White Cloud Mountain Minnow; The Guppy of Egg layers!

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explainsWhite Cloud Mountain Minnow

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explainsWhite Cloud Mountain Minnow


By Thomas R. Reich PhD

The White Cloud Mountain minnow is the answer to the beginning breeders dreams. It is a fish that has everything: great Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow color with distinct and unique markings and accents, hardy disposition.  The White Cloud Mountain Minnow is able to withstand a large range of temperatures and water conditions, graceful swimmer and has no aggressive tendencies.  However it stands up for itself, breeds easily yet does not usually eat either its eggs or its young, happily eats almost anything, it seems to have utterly no fault for the beginning breeder!

Somewhat like the Neon Tetra, this fish has a fascinating history. It was discovered in 1932 by a Chinese boy scout named Tan, in the White Cloud Mountains near Canton, China.  It is from this Scout that the species takes its generic name of Tanichthys.  Similar to the spotted Danio in size and shape, it was originally classified as a Brachydanio species. Lin Shu-Yen, head of the Fisheries Experiment Station, at Canton,   named the fish Tanichthys aalbonubes. Lin, gave it a name that was self-explanatory;   Tan, discoverer; ichthys, Tan’s fish; Albonubes, meaning White Cloud.

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow The Chinese aquarists were so enthustic about the beauty of the fish that they fished out the streams where it had been found to the extent that the species was in danger of extinction. Happily it bred in captivity like flies, and interested persons were enabled to restock the White Cloud Mountain streams with domestically bred fish! Dr. William T. Innes was justified in writing that this fish is “the Guppy among the egg-layers.”

The   White Cloud Mountain minnows were once known as the “poor mans Neon” because the young specimens are so brightly colored, though this Neon-like color fades with age and maturity. The fish got this nickname at a time when Neons were not yet commercially bred and when the price of a Neon could approach the price of the tank itself. The easy to breed White Cloud was a mere fraction of the price, and much less demanding to keep, since it needed no heater, and was so forgiving with water conditions. This unique fish can even be kept, and will sometimes reproduce, in a goldfish bowl!Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The genus of this fish includes no other species. The White Cloud is about one and one quarter inches in length, though it can grow to 2 inches in nature or a large backyard pond, has a near-silver body with bright horizontal stripes of blue and gold from eye to tail, at the set-on of which is a distinct dark spot. The dorsal fin of the male is vivid red, margined first with gold and above that with blue. The female is somewhat less colorful.

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow In recent years a gold version with much fins of a very rich red and a body that glistens completely gold has been made available, breeds true and is similarly easy to keep and breed. Bare in mind that this fish is a jumper, you should always, especially when   breeding this fish, keep the tank covered at all times. In its natural habitat, this little fish traverses waterfalls, rapids and jumps from pool to pool as a natural course, it is not unusual at all to introduce 10 fine specimens into an uncovered tank, observe how happy   and healthy they are, only to come in the room the next morning to find 7 or 8 of them have jumped out to the floor! It is probably not your fault, they prone to jump out of a pool; to them the new tank is a pool. Cover their quarters or you will lose these highly active little fish!

It has never been conclusively determined just how wide a range of temperature the   White Cloud Mountain carp (for it is a Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow carp, not a minnow) can endure.  It flourishes   equally well at 40F and 90F, and breeds freely from 70F to 80F. It has vast numbers of   young which hatch about 24 hours after the spawn is dropped. Stranger still for carp,   neither parent eats eggs or fry! Young and old complacently eat anything fine enough for   them to get in their small mouths and swallow. It seems to thrive equally well in a bare   tank or a planted one. The young develop the bright colors of the mature fish when they   are only a month old and reach a breeding age at six months or less. The fish is lively,   never shy, and never attacks or injures members of its own kind or other species, is even   an ideal tank mate for guppies and their fry!   If there are other virtues not mentioned   here, the White Cloud probably displays them. Quite simply, this is an ideal species of   fish!

