20 Beginner Friendly Cold Water Aquarium Fish

Cold water (or coldwater) are fish that live in water that’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Most of the time, these fish species don’t need heaters for their aquariums.

Cold water fishare easier to keep because of the colder requirements. This makes them perfect for new fish owners. Plus, they tend to live longer than other aquarium fish.

And there are tons of beginner-friendly cold water fish you can check out if you’re interested. Even goldfish are a cold water fish.

We’ve compiled the 20 beginner-friendly cold water aquarium fish. For this list, we’re going to leave out the goldfish so we can explore other cold water fish.

1. Marigold Variatus Platy 

Marigold Variatus Platy

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 79 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 2 1/2 inches in length, females grow larger than males

Age: 2 to 3 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon tank

The marigold variatus platy originates from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.

They eat algae, bloodworms, brine shrimp, fruit flies, insects, and small crustaceans. There should be a mixture of these live foods and high-quality fish flakes in their diet.

These platys love to swim. They’ll swim around their tank for most of the day. They also play by chasing each other.

It’s very rare for a marigold platy to get aggressive with other fish. 

2. Pygmy Sunfish 

Pygmy Sunfish

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Temperature: 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 65 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 1 1/2 inches in length

Age: 2 1/2 to 3 years

Tank Size: 5-gallon or 10-gallon 

Pygmy sunfish were first found in 1937 in northern Alabama. They swim in the Tennessee River.

They like to eat frozen meats like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and Mysis shrimp. You want to feed them prepared food like fish flakes and use the frozen meat as treats.

Pygmy sunfish are super shy fish. They tend to hide behind plants and shelters in their tank to get away from other fish.

They get along with other types of small and non-aggressive fish.

The only aggression is between males. They’re territorial but it’s never anything serious. 

3. Least Killifish 

Least Killifish

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Temperature: 66 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Females grow up to 1 1/2 inches in length, males grow up to 1 inch in length

Age: 3 to 5 years

Tank Size: 5-gallon

The origin of the least killifish is in the United States. In states including South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

These omnivores can eat almost anything and will eat almost anything. They’re not too picky.

Vegetation or plants to eat are a must-have. They love to eat algae. They’re also big on brine shrimp, daphnia, and black worms.

The least killifish is another shy species. When they feel uneasy, they’ll hide in the vegetation in their tank.

Since they’re so small, they don’t do too well with big and aggressive fish. 

4. Rainbow Shiner 

Temperature: 54 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 2 to 3 inches in length

Age: Females live up to 25 months, males live up to 23 months

Tank Size: 20-gallon 

Rainbow shiners are another wonderful species that originates from the United States. You can find them in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.

They were first found in the Mobile River in Alabama.

Shiners like to eat small live food like shrimp and invertebrates. But they’re omnivores so they need some vegetation in their diet.

To meet the vegetation part of their diet, you’ll want to feed them fish flakes or pellets.

They need other shiners around for company. You should keep at least six rainbow shiners together with a mix of sexes. They’re shoaling fish. 

5. Paradise Fish 

Temperature: 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 2 to 3 inches in length

Age: 8 to 10 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon

Paradise fish originate from different Asian counties. Some of these Asian countries include India, Pakistan, and Taiwan.

They’re omnivores but demand a high-protein diet. The majority of their diet needs to be either meat or protein-filled fish flakes.

They love bloodworms and brine shrimp.

These fish are more difficult to care for then the rest on the list. But if you have the time, they can still be beginner-friendly fish.

They are on the aggressive side. But this is towards their own species. Unless you want to breed, we wouldn’t suggest adding males together. They will compete for females.

Still, they’re social fish when it comes to relationships with most other species of fish.

As long as they’re allowed to be the dominant fish in the community. This means sharing a tank with big but calm fish. 

6. Bloodfin Tetra 

Bloodfin Tetra

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 2 inches in length

Age: About 10 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon 

Bloodfin Tetra fish are native to the Amazon Basin, attacked to the Amazon River. Some of the countries they originate include Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru.

They’re omnivores but they prefer live meat. They love brine shrimp, daphnia, and worms. You can use frozen meat instead of live.

Make sure you add a few healthy fish flakes in with their diet to meet their vegetation needs.

Tetras are very active and energetic fish. You’ll learn as you observe them that they’re also excellent swimmers. They need that extra room to swim in their tank.

They’re personable with other fish and fit in well. Their only annoyance is slow swimmers. They will nibble on their fins to get them moving faster. 

7. Buenos Aires Tetra 

Buenos Aires Tetra

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 82 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 3 inches in length

Age: Up to 5 years

Tank Size: 30-gallon

The Buenos Aires tetra originates from Argentina, hence the name. Buenos Aires is the capital of the country. They were first discovered in the Rio del Plata.

