31 Best Top-Dwelling Fish for Your Aquarium

Best top dwelling fish for aquarium

Top-dwelling fish are known for their bright colors and interesting behaviors, making them a highlight in aquariums. They spend most of their time near the water’s surface, which creates a lively and interactive display.

“Top-dwelling” means these fish prefer staying in the upper parts of the water, where they can find food and breathe air easily. This isn’t just a preference; it’s an important adaptation that helps them survive.

In this article, we will discover 31 top-dwelling fish, each with its own special qualities and care needs. From playful Danios to elegant Hatchetfish, we’ll explore the vibrant life just below the water’s surface. Let’s begin!

31 Best Top-Dwelling Fish Species

1. Zebra Danio

Top dwelling Zebra Danio
Scientific Name:Danio rerio
Adult Size:Approximately 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Zebra Danio is a delightful top-dwelling fish that brings both energy and beauty to any aquarium. 

Recognizable by their striking horizontal stripes, these small, lively fish are top feeders, often seen darting just below the water’s surface to snatch up their meals. 

Native to South Asia, Zebra Danios are admired for their hardiness and adaptability, making them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. 

They thrive in a variety of water conditions, but a well-aerated tank and a stable temperature between 65°F and 77°F is optimal for them.

As social creatures by nature, they prefer to be in schools of at least six and are generally peaceful. Keep in mind, though, that their active swimming can sometimes startle more timid fish. 

Zebra Danios are also known for their fascinating breeding behavior, where females scatter eggs that hatch in just two days.

2. Black Neon Tetra

Black Neon Tetra
Scientific Name:Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
Adult Size:Approximately 1.5 inches 
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Black Neon Tetra, with its iridescent blue-green stripe contrasted against a dark, almost black body, is a truly enchanting sight in aquariums. 

These top-dwelling freshwater fish are not only admired for their beauty but also for their peaceful temperament. Feeding off high-quality flake food or small invertebrates, these fish lurk near the surface.

In terms of origin, these fish come from the Paraguay basin of Brazil, where they thrive in slightly acidic water and temperatures ranging from 68 to 82°F

When housed in a well-planted tank with ample swimming space, they truly shine with their colors, which provide a beautiful contrast against lush greenery.

Their ease of care, serene nature, and striking appearance make Black Neon Tetras a wonderful choice for adding a dash of color and activity to the upper levels of your fish tank.

3. Celebes Halfbeak

Celebes Halfbeak
Scientific Name:Nomorhamphus liemi
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

Embarking on a journey to the waters of Sulawesi, Indonesia, we encounter the intriguing Celebes Halfbeak. These top-dwellers captivate with their elongated jaw and vibrant colors, giving it a unique appearance.

Notably, female halfbeaks boast striking red stripes on their fins, while males take on a blend of vibrant colors. 

As top-feeding fish, they predominantly linger near the water’s surface, where they can easily access their diet of small insects and invertebrates.

Interestingly, these fish are known to be jumpers and can accidentally escape an uncovered fish tank. Hence, a tank with a tight-fitting lid is a must-have should you decide to add this fish to your tank.

Moreover, a habitat with calm waters and a pH level of 7.0 to 8.0 is best for these fish. Their peculiar appearance and gentle demeanor will surely add an exotic and peaceful presence to your tank.

4. Brown Pencilfish

Brown Pencilfish
Scientific Name:Nannostomus eques
Adult Size:Up to 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

Meet the Pencilfish, particularly the Brown Pencilfish or Diptail Pencilfish, another slender and elongated top-dwelling freshwater fish. 

Originating from the serene waters of the Amazon Basin, these fish are known for swimming with a slight upward tilt.

Other than this unique trait, Pencilfish are also known for their nocturnal behavior. These fish become most active as the lights dim, making them an excellent addition to your aquarium’s nightlife.

With a preference for soft, slightly acidic water and a peaceful temperament, they coexist harmoniously with other non-aggressive species. 

Their diet consists of small live or frozen foods and is best served near the surface, which aligns with their top-feeding nature. 

Additionally, it is best to provide them with a dimly lit tank and floating plants that mimic their natural habitat.

