Unusual Aquarium Pets That Might Interest You

Photo by Esperanza Doronila on Unsplash

Unusual Aquarium Pets That Might Interest You


Aquariums have been a part of our lives for many years. Way back in the 1850s, the first public aquariums were opened, so people could view fish and other creatures up close. Since then, home aquatic pets have become more and more popular.


Photo by Esperanza Doronila on Unsplash


Traditionally, fish have been kept in aquariums. However, more and more, people are starting to keep a much wider variety of pets in their home setups. If you want to start an aquarium at home or extend your collection of aquatic pets, read on for some new and unusual aquarium pets that might interest you.


For a new, interesting species to enjoy, why not look at freshwater shrimp? These little creatures have been growing in popularity due to their fun personality and small size. To start your shrimp colony, you will need a standard-sized fish tank, not too small, as shrimp struggle with large fluctuations in temperature. You’ll need to consider things like filtration, as due to these little critters’ size, a standard fish tank filter is too dangerous. Sponge filters work great though! 

Shrimp requires very little care. They live off the substrate and whatever plants you choose to plant in your aquarium, occasionally supplemented by food additives. With so many species available and safe to keep, plus multiple fish that can live happily with shrimp, it’s a no-brainer to give shrimp a try.


Jumping to a species of quite a different size to shrimp, there are turtles! Turtles require a bit more attention than shrimp, and probably a bigger tank. The most common species of turtle kept as pets is the Red-Eared Slider. These little guys love to swim around and enjoy clean, fresh water. However, they also need warmth, and, as they are semi-aquatic, a place to rest under a heat lamp, out of the water. So there’s a little more thought needed when putting together a turtle aquarium. 

They are also simple to feed, needing just commercial pellet turtle food and the odd veggie treat. Turtles have great personalities and can be very active, making them a lot of fun for kids to have as aquarium pets. Just make sure the tank is big enough, and they’ll be happy all day long.


Nowadays, more and more people are keeping freshwater crabs as part of their aquarium setup. These species – mainly the red-clawed crab and the fiddler crab – can cohabit with each other and with most fish, though it is not recommended to have more than one crab per square foot of space in your aquarium. They require little care, as long as the tank is clean, and they receive regular food – you might have to make sure some food reaches the bottom rather than being snapped up by the fish. 

Crabs do prefer slightly salted water, so may not be suited to freshwater tanks. Plus, like turtles, they are semi-aquatic, and therefore like to have a platform to be able to leave the water and step onto, even if just briefly. So, these two types of aquatic pets require slightly more thought than fish and shrimp.


A frequent choice among aquatic pet owners, snails. There are a few common aquarium snails such as the Inca, apple, and rabbit snails. These little fellas are super-low maintenance, as they will mostly feed off the natural waste, debris, and algae that form within your tank. They can also be supplemented with bottom feeder pellets or other simple, cheap foods. Snails require around 25% of the water to be refreshed every 4 weeks or so, as well as a tight-fitting lid, so they can’t escape!


Believe it or not, Octopuses are becoming more common as aquatic pets. They do, however, require a little more thought than the other pets listed here, so may not be suitable for first-time aquatic pet owners. Firstly, they’ll probably need a bigger tank – depending on the species. The tank’s makeup also requires a little more thought. You’ll need a sand base, living rock, top-quality saltwater, and a protein skimmer for the tank. 

Octopuses are carnivorous, too, meaning they eat some small fish, crustaceans, and other creatures. They can only cohabit with certain fish. All of this means setting up an octopus home is far more challenging than a simple home for fish or snails! 


Photo by Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash


These are the top five unusual aquarium pets that might interest you more than simply fish. If any of these inspire you, get down to your local pet store for more professional advice on how to set up a tank properly for any of these species!

Support Northern Colorado Journalism

Show your support for North Forty News by helping us produce more content. It's a kind and simple gesture that will help us continue to bring more content to you.

BONUS - Donors get a link in their receipt to sign up for our once-per-week instant text messaging alert. Get your e-copy of North Forty News the moment it is released!

Click to Donate