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FAQs on the Minnows Called Rosies & Shiners

Related Articles: Cypriniiform Fishes, Glofish, A Bad Omen for the Future of the Hobby? by Spencer Glass

Related FAQs:  Cypriniiform/Minnow Fishes, White Clouds, Siamese Algae Eaters, Flying Foxes, Hillstream Fishes,


I have a question.
Rosey red minnows... more chatting   4/8/13
. I heard from one source on the Net they can survive a
temperature range of 39 to 100 ferenghit. <Fahrenheit>
<I looked the fish up in Dr. Axelrod's Atlas (Pimephales promelas) and this book indicates ideal temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit.  I found the same online information as you did, probably explained by the fact that this species has been a feeder for many many years and only the strong survive in such deplorable conditions. So, the feeder strain of the species may have evolved into a wide temperature tolerance.>
I understand they will not survive
indefinately at these temperatures unless kept cool. I already made plans to
keep them as cool as possible. But aside from keeping them cool in summer,
would they survive in my plastic, above-ground tank (which is compleet with
a strong filter, fountain, and airstones)?
<If you can keep the temperature down they should be fine in a 50 gallon container. They like plants, rocks and driftwood.  I've also heard they are not all that difficult to breed.>
<Second query appended below>
Would a fancy goldfish and 1 rosey red minnow get along in a 29 gallon
<According to this WWM article
15-20 gallons per goldfish, which is consistent with Axelrod, so you should be able to add several of the minnows no problem.>
Would the fancy goldfish (which is a redcap Oranda) be able to get enough food with the 1 minnow in the tank?
<You'll have to try it and see. You can always feed the minnows on one side
of the tank and then feed the goldfish on the other side once the minnows
are preoccupied, though it might take a week or two to train the Oranda
where to go.>
Would the tank be overcrowded if I put the minnow in it with my current
fancy goldfish?
Would I still have to get 2 more Rosey reds if I put the 1 Rosey red in
the goldfish?
<I think you can do this no problem. However, DO please quarantine the minnows first. As feeders, they are often disease carriers. - Rick>
re: 50 Gallon, Above-ground Pond and Rosy Red Minnows, fdg.    4/9/13

<Hi Cam, Consolidating 4 queries.>
1) Do you need to feed rosy red minnows in the winter, in ponds, if there is no other food available for them?
<Of course.>
2) Hello.
Do you need to feed rosy red minnows in the winter, in ponds, if there is no
other food available for them?
Thank you.
3) What are yearly feeding requirements for rosy red minnows, in my small pond, with no natural food available?
4) Hello.
I live in the AZ desert. I have a question.
Feeding rosy reds every year in my small, outdoor, plastic pond. There are no natural foods available for them. There are no natural plants. It is a new pond.
What and when do I feed the rosy reds over the course of a year?
In spring?
In summer?
In fall?
In winter?
Do I feed them like I would a goldfish in an outdoor pond?
Thank you.
<Cam, A quality veggie flake should do well for them, with occasional frozen food as a treat.  Feed more when the temperature goes up. In winter, you probably only need to feed every couple of days.  Eventually they should be able to eat algae and aufwuchs that will grow in the pond, but still need some regular feeding for nutritional reasons.  This website:
has a lot of information about caring for the rosy red minnow.
- Rick>
Thank you so much for your reply! <Welcome>  I am ever so glad you replied.
<It's volunteer work so response is not always immediate, alas.>
The only advice I could find on rosy reds was pond minnows and general feeding for aquariums. I found a Net source that said rosy reds were pond minnows. And another that said not to feed pond minnows in winter. But I also heard from another source that the minnows would live off insects and plants in the pond. I have none of these things in my pond and may never have them.
<You'll have insects because you have water outdoors, and algae will inevitably grow.  You may not need to feed much at all in winter as the metabolism of the fish does slow down significantly, but keep in mind your winter is milder than most places in the US.> I actually was under the impression that I was not supposed to feed the poor rosy reds, until you wrote back. <Just be careful not to overfeed. If they aren't taking the food, cut way way back on it. Use common sense. But I would still feed on occasion just to diversify the diet.>
Thank you so much! 
<Welcome. - Rick>

