Do Swai Fish Have Scales?

As fish go, swai (Pseudorasbora parva) are quite unique. They do not have true skin or scales like other fish types!

Swains don’t grow hair either, but they do have fur which is similar to their eel relatives. This furry layer helps protect them from heat as well as helping them blend into their surroundings.

However, these features aren’t very beautiful nor practical for swimming or eating. If you ever see a swain in person, try to touch its skin- it may be slightly slimy. This is due to all of the oils that help keep them dry and protected.

Luckily, there isn’t much one can’t do with aquariumfish! Here we will discuss some ways to make your new friend more visible, easier to find, and possibly even cook and eat once he/she is able to breathe air again.

Finding and counting scales on fish

do swai fish have scales

The term “fish” can be confusing. Some people consider catfish to be animals, while other people do not. For this article, we will use the word “fish” to include all types of aquatic creatures.

Many different features help determine if a creature is considered an animal or not. These features include hair, fur, feathery protrusions such as fins or feathers, spines, external gills, and skin with regular openings (for example, ears for humans).

Fish have thick, protective layers of hard, internal bone called scale coverings. This covers are made of calcium carbonate which helps protect them from damage and also gives their body a glossy appearance.

Scales are usually removed in some way due to risk of choking, allergic reactions, or disease transmission. Due to this, there are many ways to learn how to identify the various fish species based on their scales.

Some of these methods include looking at the shape, number, size, and patterning of the scales, as well as whether they are smooth or keeled. There are even tools that could tell you!

So, let’s look at some helpful tips on how to recognize swai fish based on its scalessss!

The most important thing about any fish is determining what habitat it was found in. Knowing where your fish grew up allows us to make two assumptions.

Swai fish have scales


Most people associate fish with having little to no skin, but not all fish are made of the same materials! Some very specific types of fish have thick layers of protective skin that help them survive by acting as a barrier to protect themselves from external threats like other animals or waterborne particles.

Fish with thicker layers of scale coverage also tend to look more beautiful due to their resemblance in texture and pattern. These features make it easy for aquatic creatures to blend into their surroundings and conceal themselves from potential predators.

Swainson’s tailed bass is one such species! This freshwater fish has a long slender body, short broad fins, and large rounded tail flukes which contain special tubercles called “tubercules.” These tubercles aid in anchoring the bass in place while underwater so it can conserve energy when swimming.

Swai fish do not have scales


Most people assume that all bony fishes, or ‘fishies’ as they are commonly referred to, have skin covering their whole body. This is definitely not the case for most species of boney fish! Some boney fish do in fact grow thick protective layers of hard callus-like tissue called dermal denticles which function sort of like tiny teeth.

These denticles help protect the animal from external threats such as other fish, predators, and potential food sources. However, none of these animals grow true internalized (or developed) scales.

This is actually very important when it comes to swai fish! If you watch any video about this beautiful little fish, you will see many different theories about why they lack scales. None of them seem completely accurate!

Luckily, we were able to find one source that confirms what we already know about swai fish. The authors mentioned that young swai fish do not develop fully functional internalized scales but that this changes as they age.

Touch and feel your way to knowing if a fish has scales

do swai fish have scales

The most important thing about swai fish is how well you ask them if they have scales. If you touch their skin and it feels smooth, like hard plastic, then they do not have true scale coverage.

Fish with very thin or no dermal coverings are usually referred to as “plankton” because of their tendency to swim around in large groups. These types of fishes rarely develop thick protective layers that help protect them from external factors such as other animals or water-based debris.

Thickly scaled fishes, on the other hand, use their protective layer to deflect harmful agents and thus require less frequent washing. As humans know, some people are more susceptible to allergies due to this process!

So what makes a fish grow its own coat of hair? It takes years for this process to occur and one of the main components comes down to water chemistry.

Touch and feel your way to knowing if a fish has scales


The most important thing about fish is identifying their scale type. There are three main types of scales that every species has, and how you identify them comes down to touch-feelings!

Fish have thick protective skin covering all or part of their body, but what kind of skin they have and where it breaks up varies slightly between species.

Some marine animals such as sharks and rays have smooth skins that contain denticles (sharp little teeth shaped structures) which help protect them from other aquatic creatures. These animals do not develop true fur like some fishes do.

Any trace of feathers or fluff under their skin is also uncommon for these ocean dwellers. Some bony fishes have small spines called dorsal fins that run along the back, but they are very thin and may be missing one or many sections.

Thick, leathery, tail flap folds or caudal fins are another feature unique to sea kats. These are used in swimming and balance, and vary in color and thickness depending on the species.

Touch and feel your way to knowing if a fish has scales


The most important thing about fish is that they do not have true skin like mammals. They rely on their spines and texture of body tissue to protect themselves instead!

Fish don’t need large, heavily covered protective shells like reptiles do, but they are still very hard to touch without getting some sort of clue as to how well protected they are.

If you ever look at a fish in the wild, try to get close enough to it to really touch its skin. If it moves or looks agitated, run away!

People who enjoy keeping aquarium animals should be aware of whether or not a particular species has scales. It can help determine what kind of aquatic environment it needs and if it is healthy for you to own it.

Touch and feel your way to knowing if a fish has scales

do swai fish have scales

The most important thing about fish is identifying whether they have fins, or flaps of skin that serve as fins. If a fish does not have clear fins, it cannot swim forward so it must find another way to move around.

Fish with smooth skins usually survive by eating other aquatic plants or animals. Some even eat their own kind!

By now you should be able to tell which fishes do not have many feathers but have smooth skin. These are typically bony-headed fishes such as cavefish, snakehead, lionfish, and dwarf catfish.

Some sharks are known for having very few external features like fur or whiskers. However, some shark species are said to grow internal hair or dermal plates to help protect themselves.

Touch and feel your way to knowing if a fish has scales


The most important thing about fish is identifying their scale type. There are five main scale types that all fishes have, but not every species has every one of them. For example, almost any freshwater fish does not have dermal or solid skin scaleType.

Thick, leathery dorsal (back) scales are called placoid scales. Most sharks have this as their major protective layer. Even some bony fish like catfish and cichlids have these.

Teethier oral (mouth) scales are rhomboidal ceriumian plates. These help push off other particles that may enter the mouth suchas food. Many deep sea fish have these too!

Circular spiraling vertical platelets are lepidotrichiaor whisker-like hairs. Some fish only have very few of these, while others can be quite spruce.

Ground up, overlapping square shaped lamellar scalesare usually referred to as a mosaic pattern. Almost anyone can identify these because they are unique for each individual fish.

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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