Eurasian Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) Species Profile & Care Guide
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.
|Scientific Name||Phoxinus phoxinus|
|Other Names||Common Minnow|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 10+|
|Lifespan||2 - 5 years|
|Temperature||53 - 68 ℉ (11.7 - 20 ℃)|
|PH||6.5 - 8.0|
|GH||4 - 8|
|TDS||50 - 250|
Natural Habitat of the Eurasian Minnow
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.
Other Minnows of interest
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 bloodworms, 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.
Breeding 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.