Most Colorful Fish contest. Saltwater versus Freshwater.

10 Jan

Freshwater fishkeepers often say “Someday I will set up a saltwater tank. They are so much prettier.” Are they right?
Let’s have a contest. I will be the judge. Are saltwater fish more colorful than freshwater?
I’ll rate the fish from 1 to 5. Five is the best score, the prettiest a fish can be.

Let’s start with a red fish:

Freshwater fish, the Red Velvet Swordtail.

I’ll give the Red Sword 5 points.

The saltwater red fish, the Coris Wrasse:
I will give the Coris Wrasse 4 points so the score is Freshwater 5, Saltwater 4.
Wait a minute, the Wrasse grows up and loses his red color!
A beautiful fish but not red! I give it 2 points. The score is Freshwater 5, Salt 2.

Let’s look at a White fish:
The freshwater entry is the albino Corydoras Catfish.
This catfish does not look like this in the natural state. Albinos do not survive long in nature. I’ll give it 3 points.
I can’t think of a white Saltwater fish. Zero points for the Salties!
The score now. Freshwater 8. Saltwater 2.
How about a yellow fish?
Here’s the freshwater Gold Barb.
Not bad. I would say 2 points for them.
Here’s the saltwater yellow fish, the Yellow Tang.
Wow, that’s a FIVE for sure. That makes the score 10 to 7 for the Freshies.

Oh, wait a second, there is a last-second entry for the freshwater team!
The Electric Yellow Labidochromis. An African Cichlid.
That’s worth four points at least. The score is getting wider.
It’s Freshwater 12. Saltwater 7.
On to Blue.
Freshwater has Blue Platies and Blue Gouramis but the bluest is the Electric Blue African Cichlid.
I’ll give it two points because the female is not very Blue. (sorry, ladies)

Here’s a saltwater Blue Damsel.
That’s an easy 5 points for the Salt team.
The score is now Fresh 14, Salt 12.
Green fish are the next category. I thought there would be more green fish. They could hide among plants. From an evolutionary standpoint I think green would be a good color to be.
Here’s a freshwater green fish.
Electric Green Tetra
That looks like 4 points.
And, in the ocean, here is the Green Chromis.
green Chromis
I’ll give the Chromis 2 points.
The score is now Freshwater 18. Salt 14.
Hang on! Time-out! A penalty has been assessed against the freshwater team. The Green Tetra isย  a genetically modified fish. Cheater!!!!4 points are taken from the Freshies.
The score is now tied 14-14.
Let’s look at Orange fish.
The Sunset Platy.
I like these Platies and give them 3 points for orangeness.
Here’s a saltwater Flame Angelfish.
flame angelfish
Almost all orange except the stripes. That’s a beautiful fish worth 4 points to the Saltwater team.
The Salties pull ahead 18-17!!!
Black fish are next.
Here’s the Black Molly in a tank with a black background.
Here’s another Black Molly.
That’s the blackest fish in the world. 5 points for the freshwaters.
The saltwater entry is the Domino Damsel.
That’s four points for the salt. The score is tied 22-22.. oh wait here’s an adult Domino Damsel.
The damsel only gets 2 points.
Freshies are back on top 22-20.
The last category is multi-colored fish.
Here is a group of Discus.
Since these are all modified by captive breeding I’ll give them 3 points.
Freshwater 25-20.
The final entry for saltwater is the Mandarin fish.
Fantastic, that’s five points!!! I wish I could give it a ten.
The score is TIED 25-25!!!
How can I break this tie??
How about the ugliest fish??
4 points?
That is just as ugly. 4 points for the Salt team.
Still 29-29.
OK, one last chance to solve this issue.
I decided to do a Google Image search.
Freshwater fish.


…and the Google Image search for Saltwater fish.


And the winner is …… Saltwater … by one point.
I’ll admit the saltwater fish are more colorful, but just barely. If you have a freshwater tank don’t be jealous.
97.5% of the Earth’s water is saltwater. 0.3% of the water is in freshwater lakes and rivers. The rest is groundwater, snow, and glaciers.


Photos for this post are from the Internet and are not mine at all. I usually use my own in this blog. I appreciate the use of these photos and hope that I have not offended anyone by using their pictures.

22 Responses to “Most Colorful Fish contest. Saltwater versus Freshwater.”

  1. Greenhousestarter January 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi, this is a great post, a lot of fun and kept me reading to the end! I still love those freshwaters!

