If you’re looking to decorate your tank with wonderful exotic fish with bright and sparkling colors then keep on reading.
There are several unique aquarium fish species to choose for beginner and advanced hobbyists.
We are going to go over the 10 most exotic freshwater fish. Maybe you will be able to pick out a few favorites to add to your tank.
10 Most Exotic Freshwater Fish
Discus fish are a genus of cichlids native to the Amazon River basin. They have bright colors, and a circular shape (hence the name). They are popular because of their markings, patterns, and wide variety of exotic colors.
Over the last 30-40 years they have developed a reputation for being only cared for by elite aquarist- but these fish are easy to take care of.
The most popular types are the red, blue and turquoise Discus. They can grow fairly large, with a height and length of about 8-10inches when full grown.
Another main reason hobbyists love Discus is that these fish tend to take on some personal behaviors and might even recognize you and greet you when you approach the tank.
Some would say the Arowana looks like a dinosaur with their large powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth. They also come from the Amazon River basin and can grow to be 48 inches in the wild and 30 inches in captivity.
These fish are large, so you will need to have a large tank, 4ft x 4ft or even larger so they will have enough room to turn around easily.
They prefer to feed on live fish such as crabs, bugs, shrimp or frozen food and pellets. As they are a large fish and consume a lot of food, they will produce large amounts of waste so heavy filtration is extremely important.
They will be most comfortable if their environment is as close to their natural habitat as possible. They should be surrounded with plants, sand and rocks.
Certain species, like the silver Arowana in the wild jumps out of the water to capture prey. Make sure you do not startle an Arowana or you might be trying to pick it up from the floor!
The Datnoid comes from Indonesia and Thailand waters. They are also called Tiger fish because of their large black stripes and tiger-like patterned bodies.
You will need a fairly large aquarium because this fish can grow to be 65 cm. You should try to mimic the natural conditions and habitat of the Datnoids native surroundings.
Plants and hiding spots will be a good idea since they love to hide and mimic stalking and hunting behavior.
Despite their love for hunting, this fish species is non-aggressive and should be kept with other docile fish. Their diet consists of frozen food, pellets and live food.
4. Freshwater Sting Rays
Also from the Amazon River basin, Rays are peaceful in nature, omnivorous and will love to have hiding spots in your tank.
Certain species will grow to be one meter in size so you will need a large tank if you want to keep Rays. Take note of special care for certain species, their skin and tails are fragile, and some species tails are venomous.
There should be no substrate but fine sand on the bottom of the tank. Some Rays can grow to be 3 feet in diameter so be sure to know how big your Ray will get before you commit to caring for one.
If you’re planning on keeping other tank mates in your freshwater aquarium then it would be best to choose larger, docile and non-aggressive fish friends.
The Axolotl is from Mexico City and is also known as the Mexican salamander. This is a very unique (and sometimes adorable) and exotic creature that is actually classified as an amphibian (salamander).
They are carnivorous and prefer to eat insects, worms and feeder fish. They should only share a tank with other large tank mates. Like Rays, they have sensitive skin and should be kept on smooth and fine sand.
You will need at least an 11-gallon tank if you want to keep an Axolotl in your home aquarium.
The water conditions of your tank are extremely important when thinking about caring for an Axolotl and frequent water changes are a must along with occasional water testing.
6. Green Spotted Puffer Fish
This colorful yellow-green fish is native to Southeast Asia. They have black and brown spots and have become popular in freshwater aquariums because of their interesting behavior and personality.
Although this fish has a long lifespan, (10+ years) you will need to be a well-educated aquarium owner because these fish have specific needs and care instructions.
The Green Spotted Puffer has been known to attack and kill other fish in the tank. They are very aggressive and are best kept alone in a large 55+ gallon tank.
They will grow to about six inches and they aren’t afraid to come to the tank if you are in the room to ask for food.
7. Flowerhorn (hybrid)
The Flowerhorn Cichlid originates from Malaysia. These Cichlids as hybrids are highly popular amongst hobbyists because of their great size and beautiful mix of colors.
They come in combinations of blues, reds, pinks, yellows and orange with wonderful dark flowerlike markings on their bodies.
This carnivorous and aggressive species prefer large tanks all to themselves; only one should be kept per tank.
They prefer a diet of pellet, flake and live foods, will grow to be 16 inches and have a lifespan of 5-8 years.
8. Malawi Cichlid
The Malawi Cichlid is native to East Africa in Lake Malawi. If you decide to keep a Lake Malawi Cichlid in your tank, you will need certain requirements so that this fish stays healthy and continues to display its beautiful and bright colors.
Malawi fish are popular because of the enchanting colors and charming behavior. Most species grow to about 12 inches and undergo dramatic color changes.
You should try to mimic the natural environment and water chemistry of their native habitat.
Your tank should contain rocks, hiding spots; detritus, plants, sand and the water temperature should be stable and have good filtration.
Unlike the South American Cichlids, these East African Cichlids should be placed in large enough groups of their own species to prevent territorial disputes that might not end well.
9. Electric Blue Lobster
The Blue Lobster, despite its name, is a crayfish native to Florida. The Blue Lobster is combative and proper precautions should be in place before placing one in a community aquarium as it is an opportunistic omnivore and will eat small fish.
They will grow to about 5-7 inches long and will require a tank of at least 20 gallons. Make sure your tank contains places to hide and climb because this crayfish loves to explore.
With proper water conditions and care, the Blue Lobster can live for up to 5 years.
Another species of the Cichlid family, the Oscar is native to South America. The popular Tiger Oscar has bold orange and black patterns across its body. Several other types of Oscars have a dark base with lighter stripes. There are even albino, red, and yellow Oscars.
They will grow to be 10 -12 inches long so you will need a lot of aquarium space. You will need a 55 gallon tank or preferably larger. Because of their playful and aggressive nature, they will move objects around in the tank and uproot your plants; so heavy décor will be necessary.
With their strong predatory sense, they love eating carnivorous foods and if you are planning to have an Oscar in your tank, keep it only with other South American Cichlids.