Max Size: 10cm

Eurasian Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus)

The Eurasian Minnow is a small and peaceful freshwater fish that is a rather understated aquarium and pond fish. Their fascinating behaviours and their quite striking patterns are often overlooked for more colourful fish that attain more significant sizes. They quickly breed in aquariums and ponds alike. And are ideal for natural ponds.

These Minnows often gather in large shoals; this is so they can confuse their predators. They move very fast and swim very close together. Fish on the outside of the shoal, unfortunately, are most at danger of being eaten, so every fish wants to be in the middle.

The Eurasian Minnow is olive-brown above, it displays dark bars along its back and a dark stripe along its flank. Females have whitish-grey bellies, but the males' abdomens turn pinkish-red in the summer. The Minnow lacks the dorsal spines of sticklebacks.

Quick Facts
Scientific NamePhoxinus phoxinus
Other NamesCommon Minnow
Origins Europe), China, North Korea, Russia, South Korea , Spain
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℃

Photos of the Eurasian Minnow

Male Eurasian Minnows
Eurasian minnows
Eurasian minnow
Eurasian minnow
Eurasian minnow


Eurasian Minnows

Natural Habitat

The Eurasian Minnow can be found in many habitats that have cold, well-oxygenated water. These include small streams with fast currents and large lowland rivers in the more northerly parts of its range.

You can also find them living in still waters varying from small to large mountain lakes to oligotrophic lakes. They also need deep pools with a low current to spend winter in, and these must have a coarse substrate among which the fish can hide.

What to feed the Eurasian Minnow

Eurasian Minnows are not fussy and will accept a wide variety of different foods. These include dry foods such as flakes, granules and bread crumbs as well as live and frozen fare such as bloodworm, brine shrimp and daphnia. They also appreciate the occasional treat of blanched vegetables. These Minnows prefer to snack on food that sinks to the bottom rather than floats on top.

How to sex the Eurasian Minnow

It is somewhat tricky to differentiate male from female Eurasian minnows. Both males and female are similar in size, with males being slightly larger when fully grown. Males are also slightly slimmer than females. The colours of a male are darker and more visible than the female. Also, the females anal and dorsal fin is more rounded while the males are more pointed.

How to breed the Eurasian Minnow

To breed the Eurasian Minnow, they require an adequate supply of oxygen, a good current, and a gravel bottom. Clean water and plant life also help towards good quality aquarium conditions and the encouragement of spawning.

Breeding begins in late May when the fish become noticeably more active, and the fish begin to change colour. The females don't change colour although their fins become much redder and their body becomes more deep-set and bulks out towards the abdomen. In contrast, males change dramatically. The shades of colour on the male fish become more substantial, the dark gets darker, and the light gets lighter. Also, the throat, fins and some other areas become redder.

These colour changes increase as the fish get closer to breeding. The body becomes much more cumbersome, and the gills become very pale with shimmering light blue patches towards the bottom and below. Next, the lower half of the body's scales begin to stand out more and become slightly gold-lined. All these strengthen as time passes on. All the fins, especially the dorsal, start to stick out more; this happens in both sexes.

When ready to spawn, the males begin to chase females around, brushing their sides against them, becoming very fierce and aggressive. Mating is complete when this behaviour reaches its climax where the female releases the eggs and the male fertilises them.

Fertilised eggs will immediately sink to the bottom of the tank where the other fish will start eating them and plucking at the gravel to find them. The male will then maliciously guard them for some time.

Several days later, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will emerge. It is essential to have plenty of plant cover for the fry to hide in as the adult fish will consume them, especially if underfed and if not much other live food is given.

The baby fry will initially feed on small organisms called infusoria and algae as soon as they are big enough they can then be given the same food as the adults.

Other Minnows of interest

Rainbow Shiner(Notropis chrosomus)
Red Shiner(Cyprinella lutrensis)
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow(Tanichthys micagemmae)
White Cloud Mountain Minnow(Tanichthys Albonubes)
Date Added: 20/01/2021 - Updated: 19/01/2022 13:58:50