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To report an AIS
sighting or to find out
more information call
1-888-WDFW-AIS

Questions or comments regarding the state's Aquatic Invasive Species and Ballast Water Management Programs may be directed to:

Allen Pleus
AIS Coordinator
(360) 902-2724
Allen.Pleus@dfw.wa.gov

 
View WAC 220-12-090
Classification - Nonnative aquatic
animal species with photos

Pimephales promelas (Fathead minnow)

Animal Fish
Family: Cyprinidae
Classification: Prohibited

Fathead Minnow
Fathead

Rosey red fathead minnow
Rosey red fathead

The fathead minnow is a stubby, heavy-bodied fish, usually olive to gray above which shades to straw color or white on the belly. However there is a red version, sometimes called “rosy reds.” Adult fathead minnows generally average 2-3 inches in length. It is a popular bait fish and its distribution has undoubtedly increased due to releases by anglers. It is also a popular feeder fish for aquarium fish and pond-raised game fish. The fathead's preferred habitat consists of ponds and slower streams, although it will tolerate a wide range of conditions. The diet of the fathead minnow includes algae, bottom detritus, and zooplankton. Fathead minnows spawn from late May to August when water temperatures are in the 65° to 80° F range. They are very prolific and will spawn several times over the summer. The males develop thick fatty pads behind the top of the head and large tubercles across the snout during breeding season. Sometimes small tubercles also occur on the top of the head. The minnow competes with native species for habitat and food.