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Maximum size : 3 cm

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow - Tanichthys micagemmae : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows (Tanichthys micagemmae) is a charming species that add interest and colour to any aquarium. These petite fish are perfect for smaller setups, and their hardy nature and ease of breeding make them an ideal choice for aquarists of all skill levels. Keeping these fish in groups is recommended, as it allows them to display natural behaviours and reduces their shyness. In larger groups, you can witness the males' impressive display of rivalry as they vie for the females' attention with their extended and vibrantly coloured fins. These fish are peaceful and should only be housed with species of similar temperament and size. Their striking red colouration on their noses, anal, and caudal fins, along with their unique lateral stripes, differentiates them from their more common lookalike, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow. In the aquarium, these fish are not fussy eaters and will accept a variety of live, frozen, and dried foods. However, providing them with a varied diet, including plant or algae content, will ensure the best colour and health. Overall, Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are a fantastic addition to any aquarium, adding beauty, personality, and excitement.

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexing young Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows accurately can be challenging. However, fully developed females can usually be identified by their rounder bellies and larger size compared to males. In contrast, males typically exhibit intensified colouration and small raised tubercles under the eye during the breeding season. They become more vibrant in colouration when spawning or competing with rivals and may develop extended anal and dorsal fins as they mature.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameTanichthys micagemmae
Year Described2001
Other NamesDwarf Vietnamese Minnow, Royal White Cloud, Vietnamese White Cloud, Sparkle-eye Minnow
Max Size3 cm
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

Natural habitat

The Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are native to the Ben Hai River system. This historical and significant site once served as the demilitarized zone between North and South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Despite the heavy bombings, the area sustained during the war, these hardy fish have survived and thrived in the clear and fast-flowing shallow streams of the Quang Binh province in Southeast Asia. These Minnows are well adapted to life in sandy substrate streams and can be found darting among the rocks and plants that line the waterways. With their striking red and white colouration, they are a beautiful sight to behold in their natural habitat.

How to breed the Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are an egg-scattering species that exhibit constant spawning behaviour and do not display parental care. However, when conditions are optimal, they will spawn frequently, and small numbers of fry will begin to appear without any intervention in a heavily planted and established aquarium or outdoor container. A separate, smaller aquarium with a dimly lit environment and a bottom covered with mesh or artificial grass matting can be set up for a more controlled approach. Alternatively, a layer of fine-leaved plants or spawning mops can be used. The water should be slightly acidic to neutral, and the temperature must be towards the range's upper end. Additionally, an air-powered sponge filter or air stone should be added to provide oxygenation and water movement. After conditioning the adults with live or frozen food and once the females appear gravid, one or two pairs should be introduced into the spawning tank, and spawning should occur the following morning. Alternatively, half a dozen individuals of each sex can be kept in a larger aquarium. In either situation, the adults may consume their eggs, so they should be removed after 2 to 3 days at most. The eggs usually hatch within 48 to 72 hours, depending on water temperature. Once free-swimming, the fry can be fed on microscopic food such as Paramecium and infusoria until they are large enough to accept baby brine shrimp, microworms, and powdered fry foods.

Diet & feeding

In order to maintain the optimal health and vibrancy of your Vietnamese Minnows, a well-rounded diet is essential. While these fish are not particularly picky eaters, incorporating small live and frozen foods into their feeding regimen will provide them with important nutrients and ensure that they remain in peak condition. Daphnia, artemia, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms are all great options to consider. In addition to live and frozen fare, offering high-quality dried foods such as flakes and granules is important. When selecting these foods, look for options that incorporate additional plant or algae content. This will not only help to ensure that your Vietnamese Minnows receive the necessary nutrients for optimal health, but it will also promote vibrant colouration in these beautiful fish.


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

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