Here are 17 best cold water fish for beginners. Welcome to the world of coldwater fish keeping! Whether you are a first-time fish keeper or looking to add some new species to your collection, there are plenty of amazing cold water fish that are perfect for beginners. Not only are they easy to care for, but they also offer a wide variety of colors and personalities that can brighten up any aquarium. In this guide on the best cold water fish for beginners, we will explore some of the best cold water fish for beginners, and provide tips on how to care for them to ensure that they thrive in their new home.
The best cold water fish for beginners
If you are a beginner aquarist, I recommend starting with a community tank of cold water fish such as goldfish, platys, and mollies due to their ease of care. When it comes to choosing a cold water aquarium fish for beginners, there are a few factors to consider, such as hardiness, ease of care, and compatibility with other fish. Here are some of the best cold water aquarium fish for your aquarium for beginners
- Goldfish: Hardy, easy to care for, and available in a variety of sizes and colors.
- White Cloud Mountain Minnows: Peaceful, hardy, and can adapt to a variety of water conditions.
- Danios (including Celestial Pearl Danio): Active and hardy, with a wide range of colors and patterns. The Celestial Pearl Danio is a small, peaceful species with striking colors that is perfect for a beginner’s aquarium.
- Rainbow Shiner: Peaceful, colorful, and active fish that are great for a community aquarium.
- Hillstream Loach (such as the Chinese Algae Eater or Butterfly Hillstream Loach): These loaches are hardy and are great for controlling algae in the aquarium. They do well in cooler, well-oxygenated water.
- Clown Killifish: A small, colorful species that is easy to care for and can be kept in small aquariums or bowls.
- Cherry Shrimp: These invertebrates are peaceful and can help keep the tank clean by eating algae and other debris.
- Dojo Loach: A hardy and peaceful species that is great for controlling snail populations in the aquarium.
- Endlers Livebearer: A small, peaceful fish with bright colors and active behavior.
- Bloodfin Tetra: A hardy and peaceful species that is great for a community aquarium. They have a distinctive red tail and do well in cooler water.
- Odessa Barb: A hardy and colorful species that is great for a community aquarium.
- Sunset Variatus Platy: A colorful and easy-to-care-for fish that is great for a community aquarium.
- Bristlenose Pleco: A small species of catfish that is great for controlling algae in the aquarium.
- Rosy Red Minnows: A hardy and active fish that is great for a beginner’s aquarium. They are commonly used as feeder fish but can also be kept as pets.
- Tiger Barbs: An active and colorful species that is great for a community aquarium. They are hardy but can be slightly aggressive towards other fish.
- Cherry Barbs: A peaceful and colorful species that is great for a community aquarium. They are hardy and easy to care for.
- Paradise Fish: A colorful and easy-to-care-for fish that can be kept in small aquariums or bowls.
Descriptions of beginner coldwater fish
The best cold water fish for beginners are those that are hardy, adaptable, and easy to care for. There are several great options to choose from, including goldfish, white cloud mountain minnows, danios, and cherry shrimp, among others. These fish are ideal for those who are just starting out in the hobby, as they can tolerate a range of water conditions and do not require specialized equipment or extensive care. In addition to being easy to care for, the best cold water fish for beginners are also enjoyable to watch and can add a beautiful and lively element to any aquarium. With the right setup and care, the best cold water fish can provide years of enjoyment and companionship.
1. Gold Fish
Goldfish are a popular and well-loved species of cold water fish. They are a great option for beginners due to their hardiness and adaptability to different water conditions. There are many different types of goldfish available, each with their own unique color patterns and body shapes.
2. White Cloud Mountain Minnows
White Cloud Mountain Minnows are a small, peaceful species of cold water fish that are perfect for beginners. They are native to China and are known for their bright colors and active behavior. These fish are very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them a great choice for those who are new to fish keeping.
Danios are a popular species of cold water fish that are known for their active and hardy nature. There are many different types of danios, including the Zebra Danio, Leopard Danio, and Celestial Pearl Danio.
Zebra Danios are a common type of danio and are easily recognized by their black and white stripes. They are very active and prefer to swim in schools of six or more. Leopard Danios have a similar body shape to Zebra Danios, but with yellow and brown spots instead of stripes. Celestial Pearl Danios are a relatively new addition to the aquarium hobby, and are highly sought after for their iridescent blue and orange coloration.
4. Rainbow Shiner
Rainbow Shiners are a colorful and active species of cold water fish that are native to North America. They are a popular choice among fish keepers due to their unique coloration and playful behavior. Rainbow Shiners are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners who are looking for a vibrant and lively species to add to their aquarium.
Rainbow Shiners are typically a metallic blue or green color, with a bright red stripe running along their lateral line. They are an active fish species and can often be seen swimming and playing in the aquarium. They prefer to be kept in groups of six or more, as this allows them to feel more secure and reduces stress.
5. Hillstream Loach
Hillstream Loaches are a unique and interesting species of cold water fish that are native to the fast-moving streams and rivers of Southeast Asia. They are often referred to as “sucker loaches” due to their ability to attach themselves to the surfaces of rocks and other hard surfaces in their natural habitat. Hillstream Loaches are a great choice for beginner fish keepers who are looking for an unusual and fascinating cold water addition to their aquarium.
Hillstream Loaches are a relatively small species, typically growing to between 2 and 3 inches in length. They are known for their flattened bodies and their ability to cling to rocks and other surfaces in fast-moving water. In the aquarium, they will require a strong water current and plenty of hiding places, such as rocks and driftwood.
