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Rainbow Fish Facts – Boesmani and Other Rainbowfish

Varieties of Rainbowfish

There are over 70 varieties of Rainbowfish. These are the most popular for freshwater aquarists.

  • Turqouis rainbowfish
  • Boesmani Rainbow
  • Praecox Rainbow
  • Banded Rainbow
  • Threadfin Rainbow
  • Celebes Rainbow
  • Eastern Rainbowfish
  • Red Irian Rainbow
  • Axelrodi Rainbow
  • Madagascan Rainbow
  • Pseudomugil Rainbow
  • Desert Rainbowfish
  • Lake Kutubu Rainbow
  • Lake Wanam Rainbowfish
  • Neon Rainbowfish
  • Red Rainbow
  • Parkinson's Rainbow
  • Sepik Rainbowfish
  • Millennium Rainbow

Why Rainbowfish Should Be Your First Fish!

There are a few facts about Rainbowfish that make them perfect for the beginner setting up a tank for the first time. First, rainbowfish are not too particular about tank temperature, pH level or food source. Next, they are extremely hardy fish and can withstand high levels of ammonia and nitrite - something that all new tank encounter as their bacteria colonies develop. Last, they are a highly active community fish with bright, vibrant colors. They won't pick fights with other fish (the exception being male rainbowfish fighting among themselves for dominance in the school. the only drawback is they like to have a lot of room o move about. A 55 gallon tank is the suggested minimum size for a school of 6 to 12 individuals.

Banded Rainbow Fish

Banded Rainbow Fish

Rainbowfish Temperature and Tank Mates

There are several varieties of rainbowfish that can be kept in freshwater community aquariums. They are naturally found in Australia and New Guinea so the temperature that works best for them is in the tropical range from 72-82 F. There are a few varieties that perform better near the high end of the range and others that like the cooler temperatures. Because of this rather large range in temperatures the rainbow fish family is considered one of the easiest for beginners to keep. Some more facts - Rainbow fish do well with any number of tropical fish that live in the same temperature range. The most common are tetras, danios, swordtails, cory cats, Plecostomus, mollies and Gouramis and love heavily planted tanks.

Here's Why You Want These Fish

Rainbowfish Diet

Rainbowfish are omnivores. They'll readily eat any flake or pellet food that you use, although they prefer bloodworms and brine shrimp. The most important thing is to vary their diet. A balanced diet will result in brighter, healthier fish. Remember - never feed your fish more than they will eat in a 5 minute period. This will result in excess decaying organic matter in the tank, cloudy water and increased likelihood of disease.

Large Rainbows (5-6 in)Medium Rainbows (3-4 in)Small Rainbows (1-2 in)

Madagascar Rainbow

Lake Kubutu

Pseudomugil Rainbow (Blue Eyes)


Boesmani Rainbowfish

Praecox Rainbow

Red Rainbow

Axelrodi Rainbow

Neon Rainbow

Millenium Rainbowfish

Sepic Rainbowfish


Parkinson's Rainbowfish

Lake Wanam Rainbow


Ideal Tank Conditions for a Freshwater Rainbow Fish

Rainbowfish love large open areas to swim and do best in a group of 6 or more. This means your set-up should consist of at least a 55 gallon tank, substrate than includes both small and large rocks, ample vegetation to hide in and behind, a carbon filtration system and a heater. You can get everything for about $200 at Wal-Mart.

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A mixed community of rainbowfish will thrive at about 77 degrees. Water changes should be done at about 30% of the tank every week. Rainbows don't need calm water and actually enjoy a nice current to swim into on occasion. Lighting should be adequate to keep plants growing but isn't otherwise important. If you have an unplanted tank, the standard fluorescents that come with the tank will be fine. Water pH should be kept between 6.5 and 7.5 but doesn't have to remain constant as long as it doesn't change by more than 0.2 in a 24 hour period.

Disease Control

Rainbowfish are extremely hardy and don' succumb to diseases very often. Of course, if tank conditions are poor, they become susceptible jus like any other fish. You will usually notice symptoms in your other fish before you see them in a rainbowfish. If you do have a tank wide disease problem, rainbows are hardy enough to handle even the most aggressive treatment regimens.

The one time that you may see a disease manifest in a rainbowish first is if that fish has been injured. In cases like this, remove the fish to a quarantine tank and treat it there. If you recognize and treat the issue immediately, there is a good chance your rainbow will survive and eventually regain its full health.

Quick Facts

To enhance the color of the rainbow fish in your tank you should provide lots of hiding places. The more secure a rainbow fish feels the more colorful it will become. The males of the species are brighter than the females so if you have a rather pale rainbow fish it is probably due more to its sex than the environment.

What Temperature Do I Keep My Aquarium for Freshwater Rainbowfish to Breed Them?

If you are interested in breeding rainbowfish in a home aquarium you’ll have far better success if you raise the temperature to 82 degrees for breeding. This higher temperature mimics the summer temperatures in their natural habitat and coaxes them into spawning. Doing a large water change will also simulate the monsoon season and changing water conditions will kick the fish into breeding mode. In addition to the higher temperature and water changes, you will need a tank thick with vegetation near the bottom (fluffy leaved plants like java fern windelov are especially attractive to spawning fish). This will allow the eggs to fall to the substrate and be hidden from the fish in the tank. Once the fry have hatched, move them to a breeding sanctuary because adult fish in the tank will eagerly gobble them up if they see them.

Extreme Temperature Ranges

If the temperatures drop below the 68 degree mark in the tank for any reason the rainbow fish will become sluggish and spend most of its time in hiding. The lower the temperature gets the further into this hibernation mode the fish will go. Rainbow fish have been known to survive temperatures as low as 41 F but this is far from the ideal condition.

On the other end of the spectrum, the rainbow fish can live in waters up to 95 F. This is not an optimum condition, and if the temperature does rise this high, the fish will be seen swimming up and down in the tank very quickly. They will gulp air to try to cool themselves down and will be extremely active, moving until they tire themselves out. Of course this is not the best temperature for rainbow fish nor for most any other aquarium fish and most others will have already succumb to the high temperature.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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