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow As if this were not enough, the White Cloud is a prolific breeder in the Danio fashion, yet they do even better with a well planted tank. To determine sex, mature fish must be used.   The males have larger more colorful fins, while the female is paler and full round around the body. Myriophyllum is suggested as the ideal plant, and you should place 2 or 3 clumps in the breeding tank.

A 5 or 10 gallon tank may be used with newly aged water which is slightly alkaline, and heated to about 78F-80F. Marbles are un-necessary but ok   as a substrate; as is sand, gravel, pebbles or a completely bare bottom, as the White Cloud does not actively eat their eggs or fry.   It is best to use 2 males and 1 female or 3 males and 2 females. The breeders should be condition separately on live and frozen foods for 7 to 10 days, and here is the difference from other species, in water about 68F-72F.   When the female or females are fully plump, introduce them into the warmer breeding tank about 1 hour before the males in the evening. Breeding will take place starting the next morning, and continue for 3 to 5 days!

The courtship is not nearly as active as most species. The males do not chase after the females, but appear calm about the Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow whole affair. After trembling heavily, the female distributes a few extremely tiny eggs at a time and these remain hanging on the fine   leaved plants. The male swims close to the female, but there is no embrace or hook attachment, he just fertilizes the eggs as they come out of the female, and then moves on. This will continue off and on for days.

If you chose to have the breeding in a fully set up tank, you can leave the breeders in the tank, and the whole process will repeat in about 2 weeks, by this time fry from the first batch will be free swimming and well along, soon you will have 2 or 3 distinct sizes of thriving fry, and the breeders just keep on breeding!

Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD explains White Cloud Mountain Minnow If all are well fed, the tank may well soon become over crowded. Commercial breeders often favor spawning these fish communally. This is best done using a thickly planted large tank or an old tub or sink, the surface of the water being covered with a 1 inch thick layer of Riccia. Then with an enamel soup-ladle the Riccia is pressed down each morning, and the tiny fry scooped up by the hundreds and transferred to small tanks to   growing out.

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Zebra Danio, Easy to Keep and Breed

Thomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra Danio

Thomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra DanioBRACHYDANIO RERIO –  THE ZEBRA FISH, ZEBRA DANIO    

The Zebra Danio belongs to the family Cyprinidae and originates in the eastern region of India, from where it was imported in 1905, it has been kept and bred by aquarists ever since.

One of the heartiest and best-known of all aquarium fish, the Zebra Fish or Zebra Danio is an active, rapid swimmer who generally remains near the top of the aquarium. The Zebra schools very easily, and groups of five or more are quite an attractive sight.   Actually, the term “Zebra” is a misnomer, since the fish has horizontal rather than vertical stripes and blue and gold stripes down the body, not white and black, and the name Danio is also incorrect, since it is a member of the Brachydanio family.

But it is such a great aquarium fish we over look the popular name as just another little piece of   tropical fish trivia!   TheThomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra Danio Zebra Danio is so hardy and prolific, endures so wide a temperature range is at once so peaceable and vigorously quick and active, and so showy that it is a particularly desirable fish for the home aquarium, and is especially recommended for the inexperienced aquarist wishing an entry level breeding project. Almost nobody can fail to succeed with it!

Less than 2 inches long, this fish is a native of the northeastern section of India and of Ceylon.  A portion of dry food is satisfactory for the Zebra, but for best color and health, an occasional portion or live or frozen food is recommended. You can feed this fish once a day or 4 times a day, although only feed it what it can eat in a very short time, because if the food falls to the bottom, Zebras will not retrieve it, they do not eat off the bottom as a rule. This species feeds almost exclusively on the surface, so floating foods are

Thomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra DanioThere is a single difficulty in breeding the Zebra Danio, a difficulty common to most of the carps. That is the disposition to eat their own spawn.  The female darts madly across the tank, scattering eggs to right and left, and stooping to swallow them, if she can, before they can sink to the bottom. The breeder must find means to circumvent this habit.  As we described earlier, 2 layers of marbles and no more than 4-6 inches of water over the marbles solves this problem! This means that the eggs have a shorter distance to sink in order to reach the bottom of the tank, where they slip between the marbles and are safe from hungry mouths.