Watch this video to witness the unique swimming behavior of these top-feeding fish:

Nannostomus eques AKA the Brown or Diptail Pencilfish

5. Striped Panchax

Striped Panchax
Scientific Name:Aplocheilus lineatus
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

Next up on our list is the Striped Panchax, a vibrant little fish sporting a proud and colorful pattern. 

Hailing from the freshwater habitats of India and Sri Lanka, these top-dwelling fish embody dynamic movement and vivid colors. 

The males, in particular, showcase a vibrant palette with their bold stripes and colorful fins. This is especially noticeable during spawning seasons when their colors intensify to attract mates. 

Striped Panchax are opportunistic top feeders, eagerly consuming a variety of foods from insects to small aquatic creatures. These fish are also known to eat any debris that falls into their aquarium.

That said, a secure lid is recommended to avoid unwanted ingestion of foreign bodies. Also, a lid will help keep these agile jumpers safe within your fish tank. 

6. Forktail Blue-eye

Forktail Blue eye
Scientific Name:Pseudomugil furcatus
Adult Size:Up to 1.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Forktail Blue-eye, with its shimmering, iridescent blue eyes and delicate, forked tail, is a true beauty in the aquarium trade.

Native to Papua New Guinea and Australia, these top-dwelling fish are not only admired for their stunning appearance but also for their peaceful demeanor. 

In terms of water conditions, Forktail Blue-eyes thrive best in slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. These fish also appreciate well-planted tanks where they can explore and frolic among the foliage.

As top-feeding fish, they enjoy a diet of small invertebrates and high-quality flake foods.

Interestingly, Forktail Blue-eye are known for their fascinating breeding behavior, where males engage in spirited displays, showcasing their vibrant colors and dynamic fin movements to attract females. 

With appropriate care, these top-swimming fish can be a dazzling highlight in your aquarium, bringing a piece of serene waters into your living space.

7. Betta Fish

Betta Fish
Scientific Name:Betta splendens
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 5 gallons 

The Betta Fish, one of the most recognized aquarium fish, captivates with its vibrant colors, flowing fins, and bold personality. 

Originating from the tranquil rice paddies of Thailand, these top-dwelling freshwater fish have adapted to breathe air directly. This is thanks to their labyrinth organ that allows them to thrive even in low-oxygen environments. 

An interesting trait of these fish is their spirited personality, often displaying curiosity and recognition towards their human caregivers. 

As top feeders, they readily accept a variety of diets, from specially formulated Betta pellets to frozen and live foods. 

When it comes to living conditions, these fish thrive in an environment enriched with plants and hiding spots.

With mindful care and an understanding of their spirited personalities, any fishkeeper will find the Betta Fish a worthwhile addition to their tanks. 

Pro Tip: To ensure that your Betta fish stays healthy and happy, maintain their tank temperature at their thriving range of 78 to 80°F (25 to 27°C).

8. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra
Scientific Name:Paracheirodon innesi
Adult Size:Up to 1.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

Neon Tetras are small, bright fish that light up aquariums with their blue and red stripes. They like to swim in groups near the surface, making them a great choice for aquarists looking for top-dwelling fish. 

These peaceful fish eat small invertebrates and commercial fish food, making their maintenance and food requirements easy to meet. 

When it comes to their habitat, they prefer dark substrates and lots of plants and hiding spots in the tank. 

An interesting trait of these top-feeding fish is their ability to fade their bright colors when in danger. This helps them become less noticeable to predators.

However, this isn’t merely a simple color fade but a complex process involving their iridophores — reflective cells in their skin. 

A study I came across years ago looks into this, revealing how their iridescent stripe transitions from green to violet-blue from day to night due to light impacting the iridophores. 

In fact, this captivating color transformation was what nudged me into finally adding Neon Tetras into my home aquarium, where they double as study subjects and vibrant displays.

9. Guppy

Top dwelling Guppy
Scientific Name:Poecilia reticulata
Adult Size:Up to 2.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 5 gallons

Next up on our list is the popular Guppy. This fish, known for its vivid colors and varied tail shapes, stands out as one of the easiest surface-dwellers to manage.

Guppies help keep the tank clean by eating algae. They are also special because they are livebearers, meaning they don’t lay eggs; instead, they give birth to baby fish that can swim immediately.

