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Robyn's Bluntnose Minnow Page

Last Updated: 2/19/14

I first got some of these fish in the Fall of 1999 and do not know much about them. All of the following information comes from books and internet sources. If you have any information on the bluntnose minnow, please send it to me. In the cases where I state "unknown," it means that I do not know but others may know. Also, let me know if anything is incorrect.

Quick Information
Description
Setup and Water Preferences
Sexing
Breeding
My Bluntnose Minnows
Links and Pictures

For information on my bluntnose minnows' setup, visit my 153 gallon pond page.

Quick Information

Common names: Bluntnose minnow, blue-nosed chub, fathead chub, bullhead minnow
Scientific/Latin names: Pimephales notatus
Maximum length: 1.6 to 4.4 inches
Colors: Natural with black horizontal stripe
Temperature preference: 33 to 70's degrees F
pH preference: Unknown, probably near pH 7
Hardness preference: Unknown, probably low to medium
Salinity preference: Unknown, probably low
Compatibility: Good
Life span: Unknown
Ease of keeping: Easy
Ease of breeding: Unknown

Description

The bluntnose minnow, Pimephales notatus is a cousin to the fathead minnow so that they look similar with a few differences. The bluntnose minnow has an underslung mouth. It rests on the bottom with its pectoral fins for support. A wide black stripe runs horizontally along the lateral line from the mouth to the beginning of the caudal fin. Its fin and body size are similar to that of the fathead minnow. Its body color is natural brownish, grayish. Some call it olive-green on top and silvery on bottom. They have a black spot at the base of their caudal fins and a black spot in the dorsal fin, near the front. In some areas, they can be quite common. Some people believe them to be the most common freshwater fish in the eastern USA. Bluntnose minnows grow from 2 to 4 inches in length. They are native to the central USA. Sometimes, bluntnose minnows are used as bait.

Setup and Water Preferences

Bluntnose minnows live in streams and rivers but sometimes seek out quiet waters. They like clear water with a rocky bottom. Bluntnose minnows do not like turbidity. They eat algae, insect larvae, diatoms, small crustaceans, and sometimes fish eggs and fry. Like most minnows, they are a schooling species.

Someone (no name) sent me this e-mail on 6/26/07. I only altered a little bit of the grammar (could not help myself!):
"I found some information on your bluntnose minnow page that I disagree with. The biggest is probably the statement that they dislike turbulent water. These guys are found in pretty much every fast flowing stream in the state . I just netted 8 off the edge of a stream that was flowing so fast we had trouble standing in water that was only half way to our knees. There was also white water and sprays around the rocks and swirling areas throughout. Currently, they are all crowded right under a Penguin 330 filter. I would say they can not only withstand turbulent water but probably prefer it. The more current you can provide them the better. A good schooling fish for a fairly large river tank. Also, I'd lean more toward them being a medium to hard water fish considering our water is frequently off the charts for hardness and pH. The stream I took them out of tested beyond 8.0 pH with 18dkh. They are currently in a tank of well water with similar test results and most water throughout the state will test fairly close to or even harder than that. I've kept these minnows several times in the past including 3 of them for several years in a 29g with pH 8.4, 20dkh, 82 degrees F, and 12x turnover. My current native tank is unheated maintaining a temperature of 76-78 degrees F and over 10x turnover. I've had no losses despite never spending much time acclimating them. I pretty much just dumped these last 8 directly into the tank, and they are doing great. I've found them to be very hardy but with a rather short lifespan at tropical temperatures. Mine have only lived around 2-3 years when kept at 80-84 degrees F and reached an average size of 3" within the first year. They seem to do a bit better at temperatures below 78 degrees F and will then live closer to 5 years in an aquarium."

Sexing

Spawning males develop a black head with tubercles in three rows. Their body turns bluish or nearly black (the sources do not agree with each other). Like fathead minnows, spawning males develop a spongy pad on top of their heads. Males are larger than females. Egg-laden females are fatter than males.

Breeding

Bluntnose minnows spawn from spring to fall in a manner similar to fathead minnows (see here for information on fatheads). Sticky eggs are laid underneath of hard surfaces like rocks and logs. The male guards the nest, fanning it, defending it, and removing fungused eggs. Again, this is just like the fathead minnow. The female can lay 40 to 400 eggs at a time. The eggs hatch in about eight to twelve days. Females begin breeding at about a year of age while males peak at two years of age. Most likely, bluntnose minnows and fathead minnows are similar enough that one can use the many pages of information on fathead minnows for bluntnose minnows with minor changes. See my fathead minnow page for more information.

My Bluntnose Minnows

I added 10 bluntnose minnows to my 153 gallon pond on 10/27/99. They were small, maybe an inch in size. Except for the underslung mouth and generally a more slender body, they looked like young fathead minnows. One was removed after being found dead on 11/25/99. Another was removed dead on 12/12/99. On 8/26/00, two mature females were removed (killed during spawning?). They must be sensitive fish. Their bodies showed no signs of injury, predation, disease, fungus, etc. By the time I cleaned out the pond on 3/26/01, they all appeared to be gone although it may be possible that one or two of the fish were bluntnose minnows. Well, I found a dead, 3 inch, male bluntnose minnow floating on the surface on 6/26/01 so there was at least that one left! He may have been the last. It looked like someone beat him up. I cleaned out the pond on 3/29/02. There were definitely no live bluntnose minnows (just live Southern redbelly dace) but of the two dead fish I found, one may have been a bluntnose minnow. Anyway, I have no more now for sure! I cleaned the pond again on 4/2/03, and there were three live fish (one Southern redbelly dace and two red shiners) which verified that no bluntnoses were left.

Links and Pictures

Bluntnose minnow - picture

Bluntnose minnow - picture (note that this site may no longer work.)

Bluntnose minnow - drawing and a little information

Bluntnose minnow - information

North American Native Fishes Association

Native Fish Conservancy - I am a member since 10/99

North American Freshwater Fishes

The Native Fish Web Ring


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