Exotic Cool and Unique Freshwater Aquarium Fish (With Pictures and Common Names)

In a freshwater aquarium, you can keep several types of cool and unusual fish. Large showy fins, bright colorful patterns, and the appearance of exotic freshwater tropical fish are common. Bettas, gouramis, angelfish, and rainbow fish are some of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish. Tropical freshwater fish come in a variety of species, and they’re all easy to care for.

Freshwater aquariums are less difficult to care for than saltwater aquariums, which is one of their advantages. You may have some of the coolest and most distinctive tropical fish swimming around your tank if you choose the appropriate exotic species.

In addition, certain of the most attractive freshwater species coexist peacefully with others. As a result, creating a stunning tropical aquatic atmosphere in your house is simple. In this article, you’ll discover some unusual and stylish freshwater aquarium species.

The Best Exotic and Cool Freshwater Fish (With Their Picture and Common Name)


Bettas are one of the most unusual and fascinating freshwater aquarium fish, and they come in a variety of colors. They must be some of the coolest fish in your tank, with their huge showy fins and gorgeous colors. Bettas should be kept in a heated fish tank, as they are like other freshwater tropical fish. Water should be kept between 75 and 82°F (24 and 28°C), ideally. There are so many beautiful different species of betta to choose from when choosing the perfect species for your tropical aquarium.

The most stunning colors you’ll see on any fish are seen on some of the most magnificent fish with dazzling flowing fins. Bettas with deep red, purple, blue, or metallic colors are not uncommon. Multicolored patterns with vivid contrasting colors are seen in certain tropical bettas.

Territorial and aggressive towards other fish, these cool freshwater fish may be territorial. To avoid any fighting, just keep one male in your tank. Also, make sure that they don’t get put in a community tank alongside little fish that nip fins. As long as they aren’t other bettas, bettas are generally low-maintenance fish that don’t bother other fish.


Guppies come in a variety of tail colors and are one of the most gorgeous freshwater fish available. Decorative dorsal and tail fins are common in guppies bred for their appearance. This cool little fish has a larger appearance thanks to some of these colorful tail fins. There are several types of guppies with distinct fin forms, which you may discover. Swordtails, fantails, spade tails, and veil tails are among the many varieties of swordtail.

The gorgeous colorful pattern of guppies in heated freshwater tanks is one of the many reasons they’re popular. Iridescent, brilliant orange, yellow, orange-red, blue, or green are some of the gorgeous colors found in some fancy guppies. Single-colored or multicolored varieties are also available. The varieties with black and red leopard-like patterns on their tail are among the most unusual freshwater guppies.

Some other cool guppies have a bright tailfin that contrasts with their single-colored iridescent skin. It’s vital to have a few guppies when filling your freshwater tank with them. You should have 5 or 6 guppies in a shoal. Fish flakes and live brine shrimp are two treats that guppies love. Guppies generally reach a length of 2″ (5 cm) when they are adults.


The pearl gourami fish has a patterned body that makes it one of the most unusual freshwater aquarium species.

Gourami, also known as dwarf gourami, are huge elegant tropical freshwater fish that prefer to live near the top of the aquarium. Long trailing dorsal fins that resemble feelers are what makes gouramis so famous. They’re typically easy to take care of and have a rounded form.

A freshwater fish tank with gouramis has a genuine tropical feel because of the tropical feel of the gouramis. Gouramis, like other cool fish such as guppies, tetras, and mollies, are not fast swimmers and will peacefully coexist with them.

Gourami species come in a variety of colors and sizes. The speckled pattern of the pearl gourami, for example, resembles little pearls on its body and fins. They may also be available in a variety of hues, such as silver, red, or orange.

With a flatter body and longer fin tails, the paradise fish is a kind of gourami. The fins of these lovely fish are crimson or orange. They should be kept in communal tanks with big tropical fish.

Good for smaller fish in heated tanks, dwarf gouramis are attractive fish. The attractive whitish-blue body of the blue gourami, as well as its orange edging on fins, allows it to grow quite large. You’ll want to think carefully when selecting the best exotic gourami species for your freshwater aquarium.