    • fishtanx2011 January 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      Thank you. My very first job ever was in a tropical fish shop. One day some people were ooohing and ahhhing over our saltwater fish. I said ” Come here, let me show you something.” and gave them a complete tour of the freshwater fish. They were impressed. I was 17 years old.

  2. natureintheburbs January 11, 2013 at 5:40 am #

    Great post. We had a tank when I was little of freshwater, with a small catfish in it, so I think I’m partial to fresh.

    • fishtanx2011 January 11, 2013 at 8:25 am #

      I love all of the Corydoras Catfish and it’s amazing to find out they can easily live over 5 years, even ten under the right circumstances.

      • natureintheburbs January 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

        Yes, we had ours for many years.

      • fishtanx2011 January 11, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

        Good job! Too many people say ” My fish lived a long time. I think we had them 6 months!”

  3. becomingcliche January 11, 2013 at 8:14 am #

    I’m a huge fan of the ugly ones, myself. I’m a catfish girl!

    • fishtanx2011 January 11, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      Do you prefer keeping them or eating them? I admit I do both on occasion, though frying a Corydoras is not something I have ever considered.

      • becomingcliche January 11, 2013 at 9:43 am #

        Keeping. I love banjo cats the mostest!

        I’m looking into getting some pipa pipa frogs for my aquarium to top off the ugly.

      • fishtanx2011 January 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

        I had no idea what a Pipa Pipa is but I do know them by Surinam Toad. I have always found them fascinating. I didn’t even know they could be bought. If you get them please write a LOT about it on your blog. Thanks.

  4. babymamax3 January 11, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I love this post. I used to feel the same way when I first started my fresh water tank and was so jealous when I saw salt water tanks.that was until I went to a mostly freshwater fish shop and saw how amazing they could be. I have two fresh water tanks right now and would eventually like to dabble in salt water also but right now I’m really enjoying my freshwater fish.

    • fishtanx2011 January 11, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Thanks! I have one Salt tank, an old Eclipse tank of 37 gallons I think . I want to upgrade to a 46 gallon bowfront so I can add one more fish, a Blue Damsel probably.

      • babymamax3 January 13, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

        those are very pretty. How long have you been keeping fish

      • fishtanx2011 January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

        I can remember a fish tank in our house when I was kid during the 1960’s. By the 70’s we had dozens of tanks. When I moved out I almost always had one tank in the house. Over the past two years I have really gotten into it!! Fish are cheap, fish tanks (especially used ones) are cheap. I’m easily satisfied with the more common fish. All of my tanks combined probably cost less than one fully equipped reef tank!

  5. happybettas February 2, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    You cannot treat this competition seriously not presenting even one Betta fish! ๐Ÿ™‚ I could show you all rainbow scale of colours in Bettas and win easily over saltwater fish ๐Ÿ™‚

    • fishtanx2011 February 2, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      My logic was pretty shaky, I agree. I have recently learned of a fish called a saltwater betta which is certainly not related to the Betta splendens.

      • happybettas February 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

        True! But it only look similar I think, not sure what they actually have in common ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Aink April 19, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    What a joke. Over half of the freshwater fsh you showed was selective bred, while the saltwater fishes coloration is natural occuring. The Red Swordtail is selective bred, the cory catfish is selective bred and the freshwater green fish is a fracking Glow fish. Lol

    • fishtanx2011 April 19, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      I agree. It was done in a joking manner. I’m glad you noticed.

  7. Aink April 19, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    And where the hell is the Mandarin Goby, the hippo tang, or even the Gramma Loreto. Those are the most colorful saltwater fish.

    • fishtanx2011 April 19, 2015 at 9:39 am #

      Hmmm I wrote that quite awhile ago and thought I did include the Mandarin. You should write a blog post and include the fish you prefer. The point of my post was to demonstrate my belief that freshwater fish are extremely beautiful in their own right and compare well with saltwater fish if one will only look and appreciate.

  8. kathyhauswirth April 21, 2015 at 8:32 am #

    Difficult choice to make–they all look quite gorgeous to me. I admire fish tank devotees–it’s quite a lot of work and we found when we had them we never kept up properly with the cleaning, etc.
    Thanks, also, for visiting my blog entry Dream of the Blue Turtles–those sea turtles are also quite gorgeous and I admire Melissa’s devotion to them. She’s provided me with quite an education.

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