How fast do minnows reproduce?

Breeding and raising minnows is a rewarding task. They are common pets that are spawned in home aquariums. They reproduce quickly and you can help them throughout the process by providing appropriate structures and conditions. We’ll go over the different species of pet minnows, how fast each pet minnow species reproduces, and what you can do to help them along. We’ll also review some pet fish care basics to help you get started. Let’s dive in.

What are the different types of pet minnows?

There are about 2,400 minnow species in the world, with 300 of them found in North America. These small, freshwater fish enjoy different kinds of habitats from roaring rivers to serene ponds. Thus, they tolerate and even enjoy living among other fish when kept in an aquarium. Here are the most common pet minnow varieties.

  • Fathead minnows are by far the most popular species. They’re typically silver in color and, true to their name, have larger than average heads.
  • Rosy Red minnows are similar to the Fathead, though they’re an orange color with a golden-colored middle.
  • White Cloud minnows have a white-silvery body with bright red dorsal fins and tails. They’re a little more elusive than Fathead minnows as they originate from Asia.
  • Golden White Cloud minnows are a color variant of the White Cloud species. Their body is a shimmery gold with red markings on their faces and tails. You can usually find these in brick and mortar pet stores or online.
  • Keep in mind that almost all minnows have a peaceful temperament, meaning they won’t display aggressive behavior even when placed with multiple other fish species.

How does a minnow reproduce and how fast?

Fathead and Rosy Red minnows are egg clusterers, meaning they lay their eggs under an overhanging structure like a cave or rock platform. White Cloud and Golden White Cloud minnows are egg scatterers, meaning they lay eggs over rocks, pebbles, vegetation, and other bottom surface materials.

Once you try breeding them, they will start to spawn within a few days.

  • Fathead minnow eggs hatch between day four and day eight. Impressively, the female can cluster up to 700 eggs at once, which the male will carefully watch over.
  • Rosy Red minnow eggs take up to five days to hatch. Each cluster has about 400 eggs that you might find on or in one of your aquarium structures.
  • White Cloud minnow eggs will appear within one or two days of your adult fish breeding. The fry will hatch within three days and they’ll tend to stay behind the vegetation, pebbles, or gravel.
  • Golden White Cloud minnow eggs follow the same agenda as the regular White Cloud minnow fry.

Keep in mind that Fathead and Rosy Red minnow adults should be removed from the tank once they’ve laid eggs. This prevents them from eating the young, accidentally or otherwise. White Cloud minnows, on the other hand, don’t display such behavior, so if you don’t have a spare tank, you’re in the clear.


How do I care for a pet minnow?

Good news: Minnows are some of the most hardy fish that require low upkeep.

  • Fathead minnows thrive in 10-gallon tanks with filters and can tolerate various pH levels. They’re adventurous eaters and will eat algae, plants, and small invertebrates. Their ideal breeding temperature is about 72 degrees. Remove the eggs after your fish spawn and place them in a different tank. Alternatively, separate the adults from the eggs.
  • Rosy Red minnows need a minimum 5-gallon tank, though a more spacious 10-gallon is ideal. Keep the water at a comfortable 6 to 8 pH level and feed them plants and small crustaceans. Their optimal breeding temperature is 50° to 78° F.
  • White Cloud minnows require at least a 10-gallon tank with a working filter. Feed them a mix of plant food and small creatures like dried bloodworms. Keep the water at a 6 to 8 pH level. They prefer temperatures of 68° to 72° F. when spawning.
  • Golden White Cloud minnows are also omnivores, so they need a plant and crustacean diet. They need a 10-gallon tank with a filter, and their optimal breeding temperature is also between 68° to 72° F. Keep other fish away when they’ve laid their eggs.

Minnows reproduce quickly at a surprising rate of every four to five days. With some laying up to 700 eggs per spawn, your tank can quickly fill up. Whether you’re breeding the common Fathead or the exotic Golden White Cloud, follow our fish care guide to help your aquarium grow. And don’t forget: Quarantine new fish before adding them to a crowded tank. This ensures the fish in your aquarium stay safe and pest-free.

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