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9 Types of Freshwater Aquarium Catfish Species

Are you looking for the catfish but don’t know what type of catfish you should introduce to your aquarium? Then you are at the right place. We are providing you with details about the types of freshwater aquarium catfish to introduce to your tank. Before that, it is necessary to know a little bit about freshwater catfish.


What is freshwater catfish?

Aquarium catfish is one of the most popular fish that can be found in fish tanks. They are known because of their variety of colors. Moreover. They make your aquarium unique. These fish enjoy moving here and there in the tank.

They are very peaceful and can work well with smaller fish. Your aquarium catfish can get along with most herbivorous fish and shrimp. They will eat algae from the glass and plants in your tank, keeping them clean. They will also consume dead leaves and waste.

There is various type of freshwater catfish for your aquarium. Every creature has its specialties and characteristics.

Note: All the catfish have one thing in common that they have no scales but comprising of armor-like plating.


9 best catfish for your aquarium

1. Corydoras Catfish

  • Lifespan: 4 - 5 years
  • Adult size: 2.5 - 2.9 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 10 - 12 gallons
  • Water temperature: 72 - 79°F
  • pH: 5.8 - 6.9

Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras Catfish is a species of fish from South America. They are commonly known as Cory Cats and are of the family Callichthyidae, along with more than 350 other members.

Corys are generally easy to care for and make excellent residents for any community tank. Like all fish, they need good water quality with regular partial water changes as part of their care.

Coppery colors dominate their coloration and they can change their colors in response to mood and temperature. The smallest species tend to be those with the most intense colors. They can survive in stagnant water conditions because they take gulps of air from the water surface.


2. Synodontis Catfish

  • Lifespan: 8 - 10 years
  • Adult size: 10 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 50 gallons
  • Water temperature: 75 - 82°F
  • pH: 6.5 - 8.0

Synodontis Catfish

Synodontis is a genus of medium-sized to large freshwater catfish native to Africa. The type species for this genus is Synodontis niloticus. They are quite peaceful species and add more beauty to the tank.

Most species are fairly similar in appearance, medium-sized, and gray, brown or silvery in color with a pattern of darker markings on the flanks. These fish are commonly known as squeakers because they make a noise with their bones present in their pectoral fins (In case threatening and frightening). Except for worms, this fish would like to eat tablets, frozen meaty foods, pellets, flakes, and live food.


3. Plecostomus

  • Lifespan: 10 - 15 years
  • Adult size: 5 inches
  • Diet: Herbivores
  • Minimum tank size: 40 gallons
  • Water temperature: 72 - 86°F
  • pH: 6.0 - 7.0


Plecostomus or Pleco is a type of fish that can be found in the rivers of South America. It is called Pleco popularly by the people living there. This fish is also known as plecostomus catfish, pleco catfish and an algae eater. The scientific name of this fish is Hypostomus plecostomus.

This fish is very commonly used for fish tanks and aquariums by many aqua enthusiasts. It is believed to be one of the largest and most common species of fish pet in the world.

The aquarium fish collectors have realized that these species are attractive for their beautiful colors and shapes and up to now more than 80 species have been described.


4. Pictus Catfish

  • Lifespan: 8 - 10 years
  • Adult size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 55 gallons
  • Water temperature: 71 - 79°F
  • pH: 6.5 - 7.2

Pictus Catfish

Pictus Catfish are one of the most beautiful kinds of catfish in the world. With a very unusual color appearance, this fish have a name that means "painted catfish" in Latin. Pictus catfish are one of the few fish that can breathe air. The natural habitat of these fish is in freshwater lakes and large rivers. These types of catfish have a sensitive nature and produce a lot of waste because of their scaleless fins.

So, if provided with an unhealthy environment, their mobility will be compromised. This type of fish can be fed easily, and they enjoy eating live foods, frozen foods, tablet foods, flake, frozen bloodworms and daphnia.


