Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Best Coldwater Fish for Beginners

Discussion in 'Coldwater Aquarium Advice' started by Megan_414, Feb 18, 2019.


  1. Megan_414

    Megan_414 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    I’ve had goldfish in the past but due to a filter malfunction whilst I was on holiday and some bad advice I was given they sadly passed away. However, it has been a year since them and I think I’m ready to get a new pet. Fish would be ideal as they don’t smell much, and are relatively small (compared to a dog or cat) so require less space. Although, I really don’t know what type of fish to get.

    I wanted a betta fish for about 6 months and did loads of research about them, but my dad doesn’t want me to have a tropical fish as he doesn’t want a heater in the house. Therefore, I was wondering: What are the best cold water fish for beginners?
     
  2. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    2,702
    The only other true coldwater fish are white cloud mountain minnows (or possibly a paradise fish - see below - opinions seem to vary on minimum temps for these). WCMMs are small but active, so need a reasonable amount of swimming space - the tank should be no smaller than 60cm. They are easy and attractive, and also come in a gold variant.

    If the room where the tank is never falls below 18 C (e.g at night), or if you can have a heater just for the coldest weather, you have some more options available.

    Since you like the look of a betta, you might want to consider its more cold-tolerant relative, the paradise fish. They can sometimes be aggressive towards smaller fish (particularly if you get one of the fancier variants) and definitely shouldn't be kept with other members of the gourami family, but if you keep just one on its own it doesn't need a massive tank. (If you have a pair, they need much more space so they can get away from each other.) Also, don't keep with anything that might nip its fins - so might me best to keep one as an "only fish" to be on the safe side.

    The variatus platy can be kept at room temp so long as it never drops too low. Make sure you get true variatus, as its more colourful cousins need tropical temps. They need at least a 60cm tank and would be good tankmates for a shoal of WCMMs.

    Less colourful, but full of character, are peppered corys. They need temps of at least 20 C and should be kept in groups of 4+. These also need around 60cm and would be good tankmates for WCMMs and variatus platys.

    There are various others, but they need slightly bigger tanks and from your post I get the impression that space is an issue.
     
    Megan_414 likes this.
  3. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    23,329
    Likes Received:
    33,881
    I had a shoal of Cloud Minnows which were easy to keep.
     
  4. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2018
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    554
    Is there a reason he doesn't want a heater in the house?? Properly kept they are no problem and pretty low wattage - tumble dryers and fridges are a much bigger issue for both safety and wattage use! For a Betta tank you'd only be looking at a 25w- 50w heater depending on tank size (about 30 litres is perfect for a Betta), that's less than a light bulb.

    A tank without a heater isn't strictly coldwater anyway, it's room temperature, and that means it fluctuates - fluctuating temperatures can stress out even the hardiest of fish.
     
    Megan_414 likes this.
  5. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,686
    Likes Received:
    8,427
    I have kept white cloud minnows the normal and golden varieties in a temperate tank (ie room temperature tank). They are happiest if ghe room you keep them in is a fairly stable temperature. In a centrally heated house this is normally ok.

    I currently have a 4 foot tropical tank which sits on my living room. Its rare the temperature falls below 20 degrees summer or winter. It has a heater which keeps it at 24 degrees. The amount of time ghe heater is on is very small and if i turn the heater of or on it is hardly detectable re cost over the day compared to my other appliances. The filter uses more energy. So from a cost point of view its hardly anything.

    From a safety point of you a heater will fail very occasionally. Normally yhey fail off so the water gets cooler but in the short term the fish are fine. Once it has stuck on. Its very rare and again is unlikely to cause problems if you check the tank regularly. From a safetu point of view i would have more xoncerns about the fridge and washong machine thant yhe heater.

    I currently keep an amano shrimp at room temperature. They usually are listed as having a life span of 2 years in a tropical tank. Mine is heading towards 6 years old now and i think the cooler temperatures helpa. So perhaps a tank with some white clouds and a few amano shrimp. You will need a good fitting lid to prevent the shrimp escaping.

