Ideas For A Coldwater Tank


New Member
May 15, 2011
Reaction score
I'm planning on starting a new coldwater aquarium based on the European rock pool biotope. The reason I need help from Europeans is that the cold rock pools of Northern Europe (I live in the UK) are very different from the subtropical reefs inhabited by catalina gobies that occur off the coast of the USA.

I'd like to try such an aquarium at a size of around 1000l. I'm really attracted by the idea of being able to get all my live rock, live sand, macroalgae, invertebrates and fish myself and also be sure I'm getting good specimens. Also, if I no longer wish to keep a fish, I do not need to find a new home for it or sell it on, I can simply release it back into where it was found. Finally, rock pool aquariums are very much more like ecosystems than standard aquariums. Several rock pool creatures which are very specialised when it comes to feeding (ex. only take live food) can do well in the aquarium by preying upon a species that does take dead food. For example, a shanny can prey upon brown shrimp which feed on a standard marine diet, standard invertebrate food and artemia. Instead of a standard marine aquarium, where predatory fish supplement their diets with these animals, in an aquarium like this, the predators will depend on these animals, for these animals are their natural diet. It is very hard to acquire say, a marine betta's natural diet. It is not so hard with native fish, as the species that form their diet will be found relatively near them.

Obviously I'll want to stock these prey species first. I'd like to fill the tank up with snails, amphipods, brown shrimp, mysids, prawns, worms and other general prey species first, and constantly add more of them during the time I keep this tank, before adding predators such as fish, crabs, starfish and anemones. The numbers of these animals will be low and there will be many nooks and crannies that they will be unable to access, resulting in the prey animals being able to breed. In terms of fish, I'll add whatever I can find, providing it is reasonably small. Most fish in rockpools other than the odd young specimen of an open water species are generally suitable for aquariums when it comes to size. Gobies, small blennies, corkwing wrasse, etc will be among the species I'll hope to get. If anything grows too large, I'll return it to it's original habitat.
how exciting - really looking forward to this. Where are you going to collect from?

I live in the suburbs of greater London, so I have easy access to the shorelines of Dorset, Sussex and Kent. The National Trust website referred me to a couple of good rock pooling locations, and among them is 'Birling Gap' in Sussex. I'm probably going to try that one first. Before that I need to get the tank though.
i'm sure i read a journal on a british native coldwater set up on here, but cant remember what it was called, but it was fascinating
i'm sure i read a journal on a british native coldwater set up on here, but cant remember what it was called, but it was fascinating

The last post on it was only a couple of weeks ago or so it should be on this page if not the next one.

I think he gave it away in the end but it was a nice looking tank full of anemones.

The post was by ps3stevo.

Most reactions