Moreover, these top feeder fish are undemanding in terms of diet, readily accepting an array of food options from flakes to live prey. 

Another interesting thing about guppies is that males make use of their captivating tails in a mesmerizing display to allure females. 

Engaging in a distinctive courtship, they execute a specific “dance,” which involves a rapid body shake and a flamboyant flare of their colorful tails. 

This behavior is not only common but also one of the telltale elements of their reproductive strategy.

10. Harlequin Rasbora

Top dwelling Harlequin Rasbora
Scientific Name:Trigonostigma heteromorpha
Adult Size:Up to 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Harlequin Rasbora is a delightful top-dwelling fish that brings a splash of color and activity to any fish tank. With their signature orange hue and distinct black patch towards the tail, they easily catch the eye. 

These top-feeding fish are known for their peaceful temperament. This makes them excellent additions to a community tank. 

In terms of environment, they thrive in slightly acidic water and appreciate a well-planted environment, which mimics their natural Southeast Asian habitats. 

Harlequin Rasboras are among the best schooling fish, so it’s recommended to keep them in groups of at least six to ensure they feel secure and exhibit their natural behaviors. 

Their diet typically consists of small insects and larvae, but they will readily accept high-quality flake food as well. 

11. Cherry Barb

Top dwelling Cherry Barb
Scientific Name:Puntius titteya
Adult Size:Up to 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 25 gallons

Another favorite top-dwelling fish is the Cherry Barb, a bright red fish originating from Sri Lanka. This fish species is known for being calm and friendly with other fish. 

Moreover, they are fond of exploring different aquarium depths, but you’ll often find them hanging out at the top, especially during feeding time. 

Cherry Barbs are not picky eaters — they’ll enjoy flakes, pellets, and even live food. When setting up their tank, it is recommended to include some plants and open spaces for them to swim and hide. 

To keep things peaceful, it is recommended to keep an equal number of male and female Cherry Barbs, especially during mating season. 

All in all, these top-feeding fish are a favorite for many. They are loved for their bold color and easy care. Just give them a stable home and a varied diet, and they’ll stay happy and active in your tank.

12. Swordtail

Scientific Name:Xiphophorus hellerii
Adult Size:Up to 4 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 15 gallons

The Swordtail is an easily recognizable surface-dwelling fish thanks to its elongated, sword-like tail fins. This glaring feature is particularly evident in male swordfish.

As top-feeding fish, they are often seen gracefully gliding just below the water’s surface, where they scout for food. They are omnivorous and will appreciate a varied diet of flakes, live, and vegetable-based foods.

Temperament-wise, these fish are generally easy-going and adaptive. However, providing them with a spacious tank and a few hiding spots is still a must. 

Similar to other top-dwelling fish in this list, like guppies, swordtails are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young. This phenomenon is one of the highlights of owning this type of fish.

A well-maintained aquarium with stable water parameters and a balanced diet will ensure that these elegant top-swimming fish remain healthy and vibrant. 

13. Ember Tetra

Top dwelling Ember Tetra
Scientific Name:Hyphessobrycon amandae
Adult Size:Up to 1 inch
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

A dash of fiery orange darting through the water often catches the eye when observing a school of Ember Tetras, a species known scientifically as Hyphessobrycon amandae.

These small, top-dwelling freshwater fish, originating from Brazil’s Araguaia River basin, charm with their vibrant coloration and peaceful demeanor. 

They find comfort in dimly lit, tranquil environments, where their social and schooling behaviors are observed. 

When it comes to their living requirements, these fish require a stable, slightly acidic water environment to preserve their health and maintain their brilliant hues.

Their affordability and serene temperament make them a beloved choice for community tanks. Additionally, these fish are also known to get along with other friendly fish species.

14. Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio
Scientific Name:Celestichthys margaritatus
Adult Size:Up to 1 inch
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Celestial Pearl Danio presents a subtle yet captivating visual appeal with its pearl-like spots and contrasting orange fins. 

Originating from secluded ponds in Myanmar, this species was introduced to the aquatic community in 2006, subsequently gaining attention in the aquarium hobby. 

Despite their modest size, Celestial Pearl Danios are active fish, predominantly occupying the upper regions of fish tanks. 

