Care Guide for Boesemani Rainbowfish – Tank Setup, Breeding, And More

Care Guide for Boesemani Rainbowfish – Tank Setup, Breeding, and More

Boesemani rainbows are one of the most recognizable and striking rainbowfish. 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 are Boesemani Rainbowfishs?

Melanotaenia boesemani is a classic rainbowfish with its pointed nose, deep-bodied profile and large, distinct scales. Males reach 4 inches (10 cm) in height and have an orange front half and back half. The females are more colorful and have a shorter body. They usually measure around 3 inches (8cm) in length. They are currently endangered in the wild, so the Boeseman’s rainbowfish sold in the aquarium hobby are all captive-bred. However, rainbowfish seen at the pet shop are often 5-inch (2-inch) juveniles that look almost identical to their adult counterparts. They can take up to one year to develop color, so it is worth the wait.

What is Boesemani’s lifespan? It all depends on the water temperature they are kept at. However, some hobbyists report that they can live up to 13-15 more years.

Male Boesemani rainbowfish with the classic blue and orange coloration

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Boesemani Rainbows

This species lives in West Papua, Indonesia’s mountain lakes and tributaries. These fish would be happy to swim in a large tank with lots of vegetation. 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 middle and top of the water column to avoid them escaping.

In general, Boesemani rainbow fish are very hardy and can tolerate a broad spectrum of water parameters. We like to keep them at tropical temperatures between 75-82degF (24-28degC). While they can survive higher temperatures, their lifespans will be shorter if they are kept at a tropical temperature of 75-82degF (24-28degC). Although they are originally from mildly alkaline waters, they can easily handle pH of 6-8, and they do enjoy harder water with 8-20 dGH. Seachem Equilibrium or Wonder Shell can be added to tap water to make it more soft.

How many Boesemani rainbowfish should you keep together? A schooling fish should have six or more rainbows from the same species. Try to keep a mix of females and males. This will ensure that the males show their best colors while displaying them to the girls.

What fish can live with Boesemani rainbows? Because of their high activity level, we suggest keeping them with other fast swimmers of a comparable size. This includes loaches, barbs (quiet catfish), gouramis or danios, as well other rainbowfish and small-sized livebearers. If given the chance, they will eat cherry shrimp, baby fish, and anything else that can fit in their mouths.

Boesemani rainbows are active schooling fish that get along well with other peaceful tank mates.

What are the Boesemani rainbowfish’s favorite foods?

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 have smaller mouths than their bodies so make sure they are fed appropriate-sized food such as Vibra Bites and Krill Flakes, frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

How to Breed Boesemani Rainbows

Boesemanis are a relatively easy rainbowfish to spawn. But, their small fry can be challenging to rear. Start by making sure you have both males and females, and condition them for breeding with heavier feedings. Install a spawning system with slightly alkaline pH, higher temperature and a sponge filter so that the babies don’t get sucked up. You can use a DIY mop to spawn the adults. To attract a woman, the male will form a white stripe on their head and perform a shimmying dance. They will release small batches of eggs each day. After 7-10 days you can either remove them or take the eggs out to stop the eggs from predating the fry.

Three to five times a day, feed the newborns a diet of powdered fry food, vinegar eels, infusoria, and other miniscule foods. You can keep your water clean by doing small, frequent water changes. Eventually, graduate them to eating baby brine shrimp, which will help them to grow fast and 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.

Our list of top online retailers will help you find Boesemani roses. 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.