Welcome to the wonderful world of fish keeping! Whether you are just starting out with a single goldfish in a small starter aquarium or have already progressed onto a range of brightly coloured fish in a tropical underwater world, there’s something for everyone to discover and learn about these brilliant pets!  Here’s our guide to the different types of fish available.


Let’s start with goldfish. These are the most popular type of fish – and perfect for beginners. A goldfish is also called a ‘coldwater fish’ – quite simply, because they live in cold water and you don’t need to heat it up. It really is as simple as that. There are two types of coldwater fish:

  • Those you keep indoors in a bowl or tank
  • Those you keep in a pond outside on the garden

Fish in tank

Indoor goldfish – As already mentioned, you don’t need to worry about heaters with goldfish, and they tend to be very hardy and adaptable fish too. Even though classed as ‘starter’ fish – they can live for many, many years – and with the wide range of pretty and very decorative types now available; you can create a fabulous community tank very easily.

To start with, you’ll need an aquarium, gravel, plants and filters. Aquariums (also called ‘tanks’) can be made from plastic, acrylic (a special sort of plastic) or glass – and come in a huge range of shapes and sizes.  You’ll need to clean the tank regularly to keep your fish healthy and happy. Use chlorine control periodically to remove any harmful chlorine and chloramines from your fish tank and help prevent infections.

2 fish

Outdoor goldfish –  A well stocked outdoor pond can make a wonderful addition to any garden, and makes for a great centrepiece and talking point too! Various types and colours of goldfish and Koi are readily available from specialist garden and aquatic centres – you should discuss your requirements with them to find out exactly what would suit your pond best. These specialists can offer advice on cleaning and filtration too, as well as carry out water tests to help you maintain water quality throughout the year.

If you are taking over an existing pond, you will probably need to start from scratch with draining, cleaning and starting all over again. If you are installing a brand new pond, making sure everything is done properly is crucial to prevent leakages and problems later on – again, your local aquatic specialist will be able to help and advise you in all aspects of pond stocking and care.

Tropical fish

The next types of fish are the tropical fish. These generally need more looking after because of the slightly more specialist equipment they need. Tropical fish need to live in warm water, which is heated up by using a special, waterproof aquarium heater. Because of the huge range of types, sizes and colours of fish available, these are also incredibly popular fish and can add a fantastic and colourful display to any home.

Complete starter kits are available – usually with a glass aquarium or the special, thick acrylic types which can withstand heaters. In addition, gravel, plants, filters and ornaments can be included – all the bits & pieces you need to get going!

Marine fish

The last type of fish is the Marine or Saltwater fish. These fish are the most specialist type, as they require not only heated water, but saltwater too to mimic their natural environment. Being so specialist, these particular fish are not covered in this article – but information is readily available on websites and in specialist aquatic stores.

Watch out for the second part of our guide coming soon, where we’ll give you helpful info on feeding your new fish!

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