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10 Biggest Freshwater Fish in the World

10 Biggest Freshwater Fish in the World

The size of fish varies depending on different aspects such as location, climate, food supply, environment, and presence of fishermen. The ocean is known as the habitat of the biggest species of fish while their counterparts which live in freshwater are normally much smaller than them. But did you know that not only saltwater fish can grow big? There are also some species of fish that live in freshwater which are significantly sized. As for fish living in the ocean, fish living in freshwater need special conditions such as climate, water temperature, food supplies, and the environment. Some of the following individuals can be bred in a pond or aquarium, but this requires special equipment.

Check out our list of the ten biggest fish in the world which you can find in freshwater.

Beluga Sturgeon

The Beluga Sturgeon is the biggest freshwater fish in the world having lengths of up to 30 feet and it can weigh over 7,000 pounds. It has a needle-nose and an elongated body with a barrel-like midsection. Its face also has barbs which allow it to consume mollusks. It usually inhabits the rivers of Central Eurasia. Beluga Sturgeons are euryhaline, meaning, they can swim freely both in saltwater and freshwater. Their eggs are the rarest and the most expensive caviar. However, it is endangered that’s why beluga sturgeon caviar is illegal in the United States.

White Sturgeon

This is another big fish from the sturgeon species. It is the biggest freshwater fish in America which can grow up to 20 feet in length and can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. Like the beluga, it can also swim in both salt and fresh water. White Sturgeons can be found in the Western United States and Canada. Sadly, their existence may soon end because there are only about 500 of them left.

Giant Freshwater Stingray

Giant freshwater stingrays are usually found at the bottom of rivers in Thailand, Malaysia, and Borneo. They can reach 15 feet long and they can weigh up to 1,300 pounds. Some of the natives claim that they see an even bigger specimen of this fish. This fish also has a giant venomous barb which can penetrate your skin and they are not hesitant to use it when needed. However, due to overfishing and habitat degradation, they are also endangered.

Mekong Giant Catfish

Catfish has a lot of species, but the Mekong giant catfish is the biggest. It can grow up to 10 feet long and can weigh up to 600 pounds. It is known to be tasty that’s why it has been overfished and they are now endangered.

Alligator Gar

This fish may resemble an alligator which can make you look twice at it, but it certainly is a fish. It has a long snout and two rows of fang-like teeth which makes it look scary. However, there are no records of it attacking a human so there’s no need to worry. This fish can also live out of the water for up to two hours.


This big fish is found in the Amazon River basin of South America. They can grow up to 8 feet in length and it can weigh over 300 pounds. Having limited oxygen in their habitat is not a problem for Arapaima fish because they are air breathers, meaning, they go up the water surface every 10 to 20 minutes to breathe air.

Paddle Fish

Paddlefish got their name from the shape of their snouts which look like paddles. This snout is called the rostrum. Like sharks, it’s there as electromagnetic guidance. Paddlefish can grow up to 5 feet long and can weigh over 60 pounds. There used to be lots of this fish in US streams and lakes before overfishing happened.

The Nile Perch

The Nile Perch can grow up to 6 feet long and can weigh up to 500 pounds. It is native to many areas in Northern Africa. They are aggressive hunters and considered one of the most invasive species. Having this characteristic, they are not in a threat to be endangered.


Taimen is also known as the Siberian Salmon. It is mostly found in Mongolia and Russia. It can grow to over 6 feet and can weigh over 200 pounds. Taimen are also capable of gulping down birds and rodents. This is another species of fish that are endangered.


This fish species is native to Europe and Asia but is also introduced to the US. The world’s biggest carp weighs 260 pounds and was caught by a Thai fisherman. Most of the breeders treat them as ornamental fish. However, some fishermen don’t like them because they sit on the bottom of the water and eat fish eggs before the fry is born. Meaning, they kill a lot of fish.

These numbers and fish species make it somehow scary to swim in lakes, rivers, and streams, don’t they? These are just some of the many more species you can discover underwater.

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