Alternative Fish Choices For Cold Water Aquariums

Gold fish can be a great starter fish for cold water set ups – however for the fish keeper who would like to try to vary their stock, there is an alternative – temperate fish.

These fish can happily survive in an unheated aquarium when kept at room temperature in a house with central heating.

Available in a range of shapes and colours – here are a few of the more popular fish.


The Variatus Platy or Xiphophorus variatus is a freshwater fish native to Northeastern Mexico.

It comes in a range of different colours and is livebearing – which  makes them prolific breeders.

They are omnivorous and their diet should include both plants and commercial fish food.

They need plenty of hiding spaces in the aquarium to prevent them becoming stressed.


These boisterous fish are native to freshwater rivers in Asia, and there are 25 different varieties available. The most common are characterised by patterning of spots and vertical or horizontal stripes.

They grow to about 6cm and are surface feeders – they are very lively and will frenzy around food.



The White Cloud Mountain Minnow or Tanichthys albonubes are a member of the carp family. They are native to China and grow to about 4cm long.

They are a shoaling fish and thrive when in a small group.

As always – remember the golden rule – SMALL FISH CAN BE EASILY EATEN BY LARGER FISH – so be aware of this when adding community fish to your aquariums.