Rank Order Of The Smallest Fish According To Its Size

Smallest Fish

Rank Order Of The Smallest Fish According To Its Size


The characteristics of fish that are already considered small give rise to the strong possibility that we have not yet found the world’s smallest fish.

The current record is held by a deepwater anglerfish that travels on the back of his much larger wife. This is most likely the only way we could notice the record holder.

The smallest fish on our list is only 0.24 inches long, and the largest fish is only 0.98 inches long (6.2 mm to 2.5 cm).

To give you an idea of how much larger these fish are compared to the typical neon tetra found in aquariums, one neon tetra measures 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length.

Our ranking goes from the smallest to the largest possible adult size, considering the smallest possible adult size for each species of fish. There are times when the ranking considers a person’s gender and other times when it does not.

Some of the fish on our list are the kind that lives in the depths of the ocean or are so rare that people have only caught glimpses of them a few times. However, there are two that are particularly well-liked in the aquarium trade.

Hobbyists have discovered that they can keep more of these miniature fish in their tanks despite the recommended ratio of one inch of fish to one gallon of aquarium space.

Continue reading to find a list of the top eight smallest fish and more information about each of these fascinating creatures.

A Ranking Of The Eight (8) Smallest Fish

On our list are eight of the tiniest fish that we’ve found in oceans and other bodies of water all over the world, including:

  • Males of the species Photocorynus spiniceps measure between 0.24 and 0.29 inches (6.2 to 7.3 mm),
  • while females of the species Stout infant fish measure between 0.24 and 0.26 inches (6.2 to 6.5 mm), and males measure between 0.26 and 0.3 inches (6.5 to 7.5 mm)
  • male Paedocypris progenetica: .39 inches (10 mm) for both the male and the female, with a record for a female of 0.31 inches (7.9 mm)
  • Males measure between 0.89 cm and 1.09 cm, and females measure between 0.35 and 0.43 inches (0.89 cm and 1.09 cm) (1.5 cm).
  • The length of the female Midget dwarf goby is 0.39 inches (1 cm), the same as that of the male.
  • The male and female Chili Rasbora measure between 0.5 and 1.38 inches (1.27 and 3.5 cm) in length.
  • The male and female Corfu dwarf goby have an average length of 0.87 inches (22 mm).
  • The male and female Celestial Pearl Danio measure between 0.79 and 0.98 inches (2.0 and 2.5 cm) in length.

Let’s hone in on the specifics of each of these species and take a closer look at them.

1). Photocorynus Spiniceps

The male Photocorynus spiciness is the world’s smallest fish, with a length of just 0.24 to 0.29 inches (6.2 to 7.3 mm) and a width of 6.2 to 7.3 mm.

photocorynus spiniceps

It is not only the smallest fish in the world but also the smallest vertebrate that has ever been discovered in the world. Anglerfish are found in the deepest parts of the ocean, and one species called the Photocorynus spiniceps lives there.

Anglerfish are equipped with a bio-luminous bulb that they use to trick their prey into swimming directly into their mouths.

But what smaller prey could there be than this itty-bitty creature? Since he is a parasite, he does not need to worry too much about things of this nature.

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The males, which are very small and parasitic, attach themselves to the females, which are 1.97 inches long and 721 percent larger (50 mm).

To put this size disparity into perspective, imagine a man who is only 5 feet tall attaching himself to a woman over 41 feet tall. This would be like saying that a short man is attached to a skyscraper.

Some females go their entire life span of 25 to 30 years without ever meeting a male, while others end up with as many as eight juvenile males hitching a ride on their bodies at any given time.

Fish belonging to the genus Photocorynus spiniceps can be found in waters classified as tropical and subtropical in the western Atlantic Ocean and on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

2). Stout Infantfish

Because both the male and female of the stout infant fish (Schindleria brevipinguis) is considered the world’s smallest fish, some people believe that it should hold the title of smallest fish.

stout infant fish

The female’s length can range anywhere from 0.24 to 0.26 inches (6.2 to 6.5 mm), while the male’s length can range anywhere from 0.26 to 0.3 inches (6.5 to 7.5 mm).

The fish was given its name in Latin, from the words “brevis,” which means short, and “pinguis,” which means stout. This name refers to the fact that its body is significantly shorter and thicker than the bodies of other species of Schindleria.

On the other hand, its lifespan is only two months, which is relatively short. The Stout Infantfish is a species that was originally found in the western Pacific Ocean.

At this time, it is only known to live on the Great Barrier Reef, which is located in the vicinity of Queensland, Australia, and on the Osprey Reef, which is located in the Coral Sea.

3). Paedocypris Progenetica.

A female measuring 0.31 inches (7.9 mm) in length is the smallest Paedocypris progenetica that has ever been documented.

paedocypris progenetica

Nevertheless, 0.39 inches is considered the standard length for both males and females (10 mm). Paideios, which translates to “children,” and Cypris, which translates to “Venus,” are the origins of their names.

Therefore, the meaning of their name is “Children of Venus.” When Paedocypris progenetica were discovered for the first time, scientists proclaimed them to be the smallest vertebrates on the planet.

The male Photocorynus spiniceps currently holds the title for this species. Paedocypris progenetica is a species of carp relative that is endemic to Indonesia and can only be found in ten to twenty small swamps there.

They live in a highly acidic blackwater peat swamp, which has an acidity level one hundred times higher than that of acid rain. Unfortunately, peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia are being destroyed at an alarming rate.

According to the Red List maintained by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Paedocypris progenetica is classified as a species whose population is diminishing and therefore is considered to be near extinction.

