Choosing Your Freshwater Fish


Adventure Pets takes pride in the large selection of high quality fresh and saltwater fish, plants and invertebrates. We also have a nice selection of hard to find large to show size fish.We bring in regular shipments direct from Asia, bypassing the wholesalers, offering a higher quality specimen at a much lower cost.

We are so confident in the quality of our fish that we offer an amazing
5-DAY STAY ALIVE GUARANTEE!* on all of our freshwater fish!


5 Day Stay Alive Guarantee Requirements

In order to take advantage of our amazing 5 day stay alive guarantee

You must:

  • Return the dead fish to the store within 5 days of purchase.
  • Bring your purchase receipt.
  • Bring a 1/2 cup water sample with the fish and receipt
*Our guarantee is intended to protect you from health conditions that may not be evident when you purchase your fish. It requires a satisfactory water test and excludes fish that were obvious victims of aggression.

Click Here to see some of our In Stock Freswater Fish


In Stock Freshwater Fish

There are literally hundreds of different types of freshwater fish that are normally available in the hobby. However most come from a few different families whose members often have a lot in common. Below you'll find an introduction to the biggest families in the freshwater fish world along with a listing of some of the more common species.

Freshwater Fish Compatibility

Freshwater tropical fish come from all over the world and from all kinds of bodies of water each with its own distinct chemistry and climatic conditions. However fish really are pretty adaptable and the species that are found in the pet trade are ones that can tolerate the chemistry range of most public water supplies once the chlorine or chlorimine is removed.

Water chemistry can be adjusted to bring it closer to the natural levels of a particular type of aquatic environment. This usually involves adjusting the pH and hardness but may also include using additives that affect other aspects of the water. Some more common additives are peat extracts that add some of the organic compounds found in jungle black water streams or mixes of specific mineral salts for tanks that contain african cichlids from hard alkaline lakes of Eastern Africa's Rift Valley.

When mixing fish from different locals one of the considerations is balancing their water chemistry preferences. Another consideration is their behavior and feeding habits. While mixing fish with different chemistry preferences is tricky mixing bigger fish that normally feed on smaller fish with little guys the size of their natural prey is a recipe for disaster. Territorial behavior is also a consideration when mixing fish. In nature the usual result of one fish entering another's territory is that one gets chased out rather than fighting. In the small confines of the aquarium there is no place to run so the only option is to fight often resulting in serious injury or death.

When deciding if a fish would be a good candidate to join the community you already have in the tank these are some of the things you should consider. While there are some common generalities that can be made about fish within a particular family water preferences and behavior can vary a lot so these comparisons should be made on a species by species basis.

That being said click on a group below for a little more information.


Brackish Fish

There are fish in the rivers and fish in the seas these are the fish that live between these. While they can tolerate some time in pure freshwater they all do better and live longer when some sea salt is added particularly as adults. True freshwater fish usually can't tolerate the additional salt so these species are best kept in a separate brackish water tank.

List of Popular Brackish Fish

  • Archerfish Gobies
  • Dragon Gobies
  • Bumblebee
  • Columbian Shark
  • Datnioids (Tigerfish)
  • Four-Eyed fish
  • Green Spotted
  • Figure 8 Puffers
  • Indian Glassfish
  • Red Chromide
  • Silver Mono
  • Green Scat


Fish by jhartshorn, on Flickr
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Tiger Oscar Fish by Rameshng, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  Rameshng

Cichlids are members of the family Cichlidae. Most of the species are found in the Americas and are referred to as New World Cichlids. The majority of others found in the hobby are from Africa these are the Old World Cichlids. A very popular group of these come from the Rift lakes along Central Africa's east coast. These are very brightly colored fish and are referred to as Rift Lake Cichlids or simply Africans.

One thing that they all have in common is that they provide some type of parental care for their young. Because of this many consider them the most interesting fish to breed. They all set up and vigorously defend territories to breed and rear their young. Cichlids fill many niches in just about every kind of water so generalizing will eventually lead to trouble. This family of fish can make for some very interesting pets but if you plan to keep them it will really pay off to do your homework on each species you choose.

