Worst Freshwater Fish Species

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Red Arowana, Scleropages formosus. Alibaba
Great Snakehead, Channa marulius. JJPhoto.dk
Redtail Catfish, Phractocephalus hemioliopterus. JJPhoto.dk

The big, the bad and the unlikely to survive

[edit] Species to Avoid: Red List Criteria

Assembled by a panel of expert hobbyists, aquarium authors, and livestock retailers, this list of Fishes to Avoid (or to Buy with Eyes Wide Open) is designed to help the beginning to intermediate aquarist avoid bringing home the wrong fish species.

Some of the fishes listed in this section can, in fact, make good aquarium inhabitants, but only under specific environmental conditions and/or in very large systems. The criteria we use in placing these fishes on a red list include:

  • Grows too large for most home aquariums;
  • Is highly predatory or territorial and likely to kill and/or eat other fishes;
  • Is hard to feed or has a poor survival record in captivity;
  • Is banned in some areas and a threat to local fish populations;
  • Finally, there are those animals that are a threat to their keepers and that do not make good aquarium animals under any circumstances.

[edit] Archerfishes

[edit] Arowanas

[edit] Bichirs

[edit] Bumblebee Gobies

[edit] Freshwater Butterflyfish

[edit] Catfishes

[edit] Characins

[edit] Cichlids

Elephantnose Fish


Giant Gourami

[edit] Halfbeaks


[edit] Mudskippers

  • Mudskipper

[edit] Pufferfishes



[edit] Snakeheads


Tiger Fish

[edit] A World of Tempting Species

The most beguiling, most attractive, most fascinating tropical fishes in the world are now readily available to the freshwater aquarist, who can pick and choose species from the streams, lakes, rivers, sloughs and breeding ponds of Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Australian subcontinent—indeed virtually the entire tropical world.

Not all of these fishes are right for every home aquarium. Many species grow inexorably larger, often rapidly, and it will be up to the aquarist to provide them suitable accommodations to meet their changing needs. If your plans don’t include buying a 300-gallon (1,136 L) aquarium any time soon, these are the fish to avoid purchasing in the first place.

Likewise, there are many fish that will cause mayhem in most community aquariums. Keeping aggressive or predatory species is highly attractive to some aquarists, but the tank must be set up correctly and suitable tankmates chosen. For those with peaceful and smaller community species, bringing home a known bully or fisheater can be a painful mistake. There are so many great fish available, it is primarly a matter of knowing what you are buying before you have the fish packed into a plastic bag.

While a good fish store will certainly help to steer the hobbyist in the right direction, ultimately, it is up to us, as fishkeepers, to know the profile and needs of the fish—now and as it grows—before we decide to buy.

Reference: The 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW
Facts about Worst Freshwater Fish SpeciesRDF feed
Image credit AN  +
Reference The 101 Best Tropical Fishes  +
Text credit KW  +