White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Care Guide, Breeding, Disease

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Overview

Do you want to spruce the look and feel of your home aquarium with some small and colorful fishes? Well, white cloud mountain minnow is likely one of the best beginner-friendly fish species to invest your time and money in.

These tropical beauties enhance the look and feel of your tank and keep you hooked with their sociable and interactive nature.

The white cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) was first discovered at Baiyun Mountain, a few miles north of the central Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

It was first discovered by a boy named Tan, who gave him the name of the fish genus Tanichthys, while the word albonubes means “white cloud”. This fish is also called the White Sky Fish. In the 1940s and 1950s, this fish was also called “The Neon Fish of the Workers” or “The Neon Fish of the poor” because Tetra Neons were very expensive, while white mountain minnows were affordable and cheap.

If you have a nano tank at home that needs a little addition, these small tropical mountain minnows are the perfect options.

Information Chart White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Scientific Name Tanichthys albonubes
Family Cyprinidae
Care level Easy
Temperament Peaceful
Color Varies depending on the type
Lifespan 5-7 years
Size 1-1.5 inches
Diet Omnivore
Minimum tank size 5.5 gallons
Temperature 16-18 degrees Celsius
Water conditions Clearwater with a steady stream
Tank mate compatibility Smaller fishes with peaceful nature

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Appearance

Betta Tank Mates - White Cloud Mountain Minnows

The white cloud mountain minnow has an elongated body of roughly 4 cm (1,5 in) and is a little flattened side. On the dorsal side, its body color is green olive to brown, and the ventral side is white. The sides are colored in silver with some reddish tint.

It has a thin golden stripe that starts from the eye and ends at the base of the tail. Below it is another line of dark blue or black, parallel and approximately equal in length. It has a small head relative to the rest of the body and ends with a mouth directed toward the water’s surface.

At the base of the tail is a small black dot. It has a fan-shaped shape reddish-transparent color, centered, and golden edges. Its swimmers are transparent at the base, with red-gold peaks. His eyes are of medium size, with a reddish tint, with a neighboring ring area of silver color.

At maturity, a white cloud mountain minnow reaches a maximum length of about 5 cm. It is a species of peaceful fish that prefer to stay in small groups in a quiet, well-lined fishing community that can withstand lower water temperatures. Among other fish species suitable for aquarium mates, we mention Danios, Neons, Corydoras, Red Phantom Tetra.

The dorsal, ventral, and anal fins form a triangular shape with red splashes on the body. Some part of the fin is also transparent in appearance, giving it a characteristic look. The majority of the white cloud fish available in the market feature a soft brown color.

Also, some of the other uncommon and scarcely found color options in this fish species include cream-colored variants with vibrant blue stripes.

Types of White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Depending on the appearance, colors, and shape of the white cloud minnows, there are a few different types they are classified into. Some come with red-tipped snouts, while a few others come with caudal fins with prominent black dots all over.

The top three varieties of the mountain minnow include:

Hong Kong – features light and pale-colored gold scales with blue bands evident on the lateral lines of the fish.

Golden Cloud – the second variant features a cream-colored body with a white band and lateral lines but lacks the staple black dots on the snout.

Meteor Minnows – the last option or the variant are trailing fins with the typical light brown appearance. These are the ones that are most commonly found across the globe and are bred the most.

Lifespan of White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The typical lifespan of a white cloud mountain minnow is generally between five to seven years, heavily depending on the kind of living conditions they are in.

Although these small tropical fishes from China are hardy and can adapt and accommodate to changing water conditions in captivity, they still come with a fair share of water parameters that an aquarist needs to follow.

Despite being tropical origin fish, they require cooler water temperatures to grow and flourish in the best health. If you expose them to warmer temperatures than their ideal range, you put them at risk of diseases and even death.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Size

The typical white cloud mountain minnow grows up to an inch and a half, making it one of the smallest fishes you can consider keeping in your aquarium.

This means that if you live in a smaller apartment with limited space and a small tank, these fishes are the perfect addition to your home aquarium. Also, ensure that you get all the health instructions from your breeder or pet store where you are getting the fish from.

Natural Habitat and Origin of White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Scientifically termed as Tanichthys albonubes, the white mountain fishes are one of the most common fishes found in the fish trade. The fish species was first discovered in 1932 by a small boy in a Chinese province named Tan, hence the name.

The fish is natural found in the White Cloud Mountain in China, hence the name. They belong to the Carp family. Also, despite the small size of these tropical fishes, they are found in the small ponds across China to control the mosquito population in the water bodies.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Care and Tank Set-Up

Maintaining the optimal tank conditions and setup is not as confusing as it seems. All you have to ensure is that you regulate the natural tank conditions mimicking the streams of Guangzhou’s Baiyun (White Cloud) Mountain.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Care and Tank Set-Up

The natural water conditions of these ponds and streams have a slightly acidic and low to moderate flow. The water in these streams is extremely clear, and in some cases, you can see through the water body as well.

