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). The “poor man’s neon tetra” is one of our best-selling species because they are so easy to care for, always lively, and capable of breeding without a lot of work. Our CEO Cory McElroy ran the “White Cloud Race” in order to determine who could breed the largest number of minnows outdoors each year. Whether you’ve been keeping fish for one month or 50 years, find out why everyone loves this underrated fish.

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

Tanichthys albonubes is named after White Cloud Mountain, southern China, where it was first found. This 1.5-inch (4 cm) minnow has a darker body with a white horizontal stripe and reddish fins. In nature, it feeds on plankton and insect larvae in slow-moving streams filled with thick aquatic plant growth. The species is endangered in the wild, so the white clouds sold in stores are all bred in captivity.

Regular or wild type white cloud-mount minnow

What are the different types of white cloud fish? The most common variations include regular type, gold, and long fin. You may also find the Vietnamese white clouds or Vietnamese cardinalminnow (Tanichthys microgae) in your local fish store. This is a completely different species that looks almost identical to the WCMM.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for White Cloud Minnows

White clouds are extremely hardy and can live in a wide range of pH from 6.5-8.5 and temperatures from 65-77degF (18-25degC). 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 cloud minnows should I get? As a schooling fish, they feel most comfortable if you get a group of at least six and keep them in a 10-gallon tank or larger. White clouds are quite affordable so it won’t cost much to get a large group.

Are white cloud mountain minnows aggressive? Not usually. If you see them “sparring” with each other, this is normal breeding behavior where the males show off their finnage and hope to attract the females. Squabbling can be reduced by increasing the school’s size and adding aquarium plants that block the line of sight.

Gold-white cloud minnows found in a community aquarium

What fish are you able to pair with white clouds minnows? These peaceful community fish live in the same conditions and have similar sizes. You might pair them with smaller killifish, shrimp, or danios that prefer cooler water. Check out our top 10 coldwater fish list for more ideas.

What do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Eat?

WCMMs love to eat small amounts of fish food. We give them flakes, nano-pellets, Easy Fry and Small fish food. They also enjoy small frozen foods, such as daphnia, cyclops, and baby brine shrimp. If you want to spoil your pets, you can give them live microworms and baby salt shrimp. 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 a Planted Aquarium

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. Sexing white clouds can be a bit tricky, but generally, males are more colorful and females are slightly bigger. You just need to provide good food and clean water so they can continue to spawn throughout the spring and fall breeding seasons. Although the adults don’t predate on their babies, you can increase their survival rates by providing them with plenty of cover and dense plants like water sprite or water wisteria. A DIY spawning mop made of yarn can be used to help them lay their eggs. The eggs can then be removed to go in separate grow-out tanks. 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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