31+ Types Of Freshwater Fish: 2024 Update

Freshwater fishes are found in rivers, lakes, and other water bodies having a salinity of less than 0.05%. They can adapt to changes in habitat, water level, oxygen level, and temperature variation ranging from 5 to 24 degrees Celsius, depending on different species.

Marine water fish lives in the ocean and sea and are also known as saltwater fish. They can survive in highly saline water.

Freshwater fishes are an integral part of our ecosystem, economics, and communities. They are under increasing threat and, it’s high time we understand more about them and their value.

Freshwater fish like salmon and trout hatch in freshwater and then move to the sea and live there until they return for reproduction. Such species are called anadromous. Fishes like freshwater eels hatch at sea but live in freshwater. They go back to the sea for breeding. These species are called catadromous species.

How Many Freshwater Fish Are There?

Nearly half of the fish species live in freshwater, which means more than 18,000 different species live in freshwater and around 800 are in North America only. Since 1900, almost 57 species of freshwater fish have gone extinct in North America because of human activity. 

More than 100 new varieties of freshwater fish are discovered every year during the last decade in South America only. On the other hand, 16 freshwater fish species were declared extinct in 2020 only. 

What Are The Most Common Freshwater Fish?

What Are The Most Common Freshwater Fish

Now you know what freshwater fishes are and where to find them, so let’s dive deep to latch on to some popular freshwater fishes.


They are the most popular freshwater fish and are also kept as pets in aquariums. Their size can vary depending on the environment and its type. They also vary in size, color, and shape.

Some Goldfish have a peacock-type tails, while some are egg-shaped. Even there is a goldfish with bubbly-looking eyes. Their color may vary from orange-gold to grayish-white to olive green. 


Guppy is a hardy, energetic, and colorful freshwater breed. They are social creatures and enjoy living in groups. The male guppy is much brighter than the female, which is duller in appearance.

Cory Catfish

These social fishes are known for their calmness and are described as armored catfish as these fishes have bone-like plates on their bodies.

They vary in size and color and the most common one is Bronze Cory catfish. These fishes are bottom feeders.


This fish has more than 700 species, all varying in pattern and color. It lives peacefully and is easy to breed.

Betta Fish

These fish also go by the name Siamese fighting fish. They are omnivorous but do enjoy plant food more. They can coexist with other breeds and, unlike their name, are not aggressive at all.


These fishes are also omnivores and require both plant and animal food. They are also known as scalars and are popular as aquarium pets.

They have extra long fins and thin bodies with either stripes or markings. The fully grown angelfish can reach up to 6 inches in length.

Neon Tetra

It has blue stripes running across its body which makes it visible in the darkness. They originate from rivers and streams of Orinoco and Amazon in Brazil, Columbia, and Peru.

Each month more than 1.5 million neon tetras are imported to the United States. They are generally captive-bred in the Far East and Eastern Europe.

Cherry Barb

It is the fish family with the largest number of fishes, with over 2000 species. Minnows and carps also belong to this family. These fishes are at risk because of the loss of natural habitat.

If you plan to keep this fish in an aquarium, add some plants, as it loves to hide even when not in danger.


They are predatory fish and feed on several aquatic organisms by creating suction to capture the prey. Oscar fish has a life span of twenty years.

These are known for their brood care, as they are very protective towards their offspring till they are ready to leave their territory.

Bristlenose Pleco

These fish are known as dark fish that cleans your aquarium. They prefer to eat algae that grow in the tank, hence keeping it clean.

They can easily blend with the environment and remain motionless for a long duration, therefore earning the name master of disguise.

Zebra Danio

They natively belong to Asia, covering parts of Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Zebra Danios are now mostly captive-bred for aquariums.

They have blue-purple horizontal stripes on their silver-gold body. They like to live and travel in groups. Zebras are surface-dwelling and cold-water fish.


This is a community fish that travel in groups. Platy fish refers to three species- Southern Platy, Variable Platy, and Swordtail Platy.

They are small, peaceful fish with a lifespan of three to five years. Platies love to swim in small groups and hide among the floating leaves. They can feed on both plant and animal food.


These fish belong to the rivers of the United States and Mexico. They are plant and algae eaters and can reach up to 5 inches in length. There are lots of varieties of Molly, but the most sought-after one is velvety black Molly.


These are peaceful, omnivorous fish with a life span of ten years. Discus is also known as the king of aquariums and belongs to the floodplains of the Amazon. They can be 8 to 10 inches long and come in different shades like green, blue, red, yellow, and brown.

Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami, got this name as they have beautiful white spots on their body. They are omnivores with a life span of five years. They originate from the shallow tropical waters of Thailand. Indonesia and Malaysia.

The males of this species are among the most colorful fish as they develop redbreast on maturity. Their large fins make them a target of fin-nipping fish.


These fish are very social and peaceful. They are known for their vibrant colors, but they start showing their colors only in adulthood. Rainbow fish have more than 70 species with an average length of 4 to 6 inches.

You can find them in various colors and the most common ones are silver and blue-green bodies.

Green Swordtail

This fish belongs to Central America and Mexico. They give birth to young ones instead of eggs and have an olive green body with colorful speckles. They are fast-growing and easy to breed.

They are peaceful and live in groups. The swordtail of the male is the most striking and beautiful feature of this variety.