Following are all the factors that you need to keep in mind when it comes to tank setup.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Size and Specifications

Optimum Tank Size for White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The recommended tank size for the white cloud mountain minnow is a minimum of 20 litres, which is around 5.5 gallons.

This is thus perfect for smaller home aquariums. However, if you keep a white cloud minnow in the tank, make sure that you keep more than one in the tank instead of holding them aloof and alone.

If you want to set up a community tank or keep a school of the white cloud mountain minnows, you will have to consider investing in a larger tank instead of sticking to the smaller 5-gallon tanks.

Filter Type

Since the natural habitat of the white mountain minnows is in low to medium flowing water bodies, it isn’t surprising that they don’t require a very high-performance filter in the home aquarium.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can forego the filter altogether because that won’t help. For the ideal results, ensure that you integrate a small internal filter or even an under-gravel filter in the tank to keep the water circulating, so there are no risks of waste deposition.

Also, the primary objective behind the filter is to prevent the prominent growth and spread of the streptococcus bacteria in the water that can affect the other fishes in the tank, proving fatal as well.


Following the filter, you need to pay close attention to the substrate too. The white cloud mountain minnows live in clear water with large boulders and stone pebbles in the water. For optimal results, make sure that you fill up the bottom layer of the tank with small and rocky pebbles and cobbles to create a comfortable bed for the fish to move around in.

How many White Cloud Mountain Minnows live in 20 liters tanks?

You can keep around 2-3 cloud mountain minnows in 20 liters or the 5.5-gallon tank.

Water Parameters for White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Unlike everything else, these small tropical fishes require close monitoring of their water condition for a longer and healthier life in captivity. The biggest struggle that aquarists face with keeping the smaller mountain minnows is maintaining the right water conditions.

Water Parameters for White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Although they are sold as “tropical fishes,” i.e, pet stores, and you’d think they would need warmer water conditions, it is the opposite with these little guys.
Let us talk about all the water parameters in detail now:

Water temperature

The ideal water temperature for the white cloud mountain minnows is between 16 and 24 degrees Celsius. This indicates that these small fishes are cold-water aquarium fishes. So, despite being found in tropical regions, they are primarily sourced in colder ponds and streams.

pH level

The perfect water pH level for the white cloud mountain minnow fish is slightly acidic, between 6.0 to 8.5. The level is more prone to the acidic side.

Water hardness

The ideal water hardness level for a cloud mountain minnow is between 10-15 KH.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Landscape

Besides the water parameters, you also need to be mindful of the tank landscape and what kind of lighting and decorations that you add to it.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Landscape

To ensure a comfortable and stress-free living condition for these small fishes, you need to mimic their natural habitat in the tank. Since these fishes are comfortable living in clear water with minimal live plants and vegetation, you need to ensure that the home tank mimics the same settings too.

Unlike several other tropical fishes, the white cloud fishes stay on the top of the water, so make sure you fill the tank to the brim and cover it well because they are jumpy and might skimp out of the water.

As for the live plants, introduce hornwort, water sprite, Java Moss, duckweed, or pondweed. These serve as hiding spots and shelter for the fishes. Besides the rocks and pebbles, you can also add a piece of driftwood to mimic its natural habitat.

These fishes swim in a large school, so the last thing you want is to overfill the tank. Make sure there’s enough space where they can move around without any obstructions.

As for lighting, you want minimal to no extra lighting. This is primarily because they enjoy colder water temperatures.

Feeding White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Despite their small size, the white cloud fish is an opportunistic omnivorous feeder. This means that you wouldn’t have to worry about a special or strict diet for their health and well-being.

You’d be surprised to know this, but these small fishes are naturally bred in China to clear up the mosquito larvae as a snack.

Best diet for White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Also, they can stomach food in any form, be it food, live, or even frozen. They can even eat flake food. Besides mosquito larvae, these small fishes also rely on daphnia and shrimp for their nutrition in the natural habitat. Besides that, they also feed on live foods, so make sure that you include those in their diet as well.

Some of the best food types to include in their diet include:

  • Insect larvae
  • Zooplankton
  • Brine shrimp
  • Green algae
  • Water fleas
  • Tubifex
  • Micro-worms

How often Should you Feed White Cloud Mountain Minnow?

There are no strict restrictions when it comes to the number of times you can feed them. However, since they are tiny fishes, you should not feed them more than three times a day. Also, keep a check on the amount of food you are giving them at a time.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Behavior and Temperament

White cloud mountain minnows are sociable fishes that like to swim around in schools. As for their temperament, they are pretty chill and laidback and work best in a school of six.

