The coolest freshwater aquarium fishes

Freshwater elefantfish and butterflyfish, flower horn cichlid and chinese hillstream loach… In this article you’ll find out about 10 very unlike fishes, however they all have 2 things in common: they are unique and they can live in your tank. There are much more odd-looking fishes in the world, for sure, but we’d like to name those, which are usually on the market and they are affordable and simple in care.


A pessimistic fish, – as any psychologist would say, just by looking at the expression of its face. After that he’ll be cursed by any Chinese man, since in the East the fish is considered to be responsible for the presence of money and happiness in the house.

We don’t know for sure how the fish brings money, but we definitely know that arowana with exotic coloring takes quite a lot of money away from the house (since it’s quite an expensive fish).

In the wild the fish lives in Amazon river, just as it used to inhabit during the Jurassic period. It quietly eats everything and anything, even birds being heedless and sitting on the low tree branches.


The ropefish, reedfish or snakefish, once you catch it while fishing you may get a heart attach.

Though, the fish is completely harmless towards people, but we can’t say the same as for any small fish.

Snakefish has adapted for life in Africa and it can afford even to go to some other pond, if the old one isn’t good enough any more, since the fish can breathe outer air. It can do the same while living in a tank, so be careful and don’t leave any gaps.

Black ghost knifefish

The fish is also called black ghost knifefish. And what does it look like…well..usually it’s hard to say for those, who see it for the first time – what exactly do they see? Actually, the fish is more like a fish, than a knife.

It inhabits in Amazon river basin and the locals have been so impressed by the fish appearance, that they believe their dead relatives souls to transmigrate into this fish. I would say that these may be only somebody’s mothers-in-law..

The fish looks very attractive and unusual in a tank, it’s very interesting how it swims and eats its small tank mates as well.

Freshwater butterflyfish

African butterflyfish or freshwater butterflyfish is another one long-liver, who survived dinosaurs, and it’s quite possible, that the fish will survive us, too. It also inhabits in Africa (strangely, all odd creatures inhabit there), and the fish gets so exited by the stuff that flies above the water surface, that everything swimming in the water never attracts the fish attention.

Therefore, African butterflyfish looks only upwards and it even jumps out of the water to catch some fly or etc.

So, if you are thinking about buying this fish, get ready to like flies and bugs, as much as the fish does, since you’ll have to breed them to feed your pet.

Dwarf puffer

Unlike Arowana, this is an optimistic fish. You’ll see it once you look at a usual smirk on its face and try to look into its always shifty eyes. All this odd stuff is gathered in one small round body of dwarf puffer.

Have you heard about fugu-fish? The one, that Japanese cook and by eating the fish at the same time expose themselves to danger of poisoning. So, this one is a close relative of our dwarf puffer. One more thing about tetraodon fish is that they can puff up like a ball to make a raptor’s breakfast less pleasant.

They also swim like small airships, this way ignoring age-old principles of other fishes. In a tank dwarf puffer bravely bites other fishes fins, it swallows small tank fish without even chewing it.

And what is more, if after all you decide to keep this fish in your tank, you’ll have to either buy a swiss file or a pack of snails. The matter is, that tetraodon’s teeth grow fast and they have to be milled by a swiss file or the fish has to eat something hard like snails, for example, to do it itself.


Yes, this is his Majesty Flowerhorn! Just a little time ago nobody new about such a fish till someone in Taiwan has bred some cichlid species to get such a miracle.

What species exactly were used for this is still a big secret, but now we have this awesome fish, that drives crazy lots of people in the East.

And why not? The fish becomes large, it’s omnivorous and it fights all its tank mates. A macho-fish! Oh, and its head protuberance – its distinctive feature, heh – no brain in it, just fat.

Zebra pleco

Yes, it has its own number – serious stuff, no games here! A numbered cat fish, which inhabits in Brazil and for some period of time it has been so actively exported from there, that now it’s prohibited. Hah, but you can never stop the real fans by this stuff, so we already have its juveniles on sale. No cheating, just breeding!

Oh, besides the fish unusual coloring it also has a cupule instead of the usual mouth. Despite its strange mouth Hypancistrus prefers live feed, while the other cat fish feeds by scraping off some doubtfully tasty stuff from the stones.


Well, this isn’t just one fish, this is a lot of different by size and coloring fishes. But all snakeheads have one thing in common – they are somewhat alike snakes, they eat everything that moves and some of them have pretty real fangs.

You are welcome to watch the video and see what these nice fishes can do to other predators. Oh, and they breathe the outer air. Some of them can live in a tank with other fish and the others will consider their tank mates as a tasty feed.

Again, it is native to Africa. Why the fish was called like this is easy to see from the first glance.

Elephantnose fish

In the wild elephantnose fish prefers bottom water layers, where it finds a lot of tasty food in the mud with its trunk.

Also, the fish creates quite strong electric field which helps it to get the direction in space, look for food and communicate with its partners. In captivity fish doesn’t breed and behaves rather shy, it hides in a tank quiet nooks.

Chinese hillstream loach

When seeing the fish for the first time ever, you won’t even get that this is a fish..since this is something flat with eyes and a tail, looks like sand dab, but it’s not it, this is a chinese hillstream loach!

Actually, this is a small fish, which inhabits in fast rivers with strong flow in the wild. There, such shape of its body, as well as its cupule, helps the fish to hold on to stones.

Beaufortia can quite successfully live in a tank, however it is a demanding fish and needs some special tank conditions.