Last updated on April 19th, 2023 at 05:29 am
Freshwater aquarium catfish are some of the most popular and sought-after fish for home aquariums. With their unique shapes, sizes, and colors, they can make a great addition to any tank.
So, if you’re looking to add some interesting and unique fish to your freshwater aquarium, then look no further than catfish!
Catfish are a diverse group of fish that come in all shapes and sizes, making them a perfect addition to any freshwater aquarium. From the bottom-dwelling Corydoras catfish to the popular plecos, there are a variety of freshwater aquarium catfish species available for you to choose from.
But with so many varieties out there, it can be hard to choose which type of freshwater aquarium catfish is right for you.
Below, we’ll take a look at the 12 most popular freshwater aquarium catfish species, so you can make an informed decision when choosing the perfect catfish for your tank.
Popular Freshwater Aquarium Catfish Species
Glass Catfish are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium catfish species. As their name suggests, they have transparent bodies which give them an almost ghostly appearance. They are very small and peaceful fish that can grow up to 1 inch in size and should be kept in a tank of at least 10 gallons with plenty of hiding places.
These fish are omnivorous and prefer to feed on small crustaceans and insects in the wild. In the aquarium, they will readily accept a variety of foods such as flakes, frozen bloodworms, and live brine shrimp. It is important to keep Glass Catfish well-fed as they are prone to starvation in captivity due to their small size.
Glass Catfish need plenty of oxygenated water with a neutral pH and temperature between 73-79°F. The aquarium should also be well-planted to provide them with plenty of hiding places. They are schooling fish, so it is best to keep them in groups of 6 or more. They are a great choice for any community tank and can even be kept with small species of shrimp.
Bronze Corydoras are a popular species of freshwater aquarium catfish. They have distinctive metallic bronze-colored bodies and black bands on their fins and eyes. These fish are typically found in shallow streams, lakes, and ponds in Central and South America.
In the aquarium, Bronze Corydoras require plenty of open swimming space as they are an active swimmer. They should be kept in groups of at least six to provide the maximum amount of comfort in their social environment. They prefer water temperatures between 70 and 78°F, and a pH between 6.0 and 8.0.
They should be fed a variety of foods such as flakes, freeze-dried worms, small pellets, live brine shrimp, and vegetables like blanched spinach or zucchini slices. Be sure to feed your Bronze Corydoras in small portions multiple times a day to avoid overfeeding.
These catfish are considered peaceful, but they may still sometimes nip at the fins of other fish. It is best to keep them with other similarly sized and peaceful fish. With proper care, Bronze Corydoras can live up to 10 years in captivity.
The Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus cirrhosus) is a popular species of freshwater catfish native to South America. It is also known as the Bushy Nose Pleco or the Common Bristlenose Pleco, and it is one of the smaller members of the Plecostomus family.
The body of the Bristlenose Pleco is mainly dark brown or grey with some spots along its sides, and its most distinctive feature is its bushy mouth bristles. These small bristles are used for grooming and help them to find food in their natural habitat.
Bristlenose Plecos are peaceful, hardy fish that are easy to care for and make a great addition to any aquarium. They will generally get along with other peaceful fish and can even help keep algae growth under control. They prefer soft, acidic water conditions and prefer a diet of main vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, algae wafers, and blanched spinach.
In the wild, Bristlenose Plecos will usually reach lengths of up to 6 inches, but in captivity, they can easily reach up to 10 inches. As they grow, they will become increasingly territorial and should be provided with plenty of hiding spaces. This species is a nocturnal fish so they will spend their days hiding in caves or crevices and come out to feed at night.
Overall, Bristlenose Plecos are an ideal addition to any freshwater aquarium as they are easy to care for and have peaceful temperaments. They also look attractive and have an interesting behavior that many aquarium owners find enjoyable.
Featherfin Squeakers (Synodontis eupterus) are a type of South American catfish that are popular in freshwater aquariums. These fish have an elongated body and a pointed snout with a unique, feathery-like pattern on the dorsal fin.
