White Cloud Minnow: Habitat, Tank Conditions, & Care Tips

Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 14, 2024
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Picture an aquarium teeming with glimmering schools of fish that dance through the water, mesmerizing every observer. Welcome to the world of the White Cloud Minnow! In this article, we will explore the extraordinary traits of this enchanting fish and lead you on a journey to craft a stunning underwater scene. Whether it’s their delicate white and red coloring, adaptability, or tranquil nature, the White Cloud Minnow presents an enticing choice for aquarium enthusiasts of any expertise level. Get ready to be enchanted by this aquatic jewel.

Article Summary

  • The White Cloud Minnow is native to China and Vietnam, specifically originating from the White Cloud Mountains in China.
  • They are schooling fish and prefer to be kept in groups of at least 5 or 6 individuals.
  • Suitable tankmates for White Cloud Minnows include Rosy and Cherry Barbs, Gold Barb, Dojo and Horseface Loaches, Paradise Fish, Dwarf Gourami, Zebra Danios, Corydoras Catfish, and Harlequin Rasboras.

Species Overview

The white cloud mountain minnow, scientifically known as Tanichthys albonubes, is a small and peaceful freshwater fish that belongs to the Cyprinidae family. It goes by various common names: Canton danio, Chinese danio, golden cloud, white cloud, and white cloud mountain fish. This species is native to China and Vietnam, specifically originating from the White Cloud Mountains in China.

A remarkable feature of the white cloud mountain minnow is its vibrant colors. They display shimmering bronze-brown bodies with fluorescent lines with a dark spot surrounded by brilliant red at their tails. Their fins are adorned with striking combinations of red and white hues, making them a visually appealing and colorful addition to any aquarium or pond.

Adult white cloud minnows typically reach about 1 1/2 inches in length. Despite their small stature, they have a relatively long lifespan. On average, these minnows live between 3 to 5 years when provided with proper care and suitable living conditions.


In its natural habitat, the white cloud minnow is considered rare and even endangered. Chinese governmental agencies have classified it as an endangered species and listed it as a “second class state protected” animal in the China Red Data Book of Endangered Animals. To combat this decline, reintroduction programs have been implemented using captive-bred fish.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

White cloud mountain minnows are a popular choice among freshwater fish enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors and active nature. Providing proper care for these tiny creatures is essential to ensure their well-being.

Tank Size and Water Parameters

A minimum of 10 gallons is recommended for a small group of white cloud minnows. These fish are small in size, reaching up to 1.5 inches (4 cm) in length. They are highly active swimmers and require ample space to thrive.

They prefer slightly brackish water with a hardness level ranging from 5 to 19 dGH. Temperature is maintained between 60°F (15°C) and 72°F (22°C). These fish are sensitive to high temperatures, so avoiding extreme heat is essential.

White cloud minnows show better coloration in dark substrates…

The water pH level should fall between 6.0 and 8.0 to ensure the overall health of the white cloud mountain minnow. Regular monitoring of water quality is vital in maintaining stable conditions.

Substrate, Lighting, and Vegetation

White cloud mountain minnows show better coloration in heavily planted setups with dark substrates. Adding live plants such as Java moss or hornwort enhances the aesthetic appeal and provides hiding places for fry or smaller tank mates.

Moderate lighting intensity is sufficient for these aquarium fish. A standard aquarium light fixture provides adequate illumination without causing stress or discomfort.

While white cloud minnows appreciate the presence of rocks and plants for extra shelter, they are not particularly keen on hiding. They thrive in well-planted aquariums with plenty of swimming space. Consider adding floating plants, driftwood roots or branches, and leaf litter to mimic their natural habitat.

Filtration and Water Movement

Filtration is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy tank environment for white cloud mountain minnows. While the filtration system in community tank does not need to be overly strong, water movement is appreciated by these active fish. It helps simulate their native habitat where they inhabit streams with gentle currents.

Regular water changes are necessary to maintain optimal water quality. Aim for a 20% to 25% water change every week to remove accumulated toxins and keep the tank conditions pristine.

The tankmates you choose impact their overall well-being and behavior..

Tankmates and Temperament

The tankmates you choose for your white cloud minnows can greatly impact their overall well-being and behavior. Understanding the ideal tank level, social behavior, and compatible species is crucial to creating a harmonious aquarium environment.

White cloud minnows are primarily top to middle-level swimmers. Their natural shoaling behavior makes them more comfortable in groups rather than being solitary fish. They prefer to be in schools of at least 5 or 6 individuals. The larger the school, the less timid they become. These vibrant little fish are not particularly shy and will show off their bright colors as they gracefully glide through the middle levels of the tank.

White cloud minnows exhibit peaceful and sociable behavior, making them suitable for community tanks. They coexist harmoniously with small, non-aggressive fish species that share similar environmental requirements.

Suitable Tankmates

When selecting tankmates for your white cloud minnows, consider species that thrive in similar conditions and possess compatible temperaments. Here are some suitable options:

  • Rosy and Cherry Barbs
  • Gold Barb
  • Dojo and Horseface Loaches
  • Paradise Fish
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Zebra Danios
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Harlequin Rasboras

These species complement white cloud minnows well due to their peaceful nature and ability to adapt to cold water environments. White cloud minnows do not harass or prey on invertebrates; thus, shrimp (crystal red shrimp, blue bolt shrimp) or snails can also be added to the tank without concern.

