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White Cloud Mountain Minnow Care Sheet

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a small and colorful fish commonly described as the "working man's Neon Tetra". They've been compared to Neon Tetra fish because they have a similar color scheme and are quite expensive.

For more than almost half a century, this type of fish was the only species of its kind in the newly formed genus. However, two additional species of its kind were found and recognized in vietnam.

This fish is actually very popular in the cold freshwater aquarium realm and they're highly adored among home aquarists because of their vibrant colors and cheerful personalities.

Some of the other common names it's usually referred to are; Chinese Danio, Canton Danio, Minnow, White Cloud Mountain and White Cloud fish. It hails from Asia, specifically China, and inhabits brooks that have slow-moving, clear water with thick vegetation matter.

The Chinese themselves call this fish Guangdong xiji, tang yu or panshi xiji. Even though it's rather peaceful by nature and can hang out with other peaceful fish species, it generally prefers the company of its own kind.

Over the years, the area in which this type of fish came from has, unfortunately, gone through some significant changes and these changes have happened to impact the harmony of their environment negatively.

The region has morphed into one of the popular tourist spots with hotels, parks and public transportation. Eventually, this has had a detrimental effect on the fish's habitat. which, in turn, translated to the slow disappearance of the fish.

In the beginning of the year 1980, this species of fish was not spotted in the wild for more than twenty years or so, which made most people believe it had gone extinct.

Fortunately, in China, particularly around the coastal provinces of Hainan and Guangdong Island, a tiny number of native fish populations have been discovered. However, it's still considered a very rare species in China and is regarded as being among the category of endangered species.

It is a member of the Cyprinidae family and it's categorized under the order of Cypriniformes and of the class Actinopterygii. The 'Tanichthys' genus was formulated using the name of Tan Kan Fei, a Chinese Boy Scout Leader. who was the first to find the specimen while the 'albonubes' species was a name designed from the Latin word 'albus' which means white and 'nubes' which means cloud. This is a species considered as a Data Deficient on the Red Data Book of IUCN.

What Do They Look Like?

This type of minnow fish is a relatively small one. They measure a total body length of around four centimeters or approximately two inches.

They are normally plainly coloured. Their main colour scheme is largely greenish silver alongside bright red dorsal and caudal fins. The domestication of this type of fish has given rise to the development of numerous varieties, with some of them containing light edges to the anal and dorsal fin as well as others with fins that have edges that are red in colour.

A few other colors this species may have is a rosy pink with fins that have hints of red and golden cultivar. 

Their sexual dimorphism is slightly noticeable. The male's body is generally slimmer and is accompanied by bright colors and their anal and dorsal fins are fan-shaped as well as wide.

The anal and dorsal fins of the females, unlike their male counterparts, are wedge-shaped and triangular. The females also display a distended, whiter abdomen, according to wikipedia.

When the White Cloud is still of very tender age, they display some stripes across their body. Its color is golden and silver blue and it runs from the eyes all the way through to its tail. It's also there in adult White Cloud minnows, but it's much less pronounced.

The juvenile's back is green in color while its abdomen is white. The fins are a yellowish lemon, but the top of the abdominal, anal and dorsal fins plus the fish fluke's middle side are the color red. The fish fluke and dorsal fin are usually made up of mainly two colors; bright red and lemon yellow.

If you house this species in a tank that contains a lot of plant matter with bottom substrate that's dark, an inimitable purple color is gained by your White Cloud minnow fish. A school of them, made up of both the old and young fish, looks especially spectacular.

Sometimes you'll notice the intense blueish-silver coloring the juveniles don, pairing with the ruby-red of their adult counterparts. When this happens, the fish look absolutely amazing. In private home aquariums you'll often encounter this particular species sometimes sporting long fins.

What Are The Tank Requirements?

The White Cloud minnow is an incredibly resilient and hardy small fish. It can easily be housed and cared for in a well-filtered fish tank or aquarium measuring at least ten gallons.

They are naturally a very peaceful small fish and can be kept in a community fish tank alongside any other species of fish that is peaceful and of, more or less, similar size. You should always try as much as you can to keep them in groups of not less than five fish.

This being in large part due to the fact that they happen to be a schooling fish species by nature. If kept in small numbers they'll probably start to develop high levels of stress and that will not be good for these little critters.

When you're intending on taking care of this minnow fish at home in your aquarium, you'll definitely need to consider getting a good filtration system as well. Your best bet would normally be to get your hands on a good hang-on-the-back (HOB) filtration system.

However, the sponge filter system, that is often times overlooked by most aquarists when it comes to this fish, can do wonders as well. This particular minnow fish is one of very few of them that isn't down with cannibalizing their offspring.