Silver Red Rosie Mouth Rash or Ich??   3/17/12
Hey Guys,
I currently have a 20 gallon, Freshwater tank with a Whisper 30 filter, a small airstone, and one Live plant, which is broad leafed, but not sure what it is called. I had a full grown African Leaf Fish that lived in there, however, my ex-LFS told me time and time again that my Leaf fish wouldn't eat a Pleco,
<Will try to inhale most anything live that will/can fit into its mouth>
but he did and he died. So I was left with 8 tiny, Red Rosies that were his food. I didn't have the heart to give them back to PetSmart where I bought them from, so I put them into the 20 gallon tank.
<A really neat fish species>
In this tank was originally one small rainbow shark, two mystery snails and the leaf fish. One mystery snail died, and then my leaf fish died. So I put my Rosie's in the tank. This was about 3-4 weeks ago. I do a 25-30% water change weekly and test it weekly as well. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0 and nitrates fluctuate between 0-5ppms, my PH is stable at 8.0. This has been my readings for two months since the tank cycled. Anyways, today is my weekly day that I change the water, I knelt down and was looking at the one Res Rosie that is about 2 inches in length and is Silver. When I bought my last batch of Rosie's I noticed he didn't look at all like the rest in size or color, but he's been healthy and happy the whole time I've had him.
Today I noticed he has these small white bumps or nodules around his mouth, they kind of look like warts!! I'm scared that whatever this fish is, he's contracted Ich. But does Ich only surround their mouth or its whole body?
<Mmm, not to panic... the carbuncles you mention are likely natural... Will come/go w/ time>
I've tried Googling, and researching WWM site as well but can't find a definitive answer. I was planning on taking the Rosie's to my New LFS owner who adores Red Rosies, but now I'm scared to in fear that the big silver Rosie has Ich or something worse. It is Only around his mouth and they aren't flesh with his skin, they are bumps. Any help will be greatly appreciated, if it wasn't for your website and email service myself and a lot of other people would be so lost, so thank you in advance!!!
Kindest Regards,
<Sort of like "pre-nuptial tubercles" of goldfish... Place the five term description in Google... Bob Fenner> 
Re: Silver Red Rosie Mouth Rash or Ich?? Now repro.    3/19/12

Thank you so much! I've been watching him very closely and a day or so ago, i was really watching his pattern and noticed he was sort of 'scrubbing' or rubbing gently his back on the bottom of their little shelter rock. He won't leave this shelter rock unless he's eating but even then, he will not stray far. After reading more about the breeding and the way the male acts and what he does, I realized that he might be protecting eggs!! So I bent down to look at the bottom side of the flat shelter rock and sure enough there are these tiny little bubbles staggered on the underside of this rock!!! I am truly shocked and very ecstatic that these are little red Rosie babies. However, now I am a tad bit concerned for the fry's well being. I have a rainbow shark that mainly stays in a cichlid stone, will he try to eat the young?
<Mmm, likely so>
Also, I am un able to tell which of the other 7 red Rosie's are male or female and if these eggs hatch I am afraid that one 2in silver red Rosie and 7 half inch red Rosies plus however many hatch will be way to large of a bio-load for my 20 gallon tank. I would like to keep "Harry" the silver Rosie whose protecting the young and then maybe one or two females but how can I tell whose the female when they all look alike?
<Mmm, am surprised that they're reproducing at this size.>
  None of the other 7 Rosies have tubercles, just "Harry".
<Just males do...>
 My other Main Concern is my filter. I am unsure what I should do to prevent the young fry from getting sucked into the filter! The filter is a Whisper 30 and I was wondering if I put maybe a Cheese Cloth around the piece that is in the water and sucks it into the filter?
<Better to employ a sponge filter, or air-driven box/corner filter w/ the top off...>
 But if I do put cheese clothe around that part, will it make it less able to suck up debris? Thank you very much in advance.
Kindest Regards,
<Do read when you can re Minnow/Cyprinid, Pimephales promelas reproduction, rearing the young.... IF you're going to try this you need to begin culturing foods for the young. A good survey account can be found here: http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/showthread.php?162857-Rosy-Red-Minnows
Bob Fenner>

