Pet Fish

Updated: May 5, 2021
© Jung Hsuan/
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Keeping fish as pets is a popular choice for many people. If you don’t have a lot of space or time to care for another type of pet like a dog or cat, a fish could be an excellent option. With their lower maintenance, tranquil presence, and low cost of ownership fish can be a ‘starter pet’ for children and young adults, or a long term pet for anyone that prefers less lower ongoing responsibility. Fish are also often more affordable than keeping dogs, cats, or birds and pets. 

Advantages of Keeping Fish As Pets

There are many reasons to consider keeping fish as pets! Fish have many advantages compared to other pet types. 

  1. Fish are more quiet than other pets
  2. Fish are usually more affordable to purchase than traditional pets
  3. Fish are also usually more affordable to maintain than traditional pets
  4. Fish are lower maintenance than other pets. They do not form separation anxiety, destroy furniture, need to be let out to go to the bathroom, or have their tanks cleaned as often as other pets like reptiles and rodents.
  5. Pet fish can be beautiful to look at and provide a calming environment
  6. Pet fish do not need to be taken to the vet for shots or registered with local counties
  7. Keeping fish as pets can be a great way to build responsibility for younger or first time pet owners

Disadvantages Of Keeping Fish As Pets

Despite their advantages, there are also some drawbacks to keeping fish as pets. 

  1. Some fish, particularly exotic ones can be expensive. The Platinum Arowana can cost upwards of $400,000 for a single fish! Some angelfish can be $30,000 or more. 
  2. Going from basic to exotic fish can mean a huge increase in maintenance, tank size, cost, and attention. If you have a saltwater fish pet that means more robust filters, larger tanks, and more attention to maintaining Ph levels
  3. Fish do not provide the same companionship as other traditional pets like dogs or cats
  4. Some of the most fun and exotic fish to own may be endangered or threatened, and have been illegally caught in the wild. Keeping these fish as pets could contribute to ecosystem and species instability. 

Freshwater Fish Vs Saltwater Fish Pets: What You Need to Know

What is better, saltwater fish or freshwater fish as pets? It depends, but generally freshwater fish are more affordable and hardier, so they are the better starting point for most pet fish owners. If you have never owned fish before and are unfamiliar with the maintenance of a freshwater vs saltwater aquarium, stick with freshwater to start.

However saltwater fish has a wider range of very interesting and crazy fish types to choose from. If you are an experienced pet fish owner, are ready to move on to exotic fish types, and don’t mind the maintenance of a saltwater aquarium then saltwater fish as pets can be very fun! There are many more options for pet fish types, and some of them are much more colorful and fun to observe. 

Just remember that an aquarium must be one type, either freshwater or saltwater. You can not mix freshwater fish and saltwater fish in the same aquarium. One of the fish types, and maybe both, will likely die.

Freshwater Tank (Aquarium) Vs Saltwater Tank (Aquarium) 

Freshwater fish tanks are generally easier to maintain. They are less expensive than saltwater tanks. Freshwater tanks are usually glass or acrylic and are appropriate for pet fish like tetras, betta, and goldfish. Filtration systems are able to more easily operate within a freshwater tank. They do not need to be as robust and are usually more affordable that the systems required for saltwater tanks. You can also usually get away with a smaller tank size.

Saltwater tanks must almost always be larger than freshwater tanks and are therefore more expensive. When maintaining a saltwater tank you must balance Ph levels more carefully and choose a filtration system that supports your needs. There are three options for saltwater tank filtration

  • 1) mechanical
  • 2) Chemical
  • 3) Biological (live rock).

If you choose a live rock filtration system for a saltwater aquarium you will also need a protein skimmer to remove fish waste. 

A List Of Crazy, Exotic Fish To Keep As Pets

Many fish pet owners want to have the most colorful and exotic fish in their tanks as possible. Here are some of the craziest fish types people have as pets:

  1. Discus – A beautiful and colorful fish that is native to the Amazon river delta. They can be kept in freshwater tanks
  2. Flowerhorn Cichlid – An oddly shaped fish with a bulbous forehead and gorgeous colorings. This freshwater fish has vibrant colors that are hard to stop looking at
  3. Zebra Plecos – This black and white fish is typically found at the bottom of your tank in between rocks and crevices. They are nocturnal and often hidden. If you can catch a glimpse through, the unique contrast of colors is a fun standout next to other more vibrantly colored fish.
  4. Clownfish – Clownfish are easy to care for and hardy and require only a little space, making them an excellent choice for beginner pet owners. Their contrasting white and orange stripes make them very fun to look at. Nemo, from the Disney series, was a clownfish. 

Types of Pet Fish

A Wrought Iron Butterflyfish
Wrought Iron Butterflyfish

Is endemic to Japan.

A Peppermint Angelfish
Peppermint Angelfish

The peppermint angelfish was only first described in 1992.

A Bladefin Basslet
Bladefin Basslet

The tiny bladefin basslet belongs to the same subfamily as the giant grouper, Epinephelinae.

A Goldfish

Goldfish and common carp can mate and produce offspring

A Oscar Fish
Oscar Fish

The Oscar fish has teeth in its throat!

A Flowerhorn Fish
Flowerhorn Fish

The Flowerhorn fish is an artificial species; it does not exist naturally

A Koi Fish
Koi Fish

In Japanese, the word koi sounds like the word for love. So the fish is a symbol of love among other good things.

A Loach

Have sharp spines below their eyes

A Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish)
Betta Fish (Siamese Fighting Fish)

Can live in low-oxygen environments!

A Fish

Respire through the gills on their heads!

List of Pet Fish

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About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

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