Tropical fish: Types and characteristics

To talk about tropical fish is to know the wonderful species of aquatic animals found throughout the universe, both in the seas and in rivers, lakes and lagoons. Discover below what are the tropical fish as well as their characteristics, care and much more.

Characteristics of Tropical Fish 🐠

It’s an infinite range of fish with the most beautiful colors, which due to their special characteristics are very sought after to live in aquariums. They are extraordinarily beautiful, both freshwater and marine fish.

Usually an inadequate difference is established between freshwater fish as exclusively tropical fish, marine fish also being a tropical species full of bright colors due to pigmentation.

Mostly tropical fish are used for aquariums of various sizes and utilities for which there are collection patterns that range from species caught in natural areas or specimens bred in captivity.

In the latter case it’s common that artificial implementations are made in search of obtaining unique species with special shapes and colors to which they have designated other names of tropical fish.

A large number of tropical marine fish are found in coral reefs, these areas being the largest natural places with the most abundant and complex characteristics to maintain the diversity of these fish. They are usually stalked by the stone fish  who hides in these reefs.

Tropical fish are especially colorful, with striking behaviors.

You can perceive an amount of thousands of these in small places with abundant food, almost always hanging around coral reefs in the case of tropical marine fish.

These fish stand out for being specialists in hiding to cope with the attacks of predators. Below is a video in which you can see the ten most beautiful fish in the world.

Generally, marine fish are established in coral reefs, because despite being one of the smallest areas of the oceans, it can house a large part of them and keep them healthy and protected, the other part is located in open waters of all Oceans of the planet.

However, this habitat has been lost over time, due to overfishing and increased marine pollution, which are alarming and lethal factors for this species of fish located in coral reefs and their relatives.

In any case there are about twenty-two thousand species of fish living in fresh and salt waters. They are vertebrate animals and their breathing system is through gills, a small group does it through pulmonary breathing.

More Interesting Aspects about Tropical Fish 🐠

Tropical fish represent an interesting part in the future of nature and man, combining an almost unprecedented relationship in the way of living together, because they are part of the diet of the human being, who captures them for consumption or also in many cases to keep them in captivity in aquariums.

For that reason, various methodologies regarding its reproduction and the control of destructive fishing have been implemented.

In any case, tropical fish adapt to any captivity system that is provided with the essential elements for their survival but of course nature conditions can never be matched.

Among the different varieties of tropical fish, both freshwater and saltwater, the following can be highlighted: platys, mollys, catfish, pleco, harlequin, discus fish, betta, neon fish, tetras, guppys, elephant fish, cichlids, Freshwater, oscar, swordtail stripes, these are some names of tropical freshwater fish among many others.

On the other hand, among the tropical fish that inhabit the salty waters, the clownfish, damsels, surgeon fish, angelfish, lionfish, goby fish and the butterflyfish stand out. Similarly there are those found in colder waters such as the lion’s head, ryukin, pearl scale, celestial, oranda, bubble eyes and telescopic eyes.

Let’s learn a little bit about the tropics




Main Skills of Tropical Fish 🐠

They stand out in several aspects such as their eyes, which have no eyelids and allow them to see long distances. However, their smell is not so good, but they have enough developed sensory elements through which they can prevent their capture.

Classification of Tropical Fish 🐠

Tropical fish can be differentiated as follows, agnates are those that have no scales or jaws while the gnatótonos on the contrary of the previous ones do own jaws and are subdivided in cartilaginous and bony fish. However, they can also be classified by their type of feeding as follows:

✅  Herbivores, whose structure allows them to feed on algae and vegetables.

✅  Carnivores, which feed on other fish, have an excellent stomach.

✅  The Limnivores, which in addition to eating vegetables also feed on living elements and wastes.

✅  Omnivores, who maintain a balanced diet, eat vegetables and living organisms.

One of their main enemies when it comes to feeding is the sailfish or marlin who has all the skills to feed on these fish easily.

Let’s watch this wonderful video




Reproduction 🐠

Tropical fish can be reproduced in different ways, always taking into account their type. In this sense, they can be oviparous, (when their eggs are drifted,) which have an external Tropical Fish: types of fertilizationsfertilization,

There are also the ovoviviparous species, which eject the eggs from the inside at the precise time of hatching, and finally the viviparous, who reproduce through ovarian secretions.