Avoiding Incompatible Tankmates

To maintain a serene aquarium setting for your white cloud minnows, it is important to avoid pairing them with larger or fin-nipping fish. Aggressive species such as Tiger Barbs, Clown Loach, and cichlids should also be avoided. These fish tend to disrupt the peaceful nature of white cloud minnows and may cause stress or harm.

Why Not Goldfish?

While goldfish are popular and captivating aquatic pets, they are not suitable tankmates for white cloud minnows. Goldfish have different temperature requirements and produce more waste than white cloud minnows can tolerate. Goldfish tend to grow larger in size and may unintentionally harm the smaller white cloud minnows.

Diet and Feeding

The white cloud mountain minnow is an omnivorous fish, meaning it consumes both plant and animal matter. Its diet consists of a variety of foods, including live, frozen, and prepared options.

Omnivorous Diet

The white cloud mountain minnow has a versatile palate and enjoys eating a range of food sources. In their natural habitat, they feed on small insects, worms, and algae found in the water. To mimic their natural diet in captivity, it is advisable to offer them a combination of live and frozen foods along with commercial flakes or pellets.

Preference for Live Foods

White cloud mountain minnows have a particular fondness for live foods that include brine shrimp, daphnia, mosquito larvae, or even small crustaceans. Live foods provide essential nutrients and stimulate their predatory instincts. Adding live food to their diet is beneficial for their overall health and well-being.

Commercial Flakes/Pellets

In addition to live foods, white cloud minnows readily accept commercial flakes or pellets designed for small tropical fish. These products contain a balanced blend of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for their growth and development. It is important to choose high-quality fish food from reputable brands to ensure optimal nutrition.

Feeding Frequency

To prevent overeating and maintain good health, feed white cloud mountain minnows twice a day in small portions. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and various health issues such as swim bladder problems or fatty liver disease. By offering smaller meals throughout the day, you can help prevent these complications.

Varied Diet for Proper Nutrition

To ensure that your white cloud mountain minnows receive all the necessary nutrients they require, it is crucial to offer a varied diet. This includes a combination of dry and frozen foods along with occasional live treats. Providing a diverse range of food options will help prevent nutritional deficiencies and promote their overall well-being.

Breeding the White Cloud Minnow

Breeding the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a relatively simple and rewarding process. These small and vibrant fish are egg scatterers that exhibit no parental care. They can reproduce in a densely planted, mature aquarium or a separate dimly-lit breeding tank.

Setting up a separate breeding tank can greatly increase the chances of successful breeding. This allows for better control over environmental factors and prevents adult fish from consuming the eggs or fry. When preparing the separate breeding tank, ensure it is appropriately sized, adequately filtered, and maintained at optimal water parameters.


To successfully breed White Cloud Minnows, it is essential to provide suitable conditions for their spawning behavior. Offering plants or spawning mops as breeding sites will encourage the fish to lay their eggs. The presence of these structures mimics their natural habitat and triggers their reproductive instincts.

Before introducing the fish into the breeding tank, it is advisable to condition them with live foods such as brine shrimp or baby brine shrimp. This helps enhance their overall health and readiness for reproduction.

Once placed in the breeding tank, males and females will engage in courtship displays followed by egg scattering. After spawning occurs, promptly remove adult fish from the tank to prevent them from preying on the eggs.

The eggs of White Cloud Mountain Minnows typically hatch within a few days into tiny fry. Initially, infusoria-grade food should be offered to meet their nutritional needs until they are large enough to consume larger prey items.

As the fry grow, they can transition to foods such as microworms, Artemia nauplii (brine shrimp), and similar-sized organisms suitable for their size. Ensuring a varied diet rich in protein will promote healthy growth and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are White Cloud Minnows Aggressive?

No, White Cloud Mountain Minnows are generally peaceful and non-aggressive fish. They are known for their calm temperament and can coexist harmoniously with a wide range of tank mates. However, as with any fish, individual personalities may vary, and occasional territorial disputes may occur. Providing ample space, hiding spots, and a well-balanced aquarium environment can help prevent aggression.

How Many White Cloud Minnows Should Be Together?

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are primarily omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including small live or frozen organisms, flakes, pellets, and even vegetable matter. While they generally do not prey on adult shrimp, there is a possibility that they may consume small baby shrimp. If you have a shrimp tank, it’s advisable to provide hiding places or separate the shrimp from the minnows to ensure their safety.

Do White Cloud Minnows Eat Shrimp?

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are primarily omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including small live or frozen organisms, flakes, pellets, and even vegetable matter. While they generally do not prey on adult shrimp, there is a possibility that they may consume small baby shrimp. If you have a shrimp tank, it’s advisable to provide hiding places or separate the shrimp from the minnows to ensure their safety.

Are White Cloud Minnows Schooling Fish?

Yes, White Cloud Minnows are schooling fish. They naturally form tight-knit groups in the wild and exhibit shoaling behavior in captivity. Keeping them in a school provides numerous benefits, such as increased confidence, reduced stress levels, and more natural social interactions. It is highly recommended to maintain a group of White Cloud Minnows to ensure their overall well-being and to observe their fascinating shoaling dynamics.

Is It Hard to Breed White Cloud Minnows?

No, breeding White Cloud Mountain Minnows is considered relatively easy compared to other fish species. They are resilient and adaptable fish, making them suitable for breeding in aquariums. With the right conditions, such as slightly cooler water, ample hiding spots, and a well-prepared breeding tank, White Cloud Minnows can reproduce naturally. Providing live or frozen foods, proper water parameters, and a suitable breeding environment will increase the chances of successful breeding.