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Small Mudminnow tank

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#1 cmac

  • NANFA Guest
  • Michigan

Posted 27 April 2015 - 12:18 AM

Not sure if anyone would be interested in this, but I thought I would just throw this up in case anyone was curious about keeping mudminnows as a pet.


I started off about a month or so ago out enjoying the small warm spell that we had here in Michigan on a hike when I came across a small stream. While taking a break I noticed a bunch of small fish darting around. With nothing better to do, I spent the next few hours scooping up a few, and transporting them back to my house where I quickly threw together a 5 gallon tank for them.


At first I thought I had collected nothing but sticklebacks. Its turns out that I had only gathered two sticklebacks, and the rest were central mudminnows (I admit that I had to look them up). Anyway, I went back the following day and started to collect the proper substrate and plants. Got all the fish into the tank, started cycling, and started to plan on what size tank that I wanted to do for this now "full blown native" set-up.

At this point I decided to hold off a bit and see how well these guys did as cyclers in the five gallon before I started going over board with this. 


It has now been over a month and the tank is fully cycled and all the fish and plants seems to be doing very well. 


I started the tank off with all the fish - Two sticklebacks, and five mudminnows. All was well for about a week, then out of nowhere both the sticklebacks became very aggressive. From what I could tell, both were females and it did not seem to be a territorial thing. But what do I know. So I removed the sticklebacks. Infact they picked on the smallest minnow so bad thjat I thought I was going to lose him, but all of his fins are back and he is doing great, and not shy one bit.


Everything in the tank is locally collected with two small exceptions - six ghost shrimp, and as a small base substrate for the plants, some fluorite. The plan with the shrimp was that If the fish didnt pick them off, they would at least east some of the hair algae that is starting to grow nicely in the tank. This includes all of the plants that are in the tank, Which I have never done before. I cant believe how well they are all doing in such a short time. I am having trouble with identifying some of them, so if anyone knows of an online source, that would be awesome!


The tank itself is nothing special. Just a 5 gallon bowfront that I had laying around. I moded the hood for an extra fixture for the plants. No heater. No CO2. Just a small amount of carbon added every other day, and no extra nutrients. Filter I had switched back a forth between doing a small power head with biofoam, and a small hang on back with usual mech/carbon bag. In the end I nixed the powerhead because it was just too much for the minnows.


I know that most would say that The tank is too small for five fish, but Ive done nano tanks before even completely w/o filtration. As long as you are willing to chronically test and change the water, have some hardy fish (which these guys definitely are) and dont over feed. Why not? I should also mention that these guys are pretty small. Nowhere near the 3-4" that I read that some people have them. Most of them are 1"-1.5". If and when they get that big, by then I should have decieded to do a much larger native tank.


One other thing I did want to mention was feeding. I have yet to get them to eat flakes or pellets. I can sometimes trick them into eating freeze dried worms, but thats about it. They will however eat anything else that moves and are small enough to fit in their mouths. Blood/black worms, brine shrimp, scuds, tadpoles, and basically any other little critter of the bed of the creek.


These fish are awesome pets! They have a lot of personality, are gentle with one another, leave the plants alone, and unlike what Ive read in some other post, they are quite active. The only times I ever see them lounging about are when they have a full belly after feeding time. Also like many others have said, they are a ton of fun to watch hunt with a quick aggressive strike.


If anyone is is still interested in this tread, I would be more than happy to update it with pics.



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#2 kirby007

  • NANFA Guest
  • berea ky

Posted 27 April 2015 - 01:48 PM

I like it man, very nice aqua scaping as well

#3 NotCousteau

  • NANFA Guest
  • Minnesota

Posted 27 April 2015 - 03:06 PM

Nice tank. I like that creek gravel. I want to do that some day -- aquascape with all items from the local collection point.

#4 cmac

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  • Michigan

Posted 28 April 2015 - 12:24 PM

Thanks. The creek gravel has a couple of benefits. First, it kick starts the tank kinda like live rock does for coral tanks. Maybe not in the same way, but you get a ton of little critters that the fish will munch on. Second, is that the plants have really respond well to it. Im even getting plenty of mystery plants shooting up that are definitely not runners. It should be noted though that the consensus is that plants do not like multi-sized substrate. Third, It just looks so much more natural than anything that you would buy in the pet store. And fourth, its free and fun to collect.  


One thing that I have noticed though, is that gravity takes its effect pretty quick with the gravel, With the fish and the inverts help of course. All of the sandy smaller stuff works its way to the bottom, and all of the larger stone will be left at the top. 

#5 TimothyHD

  • NANFA Guest
  • Menomonee Falls, WI

Posted 19 July 2017 - 01:54 PM

What have you fed your mudminnows?  I just got one, 1"-1.5".  I think he's eating the growing snails and I'm crushing betta pellets and sprinkling them in.

#6 gerald

  • Global Moderator
  • Wake Forest, North Carolina

Posted 19 July 2017 - 04:35 PM

Timothy -- we haven't seen cmac active on here in a long time (unless he/she is using a different name now?) but mudminnows are pretty adaptable food-wise.   Most live and frozen foods (worms, shrimp, etc) are readily eaten, and once they get settled in some will learn to eat dry foods too (but not always). 

Gerald Pottern
Hangin' on the Neuse
"Taxonomy is the diaper used to organize the mess of evolution into discrete packages" - M.Sandel

#7 TimothyHD

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  • Menomonee Falls, WI

Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:26 PM

Oh thanks. I thought the post said 2017, now I see that it is 2015. Thanks Gerald, for the advice

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