List of Popular Cichlids

Larger New World Cichlids
  • Oscar
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Green Severum
  • Red Devil
  • Peacock Bass
African Rift Lake Cichlids
  • Hap Moorii
  • Regal Peacock
  • Red Zebra
  • Auratus
  • Fuelleborni
Small to Medium Cichlids
  • Kribensis
  • Festivum
  • Angelfish
  • Jewel Cichlid
  • Keyhole Cichlid


male alpha molly by h080, on Flickr
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The Livebearers as the name implies give birth to live fully formed babies. They include the familiar Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails and Platys from the Poecilidae family. They tend to be hardy, colorful and active making them a favorite of both beginner and more experienced fishkeepers. Their natural range is North, South and Central America with most inhabiting coastal areas, some species regularly inhabit brackish and even pure salt water. They as a general rule prefer hard alkaline water and benefit from the addition of salt. This group of fish is normally captive bred and often exhibit colors and enhanced finnage that would make them a quick lunch in nature. However the livebearers also contain more exotic species as well like the Anablepidae family's Four-eyed fish (Anableps anableps) having split pupils allowing it to see both above and below the water, the halfbeaks with their greatly extended lower jaw and the goodeids a diverse family of fish from a relatively small area in west central Mexico.

Livebearers in general prefer smaller softer floating food especially flake and enjoy Live frozen or freeze-dried larvae and worm food varieties. Livebearers also view their own fry as a tasty snack so if you want to raise any babies they should be kept in a well planted tank or removed to a special breeding setup as the females become gravid (ready to birth) this can be recognized by a noticeable swelling and darkening of the stomach area near the vent.

List of Popular Livebearers

List of Popular Mollies
  • Black Molly
  • Sailfin Molly
  • Marbled Molly
  • Gold Dust Molly
  • Silver Molly
List of Popular Platys
  • Tuxedo Platy
  • Wagtail Platy
  • Mickey Mouse Platy
  • Salt & Pepper Platy
  • Sunset Platy
List of Popular Swordtails
  • Black Swordtail
  • Green Swordtail
  • Red Swordtail
  • Neon Swordtail
  • Lyre tail Swordtail


peppered corydoras by h080, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  h080

Mention the name catfish and most people think scavenger. For the most part they are right but with over 2000 species catfish are a very diverse group. They are found all over the world in all types of habitats from freshwater seasonal pools to the deepest parts of the ocean. Catfish range in size from the 1 1/2 inch Pygmy Madtom (Noturus stanauli) to the 10 foot Giant Mekong Catfish.

There are three main categories for the freshwater aquarium. They are the suckermouth catfish like the familiar plecostomus that scrape the flatter surfaces, pointy nosed varieties like the Corydoras that root out food from cracks and crevices and the long whiskered predatory catfish like the Pictus and Red-tailed catfish that will eat any fish they can fit in their mouth.

Having both suckermouth and pointy nosed varieties helps to keep the tank clean by eating algae and rooting out any uneaten food that lodges in the gravel.

List of Popular Catfish

Common Suckermouth Catfish
  • Common Pleco
  • Busy nose Pleco
  • Sailfin Pleco
  • Whiptail Catfish
  • Farowella Catfish
Common Coryadora Catfish
  • Albino Coryadora
  • Rabauti Corydora
  • Julii Corydora
  • Panda Corydora
  • Salt & Pepper Corydora
Common Predatory Catfish
  • Pictus Catfish
  • Pimodella Catfish
  • Red-tailed Catfish
  • Shovel-nosed Catfish
  • Raphael Catfish


donald the clown loach by benaston, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  benaston
tiger barb by snautsego, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  snautsego

The Cyprinids are found in Africa, Asia, Europe and North & Central America. This is the largest family of freshwater fish with well over 2000 species recorded. Like the Characins this family contains many species familiar to any fishkeeper like goldfish, barbs and loaches to name a few. The first recorded fish kept for ornamental purposes were cyprinids (Goldfish) more than a thousand years ago in china. This family contains the record holder for the smallest fish, the Paedocypris progenetica found in the peat swamps of Indonesia but it also contains the Giant Barb (Catlocarpio siamensis) that reaches nearly 10 feet! With this range in size and the large number of species there is usually at least one cyprinid in any community tank/

Most Cyprinids are omnivorous with vegetable matter making up the bulk of their diet supplemented with insects and small invertebrates. All Cyprinids are egg layers and most scatter their eggs and provide no parental care. Many of the smaller species will school but tend to be a little more boisterous than their characin counterparts the tetras. While there are many true tropical species the majority of coldwater or subtropical fish available in the hobby also come from this family.

