The Brim Fish: Amazing Sunfish Species

brim fish

Last updated on August 26th, 2022 at 07:06 am

The brim fish, also referred to as the bream fish, is one of the world’s newest and amazing freshwater sunfish species that was recently found in the Amazon basin, according to new research published. It was discovered in China and was found to be over 3 feet long, with a weight of 330 pounds. The brim fish can now be seen on display at the Shanghai Aquarium.

The brim fish (Abramis brama) is native to Asia, but it has also been introduced into Europe, North America, and Africa. It is a bizarre-looking creature that belongs to an ancient lineage of bony fishes known as sarcopterygians, which includes coelacanths.

The brim fish has been given its name because it possesses a bristly “beard” made up of collagen fibers that can be seen when it puffs itself up.

Origin and descriptions

brim fish

The brim fish originates from the swamps and ponds of southeastern United States. The largest individuals can grow to over 30 pounds, with a maximum length of about five feet long. Their average size is around half this, but any specimen weighing more than 20 pounds should be considered exceptional. They are known locally as “grinnels,” and are often used as sport fish due to their tendency to feed in the open during daylight hours.

The brim is a typical member of its family, most closely resembling the buffalo fish and cyprinid carps of Eurasia. The body plan is generally elongated with an obtuse anterior angle on the operculum (gill plate).

The scales are large and thick, with a characteristic diamond-shaped outline. The dorsal fin is set slightly behind the midpoint of the body length. Brim fish lack teeth on their upper jaws as well as pelvic fins. Their name comes from an inflatable air bladder that can be used to expand or contract their throat for catching prey in different conditions.

The fish’s body is covered in thick skin, which has a ridged texture and can be olive or greenish-brown with darker mottling on the back and lighter coloration below. In older individuals, this dark pigment spreads over most of the abdomen, while young specimens have more distinct patterns. The belly may have blue spots toward the rear.

The brim fish is the largest freshwater species in North America, and one of only five that weigh over 20 pounds on average (the others being alligators). More typically, they are around 15-20 pounds when fully grown. The record size for this species is 49 pounds even (22kg), but specimens weighing more than 30 pounds are considered exceptional.

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Species profile

brim fish

The brim Fish has a long, thick body that tapers to the tail. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have large fins on their backs near the head. The fish are generally dark brown or black with an olive green tint along the top of their bodies. Brim fish have a bony ridge on top of their heads and large mouths full of teeth.

This species was first identified in 2013 but had been observed as early as 2007. The brim fish is endemic to Lake Tana’s Ethiopian waters and has never before been seen elsewhere. This makes the fish truly unique among living fishes because it is found in only one location.

Scientific name

The scientific name for the brim fish is Abramis brama.

Color and appearance

Brim fish has a long, thick body that tapers to the tail. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and have large fins on their backs near the head. The fish are generally dark brown or black with an olive green tint along the top of their bodies. Brim fish have a bony ridge on top of their heads and large mouths full of teeth. Their large mouths make up about a third of their bodies.

They grow to be about four feet long. Their most noticeable feature is their large fins, which make them stand out among other freshwater specimens (and occasionally scares off potential predators).

The Brim Fish was recently added as the world’s largest freshwater specimen in The Guinness Book of World Records after a male specimen was caught in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia. The previous record-holder for the world’s largest freshwater fish was a Mekong giant catfish also found in the lake.

Range and habitat

The brim fish can be found in shallow areas of river tributaries or estuarine deltas throughout Southeast Asia and specifically in Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia; Mekong River delta; Chao Phraya river basin of Thailand.

They prefer to feed on other smaller fish along with insects, algae, mollusks, crustaceans, and plants that grow near the surface of the water.

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The female uses its fins as a paddle to move over vegetation mats while looking for food, such as insects and mollusks.

The fish is very territorial, often fighting with other specimens to protect its patch of water for feeding or mating.

Size and weight

The brim fish grow to be about four feet long and can weigh up to 100 pounds. Their most noticeable feature is their large fins, which make them stand out among other freshwater specimens (and occasionally scares off potential predators).

