Tropical rainforest waters -- including rivers, creeks, lakes, and swamps -- are home to the majority of freshwater fish species. The Amazon Basin alone has over 3,000 known species and possibly as many unidentified species.

Many of the tropical fish kept in freshwater aquariums are originally from the rainforest. Fish like angelfish, neon tetras, discus, and common algae-eating catfish come from the tropical forests of South America, while danios, gouramis, Siamese fighting fish (or Betta), and the clown loach are from Asia.

Tropical freshwater fish are a major source of protein for many rainforest communities. Because of the importance of fish as a food source, in some places dams are a major threat to forest-dependent peoples. Dams can block fish migration and flood important fish habitat.

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Review questions

  • Why are rainforest rivers important for forest-dependent peoples?
  • What are examples of freshwater fish from the rainforest?
  • Why are dams a threat to rainforest fish?
Additional resources


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