White Cloud Mountain Minnow 101: The Full Care Guide

If you’re looking for a fish that brings not only a flashy aspect to your communal tank, but also a charming personality and low maintenance requirements, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow might be perfect for you.

These lovely little fish are some of the best for aquarium enthusiasts and fish keepers around the world, and are readily available due to their popularity. They tend to be peaceful creatures that can happily coexist with a variety of other fish species and bring a glint to your tank when schooling with other White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

But what is it about these fish that makes them so popular and ideal for your community aquarium setup?

It’s time to get to know the White Cloud Mountain Minnow and fill you to the gills with information about these wonderful and active fish!

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Origin And Appearance

Being discovered only fairly recently in 1932, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a lovely little creature with shiny scales, bright colors, and a winning personality.

Though in captivity the “White Cloud” is known as the primary species, variants do exist—the “Golden Cloud”, “Hong Kong”, and the “Meteor Minnow”. However, these are newer hybrids and are not as widespread as the original fish, so we will be discussing the original White Cloud Mountain Minnow in the following information.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Origin And Appearance

Where Do White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish Come From?

Native to the waters surrounding Mount Baiyun (the “White Cloud Mountain”) in the Chinese province of Guandong, and where it derives its name, this fish is actually nearly extinct in its original location. This is due to pollutants in the water and tourism levels increasing.

However, since their discovery the White Cloud Mountain Minnow has been transferred to fish farms, where they can be bred and made available to aquarists around the world, so as not to stress the few remaining populations still alive in the wild.

What Do White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish Look Like?

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a delightful and colorful little fish. They are typically silvery-green in body, with a thick black stripe down both sides, bordered with iridescent pink.

Sporting a red snout and reddish tinges to their belly scales, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow’s fins tend to be translucent with fiery crimson bases. The tail fin also features a large black dot at the bottom center.

The males tend to be brighter and more vibrant than the females, however, their coloration can fade regardless of sex if you do not feed them the correct diet.

How Big Do White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish Get?

On the scale of most aquarium fish, this species is fairly diminutive. The White Cloud Mountain Minnow typically only grows to be about 1.5 inches in length, reaching this size within about six months to a year of maturity.

Their small stature doesn’t tend to affect their vibrant personalities, however—these fish are known for their energy and mischievousness, regardless of size!

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Lifespan

While not possessing the longest lifespan, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow can still live for a respectable amount of time. You can typically expect these little fish to live between 3 to 5 years, with some even reaching 7 or 8 years old!

To help encourage your White Cloud Mountain Minnows to reach a ripe old age, it’s important to keep their tanks clean, water quality and temperature maintained and at the proper levels, and to feed them a healthy and routine diet.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Behavior

This is one of the most peaceful and docile fish you can find for a freshwater aquarium. They are not known to be aggressive, and have unique personalities that fish keepers get to know over time.

In their schools, White Mountain Minnows are active and love to explore the tank, weaving in and out of plants and objects. They will seek currents to play in, and have a rather mischievous nature, occasionally popping up to the top of the tank for some antics.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Compatibility

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Compatibility

Due to their docile nature, White Cloud Mountain Minnows are a great option for communal aquarium setups. They can live peacefully with other fish and will usually stick to their own schools of other White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

You should always house these fish with at least 6 other White Cloud Mountain Minnows, as they are a schooling species that require companionship. Because of their small size, you can even house a school of up to a dozen fish quite easily, which makes for a great environment for some happy and healthy White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Are White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish A Communal Tank Fish?

These fish are very social and communal, and will become anxious and stressed if kept by themselves. So placing your White Cloud Mountain Minnows within a group tank is a good idea, regardless of school size.

The biggest consideration in pairing them with other fish species is their diminutive size. If the other fish in the tank are more aggressive and prone to nibbling on smaller inhabitants, it likely won’t end well for your White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

That being said, there are plenty of options to build your community aquarium full of friendly fish, particularly among schooling species that also thrive in cooler temperatures like the White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Best Tank Mates For White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fish

Sticking to fish species that are equally as docile and peaceful as your White Cloud Mountain Minnows is key to achieving a happy tank environment. You should also opt for those of comparable size to avoid any predator-prey instincts from occurring.

