The white cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) were first discovered at Baiyun Mountain, a few miles north of the central Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China. It was first discovered by a boy named Tan, who gave him the name of the fish genus Tanichthys, while the word albonubes means “white cloud”. This fish is also called the White Sky Fish. In the 1940s and 1950s, this fish was also called “The Neon Fish of the Workers” or “The Neon Fish of the poor” because Tetra Neons were very expensive, while white mountain minnows were affordable and cheap.
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General Description of white cloud mountain minnow
The white cloud mountain minnow has an elongated body of roughly 4 cm (1,5 in) and a little flattened on the side. Its body color is, on the dorsal side, green olive to brown, and the ventral side is white. The sides are colored in silver with some reddish tint. Here, too, we encounter a thin golden stripe that starts from the eye and ends at the base of the tail. Below it, there is another line of dark blue or black, parallel and approximately equal in length. It has a small head, relative to the rest of the body, and ends with a mouth directed toward the surface of the water. At the base of the tail is a small black dot. It has a fan-shaped shape, it is very large, with a reddish-transparent color, centered, and golden edges. Its swimmers are transparent at the base, with red-gold peaks. His eyes are of medium size, with a reddish tint, with a neighboring ring area of silver color.
At maturity, a white cloud mountain minnow reaches a maximum length of about 5 cm. It is a species of peaceful fish that prefer to stay in small groups, in a quiet, well-lined fishing community that can withstand lower water temperatures. Among other fish species, suitable to be their aquarium mates, we mention: Danios, Neons, Coridoras, Red Phantom Tetra.
Aquarium and keeping conditions
For keeping white cloud mountain minnows you will need an aquarium with a minimum volume of about 20 liters (Roughly 5,5 gallons) with a water hardness of 6 to 20 ° GH and a temperature between 16 and 24 ° C. The pH can be in the range 6-8. The aquarium must be consistent in underwater and floating plants and have a generous swimming area in the center. The soil can be composed of fine gravel mixed with fine sand. The fish likes to swim in all areas of the aquarium.
These fish feed on insects, shrimp, Daphnia, tubifex worms, insect larvae; but they can also be fed with food prepared in the form of flakes (commercially fish food for pet shops or flakes that can be made using homemade techniques).
Sexing and breeding behaviour
The male white cloud mountain minnow is slightly thinner and much more colorful than the female. There are some colorful varieties of this species of fish, as well as varieties with different sizes of fins and tail. It is not advisable to let the aquarium water temperature rise above 25 ° C as their color will blur, becoming a banal fish. The juvenile is more intense and more spectacularly colorful than adult specimens.
Reproduction in captivity of this species of fish is achieved with great ease if minimum conditions are respected, being a very prolific fish. They can be reproduced in a separate aquarium (usually a small one with a capacity of 10 liters). The basic requirements for breeding these fish consists of adding a male:female ratio of 1:2, some basic plants that do not require good lighting conditions. The aquarium should be placed in a quiet and slightly dark room and maintain a water temperature between 20 and 22 ° C. Pairing takes place when the male enters the back of the body or around the female. A single female can lay around 130 eggs per month, about 3-5 a day. The eggs are deposited on the leaves of the surrounding plants. Remove the parents from the aquarium as soon as the eggs have been deposited.
If parents are well-fed, they will not eat eggs. Often, they do not eat fertilized eggs. They probably only eat non-fertilized eggs and they will not produce fry; by doing that they keep the aquarium clean of non-fertilized eggs that can be infected with algae and fungi. The juvenile hatches about 36 to 40 hours from the laying of the eggs, and they grow very fast.
In the first days it is recommended to feed them with mashed boiled egg yolk (it provided the required protein and nutrients that fry need to develop well and have a fast growth). When the fry reach a size of 1 cm they can be fed with regular fish food (powder food is recommended). When they grow a bit bigger, adding tubifex worms in their diet will ensure a healthy growth and an enhancement in their color.
If the fry are raised in a large community aquarium, it is recommended that the aquarium had enough underwater bushy plants (like Egeria Densa, Najas Guadalupensis, Java Moss) where they can hide from bigger fish that will consider them a tasty treat. In this case, the number of fry that will reach maturity is very low, and because of that it is necessary they are raised in a separate aquarium.
Tanichthys albonubes is a species of fish that can be easily grown and maintain, recommended to people that are starting to discover the wonders of the home aquatic world. It is a peaceful fish with a rather active behavior, which can resist in lower temperatures. It is a fish that does not compete for food, it rather likes to eat what other fish leave behind or what drops at the bottom of the tank. It can be fed with flakes, frozen or live food, such as artemia, daphnia or tubifex worms. They are the perfect fish for every aquarium. At maturity, the white cloud mountain minnow reaches a maximum length of about 5 centimeters.