This means that you'll generally begin to notice fry after, literally, just a few weeks. If the fry is something you plan on raising, then you'll need to be very careful with your HOB filtration system because it will have the ability to suck up most of the fry and kill them instantly with their whirling propellers.

When it comes to the ideal substrate for your White Cloud's aquarium, your top choices should generally be sand or smooth, small grain gravel. Nevertheless, this is not one of those species that require special treatment and attention, so almost any type of substrate you decide to use should be fine. Also, don't forget to provide the fish with adequate amounts of fake or live plant matter in order to give them a spot they can hide and scatter their eggs.

The best choice usually being Java Moss. This gives them the perfect and safest place to scatter their eggs, and after hatching of the fry the Java Moss' dense makeup will act as a shelter for the fry. Another good thing about them is that the growing infusoria around the moss can be eaten by the fry as well.

What Is The Best Tank Maintenance?

One of the best ways to ensure your fish tank stays clean is to make sure you cycle your fish tank every now and then. It's something many home aquarists overlook doing even though it's relatively important.

It's a fascinating, complex biological technique that can take a long time to understand let alone successfully complete. To get your filtration system completely working as it should, get bacteria from your local pet shop and add it to your filter to give it the boost it requires.

Also, never forget to include a water conditioner in your aquarium for it expels chlorine which can sometimes be very dangerous to fish.

What Are The Water Conditions Recommended For This Fish?

The water temperature your White Cloud minnow fish encounters in its natural habitat significantly varies both during day and night as well during different seasons of the year.

Temperatures in winter can drop to as low as fourteen degrees Celsius or fifty seven degrees Fahrenheit, however, in the summer the heat can go as high as twenty six degrees Celsius or seventy eight degrees Fahrenheit.

Exposing them to permanently warmer or colder conditions may result in them living shorter than they should. Homes in very many countries around the world and those that happen to be well insulated don't necessarily need to setup an artificial heating system in their tank to run all year round.

The optimal range for your aquarium water should measure about twenty to twenty-seven degrees Celsius or sixty-eight to seventy-five Fahrenheit. This water temperature level is the most ideal for the White Cloud minnow.

What Do They Like To Eat?

When in their natural habitat, the White Cloud minnow fish are typically omnivorous. They feed on both plant matter as well as small crustaceans.

When in captivity, you should, as much as possible, provide them with a diet that is similar to what they'd get if they were in the wild. This usually means that you'll have to provide them with a variety of foods.

Herein below is a list of some of the foods you should consider serving up:

  • Algae wafers
  • Bloodworms (live, freeze-dried or frozen)
  • Brine Shrimp (live, freeze-dried or frozen)
  • Krill (live, freeze-dried or frozen)
  • Mosquito larvae (avoid any that has come into contact with harmful fertilizer that contains toxic chemicals)
  • Boiled greens such as peas and romaine lettuce
  • Fish fry
  • Small insects, wingless fruit flies included.

When feeding this type of fish, aquarists are always advised to underfeed their fish rather than overfeed them. When they're in their natural habitats, fish don't operate under a constant nor standard feeding schedule.

They basically stuff themselves with as much food as they can whenever they get access to any food they can eat. In your home fish tank, you'll find they can easily and just as quickly eat themselves silly straight into obesity and, in turn, resulting in the rapid deterioration of the tank water quality.

You definitely don't want this because not only will your fish be obese, the chances of it dying from disease will be considerably heightened. Skipping to feed them now and again is sometimes even considered healthy.

What Make The Best Tankmates For The White Cloud Minnow?

The White Cloud minnow happens to be a schooling fish. This means that you should keep them in adequate sized groups, of preferably no less than five fish per school.

They aren't a solitary fish and when you keep them by themselves they'll begin to slowly lose color and will spend a majority of their time hiding from the world. They have a light and peaceful personality and will coexist harmoniously with other fish species that are of similar size and personality.

Remember to never house these fish alongside fish that are relatively bigger than the White Cloud minnow is. Larger fish may see them as a meal, and that goes for the aggressive fish lot as well. Below is a list of some of the top choices:

  1. Armored Catfish
    These cleaner fish love to hang out at the aquarium's bottom, eating the debris discarded by other fish species. They come in handy when you happen to have a large fish tank.

    Their scientific name is Corydoras Sterbai. They have a wonderful silver and gold color with white spots across ninety percent of their bodies. You can easily source them at your local pet store.

  2. True Loaches
    The True Loach fish is also commonly referred to as Cobitidae and has an organ in their body that gives them the ability to stick on plant matter or the walls of the aquarium.

    However, that particular body organ not only helps them stick on fish tank walls and vegetation, it also leaves the spot it settled on thoroughly clean. Having this fish in your tank is simply a win-win scenario.

