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Best Coldwater Fish For A Beginner? Help!


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#1 CallyCal

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:21 AM

Hello, I am a total newbie and really need some help!

Recently decided to start keeping fish as my daughter is obsessed with them, and I haven't kept fish since childhood (the usual fairground goldfish I'm afraid!).

I went to a local aquarium and was advised to get a 7 litre beginners tank, I liked the look of black moors and I was told 2 would fit here. Luckily I decided to research for myself and now know how terrible that advice was!! I have decided to steer clear of fancy goldfish, and am thinking along the lines of white cloud mountain minnows or danios.

Basically I need some advice on what size tank is most practical for a beginner, how many fish to keep, what types of fish, what types of filter etc. I know I will need to cycle the water, but I dont really know what this means :S

This site has been so helpful and informative in my research so I would REALLY appreciate any advice!

#2 Hardlife91

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:40 AM

A 10 Gallon tank is usually a good place to start, or the bigger the better (less damage to the fish if you make a mistake) and the larger tanks allow you to have alot more fish.

Read through the beginners resource centre on this website! It helped me alot.

Alot of people on here keep fishless cycle logs. I unfortunately haven't submitted one yet but if you look through other peoples journals, and copy there steps. It makes things easier!

I forgot to say, welcome to the forum :)

#3 Fish are AWE

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:44 AM

Hello! I think is great you are doing fish keeping. Um.. having coldwater fish can be areal challenge( i mean looking for species of coldwaterfish) Stay clear of goldfish as a 1st choice. Dainos wont do quite well because they need alot of room to swim in. Um a betta fish might be alright, if your house is constantly warm. Temp 20-26 degrees celcius. You should research on Bettas before buying one. But i can tell you basic care.

They are hardy fish.

They can survive in 5 litres but its reccomended to have more water quantity.

They shjould be fed on betta pellets, frozen, fresh or live foods. I DONT RECCOMMEND live fooods! cause they can carry diseases.

They like 25 degree water. CELSIUS!

They need shelter when introduced to a new tank.

The ph should be 7.0

#4 The Taffy Apple

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 09:45 AM

Firstly, congratulations on deciding to post your questions first.. it really is very, very simple to fall into the trap of buying a few fancy looking tropical fish, 'plop' them into your tank and then realise you are stuck in a 'fish-in' cycle, so well done :good:

The beginners section on here tells you what a 'fishless' cycle is... but basically we need 2 types of 'beneficial bacteria' to grow inside our filters, these in turn eat the fish waste (Ammonia and NitrIte) and turn it into NitrAte (which is harmless in smaller volumes, with water changes needed when they get too high). These bacteria grow on our 'media', which can be sponges, ceramic balls or ceramic noodles (depending on the size and power of your filter).
A 'fishless' cycle is always recommended as it doesn't put any fish in direct contact with ammonia, which will kill them very slowly over time. So, read up on it and don't be afraid to ask any questions.

With regards to your tank choice, i believe anything under 60L is generally considered too small for the vast majority of tropical fish, even the 'coldwater' fish you talk of (White Cloud Minnow) would need a bigger tank. It all depends on how much time, space and money is available to you really. My first fishtank was 30L (which i still have) and i really am goverened on what i can put in there apart from Endler Guppy, Shrimp and maybe some Ember Tetra.

Hope this helps.
Terry.

#5 chickennuggets123

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:26 PM

7 litres for 2 fish? OMG, that's animal abuse....
Start with 30+ litres, so you're not making the mistake of buying one too small, and dont have to replace it after a few months.
Really, you only can have goldfish and things like blackmoors in cold water tanks. Sure you didnt mean freshwater?

#6 Louiseness

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:41 PM

As people have said, 7 litres is really only suitable for a shrimp tank or maybe a single male betta, but these both require a heater unless you live somewhere tropical.

I'd advise you get a bigger tank so you're less limited on what you can have, and I wouldn't get stuck on the idea of 'coldwater' either. There ARE quite a few temperate water fish you can keep, but some of the easiest, hardiest fish (not to mention a much bigger selection) are tropical. A heated tank is no harder than a coldwater tank at all, except heating the water up a bit for them :)

#7 fluttermoth

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 02:43 PM

I'd get a heater and go tropical; there are far more species of fish you can choose from then; tropical is no harder than coldwater and the heating costs only a very small amount. Tropical temperatures are not that high; the water feels only just lukewarm.

