The Weald Aquatics Blog - Boesemani Rainbow (Melanotaenia Boesemani) - another blog post from Weald Aquatics | Aquarium & Pond Fish Shop in Kent


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Boesemani Rainbow (Melanotaenia Boesemani)

Blog post written by Andy | 15 June 2011 | Category: Tropical fish

Almost everybody who keeps a fish tank is generally after the same thing....bright and colourful fish! Most people are drawn to Guppies, Platys and Tetras, not that this is a bad thing as you can get some amazing colours from all three of those fish. However there are several families of fish which are constantly overlooked as the fish we sell can look grey or brown or a deep copper colour - "Not very inspiring!" I hear you say. One family really does suffer from the classic "Ugly duckling syndrome." They are called Rainbow fish...and for good reason! Over the next few weeks I will be writing about the various types of Rainbow fish we keep in the shop and how to keep them successfully. Some of these fish given time to mature look absolutely amazing and are well worth waiting for.

I thought I would start with my favourite Rainbow fish and anyone who has seen any of the display aquariums I have ever done would have seen them! In my opinion this fish has one of the brightest adult forms, gets to a decent but manageable size and is one of the most peaceful of all the family.



The Boesemani Rainbow is found in Asia, more specifically in Irian Jaya (Indonesia) in clear, densely vegetated lakes. These fish are the typical Rainbow shape, long deep bodied fish with an arched back. They have large eyes on a narrow head with two obvious dorsal fins. These fish will reach an adult length of around 5" with the females slightly smaller at 4.5" but are usually sold much smaller, therefore younger and here lies the problem!

When these fish are young they have a lighter olive or silvery colour...nothing to write home about and the main reason they are overlooked. However once they start to grow and hit around 2.5" to 3" the magic happens!! Males will develop a bright yellow or orange back half of the body which fades to a blue or indigo front half. Where the two sections meet in the middle there are some vertical green or olive stripes and the tail and fins are clear to opaque with bright white edges. The females are similar but the colours are not as intense, often with slightly more silver and yellow on the body, but is still a wonderful looking fish! 

They are a natural shoaling fish and do much better in mixed groups of at least 4 or more. By having females in the group it not only dilutes any aggression that may surface between males but more importantly causes the males to show off and display and you get the very best colours.

They like a decently planted aquarium with plenty of swimming space to cruise around in and are usually found in the middle or near the top of the aquarium. Ideally you need at least a 30" tank but the bigger the better and having it reasonably well planted will also create some shaded areas which these fish also like. The best thing about the Boesemani Rainbow is the fact that they are not a difficult fish to keep, as long as the water is kept clean and healthy (but this is the same for all your fish!) so the good old weekly water change of between 15-20% will keep them happy and looking good. They are not fussy feeders and will accept a variety of foods. To help them colour up live or frozen food is good as well as something with vegetable matter in.

I really can't speak highly enough about these fish and given a little time to mature you will come to love them as much as I do!!