Even if you’ve never owned a dog, odds are good that you know a little bit about dog personalities. They’re loyal, fun-loving creatures that will do just about anything to please people. Beyond that, every breed has its own unique personality. German Shepherds are fearless and loyal, labs are happy and trusting, and golden retrievers are gentle and loving.

That’s just as true for fish as it is for dogs. Believe it or not, some species of fish have bizarre and quirky personalities. They’re often hard to detect because fish and people are separated by glass, but fish personalities are unmistakable. Do you want a cheerful fish who will treat you like a best friend? This guide will introduce you to the quirky world of fish personalities.


Oscars are intelligent fish that hail from South America. They look a little bit grumpy with their puffy, downward-slanting lips, but they’re actually quite lively and playful. They are known to flit around the surface of the aquarium and cheerfully splash about, especially during feeding time.

The truly peculiar thing about these fish is that they have an interior decorator streak. Oscars will often rearrange plants and objects inside of an aquarium, and sometimes they spit the decorations that they don’t like out of the tank. These fish are fully comfortable with being taken out of their comfort zone, something many of us need to learn how to do. If you change around your aquarium’s layout, your oscar fish will delight in exploring the new aquascape and rearranging the plants like some sort of fishy feng shui.


Many aquarium owners get angelfish because of their striking silhouette, but then quickly fall in love with their endearing personalities. Angelfish are a particularly bright species of fish that will learn to recognize their owner and will readily eat out of a person’s hand.

Angelfish will often form lifelong connections with another angelfish and the two will stay with each other every second of every day. The bond is so strong that if one of the two angelfish dies or is removed from the tank, the other will stop eating and slowly die, supposedly because the survivor is too depressed to keep living.


Pacus have often been described as having dog-like behavior, and for good reason. They can recognize their owners and enjoy petting. They’ll beg for food and will eat right out of your hands. Just don’t expect to teach them tricks like roll over and speak – fish aren’t really equipped to pull of those types of stunts.

It’s a bit funny because pacus are a relative of the piranha. They look similar to their flesh-eating cousins, but pacus are actually herbivores. You can surprise your guests by pulling a clever trick: “Watch my pet piranha eat out of my hand!”


Pufferfish are an odd species that seem to want to experience everything, especially food. They will eagerly investigate new arrivals to an aquarium and they are known to be quite mischievous. Puffers will sometimes play with their owners – they will carefully watch you as you move about the room and dart around the tank like a hummingbird, especially around feeding time. Pufferfish will eat so much that their bellies become distended. It’s a comical site, but be careful not to overfeed these hungry critters.

As you can see, there’s a lot more to fish than how they look. You may want to consider fish personalities the next time you purchase a fish. Who knows? Maybe your charming fish will become your new best friend.

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