Skip to content Skip to footer

Different Types of Fish (Saltwater and Freshwater Species Fishes)

Different Types of Fish

Fish are a group of vertebrate, aquatic animals that have gills and lack limbs with digits like fingers and toes. They are mostly cold-blooded animals that are covered in scales, breathe through specialized gills which are actually openings on their skin, and lay eggs (with a few exceptions like the shark that gives birth to live young). Fish can live in a variety of environments – their bodies are designed for swimming and thanks to their fins they can travel quickly through the water. Fish can live in freshwater rivers and lakes, but they can also live in deep seas and oceans. They are mostly omnivores which means that they feed on plants and smaller fish, insects, and worms.

Fish is also an important source of food for people worldwide, because it contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Fish is actually considered to be one of the healthiest protein-rich foods, but it’s also full of omega-3 fatty acids that play a huge role in heart and brain health. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of essential fats our bodies can’t produce on their own, which is why it is recommended to eat fatty fish regularly or at least two times a week. When it comes to buying fish, many people are wondering whether they should buy freshwater or saltwater fish. Both kinds are almost equally nutritious and tasty, but if you want to learn more about the differences between these two types of fish, keep reading. In this article, you are going to learn a few things about the most common types of fish for eating and find out which kinds of fish to choose for your next meal.

Differences Between Saltwater and Freshwater Fish

Saltwater and freshwater fish are two different types of fish but they are both delicious and great sources of good fats, lean protein, and essential nutrients. However, there are some differences in their taste and bone structure. When it comes to taste, saltwater fish tend to have a fuller flavor, but at the same time they also have a salty or briny taste, which is a result of the high salt concentration in the sea. Freshwater fish on the other hand, tend to have a milder flavor and many people find that river fishes are tastier in comparison to marine fishes.

Saltwater and freshwater fish also have some differences in their nutrient content. Even though both types of fish have high amounts of calcium, vitamin D, B-12, zinc, iron, and magnesium, and are healthy and nutritious in their own ways, freshwater fish are richer in unsaturated fats, while saltwater fish have a higher protein content. When it comes to their bone structure, marine fishes have a larger bone structure compared to the river ones, which means they have long bones that are easier to spot. Some of the tastiest and most popular types of freshwater fish for eating include catfish, tilapia, trout, and carp. On the other hand, some of the best types of saltwater fish for cooking and eating include tuna, salmon, red snapper, sardines, and cod.

Different Types of Fish for Eating and Cooking

Scientifically, fishes are divided into three main groups: jawless, bony, and cartilaginous. Jawless fishes are scaleless fishes that feed by attaching themselves to other fishes, scraping a hole through the skin and sucking out blood. Bony fishes are about 95% of all fish species and they have bony endoskeletons, while cartilaginous fishes have jaws and skeletons made of cartilage. However, fishes can also be divided into freshwater and saltwater species. There are also other types of different fish known as diadromous (fish that travels between fresh and saltwater constantly), anadromous (saltwater fish that travels to freshwater to spawn), and catadromous (type of freshwater fish that go to the sea to spawn).

But, even though there are so many different breeds of fish in the aquatic ecosystem, that doesn’t mean that all of them are edible and good for cooking. Experts recommend eating fish twice or thrice a week if we want to reap all of the healthy benefits. So, let’s take a look at some of the best fish types to eat.

Salmon

Salmon

Salmon is widely regarded as the world’s most popular fish, loved for its mild flavor and versatility. This is an oily fish known for its pink-colored meaty flesh and its rich and buttery taste. However, depending on if the salmon is caught in the wild or farmed, the flesh of this fish may be darker in color. Wild salmon typically has dark pink to red color, while farmed salmon has light pink flesh. Salmon is a large species of fish in the family Salmonidae and is related to trout. It is one of the few species that are both freshwater and saltwater fish. In addition to being a great source of healthy omega-3 acids, this common fish is also an amazing source of vitamin D and calcium. Salmon is a versatile and tasty fish that can be eaten baked, pan-fried, smoked, grilled, sauteed, or pan-fried.