Their average adult size is only 2 inches in length, so they are ideal for smaller tanks. They prefer slightly acidic water with temperatures between 72-77°F. They are also peaceful fish and can be kept in schools with other small fish such as Corydoras and Tetras.
Featherfin Squeakers are bottom feeders, so they need to be fed food that sinks to the bottom of the tank such as sinking pellets, flakes, and frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms. They should be given several small meals throughout the day.
Overall, Featherfin Squeakers make a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are hardy and easy to care for, peaceful, and very active. They are an excellent choice for those looking for a colorful and lively school of fish.
Upside Down Catfish
The Upside Down Catfish (Synodontis Nigriventris) is a peaceful fish from the Congo River in Central Africa that gets its name from its unusual upside-down swimming behavior. These catfish will reach an average size of 2 to 3 inches, making them one of the smaller species of freshwater aquarium catfish.
Upside Down Catfish prefer an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and some areas with dense vegetation for their comfort and safety. A soft substrate is recommended to protect their delicate barbels and this species should never be housed with aggressive fish as they are quite peaceful.
In terms of diet, Upside Down Catfish will accept a variety of foods including pellets, frozen foods, and live foods such as bloodworms. As they are bottom feeders, they should be fed once a day at the same time every day.
Overall, the Upside Down Catfish is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium, adding interesting behavior and helping to keep the bottom of the tank clean. They are very easy to care for, but it is important to remember that they are still wild animals and need to be provided with the correct environment in order to thrive.
Striped Raphael Catfish
Striped Raphael Catfish, also known as Platydoras armatulus, is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They have a unique striped pattern of black and white that stands out amongst other catfish. They are relatively peaceful and will rarely bother other species of fish in the tank.
These catfish are quite active during the day and will swim around the tank searching for food. They need plenty of hiding spots and plants to keep their stress levels low, as they can be timid in a new environment.
They are native to South America and prefer slow-moving, warm water with plenty of oxygen.
Striped Raphael Catfish should be fed a variety of small sinking pellets, frozen foods, and live foods such as bloodworms or brine shrimp. As omnivores, they also need some plant matter in their diet. It’s important to feed them small amounts several times a day rather than one large meal.
These catfish grow to around 5-7 inches, so they don’t require a huge tank. A 20 gallon tank is suitable for up to three of these fish. They can be kept in pairs or groups, but make sure that you have plenty of hiding spots and decorations to give them some privacy.
Overall, Striped Raphael Catfish are an attractive and peaceful addition to any freshwater tank. They are fairly easy to care for, so long as they are given plenty of hiding spots and a varied diet. With the right environment, they can bring lots of color and personality to your aquarium!
The Bumblebee Catfish is a species of catfish that is native to Thailand and Malaysia. This catfish has a unique look to it, featuring a black and yellow striped pattern all over its body. The Bumblebee Catfish can reach up to 4 inches in length when fully grown.
The Bumblebee Catfish is a peaceful fish that loves to live in small groups. They are bottom feeders, so they should be given plenty of sinking pellets and algae wafers for them to snack on. As with other catfish, the Bumblebee Catfish does best in an aquarium that is at least 30 gallons in size and with a good filtration system. They prefer a temperature range between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 6.0-7.5.
The Bumblebee Catfish is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium as they are not only beautiful but also fairly low-maintenance. They are an excellent choice for beginner aquarium owners as they are very peaceful and adaptable to many different environments.
Gold Nugget Pleco
The Gold Nugget Pleco, also known as the Baryancistrus xanthellus, is an in
credibly popular freshwater catfish species. Native to the Rio Meta in Colombia and Venezuela, this bottom-dwelling species is an excellent addition to any freshwater aquarium. It has a distinct gold or bronze color that stands out against the greenery of the tank, making it quite a sight to behold.
