15 Best Cold Water Fish For Aquarium

cold water fish

There are many best cold water fish for aquarium and for the majority of fish lovers, there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of having one or more beautiful coldwater fish swim around in an aquarium in their home or workplace.

These are types of fish that don’t need a heater, so whether you’re looking to decorate your home or you’re trying to make your office more enjoyable, adding coldwater fish to an aquarium can make things look really good.

If you’re into coldwater fish, you might enjoy putting them in an aquarium, since they can be beautiful and relaxing to watch as they swim around and do their thing. If you’re starting up an aquarium with coldwater fish, there are plenty of species to choose from.

Coldwater fish are usually found in areas with water temperatures that are cooler than 10 °C (50 °F). Most of them prefer the coldness of water over 15 °C (59 °F), which makes them the perfect choice if you have an aquarium that’s located in an area where the temperature can go as high as 26°C (78°F) during summer and as low as 5°C (41°F) during winter.

Aquarium hobbyists have many options when it comes to choosing fish for their tanks. When most people think of aquarium fish, they think of tropical fish living in warm, saltwater conditions, but coldwater fish are also popular choices for aquarium owners.

This list of 15 cold water aquarium fish that make great pets will help you decide whether these are the types of fish you should be keeping in your own cold water tank.

Best cold water fish for aquarium

Rosy Barb (Pethia conchonius)

Rosy barb (Pethia conchonius)

Rosy Barb, also known as Pethia conchonius, are a popular cold water fish in aquariums. They are found in streams in the Indo-west Pacific region. The Rosy Barb is an omnivore that eats both plants and meat. They live on the bottom of a stream or lake and will eat algae, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and other small invertebrates.

The Rosy Barb can be territorial when it comes to their home so keep this in mind when housing them with other fish. If you have a large enough tank, you may be able to house them with more docile species such as Clown Loach and Kribensis Cichlid because these species tend to stay at the top or middle of the tank where they can avoid conflict with territorial species like Rasboras.

Empire Gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa)

cold water fish

The Empire Gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa) is a small, freshwater fish that originates in the Congo Basin. This fish is an egg layer and has a lifespan of about two years. They are relatively inexpensive and can be found at pet stores or online. The gudgeons prefer to live in groups of three to six individuals.

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The minimum tank size for this species is 20 gallons with some suggesting a 50-gallon tank is adequate for larger groups of up to 12 individuals. While the gudgeons are easy to care for and do not need any special equipment, they will require a water filter because they feed on detritus from the bottom of their tanks.

Least Killifish (Heterandria Formosa)

cold water fish

The least killifish is a freshwater fish native to North America. They can be found from North Carolina to Wisconsin in the eastern United States and from Arizona to Texas in the southwestern United States. This species of fish prefers temperatures between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, water with a pH level of 6.5-7.5, and low levels of dissolved oxygen.

The least killifish is unique because it can produce offspring without mating, making them popular among aquarium enthusiasts. Least Killifish are also known for their sensitivity to pollution, so they should not be kept with any other types of fish or invertebrates if there are any nearby farms or factories that release toxins into the water. Other than that, Least Killifishes are easy fish to keep as long as they’re provided with proper care!

Gold Barb (Barbodes semifasciolatus)

cold water fish

The gold barb, also known as the Oriental barb, is a freshwater species of fish from Southeast Asia that has been introduced to many other parts of the world. They are often found in both slow-moving and fast-flowing waters. Their diets consist of crustaceans and small invertebrates.

They can grow up to 10 inches long and live for five years or more. These are one of the most popular types of cold water fish for aquariums due to their low maintenance requirements and ease of care.

Medaka Ricefish (Oryzias latipes)

cold water fish

The rainbow goodeid is a small, live-bearing fish that typically does not exceed 2 inches in length. They are found in the Rio Grande and Pecos River systems of Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. In addition to having a beautiful iridescent sheen on their scales that ranges from green to blue to purple, they have three dorsal spines instead of the typical one.

Rainbow Goodeids make excellent companions for other small species such as Otocinclus catfish, Corydoras catfish, shrimps, loaches, and dwarf cichlids.

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Axolotl fish (Ambystoma mexicanum)

aquarium pets that aren't fish

The Axolotl fish is a large salamander found in Mexican lakes. It has the ability to regenerate lost limbs, but it cannot regrow a spinal cord. These animals are often kept as pets and they can live up to 20 years in captivity.

If you have an axolotl as a pet, be sure to feed them meaty foods such as earthworms and blood worms on occasion. You should also make sure that your axolotl gets enough space for swimming since these amphibians love moving around in the water.

Rainbow Shiner (Notropis chrosomus)

cold water fish

The rainbow shiner is a small, silvery freshwater fish native to eastern North America. They are often found in slow-moving streams and rivers with sand or gravel bottoms. Rainbow shiners are usually a silver color with red or purple highlights on their fins, but there are some variations of the species that have a green backside and yellow stripes on their body.