These fish lack external sexual organs, usually found inside.

The general characteristic of tropical fish is that they tend to be viviparous, due to their easy maintenance and the possibility of obtaining them at low cost.

The areas of greatest concentration of this species are found in Malaysia, Florida and Hong Kong.

In these places the most coveted and mostly sold are the Guppy, Swordtail and the Mollies, which are extremely carnivorous, both the female and the male.  Usually protection techniques are applied during hatching time, to keep them alive.

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Types of Tropical fish 🐠

Given the variety of species that are classified under this same category, we can talk about types of tropical fish, among which we will describe below those that are most iconic and sought after by aquarium lovers.

Guppy Fish 🐠

To start our list of tropical fish we will talk about guppies which are viviparous fish that have beautiful colors being the male who has the brightest colors while female has fewer colors.

In the same way they get to reproduce every month, it’s not so easy to keep them alive and they are difficult to get and make them develop to a normal size.

Regarding the origin of his name is due to his discoverer Mr. Lechmere Guppy. We invite you to learn our article guppy fish to learn about these georgious creatures.

Platy Fish 🐠

Platy are also viviparous fish and unlike the guppies they are obtained in large quantities, especially in Florida. They are very varied species and can hybridize with the sword tail.  Platy reproduce without difficulty every month, obtaining more than seventy larvae. Particularly he male has an anal fin or gonopodium through which the female inseminates.

Molly 🐠

They are marine water fish, which settle perfectly in hard and alkaline waters, usually in Florida towards the Gulf of Mexico.

They feed on vegetables and are always seen alone, rarely in pairs.

Mollys has their name in honor of the genus Mollienesia, which apparently seems a misspelling since it was imposed in honor of a French priest named Mollen, or perhaps it’s just an idiomatic variation.

Sword Tails 🐠

These are viviparous fish that feed on algae and vegetables and complement their diet with fish offspring.

Sword tails have a fairly large caudal fin very similar to a sword. Its name originates from its propellant, so the scientific name of this species was Xiphophorus.

Sword tails are easy to maintain, but it’s important to mention that it’s a possessive tropical fish when seen next to several females.

Their  ideal temperature in the aquarium ranges between 28 degrees Celsius.

Piranhas 🐠

They are animals that have become famous for their carnivorous feeding characteristics, which base their diet on the consumption of other fish and living organisms in the water.

But despite having such a bad reputation, they are not as terrible as it seems. In fact, Metynnis and Pacus fish are related to them, but they are thought to be calmer. We invite you to read our article piranhas to learn more about these fish

Tetra 🐠

Continuing with the list of tropical fish it’s time to describe the nice tetras  which are sociable fish of small size that measure around five centimeters and generally swim in large herds.

hey are one of the most agile tropical fish and have a very developed sense of hearing, which makes them always the first to move in search of food and be alert to any danger.

These fish are usually kept in areas of movement, so it’s advisable to have them with a lot of lighting and a maximum temperature of 27ºC when they are raised in the aquarium.

Barb Fish 🐠

Barb fish or cyprinids, are medium-sized and very extroverted fish,  that don’t need great care, but enough food.

Full of joy and lots of color, they offer a showy show in the aquariums because they always keep moving.

Of course, this particular species likes to walk in a groups, so if you want to add it to your fish tank you must make sure that it takes place for at least five or six specimens.

These fish spend all day in motion and are almost always grouped together, they are truly charming and their behavior is a beauty. Moreover,  barb fish are full of color and rhythm.

Dwarf cichlids 🐠

Dwarf cichlids have a beautiful manifestation of transparencies and vivid colors that make them one of the most sought-after species for aquariums, although they are not always available in animal stores.

But if you are lucky enough to get any of these specimens, it will be very useful to know that dwarf Cichlids are very quiet and are established in very deep places about ten centimeters in length, so you should make sure you have An aquarium big enough for them.

These fish feel very comfortable near the plants or algae near the stones so it’s good to include this type of accessories in the aquarium. Keep in mind that you prefer waters at temperatures of about 24ºc with soft and slightly acidic hardness and pH characteristics.

Let’s enjoy them




Rainbow Fish 🐠

They are large colorful fish that can be easily obtained. These tiny fish are about twelve centimeters long and adapt to any type of life system. In addition, the versatility of their diet allows them to provide vegetables and living organisms.

