Care Guide for Boesemani Rainbowfish – Tank Setup, Breeding, and More
One of the most striking and recognizable rainbowfish is the Boesemani rainbow. This schooling fish is prized for its unique-looking, bicolored body and is the perfect statement piece for a medium-sized community aquarium. Learn how to keep this amazing species happy, healthy and showing its best colors.
What is Boesemani Rainbowfish, and how do they differ from other rainbowfish?
Melanotaenia boesemani has the classic rainbowfish profile with its pointed snout, deep-bodied profile, and large, distinct scales. Males can reach 4 inches (10cm) in length and have an iridescent, blue front half and an orange back half. Females are less colorful, have a slimmer body, and tend to stay around 3 inches (8 cm) long. They are currently endangered in the wild, so the Boeseman’s rainbowfish sold in the aquarium hobby are all captive-bred. However, the rainbowfish you see at the pet store are usually 2-inch (5 cm) juveniles that looked washed out and barely resemble their adult counterparts. They can take up to one year to develop color, so it is worth the wait.
What’s the average lifespan of Boesemani Rainbowfish? This depends on their water temperature. Some hobbyists keep them alive for as long as 13-15 years.
Male Boesemani rainbowfish has the classic orange and blue coloration
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Boesemani Rainbows
This species can be found in West Papua’s mountain lakes and tributaries. It usually lives in shallower areas with lots of vegetation. Thus, they would appreciate a densely planted tank with areas of open space for swimming. In fact, one of their favorite pastimes is traversing back and forth along the entire length of the aquarium, so we recommend getting a fish tank at least 4 feet (1.2 m) in length once they are fully grown. Keep them in the water column’s middle and top, as they tend to stay there.
Boesemani rainbowfish are generally very resilient and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. We like to keep them at tropical temperatures between 75-82degF (24-28degC). They can be kept at higher temperatures, but they tend to live shorter lives. They are able to handle pH 6-8. However, they will also tolerate hard water with 8-20dGH. Seachem Equilibrium and Wonder Shell are good options if your tap water is soft.
How many Boesemani rainbowfish should you keep together? A schooling fish should have six or more rainbows from the same species. You should also try to get a mixture of males and females, as this will allow the boys to show their best colors to the girls.
What types of fish are compatible with Boesemani rainbows and why? Due to their high activity, we recommend keeping them in a group with other fast swimmers of similar size. These include rainbowfish, loaches and barbs as well as peaceful catfish, gouramis and danios. If they have the chance to, they will eat baby fish and cherry shrimp.
Boesemani rainbows can be active schooling fish and get along with peaceful tank mates.
What does the Boesemani Rainbowfish eat?
They aren’t picky eaters, and will eat whatever is in their tank. But they will choose meatier foods if offered the choice. For optimal health, provide a variety of dry, frozen, and live foods to ensure they get all the essential nutrients and vitamins they need. Rainbowfish are smaller than their bodies. Therefore, they need to be fed appropriately-sized foods such as VibraBites, Krill Flakes, frozen bloodworms and daphnia.
How to Breed Boesemani Rainbows
Boesemanis is one of the easiest rainbowfish to spawn. However, raising tiny fry can prove difficult. Begin by ensuring you have both males & females. Next, prepare them for breeding using heavier feedings. A spawning tank should be set up with a mildly alkaline pH, warmer temperatures, and a sponge filter to prevent the babies from getting too much. Use a DIY spawning mop to place the adults in the tank. To attract a female, the male will grow a white stripe around his head. You can remove the parents each day or the eggs after 7-10 days. This will prevent the adults predating upon the fry.
Three to five times a day, feed the newborns a diet of powdered fry food, vinegar eels, infusoria, and other miniscule foods. To get rid of any food that may have been ingested, keep the water clean by making small and frequent water changes. Gradually introduce them to baby brine shrimp to help them grow quickly and stay healthy. Boesemani rainbowfish have a longer grow-out time compared to many other fish, but they are a lot of fun to breed and will one day grow into beautiful adults.
Juveniles Boesemani rainbows are nearly unrecognizable at first because they don’t have their full adult coloration.
To get your own Boesemani rainbows, check out our list of preferred online retailers to see what they have in stock. Also, if you’re looking for a slightly smaller species that fits in a 20-gallon long or 29-gallon aquarium, read about the dwarf neon rainbowfish.