WCMM and danios, while small, are very active fish and need a tank that is at least three feet in length.

Bettas (Siamese fighting fish) can be happily kept in a small(ish) tank of between 3 and 5 gallons and make brilliant fish for kids as they're so pretty and friendly. Add a few freshwater shrimps (my kids love the shrimps) and maybe (depending on your tank size) a few small shoaling fish like some of the smaller rasboras and you can easily have a very interesting and attractive tank for your daughter :)

There are some great articles on cycling in our beginner's resource centre (link is in my sig), but if you can get some mature media from a friend or your fish shop you can have a cycled tank in no time. Do invest in a good, liquid based test kit, as that way you'll be able to monitor the water and do water changes, if neccessary, to keep your fish healthy and happy.

#8 CallyCal

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:50 PM

I'd get a heater and go tropical; there are far more species of fish you can choose from then; tropical is no harder than coldwater and the heating costs only a very small amount. Tropical temperatures are not that high; the water feels only just lukewarm.

WCMM and danios, while small, are very active fish and need a tank that is at least three feet in length.

Bettas (Siamese fighting fish) can be happily kept in a small(ish) tank of between 3 and 5 gallons and make brilliant fish for kids as they're so pretty and friendly. Add a few freshwater shrimps (my kids love the shrimps) and maybe (depending on your tank size) a few small shoaling fish like some of the smaller rasboras and you can easily have a very interesting and attractive tank for your daughter :)

There are some great articles on cycling in our beginner's resource centre (link is in my sig), but if you can get some mature media from a friend or your fish shop you can have a cycled tank in no time. Do invest in a good, liquid based test kit, as that way you'll be able to monitor the water and do water changes, if neccessary, to keep your fish healthy and happy.


I have been looking at bettas, they are beautiful and don't seem so tricky to keep! I've been on this site all day now and am not so intimidated by the idea of going tropical!

The idea of a betta with a few shrimps then later the shoalings sounds great, would a 60 litre tank be big enough for this??

I know my questions prob seem silly, I just dont want to get it wrong!! :blush:

#9 StandbySetting

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:53 PM

Most shrimp bar Sulawesi shrimp generally do not require heated tanks, 7 Litres would be fine for some shrimp, It'd be fine for a Betta providing you added a heater.

#10 CallyCal

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:56 PM

Most shrimp bar Sulawesi shrimp generally do not require heated tanks, 7 Litres would be fine for some shrimp, It'd be fine for a Betta providing you added a heater.



So would a betta with a couple of sulawesi shrimp be a good match?

#11 StandbySetting

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 06:59 PM

I wouldn't put both in a tank that size personally, I'd do one or the other.

#12 CallyCal

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 07:12 PM

I wouldn't put both in a tank that size personally, I'd do one or the other.


I've defo decided against a 7 litre as I now know how limiting it is! I'm looking at a 30 or 60 litre now

#13 Fish are AWE

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 08:43 PM

Great to know that you are going for a far bigger tank size, it would be a much better environment for the fish.

um i dont think there are heaters for 7 litres?

#14 coldcazzie

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 08:49 PM


I wouldn't put both in a tank that size personally, I'd do one or the other.


I've defo decided against a 7 litre as I now know how limiting it is! I'm looking at a 30 or 60 litre now

The best adivce is to get as big as you can fit in the space you have. Bigger tanks are much easier to maintain the water parameters of.

Also, tropical has much more choice, with the simple addition of a heater the fish are much more suited to smaller tanks which are more common.

#15 CallyCal

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 11:01 AM

Thank you all so much for your advice!! Apart from anything I now know that I posted this in totally the wrong section... :blush:

I think I have a lot more research to do, so glad I didn't jump into it without checking on here.