As top-feeding fish, they sustain themselves on a diet of small insects and zooplankton. However, they can also thrive off of high-quality pellets.

Male individuals of this species exhibit territorial behaviors, establishing and defending specific regions within the tank. 

Ensuring a cool, adequately planted environment is crucial for supporting their natural behaviors and maintaining their well-being. 

All in all, Celestial Pearl Danios not only enhances the aesthetic of an aquarium but also introduces a dynamic, albeit subtle, interaction within the tank.

15. Silver Hatchetfish

Silver Hatchetfish
Scientific Name:Gasteropelecus sternicla
Adult Size:Up to 2.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Silver Hatchetfish is a spectacle in the aquatic world, sporting a body shaped remarkably like a hatchet. 

Originating from the calm waters of South America, these unique fish have silver bodies and notably large, wing-like pectoral fins, which enable them to glide near the surface of the water.

These fish are top dwellers and feeders, often seen snapping at insects on the water’s surface. This trait makes them a natural pest control in an aquarium setting. 

In terms of habitat, a well-planted tank with numerous hiding spots is ideal for them, as it mimics their natural environment and provides refuge. 

On the other hand, temperament-wise, Silver Hatchetfish are somewhat shy in nature. These fish are often easily startled by their owners or other aquatic neighbors. 

However, when in a school, Silver Hatchetfish are more confident and active, showcasing an added layer of activity and interest in the aquarium.

16. Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish
Scientific Name:Epiplatys annulatus
Adult Size:Up to 1.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Clown Killifish is another well-loved top-dwelling fish in this list. Renowned for its vibrant colors and playful demeanor, this fish hails from the slow-moving waters of West Africa.

These petite fish, measuring only up to 1.5 inches, showcase spectacular palettes of blue, red, and yellow, with distinctive bands adorning their body. 

Often regarded as peaceful tank inhabitants, Clown Killifish coexist harmoniously with other non-aggressive fish, making them a delightful addition to community aquariums. 

Thriving in slightly acidic to neutral water conditions, they prefer a well-planted environment that mimics their natural habitat. 

In terms of lifespan, these fish can live up to 3 years, with others even reaching five.

If you decide to add these top feeders to your aquarium, take note that they primarily consume insects. They also favor a diet rich in live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia. 

Overall, their relatively affordable price and low-maintenance care requirements make them a favored choice among aquarists.

17. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Top dwelling White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Scientific Name:Tanichthys albonubes
Adult Size:Up to 1.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a top-dweller that comes from the cool streams of China’s White Cloud Mountains. 

Characterized by their slender body, adorned with radiant red fins and striking lateral stripes, these fish are a visual delight in any aquarium. 

Typically reaching a size of up to 1.5 inches, they are not only modest in size but also in their care needs, requiring a temperature range of 64 to 72°F. 

Known for their peaceful temperament, these top-dwelling fish are compatible with various species. 

Their diet consists of small invertebrates and plant matter in the wild. These can be replicated with high-quality flake food and occasional live treats in captivity. 

With a lifespan extending up to 5 years, these fish are a long-term, vibrant addition to the top water layer of tanks. Despite their exotic appearance, they are surprisingly affordable and readily available.

18. African Butterfly Fish

African Butterfly Fish
Scientific Name:Pantodon buchholzi
Adult Size:Up to 4 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 30 gallons
Temperature:73°F – 86°F
pH:6.0 – 7.5
Price:$6 – $15

Journey through the water surfaces of Central and West Africa, and you’ll encounter the African Butterfly Fish. 

These top-dwelling freshwater fish are celebrated for their peculiar, butterfly-like pectoral fins, which they skillfully use to glide across water surfaces. 

Appearance-wise, these fish reach up to 5 inches and exhibit a brownish color, complemented by an intricate pattern that provides camouflage among floating vegetation. 

When it comes to diet, they are carnivorous top feeders, preying on insects and smaller fish. Because of this, they require a protein-rich diet in captivity. 

Furthermore, they demand a specific environment, particularly warm, slightly acidic water. Additionally, they need a secure lid due to their impressive jumping abilities. 

Living up to 5 years, these fish not only captivate with their unique appearance but also with their fascinating surface-skimming behavior. 

