5 of the Largest Freshwater Fish in the World

  •  Friday, October 27th, 2023  Animalsforkids

    The ocean isn’t the solitary place where behemoth fish live. Huge fish can be found hidden beneath the murky waters of our freshwater rivers and lakes. While most freshwater fish are considerably smaller compared to their counterparts in the salty ocean, there are quite a few that can grow to impressive sizes. From beluga to giant stingrays, below are select few of the largest freshwater fish in the world.


    The beluga is a species of sturgeon that dwells in parts of the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. As they carry on growing throughout their lifetime (which can be 100 years), the beluga might arguably be the world’s largest freshwater fish. Some of the largest belugas found were nearly 24 feet in length and 3,500 pounds in weight—numbers that put them in contention for the tag of largest bony fish in the world by mass.

    Mekong Giant Catfish

    Several species of catfish can grow to massive sizes, but none can parallel the Mekong giant catfish of Southeast Asia. Capable of attaining the length of 10 feet and weight of more than 650 pounds, their extra-large size makes them a prized catch, and as a result these giant catfish have been fished to near extinction. They have an unusually fast growth rate, reaching 440 pounds in six years. Their life span is 60 years.

    Alligator Gar

    These carnivorous fish are able to survive in both fresh and saltwater owing to their dual row of large teeth and a snout like an alligator. Measuring as long as 10 feet and weighing as much as 350 pounds, alligator gars are easily the second largest fish in North America. Their life span can be up to 50 years and have very few natural predators. These fish inhabit lower Mississippi River basin and the waters of the Gulf Coast states.


    Inhabiting the Amazon River, these giant fish are not only large but ancient too. Alternatively known as paiche in Peru and pirarucu in Brazil, arapaima have been in existence since the Miocene and are regarded as living fossils. Once capable of attaining length of 10 feet and weight of 300 pounds, arapaima now reaches at most six feet in length and 275 pounds in weight, due to overfishing. These fish can survive up to 24 hours out of water.

    Giant Freshwater Stingray

    The giant stingray is among the largest freshwater species in the world and was first identified by scientists in the 1990s. These freshwater fish are famed for growing to massive sizes, with some weighing upwards of 1,300 pounds with length nearly 15 feet (half the length of a bus). They are famed to pull boats up and down rivers.


    The notion that giant fishes exist only in oceans is a farce. Fresh water fishes can also be gigantic. Above mentioned fresh water fish are just few examples of behemoth fish surviving in fresh water. Some other examples are paddlefish, giant barb, white sturgeon, Nile perch, Siberian taimen and bull sharks.