Tropical fish that look like goldfish

the White Cloud

White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Previously, I've posted about other fish that look similar to goldfish, such as Gold Barbs and Rosy Barbs. They look similar to goldfish, but are easier to care for in an aquarium setting (real goldfish being better suited for living in ponds or large pools, or very large aquariums).

But there are two other fishes, that don't look a lot like goldfish, but that are among the easiest to care for in an aquarium. One is the White Cloud Mountain minnow

White Cloud Mountain minnows are considered good fish for beginners, as they are extremely forgiving with regard to aquarium temperature and water quality. They are often sold as ideal "starter fish" for cycling a new aquarium, however it is kinder if they are introduced to an already cycled tank. They are schooling fish, and feel most comfortable in a group of at least five. An individual of these minnows kept alone may become timid and lose its bright color. White Clouds are generally peaceful and happy to coexist with other fish, as long as they are not put in a tank with larger fish that may eat them. The minnows are usually top or middle-level swimmers and rarely swim close to the bottom of a tank.

Although the nominal temperature range for the species in the wild is 18–26 °C (64–79 °F), it can survive water temperatures down to 5°C (41°F).[4] This makes it an ideal fish for keeping in an unheated aquarium in cold climates. In fact, White Clouds are more active and healthier when kept at temperatures lower than those at which most tropical tanks are kept. Water hardness (dH) should be from 5 to 19, and pH levels should range between 6.0 and 8.0. Also, the aquarium should have a top. White Clouds have been known to jump out on rare occasions.

During the 1940s and 1950s, White Cloud Mountain minnows acquired the nickname, the "Poor Man's Neon Tetra, " because they were much more affordable in price than the colorful and then expensive Neon Tetras.[5]

Two variants are commonly available: the "Golden Cloud" and the longer-finned "Meteor Minnow." The Golden Cloud is a relatively new variety as compared to the Meteor Minnow. The Meteor Minnow first made its appearance in the 1950s in Perth, Western Australia and the Golden Cloud in the 1990s. Breeding between the two varieties has recently resulted in another attractive fish, the "Golden Meteor Minnow." Inbreeding of Golden Clouds have resulted in "Blonde" Clouds, light yellow specimens similar in colour to blonde guppies and "Pink Clouds", flesh colour specimens which lacks further pigmentation still.


I have a bunch of them, and they've been a very hardy fish, easy to care for, and at their full size are quite beautiful. I have the regular short fin, and the pink/gold ones. I'd eventually life to get the long finned "Meteor" variety:

The Meteor's look stunning, but I've not been able to get them through my local fish store. Darn!

My local fish store sells baby White Cloud Minnows as feeder fish, which means they can be purchased for only 0.20 cents apiece. Very affordable!

White Cloud Mountain Minnow Fact Sheet

This fish is very hardy. It will survive in temperatures ranging from 4̊ C (39̊F) to 32̊ C (90̊ F) although the extremes of this range are not recommended. It is more comfortable at about 16-26 °C (60-72 °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 would 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.


I read somewhere that, while a bowl is not really a suitable environment for any fish, the White Cloud Minnow might be the hardiest to be used as a bowl fish. But I really would not recommend a bowl; I'd recommend a filtered tank, no smaller than 10 gallons. I think a heater is preferable too, even for cool water fish; it keeps the temperature more stable, which is important if you live in a cold weather climate or somewhere that has very cold nights. I know that my house can get very cold at night in winter.

A bit of trivia about how the White Cloud the fish was "discovered" in China:

White Cloud Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes)

This fish's ability to survive (and breed) over a wide range of water conditions, temperature and general hardiness means it's cheap and an excellent choice for beginners.

This fish is sensitive to copper in the water so ensure that you do not overdose when using any treatments containing copper and accidentally poison them.

It's latin name Tanichthys albonubes literally means "Tan's fish, white cloud". It was named after a boy scout leader named Tan who discovered it in the 1930s.[1]


I've read too, that the fish is now believed to be extinct in it's original location. But it has survived in captivity and, through the aquarium fish trade, spread all over the world.

The other fish I considered to be an easier-to-keep alternative to goldfish, is the common Guppy. I say "common", because there are many fancy strains of this fish, some of which are not physically hardy, having been breed for their looks more than anything else.

Guppy Fact Sheet

The Guppy is a popular aquarium fish. It can be kept with other small peaceful fish, including Platies, Swordtails and Mollies. It is in the same family as these fish and is in the same genus as Mollies. Other fish suitable as companions are White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Siamese Fighting Fish, Peppered Catfish and other Corydoras catfish, Cherry Barbs, and other small peaceful fish.
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Goldfish and huge tanks

by I-have-a-dog

Contrary to popular opinion, goldfish really *do* require HUGE tanks. An adult goldfish, when PROPERLY cared for, should be around 8 inches long.
People who put goldfish in those so-called goldfish bowls are trying to raise kittens in a shoebox. It's cruel and inhuman.
Tropical fish (especially small schooling fish) do much better in small (5-10gallon) tanks.
Anabantids (like paradise fish and bettas, and even some gouramis) can be keep even in smaller tanks.

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