Tuna

Tuna is a saltwater fish that belongs to the tribe Thunnini, a subgroup of the family Scombridae. There are 15 species of tuna that belong to the tribe Thunnini, and their sizes vary greatly. Some species of tuna like the Atlantic bluefin tuna are even the largest edible fish in the sea. Fresh tuna has dark-colored meaty flesh that can range from pink to dark red in color. It has a sweet mild flavor and tastes nothing like the canned variety. The light canned kind (skipjack tuna) is the tuna that is the leanest and lowest in mercury, which makes it the healthiest you can eat. On the other hand, canned white, bluefin, and yellowfin tuna usually contain a higher amount of mercury, but it’s still safe to eat them in moderation. This high sea fish is a low calorie source of protein and other important nutrients, therefore it’s a staple in many kitchens.

Cod

Cod

Cod also known as codfish, is one of the most popular types of saltwater whitefish, belonging to the family Gadidae. The Atlantic cod and the Pacific cod are two of the most common species. Much like the other types of fish from the ocean, cod is also a great source of vitamin B-12, niacin, phosphorus, and omega-3 fatty acids, and is low in calories, which makes it one of the healthiest fish you can eat. Cod has a mild taste and flaky white flesh which becomes almost translucent when it’s pan-fried. However, this delicious fish can also be baked and broiled.

Tilapia

Tilapia

Tilapia is a large genus that belongs to the tribe Tilapiini in the family Cichlidae. Tilapia is a fish of freshwater that can be seen mostly in shallow streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. This large fish can have red, orange, black, or silver scales, and it is one of the most consumed fishes in the world. All species of tilapia are regarded as whitefish and they have a mild, subtle flavor that’s not fishy at all. Tilapia is one of the leanest fish you can find on the market and also one of the lowest in mercury. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals like niacin, vitamin b-12, vitamin D, choline, phosphorus, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, this type of fish is good for baking, pan-frying, and freezing.

Sardines

Sardines

Sardines also known as pilchards are a group of small, oily fish that belong to the herring family Clupeidae. They swim near the water surface and are mainly saltwater fishes, although some of them live in freshwater. The Pacific sardine is one of the most widely used types of sardine in cooking. Sardines have a rich, unique taste and dense, meaty flesh. They are rich in iron, calcium, selenium, protein, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines can be consumed fresh, but the canned versions are easier to find and are even more nutritious because you’re eating the entire fish with bones and skin. What’s important about this fish is that they contain minimal amounts of mercury because they’re quite small and their only source of food is plankton.

Herring

Herring

Herring are forage or prey fish that belong to the family of Clupeidae and these fishes live in both saltwater and freshwater. Herring are similar to sardines because they belong to the same family. This oily fish is beloved around the world for its delicious and distinct flavor. This fish is also an amazing source of protein, vitamin B-12, iron, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids, and is extremely good especially when it’s eaten pickled or smoked. However, smoked herring is usually full of sodium, so be careful and always consume it in moderation.

Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout

Rainbow trout is a freshwater fish that belongs to the family Salmonidae. This fish is one of the healthiest choices for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is its low level of contaminants, especially in farm-raised fish. The rainbow trout is also high in protein, contains omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, potassium, and large amounts of vitamin D and vitamin B-12. In addition to being incredibly healthy, this type of fish is delicious and has a similar soft texture like salmon. Whether you’re thinking of baking, pan-frying, poaching, broiling, or making a stew of this fish, rainbow trout always tastes delicious.

Red Snapper

Red Snapper

Red Snapper is a saltwater fish that lives in seas and oceans and belongs to the family Lutjanidae. This fish has a mildly sweet flavor and flaky skin that is often bright red or pink in color. Red snapper is a tasty and healthy fish, but it should be eaten in moderation as there are some concerns about the level of mercury in it. The fish has moderate levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and is rich in vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Red snapper can be broiled, baked, and poached just like any other fish, but it’s especially delicious when it’s grilled or fried.