also reptiles.

The eel-like Snakehead fish is an all-natural killer- such an efficient one that they have been identified as an intrusive type in several locations.

This is absolutely a fish where you require to examine your neighborhood regulations to see if you are legitimately permitted to maintain it in your house fish tank.

If so, even if it is a bit of an oddball, keeping this unique fish can be really satisfying. The fish’s name comes from its squished shape and distinctive ranges, which resemble a serpent. They are frequently found in rivers that run from Africa to Afghanistan and from Siberia to China..

The fact that this fish needs air to survive and will frequently surface and even leap to the surface to catch its breath before submerging once more is one of its distinguishing characteristics. The real “problem” with snakeheads is their size requirements. Because these fish can get very large and demand tanks that hold at least 450+ gallons, they are inappropriate for many anglers. They can be a really interesting animal to have if you have the space, and they will definitely spark conversation!

Rope Fish

  • Treatment degree: Beginner-Intermediate.
  • Character: Peaceful.
  • Life span: 15-20 years.
  • Water demands 72-82 ° F, 6.7-7.5 pH.
  • The tank needs: 50+ gallons.
  • Diet plan: Live or icy shellfishes, pests, bloodworms, mussels, and so on.

A more “straightforward” and slightly smaller version of the snakehead fish is the rope fish. As long as they are equipped with hiding places and paired with the proper container partners, rope fish are peaceful fish. If you want to try something different in a freshwater environment, rope fish are a great alternative species!

Chinese Hillstream Loach

  • Treatment degree: Intermediate.
  • Character: Peaceful.
  • Life span: 8-10 years.
  • Water needs: 68-75 ° F, 7.0-8.0 pH.
  • Tank demands 55+ gallons.
  • Diet plan: Larvae on algae, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, bloodworm, pest larvae, shrimp, sinking pellets.

These reluctant fish tend to hide while they feed amid the algae, so you might not notice them very much throughout the day. They require cooler water and higher oxygen levels than many fish, which makes it a little more difficult to find the best container companions that can handle the unique water issues. They are happiest when working in groups of 3-6 of their type. They can, however, also share a tank with any calm, gentle freshwater fish, especially a center fish.

Black Ghost Knifefish

  • Treatment degree: Advanced.
  • Character: Peaceful, somewhat shy.
  • Life span: 10-20 years.
  • Water demands: 73-82 ° F, 6.5-8.0 pH.
  • The tank needs: 150+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Live worms as well as meat and freshwater flakes.

The slow-moving South American rivers and the Amazon river basin are home to the native black blade ghostfish. Given that they are set to low light, they have a very distinctive appearance.

Due to their lack of ranges, ghostfish can be more vulnerable to damage and illness than other peaceful freshwater fish. These fish are extremely distinctive to keep in a home fish tank and are suitable for even more experienced lovers!

Wolf Cichlid

  • Treatment degree: Intermediate-Advanced.
  • Personality: Aggressive.
  • Life span: 10-15+ years.
  • Water demands 75-81 ° F, 6.5-70 pH.
  • Tank demands 200+ gallons.
  • Diet regimen: Insects, bloodworms, tiny shellfishes, beef heart, and so on.

These fish need a terrific area offer, as they can expand up to 2 feet in size! They are intelligent fish that have been understood to bond with their proprietors.

Because they are aggressive, wolf cichlids should not be kept in a tank with other fish of any size or species. Additionally, it is not a good idea to put plants in a wolf cichlid container because they will surely rip the plants out with their insatiable digging activity! An appropriately cared for wolf cichlid can survive for two years in perfect health, making it a great “big” fish to develop for more experienced hobbyists.

Vampire tetra (Sabertooth Barracuda)

  • Treatment degree: Advanced.
  • Character: Aggressive.
  • Life span: 1-2 years.
  • Water needs: 75-84 ° F, 6.0-7.8 pH.
  • Tank needs: 500+ gallons.
  • Diet plan: Live fish, consisting of piranhas as well as various other characins.

If you live somewhere where you can keep this fish, get yourself ready to face the Vampire Tetra’s challenges on your own. This fish requires extensive knowledge of fishkeeping and is not for the faint of heart. It is better to keep these teeth alone because they could gravely hurt any container buddies.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *