Why Are My White Cloud Minnows Dying? {Top 10 Reasons Why WCM Die}

Are you struggling to keep your white cloud minnows alive? Why do they keep dying even if your water quality is great? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why white cloud minnows keep dying.

Why Are My White Cloud Minnows Dying? Ammonia spikes, illnesses like dropsy or bacterial/streptococcal infections cause white cloud minnows to die quickly. Keep the temperature at an ideal 64°F and test your water more frequently to keep out nitrites, nitrates and ammonia from stressing your white cloud minnows.

Why Do My White Cloud Minnows Keep Dying?

There are multiple reasons why a small, sensitive, cool water fish like a white cloud minnow struggles to stay alive in your tank. Here are 10 factors to consider:

  1. Water temperature is too warm
  2. Ammonia has spiked
  3. Strep infection has taken over
  4. Erratic swimming patterns
  5. Inbreeding
  6. Not enough food
  7. Aggressive tankmates
  8. Overcrowding
  9. Not enough plants
  10. More hiding spaces needed

1. Water Temperature Is Too Warm

A cool water fish like a white cloud minnow will get stressed if temperatures are too warm. They will have a hard time getting the oxygen they need in a warmer tank.

They may struggle and swim up for air, but start sinking and eventually die. The ideal temperature range is 57-72° F, but we recommend to try and keep it at a steady 64° F.

2. Ammonia Has Spiked

Sometimes our API testing kits or any other personal water testing kit doesn’t read the same as a master kit in your local fish stop.

Take a sample of your tank water to your local fish shop and have them check it out. You may show 0 ppm test readings for ammonia and nitrites, but your local fish shop may show higher levels.

Make sure your white cloud minnows are not leaving too much food behind. The leftovers will quickly convert to ammonia and these small sized fish won’t be able to handle it for long.

3. Strep Infection Has Taken Over

White cloud minnows exhibit a higher tendency to develop streptococcal infections. It’s a bacterial infection that affects them from the inside.

You will notice erratic swimming patterns as they are trying to get away from poor conditions in the water that is leading them to their demise. They will sink slowly and will surely pass away as a result.

4. Erratic Swimming Patterns

Your white cloud minnows are active fish, but hey should not be swimming erratically. You will usually find them in schools of 6-8 or more.

When a few of them dart off and swim frantically, this is a clear sign that something is wrong. Quarantine the panicked swimmers in a hospital tank if you can.

5. Inbreeding

White cloud minnows are popular, cheap and very common marine life that are bred in large numbers. Inbreeding is a concern that weakens every new batch of white cloud minnows that makes them more prone to disease.

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6. Not Enough Food

These little guys love to eat. They are active and may require up to 3 feedings a day. Manage the feedings and try to keep a schedule. Make sure they are actively consuming the food within a minute.

Continue to offer fruits or vegetables as treats 1-3 times a week, but stick with their pellets or flakes for the most part to make sure they are getting enough nutrition to stay alive.

7. Aggressive Tankmates

White cloud minnows need suitable tankmates that will allow them to school or rest without the constant fear of being chased or nipped. The following tankmates may work well for you and your white cloud minnows:

  • Guppies
  • Endler’s Livebearer
  • Odessa Barb
  • Mollies
  • Bloodfin Tetra
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Zebra Danio
  • Sunset Variatus Platy
  • Corydoras
  • Shrimp

8. Overcrowding

A 12 gallon tank can hold 6-8 white cloud minnows quite comfortably. When you decide to manage a community tank with your white cloud minnows in the mix, make sure there is plenty of room to avoid aggression and competition. The bigger the tank, the better off your white cloud minnows will be in the long run.

9. Not Enough Plants

A white cloud minnow is going to struggle in a tank with warmer water over 70° F. If you must keep this temperature on the higher end for your other marine life, make sure there are plenty of planted areas to release more oxygen into the tank. The plants will also create more hiding spaces.

10. More Hiding Spaces Needed

Without hiding spaces, your white cloud minnows will constantly be exposed and stressed as a result. Ensure that they have somewhere to go for rest and retreat when they perceive any threats.

It’s easy for such a small fish to feel fear. The decorations you set up are not only good looking, they serve a useful purpose to help keep your white cloud minnows happy and healthy.

How Long Do White Cloud Minnows Live?

If you create a tranquil ecosystem for your white cloud minnows to peacefully reside in a tank without stress from poor water quality or aggressive tankmates, you can expect them to live a lot longer.

The range is wide from 2-7 years and much shorter in stressful situations. If there is enough space at the top or middle of the tank, your white cloud minnows will enjoy schooling together and will not compete for space at the bottom level of the tank.

Stock more bottom dwellers as suitable tankmates to increase the peace and comfort to extend their lives to 5 years or longer.


Your white cloud minnows are sensitive to water changes, ammonia spikes and warmer temperatures. They develop bacterial infections quite often when they are inbred, stressed or overcrowded.

Try to feed them 2-3 times a day and make sure you have at 6-8 of them together in your tank to increase their strength in numbers to keep them comfortable.


Thank you for stopping by HelpUsFish.com for this article on white cloud minnows.  We really enjoy taking care of them in our aquariums. If you like, you can check out more of our articles on the variety of marine life we research and keep. Bye for now!

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.