A Guide To Exotic Aquarium Fish Species to successfully take care of exotic aquarium fish

Discover The Most Exotic Aquarium Fish: A Guide To Exotic Aquarium Fish Species

Exotic Aquarium Fish


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Do you long to add a unique touch to your home aquarium? If so, exotic fish species are the perfect choice. This blog will offer a comprehensive guide about various eye-catching and uncommon fish varieties like DiscusDwarf Puffer Fish, Zebra Plecos, and more.

Dive in with us to discover how these striking aquatic inhabitants can elevate your aquarium experience!

Key Takeaways

  • Exotic fish species add color and life to your aquarium and come in various types, sizes, and colors.
  • Popular exotic freshwater fish include Discus, Wolf Cichlid, Flowerhorn Cichlid, Dwarf Puffer Fish, Zebra Plecos, Black Ghost Knifefish, and Freshwater African Butterflyfish.
  • Caring for exotic freshwater fish involves setting up the tank properly, maintaining it regularly by checking water temperature and parameters, cleaning the tank and equipment regularly, choosing suitable tank mates based on size and temperament compatibility.
  • Providing proper feeding is crucial for the health of exotic freshwater fish.

Understanding Exotic Aquarium Fish Species

Exotic aquarium fish are a joy to watch. They add color and life to a tank. These fish come in many types, sizes, and colors. Some are rare aquarium fish that you don’t see every day.

Others are striking aquatic species with unique shapes or bright colors.

Some exotic tropical fish hail from warm waters around the world. For others, cool rivers and lakes are home base. No matter where they come from, these eye-catching aquarium pets need special care to stay happy and healthy in your own home tank!

Popular Exotic Freshwater Fish to Keep at Home

If you’re looking to add some unique and eye-catching fish to your aquarium, there are several popular exotic freshwater species that make great additions to any home tank. These colorful and striking fish will surely be the centerpiece of your aquatic display.


discus fish with different color variations alongside green weeds

Discus fish are special. They come from the Amazon river delta and look like thin disks. This is why people call them Discus! They have bright colors that make them stand out. You could see red, blue, or yellow Discus in an aquarium.

These rare aquarium fish need lots of care but it’s worth it! Their great beauty makes people call them the “King of the Aquarium.” But they cost more than other fish because they need extra care to keep healthy.

Wolf Cichlid

group of Wolf Cichlid fish in the aquarium

Wolf Cichlids are big and live in fresh water. They come from Central America. They eat a lot of meat and like to hunt. These unique fish for aquariums can grow up to 28 inches long! Because they are so big, these striking aquarium species need large tanks.

You also need to take special care with them because they can be mean sometimes. That’s why Wolf Cichlids are one of the rare aquaria species that make an uncommon aquarium addition but remember, they always need lots of room and tasty meaty foods!

Flowerhorn Cichlid

flowerhorn in an aquarium with a special light effects

Flowerhorn cichlids are stunning and colorful fish that have vibrant colors and intricate body markings. They are bred specifically for their exotic and unusual features, making them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of Flowerhorn cichlids is their uniquely shaped heads, which can vary in size and shape depending on the specific breed. These fascinating fish are exclusively found in aquariums as they are a hybrid species created through selective breeding.

Despite being a hybrid, Flowerhorn cichlids have gained popularity due to their high interactivity and ability to recognize their owners, adding an extra level of connection between the fish and its owner.

Dwarf Puffer Fish

cute and happy faced dwarf pufferfish in an aquarium

The Dwarf Puffer Fish is the tiniest freshwater pufferfish you can find. It comes from India and also goes by the names Indian dwarf puffer or Malabar puffer. To keep it happy in your aquarium, you need to take good care of it.

This means providing the right environment and diet. The Dwarf Puffer Fish likes to munch on small critters like snails and crustaceans. Even though it’s small, this fish can be territorial and may show aggression towards other fish.

So, make sure to give it enough space so that it can thrive happily in its own little world.

Zebra Plecos

Zebra Plecos with black and white color combination

Zebra Plecos are a unique and sought-after freshwater fish species in the aquarium world. These striking fish are known for their eye-catching bright striped markings, which resemble zebras, hence their name.

They belong to the larger family of Plecostomus and fall under the category of armored catfish.

