Pike topminnow Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: January 27, 2023

Pike topminnow are a freshwater fish that are native to the southeastern United States.

They’re a hardy fish that can live in a wide range of water conditions, which makes them a great choice for beginner fishkeepers.

Pike topminnow are also a great fish for controlling mosquito populations, as they will eat mosquito larvae.

If you’re thinking about getting pike topminnow for your aquarium, read this Fish Academia guide first. You’ll learn everything you need to know about pike topminnow care, diet, tank mates, and more.

Species overview

Pike topminnows (scientific name: Fundulus parvipinnis) are a type of freshwater fish that’s native to parts of the United States and Mexico.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation, such as ponds, marshes, and lakes. This is something that’s common to many topminnow species.

Pike topminnows are relatively small fish, only growing to be about 2-3 inches in length. However, they are very aggressive predators and have been known to attack and eat fish that are much larger than they are!

Due to their aggressive nature and small size, pike topminnows are not a good choice for most home aquariums. However, they can be a good choice for ponds or other outdoor water features.


Pike topminnow

Pike topminnows are a freshwater fish that are very easy to identify. The first thing you’ll notice about them is their very elongated and thin body shape. They get their name from this feature as they resemble pikes (a type of freshwater fish).

Pike topminnows are silver in color with a few dark stripes running down their body. These stripes are usually brown or black and run from the gill plate to the base of the tail.

The fins on this species are also quite unique. The dorsal fin is very tall and starts right behind the head. It runs almost the entire length of the fish and is slightly curved.

The anal fin is much shorter and also starts right behind the head. It’s about half the size of the dorsal fin.

The caudal fin is forked and very tall. It’s taller than the dorsal fin and anal fin combined!

The pectoral fins are also tall and thin. They start just behind the gill plate and extend to about the midpoint of the fish.

The ventral fins are small and located just behind the pectoral fins.


Pike topminnows have a lifespan of about 3 years in the wild. However, in captivity, they can live for up to 5 years with proper care.


The Pike Topminnow can grow to be a little over 2 feet in length, but they are typically only about half that size in captivity.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for Pike topminnow is at least 30 gallons. This is assuming you’re keeping them in a school of at least 3 or 4 fish (which you should).

Again, we recommend going slightly larger if you can. Every extra space will make a big difference and allow you to keep a larger school or more tank mates if you’re interested in a community tank.

Water Parameters

Pike topminnows are a member of the killifish family and are found in slow-moving waters throughout Central and South America.

They prefer warm water with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH and moderate hardness levels.

The recommended water parameters for pike topminnows are:

  • Water Temperature: 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH Levels: 7.0-8.0
  • Water Hardness: 5-19 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 3-10 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Pike topminnows are a schooling fish, so we recommend a tank size of at least 30 gallons. A larger tank is always better, but the 30 gallon mark is the minimum we would recommend.

As for decorations, these fish don’t really have any preferences. You can go with a gravel substrate, sand, or even leave the bottom of the tank bare.

Plants are a little trickier. They will nibble on most plants, so you’ll need to choose something that can withstand that (Java Fern or Hornwort are two good options).

You can also include some driftwood or rocks in their tank. Just make sure that any rocks you use are smooth so they don’t injure themselves.

Common Diseases

There are a few diseases that you should be aware of when keeping pike topminnows. Some of these diseases are more common than others, but all of them can be quite serious if left untreated.

The first disease on our list is ich. This is a very common fish disease that is caused by a parasite. It’s easily recognizable by the white spots that it causes on the body of the fish.

If you notice these spots, it’s important to start treatment immediately. Ich can spread quickly and it can be very difficult to get rid of once it takes hold.

Another disease to watch out for is Hole in the Head disease. This is another disease that is caused by poor water quality. It’s easily recognizable by the pits or holes that it causes in the head of the fish.

This disease is also quite difficult to treat, so it’s important to take measures to prevent it in the first place. The best way to do this is by maintaining a high quality of water in your tank.

Finally, we have Swimbladder disease. This is a disease that can be caused by a variety of things, but the most common cause is feeding your fish the wrong diet.

If you notice your fish having difficulty swimming, it’s important to take a look at their diet. You may need to make some changes to ensure that they’re getting the right nutrients.

These are just a few of the diseases that can affect pike topminnows. There are many others, but these are the most common.

The best way to keep your fish healthy is to maintain a high quality of water in their tank. A clean and stable environment is always the best way to prevent disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The Pike topminnow is a schooling fish, so it does best when it’s in a group. It’s a peaceful fish that’s not known to be aggressive.

The Pike topminnow is an active fish that loves to swim. It’s constantly in motion, so it needs a lot of space to move around. A 20-gallon tank is the minimum size you should get for this fish.

This fish is also a jumper, so you’ll need to make sure your tank has a tight-fitting lid.

Tank Mates

Pike topminnows are not community fish. They’re too large and too aggressive to get along with other species.

The only tank mates that work are other pike topminnows. This is because they’re schooling fish. They need to be in groups of at least six to feel comfortable.

Pike topminnows are also known to be fin nippers. So, even if you could find other fish that could hold their own, the pike topminnows would likely just harass them until they died.

It’s best to just keep these fish on their own.


The Pike topminnow is a livebearer, so the breeding process is a bit different than other fish.

To start, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 30 gallons and hold live plants. The water should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, you’ll need to add two females for every male. These fish can get aggressive when breeding, so it’s important to have a good ratio.

Once the fish are in the tank, you don’t need to do much. They’ll take care of everything else. The female will lay her eggs and the male will fertilize them.

The fry will be born about four weeks later. They’ll be able to eat the same food as the adults.


Pike topminnow care is very similar to that of other freshwater fish. They are relatively easy to care for and make a great addition to any freshwater tank.

Pike topminnow are a great choice for beginner fishkeepers and experienced aquarists alike. They are hardy fish that are sure to thrive in your tank.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide on Pike topminnow care. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thanks for reading!