The Advantages of Minnows

Minnows are a wonderful choice to offer forage for ponds that have recently been stocked with larger fish like Bass or Bluegill. Care must be taken to add them to the pond at the appropriate time to allow them to grow and spawn before being eaten. An added bonus: They help reduce the population of mosquitoes and other unwanted insects in your pond!

At Live Aquaponics, we offer several varieties of Minnows, including Fathead Minnows, Golden Shiners, and Mosquitofish.

Fathead Minnows

The Fathead Minnow – also known as Pimephales promelas – is a freshwater fish that can be found throughout most of North America. In the wild, the Fathead Minnow is a dull olive-grey with a stripe along its back and side.

Fathead Minnows 
prefer a temperature of 50° to 70° F and a pH range of 7.0 to 7.5. They are omnivore filter feeders, often sifting through dirt and silt to find food. The carnivorous portion of their diet is comprised mainly of insects, crustaceans, aquatic invertebrates as well as zooplankton. The herbivorous part of their diet consists primarily of algae and phytoplankton. They will also feed on bottom dentritus.

With the Fathead Minnow,
 the female supplies the eggs and the male cares for them until they hatch. The main spawning season of the Fathead Minnow is from June through July, and they are in good spawning condition from mid-May to early August. Because the Fathead Minnow is fairly tolerant of harsh conditions, it can be found in bodies of water that may be uninhabitable to other fish, such as waste drainage sites. The Fathead Minnow has become very popular as a baitfish and can be used in aquariums as pets.

Golden Shiners

Golden Shiners are common throughout the United States, but are most often found east of the Mississippi River. While they live in a wide array of places, they prefer the calm, clear vegetated backwaters of lakes, rivers and ponds. They have a surprising tolerance for temperatures as high as 104° F, unusually high for a North American minnow. Spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 70° F and ceases when temperatures exceed 80° F.


The Mosquitofish, also known as the Gambusia holbrooki and Eastern Topminnow, is a small, light-colored fish with semi-transparent fins. Females usually have a black stripe near their eye area, and light spots can be seen on the caudal and dorsal fins of both sexes. Due to its size, shape and reproductive habits, it can easily be mistaken for a guppy. Some Mosquitofish have a color pattern with black spots, like a Dalmation, which could result in them being misidentified as another species. Males typically reach 1.5 inches and females 2.5 inches. These fish are live bearers and pregnant females are easily spotted by their gravid spot, the darker area on their bellies where they hold their fry.

Mosquitofish are opportunistic carnivores that feed on a range of terrestrial insects from ants and flies to aquatic invertebrates like bugs, beetles, fly larvae, zooplankton, filamentous algae and fragments of fruit and other plant tissues. If needed, Mosquitofish change their diet to other food sources to survive.

Mosquitofish can tolerate water temperatures between 33°F and 104° F, but like temperatures around 80° F and water with a pH between 6.5 and 8.0. Juvenile Mosquitofish are more thermally tolerant than adults, allowing them to colonize and exploit warm patches of the environment with increasing growth, survival, and maturation rate.

To learn more, visit the Minnows page on this website. Live Aquaponics also sells a high-protein fish food perfect for raising Minnows. If you have any questions while making your selection, feel free to contact us.  We love to talk with our customers.