Their colors may vary according to their age, and are considered as solitary and calm fish.

 Rainbow fish are usually located in streams, so they need to be in well-oxygenated waters.

They also require a pH 7 and a good oxygenation system.

Betta Fish 🐠

These fish are too restless and often fight with the other fish. They have a tendency to fight, since in previous times they were used for these purposes in Thai, a practice that was banned in 1965.

Despite its difficult characteristics, this is one of the most commercialized species for aquariums.

Males of this variety have a broad tail and showy colors, which gives them an elegant appearance.

On the other hand, the females stand out very little in their appearance, they are small and have the typical form of a common fish, but they are calmer, you can have several females in an aquarium but only one male, otherwise they will fight to the death.

Goldfish 🐠

They are also known as Golden fish. These specimens are quite strong and belong to temperate waters, so it’s not recommended to have them in aquariums or ponds, however it’s one of the most commercialized species.

When they receive the necessary care, these types of fish manage to live for several years and grow according to the dimensions of the space available.

Their diet is based on vegetables and other fish, as they are scavengers par excellence.

Cat Fish 🐠

Catfish are beautiful oviparous, with long whiskers. there is a large number of these fish distributed throughout the oceans, but because of their size it’s not advisable to have them in the aquarium.

Besides eating too much, they have very small eyes. After reproduction this species lets its eggs hatch. They are used mostly as scavengers in different aquariums or ponds.

Malawi Cichlids 🐠

They are inhabitants of Lake Malawi in Africa, hence the species has been named that way.  Malawis are omnivorous, fighting and possessive fish which usually inhabit rocks between openings where they spend most of their time.

Probably the most interesting fact about this species is that they reproduce through their mouth.

This is a very interesting conservation mechanism, in which the female deposits her eggs in her mouth and keeps them there until such time as they can leave.

They last there for at least thirty days.

South American cichlids 🐠

These fish have a flattened shape and two well-designed fins that make them look very striking. They like to be in quiet areas with lots of vegetation when they are in an aquarium.

As they are small fish south American cichlids adapt perfectly to certain temperatures.

The advantage of acquiring them is that they can share perfectly with other species within the aquarium, which allows the owner to provide variety to their environment.

Angel Fish 🐠

Angel Fish are established in rivers and freshwater lakes, they are quiet animals that feed on living organisms such as tubifex worms, daphnia, artemia and dry food.

Their name is due to their peaceful and calm attitude that rarely bothers other fish.

Those who have had contact with these fish ensure that watching them float peacefully in the aquarium gives a great sense of tranquility.

Angel fish can be taken as a couple or group of more specimens, and are compatible with other species but fast swimming fish should be avoided so that they do not disturb them.

Danios 🐠

These fish can be kept quietly in aquariums, since they are extremely quiet and can remain in any pond or water environment without complications; you just have to provide the ideal conditions for their survival.

It’s recommended that the place is covered to avoid accidents and losses, since it’s a species whose specimens are quite jumpers.

Rásboras 🐠

These tropical fish are one of the most beautiful views in an aquarium, however they are very uneasy animals, inhabitants of the Far East.

They are almost always lonely and rarely seen in small groups.

Rasboras aren’t glutton fish; they remain very active but relaxed, without complications with any other tropical fish. At the time of laying their eggs, they hide among the plants to place them to adhere to them, which are eaten by the parents if they aren’t separated.

Discus Fish 🐠

Discus fish are very beautiful and calm fish which can remain perfectly in any water. They know how to keep themselves with little food and many times they can fight each other, but they are not dangerous and they get to share their space with fish such as cat fish Tetras or Cardinal.

Their name is due to the scientist Symphysodon discus Heckel, who first made a description of this fish more than one hundred and fifty years ago. Go

Gourami Fish 🐠

They are excellent fish that adapt very well to changes in the environment. Gouramis can breathe very well even when oxygen is needed in their water, of course not in their entirety, but much of it.

Mostly these fish lay their eggs on the surface of the water.

However, gouramis stand out for being very territorial fish, so you should not exceed the number of them in the same space and if you have several specimens you must ensure that they belong to the same family. Otherwise the gurami will make life impossible to any other fish that is added to the aquarium.

Aulonocaras 🐠

They are very small omnivorous fish owners of beautiful colors, which don’t  need great things to survive. Aulonocoras  can grow up to about fourteen centimeters and  it’s recommended that they be in open spaces.