List of Popular Cyprinids

List of Popular Goldfish
  • Comet Goldfish
  • Pearlscale Goldfish
  • Bubble-eyed Goldfish
  • Red Cap Oranda
  • Black Moor Goldfish
List of Popular Barbs
  • Tinfoil Barb
  • Gold Barb
  • Tiger Barb
  • Checkerboard Barb
  • Black Ruby Barb
List of Other Popular Cyprinids
  • Bala Shark
  • Red-Tailed Shark
  • Rainbow Shark
  • Clown Loach
  • Zebra Danio

Freshwater Puffers

pricilla3 by pacheco1c1, on Flickr
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IMG_8329 by t.ohashi, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  t.ohashi

The Puffer fish belong to the Tetraodontidae family. Their ability to inflate their bodies and unique swimming style make them attractive to many fishkeepers. However the most common variety the Green Spotted Puffer is actually a brackish fish that requires a higher salinity as it grows. There are a few true freshwater varieties though like the Dwarf Puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) and the South American Puffer (Colomesus asellus) that stay small and may work in a community tank. However as a general rule puffers are more suited to a species tank as many have the tendency to suddenly become territorial and their strong beaklike teeth can quickly do a lot of damage to their tank mates.

In nature their natural diet normally consist of snails and other small invertebrates. All of these are wild caught but most can be trained to take prepared foods. They prefer a sandy bottom as many root through this in nature to find prey. They are also scaleless and sensitive to poor water conditions, this along with their messy eating habits require frequent water changes for them to prosper. Most will not tolerate other puffers as they grow. They are best kept in a well-planted species tank and with larger tank mates that can fend for themselves. If you choose to keep more then one I've found that a group of 4-6 added to a well decorated tank together gives you and the puffers the best results, most of the time 2 or 3 together will eventually become one. All this being said Puffers are very interesting and entertaining if they are set up and cared for correctly.

List of Popular Freshwater Puffers

List of Small FW Puffers
  • Dwarf Puffer
  • Red-Eye puffer
  • Amazon Puffer
List of Large FW Puffers
  • Congo Puffer
  • Pignose puffer
  • Nile Puffer
List of Brackish Puffers
  • Green Spotted Puffer
  • Figure Eight Puffer
  • Ceylon Puffer


The Characins are a large family of fish that contain the well-known tetras but Piranhas, hatchetfish, pencilfish, silver dollars and headstanders are also characins. There are roughly 1400 species of characins with most coming from the New World, primarily South America but about 200 of them are native to Central Africa. They range in size from the 1/2 inch Bolivian pygmy blue characin (Xenurobrycon polyancistrus) to the giant Tigerfish (Hydrocynus goliath) at more than 4 feet. Most characins can be recognized by a small fin between their dorsal and tailfin called the adipose fin.

The most common in the aquarium are the tetras that are typically small brightly colored peaceful schooling fish. All of the characins take flake or pelleted aquarium food. All Characins are egg layers and the majority reproduce by "egg scattering" releasing their eggs amongst aquatic plants providing no parental care but a few like the Erythrinidae build nest and the Pike Characins from Africa lay there eggs in rafts of foam. One species Brycon petrosus even crawls up on land to lay their eggs and another the splashing tetra jumps out of the water to attach its eggs to overhanging vegetation.

