Profile of the White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish

White cloud mountain minnow fish with gray scales and orange fins closeup

White cloud mountain minnows are tiny, vibrant fish that were previously referred to as "the working man's neon" because of how similar in color they were to neon tetras but were less expensive. The sole species in the recently described genus was the white cloud mountain minnow for more than 50 years. Tanichthys micagemmae and Tanichthys thacbaensis, two further species discovered in Vietnam, were identified in 2001, nevertheless. Only Tanichthys micagemmae (Vietnamese white cloud) is offered in the aquarium trade out of the two.

Species Overview

Common Names: Canton danio, Chinese danio, white cloud, white cloud mountain fish, white cloud mountain minnow

Scientific Name: Tanichthys micagemmae

Adult Size: 1 1/2 inches

Life Expectancy: 3 to 5 years


Family Cyprinidae
Origin White Cloud Mountains of China
Social Peaceful and sociable
Tank Level Top to middle
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Egg scatterers; easy to breed
Care Easy; good fish for beginners
pH 6.0 to 8.0
Hardness 5 to 19 dGH


60 F (15 C)

Origin and Distribution

This fish's habitat has suffered because of severe changes to its geographic origins in China and Vietnam. The environment has suffered as a result, and the species is gradually going extinct. It was thought that the species had gone extinct because it hadn't been spotted in the wild for more than 20 years starting in 1980.

Fortunately, a few native populations have been identified in remote regions of the Chinese islands of Hainan and Guangdong, as well as the Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh. The species is still extremely uncommon in the wild and is protected in China as an endangered species. The wild reintroduction of captive-bred populations is currently being worked on, however all-white cloud mountain minnows are now offered in the aquarium trade as captive-bred fish.

Colors and Markings

The male white clouds are more slender and colorful than the females, reaching an adult length of 1 1/2 inches (4 cm). They are top- or middle-dwelling fish, and the bottom of the tank is rarely visited by them.

The lower jaw of the white cloud mountain minnow is somewhat projecting from the upward-slanting mouth. They lack barbells, and the dorsal fin is positioned parallel to the anal fin, beyond the body's midline. A bright line runs from the eye to the tail, where it terminates in a black area encircled by vivid red. The body is a shimmering bronze-brown color. The anal and dorsal fins are both splashed with red and have a white margin, while the belly is paler than the body. There are several color variants, such as a golden variety and a long-finned version known as the meteor minnow.


White cloud mountain minnows should be kept in sizable schools, ideally with at least six fish per group. They often lose color and conceal most of the time when kept alone. They get along nicely with other little serene fish since they are calm. Do not put larger fish in the same tank with you since they could consume the white cloud mountain minnows. Any aggressive species shares the same traits.

Due to the fact that both species favor cooler water temperatures, they are frequently offered as goldfish partners. However, white cloud mountain minnow-sized fish can and frequently do consume goldfish. Consequently, it is not a good idea to keep these two species together in the same tank.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Habitat and Care

This kind of fish is quite tough and suitable for beginning hobbyists when kept in the proper temperature range. This minnow does not tolerate heat well while not being picky about water quality. It has been demonstrated that keeping white cloud mountain minnows in water that is consistently over 72 F (22 C) would reduce their longevity.

The substrate for the white cloud mountain minnow tank should be good, deeper in color, and include a lot of plants as well as some pebbles and driftwood. Provide a space that is open for swimming and dim lighting to enhance the colors of this fish. Although pH and water hardness are not essential, it is best to steer clear of extremes. Since white cloud mountain minnows are extremely sensitive to copper, it is best to avoid using any drugs that include copper.

The breeding of mosquitoes can occasionally be reduced by keeping white cloud mountain minnows as pond fish. They can't be maintained with big pond fish since they will get eaten, so keep that in mind. However, frogs like having them as friends.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Diet and Feeding

All sorts of food, including live, frozen, and flake food, are consumed by white cloud mountain minnows. They devour insects in their natural environment. They enjoy shrimp, daphnia, and mosquito larvae in particular. Feed a wide range of frozen and dry meals, including live foods when practical.

Gender Differences

The sex can be correctly determined, although sexual distinctions are subtle. Males are more vividly colored and slender than females. An abdomen that is more plump indicates a female is ready to spawn.

White clouds mature sexually between the ages of six and one. Males compete against one another when they are ready to spawn, widening their fins and exhibiting their most vivid colors in an effort to entice a female.

Breeding the White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White cloud mountain minnows are easy to breed and are a good choice for first-time breeders. They are egg-scatterers that breed year-round. The mating pair provides no parental care to the young.

There are two methods you may use to breed them. One is to enable them to procreate in their original tank by maintaining a sizable school of white clouds (and only white clouds). Some of the young will survive since these fish are not as vicious about devouring their eggs and their fry as other fish are.

Another approach is to create a little breeding tank that is five to ten gallons in size, add a few of the most colorful males, and add twice as many females. The fish should be able to lay their eggs in the tank's spawning mat or plant clusters. The ideal conditions for spawning include soft water, a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and water temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. When putting up a separate breeding tank, no substrate is required. It is advised to use a gentle filter, such a sponge filter.

Whatever the technique, the fish need to be primed with live meals before spawning. The brine shrimp, daphnia, and mosquito larvae are the best live feeds for conditioning. If is not accessible, high-quality frozen meals can be utilized instead.

Eggs will be dispersed across the plants or spawning mop for up to 24 hours once spawning has started. In 36 to 48 hours the eggs will begin to hatch. Once the eggs start to hatch, remove the parents. Very fine micro-foods or liquifry should be offered to fry first, then they should be given newly born brine shrimp. The young are simple to care for and will develop quickly.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

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Check out additional fish breed profiles for more information on other freshwater fish.