Feeder fish and disease -- 1/28/10
If someone wanted to buy rosy red minnows for their tank, and the only way to get them was the "feeder" tank at the big box store, would that be risking disease if they were placed with a few fish already in their tank at home?
<Well, yes, there's a risk they could be infected with *something*, simply because Rosy Reds are typically crowded together in a small tank and given only minimal care. But that said, they are incredibly hardy fish, and make surprisingly good pets.>
I guess I am asking if feeder fish are a huge "NO" for stocking a tank at home, even if they look healthy in the feeder tank??
<There's a chance individuals could be infected with worms or whitespot or whatever. But if you picked out good looking specimens, took care of them once home, and perhaps dewormed the whole bunch of them, you should be
Thank you!
<There's an old book called "North American Native Fishes for the Home Aquarium" you might want to track down. It's filled with useful information on keeping these and other North American fish happy at home. Good luck!

Keeping minnows in a 10 gallon tank  1/19/10
I was wondering if it was possible to keep 5 or 6 rosy red minnows in a 10 gallon tank in the long run? Do they need tank length like the Danios?
Also would the tank fill with fry like it would with guppies or is there a way to prevent fry? Thank you!
<Short answer is no, this wouldn't be nice at all. Rosy Red Minnows are just like any fish and need a tank appropriate to their size and temperament. Cramped fish become ill-tempered, stressed, and often prone to disease. So why bother? For 10 gallon tanks, you want species that don't move about much.
Neons are quite good if the water isn't too warm (around 22-24 C) is ideal while Cardinals are a better choice for warmer tanks (26-28 C). If you're a more advanced hobbyist who's happy to research their specific needs, you
can also look for more difficult things like Ember Tetras, Celestial Rasboras, or Dwarf Rasboras (Boraras spp.). A group of 10 or more of these schooling fish in a shady, well-planted 10 gallon tank can look stunning.
And no, tetras, barbs, and Rasboras don't normally breed in community aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>
White cloud minnows  1/19/10
Sorry, I made a mistake when I asked about rosy red minnows. It was White cloud mountain minnows. I read they only grow to 1.5 inches and was wondering if that was ok for a 10 gallon tank in the long run?? I am assuming that fry may be a problem though. Again sorry for the mix up
<Tanichthys albonubes is a wonderful little fish, and it is, in my opinion, a borderline acceptable fish for a 10 gallon tank. Does partly depend on the size of the tank. If the 10 gallon tank was long, say 50-60 cm long, that would be better than one that was just 40-50 cm. Also depends on water turnover; a poky little hang-on-the-back filter that generates hardly any current really isn't the thing. These are hyperactive little fish, and if they can't play in the current and spar with one another among the floating plants, they're just half the fun they should be (and it's bad fish karma
for the aquarist). So I'd sit back, look at the 10 gallon tank, and ask myself whether it's a suitable home for a fish that darts up and down shallow, clearwater streams. Now, if you can stretch to a 15 gallon or better yet a 20 gallon tank -- and the space/price difference is trivial -- then a big school of healthy White Clouds is a thing of joy, and a group of ten alongside half a dozen Corydoras catfish like Peppered Corydoras (which like the same cool water) would be lovely. Cheers, Neale.>