List of Popular Characins

  • Neon Tetra
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Pristella Tetra
  • Rummy Nose
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Silver Hatchetfish
  • Marbled Hatchetfish
  • Blind Cavefish
  • Three-lined Pencilfish
  • Spotted Headstander
  • Silver Dollar
  • Red-bellied Pacu
  • Piranha
  • Pinktail Chalceus
  • Red Hook

Labyrinth Fish

Fish-12 by jhartshorn, on Flickr
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 by stee, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  stee

The Labyrinth Fish get their name from an organ of heavily veined, folded tissue that they use as an auxiliary breathing apparatus to breath atmospheric air. This helps them breath in water that has a low oxygen level in their native ranges. It is also the reason that they tend to be hardy even in aquariums with water conditions so poor that it damages the gills of the inhabitants.

The most well known species is probably the Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splendens), but it's relative the Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temmincki) also shares a good bit of fame. Rounding off the top three Labyrinth fish is probably the Three-spot Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) in any of it's many color morphs. The Osphronemidae family contains the most species readily available in the hobby and includes the colorful Dwarf Gourami, Moonlight Gourami, Pearl Gourami and Bettas as well as others.

They are found throughout Africa, southern Asia and the Indian subcontinent. They range in size from the Dwarf Croaking Gourami (Ctenops pumilus) at about 1 1/2 inches to the Giant Gourami from Java and Sumatra at over 2 feet. Besides breathing air the most notable characteristic is the building of bubble nest by many of the species.

List of Popular Labyrinth Fish

  • Siamese Fighting fish
  • Paradise Fish
  • Honey Gourami
  • Thick-lipped Gourami
  • Banded Gourami
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Chocolate Gourami
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Moonlight Gourami
  • Snakeskin Gourami
  • Blue Gourami
  • Gold Gourami
  • Pauline Gourami
  • Giant Gourami
  • Kissing Gourami


rainbowfish by boscosami, on Flickr
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Rainbowfish and Platies by crschmidt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  crschmidt

The Rainbowfish belonging to the Melanotaeniidae family and their relatives the Blue-eyes belonging to the Pseudomugilidae family are found in Northern and Eastern Australia and New Guinea and some surrounding Islands. The majority of the species available are from the genus Melanotaenia.

Rainbowfish need to be mature and happy to show the colors that give them their well-deserved name. In the wild they are shoaling (schooling) fish and do best in groups of 6 or more. The diet of the majority of species consists of insects and algae. They are relatively peaceful and won't harm plants.

As a general rule rainbowfish prefer alkaline moderately hard water with some open swimming room as well as plants and rocks. Because floating insects make up a large part of their natural diet they are most comfortable near the surface making a long low tank preferable. They like some current in their tank and show best in a strongly lighted tank with darker gravel and decorations.

List of Popular Rainbowfish

  • Australian Rainbowfish
  • New Guinea Rainbowfish
  • Boesemani Rainbowfish
  • Turquoise Rainbowfish
  • Parkinson's Rainbowfish
  • Yellow Rainbowfish
  • Dwarf Rainbowfish
  • Red rainbowfish
  • Tami River Rainbowfish
  • Threadfin rainbowfish
  • Bleher's rainbowfish
  • Madagascar Rainbowfish

Other Fish

Along with the standard categories of freshwater aquarium fish there are a number of unique varieties that either have smaller families or for some other reason deserve to be grouped by themselves. They tend to be distinct in appearance and or behavior and often have special care requirements so be sure to research these before you buy them. Some of the varieties that deserve mention in the "Other fish" category are the prehistoric looking bichurs, The bony tongues which include the Knifefish, Elephantfish, African Butterfly Fish and Arawanas as well as the spiny and moray eels and gars.

Many are tricky or impossible to maintain in a community tank due to special care requirements or behaviors however on the whole these are often the most interesting looking fish. Be sure to check out the requirements of any odd or unusual species before you bring them home.

List of Popular Other Fish

  • Elephant Nose
  • Snowflake Moray Eel
  • African Butterfly
  • Arawanas
  • Rope Fish
  • Clown Knife
  • Peacock Eel
  • Zigzag Eel
  • Fire Eel
  • Yellow Spiny Eel
  • Polypterus Bichur
  • So. American Leaf Fish
  • Asian Needle Fish
  • Short-Nosed Gar
  • Sturgeon