One interesting fact about Zebra Plecos is that they are nocturnal creatures. This means they are most active during the night and prefer low-light tanks where they can feel more comfortable.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Zebra Plecos are relatively rare and can be quite expensive to buy. In fact, small individuals can sell for around $250 each.

If you’re considering adding Zebra Plecos to your aquarium collection, ensure you provide suitable tank conditions such as low-light environments and hiding spots. Their diet should consist of mainly algae-based foods supplemented with occasional protein-rich treats like brine shrimp or bloodworms.

Black Ghost Knifefish

 Black Ghost Knifefish hidden in the weeds

The Black Ghost Knifefish is a popular tropical freshwater fish that can be found in various freshwater habitats in South America. It is known for its unique appearance, with its long and slender body covered in black coloration.

These peaceful fish are great additions to aquariums as they do not disturb their tank mates. However, it’s important to note that the Black Ghost Knifefish is sensitive to changes in water conditions, so proper care should be taken to maintain stable parameters.

As carnivores, they require a suitable diet consisting of live or frozen foods. With their striking appearance and peaceful nature, the Black Ghost Knifefish adds an exotic touch to any freshwater aquarium setup.

Freshwater African Butterflyfish

Freshwater African Butterflyfish in a dark setting aquarium

The Freshwater African Butterflyfish is a unique and eye-catching addition to any aquarium. It stands out with its striking appearance and behavior. This fish is the only member of its family and species, making it truly one-of-a-kind.

Found in freshwater environments, the Freshwater African Butterflyfish is more closely related to other African fish in the order of Osteoglossiformes. Caring for this exotic species requires specific considerations, including proper tank setup, maintenance, suitable tank mates, and feeding.

Breeders also need to be knowledgeable about their care and breeding requirements. Overall, the Freshwater African Butterflyfish is a rare and captivating choice for aquatic enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary addition to their collection.

Caring for Exotic Freshwater Fish

Caring for exotic freshwater fish involves setting up the tank properly, maintaining and cleaning it regularly, choosing suitable tank mates, and providing proper feeding.

Setting up the tank

To set up the tank for your exotic freshwater fish, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a suitable tank size based on the needs of your fish species. Consider factors like their adult size and swimming habits.
  2. Place the tank in a stable location away from direct sunlight or drafts. Ensure it’s easily accessible for maintenance.
  3. Clean the tank thoroughly with plain water, avoiding any harsh detergents or chemicals that may harm the fish.
  4. Add an appropriate substrate to the bottom of the tank, such as gravel or sand, to create a natural environment for your fish.
  5. Install a high – quality filtration system to maintain good water quality and remove toxins from waste products.
  6. Set up an aquarium heater and thermometer to ensure a consistent temperature within the optimal range for your fish species.
  7. Decorate your tank with plants, rocks, and other ornaments to provide hiding places and create a visually appealing environment.
  8. Fill the tank with dechlorinated water slowly and carefully to prevent stressing or injuring the fish.
  9. Allow time for beneficial bacteria to establish in the filter before adding fish. This process helps maintain a stable nitrogen cycle in the tank.
  10. Finally, test water parameters regularly using test kits to monitor ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels, pH, and temperature conditions.

Tank maintenance and cleaning

Maintaining and cleaning your aquarium is important to keep your exotic freshwater fish happy and healthy. Here are some tips:

  • Regularly check the water temperature and ensure it remains within the recommended range for your fish.
  • Test the water parameters such as pH, ammonia levels, and nitrate levels using a water testing kit. Make necessary adjustments if needed.
  • Perform partial water changes every one to two weeks, removing about 10-25% of the tank water and replacing it with clean, treated water.
  • Use a siphon or gravel vacuum to clean the substrate by gently stirring it and removing any debris or waste that settles on top.
  • Clean the glass walls of the tank using an algae scraper or magnet cleaner. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that can harm your fish.
  • Trim any overgrown plants and remove dead leaves or debris from the aquarium.
  • Check and clean the filter regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This helps maintain good water quality by removing impurities and maintaining proper circulation.
  • Inspect all equipment in your tank, such as heaters, air pumps, and lights, ensuring they are functioning properly. Replace any faulty equipment promptly.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of illness or stress in your fish. If you notice anything unusual, seek advice from a knowledgeable source like a veterinarian or experienced aquarist.

