Common Fish Names Beginning With K

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When you’re considering what fish to buy for your tank, one way of deciding what species to choose is to pick a letter and then check out what fish names begin with it. In this article, we have a look at fish names that start with K.

Did you know that K is the fourth-least frequently used letter in the English alphabet? With that in mind, you wouldn’t think that there would be very many fish that start with K. Well, amazingly, we found no fewer than 21!

Fish That Start With The Letter K

So, without further ado, let’s dive into our list of 21 fish species whose names begin with the letter K!

1. Kuhli Loach

Banded Kuhli Loach Live Fish Aquatic Pets
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The Kuhli loach, Pangio khulii, is a very active little fish, constantly on the move around the aquarium, exploring his environment in search of leftover scraps of food on the substrate. A group of these peaceful fish makes a great addition to a community tank, and they also work hard to keep the place clean and tidy.

Like many other loaches, the Khuli loach is nocturnal and shy, coming out at night to feed. Although these fish are not strictly a schooling species, they are more confident if kept in pairs or small groups. With a lifespan of up to ten years, these worm-like fish grow to measure up to 4.5 inches in length.

2. Kafirnigani Gray Loach

Kafirnigani Gray Loach on top of a big rock.
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The Kafirnigani Gray loach, Triplophysa dorsalis kafirnigani, is also known as the Gray loach. These fish come from China, where they inhabit lakes and other quiet waters where the current is slow, and the plant cover is dense.

Although this species is not threatened and can be raised in captivity, they are one of the more unusual loaches and are not widely available in fish stores.

3. Kissing Gourami

Focus shot of Kissing Gourami pink tropical fish.
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The Kissing gourami, Helostoma temminkii, is one of the most popular species of tropical fish that you’ll see in home aquariums right around the world. The Kissing gourami was introduced to the hobby in around 1950 and has been a firm favorite with aquarists ever since. Kissing Fish, as they are also known, are the only members of the Helostomais genus.

These fascinating fish are so-named for their odd behavior that includes a “kissing” action. Two fish face each other and swim together, pressing their mouths together before releasing them quickly. Both sexes display that behavior, although it’s not clear why they do so. It’s thought that “kissing” is a way of testing each fish’s strength and sorting out dominance within a group.

4. Katangae Nile Bichir

Katangae Nile Bichir on pink sand.
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The Katangae Nile bichir is one of 12 species that are members of the Polypteridae family of prehistoric fishes. Bichirs are widely regarded as the living fossils of the fish keeping world. These large, predatory fish are found in all the tropical freshwater systems of Africa.

One peculiarity of the bichir is that it has evolved a pair of lungs, enabling the creature to breathe air. These dinosaurs also have electroreceptors called the Ampullae of Lorenzini. Bichirs are carnivorous, prowling their environment at night hunters in search of small fish and invertebrates, and these sensory organs allow the fish to detect the electrical signals given off by prey items.

These fish are expensive to buy, as they cannot be commercially bred, and the specimens that you find for sale are mostly wild-caught.

5. Kivver

Underwater photography of a freshwater fish Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus). Invasive species swimming in a pond. Sunfish in lake habitat. Wildlife animal Sonnenbarsch.

The Kivver is more commonly known as the Pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus) and is a member of the sunfish family. The Kivver is also commonly called the Pond perch, Common sunfish, Sunfish, Sunny, and Punkie.

Kivvers are not aquarium fish, although they are well-known to anglers and make great eating, especially when cooked over a campfire at the end of a hard day’s fishing. These fish are found in good numbers right across North America, primarily in the northeastern states, although you may find a few living further south.

6. Kenyi Cichlid

Focus shot of yellow Kenyi Cichlid fish.

Kenyi cichlids belong to the Mbuna group of cichlids, inhabiting rocky areas of Lake Malawi.

Although gorgeous to look at, these are one of the most belligerent and aggressive of all the Mbunas, and even small juveniles will attempt to overpower and dominate small fish. These fish are recommended for experienced cichlid keepers only and are not suitable for life in a community tank. However, if you have a very large tank containing mixed African Mbunas, you may be able to keep one of these fish.