Just keep one male gourami fish in your freshwater tank, and ensure that it is at least 20 or 30 gallons (75 – 113 liter) in size to avoid aggressive behavior.


Killifish come in a wide range of species with stunning and distinctive patterns, ideal for your tropical aquarium. Killifish grow to a range of 0.7″ to 3.5″ (2 to 9 cm) in length depending on the species. There are far too many color and form variations to list here, just to mention a few.

Caring for killifish may be challenging for tropical freshwater fish owners. Water changes may be tough on them. Yet, there are a few species that are simple to care for for beginners.

Killifish have speckled patterns on their bodies in many species. Several of the specimens include horizontal rows of red dots, while others have random spotted designs. Killifish are most often found in reds, oranges, and iridescent blues. Providing plenty of hiding places and limiting the number of males are the best ways to keep a group of killifish in a tank.

African Cichlids

Create an amazing freshwater tropical tank by choosing a species of African cichlid. The social aquarium fish African cichlids are a huge colorful species. Their vibrant hues will complement the exotic appearance of your aquarium. Cichlids, especially the African variety, are inquisitive swimmers who are constantly on the go.

They aren’t the cheapest tropical fish around, and their unusual coloring frequently comes with a higher cost. With other tropical fish, their deep blue, yellow, red, or metallic colors can create a stunning underwater setting.

There are a few things to consider if you want to keep a few African cichlids in a tank. To avoid aggressive behavior, the tanks should hold at least 30 gallons (113 l). It’s also essential to give your cichlids plenty of plants and décor so they can hide. Since they like to dig for food, other professional aquarists recommend using a soft substrate in the tank’s bottom.

Cichlids may grow to a length of 7.5 cm (20 cm). As a result, when setting up your community fish tank, take their size into consideration.

Jewel Cichlids

Yet another cool freshwater fish you may add to a huge aquarium is the Jewel Cichlids, which are lovely and bright. These colorful freshwater fish are not for the faint of heart. Jewel cichlids are aggressive creatures that should not be kept with other species in all types of community tanks.

Several fishkeepers recommend having just one species of cichlid in a tank because they are high-maintenance tropical fish. Many aquarists may create stunning community tanks with cichlids if they have the correct environment and fish tank setup.

Bolivian Ram

If you’re looking for a hardy tropical fish for your community aquarium, the Bolivian ram is a great option. It has a distinctive and unusual appearance. One of the greatest freshwater aquarium fish for beginners is these big exotic tropical fish. The Bolivian ram is, in fact, one of the few cichlid species that is non-aggressive and calm. An oval body and large spiky fins distinguish these cool-looking cichlids. They don’t glow as brightly as other cichlids, and they typically have a drab appearance.

Black markings around their eyes and on their sides help to identify them. Some species’ iridescent fins are particularly beautiful. Hardy freshwater tropical fish include Bolivian rams (also known as ruby crown cichlids). They prefer aquariums that are between 72 and 79°F (22 and 26°C) to thrive in. In a community tank, these cichlids might be the best option for a big tropical fish.


Rainbowfish are lovely freshwater aquarium fish that will blend in with your tank’s inhabitants. They may create an exotic fish tank by their tranquil nature, amazing hues, and swimming habits. The bright iridescent colors of these cool fish make it easy to see why they are called “rainbow fish.” They come in a variety of colors.

Two-toned species have a light blue body at the front and a brilliant yellow or orange body at the rear, making them some of the most stunning. These peaceable tropical fish make excellent community members and coexist peacefully with other species. They can reach a length of 6 to 10 cm when fully grown. They’ll transform your fish tank into an aquatic oasis, thanks to their dazzling brilliant hues.


The transparent glassfish are one of the most beautiful types of freshwater fish, but they are certainly worth having in your tropical tank. Tropical fish are often characterized by their bright colors, dramatic designs, and ornamental fins. Among the tropical fish species, what makes glassfish so appealing? Glassfish have a fully transparent body, as the name implies.

They make excellent community tropical fish because of their peaceful nature and lack of aggression. These lovely fish reach a maximum size of 2.4 to 3.1 inches (6 to 8 cm). They eat fish flakes and live foods, just like most tropical fish.