What Is The Hardest Freshwater Fish To Catch?

What Is The Hardest Freshwater Fish To Catch

Surprisingly there is not one but at least ten freshwater fish, which are hard to catch. These fish don’t live on the farthest or deepest part of the earth but are lurking in rivers and lakes waiting for you to cross their path.

Goliath Tigerfish

These fish live in the Congo River basin, Lake Upemba, Lake Tanganyika, and the Lualaba River. It has dagger-like sharp 32 teeth and easily beats other African fishes in speed, weight, and power.

This fish is known as the Bully of the Congo because of its fearlessness and ability to hunt. According to locals, Goliath Tigerfish can hunt small crocodiles and are rush feeders.


The Muskellunge, commonly known as Muskie, is the largest member of the pike family. They belong to lakes and rivers of mid-region North America.

They are known as Ambush Predators and prefer thick weeds where they can hide while hunting for other fish. Their long muscular frame helps them in gaining speed and power.

Black Piranha

They are found in the Amazon, Orinoco River basin, and beyond in South America. These fish have blood-red eyes and strong jaws and teeth.

They are known as the Hitman of the Jungle, as they feed in packs and attack wounded prey, eating their flesh bite by bite.


They can weigh up to 400 pounds and have heads as hard as steel. You can find them in the Amazon, Essequibo river basins in South America, and Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru.

They are opportunistic feeders, hunting live prey and scavenging on dead bait. Their body mass is heavier than other freshwater fishes. They can breathe fresh air and can easily pull a boat around.

Giant Snakehead

Their snake-like head and formidable teeth gave them the name, Giant Snakehead. Southeast Asia is their home and they can be found in rivers and reservoirs of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

They are known for their strike and endurance and are very aggressive when guarding their fry balls during the initial week.

Golden Dorado

This fish, also known as River Tiger, is commonly found in rivers of South America. Their habitat is the Upper Parana River in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

They have broad muscular frames and powerful jaws. They are cannibalistic and can feed on smaller Dorados.

Wolf Fish

They have oversized heads, scary teeth, dark black eyes, and big tails. You can find them in rivers of northern South America, including Venezuela, Guyana, French Guiana, and Brazil.

They have immense strength, power, and formidable jaw strength.

Niugini Black Bass

They are found in the rivers of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They are among the toughest fish with strong canine teeth and immense power.

Alligator Gar

Commonly found in rivers of the USA and Mexico, these fishes have strong jaws and can weigh up to 400 pounds. They are strong fighters and can eat anything that can swim.


These two fang fish are found in rivers of South America, especially Venezuela, and Colombia. They are pack hunters and have striking fast speeds.

Easiest Freshwater Fish To Catch

In case if you are planning to go fishing and then don’t want to return empty-handed, then do find out in this part about the easiest freshwater fish you can catch.


If fishing is your hobby, then you have surely come across these easy-to-catch sunnies. You can easily bait them with flies, worms, and grubs without much effort. They are small in size and considered fine food and game fish.


They have long barbels around the mouth which resemble cat whiskers. Catfish are common in numerous water bodies and this makes them easy to catch. If you are planning to bait them, use chicken liver to lure them.


You can easily find these fishes in North America, Mexico, South Africa, and Europe. They love to eat water insects and can even eat their eggs in case of food scarcity.

Even though they are an easy catch but not the preferable ones as they are smaller in size and you need to catch a lot of them to fill your bucket.


They are found in the United States, Britain, Europe, and Canada. The white crappies are silvery with dark markings and are found in warm lakes and rivers. The black crappie is more common in clear lakes and streams. They swim in a group so you can catch many ones after each other.


Perch has hundreds of species and is found everywhere- America, Africa, Australia, and even Asia. The two most common species in North America are- White and Yellow perch. They give a violent fight, so be careful if you catch them. You can bait them with leeches, minnows, insects, spoons, and jigs.


Chubs are commonly found in North America and are referred to as minnows, including creek chubs, river chubs, and horn head chubs. They feed on insects, fish eggs, mollusks, small fish, and flies. Their favorite bait is maggots, worms, bread, and even cheese.

If you are fishing in freshwater, you are surely getting a chub and if you are looking for excitement and lots of fun try catching them with your hands rather than a rod.


Bass is also among easy-to-catch fish but they will put up a fight when you reel them. You can find them hiding behind cover as they conceal themselves for an easy ambush.

Freshwater Drum

This fish is also known as Sheepshead and is among the tastiest fish. They are valued by the Japanese and European for their superior taste. They can be fished all around the year and eat a great variety of things from minnows to insects to cut bait.


You can find trout all around you, but brown and rainbow trout are more common. They can frequently change their taste so keep varieties of bait with you. But it seems that grasshoppers are a favorite bait for them.


These fish have a huge diet and are predators. They can eat frogs, snakes, and even birds, and catching them is not very hard. You can easily find them in several water bodies but, sadly in The United States, they are disappearing very fast.


Freshwater fish is an important part of our ecosystem. Around 200 million people in land-locked and low-income countries depend on freshwater fish as their main source of protein. A large population of around, 60 million people depends on freshwater fish as a livelihood provider.

They also make our fish bowls and aquariums colorful pieces of natural art. If you are looking for fish for your aquarium or want to go fishing in a nearby river, this article will help you.