Can I Stock My 5 Gallon Tank With Cardinal Tetras And White Cloud Mountain Minnows?

Cardinal tetras are a colorful and popular fish nowadays. Hence, most aquarists are showing interest in stocking this fish with different other fishes. However, to stock or not to stock, that is the question. And one of the probable questions that beginners ask is can I stock my 5-gallon tank with Cardinal tetras and white cloud mountain minnows?

Yes, you can. The 5-gallon tank is a tight fit. These fish will need to be small enough to live in this enclosed space. So, you have to do it right. Here are a few tips for stocking your 5-gallon tank with cardinal tetras and white cloud mountain minnows:

  • You will need a heater capable of producing at least 10 gallons per hour. If you can’t find one locally, then buy one online.
  • Provide plenty of hiding places in the form of rocks and driftwood pieces for these fish as they prefer them over live plants.
  • Feed them twice per day with high-quality flakes food made specifically for freshwater fish tanks.

Moreover, we are going to explore more about the living condition and compatibility of these fishes. Firstly, you need to find the living condition of both of these fishes to know can you stock a 5-gallon tank with Cardinal tetras and white cloud mountain minnows or not?

What Is The Natural Living Condition For Cardinal Tetras And White Cloud Moutain Minnows?

Cardinal tetras are usually from slow-moving waters, like ponds and swamps of the Amazon River. They prefer clear, soft water and dense vegetation to hide in. Cardinal tetras prefer a water temperature of around 24-28 degrees Celsius (75-82 degrees Fahrenheit). And they usually swim where you will find plants such as lilies and lotus floating on top of the water.

While when we talk about White Cloud Mountain Minnows, they are native to China. They tend to live in fast-moving waters, like rivers and streams with much vegetation around them. And the water temperature is usually between 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 Fahrenheit).

Moreover, these fish prefer streams and rivers with gravel or rocky bottoms with good oxygenation and slightly acidic water (pH: ~6.4585). In general, you should keep both types of fish at room temperature and away from direct sunlight.

Can I Put Both Types Of Fish In One Aquarium?

Cardinal Tetras are hardy, undemanding species of fish that make good community residents in tanks with peaceful tank mates. Minnows are also small and non-aggressive fish easy to care for in most conditions.

Besides this, cardinal tetras and white cloud mountain minnows are both peaceful and compatible. So both types of fish can coexist peacefully together in the wild. But it’s unclear whether or not you can replicate this inside an aquarium environment.

The cardinal tetras’ long, flowing fins can be hazardous to the white cloud mountain minnows. In addition, the cardinal tetra is less likely to eat the white cloud mountain minnow than most other types of fish out there because it has a vegetarian diet that consists mainly of algae and plants.

However, if you worry about the white cloud mountain minnows becoming food for the cardinal tetras, you should only include one of these types of fish in your aquarium.

Can I Stock My 5 Gallon Tank With Cardinal Tetras And White Cloud Moutain Minnows?

Stocking both these fishes in the same tank is a tricky task. Usually, when you keep more than two species of fish in the same place, it is best to use a bigger tank such as a 20 gallon so that you can add other fishes to the mix.

A cardinal tetra is small and pretty docile. So it will not bother your White Cloud Mountain Minnows much. However, they require more space than usual because of their large size (about one inch in length). But if you would like to keep both these fishes together in your five-gallon aquarium, you should use another filter for extra filtration.

I cannot assure you that your fish will live long when you stock both cardinal tetras and white cloud mountain minnows in the same tank. However, I will advise you to keep them together if possible and provide multiple filtration systems to ensure their well-being.

Besides this, it is very crucial to look at the compatibility of your cardinal tetra and White Cloud Mountain Minnows with each other. For example, Cardinal Tetras can grow up to two inches in length, so they may outgrow their tank size faster than your White Cloud Mountain Minnows, who only need a three-inch tank.

How To Stock My 5 Gallon Tank With Cardinal Tetras And White Cloud Moutain Minnows?

If you want a successful combination, ensure at least 20 gallons of water volume in the tank. But if you want to stock Cardinal tetras and white cloud minnows in a smaller tank, that is fine too.

There are a few things to consider based on how many types of fish you want in your five-gallon tank:

Use Of Heater

If you want to keep tropical fish in your tank, it is important to have a heater. They are not very expensive, and they will ensure the water stays warm even on colder days or at night while you sleep. You can use the heater in conjunction with an aquarium thermometer.

Use Of Filter

Another important aspect of stocking your fish tank is using a filter. This will ensure the water stays clean and healthy for them to live in. You don’t want any toxic ammonia or nitrites building up, so it’s necessary to have this equipment on hand before you buy any fish.

Live Plants

If you want some live plants in the tank, it is good to have some driftwood. This will provide them with places to hide and give your fish more things to do when they are not swimming around or eating.

Use Of Light

You also need light for the live plants if you want them to grow and flourish. So make sure there is some way to provide them with light. For example, you can get a special fluorescent bulb and put it on the top of the tank if you want. But there are also some cheaper options like leaving your room lights on overnight or using an inexpensive lamp for this purpose only.

Live Food

Another thing to consider is feeding your fish. If you want them healthy and happy, provide them with the right food at the right time. It will be crucial if they are egg layers or small fry (baby) that need special food available for them all of the time to survive. You can get a pack of flake food which you can sprinkle into the water as a staple. But it is also good to give them bloodworms or brine shrimp now and then too.

How Many Cardinal Tetras And White Cloud Moutain Minnows Should I Stock In 5 Gallon Tank?

Check their adult size to find out how many cardinals or white cloud mountain minnows you should keep. This is easy to do with the fish, so no need for measuring cups.

It is best to keep about a third of a square inch per gallon. For example, in a five-gallon tank, you need about seven cardinals or white cloud mountain minnows to create adequate filtration and oxygenation.

So, you must stock two cardinal tetras and five white cloud mountain minnows in a five-gallon tank. As cardinal tetras might eat white cloud mountain minnows, it is crucial to managing their numbers well.

Along with this, it is best to keep both the fishes of the same size. As larger fish are more likely to bully the small ones, keeping, same-sized fish will help.

Some FAQs

What Are The Best Tankmates For Cardinal Tetras?

Cardinal tetras can live in a general community tank with other peaceful species of similar size. Some of such fishes are zebra danios, rummy nose tetras, neon tetras, and cherry barbs.

What Are The Best Tankmates For White Cloud Mountain Minnows?

White cloud mountain minnows do well when they live with their own kind or smaller fish that will not nip at them. They also get along fine with other species that enjoy the same water conditions and environments, such as hatchet fish, pencil fish, bettas, and gouramis.

What Is A Good Tank Size For Cardinal Tetras And White Clouds?

A 20-gallon tank is fine for both fishes as long as you can provide them with adequate space. Remember that cardinal tetra can grow up to three inches in length while white cloud mountain minnows can grow up to two inches in length.

When To Start Feeding Cardinal Tetras And White Clouds?

It would be best to start feeding when the fishes are half an inch in size or larger. Then, you can feed them daily with high-quality flake food and supplement their diet every other day with live foods such as brine shrimp.


In conclusion, it is best to use a bigger tank for both fishes together rather than keeping them in the same five-gallon aquarium. It will save you the money and time you need to maintain two tanks instead of one. In addition, multiple filtration systems are a must if you decide to keep these fishes together because they require a high level of water quality.

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