Some of these glassy fish have dazzling colors on their back or underside, which is a word of caution for rookie fish enthusiasts. Dye is injected into the fish to achieve this unnatural coloration. experts recommend against purchasing any dyed glassfish


Discus fish are expensive and require a lot of experience to keep. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. The disc-like shape of these lovely distinctive freshwater fish indicates that they are a cichlid. These unusual fish don’t just look stunning because of their round shape.

The colors and patterns of many species are vivid. Turquoise, brilliant orange, light pink, and dark gray or black tropical fish may be found. Stripped zebra-like designs add to their otherworldly appearance. Speckled patterning and stunning iridescent colors make some of the rarer and costly species appear very cool.

A huge fish tank is required to maintain discus fish in a freshwater aquarium. Some species of discus fish may grow to be as big as your palm, although others may be smaller. It’s not for novices to keep discus fish in an aquarium. When it comes to water quality and environment, they have very strict standards.

Dechlorinated water, for example, must stay at an temperature of 82 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 31 degrees Celsius). A 50-gallon (190 l) tank should have at least 5 shoaling fish. They may coexist with tetras, gouramis, and Bolivian rams in a communal tank. They are peaceful fish.


Angelfish have a unusual triangular body and are especially beautiful in a heated freshwater aquarium. The unusual form and cool look of these exotic fish makes them easy to spot. They are usually calm in temperament, but may be aggressive toward one other, especially when pairing off. They are nonetheless members of the cichlid family.

The angelfish are dubbed the “queen of the aquarium” because of their beautiful triangular shape and vertical stripes. These cool fish have a shine silver color that is most common. The pinstriped fins of the more unusual species, on the other hand, have streaks of pink, yellow, and orange.

Novices and experts alike will enjoy angelfish. Discus, freshwater catfish, dwarf gouramis, and placid cichlids all tolerate them well and they thrive with them. They should be kept away from barb fish because of their long fins, which are reputed to be fin-nippers. The fins of angelfish might grow to be up to 8 inches (20 cm) long, and they may weigh up to 6 inches (15 cm). In a community tank, they swim in shoals, so aim for 4 or 5.


Male swordtails have a long tail that adds an interesting and unique look to freshwater aquariums. Swordtails come in a variety of colors and there are hundreds of species to choose from. These little fish have a lengthy spear-like caudal fin at the tail end, as their name suggests.

The delightful tropical fish’s most popular color is orange. With orange fins and a black tail, some species have lustrous metallic silver bodies. Iridescent blues, jet-black, and brilliant yellow are among the multicolored forms. Only males have the swordtail, which can grow up to 5 inches (12 cm) long.

Neon Tetras

Due to their glowing bellies and shoaling nature, small ornamental neon tetras are one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish. Neon tetras are a tiny fish that thrives in communal tanks, so they are frequently found in tropical aquariums. You may have a lot of these neon fish without stressing other fish in the tank because to their tiny size.

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli Loach is one of the coolest bottom-feeders for your aquarium because it looks and behaves like a snake in the tank. These fish are eel-like and have a calm disposition that makes them non-aggressive. The pale orange or yellow stripes on the long body of the kuhli loach are one of its most striking characteristics.

The bottom of the aquariums is where these unique freshwater fish may be found. Debris and algae that have accumulated in the gravel supply them with food. You may forget that you have a kuhli loach in your tank because they love to hide, burrow into gravel, and mostly feed at night.

Red-tailed Black Shark

A shark is a fantastic addition to any exotic freshwater aquarium. The red-tailed black shark is one of the most fascinating and unusual sharks. These tropical fish get a lot of attention because of their striking satin black and vivid red colors. Similar to their bigger maritime counterparts, these fish swim around the aquarium.

These striking black and red fish prefer spacious aquariums, so they should be maintained there. If other fish encroaches on their territory, they may become aggressive. As a result, keeping them with fish that dwell at the bottom is not recommended. Red-tailed black sharks, gouramis, angelfish, neon tetras, and barbs should be kept in a community tank.

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