Old 8th April 2010, 15:33   #1
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Default 5 Great Goldfish Alternatives

Do you love the look of goldfish but long for something a little smaller? You need not worry - here's 5 alternatives that thrive in the temperate tank.


Golden White Cloud Mountain Minnow - Tanichthys albonubes - A colour variation of the white cloud that is generally uncommon, but is a great alternative to goldfish. These grow to around 4cm, and again like to be in a group of at least 5. They are fantastic for the smaller sized 40L-60L tanks often sold for goldfish. 5 will be fine in a 40L, but in a 60L you should be able to accomodate about 7-8. However it is too thin and small to be a true goldfish alternative but a great fish with a golden colour if that's what you're looking for, which is why it's No.5 on the list. A fish almost identical to this one in size and habits, with a slightly more goldfish like appearance, is the Golden Zebra Danio, Danio rerio, which is No.4 on this list.


Orange Platy - Xiphophorus maculatus/variatus - A very common colour variation of the platy that is a great goldfish alternative, grows to 5cm and looks a bit like a small goldfish but swims in a very different way - giving it the title of No.3 goldfish alternative. It needs to be in at least a group of 3 and 3-5 platies are good inhabitants for small 'goldfish starter kits' that are around 30L-60L.


Rosy Red Minnow - Pimephales promelas - A colour variation of the fathead minnow that is in general very rare in the UK, but again is a generally good alternative to goldfish and grows to around 10cm. It needs to be in a group of 5+ and like the gold barb is best kept in tanks around 90L-125L. It visually resembles a young orfe, but can be used as a goldfish alternative as it swims and behaves similarly and doesn't look too different, which is why it's the No.2 goldfish alternative.


Gold Barb - Puntius semifasciolatus - This is a colour variation of the green barb that is common in aquatic retailers. It grows to around 10cm but generally requires to be in a shoal of at least 5. However, a group is an interesting and attractive alternative to a group of goldfish - a group of 5 gold barbs will do fine in a tank of around 90L (with 7 being fine in a 125L), which would be generally less adequate for fancy goldfish keeping, and no where near a good home for common goldfish. It visually resembles a young goldfish a lot, does very well on the same food (unlike other temperate fish that prefer more meaty diets), and swims very similarly to one, making it, in my opinion, the No.1 goldfish alternative.

Credit to PFK for images
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Old 12th March 2015, 20:37   #2
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Orange Platy & Golden barb can be stated somewhere near goldfish alternatives, but other fishes are nowhere near.

What Minnows share common with goldfish is they are coldwater fishes and there's nothing similar.
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Old 12th March 2015, 21:54   #3
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I thought the platy was the odd one out, actually.
The others are cyprinids at least.
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Old 13th March 2015, 15:35   #4
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Should this not be called temperate/cool water alternatives, also with the platy make sure it is the Variatus platy not the xiphophorus type. Also consider Odessa barbs, and a few other barb species including the red line torpedo (needs a large thank though)
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Old 13th March 2015, 15:41   #5
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Pedantic 5 year old thread necro?!
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Old 23rd March 2015, 10:12   #6
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I was a bit surprised this wasn't maybe a sticky thread?

Also there are only 4 here, not 5. Find a 5th then make it a sticky for new fishkeepers?

And personally I like the minnows, they don't even have to be golden for me.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 10:30   #7
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Also Rosy Barbs for a temporate tank.
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