How Fast A Fish Can Swim?

Fish are considered as one of the primary sources of food by humans because of the nutrients and vitamins that they contain. On the other hand, some fishers will keep them as pets or raise them inside the pool, in the reservoir, or the ponds. While fish offer food, harmony, and joy for people, does anyone wonder how fast they can swim?

How fast a fish can swim? The pace of a fish will differ with what form it is, and sailfish registered the fastest at 68 mph. They claimed it is the best because of the caudal fin that made them swim quickly.

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As you read on, you will know that fish have various speeds of swimming and that their fins have a major role in their movement.


As stated, sailfish can swim with an average speed of 68 miles per hour, and it may reach up to 70 mph. One main factor that made sailfish the fastest is its caudal fin. The caudal fin or the tail fin is the fin that is connected to their vertebral column and is the primary means of fish movement. And since the caudal fin of the sailfish is small, this makes them an advantage to others because of a massive burst it produced.

Sailfish is part of the pelagic fish family- a type of fish that has a ton of muscles. Another factor of the sailfish’s speed is in its musculature that said it has enormous amounts of white muscle that is great for acceleration.

It is then supported around with the flanks by blocks of the red muscle that require more oxygen but are perfect for intense, quick swimming. The heat that is produced by the red muscle fibers is maintained by its blood vessels, which makes the blood warmer than its surrounding water.

The red muscle also helps in warming the blood going through its brain, helping it hunt and chase their prey in colder and deeper depths.

Unique Appearance

Sailfish have a unique appearance that has a blue-gray color while its underbellies are white. They have an enormous dorsal fin that looks like a boat’s sail- which is why they called the sailfish. A sailfish is a carnivorous type of fish that is usually found in warm and temperate parts of the oceans.

It can grow from 5.7 feet to 11 feet and have an average weight between 120-220 lbs and have two subspecies- The Atlantic and Indo-Pacific. 

Their dorsal fin can help them maneuver fast, especially when preying on others and also helps them in warming their blood when exposed to the sun. Sailfish lifespan can reach up to seven years and is the most popular fish in recreational and sport fishing.

How Fish Swim

To understand more how fish can swim, it’s because they flex their bodies back and forth. They also stretch their muscles on only one side of their body while on the other side, the muscle is relaxed. Although movement offers momentum and boost, it often produces friction as the fin is tilted to the side of the body when a stroke is performed. And with this movement, it makes them keep moving forward through the water.

Types Of Fish Fins

These are five styles of fins that help fish move: pectoral prefrontal, dorsal, anal, and caudal fins.

Pectoral Fins

These are the two fins that are found on the sides of the fish. Its primary work is for controlling and giving directional movement, up and down, and side to side. It may come in different sizes and shapes, and though it’s primary work is for directional movement. Still, its function depends on a type of fish. 

Pelvic Fins

These fins are situated at the bottom of the fish just in front of the anal fin. Its key role is to support fish, relax, sustain their level, and help keep them from rolling side by side. Pelvic and pectoral fins are typically combined, allowing the fish to travel easily.

Dorsal Fins

These are positioned on the top of the fish together with its back and between its tail and head. It might be a single fin, with or without spines, or it may consist of two linked or unconnected parts-a straight and a short-ray portion. Such fins’ purpose is to help fish while turning and serve to hold their balance in the water whenever there is an abrupt shift in course.

Anal Fins

It can be seen on the underside or ventral portion of a fish between the tail and the pelvic fins and is near the anus. These fins have the same function as the dorsal fins that helps the fish keep their balance in the water. Dorsa and Anal fins appear to be on eel-like fish such as bowfin, burbot, and American eel.

Caudal Fins

It can be found at the end of the fish, and it provides power that propels them to move forward. It acts as a rudder to assist in steering. It comes in different shapes, which means it can look forked, rounded, heart-shaped, or square. The designs of the caudal fins seem to adapt to the pace of the fish’s cruising.

Other Fishes That Swims Fast

Aside from Sailfish, there are other fish considered fast.


This type of fish is said to be the second-fastest fish that has an average of 50 miles per hour. Its name is believed to come from its similarity to the marlinspike of a fisherman. Its predators include the white sharks and the shortfin mako.


This fish can be found worldwide in tropical and subtropical waters and has an average swimming speed from 46. 5 mph to 48 mph. Their strength and fighting ability give them a huge threat in sport fishing circles.


This fish is found all over the world, mostly in tropical and temperate waters, and has a strong body designed for a quick swim. Tunny can live up to 10 years and is an opportunistic hunter who preys on other fish and squids. It is also used as a lure for shark and marlin hunting, primarily due to its high oil content.


In summary, the answer to how fast a fish can swim is unknown because it varies on what types of fish they’re in. Though they are with the same species family, still, they have different characteristics and unique traits. Sailfish and other fishes that swim fast both have fins. Still, appearance is based on what type of fish. And different types of fins have different functions too.