Unique Freshwater Species of Fish for Your Aquarium

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Some people always want something different, something extraordinary or something unique. Some aquarists look for peculiar fish for their tanks. Purchasing any of these distinctly unique freshwater fishes will surely make your aquarium attractive and extraordinary.

1. Bristle-nosed Catfish

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Bristle-nosed Catfish are found throughout rivers and floodplain areas of the Amazon River in South America. These fish are often kept by aquarists as they are dutiful algae-eaters and smaller in adult size than the common plecos usually seen in pet shops. They are hardy animals, tolerant to a wide range of water conditions, breeding easily in captivity, compatible with most other freshwater fish, and come in many beautiful colors and patterns. It is thought that the eggs of the Bristle-nosed Catfish are light sensitive, albino fish may be the result of exposure to excessive light. The fish on the above picture is an Albino Bristle-nosed Catfish.

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2. Zebra Pleco

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The Zebra Pleco is not colorful but has a unique pattern similar to a zebra, hence the name. This species of catfish is commonly found in Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon River. This fish was exported from Brazil in great numbers. The Zebra Pleco is definitely not one such fish and would do better on a more carnivorous diet. It will prefer plenty of hiding places, subdued lighting, and quiet company.

3. Glass Catfish

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The Glass Catfish or Ghost Fish is a transparent freshwater fish that usually grows up to 15 cm or 6 inches in length. This catfish is endemic to Southeast Asia. It prefers tanks with open swimming areas with a moderate current and planted area to provide shelter. Timid fish, they should always be kept as a group of at least 5, and can be kept with other fish species of similar size and temperament. They are transparent and most of their organs are located near the head. They are transparent because, like all catfish they do not have scales and they also don’t have body pigment. When the light strikes the fish just right, it can make the fish an iridescent rainbow color. If you look at a live glass catfish with a magnifying glass you can see its heart beating.

4. Gold Nugget Pleco

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Another unique freshwater aquarium fish found in the Amazon River is the Gold Nugget Pleco. This fish is mainly nocturnal but will also emerge from their hiding places during the day, after some time getting accustomed to the aquarium. It will benefit from root or driftwood to gnaw on, and plenty of hiding places. It grows slowly and can reach length of up to 20 cm or 7.8 in. Golden Nuggets are aggressive toward smaller fish.

5. Marbled Hatchetfish

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Most of the unique freshwater aquarium fish are found in South America like the Marbled Hatchetfish. It is a small, normally 35 mm in length, freshwater ray-finned fish. Hatched shaped, it presents a gold line extending from its eye to its caudal fin while the area below has a brown and cream colored marble-like pattern (hence its name). It can ‘fly’ above the surface of the water by flapping its pectoral fins.

It usually occupies the top portion of the tank and like many other aquarium species may be shy at feeding times just after they have been introduced. It is an omnivore and prefers a varied diet, including live or frozen food, and vegetables. It likes plants with long trailing leaves to hide under.

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The Blackwinged Hatchetfish, also endemic to South America, is similar to the Marbled Hatchetfish

6. Twig Catfish

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As it name implies, a Twig Catfish or Stick Catfish, resembles a twig or stick. Twig Catfish is endemic to South America. It is commonly exported for aquarium. Twig Catfish requires clean water with high dissolved oxygen content. A Twig Catfish is often lost without enough greens to feed upon.

7. Banjo Catfish

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The Banjo Catfish is one of the most unusual-looking freshwater aquarium fish in the world. It is found throughout the major tropical rivers of South America. Since this species is a nocturnal burrower, it needs an aquarium with a soft, sandy substrate into which it will hide during the daytime and forage in at night. Sharp sand or coarse gravel will damage their whiskers. It is tolerant of its own kind and also gets along with other small aquarium species

8. Chinese Hillstream Loach

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This distinct aquarium fish is native to China. The common names for this popular aquarium species are Chinese Hillstream Loach, Hong Kong Pleco, Butterfly Hillstream Loach and Chinese Sucker Fish. Adequate lighting is necessary to promote algal growth in the aquarium. Suitable plants for high-flow tank environments are the Anubias and the Microsoreum, which can be grown on rocks or driftwood. They can be kept in groups of three to seven. It can reach up to 3 inches or 7.5 cm in length.

9. Zebra Loach

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The Zebra Loach is native to Southern India. The maximum size is about 3 in or7.8 cm and lives in tropical climate. A Zebra Loach is a peaceful fish suitable to community aquarium tanks. They should be kept in group of at least three, any less and they will become stressed. They require some caves to hide during most of daylight. This species will accept a wide variety of fish foods, including live food such as blackworms, snails and small shrimps, and most commercial brands of sinking fish foods.

10. Ripsaw Catfish

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This species of catfish is definitely unique that’s why it is one of the most popular aquarium fish. It is found in the Amazon. Common names of this fish include Black Talking Catfish, Mother of Snails Catfish and Black Doradid. This species grows to a large size and are often bought by unsuspecting aquarists when small. They will rapidly outgrow smaller tanks, so the aquarium should be as large as possible. It is especially light shy and should be provided with sheltered areas to hide. These fish are peaceful, although fish that are too small are risky.

11. Reedfish

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The Reedfish or Ropefish is native to West Africa. It has a maximum total length of 90 cm or 36 inches. Reedfish are peaceful that’s why other fish “bully” them despite its large size. Although nocturnal, reedfish will sometimes come out during the day, and this can be encouraged by daytime feeding of bloodworms or nightcrawlers for larger fish.

12. Tiger Shovelnose Catfish

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This American catfish is surely an aquarium delight. It is a popular ornamental fish in both North and South America. These species appear in the aquarium hobby, where they are most often sold under the name “Tiger Shovelnose” or “Tiger Shovelnose Catfish”. These fish prove to be hardy. However, the large adult size is problematic for both matters of housing as well as finding suitable tankmates that will not be consumed.

13. Sailfin Pleco

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This aquarium fish is endemic to the Amazon region. This fish can grow up to 50cm in length and can live for more than 20 years. Like most plecs this species is primarily vegetarian though will eat dead animals. This fish is extremely popular in the aquarium, due to its unusual appearance and its ability to eat algae; the bane of all aquarists.

14. Royal Plec

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Royal Plecs are found in South America and is known for being one of the few fish that digest wood. In its native habitat this fish is eaten as food. This fish is also a popular aquarium fish. Royal Plecs are light grey in color patterned with dark grey squiggles. They have red eyes and the dorsal fins are edged with cream or gold.

15. Banded Corydoras

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Banded Corydora is also commonly called Bearded Catfish. It is found in South America and will grow in length up to 9.8

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