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. Our retail store might be able to recommend the white cloud-mountain minnow (WCMM), which is a great beginner fish. 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 fish is loved by everyone, regardless of whether you keep fish for one month or fifty years.
What is a White Cloud Mountain Minnow and what does it do?
Tanichthys Albonubes takes its common name from White Cloud Mountain, south China, where it first became known. The minnow is 1.5 inches (4 cm in) long and has a darkened body with a horizontal stripe of white and reddish-colored fins. It eats plankton and larvae in slow-moving streams that are surrounded by thick aquatic plant growth. This species is threatened in the wild so all white clouds sold in stores have been 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. 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 can live in any pH level between 6.5 and 8.5, and temperatures of 65 to 77 degrees F (18-25 Celsius). They can be stressed by too hot water, but they will survive in a 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. White clouds are quite affordable so it won’t cost much to get a large group.
Are white cloud mountain minnows aggressive? Not usually. 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 in a community tank
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. You might pair them with smaller killifish, shrimp, or danios that prefer cooler water. See our top 10 list of coldwater fish for more ideas.
What do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Eat?
WCMMs will eat any size fish food that fits in their mouths. 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 an aquarium planted with
How to Breed White Cloud Mountain Minnows
This minnow breeds easily as long 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. 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. Also, you can make a DIY spawning mop from yarn that they can lay their eggs on. Once the eggs are removed, place them in a separate grow-out container. After they reach adulthood, feed them tiny foods such as Sera Micron and infusoria. Then you can graduate them to baby brine shrimp. To get your own school of white cloud mountain minnows, check out our list of recommended fish retailers.
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