7. Keyhole Cichlid

Keyhole Cichlid sniffing on moss plant.
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The Keyhole cichlid (Cleithracara maronii) is one of the more peaceful species of cichlids that can be kept in a community of fish of a similar size. These fish are not especially popular as they lack the bright colors of other more aggressive cichlid species. That being said, the Keyhole cichlid is easy to care for and would suit a beginner hobbyist.

Keyhole cichlids come from the Orinoco river estuary area in tropical South America, and they are the only species within the Cleithracara genus. The fish live in slow-moving streams and rivers that flow through forested areas where the substrate is thickly lined with fallen leaves, and the lighting is subdued.

8. Kingsley’s Ctenopoma

Kingsley's Ctenopoma
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The Kingsley’s Ctenopoma is named for the explorer, Mary Kingsley, and is also known as the Tailspot Ctenopoma or Kingsley’s Climbing Perch.

These mysterious fishes inhabit a vast range of coastal rainforest that covers much of northwestern Africa, including Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, and the Republic of Congo. These are large fish, reaching up to 10 inches in length in nature, although tank-kept specimens are a little smaller at around eight inches.

Kingsley’s Ctenopoma is an aggressive fish species that is not suited to life in a general community tank, as they will eat smaller, more passive fish. That being said, if you have a very large aquarium that’s set up with lots of thick plant cover, you could keep these fish with other robust, semi-aggressive fishes of a similar size.

9. Kooliad Barb

Tiger barb Puntius tetrazona in aquarium

The Kooliad barb (Barbus tetrazona) is more commonly known as the Tiger barb. These easy-care fish are one of the most popular species that are seen in tropical freshwater tanks around the world. Tiger barbs come in several color morphs, including green, gold, and albino, all of which have four very distinctive vertical black stripes. As the fish mature, those stripes tend to fade.

Kooliad barbs can make good community fish when kept in a small group of at least six or seven individuals. If kept in isolation or in pairs, these fish have a reputation as being fin nippers, picking on slower-moving fish. That being said, I have eight Tiger barbs that live peacefully in a community tank with dwarf gouramis and Corys.

10. Kner’s Banjo Catfish

Kner's Banjo Catfish
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Kner’s Banjo catfish (Dysichthys knerii) is also known as the Equador Banjo catfish. These weird-looking fish are popular in the aquarium hobby, making a nice addition to a community tank.

In nature, the fish are nocturnal, lurking underneath the substrate, leaping out to grab anything edible that passes by. So, you’ll need to use a soft, sandy substrate that these bottom-dwellers can bury themselves in.

These peaceful, tropical catfish come from South America and are so-named for their large, flat heads and slender, tapering body that gives them the look of a banjo. The fishes’ skin is completely covered with large tubercles that make them look almost toad-like.

11. Kuhli Loach “Black”

Loach fish isolated on a white background.

The Black Khuli loach (Pangio kuhlii) is a good choice for a tropical community tank, being peaceful and relatively straightforward to look after. These fish have a slender, eel-like body and can grow to measure up to three inches long.

These little fish are mainly nocturnal, coming out at dusk to feed, so they tend to do best in a heavily planted, dimly lit aquarium. As the fish are burrowers, you should provide them with a soft substrate of sand or smooth gravel. The Black Khuli loach is known for its ability to sneak into the smallest space, so we advise that you screen your filter to keep the loaches out!

12. Knight Goby

Knight Goby
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The Knight goby (Gobius sadanundio) is found in many parts of Asia, including Pakistan, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh.

These sweet little fish grow up to around three inches in length, making them suitable for life in a community tank. However, these fish can be aggressive and territorial with others of their species, so you will need to provide plenty of rocky caves and visual barriers in the habitat to keep the peace.

The Knight goby is a brackish water fish that cannot tolerate freshwater conditions.

13. Kelpfish

A red and pink crevice kelpfish on a color reef in California's Channel Islands poses briefly for a picture before it darts away into its algae hiding place.

The Kelpfish is a marine fish that is native to coastal areas of New Zealand and Australia, where it lives in shallow waters between the intertidal zone. The fish is usually found living among kelp forests and weed areas on reefs where there is a strong surge and wave action.

