What is a Temperate Tank and what fish and plants can you keep?

What is a Fish temperate tank?

To many new fish keepers, goldfish appear to be the only option for a cold water tank, when in fact there is a variety of temperate ‚Äúzone‚Äù fish that can survive in an unheated home tank. Temperate is a water temperature between 18-22 degrees, so in most homes this is the average room temperature. This mean temperate set-ups do not need a heater included, as long as the temperature stays between 18-22 degrees naturally.

Some fish species and plants can thrive in both tropical and temperate environments. These set-ups will need to be similar to your standard tropical set up, with good filtration and aquarium lighting. Please note that temperate is not the same as cold water, the temperature of the water would need to be maintained at 18-22 degrees.

What you might need

We would recommend using an  aquarium thermometer in your set up to ensure you can monitor the temperature. You may also require an aquarium heater to keep this temperature a constant in the tank. It is recommended to have 1W per litre of water.

What can I put in there?


Most plants will do well in a temperate environment; however you may see a decrease in growth during the colder months. The plants that are more suited to a cooler environment would be Ludwigia, Java moss, Java Fern and Anubias. However these would also be suitable for a tropical environment.

Java Moss Ludwigia repens diamond redAnubias nanaMicrosorium Pteropus Java fern

During the colder months when the growth may slow we would recommend using a plant fertiliser this would encourage extra growth. You can continue to use this all year round if you wish to. Ensure these plants are plated in a suitable substrate with enough depth to encourage the plant to root and you have at least 2 inches of substrate in the bottom of the tank, this should ensure healthy growth.


There are surprisingly quite a few temperate fish species out there, all of these species can thrive in a temperate or tropical environment.  The most common fish found in temperate aquariums are Goldfish. There is a very large range of Goldfish to choose from such as the Black Moor, Pearlscale and Red Cap Oranda. There are also many other fish you can keep in a temperate tank such as:

Leopard Danio - Brachydanio Frankel Zebra Danio - Brachydanio rerio White Cloud Mountain Minnow Buenos Aires Tetra Cherry Barb - Pethia padamya

  • Zebra Danio
  • Leopard Danio
  • White cloud mountain minnow
  • Buenos Aires Tetra
  • Croacking Tetra
  • Guppies
  • Hillstream loach
  • Weather Loach
  • Paradise fish
  • Giant danio
  • Hoplosternum Catfish
  • Rainbow Shiner
  • Cherry Barb
  • Rosy Barb
  • Golden Barb
  • Odessa Barb
  • Peppered Cory Catfish
  • Albino Cory Catfish
  • Cliffordpopei Goby

When purchasing these fish it is likely they have been kept at a tropical climate so it will be very important to acclimatising them before adding them into the aquarium. You would want to ensure your tank is at a warmer temperature when first introducing your fish. You would want to ensure the temperature ranges around the 24- 26 degrees mark. You would slowly want to reduce the temperature of the water over a few days to ensure it is not a sudden drop in temperature as this could cause whitespot.

For anymore tips or advice on fishkeeping, head to our Fish Keeping Advice page for more info!