  3. Zebrafish
    The Danio Rerio, as it's scientifically known, is a very aesthetically pleasing fish and they won't mind sharing their space with the likes of the White Cloud minnow.

    They happen to be both highly compatible. They normally live as long as the White Cloud minnow fish does, which should be around three to four years or so.

    They're also a schooling fish by nature, just like the White Cloud is, and this is another reason why they can easily coexist with each other. The only difference being that they don't require as many fish in their shoals as compared to the White Cloud.

Are They Easy To Breed?

This species of minnow fish is relatively easy to breed in captivity, and for those of you that might be breeding fish for the very first time, the White Cloud Minnow will be perfect for you.

They are egg-scatterers by nature and usually breed all throughout the year. The pair that mates offer no parental guidance or care to their offspring. There are two main approaches you can take when attempting to breed the White Cloud minnow fish species.

The first option available to you would be to keep large schools of only White Cloud minnows in their original aquarium and let them breed in that particular fish tank by themselves. Due to the fact that these fish are naturally not a very aggressive species of fish and don't tend to eat their eggs and young ones as well as the eggs and young ones of other fish, most of their fry normally survive.

Another approach you can opt for is to establish a small breeding fish tank, around five to ten gallons in total size and place a bunch of the most vibrantly colored male White Clouds you can find alongside twice as many female fish.

You should remember to equip this breeding aquarium with enough plant matter where the minnow can lay its eggs and/or accompanied by a spawning mop, if possible.

The water needs to be relatively soft, when spawning is concerned, with a pH measurement that ranges between 6.5-7.5. The water temperature itself should range between sixty eight to seventy two degrees Fahrenheit.

When setting up this separate breeding aquarium or fish tank, no additional substrate is required. However, a gentle filtration is necessary and your best bet, in this scenario, is to go with a sponge filter system.

Regardless of whatever approach you opt for, you should ensure you condition your minnows with live fish foods prior to the breeding and spawning procedure.

They happen to be perfect for conditioning minnows, particularly foods such as mosquito larvae, daphnia and brine shrimp. If you can't get your hands on batches of live food then you can try high-quality frozen foods. Some of them usually prove to be great alternatives.

When spawning begins, the minnows will scatter their eggs over the spawning mop or the plant matter and vegetation provided to it for about twenty for hours or so.

Between thirty six to forty eight hours after that the eggs will begin to hatch. Once you've noticed they've started hatching, carefully remove their parents from the breeding tank and return them to their original aquarium.

The food that you should feed your fry with is liquify or extremely fine micro-foods. You can also feed them freshly hatched brine shrimp. The juvenile White Clouds are pretty easy to care for and grow at a rapid pace as well.

What Is Their Reproduction Process?

Below is a step by step guide of the reproduction process you need to employ in order to achieve successful breeding;

  1. Get yourself a 'conditioning' fish tank that measures not less than fifteen gallons or fifty seven liters. Place a school of around eight to ten White Cloud minnow fish inside the tank.
  2. At this particular stage you'll need to keep the aquarium water temperature slightly warmer than you usually do, make sure the tank is spotless clean and ensure you're feeding them a lot of food.

    This cannot be overlooked if you intend to achieve successful breeding. Among the fish you've introduced to the conditioning tank, the female population should be at least more than half of the entire population in general.

    Female White Clouds are normally a little bit rounder in shape than their male counterparts, Males, on the other hand, have a red coloration to their caudal and dorsal fin.

  3. Feed them around three to five times a day of high quality fish food. Also, increase the water temperature level to about seventy two degrees Fahrenheit or twenty two degrees Celsius. As the conditions gradually change so do your minnow fish. Females with eggs should look considerably swollen. Once you notice this, transfer the female alongside two males to a separate breeding tank.

  4. Use Glass Marbles: The separate breeding tank should measure around five to ten gallons or eighteen to thirty eight liters and should contain special substrate.

    One of the common methods aquarists are accustomed to using is two inches or five centimeters of glass marbles. If this isn't for you then you can employ the use of low plant matter such as pygmy chain sword.

    Basically, just something the eggs can be scattered on as well as something that will keep those said eggs away from their parents. 

  5. Fill the tank about one inch or so above the substrate and not more. It needs to be very shallow. The addition of small air stones is a good idea as well.

    The addition of the female heavy with egg and the two male White Clouds. They should have bred come morning light. If this doesn't happen and they don't breed overnight, make some water changes each day after that until they've done so.

    Carefully remove the parents from the aquarium and add a little water each time, however, it's not necessary to fill the tank to the brim.

Eggs should hatch after around forty eight to sixty hours and the fry will start swimming freely in no time. At this point, they aren't big enough to feed on conventional foods.