To maintain these kinds of tropical fish  you  must provide them a pH of 7 and a temperature around 23 degrees Celsius.

They are really beautiful fish, full of a lot of color that measure up to about fourteen centimeters.

Labyrinth fish 🐠

These fish are not sociable, they are small in size, their diet is normal and they don’t eat their young. However Labyrinths are very possessive, and are equipped with special organs that help them breathe oxygen from the air. The ideal temperature for This type of fish is about 30 degrees Celsius.

It’s worth to point out that Labyrinths are  solitary and aggressive, so it’s recommended to have  only one specimen per aquarium.

The reproduction process between the male and the female requires several contact attempts until it’s achieved and must immediately be separated to prevent The female ends up dead.

Let’s enjoy them




Brackish Water Fish 🐠

There are species in tropical fish that inhabit at the entrances of the rivers and  once they are removed from their habitat they should receive first-class attention, which implies trying to keep them in the right environment so that they do not die due to lack of salinity.

It is recommended to have a good pH that is maintained between 1.9 to 8.3, its space must be very well suited with rocks and a special type of sand that does not affect its degree of salinity.

Some of the most  prominent bracfish water fish are the puffer fish and the crystal fish, which are very beautiful specimens worthy of admiration beacause of their  beauty, color and behavior.

Tropical fish are generally easy to care for and don’t need huge expenses to be mantained in fish tanks aquarium or ponds, of any size.

The most important thing is to know each of the characteristics of these specimens. It’s about knowing which ones best suit your conditions.

You will probably have to have a good space and know what kind of fish you can get to combine so that they are not going to die or suffer from diseases. Many are excessively territorial and may even become too aggressive.

To keep tropical fish without suffering any mishaps, it’s  necessary to know the pH of the water very well, since each species is  different from the other.

In the same way it’s is important to know about the proper water temperature which should be between twenty to twenty three degrees Celsius.

Let’s learn about the interesting  puffer fish




Conservation of Tropical Fish 🐠

There are currently various organizations responsible for the conservation of tropical fish. It`s a joint effort of an extensive group of ecologists dedicated to the study of these fish who have dedicated themselves to programs and statutes of protection and conservation of these fish.

All these recommendations have been taken to more general instances where the receptivity of the competent laws has been seen.

Today there is a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) through which strategic recommendations have been projected globally for the conservation of the genetic resource of common species.

In this sense, long and short-term programs have been developed, where the receptivity of other organizations who have been involved in the work in a satisfactory manner has been observed, bringing the information to the nets to raise awareness about the problem of these fish which are very requested due to their beauty and behavior.

There are currently various organizations responsible for the conservation of tropical fish. It`s a joint effort of an extensive group of ecologists dedicated to the study of these fish who have dedicated themselves to programs and statutes of protection and conservation of  tropical fish .

All these recommendations have been taken to more general instances where the receptivity of the competent laws has been seen.

Today there is a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) through which strategic recommendations have been projected globally for the conservation of the genetic resource of common species.

In this sense, long and short-term programs have been developed, where the receptivity of other organizations who have been involved in the work in a satisfactory manner has been observed, bringing the information to the nets to raise awareness about the problem of these fish which are very requested due to their beauty and behavior.

It`s about encouraging the idea of ​​taking care of them and when obtaining them for various uses in aquariums, to get all the information available to be able to provide a quality life outside their habitat.

In the first place, it`s about promoting the basic strategies to all those who are dedicated to the fishing area, to the marketing industry and to the public itself, which in many cases are the ones that cause the greatest damage to these species, polluted the natural environment and causing them death.

Therefore, it was concluded to develope urgent actions to be immediately attended by the corresponding authorities on the use of aquatic space for such purposes.

Aquarium Care

In the same way, some of them are extremely territorial, which means that they can attack each other.

For all these reasons it`s necessary an exhaustive supervision of each of the fish that you want to combine in your aquarium.

The most advisable thing is to know which are the tropical fish and to obtain those that belong to the same families, to try not to change in large dimensions their customs and behaviors. It`s necessary to keep them calm, so that they can live in harmony, without confrontations.

Thank you for reading our article on tropical fish, we invite you to continue discovering the wonders of the aquatic world in our blog let’s talk about fish.

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