Freshwater Fish Guide – Species By Group

Here you can find information on a wide range of freshwater species.

The species presented here are grouped by family or sub-order. Please click on the group name for more information and a list of species described. You can also view the list by tank type: coldwater, tropical or pond, or geographical origin of species, or use our compatibility guide to find suitable fish combinations for your tank.

Click on a heading for a group description and listing of all species covered in that category.

Characins I:Tetras
Characins II:Other Characins including hatchetfish, headstanders, pencilfish, serrasalmids & more
Cyprinids I:Goldfish
Cyprinids II:Barbs, Danios & rasboras
Cyprinids III:Loaches, sharks, foxes, plus other cyprinids
Catfish I:South American catfish inc Corydoras
Catfish II:African, Asian & Australian catfish
ToothcarpsLivebearers and Killifish
Labyrinth fishBettas (fighting fish), gouramis, paradise fish
CichlidsCichlids include angelfish, discus and all other cichlids. They are subdivided into African and American cichlids as follows:
American cichlids 1:Dwarf cichlids and eartheaters
American cichlids 2:Acara type cichlids, heroines (inc Discus & angelfish) & other American cichlids
African cichlids 1:Lake Malawi cichlids (including mbunas) & Haplochromines
African cichlids 2:Lake Tanganyikan cichlids & African riverine cichlids
Rainbowfish & relatives, galaxiasRainbows, Blue-eyes, silversides, plus galaxias
Perches & relativesPerches, basses, cods, grunters, glassfish, pygmy perch
Brackish water fishIncluding scats, monos, barramundi, saratogas etc
Gobies, Gudgeons & other fishIncluding knifefish, mormyrids and more

About the information provided

Common name: This is the name usually used in the aquarium trade in Australia, but many species go by a number of common names. Use the scientific name as the definitive guide to identifying a particular fish.

Scientific name: All fish are assigned a unique two-part scientific name. As the relationships between species are revised, new scientific names are sometimes assigned. Previous or alternative scientific names are called synonyms. The scientific names used for each species were correct at the time of publishing, but are subject to change. You can use the fishbase site ( to find the currently valid scientific name of a species. Where the scientific name has changed recently, or where an incorrect synonym is still in common use, this synonym is provided in brackets, but we do not aim to provide a complete list of synonyms. Again, you can use fishbase to find all previous and alternative scientific names for a species.

Maximum size: The largest size a species can be expected to grow to.

Temperament: An indication of the nature of the fish, whether peaceful, nippy, aggressive, territorial etc, and whether they are schooling (ie need the company of their own species). Always bear in mind that individual fish may vary in temperament, so use this information only as a guide.

Suggested for: An indication of tank types this fish is suited to, ie community tanks, planted tanks, and what size fish they will generally mix with. This is intended as a guide only, you should also research the other species you are interested in.

Water quality: The pH, hardness and any specific water quality requirements of the species

Temperature: The optimum temperature range for the species. Most fish will tolerate temperatures outside this range for short periods, but it should also be noted that even species with wide temperature tolerances will be stressed by rapid or constant temperature fluctuations.

Origin: The continent of origin of the species, or, for Australian species, the regions in which the species occurs. For more detailed information on the exact origin of other species, see fishbase.

Comments: Further information on the species including any cautions, points of interest, and notes on the ease or difficulty of keeping.

Suggested foods: An indication of suitable diet for the species

Sexing: A description of sexual differences, where these are externally visible. Some information on breeding can be found in the family or group descriptions. If you are interested in breeding, we recommend conducting further research into your species of interest.

Expect to pay: A guide to the price of the fish at the juvenile size (or whatever size is commonly available). This size is usually much less than the maximum size, commonly 2 to 5 cm. You should expect to pay more for larger specimens, special varieties or color strains, or specially imported fish. The price is provided as an indication only and is not in any way a guarantee of the price of ordered fish.

Availability: How readily available the species is. Very good indicates a species that is nearly always available. Fairly good, one that is available more often than not, fair, one that is available around 50% of the time, occasional, one that is available less than 50% of the time. Some fish are available sporadically, that is, they may be available continuously for a month or two, but then may not be available for several months. Other types are seasonal, ie they have a set breeding period so are available only for a limited time, but are usually available at that same time every year. Finally, rare species are those which are not often imported, and may not be available for very long periods, even a year or more. Availability is a guide to the general availability of these species in Australia.

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