These unusual fish feed on invertebrates that are thrown up into their habitat by the waves.

Kelpfish are relatively common and are not considered of concern on the IUCN Red List.

14. Kadango Cichlid

Kadango Cichlid
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The Kadango cichlid (Copadichromis borleyi) is a great choice of pet for a hobbyist who wants to add to a collection of various species of Lake Malawi cichlids. These fish are Utaka cichlids, originating from Lake Malawi in Africa, where they live in both shallow and deep areas of open water, feeding on zooplankton.

15. Kribensis

The Kribensis is a beautiful, colorful fish that is very easy to care for. These fish come from the tropical freshwaters of the Niger Delta, Nigeria, and coastal Cameroon, preferring shallow, thickly vegetated areas.

These dwarf cichlids grow to just a couple of inches in length and make a nice addition to a community setup. Kribs are bottom dwellers, and they are quite territorial, adopting a cave in which to spawn, which they will do very readily. Their behavior is fascinating to watch, especially when both parents escort a brood of tiny fry around the tank, protecting their family from the unwanted attentions of nosy tankmates.

16. Kafue Pike

Pike in the lake

The Kafue pike is also known as the African pike. These are large, predatory fish that must be kept with other large species of Characins and non-aggressive species, as smaller fishes will quickly become viewed as a food source.

Kafue pike are not the easiest of fishes to care for, requiring a live diet, although you may eventually be able to teach your fish to accept whitebait and silversides that you can buy at a good fish store. Extreme care must be taken when feeding these fish, as, like all pike, Kafues have needle-sharp teeth, and they do jump to snatch food from their keeper’s hand!

17. Kuiper’s Loach

Kuiper's Loach
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The Kuiper’s loach (Nemacheilus selangoricus) is also known as the Fighting loach, although in reality, the species is relatively peaceful and suitable for life in a general community tank.

You can keep Kuiper’s loaches in small groups, but you must provide caves and rocky crevices in which the fish can establish a territory. During the daytime, the fish live peacefully together. However, sometimes you’ll see them lying side-by-side and engaging in a sort of body-banging, tail-slapping combat, which is thought to be a trial of strength and rarely results in injury to either fish.

18. Killifish

Nice aquarium fish from genus Aphyosemion.

Killifish belong to the order of Cyprinodontiformes, which has over 1,250 different species classified into ten families.

These tiny fish are beautiful, fascinating creatures that live in many diverse environments across many continents. Some species of Killifish are easy to care for, whereas others are very difficult to keep in captivity.

19. Kyburz Tetra

Kyburz Tetra
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Kyburz tetras (Pseudochalceus kyburzi) come from coastal rivers on Colombia’s Pacific side.

These small, freshwater fish grow to measure just three inches in length, making them ideal for life in a community tank. However, unfortunately, the species is rarely seen in the hobby, which is a shame, as these are lovely fish that are quite easy to care for.

Kyburz tetras are happiest when kept in a group of at least six. Adult males are sometimes territorial with each other, but if housed in a large tank with plenty of plant cover and hiding places, no serious disharmony or injury should occur.

20. Koi Carp

beautiful koi fish swimming in the pond

The Japanese Koi carp is a species of ornamental fish that is tolerant of a wide range of conditions and makes a bright, colorful addition to your garden fishpond. Koi colors can be orange, white, calico, variegated, blue, yellow, black, and red, or combinations of all those shades.

These fish are peaceful creatures that do best when kept with companions of their own kind and given plenty of space in which to swim and grow.

21. Knife Livebearer

Knife Livebearer
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Knife livebearers are small tropical freshwater fishes that come from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, where they live in streams, ditches, rivers, and backwaters.

These nano fish are relatively easy to look after and enjoy a mature tank that is densely planted but with plenty of open water space for swimming. Knife livebearers are surface-dwelling fish that appreciate floating plants in which to take shelter and spawn.

In Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed our list of fish species that have names beginning with K. Now, you have some inspiration for fish that you could buy to stock your new fish tank!

But can you think of any that we’ve missed? If you can, share the names with us in the comments box below.

Common Fish Names Beginning With K - Infographic

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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