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. Cory McElroy, our CEO used to run “White Cloud Race” for minnow breeding in outdoor ponds. Discover why everyone loves this little-known fish, whether you have kept them for a month or 50 years.

What is a White Cloud Mountain Minnow?

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. It feeds on plankton, insect larvae and slow-moving water filled with thick aquatic plants. 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 mountain minnow

What kinds of white cloud fish do you have? Regular type, long fin, and gold are the most popular types. The Vietnamese white cloud (or Vietnamese cardinal minnow) may be available at your fish shop. Although it is a different species, it looks very similar to the WCMM.

How to Create 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 can be stressed by too warm water, but they will live well in a tank that doesn’t have a heater. We have even used ice to cover them outdoors in Washington.

How large a group should I get white cloud minnows? White cloud minnows are schooling fish and will feel most at home in groups of six. The good news is that white clouds are relatively inexpensive so buying large numbers won’t break your budget.

Are white clouds mountain minnows aggressive in nature? Not often. If you see them “sparring”, it is normal breeding behavior. This is where the males show off the finnage they have and try to attract the women. Squabbling can be reduced if you increase the school size and add aquarium plants to block your view.

Goldwhite Cloud Minnows in a Community Tank

What fish can you put with white cloud minnows? They get along with peaceful community fish that are similarly sized and live in similar conditions. Consider pairing them with other species that enjoy cooler waters, such as shrimp, danios, and smaller killifish. For more ideas, see our top 10 list for coldwater fish.

What do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Eat?

WCMMs will eat just about any small fish food that’s small enough for them to eat. We feed them flakes, nano pellets, and Easy Fry and Small Fish Food. They also like small frozen foods such daphnia, baby brine shrimp, and cyclops. Give them baby brine shrimp and live microworms if you really want them to enjoy life. Provide a variety to ensure they have all the nutrients necessary to live long and happy lives.

Long fin white cloud mountain minnow in a planted aquarium

How to Breed White Cloud Mountain Minnows

As long as you have at most one male and one woman, these minnows can be bred easily. Although it can be difficult to seduce white clouds, they are generally more colorful than the females. They will continue to spawn from spring through fall if you provide them with clean water and good food. 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 separate grow-out tanks. You can feed the baby brine shrimp to your newborn fry by feeding them small foods like Sera Micron or infusoria. Our recommended fish retailers list will help you find the best places to buy white cloud mountain minnows.