Care Guide For White Cloud Mountain Minnows – Underrated Beginner Fish


Care Guide for White Cloud Mountain Minnows – Underrated Beginner Fish

When beginners start their first aquarium, many of them choose popular fish like fancy guppies and neon tetras that can sometimes come with unexpected health issues. If you come to our retail store, we might steer you towards one of our favorite beginner fish – the white cloud mountain minnow (WCMM). Because they are easy to maintain, lively and can be bred without too much effort, the “poor man’s neon tetra” is one of our most popular species. In fact, our CEO Cory McElroy used to run the “White Cloud Race” to see who could breed the most minnows in outdoor ponds each year. This underrated fish is great for anyone who keeps fish, no matter how long they have been keeping them.


What is a White Cloud Mountain Minnow, and how can it help you?

Tanichthys Albonubes takes its common name from White Cloud Mountain, south China, where it first became known. The minnow measures 1.5 inches (4 cm) in length and has a darker body. It has reddish fins and a horizontal white stripe. It eats plankton and larvae in slow-moving streams that are surrounded by thick aquatic plant growth. It is considered endangered in the wild. Therefore, the white clouds that are sold in stores are all captive-bred.

Regular or wild type white cloud-mount minnow

What types of white cloud fish are there? There are three main varieties: regular, long-finned, and gold. Your fish store may also sell the Vietnamese white cloud or Vietnamese cardinal minnow (Tanichthys micagemmae), which is a different species but looks similar to the WCMM.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for White Cloud Minnows

White clouds are very resilient and can survive in temperatures ranging from 65-77degF (18-25C) and pH ranges of 6.5 to 8.5. They may get stressed if the water gets too warm but can readily live in a fish tank with no heater. In Washington state, we have even overwintered them outside in ponds covered with 2 inches (5 cm) of ice.

How many white clouds minnows should you get? They are best if there is at least six of them and they are kept in a tank that is 10 gallons or larger. Fortunately, white clouds are pretty inexpensive, so buying a huge group of them won’t break the bank.

Are white mountain minnows aggressive or peaceful? No. You will see them “sparring”, which is normal breeding behavior, where the males display their finnage in an attempt to attract the females. Increasing the size of the school and adding aquarium plants to block line of sight can help minimize any squabbling.

Gold-white cloud minnows found in a community aquarium

What kind of fish can you pair with white cloud minnows with? They are good friends with other peaceful community fish who are similar in size and live under similar conditions. They can be paired with other species that like cooler waters such as shrimp, killifish and danios. See our top 10 list of coldwater fish for more ideas.

What are White Cloud Mountain Minnows able to eat?

WCMMs love to eat small amounts of fish food. We give them flakes, nano-pellets, Easy Fry and Small fish food. They also love tiny frozen foods such as daphnias, cyclops and baby brine shrimp. You can spoil them with live microworms or baby brine shrimp if you really want. It is important to provide a wide variety of food so that they can get all the nutrients they need to live long, healthy lives.

Long-fin white cloud mountain minnow in an aquarium planted with

How to Breed White Cloud Mountain Minnows

These minnows are very easy to breed as long as you have at least one male and one female. It can be difficult to get white clouds to mate, but they are usually more colorful than their female counterparts. You just need to provide good food and clean water so they can continue to spawn throughout the spring and fall breeding seasons. The adults do not tend to predate on their own babies, but you can increase their survival rate by providing plenty of cover and dense plants, like water sprite and water wisteria. You can also make a DIY spawning mop out of yarn for them to lay their eggs on and then remove the eggs to put in a separate grow-out tank. After they reach adulthood, feed them tiny foods such as Sera Micron and infusoria. Then you can graduate them to baby brine shrimp. Check out our recommended fish retailers to find your school of white cloud-mountain minnows.


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