Introduction

The rosy red minnow (Pimephales promelas) is a popular freshwater aquarium fish which is also known fathead minnow, rosy red, rosey red, rosies, tuffy,  blackhead minnow, tuffy minnow, rosy red feeder, ruby red feeder, red top minnow, Bait Fish and Feeder Fish etc. It is distributed across North America from Chihuahua, Mexico, north to the Maritime Provinces and Great Slave Lake drainage of Canada. It has also been introduced to Atlantic and Pacific coastal drainage basins in the United States. They can tolerate low oxygen water and it occurs most commonly in small lakes, ponds and wetlands. They are also found in larger lakes and streams.

Rosy Red Minnow’s Overview

It has deep compressed body and short head that is dorsally flattened with a blunt snout, round lateral eyes and terminal mouth. Body is dark olive in color with a dusky dorsal and lateral stripe and yellow to white underbelly. It has incomplete lateral line and dorsal fin bears 8 soft rays while pectoral fin contains 14 to 17 soft rays. Male usually grows 2-3 inches (3 to 5 gm) while female grows 1-2 inches (2 to 3 gm) in length. Additionally, males have dark heads with 2 white to gold vertical bars which are situated just posterior to the head and dorsal fin. Males also have a fleshy dorsal pad and 16 nuptial tubercles on the lower jaw while female develop a fleshy ovipositor approximately a month prior to spawning. It can live in many types of water from mildly soft water to very hard water and a pH range of 7 to 8. These fish prefer a temperature of 50 – 78 °F. Rosy red minnows are opportunistic omnivores and they eat all sorts of foods and in the wild they take algae, plankton and small insects. It is commonly preyed upon by piscivorous fish such as northern pike, yellow perch, largemouth bass and walleye. It can live up to 4 years.

Scientific Name: Pimephales promelas

Common Name:  Fathead minnow, Tuffy, Rosies, Red Top Minnow, Blackhead Minnow, Bait Fish, Feeder Fish  etc

Origin:  Canada and North America, to Mexico.

Adult Size: up to 8 cm

Behavior: Peaceful

Tank Level: Middle to bottom of the tank

Minimum Tank Size:  10 gallons

Diet: Omnivore

Breeding: Egg layer

Care level: Easy

Water pH: 7.0-8.0

Water Hardness: 6-10 °d

Water Temperature: 50 – 78 °F

Water Movement: Moderate

Lighting: Moderate – normal lighting

Lifespan: 1 to 4 years

Background of Rosy Red Minnow

The Rosy Red Minnow (Pimephales promelas) belongs to the Family Cyprinidae under Order Cypriniformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is a color variation of a fat head minnow and is used primarily as a feeder fish. This color morph was discovered in several Arkansas breeding farms in 1985. It is a great addition to a small garden pond which swims in schools and creates a nice movement in the water.

Rosy Red Minnow Housing

At least 10 gallons tank is recommended to keep your rosy red minnow with plenty of rocky hiding places. The Rosy Red Minnow is great feeder fish which tolerate both poor water quality and low oxygen levels in an aquarium. It can live in many types of water from mildly soft water to very hard water and a pH range of 7 to 8. These fish prefer a temperature of 50 – 78 °F. It can be kept in groups of at least 4-6 individuals of their own kind and they show peaceful behavior towards other sub-tropical species of fish. Suitable tank mate includes White cloud Minnows, hill stream loaches, dojo loaches, Red shiners etc. It should not be kept with goldfish.

Feeding Rosy Red Minnow

Rosy red minnows are opportunistic omnivores. They eat all sorts of foods and in the wild they take algae, plankton and small insects. In captivity they take common aquarium flakes or pellets. It also eats bloodworms, Tubifex and shrimp. These minnows should be fed once or twice per day.

Rosy red minnow Breeding

It is very easy to breed in home aquarium. Rosy red minnow is a fractional spawner and female spawns multiple times per breeding season. They mature at around 6 months of age and normally do not breed until they are 1 -2 years old. Spawning occurs from May to September at water temperatures ranging from 50 – 78 °F. Females lay about 400 eggs in a flat or hard surface of a log, rock or leaves per spawn. Males maintain the nest and eggs, fanning and protecting them. The males also protect gravid females. Eggs are normally deposited at night and each fertilized egg takes 4 to 5 days to hatch.  After 2-3 days fry becomes free swimming and they can be fed with infusoria and newly hatched brine shrimp. After spawning, parents should be removed from the breeding tank to prevent eating the eggs or fry.

Sexing Rosy Red Minnow

Male usually grows 2-3 inches (3 to 5 gm) while female grows 1-2 inches (2 to 3 gm) in length. The male is dark with a black head. It has white to gold bars behind the head and under the dorsal fin. They also have large gray fleshy nuptial pads on their nape and about sixteen large tubercles are present in 3 rows on their snout with all black fins. The male fish also bears a distinctive broad white area immediately behind the expanded eponymous “fat head” and a broad pale area on the mid side while female develop a fleshy ovipositor approximately a month prior to spawning.

Rosy Red Minnow for sale & Where to buy

The Rosy Red Minnow is a very inexpensive hardy fish. It is mostly sold as feeder fish and is now available in the pet trade. Look below online vendor for more about buying rosy red minnow that I would recommend from.