This species is not considered to be endangered at this time, but it is advised to limit catching them as they can be sensitive to changes in water quality. Like most minnows, rainbow shiners eat insect larvae, zooplankton, algae, and other aquatic plants.

There are many fishing techniques that work well for catching these fish including live bait fishing (worms) and fly-fishing (flies). Rainbow Shiners can grow up to 6 inches long with a lifespan of 3-5 years when cared for properly.

Hillstream Loach (Sewellia lineolata)

cold water fish

The Hillstream Loach is a very popular and hardy cold water fish. It is not only a great beginner fish but also one of the most popular types of loaches in the aquarium hobby. The Hillstream Loach originates from India, Myanmar, and Thailand where it lives in fast-moving hill streams.

They can be found in dense vegetation that contains lots of mosses, stones, and submerged roots. These loaches are typically brownish green with three dark stripes running down their sides. Females can grow up to 5 inches long while males will only reach 4 inches long on average.

You should keep this fish at a temperature between 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit (22-25 degrees Celsius) and they prefer soft or slightly acidic water with low levels of nitrates.

Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus)

cold water fish

Clown killifish are small fish that grow up to 3 inches long. They have a dark brown body with a white stripe down the center of the body and the fins are black with a white band near their edge. Their diet consists of brine shrimp, tubifex worms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae.

They have been known to eat small shrimp, so care should be taken if you add them to an aquarium with shrimp or other small invertebrates. Other tank mates include tetras, guppies, mollies, and platies. Males are smaller than females and tend to be more aggressive toward one another as well as other species in the tank.

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It is possible for these fish to breed in your tank without having any sexually mature adults around so it is important to pay attention when introducing new batches of fry into your tanks at certain times of the year.

Zebra Danio (Danio rerio)

Zebra danio

Zebra Danios are freshwater fish that come in a variety of colors such as blue, orange, and red. They grow to be about 2 inches long and live for about four years. They are social creatures who will thrive with at least three of their own kind in a 10-gallon tank with lots of live plants for them to hide among and plenty of rocks for them to swim over.

Zebra Danios do best when kept at temperatures between 68-77 degrees Fahrenheit. They can adapt to warmer water but it is not recommended. They need water with a pH range of 6.0-7.0 and they should not be exposed to any copper or medications containing copper or heavy metals.

Two Spot Barb (Puntiu-s cumingii)

cold water fish

The Two Spot Barb is a small cyprinid fish that originates from India and China. They are omnivores, eating both plant and animal matter. Although they prefer to eat plants, they will eat insects if they cannot find any vegetation. The average lifespan of this species is around five years.

The two-spot barb has a unique coloration with a white or light-colored body with two dark spots near the tail fin. There is no dorsal fin on the two-spot barb, but it does have an adipose and caudal fin. Like other members of the genus Puntius, they have cheek suckers on their heads that help them keep in contact with rocks while feeding.

Buenos Aires Tetra (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi)

cold water fish

The Buenos Aires Tetra is a peaceful fish that thrives in community aquariums. They are social and schooling fish, meaning they need to be in groups of at least six or more. This species is very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them an ideal candidate for beginner aquarists.

The Buenos Aires Tetra prefers warmer water temperatures between 77-79 degrees Fahrenheit. They are omnivorous, so they will eat almost any type of food you give them. They prefer live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms; but they will also take dried foods like flakes and pellets. However, because this is a schooling fish it’s best not to buy just one individual Buenos Aires Tetra.

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Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

cold water fish

The goldfish also called the golden carp and the Prussian carp is a domesticated fish in China and Japan. Goldfish are a type of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae of order Cypriniformes. They have been selectively bred to produce varieties of different shapes, colors, and sizes while retaining certain standard features.

They are members of the carp family. Originally from Eastern Asia, they were first introduced to Europe in the 1800s. There are many breeds that have been developed over time, including variations that don’t change color such as white goldfish.

Pearl Danio (Danio albolineatus)

cold water fish

Pearl Danio is a popular beginner fish due to its low price and hardiness. They inhabit a wide variety of natural habitats but do best in warmer waters. These colorful fish grow up to 2 inches in length, making them perfect for smaller aquariums.

Pearl Danio are very active swimmers and will spend the majority of their time in the upper levels of the tank or swimming above plants and rocks. The Pearl Danio can be kept with other danios, goldfish, koi, and tropical fish. Keep in mind that they need plenty of space as well as places to hide during feeding time.

Weather Loach (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus)

Weather Loach

The Weather Loach, a member of the loach family, is a coldwater fish native to Asia that can grow up to 20 inches long. In the wild, it lives in slow-moving streams and rivers with sandy or muddy bottoms. The Weather Loach is an omnivore and will eat anything from insects and plants to small fish.

These nocturnal creatures are shy during the day but become more active at night when they hunt for their prey. It is not uncommon for them to burrow into sand or mud during the day. The Weather Loach prefers warm water that has a low current and does not tolerate polluted water well.