The following fish species have proven to make the best tank mates for your school of White Cloud Mountain Minnows:

  • Black Skirt Tetras.
  • Bloodfin Tetras.
  • Cherry Barbs.
  • Corydoras Catfish.
  • Endlers.
  • Guppies.
  • Harlequin Rasboras.
  • Honey Gourami.
  • Odessa Barbs.
  • Otocinclus Catfish.
  • Platies.
  • Rummy Nose Tetras.
  • Swordtails.
  • Zebra Danios.

Pairing invertebrates with your fish population has also proven to be successful, including amano or cherry shrimp and nerite snails. They will not only help keep the tank clean, but also provide no danger of nibbling on or being nibbled on for the fish species listed above, including minnows.

As a surprisingly compatible tank mate, you can also pair your White Cloud Mountain Minnows with some aquatic frog species like the African Dwarf Frog. This happy little frog shares similar ideal tank mates to the fish in question, and they have been known to thrive together.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Habitat And Tank Requirements

Typically, White Cloud Mountain Minnows are among the hardier varieties of small, freshwater aquarium fish, so their requirements are not excessive. That being said, these fish do thrive in cooler water temperatures, due to their natural mountain habitat.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow tank

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Size

Small in stature, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is happy to live in a tank of at least 10 to 12 gallons, or a nano tank. This size tank will house about 6 fish, and should not be reduced in size, as they are an active and schooling type of fish that does require room to move around in.

When adding more, calculate two more gallons of water for each additional White Cloud Mountain Minnow. The bigger the tank, the more variety of species you can put in with your minnows as well, and the happier they will be!

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Water Requirements

Though they are very hardy and adaptable to fluctuations in temperature and even water quality, the White Mountain Minnow prefers to live in cool water. This is likely because of their natural mountainous habitat, where they schooled in quite low temperatures for freshwater fish.

Keep your tank temperature between 64°F and 72°F for the most part. It is fine if your tank does dip down towards 60°F or even 58°F, as these fish can handle a cooler condition, but don’t let it last for too long.

Though they are able to withstand the higher temperatures, if you place your White Cloud Mountain Minnows in a tropical tank it will negatively impact their digestion and overall health, as well as shorten their lifespan.

In terms of acidity and water hardness, these fish are also able to adapt to changes. Keeping your pH levels between 6.0 and 8.5 is fine, but letting the acidity settle between 6.8 and 7.5 is ideal. Similarly, they are tolerant of a large dKH range—between 2 and 15.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Tank Setup

These fish are very active in the tank, so providing them with a suitable environment is important. Outfit your White Cloud Mountain Minnow tank with a variety of plants, hides, and other objects, as well as a current and the correct substrate.

These fish like to have the option of a current to play in, so installing a low-flow filter along the top or bottom of the tank is a good idea. This leaves the middle level for your White Cloud Mountain Minnows to rest in, as well as for other fish species in the tank who might not enjoy water movement as much.

Opt for plant life that does not take over the open swimming space of the tank, including dwarf rotala or water sprite. You can even add some floating plants to the environment, such as duckweed or pondweed, but make sure light can still get past the surface.

Lastly, a gravel substrate is a good choice for White Cloud Mountain Minnows, as it mimics their natural rocky-bottomed waterway habitats. Make sure any fish you pair them with are not susceptible to scrapes from burrowing in a hard substrate, however.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Diet

These fish are surprisingly easy to care for, and as such, do not have strict dietary requirements. However, to keep your White Cloud Mountain Minnows in peak health, you should feed them an omnivore diet.

This includes equal percentages of fish flakes or pellets, greens, and live food such as brine shrimp, micro-worms, or water fleas. Make sure their flakes or pellets are high in protein and nutrients, and pop chunks of green vegetables into their tank occasionally as a treat.

Feed your White Mountain Minnows around twice a day, or even three times. They have very large appetites for such little fish, and need to have their metabolism constantly running to keep them healthy.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Breeding

White Mountain Minnows are among the easiest fish to breed in your home aquarium, though this species does not continue to care for their fry after the eggs have been hatched.

They will spawn year-round, but prefer 68°F to 72°F for breeding temperatures and a separate tank away from other species that might snack on their eggs. However, once the eggs have been scattered and fertilized, it’s up to you!

Remove the adults from the tank once the eggs are laid, and feed the hatched small fry on a diet of powdered egg yolk, Infusoria, and other micro-foods. When they are big enough, try adding tubifex worms or brine shrimp to their diet—likely within a week of hatching.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow breeding

White Cloud Mountain Minnow: Health And Wellness

A hardy and resilient species, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is primarily affected by something known as a streptococcus infection. This will usually show itself if the tank becomes poorly maintained or bacteria is allowed to grow.

Regardless of their hardiness, this infection can spread through a school very quickly and is incredibly dangerous. Look for signs of not being able to swim upright, or fish sinking in the tank, and take them to a veterinarian right away.


These endearing little fish have likely already won you over, but if you have some further queries regarding White Cloud Mountain Minnows then read on for further information!

What Fish Can Live With White Cloud Mountain Minnows?

The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a small but sociable fish, which means your communal aquarium will benefit from having them as an inhabitant. Some of the best fish to pair with your White Cloud Mountain Minnows include these species, previously mentioned:

  • Endlers.
  • Guppies.
  • Platies.
  • Swordtails.
  • Zebra Danios.

Apart from other fish species, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow should always be kept in a school with its own kind—as a communal fish, they need about 6 or more other White Clouds to group up with.

How Big Do White Cloud Mountain Minnow Get?

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are among the smaller species for a freshwater aquarium, only reaching about 1.5 inches when fully mature. And to reach this length, it only takes them about six to twelve months of growing from a fry, which is quite fast in the fish world.

Are White Cloud Mountain Minnows Danios?

No, White Cloud Mountain Minnows are not Danios, though they are related. In fact, they are part of the Cyprinidae, or carp, family. They can often be mistaken for Danios because of their similarities, and the fact that Danios are a lesser subspecies of the same carp family.

Other members of the overarching carp family also include Barbs and Rasboras, also distant relatives of the White Cloud Mountain Minnow.

How Long Do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Live?

These fish can typically live between 3 and 5 years when kept in captivity. However, people have been known to have their White Cloud Mountain Minnows live for up to 7 years under the correct conditions! This includes maintaining a good diet and keeping the water quality at acceptable levels.

Do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Need A Heater?

Your White Cloud Mountain Minnow tank does not necessarily need a heater. These fish are quite hardy for their size, and tend to thrive in a slightly lower temperature range, typically between 64°F and 72°F.

So, if you can keep your house temperature above 60°F, the ambient air heat should be enough to maintain your fish tank.

However, if you live in a cold location where wintertime temperatures will greatly affect the overall heat inside your home, investing in a fish tank heater is likely a good idea to keep all your fish comfortable, including the White Cloud Mountain Minnows.

Do White Cloud Mountain Minnows Like Current?

Fast or slow—some fish thrive in moving water, while others prefer a still area to rest. The preference of White Cloud Mountain Minnows tends to lie in the middle: they like to have areas of motion in the water, but also a lower flow area to rest in.

Maintaining a variety of currents in your fish tank is a good idea to keep your active fish engaged, while also allowing the more laidback species places to float peacefully without trouble. White Cloud Mountain Minnows will happily switch between the two levels and keep themselves busy.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to fish that are easy to care for and are great additions to a communal tank, you cannot go wrong with the White Cloud Mountain Minnow!

These shiny, vibrant fish have personalities that are larger than their body size, and will provide plenty of enjoyment and companionship to any fish keepers who have them. Add a school of these little rays of sunshine to your aquarium and watch the antics proceed, as they dart among the plants and showcase their quirkiness.