Fish species

The right fish for your aquarium

From the over 30,000 fish species of the world in fresh and marine water only a tiny part is regularly kept in aquariums. Since an animal species has never been wiped out by pet keeping and not even the world’s most caught aquarium fish, the cardinal tetra, has ever been endangered in its stock by its millionfold capture (stock figures in nature unchanged for decades), we shouldn’t feel guilty about keeping fish in aquariums. More and more fish and invertebrate species have been bred, so that there is no need to remove them from their natural habitats. Unfortunately some fish species exist only in aquariums because their natural habitats have been destroyed. In such cases catching aquarium fish can count as active nature conservation, because the fish catchers are helping fishing areas (i.e the habitats) remain intact to secure their livelihood!

We aquarists divide fish in three main groups: freshwater fish, marine fish and brackish water fish, which live in freshwater and marine water biotopes, as well as in the regions in between.

Which fish fit into my aquarium?

Fish communities in the aquarium: Which aquarium fish do NOT go together and why? Which criteria should you follow when selecting fish? What demands do aquarium fish make on your aquarium and how high maintenance are they? We explain which fish go together and why certain fish species do not.

The selection

When selecting your aquarium stock please take the following points into account for each fish species:

Fish size

Is your aquarium large enough? Some sucker catfish (as an example) can become 30 cm long! Are the fish sizes of different species compatible or does one species regard another one as food?


Highly active fish (e.g. rainbow fish) need a lot of space and long aquariums. High-backed fish (e.g. angel fish) need high aquariums.

Way of life

Do your fish (a lot of cichlids, as an example) need hiding places? Do they need wood (as many sucker catfish)? Do they dig and need soft soil (e.g. armoured catfish, loaches)?


Are the fish territory-forming (as are many cichlids)? Do you need to keep them in pairs, in a harem or in a shoal? How well can the fish be socialised with your other fish species?


Do the fish need highly specialised food (e.g. puffer fish often eat ONLY snails)?


Are they plant-eating fish (e.g. long-whiskered cat fish, Leporinus tetras)?


Do the fish have special demands on the water quality (e.g. discus fish prefer pH values below 7.0)?

Aquarium design

Do you need to fully cover the aquarium because your fish like jumping?

The most important orders and families in freshwater aquatics

Of course, there are still more families and orders, such as armed spiny eels, Asiatic glassfishes, snakeheads, gobies etc. If you decide to keep one of these fish, please find out what demands the animals have on aquarium size, water, socialisation and food.


The cyprinids include some very popular aquarium fish, such as barbels, danionins, koi (pond fish), red-tailed black sharks, white cloud mountain minnows and also the sucking loaches.


Loaches are very active fish which are kept individually or in shoals.


The tetra group includes small peaceful representations, such as the neon tetra, as well as large carnivores like the piranha.


This order includes huge predatory catfishes, as well as small popular species, such as armoured catfish or dwarf suckers.

Rainbow fish

These magnificent and lively fish from Australia are shoal fish which need a lot of space for swimming.

Livebearing tooth carps

The most popular ornamental fish at all, such as the guppies, platties and black molly fish belong to the viviparous tooth carps.

Egg-laying tooth carps

A lot of egg-laying tooth carps have incredibly beautiful colours and don’t become large!


The cichlidae family (cichlids) include totally different types of fish: peaceful small dwarf cichlids, high-backed angel fish, high maintenance discus fish, undemanding zebra cichlids, mouth brooding forms from Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika and very large growing predators like the velvet cichlid.

Labyrinth fish

Since many labyrinth fish live in hot, low-oxygen water they have developed an additional respiratory organ, which is called labyrinth.


These must be the cutest aquarium dwellers of all!

Further species

Of course, there are still more families and orders, such as armed spiny eels, Asiatic glassfishes, snakeheads, gobies etc.

Brackish water fish

Brackish water fish live in the area between marine water and freshwater. The salinity of the water is therefore a value between that of marine water and freshwater. Although the animals tolerate both extremes (marine water/freshwater) they mostly feel more comfortable in midrange values in the long run. Some species migrate from marine water to freshwater and the other way round. Keeping aquarium plants is impossible because of the salinity. Only mangroves tolerate the required and fluctuating salt concentrations. Fish in brackish water have quite special needs and should only be kept by experienced aquarium owners.


Juveniles and middle-sized animals don’t like freshwater and need to be kept in brackish water.


Juveniles and especially adult fish require brackish water, but can also be kept in pure marine water.


Since mudskippers spend a lot of time outside of the water, a large land part with soft substrate is required.

(Many) puffer fish

Puffer fish can attain many different sizes but most species need brackish water or marine water.

Banded archerfish

Only very few banded archerfish species can be found in pure freshwater.

Four-eyed fish

Absolutely fascinating surface dwellers that can see sharply both above and below water at the same time.

A word about cookies before we continue

The JBL Homepage also uses several types of cookies to provide you with full functionality and many services: We require technical and functional cookies to ensure that everything works when you visit this website. We also use cookies for marketing purposes. This ensures that we recognise you when you visit our extensive site again, that we can measure the success of our campaigns and that the personalisation cookies allow us to address you individually and directly, adapted to your needs - even outside our website. You can determine at any time - even at a later date - which cookies you allow and which you do not allow (more on this under "Change settings").

The JBL website uses several types of cookies to provide you with full functionality and many services: Technical and functional cookies are absolutely necessary so that everything works when you visit this website. In addition, we use cookies for marketing purposes. You can determine at any time - even at a later date - which cookies you allow and which you do not (more on this under "Change settings").

Our data protection declaration tells you how we process personal data and what purposes we use the data processing for. tells you how we process personal data and what purposes we use the data processing for. Please confirm the use of all cookies by clicking "Accept" - and you're on your way.

Are you over 16 years old? Then confirm the use of all cookies with "Noticed" and you are ready to go.

Choose your cookie settings

Technical and functional cookies, so that everything works when you visit our website.
Marketing cookies, so that we recognize you on our pages and can measure the success of our campaigns.
I accept the YouTube Terms of Service and confirm that I have read and understood the YouTube Terms of Service .

PUSH messages from JBL

What are PUSH messages? As part of the W3C standard, web notifications define an API for end-user notifications that are sent to the user's desktop and/or mobile devices via the browser. Notifications appear on the end devices as they are familiar to the end user from apps installed on the device (e.g. emails). Notifications appear on the end user’s device, just like an app (e.g. for emails) installed on the device.

These notifications enable a website operator to contact its users whenever they have a browser open - it doesn’t matter whether the user is currently visiting the website or not.

To be able to send web push notifications, all you need is a website with a web push code installed. This allows brands without apps to take advantage of many of the benefits of push notifications (personalised real-time communications at just the right moment).

Web notifications are part of the W3C standard and define an API for end user notifications. A notification makes it possible to inform the user about an event, such as a new blog post, outside the context of a website.

JBL GmbH & Co. KG provides this service free of charge, and it is easy to activate or deactivate.