Minimum Tank Size: 29 Gallons (110 Litres)
Care Level: Moderately hard
Water Conditions: 7.0-8.0ph (Moderately Hard to Very Hard)
Temperature: 80-86°F (26-30°C)
Maximum Size: 4 inches (10cm)
The Boeseman’s Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani), also known as Boesemani Rainbowfish, is a small tropical fish known for its stunning coloration. It has a very limited range in Indonesia, and is only found in three lakes and their surrounding tributaries. It is believed that the aquarium trade has contributed to the decline of these fish in the wild, and they are currently listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
In the wild they primarily inhabit the shallow waters of lakes with dense vegetation. They can also be found in the streams and rivers that feed into the lakes, and the vast differences in water chemistry helps to contribute to this species ability to thrive in many different water types in the home aquarium.
Boesemani rainbowfish stay relatively small in the home aquarium, and a well cared male will usually top out at around 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Females are somewhat smaller, and will grow to just slightly over 3 inches (8 cm) in length. Most will only live between five to eight years in the home aquarium, though there are reports of some living as long as 12 years.
Boeseman’s rainbowfish are an active and peaceful fish, and should be kept in an aquarium where they are provided with enough room to swim. The minimum size aquarium for them is 29 gallons (110 litres) and they only truly come into their own when kept in spacious aquariums with large numbers of other rainbows.
They tend to be very shy when kept on their own, and need to be kept in groups of at least six, though eight is really a better number to aim for. You will also notice an improvement in the male’s colors when kept in larger groups – which in of itself is an excellent reason to establish a large shoal of these fish.
It is also highly recommended that any tank containing Boesmani rainbowfish should be heavily planted with an open area for swimming. A heavily planted tank not only brings out their impressive colors even more, but will closely mimic their natural habitat which may reduce their levels of stress.
Boesemani rainbows are not an overly messy fish, but will benefit from the pristine water that a high quality filter provides. It is usually good practice to slightly over filter their aquariums, and a HOB (hang on back) filter usually makes the best choice for a Boesemani rainbowfish tank.
I would strongly recommend choosing an Aquaclear Power Filter for a boesemani rainbowfish tank. This filter combines excellent filtration with a durable design, and it will keep your tank sparkling clear for years to come. You can also read the Aquarium Tidings Aquaclear Filter Review here.
Boeseman’s rainbowfish are omnivores in the wild and are known to eat algae, small crustaceans and aquatic insects. This diet should be recreated as closely as possible in the home aquarium, and this can be done though feeding them a high quality flake food, along with frozen foods and live foods. I personally recommend Hikari Micro Wafers, which is one of the best foods on the market.
Since most people purchase this fish for its legendary colors, you may want to consider feeding them a regular diet of frozen or live foods. This has been shown to improve the colors of the males, and also results in happier, healthier fish.
When choosing live or frozen foods, there are numerous choices that will be hungrily accepted by Boesemani rainbows. Some of the best lives foods are daphnia, mosquito larvae (illegal to culture in many areas), blackworms, bloodworms and brine shrimp. Their tastes in frozen foods are similar, and they can be feed frozen bloodworms, blackworms, dapnia and brine shrimp.
Breeding Boesemani rainbows is relatively easy, especially given the fact they tend to not eat their fry. Like many other egg scatterers, the males and females should be moved into separate tanks while they are conditioned prior to breeding.
The males should be easy to identify, and will normally exhibit much brighter coloration than the females, and will also be much larger. The females will be smaller, with a more dull coloration and will generally have a narrower body – though they will plump up with eggs.
Once the males and females have been removed to separate tanks, they should be fed a steady diet of live and frozen foods for at least a week. At this point, choose the best fish from each tank, and place them in a fully cycled breeding tank. The water in the tank should be hard water with a pH of at least 7. It should also be heavily planted with densely growing plants, like Water Sprite or Java Moss.
The male and female will spend the next few days spawning frantically, and this occur on and off for several days. Once the eggs have been deposited in the aquarium, it’s usually best to remove the parents, since it tends to be easier to raise fry on their own. Plus, while the parents generally ignore the fry, they will sometimes choose to eat them.
The fry will hatch in a bit over one week (usually 7-10 days), and they need to feed infusoria when they are freshly hatched. They can then be moved to live foods like baby brine shrimp, or any commercial foods that won’t immediately sink.