Tank size

The brim fish are not picky shedders, so they can be housed in a tank of any size larger than 55 gallons. They enjoy swimming around larger tanks and need at least 55 gallons of water to themselves. If you have multiple brim fish, it’s best to keep them with other peaceful bottom feeders that won’t be bothered by their massive fins!

Life cycle

The brim fish has a life cycle similar to salmon and trout. They also have the ability to jump out of the water like salmon.

They are around five years old when they reach sexual maturity. During mating, the male will follow the female while she lays up to 1000 eggs which he fertilizes. Once hatched, these fish become free swimming in just one day!

Once born, you’ll have your new little friends for another four or so years until it’s time to say goodbye, but don’t worry! The average life span of a brim fish is about 15 years.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

Brim fish are considered very peaceful. They get their name from the hard ridge on top of their head that can act as a weapon, but they don’t use it for fighting or attacking other fish.

They’re not aggressive at all and spend more time swimming around than doing anything else!

The brim fish care

brim fish

The brim fish care is very simple, but they do require a large tank (at least 55 gallons).

They don’t seem to eat in the wild and their diet in captivity is still being studied. However, it’s been discovered that they will eat brine shrimp if offered them!

Brim fish are also known for eating dead matter from the bottom of tanks which helps keep the tank clean!

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What they eat

Brim fish are carnivores and prey on smaller species of freshwater fish.

They will eat almost anything they can fit in their mouth which makes them a danger to other small aquarium inhabitants! They also love snails so watch out for those too!

However, it’s not all bad news with the brim fish care because if you do have another small species, the brim fish will eat up all their leftovers!

Tank mates

Since the brim fish are known to be aggressive, it’s best to keep them with other bottom feeders.

It’s also wise to avoid any species that will look like food or small enough for a quick meal! They can get along well with plecostomus and catfish because they eat what the brim fish leaves behind. If you’re looking for a smaller species to keep with your brim fish, try loaches!

Water conditions

Brim fish do very well in a variety of water conditions. They prefer pH levels between six and eight, but will tolerate anything from five to nine!

Water temperature should be kept high at around 78 degrees Fahrenheit with cooler changes no lower than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The only downside is that, they don’t like drastic changes so try not to go colder than the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark


brim fish

Brim fish are not bred in captivity, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

They’re very difficult to breed and many people have tried. Successful breeding is rare and has only been done a few times before. Even if you do manage to get them to spawn, the fry will need live food for survival because they won’t accept flake food.

Successful spawning has been done with a pH level of eight, but keep in mind that any change to the water could kill the eggs and fry! So unless you want a lot of dead fish, it’s probably best not to try this at home.


Brim fish have a lifespan of four to five years in the wild and about 15 years in captivity!

The average life span is around 12 years. They don’t live very long compared to other common aquarium inhabitants, but they can get pretty big so it’s understandable why their lives are shorter than others.

Parasites and diseases

Brim fish are very resilient and don’t tend to get sick often.

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The only problem that is common with brim fish is a parasite called the anchor worm. This can be treated by dipping the fish into an iodine solution for about 30 seconds, but it’s recommended you quarantine any new additions before adding them to your tank!

In addition, they are also known to get ich, which is usually fatal unless treated quickly.

It’s recommended you do not purchase any fish that have visible signs of disease because it could spread and wipe out your entire tank!


There’s not much that preys on the brim fish because of their large size and thick scales.

However, they are known to be preyed upon by other fish in the wild such as trout, bass, and catfish! They also have a few predators from larger species if they should ever get caught off guard or too close to shore.

Does it make good pets?

Brim fish are amazing to have in an aquarium, but they aren’t for everyone.

If you’re looking for a big showy species that is very active, then the brim fish might be perfect for your tank! They are great at cleaning up waste and leftover food which helps keep your tank clean.

However, if you’re trying to breed them it’s best to be sure that you can provide the correct water conditions and tank mates. They also need a lot of food since they are constantly hungry!

They’re very fun fish, but not for someone who wants easy pet maintenance or is on a tight budget.


Brim fish is a very unique and interesting species, but they aren’t for everyone.

They’re not the best beginner pet because of their special needs and large size, so unless you have experience with larger fish, it’s probably best to research more before adding them! If you can provide what they need though, then there is no reason why you can’t have one hopping around your aquarium.