Fish That Start With W – (9 Fascinating Aquarium Species)

Ever considered how many fish species names start with the letter ‘W’? 

If so, you’re in for a treat. There are well over 70 species of fish that start with the letter “w!” (*)

Odds are, you don’t know all of them. But that’s okay! Several are favorites of aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. 

Here are 9 of the most interesting aquarium fish that start with the letter “w.” Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite on the list!

Top 3 ‘W’ Fish for Beginners

Fish SpeciesSize (inches)Care RequirementsFun Fact
Wrasse2-12Marine setup, rockwork, carnivorous dietCleaner wrasses set up “cleaning stations”
White Cloud Mountain Minnow1-1.564-72°F, schooling, plant-friendly, varied dietKnown as “Poor Man’s Neon Tetra”
Walking Catfish8-10Spacious tank, protein-rich diet, catfish-proofCan “walk” using pectoral fins

1. Wrasse

img of Wrasse - Name of aquarium Fish that start with w
  • Size: Ranges between 2 to 12 inches, depending on the species
  • Care: I prefer marine setups with lots of rockwork for hiding. They are carnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates and prepared foods.
  • Fun Fact: Cleaner wrasses are known to set up “cleaning stations” where they pick off and consume parasites from larger fish.

Wrasse are quite a diverse species of fish. Wrasses come in a kaleidoscope of shades, ranging from just a few inches to an entire foot long, depending on the species! 

Wrasse’s behavior is pretty fascinating to watch. Some species are known for setting up cleaning stations, where they attach themselves to larger fish to help clean them of parasites. 

Yuck! But good for them, I suppose. 

To thrive, wrasse prefers a well-structured marine tank with plenty of hiding spots. You’ll want to give them lots of rocks to hide around. 

Because wrasse are carnivorous, you should prepare to feed them invertebrates as much as you can. However, they are able to adapt to some prepared foods. 

If you’re considering getting a wrasse, keep in mind that they have pretty unique temperaments depending on the species you get. While some species are quite docile, others can quickly grow territorial and aggressive. 

Be sure to check the compatibility of the species you’re considering with other fish you have before bringing them home, at least for the sake of your other tank inhabitants!

2. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Care: They thrive in temperatures between 64-72°F and appreciate plants and open swimming areas. Their diet consists of small invertebrates and flakes.
  • Fun Fact: They are sometimes called the “Poor Man’s Neon Tetra” because of their bright coloration and affordability.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are often considered underrated gems in the aquarium world. These fish originate from the White Cloud Mountain streams in China, so they’ve come a long way!

Though they have exotic origins, this breed of fish is hardy and can tolerate a variety of conditions. However, you should still aim to get as close to optimal conditions as possible.

Because they’re schooling fish, you should be sure to get them in groups. Otherwise, they can get pretty stressed and lonely.

Colored with bright golds and reds, these minnows are quite mesmerizing in any tank. Though they may be content with fish flakes, they do love to snack on the occasional brine shrimp for nutrition’s sake. 

3. Walking Catfish

  • Size: 8-10 inches
  • Care: Requires a spacious tank and protein-rich diet. Make sure the tank is covered, as they can ‘walk’ out!
  • Fun Fact: They can survive on land for extended periods, breathing through specialized structures.

I bet you’re curious about this one. 

Yes, these catfish can technically “walk.” Using their pectoral fins, they can amble like non-fish to different water sources thanks to a fancy evolutionary adaptation. 

Other fish are pretty jealous of these guys.

Originally from Southeast Asia, Walking Catfish are a hardy breed. Though relatively easy to care for, you’ll need to make sure your tank is catfish-proofed, as they could “walk” out of their tank!

Because they can be aggressive, you should be cautious which species you pair this fish with. This is particularly true when feeding – even catfish don’t like to share their snacks. 

‘W’ Fish for Advanced Aquarists

Fish SpeciesSizeCare RequirementsFun Fact
Wolf EelUp to 80 inchesLarge marine tanks, crustaceans and mollusksNot a true eel, but has strong jaws for crushing prey
Weather Loach8-12 inchesSoft, sandy substrate, cooler water, worms and crustaceansActive with barometric pressure changes
Wimple Piranha5-6 inchesMeaty diet, spacious tank, plant matterConsidered one of the least aggressive piranha species
White Cheek Moray EelUp to 30 inchesMarine setup, hiding spots, fish and crustaceansHas two sets of jaws for grasping prey

4. White-Spotted Cichlid

  • Size: 6-8 inches
  • Care: They prefer a pH of 7.0-8.0 and warmer waters. They’re omnivorous, so a varied diet is appreciated.
  • Fun Fact: They’re known for their parental care, often guarding their young even after they’re free swimming.

