Fish Care: White Cloud Mountain Minnows
Often overlooked as a choice in the aquarium, white cloud mountain minnows are very lively, enjoyable pets to keep. Their small size means they don't need a large aquarium, but they do need enough room for their activeness and tendency to play around. White clouds are schooling fish and therefore much happier and healthier when they are kept in a group. In the wild, they live in fast-flowing streams and, unfortunately, are practically extinct.
These lovely minnows can be kept in a species-only tank or a tropical community, but the temperature should remain at about 72 degrees Fahrenheit. This is ideal because it's in the temperature range for both white clouds and tropical fish.
Life Span: 5–8 years
Adult Size: 1.5"–2"
Tank Size: 10+ gallons as they are active schooling fish
Temperature: 65–72 degrees Fahrenheit
Scientific Name: Tanichthys albonubes
Distribution: East Asia
Temperament: Peaceful. Community fish.
These fish originate from China, where they lived in the gorges of the White Cloud mountains. These streams are fast-flowing and have a cool temperature. The minnows used to be found amongst the aquatic vegetation, but they are now almost extinct in the wild.
White Cloud Minnow Biotope
- Tank Size: White cloud minnows are very small—the size of neon tetras—and are not very demanding when it comes to tank size. However, they are active, schooling fish so I recommend a 10+ gallon aquarium for room for their tank mates and swimming.
- Decor: Having hiding places in a tank is very good for fish. With it, they retreat in there if they are scared, and won’t be nearly as stressed out as fish without anywhere to hide.
- Substrate: White cloud mountain minnows thrive in a variety of substrates—sand, gravel or bare-bottom will do just fine. However, if the gravel is small enough, the fish can swallow it and choke, so rocks larger than your minnow’s mouth is better.
- Lighting: Using aquarium lights is optional for your fish, but you should provide them with some way of knowing when it’s night and day.
- Equipment: White Clouds need little equipment—a filter that can run a current that can mimic their natural habitat, a heater if the temperature in your house drops below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, and some supplies to make sure the tank is in good shape. Supplies include a thermometer to watch the temperature, a gravel vacuum and bucket for weekly water changes, and test kits to keep an eye on the water quality.
White cloud mountain minnows are omnivores, and they need a diet rich in both plant and animal matter. Being omnivorous, there is a very wide diversity of what you can feed them, but here's a list with some examples:
- Algae wafers
- Bloodworms (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
- Brine shrimp (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
- Krill (frozen, freeze-dried, or live)
- Mosquito larvae (if you harvest them from your backyard, make sure you don't feed your minnows toxic chemicals like fertilizer along with them!)
- Fish fry
- Boiled greens like romaine lettuce and peas
- Small insects, including wingless fruit flies
Do Not Overfeed Your Fish
When it comes to feeding fish, it is better to underfeed than overfeed. In the wild, fish don't have a constant schedule of meals, and they eat as much food as they can eat if they find some. In the home aquarium, they can quickly eat themselves into obesity and poor water quality. This can result in disease and/or death. Make sure to feed them only a small pinch of food a day. It is even healthy to skip feeding every once in a while.
White cloud mountain minnows can live with tropical fish if the tank is kept at 72 degrees Fahrenheit—a higher temperature is too warm for them, and a lower temperature is too cold for warm-water fish. Here is a list of possible tankmates:
- Livebearers, such as guppies, platies, mollies, swordtails, etc.
- Some bottom dwellers like corydoras catfish
- Many schooling tetras, including neon tetras
- Aquatic snails, like the mystery snail
- Shrimp (ghost shrimp, bamboo shrimp, etc.)
If you decide to keep your minnows with larger fish, make sure there isn't a possibility of them eating the minnows. Keeping them with fish like Oscars can spell disaster.
After reading this article, if you decide you are willing to care for white cloud mountain minnows, have fun! They are an active, beautiful, and interesting choice for an aquarium. They are relatively easy to keep, as long as care is given to provide for all their needs. I hope this article has provided you with some of what you need to know about the care of white cloud mountain minnows. Happy fish-keeping!
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