Alternative Coldwater Fish
Choosing Alternative Cold Water Fish For Your Aquarium
The usual 'first fish' for a new fish-keeper is the goldfish. Unfortunately this is often the 'first mistake' as well. There are a number of cold water fish much more suited to aquarium life and easier to care for than the goldfish.
Why not just use Goldfish for your coldwater tank?
Goldfish, contrary to mainstream belief are not at all suited to small aquaria - they grow too large (35cm 14"), they are boisterous, messy feeders and will eat plants. How about the fancy varieties? Well, these deformed fish come with a whole host of problems and most end up floating/sinking with swim-bladder difficulties or damaging themselves by getting stuck/scraped/torn on benign aquarium objects.
We have great pride in the fishkeeping community whenever there is outrage against the latest 'designer fish', artificially died fish or man-made hybrids yet fancy goldfish, which have more physical handicaps and malformities than any fish still manage to get by un-noticed. So this might be a bit controversial but we will say to all who listen - don't keep goldfish in aquaria less than 120cm (4 foot) long and quite simply, don't keep fancy goldfish.
Coldwater fish tanks
All is not lost however; the conditions in suitable unheated aquaria are perfect for a whole host of fish that are easily available in virtually all aquarium stores. Firstly, lets define 'suitable aquaria' - anything less than 15litres capacity (30x23x23cm 12x9x9") is best used as a vase, to collect drips from leaky roofs, or left to the experts. Very few fish can be properly kept in an enclosure this small without considerable knowledge of water quality and a good idea of the fish's natural environment. An aquarium measuring 60cm (2 foot) would be a better starting point and will cost little more than an aquarium half the size. Filtration is also an absolute must; no fish can be kept properly without a good stress-free waste removal system.