Blue Line on White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Despite these being smaller fishes, don’t be tempted to keep them alone or in a pair because that will affect them mentally and put them under stress. They start losing their vibrant color and tend to spend the majority of their time hiding.

Keeping them in a large school usually translates to their happiness and keeps them in great health throughout their lifetime. Aggression is only visible during the breeding season in males when they become territorial. However, even that is very rare.

Are White cloud mountain minnow societal?

Yes, they like to live in a 5-6 fish school and swim around in schools only.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Mates

Since these are cool aquarium fishes, finding tankmates for your mountain minnows can be a complex process. You need to not just find fishes that can sustain in colder water temperatures; you also need to find smaller fishes that aren’t dominating or aggressive.

If you pair them with larger fishes, they can be under the stress of getting eaten. So, you need to stick to similar size fishes or something smaller.

Some of the best tank mates for white cloud mountain minnows include:

As for bad tankmates, just avoid larger fishes or the restless ones with a bad temperament and show signs of aggression.

Breeding White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Reproduction in captivity of this fish species is achieved with great ease if minimum conditions are respected, being a very prolific fish. They can be reproduced in a separate aquarium (usually a small one with a capacity of 10 liters).

The basic requirements for breeding these fish consist of adding a male: female ratio of 1:2, some basic plants that do not require good lighting conditions. The aquarium should be placed in a quiet and slightly dark room and maintain a water temperature between 20 and 22 ° C.

Breeding White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Pairing takes place when the male enters the back of the body or around the female. A single female can lay around 130 eggs per month, about 3-5 a day. The eggs are deposited on the leaves of the surrounding plants. Remove the parents from the aquarium as soon as the eggs have been deposited.

If parents are well-fed, they will not eat eggs. Often, they do not eat fertilized eggs. They probably only eat non-fertilized eggs, and they will not produce fry; by doing that, they keep the aquarium clean of non-fertilized eggs that can be infected with algae and fungi.

The juvenile hatches about 36 to 40 hours from laying the eggs, and they grow very fast.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Dimorphism

The male white cloud mountain minnow is slightly thinner and much more colorful than the female. There are some colorful varieties of this species of fish and types with different sizes of fins and tail.

It is not advisable to let the aquarium water temperature rise above 25 ° C as their color will blur, becoming a bland fish. The juvenile is more intense and more spectacularly colorful than adult specimens.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Common Diseases and their Treatment

Like any other fish grown in captivity, even these tiny white cloud mountain fishes are prone to certain diseases.

One of the most common diseases is Streptococcus, which is a type of bacterial infection. Although not very common, it is evident in pools that haven’t been cleaned and maintained in a long time.

If you find any of your mountain minnow coming up to the surface and floating or swimming in a tumbling pattern inside the tank, it is a sign of the infection. Make sure you immediately take the diseased fish out of the tank and transfer them to a new one.

Once you have removed them, take them to a vet specializing in aquarium fishes to administer the required antibiotics.

The best way to prevent these diseases is by cleaning both the inside of the tank and the filter at least once a month to reduce the risks of strep and other issues. Cleaning also reduces the chances of fish parasites, which is another dreadful disease that these small white cloud mountain fishes struggle with.

Are White Cloud Mountain Minnow Right for you?

If you are just starting as a home aquarist and you want a hardy fish that you won’t end up killing, these small white cloud mountain minnows are the perfect choice for it. We’d highly recommend getting the fish from a good quality pet aquarium with quality breeding practices.

Beautiful White Cloud Mountain Minnow

These fishes are easy to care for and maintain, and they get along quite well with other small fishes in a community tank. And, given they are so active and bright colored, you’d have a field day just staring at them.

If you want to start with taking care of tropical fishes but don’t want the extra hassle, the white cloud mountain minnow is just the right choice for you.


How Hardy are White Cloud Mountain Minnows?

These small tropical fishes are incredibly hardy and can acclimatize themselves to the changing water conditions. They are ideal for beginners who don’t have a lot of understanding about aquarium fishes and want to learn along the way.

Why are my White Cloud Minnows dying?

One of the most common reasons behind the rising fatality is the water temperature. These fishes require colder water temperatures between 16-18 degrees Celsius. Anything above that can put them at risk of death.

Can White Cloud Minnows survive winter?

Yes, they thrive during the winter months, all because of the water temperature. However, you need to ensure that the water temperature doesn’t fall too below the required range because that can also put them under stress.

Do White Cloud Mountain Minnows jump?

Ideally, they are highly active and jumpy fishes who like to scope the tank’s perimeter. And, since they live on the surface of the aquarium, they have a habit of jumping out of it. So, keep the aquarium lid closed.


If you are thinking of keeping an aquarium tank in your home and fill it out with some easy to maintain and interactive fishes, the white cloud mountain minnow is your best bet. These small tropical fishes are fantastic to start at, and they have a friendly nature that makes you connect with them personally.

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