Choosing suitable tank mates

To create a peaceful and harmonious environment in your aquarium, it’s important to choose suitable tank mates for your exotic freshwater fish. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Consider the size of the fish: Make sure the potential tank mates are compatible in terms of size. Avoid pairing small fish with larger ones that may view them as prey.
  • Look for compatible temperaments: Some fish species can be aggressive or territorial, while others are more docile. Choose tank mates that have similar temperaments to minimize conflicts.
  • Check for compatibility in water parameters: Different fish species have different water parameter requirements such as temperature, pH levels, and water hardness. Make sure the potential tank mates have similar needs to thrive together.
  • Avoid mixing species with similar appearances: Fish that look alike may mistake each other for competitors or threats, leading to aggression. Choose fish with distinct appearances to reduce the chances of conflict.
  • Research compatibility with specific species: Certain exotic freshwater fish have specific compatibility requirements due to their unique characteristics or behaviors. Conduct thorough research before introducing them into the same tank.
  1. It is advisable to keep these exotic fish individually and avoid choosing tank mates that are similar in appearance or closely related to prevent conflicts and aggression.
  2. Fish compatibility is crucial in creating a peaceful community tank, and overcrowding should be avoided as it can lead to stress and aggression among tank mates.
  3. Providing enough space for each fish is important to prevent territorial disputes and promote a harmonious environment in the tank.
  4. Some fish may start off as good tank mates when they are small but become aggressive towards each other as they grow, so it is important to consider the potential adult size and behavior of the fish when selecting tank mates.

Proper feeding

Proper feeding is very important when taking care of exotic freshwater fish. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Different fish species have different dietary requirements.
  • Goldfish need a plant – based diet, so make sure to feed them food that contains veggies or algae.
  • Tropical fish require more protein in their diet, so choose fish food that is high in protein.
  • Young, growing fish may need to be fed three or more times per day.
  • Avoid overfeeding your fish, as this can lead to health problems. Leave specific instructions on how to feed your fish if you’re away from home.
  • Consider using automatic feeders to ensure your fish are fed consistently.

Popular Seawater Exotic Fish

The oceans hold a vast array of treasures, among which are the vibrant and mesmerizing seawater exotic fish. These marine wonders come in various colors, shapes, and sizes, each more fascinating than the last:

Achilles Tang

A striking fish characterized by its deep black body and bright orange patch near the tail, making it a sought-after specimen for enthusiasts. Originating from the Pacific Ocean, the Achilles Tang is known to be an active swimmer, demanding ample space in a tank. Despite their beauty, they can sometimes exhibit territorial behavior, especially when introduced to a new environment.

Aiptasia Eating Filefish

Aiptasia Eating Filefish in the aquarium with corals

Known for its ability to control pest anemones, it’s not just functional but also boasts intricate patterns and a slender body. As the name suggests, these fish have an appetite for Aiptasia, a type of nuisance anemone. This makes them valuable to reef keepers who struggle with Aiptasia infestations, offering a natural solution to this common problem.

Annularis Angelfish

Annularis Angelfish with mesmerizing blue and yellow circular patterns

With mesmerizing blue and yellow circular patterns, this species is an absolute showstopper in any aquarium. Native to the Indo-Pacific region, they thrive in coral-rich environments. As juveniles, their color patterns are different, evolving into the vibrant adult hues as they mature, adding to their appeal.

Arabian Butterfly

Arabian butterfly its beautiful yellow body with blue streaks and patterns make it a favorite among hobbyists.

Its beautiful yellow body with blue streaks and patterns make it a favorite among hobbyists. Hailing from the Red Sea, this fish is also known for its hardiness. While they can be peaceful, it’s essential to monitor their behavior with coral, as they can sometimes nibble on soft and stony coral polyps.

Asfur Angelfish

Asfur Angelfish is recognized by its deep purple body and a vibrant yellow tail, it's the epitome of marine beauty

Recognized by its deep purple body and a vibrant yellow tail, it’s the epitome of marine beauty. Often found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, the Asfur Angelfish is a larger species. Due to their size and dietary requirements, they are best suited for more experienced aquarium hobbyists who can cater to their needs.

