White cloud minnow

White cloud minnow
© GNU Free Documentation, Creative Commons
Illustration of a white cloud minnow
© Queensland Government

White cloud minnows are native to China, but are a popular aquarium fish in Australia. Thought to be effective in controlling mosquitoes, these fish have been stocked in backyard ponds—subsequently spreading to nearby creeks and rivers during heavy rains. To avoid the spread of invasive fish in our natural environment, we encourage backyard pond users to stock native fish, such as pacific blue eyes, rainbowfish and hardy heads.

White clouds may be kept in an aquarium, but are not to be released or kept in outdoor ponds where they could wash out during high rainfall. If you catch these fish in the wild, you must not return them to the water.

Scientific name

Tanichthys albonubes


  • Grows to 4cm.
  • Males are slimmer, and more brightly coloured.
  • Males have larger dorsal (back) and anal (underside) fins.


  • Tropical freshwater fish.
  • Tolerate wide temperature ranges.


  • Discovered at White Cloud Mountain in China, hence their name.
  • Native to northeast Asia and southern China.
  • Introduced to Australia.
  • Occasional reports in waterways around Brisbane.

Life cycle


  • Produce up to 300 eggs at a time which hatch within 2 days.
  • Eggs are yellowish and are laid on plants.


  • Zooplankton and detritus (organic debris)


  • If you catch white cloud minnows in the wild, humanely kill them and do not return them to the water. Report all invasive fish captures through our online reporting form. Take photos, if possible.

Legal requirements

  • Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with  spreading or introducing pest fish. This includes any fish that is not native to Australia.
  • To ensure you have met your GBO:
    • don’t stock non-native fish in outdoor ponds
    • don’t release aquarium fish or aquarium water into waterways
    • do what you reasonably can to stop a potential biosecurity threat from spreading. This could include reporting the issue to Biosecurity Queensland.

Further information