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How to Raise Tuffy Minnows

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Tank

  • Rocks

  • Filter

  • Aerator

  • Fish food

Tuffy Minnows are tiny fish that grow up to 3 inches long and are silver in color. They are also called fathead or blackhead minnows. They get their names from the fact that the heads of the males become puffy and black when they are ready to spawn. Minnows are commonly used as bait in fishing or as feed for pets. If you use a large amount of tuffy minnows, you may want to raise your own.

Raising Tuffy Minnows

Select a tank. If you are planning to raise minnows to stock a breeding tank, you might need a large stock tank that will go outside. If you are planning on raising minnows for personal fishing use or as a hobby, you may prefer a typical house aquarium.

Set up the tank. Fill it with water and let it sit for 24 hours. This will allow the water to release gas and normalize with the atmospheric temperature. Add several rocks of varying sizes to the tank. This is where the females can lay their eggs. You can also add aquatic plants along with the rocks. Attach and set up an aerator and a filter to the tank. The filter helps keep the tank clean, and the aerator distributes oxygen into the water.

Add your tuffy minnows to the tank. Allow the minnows to stay in a container of their original water at first. Slowly add water for your tank to let the minnows get used to the new water and temperature. Simply dumping them in the tank will cause stress to the minnows, and some may not survive.

Feed your minnows twice daily. They can eat fish food flakes, oatmeal or brine shrimp.

Regulate the temperature. Tuffy minnows are very hardy fish and can survive and even breed in temperatures between 40 and 90 degrees Farenheit. Ideal temperature for breeding is 73 to 75 degrees F, which you can regulate with a tank thermometer.

Provide an environment suitable for breeding. The rocks you placed in the tank will provide crevices for the fish to lay their eggs. You can also place small terra cotta pots in the tank to provide a place where the fish will be comfortable breeding.

Maintain the tank. An outdoor stock tank will undergo water changes naturally from evaporation and rain. For an indoor aquarium, remove 10 percent of the water each week and add fresh water. Clean the filter every one to two months. You may also want to get a bottom feeder fish for the tank to eat excess algae.


  • You can purchase minnows from a fish store or pet shop, or, if you live near a pond or creek, you can try to catch your own.