Though often kept as food for an owner’s carnivorous fish, minnows are an inexpensive and appealing option as a pet in their own right.The minnow, which appears in varieties such as the rosy red and the fathead, is a suitable pet for those who want to keep fish but don’t have a huge amount of room, as well as for those who want to try breeding fish for the first time.
How to Keep
Keep minnows in an outdoor pond or in a tank, filled with plenty of water -- at least a gallon for every inch of adult fish in the tank — at 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; avoid using tap water as it may contain chlorine, which can be harmful. If using a tank, change the water regularly, and keep the aquarium positioned away from direct sunlight if possible. Pond water should be circulated, with a pump or other means, to ensure it is aerated. Schooling minnows are healthy fish, and owners should keep at least three of these fish together, with two females per male in the group.
As feed fish, minnows are obviously a bad choice for sharing a tank with larger, carnivorous fish, since the minnows will be eaten. Instead, place minnows alone in their own tank, or mix them with non-threatening species such as goldfish, hillstream loaches or dojo loaches. Before placing minnows with other species, check the minnows for parasites or diseases that they could pass on, which may result from living in cramped conditions in the fish store. Minnows may breed in the aquarium, and the males of the species can become protective of their eggs, leading to aggression at times.
Minnows are omnivorous, so their diet can include flake fish food and pellets alongside greens and live insect larvae. Minnows require feeding twice each day, in whatever amount the fish can eat in a couple of minutes.
Internal parasites, borne out of the living conditions minnows are sometimes kept in while at fish stores, are often found in newly purchased minnows. Once you’ve transferred your new minnows to a pond or aquarium, check them regularly for positive signs of health, which include active swimming in schools, clear eyes and skin, and steady movements of the gills. Warning signs of ill minnow health include inflamed skin or gills, individual isolation from the minnow school, and fish tending to lie at the bottom of the tank. If you observe any of these symptoms, consult an aquatics specialist for help, as they could indicate various types of disease.