Posted by / Sunday 7 May 2023 / No comments

The characteristics of fish habitats like freshwater, brackish water and marine water bodies




Only 30% of the earth’s surface is land, the rest is covered by water. The water is classified into freshwater, brackish water and marine water. These are the waters in which fish may live and this generally referred to as fish habitat. A fish habitat is one the most complex and dynamic ecosystems in the world. This is where fish grows and thrives. In this article, we will discuss the importance of fish habitats. In addition, we will look at their characteristics, and which types of fish grow in which habitat. If one understands the various characteristics of freshwater, brackish water, and marine habitats it would help one to appreciate the different aquatic life that inhabits the planet earth.



One of the most important water bodies of the world is freshwater. The various types of water bodies that come under this category includes rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. One of the major characteristics of freshwater is that it is relatively less salty, generally between 0 and 1.5 parts per thousand. Freshwater habitats are home to a wide range of animals, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates. Many species of plants also thrive in freshwater habitats. Our interest is in the fish kinds that occupy freshwater. Some types of fish that live in fresh water include, Catfish. Trout. Carp, Perch, Bass, Sturgeon. Sunfish, Barbel, Pike, Walleye, and tilapia,


One of the most common types of a freshwater is a river. Rivers flow in one direction. There is lot of current associated with rivers. A typical river may either be narrow of wide. Examples of rivers in Nigeria include the Niger River, Benue River, Sokoto River and the Kaduna River, to mention a few. In Ghana, we have the River Pra, the Tano River, the Densu River as examples. In Togo, we have the Oti River, the Mono River, and the Mo River as examples. ,A river forms a delta at the end of its journey, over there, the sediment is deposited it is the sediment that makes the surrounding land very fertile. Rivers also a very essential source of fish protein for the people. They are essential to the environment and the communities that live near them. There are many types of fish that live in rivers, including carp, catfish, bass, trout, sturgeon, perch, pike, and dace.


Another example of freshwater is called a lake. One popular lake in Africa is called the Volta Lake, which is the largest man-made lake in Africa. Another major lake in Africa is the Oguta lake in Nigeria. A lake is one of the major sources of fish protein for the world. A typical lake is will contain freshwater. It does not have a current. It can either be large or small. The land around a lake is often fertile. It is probable that a stream(s) or river(s) is flowing into or flowing out the lake. A lake would have a lake bed and shoreline. Lakes are important habitats for fish. The types of fish species that live in lakes, include carp, catfish, bass, pike, perch, sunfish, trout, tilapia and sturgeon.


Streams are the other examples of water body classified fresh water. This type of water body is found a river or creek. A stream can be formed by the melting of snow, rainfall, and runoff water from a mountain or a hill. Some examples of streams in Ghana are Otobiri, Apetensu, Mfrebi. Streams are a major source protein too, to the populace. It also offers a source of employment to those who fish from it to sell to others. Different types of fish can be found in streams. These include trout, salmon, dace, chub, shiner, darter, sucker, and sculpin.


A pond anther type of freshwater. It is characterized by still water. It is not unusually to find out that a pond is surrounded by vegetation. It is typically smaller than a lake. It has been established that there are no wave actions in ponds. This explains why it is normally clear. The water in a pond is usually shallow. One can find ponds in low-lying areas. A pond may be naturally created or may be man-made. It is usually smaller than a lake. Common types of fish that live in ponds include sunfish, bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie.


The next type of fish habitat is brackish water. A brackish fish habitat is a mix of freshwater and salt water. While a freshwater is just a little salty, the salinity level of brackish water is a little saltier. It is usually between 1.5 and 30 parts per thousand. Estuaries and lagoons are classified as brackish water. The king of fish organisms that can be found in brackish water like an estuary include: gobies, killifish, mullet, pufferfish, eels, mudskippers, bass, sharks, and sturgeon.


An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water. Typically, it is filled with a mixture of salt water and fresh water. The salt comes from the Sea water and it is partially filled with freshwater from rivers and streams. The estuary provides an ideal home for a variety of fish, like striped bass, flounder, sturgeon, croaker, mullet, drum, spot, sea trout, snook, shad, and tarpon. fish.


A lagoon is a type of brackish water body. It is located along the coastal areas. It is normally separated from the Sea by the means of sand bars, barrier islands or reefs. These barriers provide protection against the actions of the waves. One can mention the Keta Lagoon, in the Volta Region of Ghana, There is so much aquatic life in lagoons, for example fish, algae, and other marine organisms. Lagoons provide a source of employment to communities around it. Fish protein is also sourced from lagoons. Some common types of fish in lagoons are mullet, tarpon, snapper, barracuda, snook, grouper, etc.


Marine habitats are those with the highest level of salinity among all the three fish habitats. The salt is normally around 35 parts per thousand. There are two categories marine habitat. One is called pelagic and the other is called demersal. The pelagic habitats are those opened to the ocean, such as the open sea or the surface of the ocean. The demersal habitats, on the other hand, are those close to the ocean floor. Some examples of marine habitat are coral reefs and mangroves. The example of fish that live in marine habitat are tuna, salmon, cod, mackerel, anchovies, herring, halibut, sardines, swordfish, sea bass, and sharks.

Ocean floor

The ocean floor is an example of marine habitat. One of the features is that it is rugged. Another is that, there are terrains with mountains, valleys, canyons and deep trenches. The environment in the ocean floor is very cold. The population of fish in this habitat is not much. Parts of the fish habitat can be dark because of the inability of the Sun to penetrate. Some types of fish that live on the ocean floor include anglerfish, flounder, gobies, dragonets, eels, seahorses, and stargazers.

Coral Reefs

Another instance of a marine habitat is coral reef. Coral reefs are positioned in both tropical or subtropical waters. Different sorts of fish species inhabit coral reefs. They furnish a structure of safety for coastal communities from storms and erosion. The kinds of fish that inhabit coral reefs consist of angelfish, triggerfish, parrotfish, wrasse, clownfish, butterflyfish, goatfish, damselfish, and grouper.


The last of the marine habitat to be discussed is mangrove. They are located in shallow waters. Mangroves are covered with evergreen trees and shrubs. They provide a conducive environment for different species. Mangroves protect shorelines and also prevent erosion. Mangroves reduce the effects of storm surge at the coasts. The types of fish that inhabit mangroves include snappers, groupers, barramundi, mullet, whiting, jacks, and some species of shark in addition to crabs, shrimps, clams, oysters, and mussels.


In conclusion, understanding the characteristics of fish habitats is essential for the conservation of species and the aquatic environment as a whole. Knowing which habitats are most suitable for a species, as well as any potential threats, is essential for determining the best management strategies for a species. With the right knowledge and strategies, we can ensure that our aquatic habitats remain healthy and provide vital resources for the future.

<<Back to Home Page

Go to the list of other subjects>>


Related Posts