6. Clown Killifish
Clown Killifish are a small and colorful species of cold water fish that are native to West Africa. They are a popular choice among fish keepers due to their bright coloration and playful behavior. Clown Killifish are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners who are looking for a unique and fascinating species to add to their aquarium.
Clown Killifish are a vibrant orange or red color, with iridescent blue or green markings on their fins. They are a small fish species, typically only growing to around 1-2 inches in length. Despite their small size, they are very active and enjoy exploring their surroundings.
7. Cherry Shrimp
Cherry Shrimp, also known as Neocaridina davidi, are a popular species of freshwater shrimp that are easy to care for and perfect for beginner fish keepers. They are native to Taiwan and are named after their bright red color, which resembles that of a cherry. These shrimp are a great addition to any aquarium, as they are active, colorful, and serve as an excellent cleaning crew.
Cherry Shrimp are generally peaceful and can coexist with most non-aggressive cold water fish. However, they should not be kept with any large or aggressive species that might harm or eat them. Cherry Shrimp thrive in a heavily planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places and cover, such as driftwood and rocks. They are best kept in groups of at least 5-6 individuals.
8. Dojo Loach
Dojo Loaches, also known as Misgurnus anguillicaudatus, are a cold water fish that are native to East Asia. They are bottom-dwellers and are often kept as scavengers in cold water aquariums. Dojo Loaches are hardy, peaceful, and active, making them an excellent addition to any aquarium.
Dojo Loaches prefer water that is slightly alkaline with a pH between 7.0 and 8.0. They require a well-filtered aquarium with regular water changes to maintain good water quality. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but they prefer cooler water temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
9. Endlers Livebearer
Endlers Livebearers are a small and colorful species of freshwater fish that are perfect for beginner fish keepers. They are a type of guppy that originates from Venezuela and are known for their striking colors and active nature. Endlers Livebearers are easy to care for, making them a popular choice for those new to the hobby.
Endlers Livebearers are typically smaller than other guppies, reaching a maximum size of 1.5 inches. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, including red, yellow, green, and blue. They are an active fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6 individuals. They prefer a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places, such as caves, rocks, and driftwood.
10. Bloodfin Tetra
Bloodfin Tetras are a popular freshwater fish species that are often recommended for beginner fish keepers. They are named for their striking red fins, which contrast nicely with their silver bodies. Bloodfin Tetras are a schooling fish and are best kept in groups of 6 or more individuals.
These tetras are relatively small and only grow to be about 2 inches in length, making them well-suited for smaller aquariums. They are peaceful and get along well with other non-aggressive fish species, but it’s important to avoid keeping them with larger or more aggressive fish that may see them as a potential food source.
Overall, Bloodfin Tetras are a great choice for beginner fish keepers who are looking for an easy-to-care-for and visually striking fish species. With the right environment and attention to their needs, these fish can thrive and provide an excellent addition to your cold water aquarium.
11. Odessa Barbs
Odessa Barbs are a colorful and active species of freshwater fish that are perfect for beginner fish keepers. These fish are named for their bright orange and black coloring, which is especially striking under aquarium lighting. Odessa Barbs are relatively small, growing to be about 2-3 inches in length, which makes them an ideal fit for smaller aquariums.
12. Sunset Variatus Platy
Sunset Variatus Platy, also known as the Orange Platy, is a colorful and peaceful species that is perfect for beginner fish keepers. They are known for their bright orange coloration with black markings, and can be found in various shades of orange ranging from pale to bright.
Sunset Variatus Platys are a hardy species and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them an easy fish to care for. They are a social species and should be kept in groups of at least 3-4 individuals, but they are also compatible with other peaceful fish species such as tetras, rasboras, and corydoras.
13. Bristlenose Plecos
The Bristlenose Pleco is a popular and widely available species of catfish that is well-suited for beginner fish keepers. This species is also known as the Bushynose Pleco due to the distinctive tentacle-like appendages on their noses.
Bristlenose Plecos are typically small in size, growing up to 5 inches in length. They are a peaceful species and are compatible with a wide variety of other fish, making them a great addition to community tanks. They are also effective algae eaters, which can help keep the aquarium clean and free of excess algae growth.
14. Rosy Red Minnows
Rosy Red Minnows are a hardy and popular species of freshwater fish that are ideal for beginner fish keepers. They are a type of minnow that is commonly found in North America and are often used as feeder fish for larger predatory species, but they are also great as pets.
These fish have a bright and striking coloration, with a pinkish-orange body and red fins. They are relatively small in size, growing up to 2-3 inches in length. They are a peaceful species and are suitable for community tanks with other small, non-aggressive fish.
15. Tiger Barbs
Tiger Barbs are a popular and active species of freshwater fish that are great for beginner fish keepers. They are known for their bright coloration and distinctive striped pattern, which gives them their name. Tiger Barbs are easy to care for and can add a lot of activity and energy to any aquarium.
Tiger Barbs require a minimum of 20 gallons of water. A larger aquarium is recommended for a larger group of fish. It is also important to maintain good water quality and perform regular water changes to keep the tank clean and healthy for the fish.
16. Cherry Barbs
Cherry Barbs are a popular and easy-to-care-for species of freshwater fish that are ideal for beginner fish keepers. They are a small and colorful species that can bring life and activity to any cold water aquarium.
17. Paradise Fish
Paradise Fish are a popular and vibrant species of freshwater fish that can be a great addition to a cold water aquarium. They are known for their striking appearance and relatively easy care, making them a good choice for beginner fish keepers.
Paradise Fish are small and typically grow to about 3 inches in length. They have a brightly colored body with a unique pattern of vertical stripes and spots. Males are particularly colorful and have elongated fins. They are known for their lively and active behavior, which can be entertaining to watch.