Care Guide for Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish – Housing, Food, and Breeding
Neon dwarf rainbowfish is an attractive, almond-shaped fish that has an iridescent sheen under the sunlight. This robust species is very active and pairs well with many calm and semi-aggressive aquarium mates. Learn how to care and maintain this beginner-friendly rainbowfish.
What are Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish?
Melanotaenia praecox is a 3-inch (8 cm) rainbowfish found in streams and tributaries of the New Guinea rainforest. Males have shiny blue bodies with red-orange fins. Females have silvery bodies with yellow fins. The Melanotaenia rainbowfish is one of the most affordable species. They can be purchased for between $5 and $7.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Neon Rainbowfish
Since they are a fast-swimming fish, we recommend keeping them in a longer aquarium, such as a 20-gallon long or 29-gallon tank at the minimum. Dwarf neon rainbows come from tropical habitats and do well in 74-80degF (23-27degC). Although they can handle a wide range in pH and GH, they prefer harder water. Our tap water is quite soft so we use crushed coral to buffer pH and add mineral supplements (e.g. Wonder Shell or Seachem Equilibrium). This will increase the GH.
Neon rainbows look amazing in planted aquariums, and taller plants can help block line of sight when the males are tussling with each other. The foliage should not become too dense as rainbowfish prefer to swim in open spaces.
How should praecox rainbows be kept together? Rainbowfish require at least 6 of the same species. Males are brighter than females. However, you should keep at most 1-2 females per male to reduce their quarreling. Males are more expressive and have a shiny stripe on the top of their heads when they display their best colors in front females.
What fish can live with dwarf rainbowfish? With their deeper-bodied profile and quick speed, they can go well with many similar-sized tank mates, ranging from peaceful to semi-aggressive temperaments. They have been kept with angelfish and pearl gouramis as well as tetras, corydoras catsfish and smaller cichlids. While they will make a meal out of your cherry shrimp, they seem to leave larger amano shrimp and filter shrimp alone.
What do Praecox Rainbowfish Eat?
These omnivorous fish can be very easy to keep and will happily eat any food you put in their tanks. We prefer to give them smaller foods that sink or float, such as frozen cyclops or brine shrimps. They love bloodworms, flakes and fish food. It is important to offer a wide variety of food to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need.
How to Breed Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Rainbowfish are egg scatterers that do not show any kind of parental care. Rainbowfish can spawn daily if they are fed properly and have fish of both genders. But, the tiny 1mm eggs can produce difficult-to-reach fry. A floating spawning mop is placed in the tank. This allows the adults to lay eggs in the yarn strands. Once the eggs have been laid for a few days fill a catchcup with water from a breeding tank. Then hang the cup on the tank’s interior to keep it warm. The spawning mop should be full of eggs. To maintain the water’s oxygen, add an air stone. Breeders may add a few drops or even a few cherryshrimp to the eggs to stop fungal growth.
The eggs should be ready to hatch within a week. Fry must be fed with very small amounts of food, such as vinegar eels and microworms. To maintain high water quality, frequent water changes are essential. The rainbowfish fry should become large enough to be able to eat baby brine shrimp after 2 weeks. This is the best way to ensure that the babies grow quickly and are healthy.
We love the neon dwarf rainbow for its iridescent scales, energetic behavior, and compact size as one of the smallest Melanotaenia rainbowfish. If your local fish store doesn’t carry them, check out our list of preferred vendors to buy them online. You can also read our care manual for the forktail rainbowfish, which is a more compact species.