White-spotted cichlids are known for their beautiful white spots, especially when they’re displaying. 

Originally from Central America, these large fish are highly intelligent and are even known to recognize their caregivers. That’s right – this fish will learn to remember you!

In general, their diet should be a mix of pellets, flakes, and live food. You should also be sure to give them plenty of plants and rocks to hide behind and swim through, as they tend to be pretty lively.

5. Weather (or Dojo) Loach

  • Size: 8-12 inches
  • Care: A soft, sandy substrate is ideal. They enjoy cooler water temperatures and eat worms, crustaceans, and some plant matter.
  • Fun Fact: They are called the “Weather Loach” because they become more active with changes in barometric pressure, which can sometimes forecast weather changes.

What if instead of the weatherman on TV, you had a weather loach?

Sounds strange, but these fish are actually pretty good at telling the weather!

Weather loaches, also called dojo loaches, hide in the sand with just their little heads peeking out. When pressure in the atmosphere changes (due to weather events), they often become much more active. 

So, if you notice your weather loach getting a bit restless, perhaps bring an umbrella with you to work.

In terms of diet, weather loaches can eat a combination of sinking pellets and live food, including worms. They’re known for their peaceful temperament and get along well with other peaceful tankmates. 

6. Wolf Eel 

  • Size: Up to 80 inches
  • Care: Requires large marine tanks with caves and crevices. They eat crustaceans and mollusks.
  • Fun Fact: Though they look menacing, wolf eels are known to be quite docile and can even be hand-fed by divers.

Interested in an extreme tank setup? The wolf eel may be for you.

The Pacific Northwest’s cold waters are home to the mysterious wolf eel. Though not a true eel, they have a dark, long body and scraggly teeth that suggest otherwise. 

The wolf eel’s strong jaws can easily crush crustaceans, which make up the majority of their diet. In captivity, they need a well-structured marine environment with many caves and overhangs to thrive since they’re pretty reclusive.

This fish is certainly not for the weak.

7. Windowpane Flounder

  • Size: Up to 12 inches
  • Care: Prefers sandy substrates to burrow and camouflage in. They feed on small fish and invertebrates.
  • Fun Fact: Flounders are born with an eye on each side of their head, but as they mature, one eye migrates to the other side!

Windowpane flounders are known as the camouflage artists of the marine world. These fish can easily blend with their surroundings to become almost invisible to their prey (and predators!). 

These unique fish are native to the Western Atlantic and have both of their eyes on one side of their body. Though they look a little strange, this definitely helps them with their bottom-dwelling lifestyle.

8. Wimple Piranha

  • Size: Around 5-6 inches
  • Care: Requires a meaty diet, including fish, shrimp, and occasional fruits. A spacious tank with hiding spots is crucial.
  • Fun Fact: Unlike their infamous relatives, they have a more diverse diet and are not strictly carnivorous.

Wimple Piranhas are from the ferocious rivers of South America. This species of ferocious fish is actually a little wimpy compared to its relatives – they’re considered one of the least aggressive species of piranha out there.

In captivity, their diet ranges anywhere from fish to crustaceans to plant matter. They like lots of space, and plenty of hiding spots will make them pretty happy.

We recommend putting many plants around to replicate their natural habitat and keep them stress-free.

9. White Cheek Moray Eel

  • Size: Up to 30 inches
  • Care: Marine set up with plenty of hiding spots. They enjoy a diet of fish and crustaceans.
  • Fun Fact: Unlike many other fishes, moray eels have two sets of jaws – the main set and an internal set used for grasping prey.

Want a monster in your home? Consider the white cheek moray eel.

This unique eel is known for its characteristic white cheeks, an adorable detail on an otherwise frightening creature. As nocturnal predators, they need a very large tank and lots of hiding spots. 

If you plan to raise one of these, make sure you feed them lots of meaty foods like fish and crustaceans. You should also be careful who you add as a tankmate, as moray eels can get pretty territorial and predatory. 

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Final Thoughts

The ‘W’ category of fish contains some diverse and delightful species in the world of aquarium hobbyists. From the commonly known to the wonderfully weird, there’s definitely a species for everyone! 

Always make sure you adhere to the care requirements of any fish you choose. Just because it looks cool doesn’t mean it’s easy to care for. 

If one of these water-dwellers has caught your eye, let us know about it in the comments. We’d love to hear more about your experience with any of these species.

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