4). Dwarf Pygmy Goby

Males of the dwarf pygmy goby, also known as the Philippine goby (Pandaka pygmaea), range in length from 0.35 to 0.43 inches (0.89 cm to 1.09 cm), while females can reach a maximum length of 0.59 inches (1.5 cm).

dwarf pygmy goby

The Malabon River in Rizal, Philippines was where the first dwarf pygmy gobies were discovered. Unfortunately, this region has undergone reclamation, and as a result, all of the water still present there has been severe pollution.

It was believed that the dwarf pygmy goby had become extinct in the Philippines as of 2004.  On the other hand, it is possible to find them living in Indonesian mangrove swamps and brackish water environments.

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The IUCN cannot determine the threat level because there is insufficient data.

It was in 1958 when hobbyists first started importing fish for the German aquarium trade; therefore, it is possible to find one for sale for the home aquarium, even though they appear to be very rare.

Be aware that not every fish referred to as a pygmy goby or dwarf goby is the same species as a dwarf pygmy goby. There are over 2,000 different species of gobies, so this distinction is necessary.

5). Midget Dwarf Goby

The male and female midget dwarf goby, also known as Trimatom nanus, can grow to a maximum length of 0.39 inches (1 cm).

midget dwarf goby

In fact, up until 2004, we were under the impression that the midget dwarf goby was the smallest vertebrate in existence. The midget dwarf goby is indigenous to the western side of the Indian Ocean, in the general vicinity of the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago.

Additionally, it has been found on the western coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The ocean drop-off depths of 66 to 80 feet (20 to 30 meters) are the most common place to find it, but it can also be found in outer reefs and lagoons anywhere from 16 to 115 feet (5 to 35 meters) deep.

The midget dwarf goby was found in 1981, but there is still not much information available about it because it tends to conceal itself among rocks, corals, and macroalgae.

There is no reliable information regarding the lifespan of the midget dwarf goby; however, scientists estimate that it is at least a few months.

6). Chili Rasbora

Boraras brigittae, also known as the chili rasbora or the mosquito rasbora, can be as small as 0.5 inches long (1.27 cm).

chili rasbora

However, the average length of it is between 0.7 and 1.38 inches (1.8 to 3.5 cm).

Inland wetlands of Western Indonesia and Sulawesi are home to populations of chili rasbora fish. Their wild population is estimated to be between 10,000 and 100,000 mature fish.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature reports that many of their blackwater habitats have been severely damaged or eradicated.

Human activities, such as draining the area to convert their habitat into palm oil plantations, pose a threat to a significant portion of the remaining peat swamp forests where they can be found.

These peat swamp forests are home to these animals. The chili rasbora is popular among aquarium hobbyists due to its small size, stunning red color, and calm schooling behavior.

It is essential to purchase chili rasboras that have been bred in captivity as opposed to those caught in the wild because, unfortunately, overfishing for the aquarium trade has contributed to the decline of their population in the wild.

7). Corfu Dwarf Goby

The length of the Nipowitschia goerneri, also known as the Corfu dwarf goby, is only 0.87 inches on average (22 mm).

corfu dwarf goby

The dwarf goby, known as the Corfu goby, is endemic to the island of Corfu, which is located in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Albania.

The species was discovered in Corfu for the first time during one spring in 1983, and it wasn’t seen again until 2014 when a Czech-Greek expedition discovered nine Corfu dwarf gobies in the Korission Lagoon of southern Corfu. The discovery was made by accident.

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Regrettably, because there have been so few interactions with the fish, very little information is known about it. Because there are over one hundred aquatic sites on the island, scientists and naturalists have not conducted extensive research in this region.

Dams, poor water management, excessive water consumption, and droughts are some of the region’s problems. It is believed that most of the fish in the region have become extinct.

On the other hand, it’s possible that certain fish, like the Corfu dwarf goby, was simply overlooked. The cryptic behavior, brown and white coloring, and diminutive size of the Corfu dwarf goby all make it easy to overlook these gobies.

In addition, the search efforts made to determine their status have not been very extensive.

8). Celestial Pearl Danio

Although it is unquestionably a member of the Danio genus, the Celestial pearl danio (Danio margaritatus) is also known as the galaxy rasbora.

celestial pearl danio

With a length of 0.79 to 0.98 inches, it is the largest fish on our list (2 to 2.5 cm). However, it still falls short of the one-inch mark.

The heavenly pearl danio is endemic to Myanmar, where it can be found inhabiting small, shallow ponds no deeper than 1 foot (30 cm) and formed by seepages and springs.

A few different kinds of elodea and anacharis, in addition to the grasses native to the area, can grow in the ponds. January can bring temperatures as low as 71 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 24 degrees Celsius) in their natural habitats.

The IUCN has placed the celestial pearl danio on its red list of endangered species because the wild population of this species is declining.

When they were first discovered in 2006, these stunning bronzy-green fish with pearly-white spots and red stripes on their fins caused a commotion in the aquarium trade.

The research results indicate that conservation efforts are required to safeguard their natural environment, and additional studies are required to investigate the consequences of the pet trade.

Conclusions Regarding the Order of the Fish with the Fewest Fins

There is a chance, and it’s a pretty good bet, that we haven’t uncovered the world’s smallest fish yet.

After all, it can be difficult to find a fish smaller than a quarter of an inch (6.4 mm) in length. The Photocorynus spiniceps is the fish that holds the record for being the smallest known fish. In addition, we discussed seven other fish less than an inch long (2.5 cm).

Most of the fish that were ranked as having the smallest size are species that you will most likely never see in person. Despite this, the chili rasbora and the celestial pearl danio are two examples of fish that are quite common in the aquarium fish trade.

If the thought of owning fish of a more diminutive size appeals to you, you might think about putting some in the aquarium you keep at home.

You should be aware, however, that purchasing wild-caught chili rasboras and celestial pearl danios can contribute to the decline of these species in their natural habitat.

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