One of the renowned members of the Cyprinidae family is the white cloud minnow. It is a relatively new freshwater species discovered in 1932. The white cloud minnow is somewhat small, with adult lengths of 1.5 inches.
It is shaped like a dart with a slim, streamlined body and a pointed snout. The ventral and dorsal fins are pointed towards the fish’s rear and are somewhat triangular.
The typical variety of white cloud minnow is the mountain one. It has green and silver scales with black and iridescent pink stripes along its lateral lines.
The fish also has a red-tipped snout and caudal fin with a black dot on its tail. The ventral and dorsal fins of the typical white cloud mountain minnow variety are red with white ends.
The three other types of white cloud minnows include Hong Kong, golden cloud, and meteor minnows. The Hong Kong minnow has pale gold scales and blue lateral lines while the golden cloud is cream-colored with a lateral line that has a white band. The meteor minnow is renowned for its long trailing red or yellow fin.
Here are guidelines to answer the typical questions you will have when keeping white cloud minnows in your aquarium.
White Cloud Minnow Natural Habitat
The white cloud minnows were discovered in the Mount Baiyun streams located in Guangdong and north Guangzhou in China. Over time, the natural waters here became polluted, and the fish was considered extinct.
Another population of white cloud minnows was in 2007, however, found on Hainan Island. This is a large island located to the east of Vietnam and south of China.
The fish in the wild is found in cool waters with temperatures ranging from 64-72 degrees Fahrenheit on high elevations. It has nonetheless been shown to survive in water temperatures as low as five degrees Fahrenheit.
White cloud minnows prefer places with a lot of plants, medium, and low water flow and rocky substrates.
White Cloud Minnow Fish Tank Requirements
Though small, you will need an aquarium with a capacity of more than ten gallons when keeping white cloud minnows. This is because the fish are social and active, and this tank capacity will comfortably hold about six fish. You should also include some decor in the tank, so your fish have some hiding places.
The ideal décor elements for aquariums housing white cloud minnows are smooth pebbles and sand that should preferably be grey-black.
These not only mimic their natural environment but also allow the colors of the fish to stand out. You should also include some plants that can thrive in the low water temperatures of your tank.
Floating plants like pondweed and duckweed are good options that will give your aquarium a natural look. A filter that runs a current to mirror the white cloud minnow’s natural environment and keep your tank clean is also advisable.
The ideal choice is an under gravel or small internal filter that will stimulate moderate water flow.
White Cloud Minnow Water Conditions
White cloud minnows can withstand a broad range of water fluctuations. Even so, they prefer water PH levels of 6.0-8.0. Nitrates, ammonia, and nitrites should be kept as 0ppm.
It would help if you adequately cycled your tank before adding in the fish to guarantee it is free of toxic buildups of nitrogen and ammonia.
The white cloud minnow will not just tolerate low water temperatures but prefers them. Water temperatures above 72 degrees Fahrenheit might stress your fish and leave it with a washed-out pale color and should thus be avoided. As such, you can have your minnow in an unheated fish tank.
Maintain the hardness rating of the water in your tank at 5-16dGH. You should also avoid using any medications and elements that contain copper in your fish tank. This is because white cloud minnows are quite sensitive to copper.
White Cloud Minnow Diet and Feeding
White cloud minnows are omnivores. In the wild, they will thrive on green algae, brine shrimp, zooplankton and insect larvae. Natural zooplankton colonies will not form in your aquarium as easily as they do in the wild but can be introduced into your tank to meet your pet’s diet needs.
Feed your white cloud minnow on a diet that includes pellets or crushed flake foods with a high vegetable and protein content.
If your tank has algae, you can introduce algae tablets to support their growth and ensure that your fish have an abundant supply of algae. As an occasional treat, give your minnows garden vegetables and fruits on which they can nibble.
If you want white cloud minnows to have high reproduction chances and vibrant colors, add tiny invertebrates in their diets. These include brine shrimp, tubifex worms, bloodworms, and daphnia.
Thankfully, these invertebrates are readily available in frozen varieties in pet stores. Alternatively, you can choose to breed them as live feeds in a separate tank.
In the wild, minnows do not have fixed meal schedules and will thus eat as much as they can when they find food. In your home aquarium, therefore, they might overfeed and leave you grappling with obesity and low water quality
. These, in turn, lead to their death or diseases. You should ideally feed them 2-3 times daily in small food quantities. You can also skip feeding once in a while to keep your fish healthy.
White Cloud Minnow Tank Mates
While cloud minnows are peaceful fish that will make ideal tank mates for pet fish with long fins. They will also not bother any bottom feeders, small invertebrates or algae eaters.
When considering the tank mates for your fish, keep in mind that white cloud minnows are ideally kept in schools of not less than six fish. When kept alone, they will spend most of their time hiding, and their colors will not be as vibrant.
In most cases, hobby aquarists settle for goldfish as tank mates for the white cloud minnow. This is because the fish can withstand the cold water temperatures in which the minnow thrives. This is, however, not advisable since grown goldfish might prey on the minnow because of its small size.
The best tank mates for your fish include small schooling barbs like the gold, zebra and cherry, paradise fish, and hillstream loaches. Freshwater shrimp corydoras and livebearers will also thrive in the same tank as white cloud minnows.
Unlike other cyprinids, the white cloud minnow is not a fin-nipper and can thus be kept with bettas.
Aggressive loach species like clown loaches and aggressive barbs like the tiger barb are best avoided when keeping minnows. Tetras and gouramis are also not ideal tank mates because they prefer warm water.
White Cloud Minnow Breeding
The life expectancy of a white cloud minnow is 3-5 years. Thankfully, it is an easy fish to breed. It is an egg-scatterer that breeds year-round though the mating pair will provide no parental care for the offspring. You can settle for one of the following approaches when breeding a minnow:
- Keep a big school of white cloud minnows in one tank and let them reproduce there. These fish do not aggressively eat their eggs as other species. As such, some of their young ones will survive.
- Set up a 5-10 gallon tank with a few colorful males and twice their number of females. This tank should have plant clumps or spawning mops where your fish can lay their eggs. The ideal water conditions for spawning are temperatures of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit and PH levels of 6.5-7.5.
Irrespective of your approach, condition your fish with live feeds before spawning. These include mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and daphnia. You nevertheless can use quality frozen feeds if you cannot get the live feeds.
Eggs will be scattered in your tank for 24 hours at most after spawning begins and will hatch in 36-48 hours. The adults should be removed when the eggs hatch to avert cannibalism. The fry initially feeds on liquid fish fry, Infusoria, powdered egg yolk, or very fine micro foods. Afterward, you can feed them on freshly-hatched brine shrimp.
As a beginner aquarist, the white cloud minnow is among your ideal choices for starting your venture. It is easy to care for and breed and will get along well with other fish species in a community tank. Moreover, the minnow will be a good choice for those that enjoy aquascaping because it will not eat the plants in an aquarium.
The vibrant colors and personalities of white cloud minnows mimic those of tropical fish. In most cases, they are ideal alternatives for those who want the benefits of tropical fish but cannot keep up with their aquarium needs. Thankfully, the minnow is a hardy fish species and will not have stringent rules for aquarium care.
With the above tidbits, keeping the white cloud minnows will be a breeze for you. You can choose to keep them in an indoor aquarium or outdoor pond provided it is regulated and properly secured. The pond’s securing ensures that your pet fish do not swim into native waters that are ill-suited for their needs.