5. Otocinclus Catfish

  • Lifespan: 3 - 5 years
  • Adult size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 55 gallons
  • Water temperature: 71 - 79°F
  • pH: 6.5 - 7.2

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish are small catfish that are great for the community aquarium. These fish belong to a group of catfish commonly referred to as 'otos' for short. The Otocinclus Catfish have a long, snake-like body and darts around quickly in the water column. They have no arms, but they do possess two small pectoral fins and a rounded caudal fin.

As juveniles, they have numerous small, finger-like projections located on the head and back that eventually fall off as they mature into adults. When they are born, they usually have a dark stripe running horizontally across their body, but this stripe may disappear by adulthood.

The Otocinclus Catfish is an ideal choice for a community aquarium whether it is used as a dither fish. They are peaceful fish that get along well with most other species if they are added to the aquarium at the same time. Otocinclus Catfish also get along well with most tank mates if there are enough hiding spaces provided for them to use.


6. Bumblebee Catfish

  • Lifespan: 4 - 5 years
  • Adult size: 3 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Water temperature: From 70 - 77°F
  • pH: 6.5 - 7.5

Bumblebee Catfish

The catfish is a ray-finned fish with prominent barbells on its upper lip. The mouth is adapted to suck in prey, and the two dorsal fins are long and spinous. The base of the spinous part of the dorsal fin is located far forward on the body. These Catfish have no scales and have prominent, sharp spines on the anterior edges of their pectoral fins, tail fin and gill covers.

It is an omnivore and feeds on crustaceans, sea worms, polychaetes and small fish. It absorbs food in its intestines which are attached to the bottom of its throat preventing it from regurgitating food when it swims. The Bumblebee Catfish is poor table fare.


7. Asian Stone Catfish

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Adult size: 1 inch
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Water temperature: 72 - 78°F
  • pH: 6.0 - 7.2

Asian Stone Catfish

These types of catfish are inactive and have a relatively small size which can fit in tanks of small sizes. They usually eat at night and during the day, they hide in the tank. Make sure that your tank has plenty of hiding space. Asian stone catfish like crowdy plants with low light and sand stones.


8. Glass Catfish

  • Lifespan: 7 - 8 years
  • Adult size: 4 inches
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons
  • Water temperature: 72 - 82°F
  • pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Glass Catfish

These are also called Bubble Eye Goldfish and they have distinctive features that are distinguishable from all other fish. You will find many people keep these fish as a pet in their small aquariums and ponds. They are one of the most common ornamental fish.

The body color of your glass catfish is translucent and leaves greenish marks on the body if you observe it. The eyes of the glass catfish are eye-catching and give different look to the whole body of this fish.

Its mouth will also become greenish when you keep them under green light. You will find a twin type of air bladder in its body and this air bladder is not found in any other aquarium fish like goldfish or Sarasa fish etc. The diet of Glass catfish mainly consists of small fish, shrimp, crustaceans, caddisflies and even snails.


9. Twig Catfish

  • Lifespan: 10 - 12 years
  • Adult size: 9 inches
  • Diet: Mainly herbivores
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Water temperature: 75 - 79°F
  • pH: 6.0 - 7.0

Twig Catfish

Twig Catfish is a small fish found in the freshwater of North America. It is one of the catfishes belonging to the family Ictaluridae, these fish have a different appearance and can easily be distinguished from others. Most of them are greenish-brown and have rather slender bodies. Twig catfish have a series of small barbels on the throat and upper jaw.

A small mouth on the side of the head and their shape make it difficult for them to swallow their prey. Though they tend to the frequent bottom area most of the time, they are capable of swimming in mid-water regions as well.



In the above article, we have provided you with the list of top freshwater catfish for aquariums that you can introduce with little care. We also provide you with the other details as well like their life span, appearance, and water parameters. This will be helpful for the aquarists to take proper care measures before adding them to the tank. We hope that you have liked our article and don’t forget to share it within your aquarist’s community.