White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Scientific Name:  Tanichthys albonubes
Wild distribution:
Up to 1.5 inches
Water Temperature:
66f to 83f

The White Cloud is an excellent little minnow. It is said to have been discovered by a small boy (Tan) in the White Cloud Mountains of China in the 1930s. This fish is an excellent beginner fish and is a surface dweller in the community tank. It enjoys schooling with its own and other schooling fish. It is a very active fish that enjoys jumping, so keeping a tight lid on the tank is essential.
Its body is somewhat of an olive-brown colour, with a blue-greenish iridescent stripe down the middle. The tail and dorsal fins are reddish. Young fry are often mistaken for small neons.
Males tend to be a little more slender, and their dorsal and anal fins have whiter markings. You will notice this more when the males are in courting mode. Females tend to grow larger, and their bellies rounder when gravid with eggs.
White Clouds will consume almost any food that fits into their small mouths. They eat from the top layer of the water column but will pick food from the bottom of a bare glass tank.

Breeding notes

I have been breeding White Clouds for a few years now. I have tried many different techniques but have found one that works the best:

  • Once you have distinguished male from female, pick yourself two males and four females. Make sure that they are healthy specimens that exhibit full finnage.
  • Use a ten-gallon tank containing only a sponge filter and a heater, and leave the bottom bare. You will need to find some sort of spawning media. I have used old plastic plants (bunched up), spawning grass or Java moss. This media must remain anchored to the bottom of the tank. I have found that these minnows arent too picky about water parameters. A pH between 6.7 and 7.5 is suitable. They seem to enjoy a General Hardness around 2-3 degrees. I also add one tablespoon of sea salt. Keep your water temperature up around 80şF.
  • Feeding the adults a diet of daphnia, brine shrimp, white worms and crushed Spirulina flakes will bring them to spawning condition. Fourteen hours of light, and water changes of 20% every three days will also increase breeding vigour.
  • Within four days of introduction the females should become gravid with eggs. You will then witness the males courtship displays – fin flicking and enticing the females into the spawning media. Spawning can take place from early morning up until noontime.
  • Once you have noticed that two or three females are no longer holding eggs remove all the minnows. Some say that White Clouds wont eat their own fry – but I say different. You will find that White Clouds are one of the easier fish to catch. Try not to disturb the spawning area.
  • Within two to three days you should start seeing fry. They will stick to the sides of the tank and will stay mostly stationary. Within a day they should start swimming at the surface. The fry are very tiny and will not accept newly hatched brine shrimp. I use A.P.R. by OSI or Baby Fish Food E by Tetra Min. At three days old they will accept microworms and at eight days, baby brine. Refrain from water changes until the fry have reached the two week mark. They are slightly sensitive to changing water conditions.
  • The fry are very quick to grow and will reach a marketable size within 2˝ months.

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