10 Most Colorful Freshwater Fish | Home Aquaria

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When you think about freshwater fish, brackish water and monotonous orange and white colored fish might come to mind. Clearly you haven’t discovered this post until now!

If you are looking for ways to brighten up your freshwater aquarium, finding an eye-catching and colorful freshwater fish is easier than you might think, especially when you have a list like the one below to help you out.

Keep on reading to discover more about the top 10 most colorful freshwater fish. You just might be surprised to find out how beautiful and Fin-Tastic freshwater fish can be.

1. Discus

The discus fish are a genus of Cichlids, which are native to the Amazon River basin. Their bright colors make them popular as a great choice for freshwater aquariums. Their brain pattern marking and colors range from reds, oranges, browns, creams and brilliant shades of bright blue.

Discus fish have stunning markings and bright brilliant all-over body colors. They also come in single color varieties and even pure white. There are many natural species of Discus but also man-made cultivated strains in which breeders have produced hundred of variations of shapes, patterns and coloring.

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2. Killifish 

Killifish are widespread throughout Asia, South and North America, Africa and parts of Europe. They are lavishly colored and popular amongst hobbyist in the word because they are easy to keep in your freshwater aquarium. They come in red, blue and orange colorations.

The female Killifish are much less vibrantly colored and the male bodies have blue and yellow coloration with orange spots and stripes from the body to the tip of fins. It may be difficult to find one at your local fish store because Killifish are so attractive and popular amongst hobbyists.

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3. Male Betta

These popular Betta Fish (also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish) come in a large variety of fin types and colors. There are numerous vibrant colors to choose from including white, black, yellow red, purple, orange and blue.

They are available in monochrome colors, but a Betta displaying 2 or more colors with its large elegant flowing fins is unmatched when it comes to other freshwater fish. The fact that they have a long lifespan and are easy to take care of makes them one of the most popular freshwater fish.

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4. German Blue Ram

The German Blue Ram is a peaceful and colorful small-sized Cichlid. This species is flamboyantly colored. Yellow-green colors make up the main body and blue dots cover the fins. There are also seven darker vertical stripes on the fish and one very obvious strip on the head and through the eye.

There are red patches on the belly, near the eyes and upper and lower sections of the dorsal and tail fin. The fins are red and blue and the dorsal fin is dominated by yellow with black markings.

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5. Endlers Livebearer

The Endler (properly named Poecilia wingei) is rare in pet shops but can be seen occasionally in the homes and freshwater tanks of Endler enthusiasts. They have a similar look to the wild Guppy.

They offer brilliant, neon and unique colorations including orange, black, yellow-green and baby blue. They may be small but with their coloration, they can’t be missed. They have a peaceful nature, are tolerant to changing aquarium conditions and are easy to take care of.

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6. Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

The Boseman’s Rainbowfish (also known as the Bosemani Ranbowfish) is endemic to Indonesia near Western New Guinea. It has a peaceful demeanor and is a popular freshwater aquarium fish amongst hobbyists due to their rare coloration.

Their color pattern is unique from other species of rainbowfish. The rear half of the fish is a bright red-orange and the front half is bluish-grey or purple. The body contains narrow dark lines, the fins are orange and the two dorsal fins are white on the outer edges.

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7. Gourami

Gouramis are a group of freshwater fish that are native to Asia, Pakistan, India and Korea. Several of them have more different color combinations and patterns.The most colorful Gourami species are the Red Fire Dwarf Gouramis, the Blue Gouramis, and the Banded Gouramis.

Many Gouramis have a feeler barb at the front of their pelvic fins. They are almost the perfect aquarium fish as they are colorful, active, entertaining, are easy to care of and are hardy in freshwater aquariums. They come in many different stunning color variations like blue, gold, neon and sunset.

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8. Peacock Cichlid

The Peacock Cichlid possesses distinct characteristics that have made them popular amongst aquarium hobbyists for over 30 years. The Peacock Cichlid display dozens of color patterns and iridescent brilliance, which consists of blue, gold, bright yellow, red, and vivid orange.

They also have vertical dark stripes along the body. Unlike other Cichlids, the Peacock Cichlid is relatively peaceful with other fish.

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9. Fantail Guppy

Fantail guppies are a plentiful, attractive, and inexpensive fish. The diverse colors and patterns on the long tails of fantail guppies make them a beautiful fish to watch as they move around the aquarium. Their graceful appearance is one of the many reasons why freshwater aquarium hobbyists are enchanted by this species.

There are over 20 various color combinations common to the guppy species. They can be seen in solid reds, blues, purples, blues and yellows as well as metallic and white combinations with beautiful spots on their large delicate tails.

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10. Flowerhorn Cichlid

This semi-aggressive Flowerhorn Cichlid is farm raised in the United States and has come into existence due to crossbreeding different American Cichlid species. They are named for their distinctive shaped protruding head and their dark flower shaped spots. The most popular color amongst hobbyists is red.

More colors and distinct patterns will lead to a higher cost. Some breeds of this colorful Cichlid can be exceptionally expensive. “The most expensive Golden Monkey was sold for 600-thousand dollars during a Malaysian exhibition in 2009”.[citation]

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More Colorful Freshwater Fish

In addition to getting a handle on these colorful characters for your aquarium, you can also manipulate your tank in order to further show off the colors of your fish. Lights, rocks, gravel, backgrounds, plants and corals will add even more splashes of color to your freshwater tank or improve the observer’s focus to your beautiful flashy fish.

Above all, when searching for your perfect colorful aquarium buddies, make sure you know the needs and requirements of your fish in order for it to live a long, colorful, happy and healthy life.

Research the temperature, pH, and dietary requirements and know what types of fish will work well together. Ask questions and choose a healthy colorful freshwater fish that will look just as good as a bright and multicolored saltwater fish.

There are more than just 10 colorful freshwater fish check out the list below and view our honorable mentions:

  • Kirbensis
  • Clown Loach
  • Jack Dempsey – Blue
  • Tiger Barb
  • Angelfish
  • Neon Tetra
  • Mbuna Cichlid
  • Cardinal tetra
  • Cockatoo Dwarf Ciichlid
  • Swordtail Platy
  • Plecostomus
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Green Terror Cichlid
  • Asian Arowana

What’s Your Say?

Have you seen a more colorful freshwater fish that hasn’t been mentioned in the post above? We would love to hear about it in the comments section below.

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About Dennis Hanson

Dennis is an experienced aquarist with many years of knowledge and experience in keeping successful tanks. He also has no relations to the pop group Hanson.

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