Cloud Mountain Minnow
Keeping and Breeding This Hardy Fish
The "White Cloud Mountain
Minnow", "Tanichthys albonubes", was discovered on the
White Cloud Mountain in Southern China by Tan Kan Fei, a Boy Scout leader in
about 1930. The generic name, Tanichthys, means 'Tan's fish' and
the specific name, albonubes means 'White Cloud'.
Extinct in the Wild?
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is practically extinct in its native habitat. It was believed to be extinct for some years, but an apparently native population of this fish was discovered on Hainan Island, well away from the White Cloud Mountain.
This fish is very hardy. It will survive in temperatures ranging from 4̊ C (39̊F) to 32̊ C (90̊ F) although the extremes of this range are not recommended. It is more comfortable at about 14-24 °C (57-75 °F). This is a lower temperature than some tropical tanks although, like most 'cold water' fish it can be kept in tropical aquariums, so it can be kept in either a tropical or an unheated aquarium.
The fish prefer clean water, and will grow and breed over a wide range of ph and hardness. I avoid extremes of pH or very hard water. Make sure all the Chlorine or Chloramine is removed.
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is intolerant of Copper in the water, and great care needs to be exercised if Copper is used for treatments. The fry are even more susceptible to Copper poisoning than the adults.
This fish is an omnivore and will eat most things in the wild, and is easy to feed in an Aquarium, taking normal fish foods readily. Be aware that it is a small fish. Do not overfeed.
Although the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a small fish with a small mouth they eat mosquito larvae, and benefit from some as a treat. They also like daphnia.
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a schooling fish and will appear much happier in a group of at least six.
This fish is usually a very peaceful one, growing to about 4 cm (1.5 inches). I have kept it successfully with a wide range of other small fish including: Siamese Fighting Fish, Guppies, Endlers Guppies, Pristella Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Black Widow Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Glowlight Tetras and Cherry Barbs as well as the Corydoras catfish like the Peppered Catfish.
I would be cautious about putting them with fish like Rosy Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras and Colombian Tetras, as these fish have been known to be more aggressive.
Avoid putting it with larger fish. I am often asked about keeping White Clouds with Goldfish. I do not recommend it although I know of plenty of people who have kept them successfully with small goldfish. There is always some danger that the White Cloud might get swallowed.
Although the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is not necessarily the best fish for controlling mosquitoes, they are sometimes used for this in South Australia because they do not eat frog eggs or tadpoles. This means that they are one possible fish for frog ponds.
If these fish are used in this way, care needs to be exercised to prevent them escaping into the wild.
Several varieties of the extremely popular fish have been bred. These include long finned types called by several different names, including the Meteor Minnow, as well as so called 'gold' White Clouds.
The White Cloud is one of the easiest egg laying fish to breed. When I was a teenager, I bred White Clouds through several Generations in a single two-foot Aquarium. Usually all that is necessary to breed a few is an aquarium with no other fish.
The males are brighter in colour than the females which become noticeable plumper than the males.
White Clouds benefit from live plants, both for keeping and breeding. They are an egg scatterer and usually drop their eggs over plants.
White Clouds often do not eat all their fry, but do eat some. This is why it is possible to raise the babies with the parents. I have observed no parental care in this species.