Information, Freshwater fish

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Complete Species Overview

Photo of author

by Jason Matthews



White cloud mountain minnows are freshwater fish varieties that are ideal for veteran and beginner aquarists. They are strikingly beautiful with their array of colors, making them fun to watch. In addition, they are low-maintenance and peaceful, so you won’t be stressed if it’s your first time keeping an aquarium.

However, before getting some for your home or office, it’s essential to understand the key requirements that these fish species need to thrive. Here’s a complete guide to help you.


Scientific Name: Tanichthys albonubes
Common Names: White cloud mountain minnow, Canton danio, Chinese danio, white cloud, white cloud mountain fish
Life Expectancy: 3 -5 years
Adult size: 1.5 inches


Beginner friendlyYes
Tank preferenceMiddle to top level
Water temperature60 – 72 F
Water parameters6.0 – 8.0
Tank size10 gallons
BreedingEgg layer

Fun Fact

The discovery story of the white cloud mountain minnow fish dates back to 1930. A boy and scout leader named “Tan” is said to have discovered this freshwater aquarium fish in Southern China. Because of this, the fish was named Tanichthys, which means Tan’s fish, and albonubes which translates to white cloud.

Once these fish species rose to fame in the 1940s and 1950s, they were cheaper than other fish. Because of this, they earned


White cloud mountain minnows are originally from China and Vietnam. Their natural habitat is the streams of Guangzhou Baiyun, which have a moderate flow and are slightly acidic. 

This species has become very rare in the wild; therefore, they are considered an endangered species by the Chinese government. Most of the white cloud mountain minnows available for sale are captive-bred.


[Image Credit: Nikhil Thomas, Unsplash]

White cloud minnows have dart-shaped bodies and pointed snouts. They are streamlined and slim, and their ventral and dorsal fins have a triangular shape and point towards the back of their bodies. The upper part of the body is usually wider than the lower portion.

The most common color of these fish species is a soft brown. You’ll notice that the main color looks like a shimmering bronze with hints of green on different parts of the body. The central part of the body has a horizontal line, usually pink or white, that follows the lateral line. Additionally, the fins have a hint of red and white.

Here are the common varieties of white cloud minnows:

  • Hong Kong – These fish species have pale gold scales, and their fins don’t have white tips.
  • Meteor minnows – these are long-finned varieties that have similar body colors as the standard minnows. However, the fins can be red or yellow.
  • Golden Cloud – this white cloud minnow has a striking gold color. While the fins are the same as the standard ones, they don’t have a red patch on the snout.

Average Size

Typically, white cloud mountain minnows are quite small. They grow to 1.5 inches in length when they are fully grown. Due to their size, they can thrive well in a smaller tank.

Gender Differences

It’s can be hard to differentiate between a male and a female white cloud mountain minnow. The sexual differences are very minimal. However, males tend to be slender and more colorful than females. 

To attract a female, they spread their fins to display vibrant colors. On the other hand, females have fuller abdomen when they are ready to spawn.

Behavior & Temperament

White cloud mountain minnows are generally peaceful. However, this changes during the mating season. Males become quite aggressive and territorial as they compete for mates. Fortunately, the fights don’t result in any injuries.

As schooling fish, they need to be kept in groups. You can keep them in groups of six if you want them to thrive well. However, you should not keep this fish alone; otherwise, it will lose its color. 

They feel more confident in a group. Additionally, they are an excellent choice for a community tank. They won’t compete or harass their tankmates.


[Image Credit: Lopes TBM Thata, Pixabay]

Some tankmates that work well with white cloud mountain minnows are zebra danios, guppies, mollies, celestial pearl danios, and Corydoras. Ensure that you keep them with other peaceful varieties. They could get attacked if you stock them with larger tankmates or aggressive species.

Finding suitable tankmates can be challenging because white cloud mountain minnows prefer to live in cooler environments.

Tank Size and Conditions

You’ll need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons to stock this fish variety. For a tank this size, you can keep about 5 to 6 of them without any issues.

Your white cloud mountain minnows need to be stress-free; therefore, you have to create a natural environment that aligns with the wild. The tank needs to have live plants to act as a shelter for the fish.

You can also add large pebbles, rocks, and fine sand as a substrate. This species is not too sensitive to light; you can have dim lighting conditions for the fish to pop.

Related article: How many fish can you keep in a 10-gallon tank?


Fortunately, these fish varieties are not picky eaters. As omnivores, they eat anything in the wild. You can feed them a balanced diet in captivity that includes algae, micro worms, and brine shrimp. You can also add pellet food and flakes as supplements.


[Image credit: Krys Amon, Unsplash]

Breeding these fish varieties is easy, making them ideal for beginner aquarists. They breed all year round and are egg scatterers.

During breeding, you can choose to keep them in the original tank because they don’t eat their fry aggressively. Alternatively, you can set up another breeding tank, add the fish for mating, and remove them once the eggs hatch.

When spawning starts, eggs will be scattered in the tank. On average, the eggs hatch in 36 to 48 hours.


White cloud mountain minnows are not a challenging breed to take care of. They are quite peaceful and have stable water parameters. Breeding is also not difficult, so there’s less to worry about. You can’t go wrong with this freshwater species.

Featured image credit: Photo by SGR on Unsplash


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

🐠 Get Your Free Ebook: A Beginner's Guide to Aquariums - Sign Up Now!

Learn everything you need to know to keep fish, including setting up your tank, choosing the right fish, and maintaining water quality. As a subscriber, you'll also stay up-to-date on the latest aquarium products, special offers, and discounts.

Your privacy is important to us. You can trust that we will never share or sell your information, and we'll only send you relevant content.

Leave a Comment