White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes)

Tanichthys albonubes

White Cloud Mountain Minnow, WCMM

White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) - breeding

Originating from Chinese mountain streams, rarely grows up to 4 cm. This type of fish is really comfortable with colder water and can withstand the winter at 12 - 16 ° C. At summer the highest temperature that suits them is 24 - 25 ° C. At higher temperature they can not survive. You should provide them with enough air in the tank, or else it could lead to death. If the flow of air in the air diffuser gets weaker or if they are withouth air even for a short time it could be also lead to death. Regarding feeding they are not choosy, they will accept dry or live food in a wide range of products. They are peaceful shoaling fishes. They will not eat the fry or the eggs from other fishes or their own. Sometimes it can happen that the female has the urge to eat her own or other fishes eggs but it is very rare. No need for making quality water, tap water will bee just fine for them.

Gender Recognition (Sexual Dimorphism):

Male and female have a white stripe from the eye up to the tail. Males are thinner and the white line on their body is straight. Males attract the females by displaying their upper and lower fins. The upper and lower fins of males have a stronger red and yellow coloration than females. Females look just as like males, only the white stripe on their side is not straight but slightly curved, begining from the eye to the end of her bellie. The colors of her upper and lower fins are not so intense in colors like by the males.

Preparation for spawning aquarium (Breeding):

I have made 10 liter aquariums. Took a plastic green net (best to take green or brown colored nets) and the holes were 0.5 cm. I cut the net to be slightly larger than the aquarium and put it on the bottom so that it is bent in a semicircle. Be careful that the net goes exactly by the glass, otherwise the fish could slip below it. The aim is that the fishes spawn over the net so that the eggs can all fall down to the botom of the aquarium where the parents can't reach them. Above the net I put somme java moss with one pebble stone on the top of it, so the fish can spown around the moss. Basically if you put some kind of plant in the spawning tank, it will serve like some kind of a trigger for spawning. I put air diffusers in the small aquariums. They do not need light, so I put around it a dark blue paper, so they wouldn't become frighten when I'm close. You should put some cover over the aquarium, because the males chase very intensively and the females could jump out.

Note: its good to separate the males from females for 10-14 days before spawning.

Preparation of water for spawning:

They do not need any special water, if it's under 10 KH. I made water with 0 KH and 0 GH and latter adjusted it with mineral salt to gain 4 KH and 3 GH, while the water temperature was kept constantly between 23 - 24 ° C. For me it turned out that this water was ideal for spawning.

Note: I had good spawnings with 19-21°C also, its not necessarily to have high temperature.

When are the fishes ready for spawning:

The males are always ready to spawn so you should only watch witch males are displaying more their fins and separate them to another tank. Females are ready to spawn when their bellies become more rounded, it can be best determined before the feeding.


Tanichthys albonubes is quite difficult to reproduce, they are shoaling fishes and they will not scatter all eggs at once.The spawning will continou for several days. Some aquarists breed them as a group in a densely-planted aquarium without human interference. When the fry starts to appear, they only remove the little ones from the collective aquarium. I personally aded two males and one female to each spawning tank and made about 200-300 fry from one spawning. Before or during the spawning season I do not feed the fishes. Spawning commonly lasts up to 10 days, but it can happen that the female is spent of eggs at once.

First day - laying eggs

Morning before feeding, I saw a female that is ready for spawning, I put her with two males in the prepared spawning tank. In the evening I saw that the males are chasing the female. Several hours later, males were completely peaceful and the female was in the corner of the aquarium. I saw eggs on the bottom of the aquarium. Since the fish were peaceful and did not chase continuesly, I removed them from the breeding tank. I also removed the plastic green net. I didn't put any product against fungi in freshwater aquriums.

Note: if males stop chasing this means that the spawning is completed, if the females still have a big bellie it means that the spawning is not finished yet and the fishes should be left for another day in the breeding tank.

Sekond day - white eggs

In the morning I noticed that 2-3% of the eggs are white. I took a small pipette and very slowly removed the white eggs from the healthy ones. Furthermore there was no need to use any medicine in the water.

Third day - hatching

To my joy in the morning the hole aquariums floor was full with fry. I still didn't see any danger for the little ones, so I didn't use any product for the water.