Auriga Butterflyfish

Its white body dotted with black patterns and a striking yellow patch is a sight to behold. These fish are not only visually appealing but are also known for their peaceful temperament, making them suitable for community tanks. However, it’s crucial to provide them with a varied diet to ensure their health and maintain their vibrant colors.

Bangaii Cardinalfish

Bangaii Cardinalfish is a peaceful species, its silver body with distinct black vertical bands is enchanting.

A peaceful species, its silver body with distinct black vertical bands is enchanting. They have a unique reproductive behavior where the male carries the eggs in his mouth until they hatch. Their calm demeanor and fascinating parental behavior make them a joy to observe in a home aquarium.

Bellus Angelfish

Bellus angelfish is a mix of blue and orange gradients with striking fin patterns make it a gem of the sea.

A mix of blue and orange gradients with striking fin patterns make it a gem of the sea. The Bellus Angelfish, predominantly found in the Western Pacific, showcases sexual dimorphism where males and females exhibit different color patterns. This provides hobbyists with an opportunity to observe a variety of hues within the same species.

Bicolor Angelfish

two-toned body - a yellow front and deep blue back fish

True to its name, it boasts a two-toned body – a yellow front and deep blue back. This striking contrast makes it one of the most recognizable marine fish. Often found amidst rocks and corals in the wild, they appreciate similar hideouts in captivity, making them both vibrant and interactive additions to the tank.

Bicolor Blenny

a perfect blend of brown and white, it adds a touch of whimsy to any tank

With a perfect blend of brown and white, it adds a touch of whimsy to any tank. Their curious nature and the habit of perching on live rocks using their pelvic fins make them fun to watch. While generally peaceful, they might show slight aggression towards other Blennies in confined spaces.

Bicolor Goatfish

A unique combination of white and red, its barbels make it stand out. These barbels, found near their mouth, are used to sift through the sand for food. The Bicolor Goatfish’s foraging behavior, as they comb the substrate for morsels, can be both entertaining and beneficial for tank cleanliness.

Bicolor Parrotfish

Parrot fish - A colorful wonder with green, blue, and pink hues that's always a pleasure to watch

A colorful wonder with green, blue, and pink hues that’s always a pleasure to watch. Known to play a role in coral reef health in the wild, they feed on algae. Their beak-like jaws, which give them their name, are used to scrape off algae from rocks, helping in controlling unwanted algae growth in aquariums.

Big Eye Squirrelfish

radiant red body squirrel fish inside the coral reefs

Its radiant red body and oversized eyes make it a focal point in any setting. Typically found in deeper, dimly lit waters, their large eyes help them navigate in low light. They’re nocturnal, which means they’re most active during the nighttime, bringing a different kind of dynamism to the tank after dark.

Black and Gold Chromis

Black and gold chromis is a delightful schooling fish, their shimmering gold and black bodies light up the aquarium.

A delightful schooling fish, their shimmering gold and black bodies light up the aquarium. Watching a group of them swim synchronously is truly mesmerizing. They are known for their peaceful nature and are often recommended for beginners due to their hardiness and low maintenance.

Black Storm Clownfish

Their swirling black and white patterns are reminiscent of a stormy sea. A variation of the popular clownfish, their unique coloration is a result of selective breeding. Apart from their beauty, their symbiotic relationship with anemones can be a captivating aspect of marine aquariums.

Black Tang

A rarity in the hobby, its deep black body is a vision of elegance. Originating from Hawaii, these fish are not only rare but also come with a hefty price tag. Their velvety black appearance combined with their active swimming makes them a prized possession for many aquarists.

Black-backed Wrasse

Black-backed Wrasse's vibrant colors and the distinct black back make it a standout

Its vibrant colors and the distinct black back make it a standout. Found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific, they are known to bury themselves in the sand when threatened or during the night. This behavior, along with their vibrant colors, makes them an interesting addition to marine tanks.

Dragonface Pipefish

amazing Dragonface Pipefish peaking out to check

With a long, slender body and captivating patterns, they add an exotic touch to tanks. They’re closely related to seahorses and exhibit similar intriguing behaviors. Due to their unique shape and dietary requirements, they’re best suited for hobbyists familiar with their care.

