Cold Water Aquarium Fish

Several aquarium fish require a heater as their native conditions tend to be tropical and warmer. However, if one lacks the space for it, plenty of fish have the sturdiness required to be kept in unheated tanks. These include tetras, goldfish, and loaches.

Cold Water Aquarium Fish

List of Cold Water Fish for Aquariums

These different types of popular fish live in cold water habitats, arranged by their care level. Other necessary information like their pH level, temperature requirements, tank size, and price have been specified to help a prospective pet owner make an informed decision.

1. Bloodfin Tetra

Bloodfin Tetra

These tetras are schooling fish and, as such, should be kept in groups of 5-6. While mostly harmless, they are known to bite the edges of fish with long fins like angelfish.

They cost between $2.99 and $4.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentSemi-aggressive
Size2-3 inchesTank Size15 gallons
Water Temperature64°-82°FLife Expectancy5-8 years
pH6-8Compatible WithFish with small fins

2. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is often considered a “poor man’s Neon Tetra” because of its similar coloration and lower price. However, these fish are hardy enough to survive in most environments.

These minnows cost between $2 and $5.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.5 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature58°-72°FLife Expectancy5-7 years old
pH6.0-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

3. Buenos Aires Tetra

Buenos Aires Tetra

While this tetra is popular due to how easy it is to raise and its overall hardiness, it is known to chew on the leaves of aquarium plants.

A Buenos Aires Tetra costs between $2.99 and $8.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2.8 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature64°-82°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH5.8-8.5Compatible WithPeaceful fish

4. Dojo Loach

Dojo Loach

These fish are prevalent among enthusiasts as they recognize their humans and can be pretty social. Whenever a storm approaches, they start swimming vertically, earning them the name “Storm Loach.”

They cost between $4.99 and $19.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size5-8 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature65°-75°FLife Expectancy7-10 years
pH6.5-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

5. Endler’s Livebearer

Endler’s Livebearer

Like the Fancy Guppy, the Endler’s Livebearer is colorful and hardy. Best to keep a ratio of 3 females to 1 male, as these fish are prolific breeders.

These cost between $3.99 and $9.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentRelatively peaceful
Size1-1.8 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature64°-84°FLife Expectancy2-3 years
pH5.5-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

6. Gold Barb

Gold Barb

Also called the Chinese Barb, these fish are schooling by nature and should be kept in groups of 7-8.

One of these barbs is priced between $2 and $4.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentSemi-aggressive
Size2.5-3 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature61°-75°FLife Expectancy4-6 years
pH6.0-8.0Compatible WithOther gold barbs

7. Japanese Ricefish

Japanese Ricefish

Also called the Medaka Ricefish, these fish are known for their easygoing nature and can be kept with most fish without any hassle.

These cost between $4 and $15.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.5 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature64°-71°FLife Expectancy1-4 years
pH7.0-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

8. Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio

Colloquially referred to as the “zebrafish”, the Zebra Danio is a schooling fish known for its durability.

A single Danio is priced at $2.99

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1-1.5 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature70°-82°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful fish

9. Mosquito Fish

Mosquito Fish

As their name indicates, these fish feed on mosquito larvae in their natural habitat. Since mosquitoes tend to grow in stagnant waters, the Mosquito Fish is hardy enough to survive in most environments.

Their price ranges from $1.89 to $1.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentSemi-aggressive
Size1.5-2.5 inchesTank Size5 gallons
Water Temperature50°-84°FLife Expectancy1 year
pH6.5-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish of the same size.

10. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

These schooling fish are hardy and, as a bonus, pretty to look at while they swim in groups.

These fish cost around $2.99 to $22.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.2 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature72°-76°FLife Expectancy6-7 years
pH6-7Compatible WithPeaceful fish

11. Rosy Barb

Rosy Barb

These barbs are a beautiful red and very low maintenance. However, they nibble on the leaves of aquarium plants and the fins of certain fish.

A single fish costs $4 to $5.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size3 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature60°-75°FLife Expectancy5 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful fish

12. Rosy Red Minnow

Rosy Red Minnow

The Rosy Red Minnow is known for its hardiness and tends to be used as feeder fish. However, they are also great pets.

One of them costs about $2.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size3 inchesTank Size15 gallons
Water Temperature50°-78°FLife Expectancy2-4 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful fish

13. Sunset Variatus Platy

Sunset Variatus Platy

These platies are very popular for their orange color with black accents. 

A single platy costs between $2.99 and $11.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2-2.8 inchesTank Size15 gallons
Water Temperature68°-79°FLife Expectancy3-4 years
pHAbove 7.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

14. Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

These plecos are beloved among novice fish owners as the Bristlenose loves to feed on the algae that end up on the walls of its tank. This helps to keep the walls of the tank clean.

They cost between $7.99 and $20.99

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size5 inchesTank Size40 gallons
Water Temperature73°-81°FLife Expectancy5-10 years
pH5.8-7.8Compatible WithPeaceful fish

15. Least Killifish

Least Killifish

These tiny fish are known for their hardiness and can live in diverse environments.

A single fish should cost between $5 and $7.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size0.75-1.5 inchesTank Size5 gallons
Water Temperature66°-75°FLife Expectancy3 years
pH7.0-8.0Compatible WithOther least killifish

16. Rainbow Shiner

Rainbow Shiner

It’s a colorful fish endemic to the Mobile River in Alabama. 

A single fish costs about $10.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size2.5-3 inchesTank Size20-30 gallons
Water Temperature67°-76°FLife Expectancy1-2 years
pH6.5-8.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

17. Asian Stone Catfish

Asian Stone Catfish

A mini catfish that’s a bit slow on the uptake, the Asian Stone Catfish is popular among enthusiasts because of its hardiness and gentle behavior. 

Prices range between $5.99 and $28.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.2 inchesTank Size3-10 gallons
Water Temperature64°-75°FLife Expectancy4-5 years
pH5.6 – 7.6Compatible WithPeaceful fish

18. Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish

While pretty to look at due to their bright colors, the Clown Killifish should not be kept with breeding fish as they may feed on the fry. They become more colorful as they age.

On average, these fish cost between $4 and $8.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size1-6 inchesTank Size5-10 gallons
Water Temperature68°-79° FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH4.0-7.0Compatible WithPeaceful fish

19. Fancy Goldfish

Fancy Goldfish

These goldfish can be distinguished from similar species because they lack a shoulder hump.

A single Fancy Goldfish costs between $4.99 and $5.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size8-12 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature65°-72°FLife Expectancy10-15 years
pH6.5 – 7.5Compatible WithPeaceful fish

20. Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio

It is a colorful social fish that can survive in aquariums without heating.

This Danio costs between $2.99 and $8.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size1 inchTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature73°-79°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH6.5-7.5Compatible WithPeaceful fish

21. Hillstream Loach

Hillstream Loach

These loaches love running water, with their bodies having evolved to be low and flat. They tend to be shy and prefer to hide when kept alone, but they become more active around other fish.

Their prices may vary, ranging between $14.99 and $29.99.

Care LevelIntermediate-ExpertTemperamentPeaceful
Size2-3 inchesTank Size50 gallons
Water Temperature68°-75°FLife Expectancy8-10 years
pH6.6-7.8Compatible WithOther loaches

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