Some interesting facts about fish:

  • Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)Fish have been on the earth for more than 450 million years.
  • Fish were well established long before dinosaurs roamed the earth.
  • There are over 25,000 identified species of fish on the earth.
  • It is estimated that there may still be over 15,000 fish species that have not yet been identified.
  • There are more species of fish than all the species of amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals combined.
  • 40% of all fish species inhabit fresh water, yet less than .01% of the earth’s water is fresh water.
  • The spotted climbing perch is able to absorb oxygen from the air and will crawl overland using its strong pectoral fins.
  • Some fish like sharks don’t posses an air bladder to help keep them afloat and must either swim continually or rest on the bottom.
  • Some fish make sounds by grating their teeth and others like some catfish make sounds from their air filled swim bladder.
  • Amazon Catfish
  • Some species of fish can fly (glide) others can skip along the surface and others can even climb rock
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  • Fish have a specialized sense organ called the lateral line which works much like radar and helps them navigate in dark or murky water.
  • The largest fish is the great whale shark which can reach fifty feet in length.
  • The smallest fish is the Philippine goby that is less than 1/3 of an inch when fully grown.
  • Red Tailed Shark (Labeo bicolor)Some species of fish have skeletons made only of cartilage.
  • Fish have excellent senses of sight, touch, taste and many possess a good sense of smell and ‘hearing’.
  • Fish feel pain and suffer stress just like mammals and birds.
  • Tropical fish are one of the most popular pets in the U.S.
  • 95% of tropical fish mortality results from improper housing and nutrition.
  • Many tropical fish sold in the United States are harvested from the wild in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.

Coral Reef locations

References and Further Reading
Bailey, M; Burgess, P. Tropical Fishlopedia. Howell Books, New York, NY; 2000.

Burgess, P; Bailey, M; and Exell, A. A-Z of Tropical Fish. Howell, New York, NY; 1998.

Burgess, WE; Axelrod, HR; Hunziker III, RE. Dr. Burgess’s Mini Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ; 1997.

Alderton, D. The Complete Guide to Tropical Aquarium Fish Care Howell Books, New York, NY; 1998.