What Are Temperate Fish? Know About It All

There are different types of fish you can keep in the tank. And the human mind is clever as well as greedy to have the ones that will make it easier for them to keep. The low-expense aquarium will always be the first choice for everyone. And people seeking to keep temperate fish tank is way popular than you can imagine. I know the popularity of this fish tank is due to some beautiful fish in this group. But what exactly is temperate fish?

Well, those fish that have evolved to survive in the temperature between the range of 14 degrees Celsius to 24 degrees Celsius are temperate fish. But do not mistake them for cold-water fish or tropical ones.

These temperate fish are somewhere in between these fish but are quite different from both of these in the case of water temperature.

I know this piece of information will not clear your dilemma about temperate fish. So, I have written an article entirely dedicated to this definite topic.

Hope this helps. Let’s get this started, shall we?

What Are Temperate Fish?

Now, I have already given you a clear definition of temperate fish but let me tell you this all over again.

Temperate fish are the ones that can adjust as well thrive in both tropical as well as temperate environment.

This may seem like a pull or trick I am trying to pull but this is a fact. When you keep these fish in a well-filtered yet unheated tank, they will not only live there but will happily thrive in that environment.


The temperature of the temperate zone is around 14 to 24 degrees Celsius which is also the normal room temperature most of the time.

Remember, these fish are neither cold water fish nor tropical ones strictly. When you keep their aquarium in a heated room with a well-maintained ideal temperature range, you don’t have to worry about heating the water for them.

But do not let the room temperature drop below the ideal range, and do not keep these fish in the pond. But for the aquarium, there are so many fish you can choose from.


There are some algae cleaners, some ideal beginner’s fish, aggressive ones, fin-nippers, ones that prefer cooler yet oxygenated water, etc.

You can even go for some snails if you are into keeping aquarium snails in your tank. Trust me, and they will make your tank seem more natural.

Various Types Of Temperate Fish To Choose From

I know the feeling you get when you are all curious and excited to learn about new things. Knowing the fish, you can keep in the cooler tank is way more epic than anyone can understand.

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to temperate fish. I was surprised to learn the types of fish species there are that will adjust well to the cooler environment.

Let me tell you all about them, and I know you will be equally surprised to see the fish on this list. And here it is:

  1. Goldfish
  2. Zebra Danio
  3. Giant danio
  4. Leopard Danio
  5. Rosy Barb
  6. Odessa Barb
  7. Cherry Barb
  8. Golden Barb
  9. Paradise fish
  10. Cory Catfish
  11. Hoplosternum Catfish
  12. Croacking Tetra
  13. Buenos Aires Tetra
  14. White cloud mountain minnow
  15. Guppies  Learn more about How many Guppies in a 20 Gallon Fish Tank?
  16. Hillstream loach
  17. Cliffordpopei Goby
  18. Weather Loach Rainbow
  19. Shiner Peppered Albino
  20. Variatus Loach
  21. Black Corydoras

Some snails you can keep in the temperate fish tank or that prefer the cooler environment:

    1. Red Spotted Snail
    2. Red Lips Snail
    3. Spiral Horn Snail

Why Should You Keep Temperate Fish Tank?

I can’t give you definite reasons and change your mind from freshwater fish to temperate fish with a click.

But what I can do is point out all the positivity these fish bring in your tank and your home. First of all, the need for the heater in the tank will be subtracted.

This means the expense you have separated for an aquarium heater will be included in your saving now. Secondly, the stress of maintaining the temperature all the time or keeping the water towards the warmer side will not be bothering you.

Thirdly, the tension that will be built up when your heater fails to perform its task or the malfunction of the heater during the vacation will not even be there when you go for fish like goldfish.

There are so many options to choose from, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on certain fish.

You can keep many fish in a single tank if you look closely for the compatible tank mates within these above-listed fish.

Temperate Fish Tank Requirements

Well, temperate fish might adjust to a cooler environment but remember not to keep the tank in a cold room or the pond.

These type of fish will live happily in the unheated environment but won’t handle unfiltered or dirty water.

The other water parameters are equally important for any fish to survive as the temperature is. Also, the decorations and plants will be an essential part of this fish tank as well.

I know you might be thinking, you got away without buying a heater, you can get away with anything. But, let me tell you, sir, that is not the case.

You can’t neglect the needs of any of the fish in the tank even when they are adjusting to a wide range of water parameters.

Here are the things you will need to keep in your tank or at your home for your cool water preferring fish:

Aquarium Filter

Without a heater, you might feel like the other important equipment in the fish tank will subside and lower the budget plan for you.

But sorry to inform you my friend, an aquarium filter is one of the must-have equipment in the temperate fish tank.

The physical pollutants that might occur due to the excretion of fish, dead plants, decaying leaves, dead fish, etc. need to be removed almost immediately.

Here is an article on Why Do Fish Tanks Get Dirty So Fast – How To Clean And Maintain Tanks

You see, aquarium ammonia poisoning, nitrite intoxication, and nitrate intoxication are real things even for the temperate fish tank.

You need to keep biological filter media with beneficial bacteria for the aquarium in order to perform the aquarium nitrogen cycle.

