Pimephales promelas wild colored & gold

6. June 2011

This tiny, hardly 10 cm long species originates from North America. The overall coloration is similar to that of the European minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) in its eclipse plumage, thus the popular name “Fathead minnow” was chosen for the fish. However, there are important differences regarding life history between the two species.

While the European minnow is a stenoecious fish that needs cool and oxygen-rich environments, the fathead minnow can be found in a rich variety of habitats and is one of the most undemanding coldwater fishes at all. Water temperature may be between 4 and over 30°C. The fish can be found as well in cool and clear springs as in muddy and warm pools. As Pimephales promelas is widely used as bait, it can be found in most parts of North America.

This opportunism makes the fathead minnow an ideal fish for small garden ponds. The golden sport of the fish is in fact the only “goldfish” that can be kept with a good conscience in such miniature pools. Here the fathead minnow is very useful as it feeds on mosquito larvae. However, in regions with winter temperatures below 0°C the fish have to be hibernated in a cool and dark, but frost free bucket or aquarium. In large ponds that are deep enough and do not freeze to the bottom in winter the hardy fish can also hibernate in the pond.

Pimephales promelas is also a very interesting and easy to keep aquarium fish. Males develop odd stingy warts during the breeding season and become almost black. The species belongs to the rare cyprinids that care for the brood. The eggs are laid under or on roots, stones etc. and the male guards them until the fry swims free. Thus it seems very likely that the warts on the head are somehow connected with the broodcare. Maybe the males use them in a similar matter against potential eggfeeders as cattle do with their horns against a potential aggressor.

For our customers: the wild colored fish have code 870014, the golden sport code 870004 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Lexicon: Pimephales: abbreviation of the ancient Greek Pimelecephales which means “fat head”. promelas: from ancient Greek, means “black ahead”. Phoxinus: a name used for a river fish in ancient Greece; it is not identifiable nowadays anymore.

Common name: Fathead minnow

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Angaben zum Tier
Herkunft Nachzucht / bred
Verfügbare Größe in cm 4 - 6