Cloud Mountain Minnow Fact Sheet
"White Cloud Mountain Minnow", "Tanichthys albonubes",
was discovered on the White Cloud Mountain in Southern China by Tan Kan Fei, a
Boy Scout leader in about 1930. The generic name, Tanichthys,
means 'Tan's fish' and the specific name, albonubes means 'White Cloud'.
in the Wild?
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is practically extinct in its native
habitat. It was believed to be extinct for some years, but an
apparently native population of this fish was discovered on Hainan Island,
well away from the White Cloud Mountain.
This fish is very hardy. It will survive in temperatures ranging
from 4̊ C (39̊F) to 32̊ C (90̊ F) but the extremes of this range are not
recommended. It is more comfortable at about 14-24 °C (57-75 °F).
This is a lower temperature than some tropical tanks although, like most
'cold water' fish it can be kept in tropical aquariums, so it can be kept in
either a tropical or an unheated aquarium.
The fish prefer clean water, and will grow and breed over a wide range of ph
and hardness. I avoid extremes of pH or very hard water. Make sure all
the Chlorine or Chloramine is removed.
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is intolerant of Copper in the water, and
great care needs to be exercised if Copper is used for treatments. The fry
are even more susceptible to Copper poisoning than the adults.
This fish is an omnivore and will eat most things in the wild, and is easy to
feed in an Aquarium, taking normal fish foods readily. Be aware that it
is a small fish. Do not overfeed.
Although the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a small fish with a small mouth
they eat mosquito larvae, and benefit from some as a treat. They also
The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is a schooling fish and will appear much
happier in a group of at least six.
This fish is usually a very peaceful one, growing to about 4 cm (1.5
inches). I have kept it successfully with a wide range of other small
fish including: Siamese Fighting Fish, Guppies, Endlers Guppies,
PristellaTetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras, Scissortail Rasboras,
Lemon Tetras, Black Widow Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras,
Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Zebra Danios, Glowlight
Tetras and Cherry Barbs as well as the Corydoras catfish like the Peppered
I would be cautious about putting them with fish like Rosy Barbs, Tiger
Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras and Colombian Tetras, as these
fish have been known to be more aggressive.
Avoid putting it with larger fish. I am often asked about keeping White
Clouds with Goldfish. I do not recommend it although I know of plenty
of people who have kept them successfully with small goldfish. There is
always some danger that the White Cloud might get swallowed.
Although the White Cloud Mountain Minnow is not necessarily the best fish for
controlling mosquitoes, they are sometimes used for this in South Australia
because they do not eat frog eggs or tadpoles. This means that they are
one possible fish for frog ponds.
If these fish are used in this way, care needs to be exercised to prevent
them escaping into the wild.
the Tropical Fish Hobbyist of November 1975, there are two distinct colour varieties
White Cloud depending on where they come from.
race, collected in the area of the White Cloud Mountain in southern China, in
the foothills of the Himalayas, basically blue. Their dorsal and anal fins are
red at the base and white at the tip. The southern, Cantonese form, bred in
Hong Kong, are more brownish in the body and their dorsal and anal fins are whitish
at the base and red at the tip.
this several varieties of this fish, varying in colour and fin length have been
Gold White Clouds
Several varieties of this extremely popular fish have been bred. These
include long finned types called by several different names, including the
Meteor Minnow, as well as so called 'gold' White Clouds, shown below.
In the early 1950’s in Perth, Western Australia, a very
colourful, long-finned form of the White Cloud Mountain Minnow was developed,
and the name “Meteor Minnow” was chosen for this beautiful fish.
Apparently independently the long-finned mutation
occurred in fish kept by Edward Sollory in Toronto in Canada.
This fish has disappeared and reappeared in the fish
keeping hobby several times. Currently long finned White clouds are generally
available, but not always referred to as Meteor Minnows.
The White Cloud is one of the easiest egg laying fish to breed. When I
was a teenager I bred White Clouds through several Generations in a single
two foot Aquarium. Usually all that is necessary to breed a few is an
aquarium with no other fish.
The Males are brighter in colour than the females which become noticeable
plumper than the males.
White Clouds benefit from live plants, both for keeping and breeding.
They are an egg scatterer and usually drop their eggs over plants.
White Clouds often do not eat all their fry, but do eat some. This is
why it is possible to raise the babies with the parents. I have
observed no parental care in this species.
areas this fish is considered a pest. If it is sold in your area, I suggest
you ask in the shop about any regulations. With any fish, do not
release them into the wild and do not keep them in ponds that could overflow
and allow the fish to escape into the wild.
In English Tanichthys albonubes
is called the White Cloud Mountain Minnow,
the White Cloud, the Canton Danio, the Chinese Danio, the White Cloud Minnow,
the White Cloud Mountain Fish and the Kardinal Fish.
It is called
n Mandarin Chinese
In cantonese it is Bak wan gam si,
Bak wan san ue or Hung mei ue.
In Czech, it’s called Hung mei ue, Kardinálka čínská,
Nepravá neonka, Tanova rybka and Venušina rybka.
In Danish, it is Skybjergfisk.
I Estonian, it is called Kardinal-tanikala.
In Finnish, it is known as Kardinaalikala.
In German, it is Kardinalfisch.
In Polish, it’s Kardinalfisch.
In Swedish Tanichthys
The accepted senior scientific name is Tanichthys albonubes,s
(Lin 1932). Aphyocypris poori, (Here
1939) has also been used but has never been accepted as a correct scientific
name for this fish.
Sources and Picture Credits
grateful to the following sources of information: Phil of Aquarium
Industries; personal communication, Threatened fishes of the world, That Fish
Place, the Queensland Government and Aquatic Hobbyist.
The picture of the Bettas with the Gold White Clouds is from Fishnet Aquariums and Pets.
The school above the section about companions is from the Aquatic Pet and Reptile Centre. The picture of the 3 White Clouds under the varieties section is from Sunflower Pet, Manhattan KS. The second picture under the Gold White cloud section is by Andrew Devonshire. The single Gold White cloud in the second line of pictures is by Ian Melvin. The large school of gold White Clouds is from Maidenhead Aquatics.
The first picture of a Meteor Minnow is from Dorset Aquatics.