In terms of compatibility with other fish, African Butterfly Fish coexist peacefully with non-aggressive, similarly-sized fish.

19. Wrestling Halfbeak

Wrestling Halfbeak
Scientific Name:Dermogenys pusilla
Adult Size:Up to 3.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Wrestling Halfbeak is a fascinating top-dwelling fish. They are renowned for their peculiar, beak-like jaw and agile movements through the water. 

Hailing from Southeast Asia, these fish are not only admired for their unique physical attributes but also for their captivating behavior. This is especially true during mating season, when males often “wrestle” with each other. 

Typically, they exhibit a slender body that stretches up to 3 inches in length, adorned with subtle yet charming coloration that blends seamlessly with aquatic vegetation. 

Thriving best in peaceful fish tanks, Wrestling Halfbeaks prefer calm waters with plenty of surface plants to mimic their natural habitat. 

Their diet mainly consists of insects and other small invertebrates. This makes them effective at controlling unwanted pests in your tank. 

With a lifespan of up to 3 years, these fish are relatively easy to care for, and their peaceful demeanor makes them compatible with various other non-aggressive species.

Watch this video to witness the courtship battle that takes place with these top-dwelling fish:

Wrestling Halfbeak Fish... Fighting! (Surprise ending)

20. Orange Hatchet Danio

Orange Hatchet Danio
Scientific Name:Danio kyathit
Adult Size:Up to 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

Meet the Orange Hatchet Danio, a surface-dwelling freshwater fish that brings a burst of color and activity to any aquarium. 

With their bold orange stripes and hatchet-shaped body, these fish are eye-catching and are often a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. 

These danios are relatively small, reaching only up to 2 inches in length, and are known to be quite affordable. This makes them easily accessible to aquarists.

Native to Myanmar, these energetic swimmers are known for their playful nature and are often seen darting across the water surface. 

When it comes to temperament, Orange Hatchet Danios coexist harmoniously with other peaceful fish. They enjoy a lifespan of up to 5 years, adding a long-lasting vibrancy to any fish tank. 

Furthermore, these top feeders are omnivorous. They enjoy a varied diet of plant-based and meaty foods, including high-quality flakes and small live critters.

21. Honey Gourami 

Honey Gourami
Scientific Name:Trichogaster chuna
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Honey Gourami is a delightful top-dwelling fish and is often celebrated among fish enthusiasts for its demeanor and looks. 

These top-feeding fish are adorned with a warm, honey-colored hue, which can intensify into a rich, golden orange during breeding seasons. This color change is particularly seen in males. 

Size-wise, these fish can reach a modest 3 inches. Meanwhile, when it comes to temperament, they are admired for their tranquil nature as well as their compatibility with other peaceful aquarium inhabitants. 

They prefer a well-planted aquarium where they can explore and find shelter, and they thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water conditions. Their diet is quite varied, ranging from flakes and pellets to live and frozen food.

An interesting fact about them is their ability to breathe air directly, thanks to a specialized structure called the labyrinth organ. 

22. Bartlett’s Anthias

Bartletts Anthias
Scientific Name:Pseudanthias bartlettorum
Adult Size:Up to 4 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 70 gallons

Next up on our list is the Bartlett’s Anthias, a top-dweller that captivates aquarists with its striking pink and yellow hues. 

Originating from the Pacific Ocean, these fish are renowned for their peaceful demeanor and compatibility with various marine creatures. This makes them a great option for most community aquariums. 

Bartlett’s Anthias, while being relatively small in size, often come with a relatively high price tag, ranging from $20 to $40. 

These small, pricey fish are best known for their top-feeding habits and are often seen darting around the upper level of a fish tank.

Typically, they flourish in well-lit environments with plenty of hiding spots to mimic their natural coral reef habitats. 

While they might be slightly pricier than other aquarium fish due to their exquisite color, the splash of color they add to a fish tank is truly unmatched. 

23. Lyretail Anthias

Lyretail Anthias
Scientific Name:Pseudanthias squamipinnis
Adult Size:Up to 5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 125 gallons

The Lyretail Anthias is a top-dwelling freshwater fish and a true eye-catcher with its brilliant orange and purple gradients. These fish are not only admired for their beauty but also for their fascinating social structures. 

