Red Shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) Species Profile & Care Guide
Red shiners are attractive cold-water fish that will appeal to those wanting something entirely different from goldfish. You could mix these with other fish such as Danios and white cloud mountain minnows of a similar size and temperament and enjoy the same fast-flowing conditions as well as peaceful bottom-dwelling fish such as loaches and also Gobies. However, it would be best if you did not mix them with goldfish as they will be out-competed for food, and these fish have been known to nip fins.
Red Shiners are an active, peaceful shoaling species that you should keep in groups of six or more individuals. The aquarium should be well established, well filtered and spacious and make sure you provide the fish with plenty of hiding places such as rocks, bogwood, or robust planting. Decent current from additional powerheads is also required.
The Red Shiner has a deep, comprehensive, and laterally compressed body. Their bodies are silvery-green to white. When breeding, males have iridescent pinkish-blue sides, a red crown, and red tips on all their fins except for the dorsal fin. Their head is distinct and compressed with tiny eyes and a terminal to slightly sub-terminal mouth. Males also have a sharply pointed nose that protrudes their mouth. The anal fin has 8 to 10 rays, their dorsal fin has eight rays, and their pelvic fins have eight rays; the caudal peduncle is broad, and the caudal fin is concave.
|Scientific Name||Cyprinella lutrensis|
|Other Names||Red-horse Minnow, Rainbow Dace|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||up to 3 years|
|Temperature||50 - 72 ℉ (10 - 22.2 ℃)|
|PH||7.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 15|
Natural Habitat of the Red Shiner
Red Shiners are naturally found in the Mississippi River basin from South Dakota and Wyoming and south to Louisiana to southern Wisconsin and eastern Indiana. They have also been introduced to Illinois, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Alabama, California, Colorado, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Virginia, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico. The Red shiner is a prevalent baitfish, so when bait buckets get emptied, this causes this species to be introduced into new areas as well as aquarium releases, introduction as forage fish, and farm escapes.
Red Shiners are reasonably widespread and are residents of all northern mainland freshwater systems in Mexico in North America. These fish inhabit creek mouths, backwaters, streams containing sand and silt substrates, pools and riffles. They are also tolerant of areas with frequent high turbidity and siltation, but they tend to avoid waters with high acidity.
Red shiners are adapted to favour a wide range of environmental conditions that are not typical of most other fish species. These include those with poor water quality, such as polluted waterways, habitats degraded by human disturbance, seasonally intermittent flows and natural physiochemical extremes.
Other Minnows of interest
Red Shiners feed on algae alongside aquatic and mundane insects in nature. These fish will accept a wide range of foods in the aquarium, from staple dried food such as flakes and micro granules to live and frozen food such as bloodworm, mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp and Daphnia.
Sexing the Red Shiner
It is pretty straightforward to differentiate female from male Red Shiners. Females are larger, fuller-bodied and duller than males. In contrast, males are smaller and brighter and, when in breeding condition, will display a much more intensely coloured appearance, with apparent white tubercles all over their heads.
Breeding the Red Shiner
In the wild, spawning occurs in calm waters, with males deciding the location and defending it. Females are known to create sounds to attract males. Reproduction is seasonal, generally from mid-April through to September. In addition to spawning in crevices like other genus members, red shiners also spread their eggs and attach them to rocks and vegetation.
Red Shiners have been known to breed in the home aquarium, but unfortunately, details are limited. Females can release 400 to 600 eggs into various gaps in the decor and sometimes into the gravel.
Red Shiners can produce viable hybrid offspring with closely related species, such as the Blacktail Shiner and the Blue Shiner. The parents will consume the eggs, so it is advisable to remove the adults into another aquarium once spawning has ceased.
The eggs usually take 3 to 5 days to hatch, and the fry should become free-swimming around a week later.