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Maximum size : 10 cm

Eurasian Minnow - Phoxinus phoxinus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Eurasian Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) may not be the most flashy fish in the aquarium or pond, but it's a fascinating and peaceful freshwater species that deserves more recognition. These fish display striking patterns and behaviours that are often overlooked in favour of larger and more colourful species. However, they quickly breed in both aquariums and ponds and are ideal for natural setups. Eurasian Minnows often gather in large shoals, moving rapidly and swimming closely together to confuse potential predators. Fish on the outer edges of the shoal are most at risk of being eaten, so every fish wants to be in the safety of the middle. With olive-brown colouration on its back and dark bars running along its flank, the Eurasian Minnow is easily distinguishable. In the summer, males develop a pinkish-red abdomen, while females have whitish-grey bellies. One unique feature of the Minnow is the lack of dorsal spines found in other species, such as sticklebacks.

Eurasian Minnow Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

The sexual dimorphism of Eurasian minnows poses some challenges in distinguishing between males and females. Typically, males tend to grow slightly larger than females and have a slimmer physique. Furthermore, the colouration of males is typically darker and more pronounced compared to the female counterparts. Additionally, the anal and dorsal fins of males are pointed, while those of females are more rounded.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePhoxinus phoxinus
Year Described1758
Other NamesCommon Minnow
OriginsEurope Spain Russia China North Korea South Korea
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 10+
Lifespan2 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.0
GH4 - 8
TDS50 - 250
53 - 68
11.7 - 20

Natural habitat

The Eurasian Minnow, a fascinating and adaptable species, inhabits a diverse range of aquatic environments. These can include fast-flowing streams and large lowland rivers in the northern areas of their range, as well as still waters ranging from small mountain lakes to oligotrophic lakes. As the seasons change, these fish require deep pools with low currents that have a coarse substrate that can provide them with necessary cover during the winter months. These environments enable the Eurasian Minnow to thrive, showcasing their impressive adaptability to different habitats.

How to breed the Eurasian Minnow

A well-oxygenated environment, good water flow, and a gravel bottom are essential to breed the Eurasian Minnow successfully. A clean water source and the presence of aquatic plants are also conducive to healthy aquarium conditions and encourage spawning. Breeding typically occurs in late May, when noticeable changes occur in both male and female fish. The males undergo a dramatic transformation in colouration, with their shades becoming darker, lighter, and red in areas like the throat and fins. The females do not change colour, but their fins become redder, and their bodies bulge towards the abdomen. Males become aggressive, chasing females and brushing against their sides. The female then releases the eggs, and the male fertilizes them. The fertilized eggs will sink to the bottom, where the male will guard them for some time. After several days, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will emerge. Plant cover is crucial for the fry to hide, as adult fish tend to consume them, especially when underfed and in the absence of live food. Initially, the fry will feed on small organisms such as infusoria and algae before transitioning to the same food as adults when big enough.

Diet & feeding

Eurasian Minnows have an adaptable palate and will readily consume a diverse array of sustenance. They accept dry foods, such as flakes, granules, and bread crumbs, as well as live and frozen fare, including bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. Occasional treats of blanched vegetables are also appreciated. However, these Minnows exhibit a preference for bottom-sinking food rather than top-floating cuisine.


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