Gold Nugget Plecos are usually nocturnal and shy, so they should be kept in aquariums with plenty of hiding spots and vegetation. They will appreciate tanks with slow-moving water and can reach a maximum size of 7 inches. As for feeding, this species will enjoy sinking pellets, blanched vegetables, and other fresh produce.
Gold Nugget Plecos are peaceful and will get along with most other species, as long as there are no aggressive fish present in the tank. If kept in good condition, these fish can live up to 10 years in captivity.
For those looking for an eye-catching addition to their freshwater tank, the Gold Nugget Pleco is an excellent choice!
Synodontis Decorus, also known as the Synodontis decora, is a popular freshwater aquarium catfish species. This peaceful species is found in various parts of Africa and grows up to 6 inches in length. These fish have a unique appearance, with their spotted body and colorful fins.
Synodontis Decorus require a tank that is at least 25 gallons or larger. It is important to have plenty of plants and rocks to provide hiding spots for these fish. They should also be kept in schools of five or more and should not be kept with aggressive fish, as they may become stressed.
These fish are omnivores and will accept a variety of foods, including live, frozen, and freeze-dried foods. Be sure to feed them in small amounts several times a day.
Synodontis Decorus are an active species that prefer being in the lower to middle levels of the tank. They are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for those looking for an interesting and attractive addition to their aquarium.
Asian Stone Catfish
The Asian Stone Catfish (Hara jerdoni) is a popular and beautiful species of freshwater aquarium catfish native to rivers in India and Sri Lanka. They have a unique appearance, with a brown body covered in black spots and two dorsal fins with yellow-tipped spines.
These catfish are peaceful, easy to care for, and are great additions to any community tank. They can reach up to six inches in length and should be kept in groups of at least six for maximum coloration and activity. Asian Stone Catfish prefer a well-planted aquarium with plenty of rocks and driftwood for hiding and security. They are omnivorous, so they will accept most commercial fish foods such as flakes, pellets, and frozen or live foods.
When kept in the proper environment, these catfish will thrive. They are relatively undemanding, making them an ideal choice for beginner aquarists. With their attractive coloring and peaceful nature, Asian Stone Catfish are sure to make a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium.
The iridescent shark, also known as the ‘shark catfish’, is a popular and attractive choice for freshwater aquariums. This species of fish is easily recognizable by its silver and blue-green body with a black stripe along its length. It’s a schooling fish and will require other members of its species to be present in order to thrive.
This species can grow to be up to 18 inches in length, so they require tanks that are at least 100 gallons in size. They will feed on a variety of foods such as shrimp, earthworms, beef hearts, and commercial foods.
They prefer water that is neutral in pH, with temperatures ranging from 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Iridescent sharks are generally peaceful fish, but they are known to eat smaller fish if they are not provided with enough food. To ensure the safety of your smaller fish, it’s important to provide the iridescent shark with enough food and plenty of hiding places in the tank.
When caring for an iridescent shark, it’s important to keep a close eye on the water quality in the tank. Iridescent sharks are sensitive to ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and it’s important to keep these levels low.
Regular water changes and cleaning of the substrate are important when keeping this species of fish.
Overall, the iridescent shark is a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium. With proper care and maintenance, these fish can provide hours of entertainment and enjoyment for aquarium owners.
The Sailfin Pleco, also known as the Common Pleco, is a peaceful, hardy fish that is popular in the aquarium hobby. These plecos are known for their attractive coloring and long, flowing fins. They can grow up to eight inches long and are most active during the evening and night hours. Sailfin Plecos are bottom dwellers and enjoy hiding in caves, so it’s best to provide plenty of rocks and caves for them to hide in.
Sailfin Plecos are a peaceful species and prefer to be kept in schools of six or more. They have been known to get along with other fish, including peaceful cichlids, but they may nip at larger, aggressive fish. When it comes to diet, Sailfin Plecos are not fussy and will accept a wide variety of foods.
A diet rich in vegetable matter is best for this species, such as algae wafers, blanched vegetables, and spirulina flakes. They are also scavengers, so they will happily consume leftovers from other tank inhabitants.