New hobbyists often see a dealer’s tank with the white cloud label and look fruitlessly for a white fish. The scientific name means “Tan’s fish” and “white clouds.” A boy named Tan discovered the fish in a stream on White Cloud Mountain in China. White cloud is the shortened form of the fish’s full name—the White Cloud Mountain minnow.
The white cloud juvenile was once called the “poor man’s neon tetra” because it has a coppery, iridescent stripe that runs lengthwise. The stripe loses the iridescence with age, though, and it turns white, against a brown body. Dorsal and caudal fins have red patches. Dorsal and anal fins have yellow or white tips.
The white cloud is not a tropical fish. Though this fish does well in tropical aquariums, it comes from mountain streams and is much happier in cooler water.
This fish breeds easily. It is also a bit unusual in that it doesn’t normally eat its own eggs or young. In a well-planted aquarium, containing no fish but white clouds, it’s possible to have several generations growing at one time. In a community, of course, eggs and fry are quickly consumed by the other fish, and it is unlikely to see them develop to adulthood.
The white cloud fares well on flakes alone, but supplementing the diet with brine shrimp, bloodworms and other live, frozen and freeze-dried foods will intensify its colors.