The adults should of course be removed from the breeding tank as soon as they have spawned. They swim so rapidly that Thomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra Daniothey are hard to net, and may actually jump right out of the tank while you are trying to net them, but it is necessary to separate them from the eggs and fry. The adult Zebra Danio do not attend to the eggs and young fry in any way; they pay no   attention to them except to eat them!

It requires only about 48-72 hours for the eggs to hatch at a temperature of 75F-80F, which is the most satisfactory breeding temperature as well. It will be about 5 days from   the breeding process when you see the minute fry (they resemble a whisker or sliver of black dust) will be seen darting about and gathering in the corners of the breeding tank.   Aeration is necessary at this point. Start feeding the Zebra Danio fry infusoria and in a few days supplement that with commercial powered growth food.

Thomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra DanioThomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra DanioThomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra DanioThomas R. Reich PhD explains Zebra Danio


As soon as the fry will accept it, in about a week to 10 days, start them on baby brine shrimp. The Zebra Danio fry grow very quickly and will be up to an inch long in about 6 weeks, if you feed them small amounts 4-6 times a day. After 2 weeks, 10% water changes should be made while slowly raising the level up to the capacity of the tank. Remember to cover the tank with a screen or aquarium hood, as these little fish are jumpers, even as Halflings! A school of young   Zebra Danios swimming in fast formation is a glorious sight; enjoy the results of this fascinating breeding project!

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Keeping and Breeding The Black Tetra or Black Skirt Tetra


The commonly called Black Skirt Tetra comes from South America – Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia – the drainage   basins of the Amazon, Rio Paraguay, Rio Pilcomayo, Rio Guapore, Rio Mamore, Rio   Beni, Rio Madeira, Rio Tapajos, Rio Negro and Lake Rogoa, in shaded, mostly shallow waters and flood regions.

Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black Tetra

You must see this fish to realize its remarkable beauty. There are many very good reasons why this fish has been so popular since its introduction to the aquarium would in the 1930’s.  The Black Tetra was so popular in fact it garnered, not one, but at least 6 popular common names over the years. Not only is this a fish of striking colors, it has a unique shape and is one of the least demanding fish to keep in the home aquarium. Can stand ranges of temperatures from 60F to 90F, eats anything, is non-aggressive and breeds very easily!


Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black TetraThe physical description of this fish does not do it justice. First, the rear half of the body, the large dorsal fin, and the exceedingly large anal fin are jet black. The forward part of   the body is silver with clearly visible vertical black bars. The caudal fin is clear, that is to say transparent. The anal fin is so large that the fish appears to wear a ballet skirt and it   certainly seems to dance, as it hovers around the darker areas of the aquarium!  To add to the Black Tetra’s unique appearance, it has silver-rimmed jet black eyes.


In its native habitat in Paraguay and the Matto Grosso area of Brazil, the Black Tetra grows to a length of three inches, although in captivity it seldom grows to more than two inches. An interesting feature of this characin is that with fright its colors turn pale.   From its habitat we could expect the Black Tetra to endure a wide range of variations in temperature; however it thrives at anything from 70F to 85F. It is best to breed this fish at about 75F. The Black Tetra is a very active fish and indulges in much harmless chasing of other fish, though it never seems to injure them.


This species was first introduced to fish keepers in 1935 from just 3 of the species that had been imported from theThomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black Tetra Amazon basin; for many years, all the Black Tetras being kept in aquariums were descendants of this original trio! As their domestication proceeded, they developed into one of the easiest egg-layers to breed in the aquarium world. One reason is that this is a very widely bred fish in farms, and its collection in the wild proved to be far more expensive than breeding this extremely prolific fish in Florida.


One pair of Gymnocorymbus Ternetzi in prime breeding condition can produce 500 offspring every 2 to 3 weeks! More over, they can do this through the temperature fluctuations in the Florida environment.  Finally, inbreeding is not a problem with this species, and after nearly 70 years of inbreeding, this species natural reproduction is in captivity.


Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black TetraAnother strain of this species has been developed over the years, the long-finned variety. There are many strains of this variety, look for a pair that has very long free flowing fins, with no kinks or small bumps, for best resulting fry. The long-fin variety breeds true for the most part.


Like many Characins, Black Tetras require a large aquarium of at least 10 gallons, clear water, and a thick growth of plants along the walls, leaving plenty of swimming space in the middle.   The darker the background and bottom of the tank, the more at ease the fish feels, the brighter the colors and the more eggs they will be comfortable laying!


Many aquarists find it difficult to sex half-grown specimens. But if the eye is trained to observe only the body of the fish, Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black Tetraand to disregard completely the fins, it will be easy to see that the males are more elongated and the females are deeper in comparison with their length. When in prime breeding condition, the female Black Tetra will look as if she is latterly about to explode, and the sex difference is more than obvious at this point, as she can be filled with up to 1,000 eggs, which are large by Characin standards!


The male Black Tetra are somewhat smaller than the females, with small white tips on the tail fin. In transmitted light, like a strong flashlight from behind the fish, you can see that the translucent body cavity of the male run into a point towards the rear, but the female is rounded in the rear. The fins also provide a means of separating the sexes; the male’s dorsal fin is more pointed than that of the female and the males anal fin is broader at the front.


Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black TetraBlack Tetras can be breed with great success by the novice, and are considered ideal for a home breeding project. Successful Black Tetra breeders are usually 9 months to a year old, and from 1 ½ to 2 inches long. Weather breeding the long-fined variety, or the standard (usually   the best bet for the beginner), the female should be conditioned separately from the male for 7-10 days on a steady diet of 3 live or frozen brine shrimp, blood worm and misquote larva diet meals per day.


Tank should be filled with at least 4 or 5 fine leaved bunches of   plants, leaving large open areas, these fish like to swim and chaise fast! Introduce the female in the late afternoon, followed by the male one hour later, just before dark. They   will breed the next morning, the male Black Tetra chasseing the female through the plants and occasionally quivering, laying up to 500 or even 1000 eggs over 2 or 3 hours. When the chase stops, they will rest a few minutes and then start searching for and eating eggs.   Both parents should be removed at once. There are so many eggs, that as long as you stop the egg hunt within an hour or so you will have many eggs left.


You should use aged but virgin water, making sure all plants are washed in a salt bath to kill any snails and other pests Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black Tetrathat will eat the eggs. PH and hardness are not critical, but ideally 6.8-7.0 and a hardness of 100-150 ppm. The temperature should be raised to about 75F-78F. The water should be heavily aerated before introduction of the pair, and then left totally still until the fry are free swimming.


The eggs hatch after about 24-36 hours. They hop on the bottom, or cling to the glass   like little slivers for another 2 to 3 days, when they become free swimming and immediately begin swimming and darting about in constant surch for food. Unlike most Characins, the Black Tetra is immediately able to swallow good sized pieces of food, this results in very rapid growth if fed frequently. A sponge filter should be added at this point.   Because of their great number, enough usually survive, even for the novice, that they may have be divided to several tanks for maximum growth.


Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black TetraFirst week of free swimming, the Black Tetra should be fed infusoria and first bit powered food, the second week start baby brine in the mix and the third week graduate to growth food and baby brine shrimp. The critical period is the first 2 weeks from the time they are free swimming. During this time temperature should be a constant 75F to 78F and water should not be touched.


After two weeks 10% water changes, siphoning off the uneaten food Thomas R. Reich explains how to bread the Black Tetrafrom the bottom is   recommended by weekly. At this point the Black Tetra fry are well on their way and will eat almost anything. The Black Tetra are really most beautiful in their first 3 months when they are almost completely black, they begin to look like adults in about three months and mature at about 6 months.


Try this breading project and send us some pictures to post of your success with the Black Tetra, and remember, its a hobby, enjoy every project.  In order to be most successful, make sure to treat the fish in a humane manor and work hard to do your best to support the life and lives you are dealing with!


Enjoy – Dr. Reich

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