They eat both live meat (or frozen) and vegetation. For a full healthy diet, try feeding them veggies like lettuce when you go to feed them meat.

Their favorite meats include bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

These tetras are social creatures and need a school of their own species to be happy. They get along well with big species of tetras too.

They’re peaceful fish as long as they’re not around long-finned fish. They like to nip these long fins. 

8. Rosy Barb 

Rosy Barb

Soucre: canva.com

Temperature: 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 6 inches in length

Age: Up to 5 years

Tank Size: 30-gallon

Rosy barb fish are native in India, particularly in West Bengal and Assam. You can also find rosy barbs in Australia, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Singapore.

These fish love to eat everything. It’s easy to feed them. Their diet includes both meat and vegetation.

They like bloodworms and brine shrimp. Add healthy fish flakes or pellets to their diet as well.

They are schooling fish so they need at least six companions of the same species to be comfortable.

Without their community, they can get aggressive. They start fights or nibble on other fish’s fins. Don’t add long-finned fish in a tank with them.

But they do well with small and non-aggressive fish species. 

9. Gold Barb 

Gold Barb

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 3 inches in length

Age: Up to 5 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon 

The gold barb fish comes from China, Taiwan, and Vietnam. They were discovered in the Red River Basin.

They are omnivores. They eat a little bit of everything available to them. Brine shrimp, insects, and worms are fine. Add fish flakes for the vegetation element.

Gold barbs are sociable. They are schooling fish and need fish like them in their community. There should be at least six gold barbs in a tank.

They also get along great with other non-aggressive fish about the same size as them. 

10. Two Spot Barb 

Temperature: 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 78.8 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches in length

Age: Up to 6 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon

Two spot barb fish originate from Sri Lanka. They’re found in the Nilwala River drainage.

They are big algae eaters, which makes your job of feeding them a bit easier. They also eat brine shrimp and plankton.

You need to use fish flakes as well for the vegetation side of their feedings.

The two spot barbs are very peaceful and calm fish. They get along with their own species as well as most other fish species.

They’re also sociable and need their little community in the tank. They’re schooling fish, after all. So, you need at least six other two spot barbs with them.

Without a school to swim with, they can be uneasy. 

11. Zebra Danio 

Zebra Danio

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 2 inches to 3 inches in length

Age: Up to 5 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon 

The zebra danio fish is native to Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

They are active swimmers. They need some extra space to have some fun. They’re also super energetic fish.

They’re omnivores so they need both meat and vegetation in their diet. They’re algae lovers. Feed these fish crustaceans, insects, and worms. Plus, add veggies or fish flakes to their diet.

This danio fish is a schooling fish. They need a community of at least six surrounding them.

Without their community, they get stressed out. They might get aggressive towards other fish or hide from everyone. 

12. Dwarf Crayfish 

Dwarf Crayfish

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 2 inches in length

Age: 2 to 3 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon

The dwarf crayfish originates from Mexico and the southern United States, like Texas. They were discovered in streams and small rivers in the area.

These crayfish need a high-quality diet which means high-protein fish flakes. They need their live (or frozen) meat and vegetation too, on the side.

They’re big algae eaters. They also eat brine shrimp, snails, and worms.

They are peaceful creatures. They fit in most community tanks and with fish that aren’t too large. And they have a great time cleaning the tank they live in.

When they molt, these crayfish like to hide in vegetation or shelter. Their shells soften during this stage and they’re vulnerable without it hardened. 

13. Rosy Red Minnow 

Rosy Red Minnow

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 2 inches in length

Age: Up to 4 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon

Rosy red minnows love algae. They’re omnivores but they prefer a herbivore life when in a tank. They love shelled peas and cucumbers cut up.

To make sure they have all the nutrients they need, add fish flakes and pellets to their diet.

When you do feed them meat, live or frozen, they like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

They’re friendly with fish that are about the same size as them. But no goldfish in their tank.

When male red minnows hit breeding age, they pick out a cave or shelter. And they have to defend that territory against other breeding males. 

14. White Cloud Mountain Minnow 

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 2 inches in length

Age: 4 to 5 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon 

They named white cloud mountain minnows after a mountain, where they were first discovered. They were found on Baiyun Mountain in China by a young boy, Tan.

Tan named the minnows “white cloud” in Chinese.

For a mountain minnow’s diet, they need a mix of fish flakes and meat. They like brine shrimp, daphnia, insects, and worms.

The minnows are peaceful fish. They have no desire to fight anyone. They prefer small groups to large schools of fish.

The calmer the environment, the better for mountain minnows. And they need plenty of room to swim in their tank. 

