What Fish Are Found In Ponds And Streams In Africa?

Lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams are all freshwater habitats. Freshwater only exhibited just 3% of the world’s body of water and the rest is saltwater.

Despite its small percentage, more than hundred of thousands of fish species are living in it. In Africa, they suffer from lack of water to drink, but the irony is, they have a lot of resources of freshwater: large lakes, huge rivers, and a vast amount of wetlands.

Fishes and plants that correlate with each other to develop their ecosystem and habitat.

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Here are some of the freshwater fish that this continent can offer. They will shock you with how diverse the species lurking under their waters.

African Tiger Fish

Also known as Hydrocynus Vittatus or Tiervis. This is widely spread in all freshwater of Africa. They are piscivore, they mostly eat fish for their nutrition. This type of tigerfish normally has a silver color and black stripes running through his body in a horizontal way.

The most distinct quality of this type of fish was their teeth, quite sharp and pointed which is helpful for catching their prey. They have a big head and eight teeth per jaw, which can regrow throughout time. In terms of their gender, males are more widespread and bigger than females.

African Tigerfish normally live near the bottom of the freshwater rivers and lakes. They can be found sometimes near the surface during the day to catch some of their prey.

Nile Perch

Nile Perch is known as African Snook or Victoria Perch. They are native to Senegal, Congo, Nile and can be normally seen in Lake Chad, Volta, Turkana and other river streams across the whole Afrotropic ecozone.

It is one of the most produced and has a substantial value to the people of East Africa. They have quite the appearance, it is colored silver and has a blue tinge. It can be identified with distinct dark-black eyes.

It is also considered to be one of the largest freshwater fish that can grow up to 2 meters and weigh up to 200 kilograms.

Nile Perch feeds on fish, crustaceans, and insects. It is also observed that they feed on zooplankton. They used schooling as their defense mechanism for predators.

African Lungfish

African Lungfish are known as Tana lungfish or West African lungfish, is a wide range of freshwater habitats that can be found in the West and Middle Africa as well as the northern half of Southern Africa.

They are super long, eel-like structure and pectoral and pelvic fins. These fins help them to swim and crawl at the bottom. The largest ever recorded of this kind of species is about 200cm.

They can be seen normally in shallow waters such as marshes and swamps. They are quite endemic in lakes such as Lake Victoria. They are carnivores, mostly eating crustaceans, aquatic larvae, and mollusks.

Unlike other fishes, a lungfish can live out of water for months. This is a prime example of how evolution can change one species to another. They can go dive into the water and stay there for a while and go up into the surface to breathe in some of the air.

Nile Tilapia

A Nile Tilapia is a species in the tilapia family and widely spread all over the world. They can mostly be found in the northern half of Africa and even up to Israel. They are commercially known as mango fish.

This type of fish normally reaches up to 60 cm in length and can weigh up to 5 kilograms. Male tilapia predominantly outgrew females. They are quite brownish to grayish in color and often recognized with indistinct banding and vertically striped tails.

They are native in larger parts of Africa and almost the southern part in all rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and even canals.

These species of freshwater fish are considered to be herbivores but with tendencies to go omnivore when young. They mostly feed on plankton and algae.

African Sharptooth Catfish

They are well known to be the airbreathing catfishes. These specific kinds of freshwater fish can be found throughout the continent of Africa and the Middle East. They live mostly in swamps, lakes, and rivers.

They can also live in human-made habitats such as oxidation ponds or sewage systems.

African Sharptooth catfish is a huge, eel-like structure and usually in the darker side of gray or black color fading to their center core. They can grow up to 1.5 meters and can weigh up to 60 kilograms.

They have a distinct slender figure with a flat head and contain four pairs of barbels. One unique quality of this kind is that they have breathing organs composed of gill arches modified for their needs.

African Cichlids

African cichlids belong to the Cichlidae family. Cichlids are the most diverse groups of fish and can be found all over the freshwater streams and great lakes of Africa. 

They vary in size depending on the area, they can be as small as 2.5 centimeters to 1 meter. One of the most popular there can be found in Lake Malawi. Their distinct color is what makes them stand out in all of the freshwater species out there. 

It’s like a snowflake, each species has its own color and style. They are very active fish and quite playful.

African Cichlids is one of the freshwater fish famous as a fish pet. A lot of people buy them from the fish stores and they are quite friendly and easy to maintain. But beware that these types of fish can be a little expensive depending on their size and colors.


Africa does not only offer its massive lands, but they are also capable of supplying a big number of freshwater species that help our ecosystem grow. This balance helps develop more types of species as evolution goes.

It’s very important to keep on maintaining and producing these habitats for freshwater fishes so they will grow their size and lots of fish to be reproduced.