The White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) is a small, hardy fish from the carp family (Cyprinidae). It is considered a “coldwater fish” and can tolerate temperatures as low as 40F. Adults grow to approximately 1.5 inches in length. It is sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females look differently, though only slightly in the case of this fish. They tend to swim in the middle and top layers of an aquarium. They can live to about 5 years of age.
Care Level: Easy
Preferred Water: 6.5 to 7.5pH, moderately hard to hard water
Temperature: 64 to 72 °F (12.8 – 22.2 °C)
Maximum Size: 1.5″ to 2″ (3.8 to 5 cm)
Lifespan: Up to five years or more
This hardy fish is native to China, near the White Cloud Mountain, where it was discovered in the 1930s. By the late 20th century it was thought the fish had become extinct in the wild due to pollution and habitat destruction, but a population was found on Hainan Island.
In the wild, White Clouds have an omnivorous diet. They eat plant material as well as small animals. In the aquarium they appreciate a varied diet of both traditional foods (flake and pellet) as well as fresh vegetables like peas and zucchini.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows are egg-scatterers and will prefer to lay their eggs among weeds or a spawning mop. Java moss is an excellent plant for this purpose. The fry will begin to emerge from the eggs after about 48 hours. They can be feed finely ground flake food or infusoria. Adult White Cloud Mountain Minnows are not generally known to eat their own young, so it is safe to leave the adults in the same water as the fry.
In the Aquarium
White Cloud Mountain Minnows are often sold as “beginner fish” because they can tolerate unheated aquariums and questionable water quality. Some even recommend using this fish to cycle a tank, but I would not recommend this to a beginner. They are also a popular pond fish, because while they are small, they play an important role in eating mosquito larvae.
Since they are a shoaling fish, they are most comfortable in groups of five or more. Being isolated can cause stress to these fish, which can result in diminished colors and illness. White Cloud Mountain Minnows have been known to leap out of the water, especially if stressed, so it is a good idea to keep your aquarium covered. It is also important to make sure not to introduce them into a community tank with species much larger than them, because they can be eaten.