Moray Eel

mystic Moray Eel watching outside his territory

While not for the faint-hearted, their elongated bodies and mysterious demeanor are intriguing. These carnivorous fish can grow quite large and are known for their impressive hunting skills. They require spacious tanks with plenty of hiding spaces, and their feeding sessions are a spectacle in itself.

Royal Gramma

Royal gamma - a captivating mix of purple and yellow, it's royalty in the fish world.

A captivating mix of purple and yellow, it’s royalty in the fish world. Native to the Caribbean, they often seek refuge in caves and crevices. Their vibrant coloration, combined with their peaceful nature, makes them a staple in many saltwater aquariums.


Setting up the Tank

Creating an environment that mirrors the natural habitat of seawater fish is paramount for their well-being. The following are key aspects to consider:

  • Water Temperature: Most tropical marine fish thrive in temperatures ranging from 74°F to 80°F. Investing in a reliable heater and thermometer will ensure a consistent temperature, avoiding fluctuations that can stress the fish.
  • Salinity Levels: The ideal specific gravity for a marine tank is between 1.020 and 1.025. Using a hydrometer or refractometer helps in monitoring and adjusting the salt concentration accordingly.
  • Landscape: Incorporate a mix of live rocks, corals, and substrates. This not only provides aesthetic appeal but also serves as hiding spots and territorial markers for fish, reducing stress and aggression.
  • Lighting: Depending on the inhabitants, especially if you have corals, the lighting needs may vary. Research the specific lighting requirements for each species and ensure a natural day-night cycle.

Tank Maintenance And Cleaning

Regular maintenance ensures a healthy environment. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Water Changes: Regularly replace about 10-20% of the tank water every two weeks. This helps in diluting waste products and replenishing essential minerals.
  • pH Levels: The ideal pH for a marine tank ranges from 8.1 to 8.4. Testing kits are available to monitor this. Buffer solutions can be used to adjust the pH if necessary.
  • Detritus Removal: Accumulated detritus can lead to ammonia spikes. Use siphons and gravel vacuums during water changes to remove detritus from the substrate.
  • Filter Maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media regularly. Clogged filters can reduce water quality and oxygen levels, harming the fish.

Suitable Tank Mates

Ensuring compatibility is crucial. Here’s how to maintain harmony:

  • Research: Before introducing a new fish, understand its temperament. Some species can be aggressive, while others are docile.
  • Space: Overcrowding can lead to stress and territorial disputes. Ensure the tank size is appropriate for the number and size of the inhabitants.
  • Introduction: When introducing new fish, consider using acclimation techniques and quarantine periods to reduce the risk of diseases and ease the transition.

Proper Feeding

Dietary needs can vary widely among marine species:

  • Diet Variety: Offer a varied diet that mimics what they’d eat in the wild. This includes a mix of pellets, frozen foods, live foods, and even seaweed for herbivorous species.
  • Feeding Frequency: While some fish prefer daily feedings, others might need multiple small feedings throughout the day. Observe their behavior and adjust accordingly.
  • Overfeeding: Excess food can deteriorate water quality. Feed in small quantities and ensure all food is consumed within a few minutes to prevent waste accumulation.
  • Supplements: Some species might require specific vitamins or minerals. Researching each species’ needs can help in providing targeted nutrition, ensuring vibrant colors and optimum health.


In conclusion, “Discover The Most Exotic Aquarium Fish: A Guide To Exotic Aquarium Fish Species” is a valuable resource for aquarium owners looking to add unique and colorful fish to their tanks.

It offers helpful tips on caring for these exotic freshwater fish, including setting up the tankmaintenancesuitable tank mates, and proper feeding. With this guide in hand, aquarium enthusiasts can confidently create stunning and vibrant aquatic displays in their homes.


1. What are some examples of rare and unusual pet fish?

Rare freshwater fish and unusual marine fish, like the colorful exotic fish species, make unique aquarium inhabitants.

2. Can you suggest some uncommon aquarium additions?

Exotic fishkeeping involves adding unique and uncommon selections such as tropical aquarium or colorful ornamental fishes to your tank.

3. What is an exotic aquarium setup?

An exotic aquarium setup involves creating a home for rare and unusual pet fishes – this can include both freshwater and marine species.

4. Are all exotic fishes suitable for my home’s aquarium?

Not all! You should look up about each type before you bring them into your home, as some colorful exotic fish need specific care.