to Keep Your New White Clouds
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Origins. White clouds are 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.
Diet. You feed it; white clouds will eat it. They are not picky. They do love brine shrimp and other treats, however. And they respond very favorably to color foods. Color foods bring out their full colors.
Colors. Start with a basic rich brown body with a white stripe snout to stern. Yellow at the tips of the dorsal and anal fins. Fins edged in bright red with occasional specimens lightly trimmed in blue. Younger specimens are paler versions of the adults. At under an inch, they have a fluorescent green stripe that makes them look like small neon tetras. White clouds make the perfect community fish.
Sexes. Females grow larger (and plumper) than the males – with whiter bellies. Males are usually more brightly colored. Unless you plan to breed them, sex makes little difference. And if you do plan to breed them, spawn them in groups as opposed to pairs.
Size. White clouds grow almost as large as the danios with which they are often lumped. They are not as “busy” as danios and never harass other fishes in your tank. You can even keep them in those tiny (fish-killing) “executive aquariums” -- with the emphasis on “execute.”
Schools. Nearly all minnows are schooling fishes and prefer being kept in groups. White clouds kept alone don’t go postal on you, but they never act as perky as they do in a group. If you drop one of these “loners” into a tank with other white clouds, you usually see a fast color improvement.
Mosquito Prevention. Some of you (and you know who you are) 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. 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.
Plants. Fine-leafed plants seem to “fit in” best with white clouds. They leave their eggs in these fine-leaved plants. Their eggs hatch and provide tasty little snacks for all the other fishes in your tank.
Feeder Fish. White clouds spawn readily enough to be sold as feeders. That means if you want small ones, they are amazingly cheap. Just don’t get upset with their place in the food chain. Big fish eat little fish. And big fish really like to eat pretty little fish.
Every year we see school classes experimenting with the so-called “balanced
aquarium.” You put one guppy, one
snail, and one strand of anacharis in a two-liter Coke bottle.
This so-called “experiment” has been around since the two-liter Coke bottle was
invented. If you keep a feeder guppy
in a Coke bottle forever, you still have a feeder guppy when you take him out.
If you use feeder white clouds rather than feeder guppies, you’d have
nice looking fish at the end of the experiment.
Breeding. Most minnows (goldfish, danios, and white clouds) 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.
Care of the Fry. Start your newly hatched fry on “green water” or infusoria. Feed them newly-hatched brine shrimp after their first week. The parents also eat the shrimp. They prefer it to their fry (theoretically).
Price. Sometimes called the poor man’s neon, the white cloud started out at a fraction of the cost of neon tetras. But these days when so many neons are produced in Singapore “fish factories,” white clouds cost about the same as medium neons. But they still cost less than most fish.
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