Cold Water Fish

Chinese Neon Fish, Tanichthys Albonubes

  • Scientific name: Tanichthys albonubes
  • Common Name: Chinese Neon
  • Aquarium size: 40 liters
  • Temperament: Calm
  • Temperature:  Between 18º and 22º
  • pH: Between 6 and 8.5
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Length: 4 to 6 centimeters


The Chinese Neon fish, also known as the White Cloud Mountain fish, is a gregarious and peaceful fish, ideal for cold-water aquariums. Its care and procreation is simple, suitable for beginners.
Its scientific name, Tanichthys albonubes, we owe to the Chinese leader Tan Kan Fei (who gives it the name «Tan»), plus the Greek ichthus, which means fish.
Albonubes, from the Latin albus, which means white and clouds, in reference to the town where these fish come from.


The male Chinese Neon fish is distinguishable from the female fish thanks to the fact that there is a certain sexual dimorphism . The females are rounder and larger than the males, thinner and more colorful . They are between 4 and 6 centimeters in size.
The usual colors for Chinese Neon are greenish brown for the body, crossed by a longitudinal yellow line . Their fins are yellow and red, and over the years, the colors slowly fade, in both sexes.
Although the greenish color is the most common, there are varieties of the super red, albino, gold Chinese Neon fish, even a variety of long fins.

Distribution and habitat

The Neon cold water fish  is native to a very specific area of ​​China, White Cloud Montain, Kwangtung.
Although there is not much information about it, its origin seems to be restricted to the Pearl River delta (Pearl River or Zhujiang, formerly known as Canton River).
This species is considered endangered by Chinese government agencies, and for several years they were not in a natural state.
Later (in 2007) some populations were found on Hainan Island, Hainan Province.
Its natural habitat is a slow mountain stream , with shallow cold waters and dense vegetation.
On Hainan Island, Chinese Neonfish populations occupy quiet stagnant areas, close to dense vegetation.

Aquarium conditions

The Chinese Neon will be perfect, and will not have problems to reproduce in an aquarium of about 40 liters, with a relatively low temperature between 14º and 22ºC , although far from what it can bear in nature. They are cold water fish .
The pH of the water must be kept between 6 and 8.5, with a hardness between 90 and 357 ppm.
They seem not to be particularly fussy about aquarium decoration, although they do best in an aquarium with a dark substrate.
In terms of plants, it is a good idea to add floating plants that can help recreate their natural state.
Another interesting point is to add a strong filtering that moves the water, and if we add a small waterfall that generates movement, then the better.

Ideas for setting up your aquarium

  • Best complete aquariums
  • Best Small Aquarium
  • Best external filters for aquarium
  • Best aquarium heater
  • Best Aquarium Oxygenator
  • Best Aquarium LED Display
  • Better sand
  • Best substrate for aquarium
  • Best compost for plants
  • Best Aquarium Stones
  • Best aquarium logs
  • Best Aquarius Test
  • Best Ph meter 
  • Best fish food
  • Best Fish Food Dispenser


These fish are omnivores , they do not usually reject any type of food. In their natural state they usually feed on small insects, worms and crustaceans.
Suitable dry food can be used , to which it is a good idea to add frozen foods, such as worms, worms or brine shrimp.
Any type of cold water fish feed will be fine, the same as that used for Goldfish.

Behavior and compatibility

It is a calm fish that can live perfectly in a community aquarium, as long as it is with species that share similar temperature needs.
May share space with Paradise fish and other Cyprinids , such as some small barbels.
When we buy the Chinese Neon, we have to think that it is a gregarious species, the ideal is to buy at least 10 equal fish , which will result in their health and less nervousness.

Chinese Neon Compatible Fish

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Guppy
  • Little nun
  • Mosquito
  • Corydoras
  • Snail Apple
  • Rasbora Galaxy
  • Neon Tetra
  • Ax fish
  • Sumatran Barbel

Compatible fish without restrictions

  • Female betta
  • Zebra fish
  • Guppy endler
  • Ancistrus
  • Barbel Cherry
  • Harlequin
  • Molly
  • Kribensis
  • Platy

Restricted Compatible Fish

  • Ramirezi
  • Scalar
  • Killis
  • Goldfish
  • Botia Clown
  • Disk
  • Rainbow
  • Silver dollar
  • Telescope


As with most Cyprinids, the Chinese Neon fish spawn continuously and the parents do not observe any kind of care.
It may happen that if the aquarium conditions are correct (and the adults are well fed), you discover a small group of fry, without knowing how it happened.
If you want to have more control over reproduction, you can set up a smaller breeding aquarium , in which to favor the conditions.
We will mount a weaker lighting, and we will arrange the bottom so that the adults cannot access the eggs, it can be a metal mesh, some glass marbles, a carpet …
The eggs take between 48 and 60 hours to hatch. Once opened, the fry swim freely. They may require specific diets until they are able to eat adult diets.


Due to the great demand for these aquarium fish, it is detected that the species raised for sale suffer from inbreeding, which makes them genetically weak and prone to disease, even developing physical deformities.
They are fish that in good condition, have a life expectancy of 4 years.

Photos of the Chinese Neon fish

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