White cloud fish carePosted by: sirius | Posted on: January 6, 2016
The white cloud fish (Tanichthys alonubes), also known as the poor man’s neon tetra, is a hardy and attractive cold-water fish. They are often mistakenly sold as atropical fish, but are much healthier and have brighter coloring when kept in cooler temperatures.
Though they are now exceedingly rare in the wild, the white cloud minnow is widely available for sale in the aquarium hobby, and can often be found for very reasonable prices. There are several active breeding programs attempting to shore up the numbers in the wild, but they have been met with limited success. However, they are unlikely to face extinction, since there are significant numbers of feral white cloud minnows in North America and Australia, having escaped captivity and thrived in rivers and streams.
White cloud fish tend to remain small, and grow up to a maximum of 1.5 inches (4cm). They can be identified by a silver body with by their bright red fin, with the males having somewhat brighter colors and being slimmer than the females.
1. White cloud fish care – The Poor Man’s Neon Tetra
White cloud fish is a minnow from China. They were discovered by Tan on White Mountain, thus the name (in Latin Tanichthys albonubes). As with most minnows they prefer to live in large groups, or shoals, what we call schools.
Many people refer to the white cloud fish as the poor man’s neon tetra, is that back during the 30’s and 40’s, neon tetras were prohibitively expensive to own for most people. So those that couldn’t afford neon tetras, starting buying white cloud minnows which were much more affordable during that time. But don’t let the name fool you – these fish are an excellent addition to any cold water aquarium, and their colors rival the neon tetra. They also have the added benefit of being far hardier than neon tetras, and it is very rare to have problems with these fish.
2. White cloud fish care – Housing
Decor is not uber critical for white cloud fish care, but a nicely planted tank that includes driftwood, rocks and a dark substrate will show off their colors more. They are a schooling fish and should be kept in numbers of at least 6-8 (lone white clouds tend to be shy and retiring). As previously mentioned, they’re a cold water fish, so a heater is not necessary. In fact, constant, warm temperatures tend to shorten their lives. They have been known to nibble on foliage, so take this into account when planting. We’ve found that “heavy leaved” plants such as Java fern, anubias, and mosses work well with them.
White cloud fish are an incredibly hardy fish, and can be easily housed in a well filtered 10 gallon aquarium. As a general rule, the white cloud fish is a great candidate for the community tank as long as they are housed with other peaceful, cold water fish; stone catfish (Hara jerdoni), paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis), loaches, Chinese barbs, etc.
When choosing a filter, a high quality hang-on-back filter is usually the best choice, but choosing the often over-looked sponge filter can also have benefits. White cloud minnows are one of the few minnows that don’t cannibalize their young, so you generally will start to see fry after a few weeks of keeping white cloud minnows. If you plan of raising the fry, you need to be careful with a hang-on-back filter, which will suck most of the fry up into whirling impellers of death. A sponge filter may not keep the water as clear as a hang-on-back filter, but it is far safer for tiny fry.
If choosing an HOB filter, I would strongly recommend choosing an Aquaclear Power Filter for a white cloud mountain minnow. This filter combines excellent filtration with a durable design, and it will keep your tank sparkling clear for years to come. You can also read the Aquarium Tidings Aquaclear Filter Review here.
The best substrate for white cloud minnows is either a small grain gravel or sand. With that being said, this fish doesn’t have any special requirements and most types of substrate will be fine. They should also be provided with either live or fake plants to scatter their eggs in, with Java moss being the best choice. Java moss will provide a safe place for the eggs to be placed, and once the fry are hatched, it’s dense makeup will ensure that the fry are sheltered, and they can eat the infusoria growing on the moss.
3. White cloud fish care – Feeding
White cloud fish can be fed a high quality flake food, Spirulina pellets and vegetables. It also take live foods such as blackworms, blood worms, brine shrimp, glass worm, mosquito larvae, Cyclops, Daphnia and any frozen foods etc. Scheduling the feed between 2-3 times a day.
When choosing vegetables, their favorites are shelled peas and small sections of blanched zucchini medallions. Any uneaten vegetables should be removed after 24 hours to prevent the water from becoming fouled.
Frozen and live foods can be fed as an occasional treat or if you are trying to get them into breeding condition. The most readily accepted live foods are blackworms, blood worms, mosquito larvae and brine shrimp. They will also greedily eat any frozen foods being offered, with daphina, bloodworms and brine shrimp being preferred.
4. White cloud fish care – Breeding
Most white cloud fish need no heater. However, warming them up a little at breeding time helps encourage them to spawn. Room temperature or above works fine. Condition your breeders with frequent feedings. If you separate your sexes for two weeks, you will get much larger and faster spawns when you put them together. Flake foods work great. Give them a variety. Frequent small feedings help. And give them occasional treat foods such as brine shrimp to fatten up the females. Supposedly the parents don’t eat their fry. Sure. They eat everything else. They’ll eat their own fry. If you want large quantities, breed them over a nylon mesh net. The eggs will fall thru. Get rid of your snails. They love fish eggs.
5. White cloud fish care – Mosquito Prevention
Some of you keep a backyard pool full of plants, but you don’t like goldfishes. Your pond grows mosquito larvae that turn into little blood suckers in 10 short days. Sounds like a job for the mighty white cloud fish. They love mosquito larvae. Put some sparkly little white clouds in there and give your neighbors a break. When you finally bring them inside, you will have some real aquatic jewels. Fishes reared outside always color up better than indoor fishes – especially when they fill up on mosquito larvae.
6. White cloud fish care – Desease
The white cloud fish is hardy and it is quite resistant to disease. More often than not, the water quality is what would be the main culprit for disease. It is easily prevented by using a quarantine tank for a few weeks before introducing new arrivals into your main tank.
Avoid the use of medications with copper, as White Cloud fish is very sensitive to copper. Remove any carbon filtration before using medication because the carbon will absorb the medication.
7. White cloud fish care – Facts
1. Scientific Name: Tanichthys albonubes
2. Family: Cyprinidae
3. Size Range: up to 4cm in length
4. Diet: Omnivore
5. Tank Size: 5+ gallons
6. Tank Set-up: lightly planted
7. Tank region: Top and Mid Levels
8. Temperature: 65-75° F
9. Carbonate Alkalinity (dKH): 10-15
10. Carbonate Hardness: 90 – 357 ppm
11. Water pH: 6.0 – 8.5
12. Origin: White Cloud Mountain near Canton Southern China.
13. Temperament: Peaceful
14. Care Level: Very easy
15. Habitat: Mountain streams of the Baiyun (White Cloud) mountains, China.
16. Lifespan: 5-8 years s
17. Reproduction: Egg scatter
18. Breeding: It breeds easily in captive condition.
19. Water Movement: Slow