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White cloud minnows (Tanichthys albonubes), like all true
minnows, are members of the family Cyprinidae,
more commonly referred to as the carp family. White clouds are a
water species native to China.
They were first discovered in the 1930s on White Cloud Mountain
in the Chinese province
by Boy Scout leader, Tan. The white cloud minnow’s genius
name, Tanichthys, literally translates to
Mountain’s popularity as a tourist attraction and over
fishing for the
burgeoning aquarium trade industry of the post World War II era soon
led to the
demise of native populations in the region. From 1980 through 2001
not a single reported sighting of this species. It was feared that the
cloud minnow had been driven into extinction. But in a day and age when
encroachment on native habitats threatens the very existence of many
nature persevered, at least in the case of the white cloud minnow.
minnows struggled for their very existence atop White Cloud Mountain,
additional populations were discovered in isolated regions along the Guǎngdōng coastal areas and in the
Quảng Ninh province of
In 2007 an established population of this species was found on Hainan Island,
an island just south of Guǎngdōng
province. This discovery indicates that Hainan Island
and the Guǎngdōng
province were land locked at some point in the distant past. White
minnows are currently listed as an endangered species in their natural
by the Chinese Government. All white clouds available for sale in the
industry are commercially raised.
Like all minnows, this is
relatively small species. White clouds only grow to a maximum length of
inches. These minnows grew to immense popularity in the 1940s and 50s.
so that they earned the nickname "Poor Man's Neon Tetra," because
they were much more reasonably priced than their more colorful and
counter parts. Even to this day, white cloud minnows are commonly
under the label White Cloud Tetras. They are also sold under the names
and China Danio despite the fact that they bear no relation to danio
their wild habitat,
minnow are genetically identical.
Interbreeding of what has become known as the Golden Cloud produced a
longer finned variation dubbed the Meteor Minnow. Further genetic
between the two led to the development of the Golden Meteor Minnow. A
genetic deviation of this species resulted in a minnow devoid of much
natural pigmentation of the parent species, the Blonde Cloud.
white clouds are and extremely hardy fish. They make an excellent
first time aquarium owners. Their ability to prosper in a multitude of
environmental conditions makes them the ideal starter fish for cycling
aquariums. These minnow are a cold water species by nature. Although
survive in temperatures as low as 41°F, they thrive in the
64–72 °F range. This
makes them the ideal candidate for unheated aquariums and common fish
Despite their cold water nature, these minnow can easily endure the
higher water temperatures of a standard tropical aquarium community
tank. A pH
level anywhere between 6.0 and 8.0 is perfectly acceptable. White
an average lifespan of 3-5 years in captivity.
works well in
community aquarium provided they are house with even tempered tank
similar size. It should be noted that white clouds are schooling fish.
will best adapt to their new environment if introduced in groups of no
than five. When kept as a single species specimen it is common for this
to become very timid in nature. The needless stress of a solitary
often result in a noticeable reduction of brightness in the color
an aquarium setting, these minnows are top to mid-level swimmers. They
venture to the bottom of an aquarium.
In nature, white clouds
carnivores. Their diet consists of small insects, worms and
captivity this species will readily accept standard garden variety fish
However high protein supplements will help maintain their general
coloration and insure longevity.
Males are typically
females. In specimens where natural color pigment has not been bred
red coloration is more vibrant in males.
White Cloud Minnows
This species will reach
maturity anywhere between 6 to 12 months. Adult males will typically
their fins and engage in a ritual courtship mating dance to attract the
females’ attention. It is common for males to attempt to out
perform each other
in the pursuit of a female during the mating cycle. Prior to breeding
will often nip at one another but this display of aggression rarely
into a full out skirmish.
Spawning is best suited
breeding tank to protect unborn eggs and newly hatched fry from
predation. A breeding tank as small as 5 gallons will suffice. You can
single mature pair if you wish. However since male aggression is of no
consequence, you can place two or three males in the breeding tank with
equal or greater number of females and let nature take its course.
A pH balance of 6.5-7.5
temperature range between 68-75 °F is conducive to initiating
cycle. You should also provide an adequate supply of java mass as a
Females will lay
as few as
a dozen or as many as couple hundred eggs during
spawning. The eggs will hatch in approximately two days. White cloud
not noted for eating their eggs or hatchlings. Some may be eaten but
survive. Therefore, removing the adults from the breeding tank after
is purely discretionary.
few days the fry
will become free swimming. Newly hatched fry can
be fed infusuria or luqifry. Within a week their diet can be switched
baby brine shrimp or finely crushed fish flakes. The fry will grow to
inch in the first three months and will reach full adult size within a
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