Big Fish Database

Dear fellow fish keepers,

I thought I’d share a database I had put together for my personal and professional needs a while ago. I hope it’d be useful to many. It’s kind of a bird’s-eye view, a cheat sheet, a quick lookup reference, which I use to answer customer questions on the fly, lecturing, networking, etc.

I’ll present two versions of the database.

The first smaller version is a rating listing fish that exceed ~120 cm (~4’) in the decreasing order of max known body length. The first section in yellow lists fish, which exceed 200 cm (~6’8”). Sturgeons comprise a large portion of the yellow section and their rows are colored a bit duller to quickly differentiate from the rest. This is because some consider sturgeons not strictly freshwater fish, albeit many of them spend most of their life in freshwater (or are forced to spend it entirely in landlocked lakes).

The second green section lists fish with a max length of 150-200 cm (5′-6’8″). The third white section contains fish with a max length of 120-150 cm (4’-5’) as well as some fish, about which there is some disagreement on max length between the two primary sources I’ve used, namely the Fishbase and the Fishing World Records. These guys deserve all the credit!!! At the end of the white section, I’ve listed and rated eels, separate from the overall rating.

The second, full version of the database lists fish grouped by Continent and Family.

Max size data: the Fishbase data are given first (if there is a second smaller number after max length, it is common length).
Second, the Fishing World Records numbers are cited, indicated by “FWR”.
* Letters m, u, or f stand for male, unknown / unsexed, or female
* y is year
* see b. means see the comment field, Biology section
* ? means questionable data
* – or _ are same, mean hyphen
The comments are often heavily abbreviated. Look up the species on the Fishbase if hard to decipher.
Glossary is given at the beginning.

If you find it hard to read the databases here, you may find the same but more legible version on this publicly available site:


Best wishes to all.




World’s biggest (by length) freshwater fish
5-27 ft / 150-800 cm (excl. stingrays)


by Continent & Family

Eurasian biggest freshwater fish
(not sorted by size)

Eurasian cyprinids (carps)

Eurasian silurids (catfishes)

Eurasian perciformes (perches)

Eurasian miscellaneous

South American biggest freshwater fish
(not sorted by size)

South American catfishes

South American perches, characins, & miscellaneous

North American biggest freshwater fish
(not sorted by size)

North American carps

North American catfishes, perches, & miscellaneous

African biggest freshwater fish
(not sorted by size)

African carps & catfishes

African perches, characins, & miscellaneous

Australian biggest freshwater fish
(not sorted by size)

Australian catfishes & perches

Australian miscellaneous