Max Size: 3cm

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow (Tanichthys micagemmae)

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are an ideal species for the smaller or nano aquarium. This fish is attractive, peaceful, hardy, and easy to breed, making them an excellent choice for beginners or advanced aquarists.

Due to their shoaling nature, these fish are best kept in groups of at least eight individuals; this will ensure they are less nervous and result in a more natural behaviour in the aquarium.

Keeping these fish in larger groups makes it more likely that you will obtain both sexes, enabling you to observe the exciting sparring events between rival males as they battle for the attention of the females. The males will display dramatic postures with all their fins spread wide; however, this is all for a show, and no actual harm will follow.

These fish are peaceful and should only be kept in a species only or community tank with other fish of similar size and temperament.

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are similar in appearance and are often confused with the more common White Cloud Mountain Minnow. The only difference being that Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are smaller, have a lighter colouration on their lower body, and their lateral stripes are centred rather than above the middle. In addition, some older males develop spectacular elongated dorsal and anal fins. These fish also display red colouration on their noses, anal and caudal fins.

Tank Mates

2 ideal tank mate ideas for the Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow include:

Celestial Pearl Danio(Danio margaritatus)
Red Rili Shrimp(Neocaridina davidi var)
Quick Facts
Scientific NameTanichthys micagemmae
Other NamesDwarf Vietnamese Minnow, Royal White Cloud, Vietnamese White Cloud, Sparkle-eye Minnow
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 18
TDS36 - 143
65 - 75℉
18.3 - 23.9℃


Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow


Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow (Tanichthys micagemmae) Species Profile & Care Guide

Natural Habitat

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are only known from the Ben Hai river system in north-central Vietnam, which flows mainly through the province of Quang Binh in Southeast Asia. Their range includes what was the demilitarized zone between South and North Vietnam and was subject to intense bombing during the Vietnam War. These Minnows inhabit clear, fast-flowing, shallow streams containing sandy substrate.


In the aquarium, Vietnamese Minnows are not fussy and are easily fed. However, for the best colour and condition of your fish, you should offer regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as daphnia, artemia, mosquito larvae and bloodworm. You should also provide your fish with good quality dried food such as flakes and granules, some of which should incorporate additional plant or algae content.

Sexual Dimorphism

Young Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows can be difficult to sex accurately; however, fully developed females are usually rounder-bellied and often a little larger than males. In contrast, males tend to intensify in colour and have tiny raised tubercles under the eye during the breeding season and become more vibrant in colour when spawning or if they are sparring with rivals. Males may also develop extended anal and dorsal fins once they mature.


Vietnamese Minnows are an egg-scattering, constant spawner that shows no parental care. However, when the fish are in good condition, they will spawn often. When a group is maintained alone in a heavily planted, established aquarium or an outdoor container, small numbers of fry will start to appear without any intervention.

If you would like a more controlled approach, you can set up a separate, smaller aquarium. This should be dimly lit, and the bottom covered with a mesh that has large enough holes for the eggs to fall through but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. Artificial grass matting can also be used and works well, so does a layer of glass marbles or pebbles.

Alternatively, you can fill the aquarium with many fine-leaved plants or spawning mops, as this will also return decent results.

The water needs to be slightly acidic to neutral, and the temperature will need to be towards the upper end of the range. An air stone or an air-powered sponge filter would also need to be added to provide water movement and oxygenation.

Once the adults have been well-conditioned with live or frozen food and the females appear gravid, you should then introduce one or two pairs into the tank, and spawning should take place the very next morning.

An alternative method is to spawn the fish in a group, with half a dozen individuals of each sex, although a bigger aquarium may be necessary.

In either situation, the adults will more than likely eat their eggs if given a chance, so, therefore, you should remove them after 2 to 3 days at most.

The eggs should usually hatch between 48 and 72 hours, depending on water temperature. Once they become free-swimming, you can feed them initially on Paramecium, infusoria or other microscopic food until they become large enough to accept baby brine shrimp microworms and powdered fry foods.

Other Minnows of interest

Eurasian Minnow(Phoxinus phoxinus)
Rainbow Shiner(Notropis chrosomus)
Red Shiner(Cyprinella lutrensis)
White Cloud Mountain Minnow(Tanichthys Albonubes)
Date Added: 15/05/2021 15:16:57 - Updated: 19/01/2022 14:01:06