Max Size: up to 3 cm

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

Vietnamese Minnows are an ideal species for the smaller temperate aquarium. This fish is attractive, peaceful, hardy, and easily bred, making them excellent fish for the beginner aquarist. Due to their shoaling nature, these fish are best kept in groups of at least eight individuals; this will make them less nervous and result in a more effective, natural-looking display.

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. During such displays, the males will brave each other in dramatic postures with all their fins spread wide; however, this is all for a show, and no actual harm should follow.

These fish are peaceful and should only be kept in a community tank with other soft fish of similar size and temperament. It is of utmost importance that you do not house them with much larger or more boisterous tankmates.

Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows are similar in appearance to the White Cloud Mountain Minnow. The only differences are that Vietnamese Cardinal Minnows have a lighter colouration of 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.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameTanichthys micagemmae
Other NamesBlue White Cloud, Dwarf Vietnamese Minnow, Royal White Cloud, Vietnamese White Cloud, Sparkle-eye Minnow, New White Cloud, Micagemmae
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature65 - 75 ℉ (18.3 - 23.9 ℃)
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 18
TDS36 - 143
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow
Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow

Natural Habitat of the Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow

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.

Other Minnows of interest

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Rainbow Shiner(Notropis chrosomus)
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Red Shiner(Cyprinella lutrensis)
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White Cloud Mountain Minnow(Tanichthys Albonubes)


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 fares such as daphnia, artemia, mosquito larvae and bloodworms. You should also provide your fish with good quality dried food such as flakes and granules, some of which should incorporate additional plant or algal content.

Sexing the Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow

Young individuals 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.

Breeding the Vietnamese Cardinal Minnow

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.

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Date Added: 15/05/2021 15:16:57 - Updated: 15/05/2021 15:30:31