In their intriguing matriarchal societies, when a dominant male perishes, a prominent female undergoes a remarkable transformation — it changes sex to become the new male. This ensures the continuity of their social group.

Lyretail Anthias prefer habitats with plenty of rockwork and caves, replicating their natural reef environments and ensuring they have ample spaces to explore and hide. 

Despite their delicate appearance, they are notably hardy and can adapt to various water conditions. This makes them relatively easy to care for. 

Further, these top-feeding fish usually consume zooplankton and require a diet rich in high-quality proteins. 

With a lifespan extending up to 5 years, they are sure to bring a long-lasting, dynamic display to the upper levels of your tank. 

24. Green Chromis

Top dwelling Green Chromis
Scientific Name:Chromis viridis
Adult Size:Up to 3.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 30 gallons

Meet the Green Chromis, a surface-dwelling fish known for its serene, pale green coloration and schooling behavior. These fish are known for their eye-catching, synchronized displays in fish tanks. 

Native to the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, these fish are a favorite among aquarists for their peaceful nature and compatibility with a variety of tank mates. 

Green Chromis are relatively affordable and readily available, making them an accessible choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers. 

Thriving in a stable environment with plenty of open swimming space, these top-feeding fish are known to exhibit fascinating social behaviors when in groups. 

In terms of dietary needs, these fish consume a diet of plankton in the wild. However, in an aquarium setting, they readily accept a variety of foods. 

Overall, their ease of care, peaceful demeanor, and captivating schooling displays make them a cherished addition to any fish tank.

25. Lubbock Fairy Wrasse

Lubbock Fairy Wrasse
Scientific Name:Cirrhilabrus lubbocki
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 50 gallons

In search of the best top-dwelling fish, one would not miss the Lubbock Fairy Wrasse — a fish known for its coloration and dynamic personality. 

Native to the Indo-Pacific region, these fish are a visual delight with their myriad of colors, including pink, yellow, blue, and green. Aside from their beauty, Lubbock Fairy Wrasse are also admired for their peaceful demeanor. 

Interestingly, this species of fish is known to “sleep” in a mucous cocoon — a behavior observed in various wrasse species — to protect itself from parasites during the night.

When I first learned about this behavior, I was fascinated by how this peculiar defense strategy unfolds at night. 

It’s not common to observe such a unique defense mechanism, especially among smaller species in the aquatic world.

A study in 2010 referred to these mucous cocoons as ‘the mosquito nets’ of the sea. In the study, scientists tested whether these cocoons protect the fish from tiny parasitic creatures called gnathiid isopods, which are often likened to mosquitoes due to their blood-feeding habits.

26. McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse

McCoskers Flasher Wrasse
Scientific Name:Paracheilinus mccoskeri
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 55 gallons

Meet the McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse, a freshwater fish that loves to stay near the water’s surface. They are sure to capture your attention with their display of colors and patterns. 

Originating from the waters of the Western Pacific, these top feeder fish are known for their vibrant red, blue, and yellow hues. These colors are especially noticeable in males during mating season.

Size-wise, they generally grow to a maximum size of about 3 inches. This makes them suitable for various aquarium sizes. Their diet primarily consists of zooplankton, which are known to be quite active during the day.

When it comes to living conditions, they prefer a tank with plenty of open swimming space along with a few rocky areas to explore and hide. 

McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse is relatively easy to care for, cohabiting well with other peaceful fish and living up to five years.

27. Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse

Carpenters Flasher Wrasse
Scientific Name:Paracheilinus carpenteri
Adult Size:Up to 3 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 55 gallons

The Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse is a top-dwelling fish on this list that is sure to bring bursts of color to any aquarium. 

Native to the Western Pacific Ocean, these top-feeding fish are noted for their vibrant shades of pink, yellow, orange, and blue. They are also known for their modest size — growing to around 3 inches.

In terms of temperament, Carpenter’s Flasher Wrasse are praised for their peaceful and social nature. This makes them a top choice to add to any community tank. 

Should you decide to add this top-dwelling fish to your tank, ensure to provide at least 55 gallons of swimming space with rocky crevices to explore and hide. 

When it comes to their diet, these fish thrive best when given small, meaty foods like mysis shrimp and finely chopped seafood.