These nitrifying bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite and in turn nitrate that plants use during their metabolic activity.

Here is an article on How To Lower Ammonia In An Aquarium? Cause And Effect Of Increased Ammonia


Live plants are a blessing in disguise for your temperate fish. Temperate fish, too, comes from the natural habitat that has a high number of plants surrounding the fish.

They want a similar environment in the tank as well. So, you need to mimic the same nature in the tank for temperate fish.

A temperate environment is equally suitable for most plants but the growth might vary during the colder season.

I will let you know some of my favorite ones to keep in the temperate fish tank. Java moss, java fern, Ludwigia, etc. are some of the plants I would recommend you to keep in the temperate fish tank.

You might like to read more about 9 Best Low Light Aquarium Plants | Benefits of Aquarium Plants


There are various types of food from pellets to flakes that you can feed your temperate fish. You can easily find specific food for specific fish from amazon.com or your nearby pet store.

Here is an article on Fish Food 101: A Beginner’s Guide On How To Feed Aquarium Fish

Plant Fertilizer

Plants can become dull and the growth rate might decrease during the colder season. It is wise to use plant fertilizer to keep the growth and health of your plants optimal.


When you are buying or preparing a tank for temperate fish, it is quite necessary to consider keeping gravel.

You need to look for gravel that doesn’t fit in the mouth of your fish as fish like goldfish prefer to pick up the small gravels in their mouth.


The 2 inches high substrate is quite essential in the tank with plants as they need substrate to grow properly.

The depth of the substrate encourages the growth of the root of the plants which will, in turn, help the fish in the tank.

Go for substrate with fine soil so that fish cannot get stuck in their mouth or even disturb while swimming.

Test Kits

Testing the water for the pH level, ammonia content, nitrite level, chlorine traces as well as nitrate level is an integral part of fishkeeping.

Even with these fish, you might need to look after the water parameters thoroughly. A little hint of ammonia or any other harmful compounds can be fatal for your cooler water fish.

Aquarium Decorations

Avoid anything with sharp edges and anything that won’t disturb the ecosystem of the tank. No all temperate fish are big fans of decorations in the tank.

But their presence will increase the beauty and aesthetic look of this specific aquarium. Just remember to be cautious with decorations that might injure your fish or the ones that can produce tannins.

You might be interested to know more about Aquarium Decorations: What To and What Not To Add – Beginners Guide


Lighting the tank is quite important when you decide to keep plants in it. So, when you go for a planted aquarium for cooler water preferring fish, then it is wise to install lighting.

You can follow the circadian rhythm of sunrise and sunset for lighting the tank as well. And it is wise to keep the lighting as dim as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some FAQs you might like answers to.

Do You Need A Heater For Temperate Fish?

Well, technically speaking, you won’t need a heater for these fish. However, practically it will not be possible to maintain the constant temperature all the time without a heater.

The water temperature needs to be between 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. Most of the time, this is the temperature of an average room.

This will remain within this limit all the time naturally so a this fish tank or fish won’t ask for you to set up an aquarium heater.

However, season change can affect the room temperature sometimes and the temperature of the aquarium might change as well.

This change will affect your fish and its well-being. That’s why I suggest you keep an aquarium heater as a backup for an emergency.

How Long Do Temperate Fish Live For?

To be honest, the lifespan of any fish depends on the types and the origin of the fish. So, when you are talking about temperate fish, the lifespan will differ according to the area of their origin.

Okay, let me explain, if you are talking about tropical temperate fish, then their lifespan is up to 5 years. However, your goldfish or any other freshwater temperate fish will live up to and sometimes over 10 years easily.

But, yes there is a but, the longevity of temperate fish depends on the way you keep them. The water parameters need to be ideal all the time.

Some hardy fish will adjust to the slightest fluctuation in the water parameters but constant change will affect the health of any fish, let alone temperate ones.

Provide an optimum home with all the basic needs your fish ask for. And you will have a good company of your temperate fish for so many years with no issues whatsoever.

Are Goldfish Temperate Fish?

Oh yes, your dear and world-famous aquarium fish i.e., goldfish is a temperate fish. Most types of goldfish can live well in the cooler environment.

You might like to learn about Shubunkin Goldfish : A Total Care Guide – Fishkeeping Guide

Technically speaking, goldfish comes from a natural habitat that has a temperature range of around 25 degrees Celsius.

Your goldfish can adjust to a wide range of temperature so it can easily live in the temperature around this range.

Here is an article on How Long Can Goldfish Go Without Food?


In a nutshell, if you are worried about maintaining the temperature all the time or do not want to buy any extra stuff for the tank, then temperate fish is the best option for you. Although there are many fish to choose from, remember to research each of them before setting up their specific tank. I know, trying something new can bring chaos, so I hope you will follow my lead and do as I have written above.

But again, research well and be careful with every step you take. And if something comes up or you have any query about anything, drop a comment on the comment section below.

Good luck!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!

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  3. Danio Fish: Types, Behavior and Care Routine
  4. Top 8 Easy To Care Cold Water Aquarium Fish