15. Mosquitofish

Mosquitofish

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 50 degrees Fahrenheit to 84 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Females grow to 3 inches in length, males grow to 1 1/2 inches in length

Age: Up to 1 1/2 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon

The mosquitofish was discovered in the Mississippi River in the United States. They were also found in rivers in Illinois and Indiana.

They’re named because of their ability to control mosquitoes.

Another omnivore fish, the mosquito fish needs a rounded diet. You can use fish flakes or pellets. Make sure they’re full of protein and not wheat fillers.

For meat, you can feed them either live or frozen. They like algae and small insects.

Mosquitofish are pretty calm as long as they’re living with other minnows. But they don’t like slow-moving fish or long-finned fish. They will take a nibble out of their fins. 

16. Hillstream Loach 

Hillstream Loach

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Temperature: 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 3 inches in length

Age: 5 to 10 years

Tank Size: 50-gallon 

The hillstream loach fish was discovered in rapid streams throughout Asia.

These babies eat small crustaceans and the larvae from algae. You can also feed them bloodworms and Mysis shrimp.

This loach fish is a very shy creature. They aren’t out in the open very often throughout the day. They only come out when they feel like it.

But they do feel comfortable in small groups of three to six. Avoid large groups of fish or they’ll get overwhelmed.

Put a lot of vegetation and other decorations in the tank that allows them their privacy.

And they get along well with other types of fish. 

17. Weather Loach 

Weather Loach

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 10 inches in length

Age: 7 to 10 years

Tank Size: 20-gallon 

Weather loach fish are native to Northeastern Asia, mainly Myanmar.

They’re not picky eaters whatsoever. You can feed them shrimp pellets or healthy fish flakes packed with protein. You can also feed them frozen bloodworms or small snails as a treat from time to time.

The cool thing about weather loach fish is that once they get used to you, many of them will start eating out of your hand.

There’s a reason these fish are named weather loach fish. When a storm comes around, their behavior changes. They become more energetic and start swimming all over the tank.

Weather loach fish have a better temperament if they’re living with other fish their size. They’re happier and more energetic.

They sleep most of the day and come out to play at night.

They get along with most fish their size but they can get aggressive and bully smaller fish. They might even eat the smaller fish. They also don’t do well with aggressive fish. 

18. Asian Stone Mini Catfish 

Asian Stone Mini Catfish

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: 1 1/2 inches in length

Age: Up to 3 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon 

The Asian stone mini catfish was first discovered in slow-moving hill streams. These streams were in Bangladesh and India.

These mini catfish are omnivores but they need a protein heavy diet. You can feed them live (or frozen) bloodworms and daphnia. Feed them at night. They’re nocturnal feeders.

Mini catfish get along well with most other small fish. But avoid putting them in a tank with other bottom-dwellers. They’ll have to compete for feed. 

19. White Cheek Goby 

White Cheek Goby

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 50 degrees Fahrenheit and 77 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 2 inches in length

Age: Up to 10 years

Tank Size: 10-gallon 

The white cheek goby fish is native to China and Vietnam. They’re found in freshwater and brackish water.

Brackish waters are waters that are a mixture of river and seawater. They’re a little bit salty but not considered saltwater.

These fish won’t eat and survive on fish flakes and pellets. You might be able to get away with feeding them tablets but it depends on the individual fish.

Your best bet is to feed them live bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. They’re carnivores for the most part. And they can sense frozen meat isn’t alive and they won’t eat it.

They’re a calm species. But tend to get territorial towards themselves. There needs to be enough room for these gobies to space out.

You want to keep them away from large and aggressive fish. This goby fish is a slow swimmer and they have no real way to defend themselves.

Their only defense is to dig a hole in the sand to hide from predators. 

20. Cherry Shrimp 

Cherry Shrimp

Source: canva.com

Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit

Size: Up to 1 1/2 inches in length

Age: 1 to 2 years

Tank Size: 5-gallon

Cherry shrimp originate from Taiwan. They’re considered dwarf freshwater shrimp. They’re known to swim in ponds and streams.

As omnivores, they need a little bit of everything in their diet. They love lettuce and spinach.

They love, love algae. They spend hours grazing on vegetation and grooming themselves on moss. It’s neat to observe them.

Cherry shrimp are personable creatures. And they’re energetic during the day and at night.

They do the best in tanks with only their species. But they can get along with fish, as long as they’re non-aggressive.

They’re the happiest in aquariums with lots of vegetation to hide in. 

Final Thoughts 

Cold water aquarium fish are perfect for beginner hobbyists. You don’t have to worry about keeping a fish tank heater at the right temperature.

There are also some intriguing beginner-friendly cold water fish to choose from. You can have a beautiful cold water tank with beautiful fish and minimal effort.

Once you get the hand of that, you can work with more difficult fish.

Source of Featured Image: canva.com

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