One intriguing trait of this species is the “flashing” display exhibited by males to woo females. This involved rapidly changing their color.

28. Giant Danio

Giant Danio
Scientific Name:Devario aequipinnatus
Adult Size:Up to 6 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 30 gallons

The Giant Danio, with its vibrant, shimmering colors and energetic swimming patterns, is another surface-dweller to consider. 

Hailing from the fast-flowing streams of India, these freshwater fish are known for their playful nature and impressive speed, often observed zipping across the water’s surface. 

Size-wise, these danios usually reach an average of 4 inches in length. But what makes them particularly captivating is their striking blend of yellow and blue stripes and spots.

It’s best to keep them in a well-aerated tank with ample swimming space and feed them a diet that is rich in both plant and animal matter. This way, they can get a taste of their natural habitat in your tank.

Giant Danio get along well with other non-aggressive species and are praised for their peaceful nature. Additionally, they are often used as “dither fish,” helping to draw shy fish out into the open.

29. Black-winged Hatchetfish

Black winged Hatchetfish
Image credit: apistogram / Instagram
Scientific Name:Carnegiella marthae
Adult Size:Up to 1.5 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Black-winged Hatchetfish is another fascinating fish that loves swimming near the surface. They are recognized for their odd-looking, hatchet-like shape.

Native to the calm, blackwater habitats of Venezuela, they exhibit a unique ability to leap out of the water to snatch insects, thanks to their large pectoral muscles. 

These small fish, growing only to around 1.5 inches, showcase a unique look with their translucent bodies and delicate black markings on their fins. 

While they are peaceful and can coexist with various species, it’s still recommended to keep them with non-predatory tankmates.

Black-winged Hatchetfish prefer a dimly lit aquarium, similar to their natural environment. Moreover, a tight-fitting lid is crucial to prevent them from escaping during their impressive leaps. 

Their diet mainly consists of insects and fish pellets. Offering a lifespan of up to 5 years, these fish bring a long-lasting slice of the exotic to any fish tank.

30. Pygmy Hatchetfish

Pygmy Hatchetfish
Image credit: shibai_non / Instagram
Scientific Name:Carnegiella myersi
Adult Size:Up to 1 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 20 gallons

The Pygmy Hatchetfish is another hatchetfish on our list. Distinct from other hatchetfish, the Pygmy, as its name suggests, is smaller and tends to exhibit a more reserved behavior.

These tiny fish often just reach an inch in size. They bring a gentle and serene presence to any aquarium.

While other hatchetfish might display a broader range of colors and patterns, the Pygmy Hatchetfish offers a simple yet captivating look with its sleek, silver body and distinctive dark stripe.

These top-dwelling fish are also known for their peaceful demeanor and compatibility with other gentle species. This makes them a safe choice for most community tanks. 

In terms of living conditions, they require a well-covered aquarium to prevent unexpected escapes — a similar case to their black-winged cousins.

With a diet primarily consisting of small insects and fish pellets, these top-feeding fish are relatively easy to care for. 

31. Japanese Ricefish

Japanese Ricefish
Scientific Name:Oryzias latipes
Adult Size:Up to 2 inches
Tank Size:Minimum of 10 gallons

The Japanese Ricefish, also known as medaka, is a charming and resilient top-dwelling fish that comes from East Asia. 

Their transparent to pale-colored bodies, often with subtle orange or yellow hues, are a spectacle to watch in the water. 

Size-wise, these fish are relatively small, usually measuring between 1.5 and 2 inches, and are known for their hardiness and adaptability to various water conditions. 

Japanese Ricefish are omnivorous, happily feeding on a variety of foods, from small invertebrates to plant matter. 

Moreover, they are sociable creatures, preferring to swim in schools, and generally get along well with other peaceful tankmates. 

Notably, they were the first vertebrates to breed in outer space, showcasing their incredible adaptability.

Interestingly, these fish have become very popular in Japan, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people enjoy them as easy-to-care-for pets. 

Their bright colors and the fun of breeding them have made them a big hit in home aquariums. Some special types even sell for over $3,000 each.

Will you be adding any of these fish to your tank soon? Let us know your thoughts about these popular top-dwelling fish species by leaving a comment below!

Leave a Comment

You may also like