They're really small when freshly hatched so the best food for them at this juncture is infusoria. The best way you can provide them with this is the addition of live plants to the aquarium. Infusoria should come just but a few days after you add the live vegetation.

It's always better to ensure your aquarium already has live plants beforehand so the best thing to do is buying them early. When they get older graduate to microworms, then daphnia, brine shrimp as well as bloodworms until they can finally eat and survive on flakes.

Why are they sometimes called: "Poor Man's Neon Tetra!"?

The reason why the White Cloud minnow fish is also commonly referred to as a poor man's tetra fish is because way back in the thirties and forties, neon tetra fish happened to be extremely expensive.

Not just anyone could afford keeping and caring for them. So for most of those folks that couldn't manage a neon tetra budget, they decided to start purchasing the White Cloud minnow, which happened to be considerably cheaper to have during those times.

However, don't let that term fool you for these fish make a splendid addition to most cold water fish tanks and aquariums, with a color tone that rivals the neon tetra's.

Another added benefit, as compared to the Neon Tetra fish, is that they happen to be far hardier, It's very rare to experience complications when keeping and caring for this type of fish.

What Is Its Personality Like?

When you keep the White Cloud minnow fish correctly they generally tend to be quite docile sea creatures. Which is why it makes them ideal company for other fish species that are long finned. Where they thrive most is very cold environments.

So you may b wondering, can I mix them with other fish such as ​Harlequin Rasboras, etc? Well, they won't bother other tank inhabitants such as algae eaters, bottom feeders, invertebrates with the exception of shrimplets or generally any other community or schooling fish.

Larger more aggressive fish species may want to bully them and sometimes even make a meal out of them so you should avoid mixing them with such fish.

Examples of fish with this particular personality you should avoid mixing them with are the African Cichlids, South American Cichlids and the larger semi-aggressive species like the Congo Tetra fish.

They're naturally a schooling fish species. The males opening their colorful fins is the way they display themselves to the female. They can also direct this display to their male counterparts and occasionally "fight", however, don't fret, because it rarely results in serious injury.

You'll need to keep them in groups of eight or more. Those other fish species that can live in cold-water aquariums make the best tankmates. This includes the Rosy Barb, Golden Barb, Odessa Barb and the Paradise fish.

Is It Easy To Make Out Their Sexual Differences?

When it comes to the White Cloud minnow fish, correctly determining its sexual orientation can sometimes prove a little difficult. Like we mentioned earlier, males are much more brilliantly colored and much more slender as compared to their female counterparts.

As we also highlighted before, females that are heavy with eggs and are ready to breed display full abdomens. White Cloud minnows take about six months to a about a year to grow into full maturity, When they get to the spawning age, males shove one another, display their most vibrant color and spread their fins, with the hope of attracting female fish.

What'S Their Distribution And Lifespan?

The White Cloud minnow fish is largely found in the Hong Kong region of South China. They originally came from the White Cloud Mountains, hence their name, however, the fact that it has become such a popular tourist area translates to a negatively affected White Cloud minnow population.

In fact, for a long time people in that region as well as all across the globe thought that the fish might have succumb to extinction. Fortunately, some were discovered in other locations such as the Quang Ninh Province, Guangdong Province and North-Eastern Vietnam.

They're still considered an endangered fish species, at the moment, but China is desperately trying to reintroduce them back to their original habitats.

When concerning the lifespan of the White cloud minnow fish, they generally live for around seven years or so when kept under the right water conditions and temperature.

Keeping them in fish tanks or aquariums that have warm water will cause your White Cloud minnow to have a shorter lifespan. And if you source them from shaky, untrustworthy breeders who might be using questionable breeding techniques, for instance inbreeding, of course the fish you get will be a little weaker and probably won't last that long either.


These small, vibrantly colored little critters are the ideal fish for both outdoor ponds as well as indoor fish tanks and aquariums, however, both should be secured properly. 

They can also be quite efficient at helping you control mosquito populations. Nevertheless, special care is required whenever caring for the White Cloud minnow to ensure it doesn't enter native waterways. 

They happen to be a very underrated lot, but have a particularly interesting behavior which makes them really entertaining to watch and observe from time to time. Some aquarists even believe that they have the most attractive colors as well as the best finnage.

However, that we'll leave for you to decide whether it's true or not. Hopefully, after reading this White Cloud Mountain minnow care sheet, you're ready to get a few for yourself at home. They are also a very lively and active bunch and will liven up any coldwater aquarium you put them in. So, what are you waiting for? Go get your White Cloud minnow fish today!


Hey, thanks for passing by, welcome to the blog for Pet Fish fans. This is me, Wayne, and my son Theo. I started this journey after we bought him hist first Fish Tank of fish. Follow my site for my research and info on Pet Fish.