Whirling Disease? I have a school of shiners from Mississippi River in my 10 gallon tank. Two of the fish started to show signs of spinal deformations and they twist and whirl when swimming. <Yikes....  Not a good sign, at all.  Use strong caution, here - do *not* return any of these fish to the wild - if they have a contagious disease (and it sounds like they do), it could impact other wild fish very negatively.  As you describe this, the first thing that pops into mind is "whirling disease".  This illness is caused by a myxosporidian parasite known as Myxobolus cerebralis.  It's usually seen in salmonids (like salmon and trout), but has been seen in other fish as well, even goldfish and livebearers.  The parasites infect the tissues around the inner ear and the cartilage of the skull.  It causes the fish to swim in circles, sometimes frantically, or to swim nose-down tail-up, spinning like a top.  It is usually fatal, though some fish will survive and thereafter always have spinal/skeletal deformities.  It is also untreatable, I'm sorry to say.  If this is what your fish are exhibiting, I would strongly recommend euthanizing the sick fish, or at the least remove them to a seperate tank to prevent spread of the disease to your other fish.  If the fish die in the tank of healthy fish, the healthy fish run an *enormous* risk of catching the illness - hundreds of thousands of M. cerebralis parasites may be released by an infected dead fish.  Also, if the fish die, do *not* flush them, for the same reasons.  Perhaps bury them at the roots of a favorite plant, so they can "live on" as life given to the plant.... or maybe I'm just sappy and sentimental.  anyhow, I know this is a huge amount of bad news, and I am sorry to be the bearer of it....> Other fish (guppy, neon, danio and other four shiners) seem to be fine. The fish had been in my tank since September and had been given general tropical fish flakes. <They may never catch it, either, if you act now and remove the infected fish.> I also noticed that the shells of snails started turning whitish and have some abbesses, just don't look healthy. do I have some nutrient deficiency in my tank? <Ahh, this is a much easier, and happier answer.  You are probably lacking calcium or some other mineral that the snails need for healthy shells.  You can buffer the water with a calcium carbonate solution, but this may increase your pH, as well, so do so only with caution.  I'd also like to mention, since dosing my tanks with iodine for my freshwater shrimps, I have noticed AMAZING changes in the snails, as well - the went from pitted, white, eroding shells to rich, brown, faster-growing shells.  The change is very obvious on the larger ones, you can actually see the cutoff point where their shells began to grow healthy.  I use one drop of Kent Iodine (this is marketed for saltwater tanks) per every ten gallons of water in all my freshwater tanks containing shrimp.  The snails get it by default.> What to do?   <Just as above....  and do further research on "whirling disease", especially here:  http://www.fishdisease.net/cgi-bin/search.cgi?ps=10&q=whirling+disease&t=&Submit=Search .  Again, I'm sorry I don't have better news for you.> Thanks for your help,  Claudine <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Rosy Red minnow Hi there! I saw on your site a few people were asking where to get Rosy Red minnows for their ponds and such. I work in a pet store that sells them (as feeders, I'm afraid) but I have an exceptional one here at home that I rescued tonight. It is a fully grown one, a male I believe because of his size. He is at least 3" long. I called him "The Giant Minnow" as he was much larger than all the others we have. I figured out his survival strategy, he would stay at the bottom of the tank and hide among all the other fish in there since when we dip them out for a customer we pick them from the top. <Neat!> I have been trying to catch him for 2 weeks now, he was a sneaky little dude but I got him and took him home. He's in a tank with another 'feeder' fish I decided to keep as a pet, a small comet goldfish. My problem is the Giant Minnow is now nipping at my comet and I'm thinking this might not work out. <Does sound like the Rosy is too aggressive to mix here> I don't want to take him back to the store since he will most likely get fed to someone's Oscar or turtle, and releasing him into a creek near my store is out since that is probably illegal. <Legal or not, this is a very POOR idea. Please DO NOT release any living thing to the wild> If there is someone that frequents your site that wants him for their pond or tank I will be happy to ship him to them. He seems very healthy, no external parasites and eats very well. I have been medicating the comet for a small fungus problem for 2 days now, and the minnow is in there with the medicine too, just to ensure he is well. If you do find someone who wants him, I'd appreciate it a lot. I'd even send more Rosies along if they want them since I can get them at work. Please drop me a line and let me know if I can post something on your site to try and find him a home. Thanks a lot!                                              - Michele <Thank you for your kind offer... is there no other room for this fish at your home? Perhaps simply dividing the Rosy for a while (a few days) will aid in making it more compatible. A floating plastic colander (spaghetti strainer) will likely do best... Bob Fenner>

