The white cloud minnow also known as tanichthys albonubes or white cloud mountain minnow is a great species for new fish keepers. They are attractive, easy to care for, and do not require a lot of equipment to maintain.

At first appearance, the White Cloud Minnow looks like part of the tetra family. Sometimes they are marketed under the name White Cloud Tetra. The species is actually a member of the carp family and prefers much colder water. In addition to being a great aquarium fish, the White Cloud Minnow is sometimes used in ponds to help control mosquito larvae.

White Cloud Minnow Stats

Family: CYPRINIDAE
Species: Tanichthys albonubes
Common Name: White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Size: 2 in (5 cm)
Habitat: ASIA: Southeastern China, in the Canton and Hong Kong regions of the White Cloud Mountains.
Min Tank Size: 24″ or 20 gallons for a school.
Diet: Omnivorous, flake foods, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms will also accept some fresh vegetables if in small enough pieces.
Behavior: Schooling fish, 6+ of the same species, preferred for the comfort of fish.
Water: PH: 6.0 to 8.0, Temperature 61° to 72°F (18 to 22°C), dH range: 5 – 19
Care: Provide a gentle current, best in temperatures under 77°F (24°C). Widely adaptable fish can tolerate poorer water conditions if necessary, an ideal fish for cycling a tank with fish.
Communities: Perfect with any other peaceful community fish, preferably ones that can tolerate colder water.
Suitability: Good

Origin and Appearance

The White Cloud Minnow originally comes from China. It is named after the specific location in which it was discovered, White Cloud Mountain in Guangdong province. The species was discovered in the 1930s.

Due to overcollection and industrial pollution, the species is now almost extinct in its native range. The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is bred in fish farms worldwide and is readily available to aquarium keepers. What makes them so worthwhile is their colorful appearance and hardiness to a range of water conditions.

White Clouds fish are a schooling species and do best in groups of at least 5. Fish that are lonely or not doing well will lose their color.

In appearance, White Cloud Minnow are slender and reach up to 1.5 inches in length. The body shape is similar to the tetra but with a mouth that is turned up. Their overall body color ranges between silver and light bronze with bright red on their caudal fin and tail.

There is also often a black dot at the base of their tail. Their backs are darker, sometimes from bronze to blue. Their undersides tend to be light, almost white.

What makes them stand out is a line running the length of their bodies that can be an iridescent shade of blue to green. This gives them the same kind of appeal as tetras with a friendlier habitat to more hardy common species.

Through selective breeding, there are a few color variations to be found. Some are more golden with the typical red fin and tail coloration. Others have an overall red or rose tone with fully red fins.

Male and female White Cloud Minnow can be told apart by subtle differences in coloration and body shape. Females of the species tend to be more muted in color and have wedge-shaped fins. Their stomachs may also be round, especially when full of eggs. Males are noticeably more vivid in color and have longer fan-shaped fins.

White Cloud Minnows have an average lifespan. When well kept, the species will long between 5 and 7 years. White Cloud Minnows kept in the water near the mid or bottom of their temperature range will live longer.

White Cloud Minnow Care Guide

White Cloud Minnows are among the easiest freshwater species to care for. The White Cloud Mountain tank size can be as small as a two-gallon, single species desktop aquarium up to large habitats with multiple fish species. Several dozen can be kept in a standard 10-gallon aquarium.

Their needs are simple. Water temperature between 61° to 72°F (18 to 22°C) and water free from chlorine and other chemicals. Water kept closest to the lower or middle of the temperature range will keep your fish livelier and more colorful. To keep the water fresh, a good filtration system is necessary. An under-gravel filter will also help introduce some water movement into the aquarium, which is beneficial to White Cloud Minnows.

The amount of light you use in your aquarium depends on the types of vegetation you grow. Low light helps your White Cloud Minnows be a little more active. The addition of an aquarium black light will help the iridescent aspects of your White Cloud Minnows, and tank mates glow.

The native habitat of the White Cloud Minnow includes rocky, gravel bottoms, and vegetation. They live in the mid to upper levels of the aquarium but will explore the entire tank. A good base design uses aquarium gravel and bottom features such as driftwood, rocks, and structures.

Plants are an important part of a White Cloud Minnow habitat. It gives them places to explore, to hide in, and to lay their eggs. Depending on the size of your aquarium, you can have floating, rooted, or a mix of the two.

The plants you use in your aquarium do not have to be living. Artificial plants can add easy care, color, and variety to the habitat. Live plants are better if you want to mimic their natural environment and encourage breeding.

Here are a few living plants that make a great addition to your White Cloud Minnow aquarium:

  • Dwarf Rotala: Dwarf Rotala is a plant many aquarium keepers start with. It is attractive, provides great fish cover, and does well with heavy pruning.
  • Java Moss: Java Moss is an attractive, bright green plant that is an aquarium favorite. It is easy to grow, easy to keep in check, and most fish species love it. It is native to most of Asia.
  • Water Sprite: Water Sprite looks very much like underwater parsley with finely fingered fronds. It is easily found, roots well in gravel, and is slow-growing. Mixes well with Java Fern.
  • Java Fern: Another aquarium favorite due to its hardy nature and slow growth. The wide leaves provide great cover for small fish. Roots well in the aquarium gravel.
  • Hornwort: This horsetail underwater plant grows rapidly and helps clear nitrogen and ammonia from the water. Don’t flush it down the toilet because Hornwort can become an invasive species.