Fifth day – when the fry starts to swim

The fry started to swim and there where around 200-300pc. They lost the yolk and I started giving them very little boiled egg yolk. The egg must be hard cooked and use only a very little of it stirred with water for the feeding of the fry. Iff you give them too many egg yolks, it would lead to fatal results.

Twelfth day -moving fry to a biger tank

The fry are quite lively and the aquarium starts to be to little for them. I moved the fry from the breeding tank into a larger tank of 80l and now I begun to feed them with Artemia. Just few of them died, so I'm further counting 200 -300 pc .

Final thoughts:

After 2 weeks with the remaining fry there shouldn't ocure any problem, every one of them will grow up. For thirty days I give them Artemia and only afterwards try the dry food or home-made food.

This is my personal experience of breeding Tanichthys albonubes and it doesn't mean necessarily that you will require the same parameters for spawning. But I made several thousand fry in one month with this kinde of water and aquarium setup, of course with more fish couples, not just with a single female. This can help you too, to find a golden middle for spawning. When they grow up and you put them into a larger aquarium it is really a nice site, and particularly since the invested time and effort was yours and at the end it's the most beautiful scenery. I wish everyone good luck for breeding.
Author Zsolt Deak

Comments 18 comments

Sal 5 years ago


I just got my 5 minnows and I do not have a tank with the water purifier etc - no equipment..I have a fish bowl and its about 3-4 gallons. My male seems to be chasing the female..however, I do not have the ability to create an environment for breeding and spawning...what if I don't separate them etc?

- Would it harm the fish if I leave em as be?

- I assume with so much that's required for breeding..they wouldn't reproduce in my fish bowl (which is fine by me).


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deak 5 years ago Author

It`s better if they spawn, they will live longer. Minnows don`t eat they own fry or eggs in many cases. So just let the nature do what is best. They don`t like water with low oxygen, so u need an air diffuser or to change 1/3 part of the water 2 times in the week.

Sal 5 years ago

Thank you. I do change 20-25% of the water about once a week and clean the bowl once I see it too dirty (only have had them for 2 months).

So are you saying that if I leave them as they are, they might spawn?I do notice one of the females a little plump and the male is aggressive these days.

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deak 5 years ago Author

Yes they will, something is good at your tank. :)

Sal 5 years ago

Thanks Deak.Is there some tool I can use to check the oxygen levels in my tank since I don't have the air regulator?

deak profile image

deak 5 years ago Author

I don`t know if there is some oxygen level meter or something like that. You will know when they are at the top of the water to get air.

freak 4 years ago


Do you know in which week do they get suxually mature?

Can't find this information online :(

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deak 4 years ago Author


they are ready to breed at approximately 6 month. You can see on the female belly is bigger or male colors are stronger and they are starting to "dance" to the female then you know they are full grown.

freak 4 years ago


che 3 years ago

do the white cloud mountain minnows need a filtration system

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deak 3 years ago Author

Hello che,

It is recommended to have filtration system.

phillyluvr 3 years ago

che, I believe that all fish need a filtration system, including goldfish and bettas. Don't listen to people who say that you don't need one.

Axel savannah power 3 years ago


I would just like to know hiw big the eggs are the first day.

I have 5 white clouds (2 males, 3 females) in a 25 litre aquarium (with a 45 l/h filter, gravel, light, plants, decorations, etc.) and I'm starting to see signs of preparation for spawning. I was wondering how big they were to expect them on the gravel or plants.

Thanks already

Izaac 2 years ago

is it better to have more females than males

Fang 2 years ago

thank you for producing such a useful site (more power to you too given that your first language is clearly not English). I hit upon your site after noticing that my own small tank (with four WCMM in it) had a tiny addition - I remain hopeful that the fry will survive - and your breeding experience would seem to suggest that it may well survive - that would make me happy indeed.

deak profile image

deak 2 years ago Author

Hello Fang,

Thank you for your comment and glad to hear that you like it. Yeah English is not my native language so there can be a lot of mistakes :) (sorry to all about that). When I find more time will check it and resolve.

Hope you can raise the fry of WCMM and have a great fun watching them grow.

deak profile image

deak 2 years ago Author

Hello Izaac and sorry for the late reply.

It is always better to have more females than males.

Trinity 2 years ago

I have four white clouds and it's been wonderful but I feel like everytime I turn the tank light off they swim to the top and stay there and kinda "freak out" that' it's off, idk if I'm just over exaggerating and worrying to much but i know they don't need light they just don't act like that

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