Re: Rosy Red minnow Hi Bob! Thanks for your reply. I have fashioned a tank divider out of plastic canvas to keep the minnow and the comet separated for now. I'm going to be getting a 29 gallon tank for the comet at the end of the month and I guess I will leave the minnow in the small tank until the comet has grown to about the same size. Then I will try putting them back together in the bigger tank and see if they get along. The minnow wasn't really nipping and chasing Felix a lot, but I think he was scared of the minnow because he is so much bigger. Maybe they will get along better when they are both about the same size. Thanks a lot for your helpful advice! :-)                 - Michele <Thank you my young friend. Bob Fenner>

"Koi, Pond <Golden Shiner> Fish Breeding"    1/5/07 Hey Robert, <Rany>    This is Rany and I just began fishing recently and I was wondering one day if I could produce my own bait fish at home instead of going to the bait shop all the time. <Yes, likely so... not especially hard to do> I was looking through the web trying to find information or guides on how to produce my own golden shiners <Mmm, Notemigonus crysoleucas> and I ran into your article at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pondsubwebindex/pdfshbreeding.htm. I do not really need a pond in my back yard full of bait fish but just about enough to fill a home fish tank. <Mmm, but best to have a pond... sized volume to breed, rear... another place to keep your brood stock, grow-out...> I decided that I would email you and see if you could give me some help.    -First off, do I need a specific kind of tank or do the shiners have to be spawned in a pond. Can I use about a 30-50 gallon fish tank? <Could>    -Do I need a strong aerator or more than one? <Do require high oxygen tension>    -Another thing, when I buy my baitfish from the bait shop it comes in a bluish water. What is that chemical that makes the water blue, what does it do, do I need it to spawn my own bait fish, if so, where do I find it, and how much and often do I mix it with the water? <Likely your bait shop is adding a chemical to help prevent disease spread/death from netting, handling damage, stress... that incorporates Methylene Blue, a useful oxygen carrier... You will want to dilute this, ultimately provide very clean water>    -What do I feed the shiners and after they reproduce what do I feed the young? <Can be fed/supplied dried-prepared foods... put the common and scientific name in your computer search tool/s... with the word "culture", "husbandry"> Can I find the food at pet stores or where? Is there an actual feeding procedure for these baitfish?    -What about temperature control? Temperature for spawning? <Likely useful to elevate after spawners are conditioned... to trigger spawning>    -Most importantly, how do I get the shiners to reproduce? Then what? <Much more space needed to describe this well, fully than we have here. Do the search above... Need to have individuals of adequate size, fed/conditioned to spawning state... placed in modified environment with spawning material for egg placement... the spawners then removed... best to allow the young to hatch out, grow in place>    -Is there a way I can grow the golden shiners to a proffered size or is it random? <Growth with time, feeding, dilution of wastes through regular small water changes>    -any more information you can possible share with me would be of the greatest help I know it seems I am making the spawning procedure much more complicated than it is but I don't know anything about how it works. Anyways, I appreciate your help very much.    --Thanks    ---Rany <Notemigonus are neat animals to keep in their own right. Am sure you will enjoy this experience. Bob Fenner>

Breeding Fish, minnows  7/5/06 I have a pond with 6 blue orfe and 10 rosy red minnows - so far they all get on OK! <Good... they should> I have noticed a large number of fry but do not know which have bred. <Likely the Rosies> It would seem most likely that it would be the minnows but I understood that rosy red minnow fry are golden in colour and these are transparent blue with a black line down the back.  Can you help? Deborah <Mmm... well, could be either... as the saying goes, "only time can/will tell". Congrats! Bob Fenner>

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