No doubt I'll have a load more questions once I start in earnest, but thanks again for all your advice, this forum is awesome! :good:

#16 Louiseness

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:44 PM

I have been looking at bettas, they are beautiful and don't seem so tricky to keep! I've been on this site all day now and am not so intimidated by the idea of going tropical!

The idea of a betta with a few shrimps then later the shoalings sounds great, would a 60 litre tank be big enough for this??

I know my questions prob seem silly, I just dont want to get it wrong!! :blush:


Bettas are pretty #41#### easy as far as tropical fish go and they really do have great personalities.

I keep my male betta in a 50L with some endlers and cherry shrimp (who knows how many!) and it works out great. The only potential problem is that bettas are very much individuals, and whilst mine doesn't bother with the shrimp at all, some might eat them - in that case, slightly bigger shrimp like amanos may be a better choice. But all round, sounds like a good plan! :)

#17 CallyCal

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:48 PM




I have been looking at bettas, they are beautiful and don't seem so tricky to keep! I've been on this site all day now and am not so intimidated by the idea of going tropical!

The idea of a betta with a few shrimps then later the shoalings sounds great, would a 60 litre tank be big enough for this??

I know my questions prob seem silly, I just dont want to get it wrong!! :blush:


Bettas are pretty #41#### easy as far as tropical fish go and they really do have great personalities.

I keep my male betta in a 50L with some endlers and cherry shrimp (who knows how many!) and it works out great. The only potential problem is that bettas are very much individuals, and whilst mine doesn't bother with the shrimp at all, some might eat them - in that case, slightly bigger shrimp like amanos may be a better choice. But all round, sounds like a good plan! :)


Thanks for the tip! I'm gonna start with a fishless cycle, but then do I add the betta, shrimp and endlers all at the same time?? If not, what order is best?

#18 fluttermoth

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:51 PM

If you do a fishless cycle, you can add all the stock at the same time, as your bacterial colony will be easily large enough to process all the ammonia :good:

Shrimps are very sensitive to water quality though, so I'd add all the fish and monitor the water closely for a couple of weeks before you add them :)

#19 Louiseness

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:53 PM

Thanks for the tip! I'm gonna start with a fishless cycle, but then do I add the betta, shrimp and endlers all at the same time?? If not, what order is best?


If your cycle is fully finished (your tank is processing 5ppm ammonia in 12 hours I believe) you are theoretically fine to add all the fish at once. However, I'd add the betta last, as he's less likely to claim the whole tank as 'his territory' and be aggressive if there are already other fish there :)

#20 fluttermoth

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:54 PM

Oh, good point! I haven't kept betta for donkey's years! So; Endler's, then the betta then the shrimps? Or Endler's, shrimps, betta?

#21 Louiseness

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:56 PM

Oh, good point! I haven't kept betta for donkey's years! So; Endler's, then the betta then the shrimps? Or Endler's, shrimps, betta?


Actually, with my current setup, it was betta, endlers, shrimp, breaking my own rules there :D But I already knew he was a very non-aggressive betta, he wasn't new to me.

it's a tough decision but I;d maybe go endlers, shrimps, betta, just so he doesn't see the shrimps all raining down from above like a delicious live food buffet!

#22 fluttermoth

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 12:59 PM

it's a tough decision but I;d maybe go endlers, shrimps, betta, just so he doesn't see the shrimps all raining down from above like a delicious live food buffet!

:lol: :lol:

#23 CallyCal

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 04:17 PM


Oh, good point! I haven't kept betta for donkey's years! So; Endler's, then the betta then the shrimps? Or Endler's, shrimps, betta?


Actually, with my current setup, it was betta, endlers, shrimp, breaking my own rules there :D But I already knew he was a very non-aggressive betta, he wasn't new to me.

it's a tough decision but I;d maybe go endlers, shrimps, betta, just so he doesn't see the shrimps all raining down from above like a delicious live food buffet!


:lol: I'd better keep that in mind!!! Thank you so much!

#24 manehfr

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:03 PM

I'm on cold water fish too... i have in this moment swordtail fishes and they are pretty cool easy to breed... i have a 26gallons aquarium i have the swordfishes among others but cold water cool its the only one i had found for sale... i have been looking for white clouds too but dont find them... and i will put colourfull snails too






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