    Before keeping fish or shrimp read up on the aquarium nitrogen cycle. Also on fishless cycling before getting fish.
     
    Megan_414 and NaomiM like this.
  6. Megan_414

    Megan_414 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Thank you for replying. I’ll do some research on some of these now as they sound like a good choice.

    Space is an issue, but not a massive issue. A 60cm tank would be fine but probably not that much bigger.
     
  7. Megan_414

    Megan_414 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    I think he expects a heater to cause a massive rise in the electricity bills, although even if this was the case I would be happy to pay for the cost to run the heater. He also worries it might cause a fire if it malfunctions.

    I’ll speak to him again and use the points about light bulbs and fridges, and see what he says.
     
  8. Megan_414

    Megan_414 PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0

    Thank you for replying. I’m going to do some more research into heaters and then speak to my dad.

    Don’t worry, I know a little bit about the nitrogen cycle and doing a fish less cycle as I did one before I got my goldfish (which were my first pets). However, it did take a while though so if you have any tips on how to speed up a fish less cycle, I would really appreciate it. :)
     
  9. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2018
    Messages:
    861
    Likes Received:
    554
    I’ve only had an issue with a heater once and that was my own dumb fault - using it to heat some water in a bucket, emptied the bucket and forgot to turn off the heater. It put a hole in my bucket and made a funny smell which alerted me to it. You can have faulty heaters that, at worst, will heat up the tank too high and kill the fish, but have a thermometer and monitor the fish and you’ll be good.
     
    Megan_414 likes this.
  10. NaomiM

    NaomiM Love my furry, feathered and finned family

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,618
    Likes Received:
    2,702
    Best way to speed up a fishless cycle is to get hold of a little bit of mature filter media from someone else who keeps fish and put it in your own filter just as you start cycling. This can make things go much quicker :)

    Also, I'd advise not dosing the ammonia too high. Dosing to 2ppm is plenty for the average tank, and over-high ammonia doses can actually stall the cycle when you get to the nitrite stage.
     
    Megan_414 and kittih like this.
  11. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2014
    Messages:
    5,686
    Likes Received:
    8,427
    There are calculations you can do to work out the approximate cost in electricity of running a fishtank. In a hoise with central heating kept at about 20 degrees or so the heater would only rurn on every so often just to top up the temperature of the tank. It wouldnt be on 24 /7 and a rough estimate would be that it may cost about 2 pounds a month give or take some depending on your house temp cor a 60 litre tank and a 50watt heater. Also bare in mind that the heat used to warm up the tank because it leaks the heat is actually heating the house ie yhe warmth from yhe tank will be warming the room so the money spent on heatinge tank has benefits of reducing the cost of heating the room a little bit.

    The fikter and the lights also use electricity so you might be looking at a total cost sayof £6 per month to run the electricals on the aquarium. Water conditioner fish food and water for the wster changes will also add to the bill so the cost of the heater isnt a major consideration for the size of tank you are proposing.

    Re fire risk the heater have a thermostat and turn off when they reach temperature. If ghey fail it is generally in the off position. If ghey were to fail on (a very rare occurrence) then the heater would warm uo the water until it got to hot for the fish to survive. If you hadnt noticed the temp rise the dead or dying fish wpuld point out the issue. The heater wouldnt catch fire unless you happened to completely fail to notice you had no water left in yoir tank because it had all boiled away something that would take a very long time. Even then heater are designed to cut off if they over heat so out of water they would just cut out.

    The greatest risk of fire from ghe aquarium is water gaining access to the lights over a very long period leading to arcing. An aquarium condensing cover solves thos issue though you should get on the habit ofchecking your aquarium equipment regularly as a matter of course anyway.

    Apologies for typos. Phone autocorrect on the blink and cant be bothered to go back and correct.
     
    Megan_414 likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice