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11 Non-Fish Aquarium Pets

You’ve got an aquarium, and you’re not quite ready to adopt a fish yet, or perhaps you want to add some more variety to your tank by adopting non-fish aquarium pets – the good news is, there are hundreds of non-fish aquarium species you can adopt.

Here are our 11 best non-fish aquarium pets for your tank.

Fire Bellied Toad

Fire bellied toad

The Fire Bellied Toad is a native of South Asia and enjoyed a meteoric rise because of its exotic appearance. These stunning species sport a brilliant black and orange color on their undersides with warty backs.

Despite their name, these species are characterized as frogs and not a toad. Toads have relatively rougher, textured skin, but this frog has bumpy skin.

In general, the orange fire-bellied toad is exceptionally hardy and can withstand a range of conditions. It makes them suitable for beginners. They’re pretty small, so you won’t be able to hold them in your hands.

That being said, their skin secretes a toxin that is lethal to potential predators – nothing that could kill a human, though, but still, you should be careful around them. Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching them.

Note: Do not put them with other animals because they will kill them.

Fire-bellied toads are omnivorous creatures that do well on a diet of snails, earthworms, wax worms, and other creatures. They do not have extendable tongues and will use their mouth to grab food into their mouths.

Essential care required for this species is humidity. Aim for at least 80% humidity at all times. Use a humidity gauge to help you investigate their enclosure (aquarium).

Freshwater Crayfish

If you’re looking for a unique non-fish pet for your Aquarium with peculiar characteristics, look no further than the freshwater Crayfish.

They are incredibly hardy, easy to care for, and will even interact with you if you’re nice enough! It is worth noting that they’re not very friendly with community fish, and it’s best to give them an aquarium dedicated to Crayfish.

Caring for freshwater Crayfish is a rewarding experience simply because of their antics.

It cannot be apparent to find suitable species of Freshwater Crayfish since there are well over 100 species. Most Crayfish have similar requirements, such as cool water and a tank with a capacity of about 10 gallons.

Their care sheet isn’t complicated to follow, and Crayfish are relatively forgiving of beginner mistakes.

If you take good care of them, they will live for over two years, with some species living even longer.

Part and parcel of caring for Freshwater Crayfish are changing their water regularly or getting stressed out and dying. Their favorite habit is to hide food in a cave, which could upset your tank’s water quality.

They’re messy eaters and will throw uneaten food morsels all over the tank. It can quickly spell disaster in the tank as the food starts to decompose. When doing water changes, always look for hidden food stashes around the tank. Please get rid of them before they can upset the water quality.

If you decide to keep more than one Crayfish in the tank, you will have to upgrade to a minimum of 20 gallons. These guys are very aggressive and can fight each other to the death, often consuming each other should they get hungry.

Should note that Crayfish will molt their skin and become defenseless for several days. They’ll seek refuge in caves during this time and won’t come out again until their shell hardens again. So don’t get spooked, and don’t try to force your Crayfish out of its hiding – you could stress them out.

Red-Eared Slider Turtle

Redeared slider turtle

Don’t want your aquarium pets dying after only 2 to 3 years? Then you need to bring home a Red Eared Slider Turtle! Like most turtles, they can live for a long, long time in captivity – well over 20 years if you provide them with the proper diet.

But you’ll have to provide them with a high quality of life, which means lots of resources and space. It may not be easy for beginners.

And no, you can’t make do with a small bowl. Red Eared Slider Turtles need a lot of space in their aquarium tanks and lots of UVB lighting (the correct light fixture is key to their survival). They’re omnivorous creatures and enjoy a range of meat and plant-based diets.

If you’ve brought a juvenile into your tank, prepare to upgrade your tank size because they will grow much more prominent during their lives.

Before you bring one of these specimens home, inspect them for ideal health conditions. Critical indicators of their health include their eyes, shell, swimming patterns, and general behavior. If they’re not very active, it probably means they’re not doing well health-wise.

They need massive tanks, to the tune of several dozens of gallons (or 100 gallons). Other than that,

it should be reasonably easy to maintain their water conditions and provide them with UVB lighting. Setting up is the hard part, but once your turtle aquarium is established, maintenance should be a walk in the park.

In terms of food, offer them a wide variety of animal and plant-based foods. Turtle pellets should form the bulk of their diet but should be supplemented with other things.

Mystery Snail

Golden mystery snail

Mystery snails have achieved notoriety in the aquarium hobby because of their exotic iridescent appearance and large colorful shells.

They would spruce up your Aquarium with their unique behavior. Perhaps more importantly, they can form part of your tank clean-up’ crew, getting rid of excess food and waste with fervor!

They’re always hard at work, cleaning the algae off the tank glass, decorations, plants, and substrate.

Natively, these creatures come from Paraguay, Bolivia, and Brazil but are considered invasive species. They invade incompatible ecosystems, causing damage to living plants when no other food source is available.

All in all, mystery snails are very peaceful and safe to keep with compatible fish, plants, and shrimp. Just make sure to keep them far away from fish species with the minimum jaw strength needed to break through their tough shell. It can be any large fish or bird sharing the same space.

The main difference between these snails and other species is their breathing and breeding techniques – both of which are unique.

Mystery Snails can breathe a siphon (a breathing tube) and their gills, allowing them to extract dissolved oxygen from the water.

While they act as clean-up crews, eating algae off the tank surfaces, make sure to supplement their diet with a high level of vegetation. Give them natural plants, plant matter, and other supplements such as flakes and pellets.

Sea Monkey

Sea monkey

Experts describe the sea monkey as a hybrid of brine shrimps, having originated back in the 1950s. They’ve become exceptionally popular since then because of their care requirements, which are easy to follow for beginners. They can live in smaller tanks, which is suitable for any aquarists running on a budget.

It is interesting to note that they’re born with just one eye, with the other’ popping out’ into place when it reaches maturity. Their breathing mechanism is through their feathery feet, and they thrive on algae.

The sea monkey is naturally drawn to light, so much so that it will appear to follow the beam of any light source. For this reason, make sure your aquarium has plenty of indirect sunlight for them.

It kills two birds with one stone, so to speak: 1) it will allow algae to grow, giving the sea monkey abundant food supply, and 2) it will make the sea monkey feel at home.

It can be entertaining interacting with your sea monkey with the help of a small flashlight.

However, word of caution, if your sea monkey develops white spots, remove them from the tank right away. The parasites and bacteria are contagious and could kill your entire stock. Use a small spoon to extract your sea monkeys out of the tank. If the white spot returns, it’s time to clean the entire tank and replace the water.

Fire Bellied Newt

Fire belly newt

The Fire Bellied Newt is a very handsome creature, often described as the ‘next best thing’ after a turtle or a lizard. They’re also easier to keep. They are decked out with a black to dark brown body and a contrasting orange underside, hence Fire-Bellied.

There are two variants of these creatures: The Japanese Fire Bellied Newt and the Chinese Fire Bellied Newt. They both tend to have red underbellies, but the Japanese Fire Bellied Newt is larger and has a rough ski.

More importantly, these newts are very active and, thus, interesting to keep. They’re a little shy at first when first introduced to their new Aquarium. But once they get acclimated to their surroundings, their true nature will take over.

More importantly, these newts secrete a toxin from their skin that could kill other inhabitants. Please don’t keep them with other fish and creatures unless you intend to offer them food to the Newt. You can also keep them with other Fire Bellied Newts, but make sure to provide them with a large tank to prevent hostilities.

Because they are semi-aquatic animals, it is vital to provide them with a tank that is 30% land and 70% water. You could also go for a fully aquatic tank, adding floating islands and large rocks for your Newt to rest and dwell.


Young axolotl looking at aquarium

The Axolotl is an ideal pet, but its care requirements are complex and require a lot of upkeep. These creatures can live for up to 10 years if you can meet their often strict requirements. Axolotls require an aquatic tank with unique water quality, temperature, and maintenance requirements.

For starters, they should maintain water between 57 to 66° Fahrenheit, which is a bit on the low side. If the temperature exceeds their tolerance threshold, your Axolotl will be stressed out, and that could open them up to a host of illnesses and infections.

Choose a filter that doesn’t create much water flow in the tank because Axolotls are easily pushed around. Too much water flow can also lead to stress and, subsequently, disease.

It is recommended to place a substrate, either in the form of large river stones or sand. Do not use pebbles because axolotls are curious creatures and will swallow them whole. It will lead to intestinal blockages requiring surgery to remove.

