Belonging to the Cyprinidae family, minnows are numerous and found in freshwaters throughout the world. Most are small, measuring less than 12 inches in length. Their diet is varied among the species, but most eat what they can find on the creek or river bottoms of their habitat.
Some carnivorous minnows such as the suckermouth minnow found in Iowa eat primarily insect larvae and adult insects. Others, such as the spotted minnow from Australia, feed on insects, crustaceans and small animals found in the water.
Some species of minnows will eat a variety of plants and animals. For example, the brassy minnow found in Iowa and the freshwater minnow from China eat algae, brine shrimp, zooplankton, small crustaceans and insect larvae.
Most of the minnows kept as pets, such as the red horse minnow, European minnow, fathead minnow and white cloud mountain minnow, are omnivores. This makes them easy to feed, because they tend to eat any fish food offered.
Article Written By Lynn Anders
Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.