No matter which plants you select for your aquarium, make sure that they can live in the White Cloud Minnow desired temperature range and that they will not grow so fast as to crowd out the tank.

Note that aquatic plants that need fertilizer should be avoided in general. The fertilizer can cause sudden changes in water chemistry that could sicken or be fatal to your fish.

Tank Mates

White Cloud Minnows are generally peaceful and get along well with other similar sizes, non-aggressive fish.

The challenge is finding peaceful, small species that can tolerate the White Cloud Minnow need for cool water.

Here are some good tank mates that can cohabitate with the White Cloud Mountain Minnow:

  • Endler’s Livebearer: Guppy species like Endler’s Livebearer are small, attractive fish that can tolerate the cool waters White Cloud Minnows need. There are many varieties with wild colorings and flowing fins. Highly recommended as a White Cloud Minnow tank mate.
  • Bloodfin Tetra: This colorful South American species can tolerate the upper end of the White Cloud Minnow temperature range. They are very peaceful, average 2 inches, and do well in groups of 5 or 6.
  • Goldfish: There are many varieties of goldfish. Some smaller varieties such as the Common, Comet, and Shubunkin will make good tank mates. They can grow to up to 6 inches. If any bullying is observed, rehome the larger fish and add new young ones. Avoid Koi. These huge goldfish are opportunistic feeders and will snack on White Cloud Minnow.
  • Zebra Danio: Zebra Danio is the ideal White Cloud Minnow tank mate. They are similar in size, temperament and have the same water temperature requirements. You will like their beautiful blue coloring.
  • Mollies: As a species, Mollies make good tank mates for White Cloud Minnows. They are peaceful omnivores and tolerant of cool water temperatures. Varieties like the Common Black Molly add dark contrast to the aquarium for a very nice presentation.
  • Gourami: Species such as the Honey or Paradise Gourami have a peaceful nature and can tolerate the upper end of the White Cloud Minnow temperature range. They grow to about 2 inches and live for 5 to 7 years.
  • Corydoras: Like Plecos, Corydoras are a variety of bottom-feeding catfish commonly placed in tropical freshwater aquariums. They grow up to 4 inches in size and are peaceful omnivores.

Breeding

White Cloud Minnows are an ideal species for aspiring fish breeders. Little needs to be done to encourage the species to procreate.

The two most important factors to their breeding are having male and female fish in the aquarium and having enough vegetation for them to use for egg placement. In a healthy aquarium, breeding will happen on its own and quite frequently. Keeping your White Cloud Minnows in a species tank will encourage breeding and also help safeguard fry from predation.

White Cloud Minnows go through courtship for several days before laying eggs. The males begin courtship by going through fin displays near female fish. Males may also chase females. He will try to entice a female into the vegetation to lay her eggs so that he can fertilize them.

The majority of the eggs will land in the vegetation. That is why thicker varieties such as Java Moss and Water Sprite are such good choices. White Cloud Minnow eggs hatch in approximately 48 to 60 hours. As soon as they are born, the fry are immediately self-sufficient and can be fed very finely powdered fish flakes.

White Cloud Minnow adults do not cannibalize their young so that you can leave them in the aquarium with the fry. They will grow quickly, reaching near full size in a few weeks. Monitor your population of White Cloud Minnow so that you do not overcrowd the tank.
White Cloud Minnow Diet

The White Cloud Mountain minnow is a happy omnivore. It will readily eat flaked or pelletized tropical fish food. If you have live vegetation in the aquarium, they will nibble on the leaves.

To keep your White Cloud Minnows from turning off on a particular food, try occasionally alternating with these foods:

  • Live or freeze-dried brine shrimp
  • Live or freeze-dried blood worms
  • Shredded, finely chopped vegetables such as squash or zucchini
  • Chopped earthworms

Because of their shy nature, they may not compete for food with mid or lower tank mates. Feeding two small meals a day is a good schedule that will also help them stay entertained.

Keep their diet varied, and you will continue to have happy and lively White Cloud Minnows.

Summary

  • White Cloud Minnows are an easy-care species ideal for new fish keepers.
  • The species is rare in its native habitat but is widely available through commercial and hobbyist breeding.
  • The species grows to 1.5 inches and will live for 5 to 7 years.
  • There are several color variations, but all are the same species and can breed together.
  • White Cloud Minnow live in cooler water, 61° to 72°F (18 to 22°C), and are tolerant of a wide range of water pH and hardness.
  • Ideal aquariums can be as small as a 2-gallon desktop. Traditional starter 10-gallon tanks will hold a few dozen White Cloud Minnows.
  • Adding vegetation to the aquarium is essential to White Cloud Minnow’s health and reproduction.
  • They do well in sole and mixed-species aquariums.
  • Ideal White Cloud Minnow tank mates are small, cool-water species that are peaceful in nature.
  • White Cloud Minnows will readily breed in captivity. The fish keeper needs no encouragement.
  • Their fry will grow to near full size in approximately three weeks.
  • White Cloud Minnow are omnivores. They will readily feed on flaked, pelletized, or live foods.

White Cloud Minnows are hard to beat for simplicity, beauty, and enhancement of cool water fish displays. Add this rewarding species to your aquarium.

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