The Axolotl is a carnivorous creature and requires a range of meats to fulfill its nutritional requirements. Should feed them on bloodworms, shrimp, tubifex worms, insects, and pelleted foods. It is better to provide them with whole foods such as shrimps, insects, and worms because they meet more nutritional needs of your Axolotl.


Octopus in aquarium

The octopus is known for being extremely intelligent, perhaps on par with a golden retriever. It’s not easy to care for an octopus in an average home aquarium.

Caring for octopus requires a lot of care that requires an experienced aquarist’s attention. You need to provide it with a dimly lit aquarium to make it feel at home, for starters.

While different octopus species have unique appearances, most have a standard set of 8 tentacles attached to their bodies. Each specimen has two distinct eyes on its head. Much of their swimming pattern comes from their tentacles. They come in a variety of appearances, from elegant striped patterns to dull grayish colors.

Most octopuses in captivity won’t grow over 15 inches in size, but these creatures are massive in the wild, with some specimens measuring well over 30 feet.

Below are a few standard care requirements for the octopus, which should come easy to most aquarists:

  • The salinity of around 1.023
  • pH value of 8.2
  • Lots of dissolved oxygen
  • The temperature of around 77 to 79° Fahrenheit
  • A single octopus will need at least 55 gallons of tank to live happily

They are compassionate and require pristine water conditions to survive.

Since they’re knowledgeable and their bodies are ‘bendy,’ octopuses are known for being great escape artists. Therefore, you should cover the tank with a lid and ensure that any holes in the tank are not large enough to be used as an escape route.

Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimps are freshwater crustaceans popular with aquarists of all experience levels. They’re easy to care for, make for a great addition to any tropical tank, and get along well with non-aggressive fish.

The only sad thing about these creatures is that they don’t live for very long, with an average life span of about one year.

Ghost Shrimps serve two primary purposes: food for bigger fish (not recommended if you’re keeping them as pets) and the ‘clean up crew.’

They’re optimistic scavengers and will clean up after their tank mates, eating leftover food as well as algae levels that grow out of control. Ghost Shrimps like to keep busy and will go to town on algae and food scraps during the day. They also like to swim around.

Ghost Shrimps have a clear white appearance, hence the name “Ghost.” It allows them to evade predators and survive for much longer than prominently colored shrimps.

Because they’re so small, you can make do with a small tank at only 5 gallons. It is the bare minimum, but you should always strive to find a larger tank.

So if you’re looking for an efficient scavenger to keep algae growth in check, look no further than the Ghost Shrimp.

Red Clawed Crab

Red clawed crab

Red Clawed Crabs are an exciting species that are easy to care for, but they have a precise list of care requirements. Most people keep them in freshwater aquariums, but their natural habitat is a single species in low-end brackish aquariums.

In the wild, they primarily inhabit the mangrove swamps in Asia, such as estuaries and rivers. These are usually a mix of fresh and saltwater at a very shallow height. The substrate is fine sand, and the temperature is tropical. These conditions are easy to mimic in any home tank.

Since they’re not fully aquatic, you should provide them with plenty of access to land. Provide at least 20% land or at least a floating island. The water salinity should be about 1.005 for the best results.

They are omnivorous creatures but prefer a diet involving proteins such as uncooked fish, prawns, and bloodworms. You can supplement this with vegetables like spinach and peas. They also eat regular fish food such as crab foods and algae pellets.

African Dwarf Frog

African dwarf frog

The African Dwarf Frog, also referred to as Dwarf Clawed Frog can be kept in small 2-gallon aquariums. Should cover the bottom of the tank with gravel large enough to prevent the frogs from accidentally ingesting it as they go about hunting for food.

In most pet stores, they are sold as ‘living art’ to be kept in small glass vases. They don’t do well with tropical fish and fail to live with communities of other fish.

You should filter the water using a canister filter, under gravel filter, or a sponge filter. Make sure to regularly clean 10 to 20% of the water and replace it with dechlorinated water once a week.

You can feed them pellets designed for predatory freshwater species. Offer them as much food as they can eat, making sure to remove uneaten food and feces with a turkey baster or a dip net.

With proper care, your African Dwarf Frog should live for over five years.