Boesemani Rainbowfish – Care, Size, Diet, Tank Mates & Details!

Boesemani Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani) or Boeseman’s rainbowfish is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Melanotaeniidae family. The fish is named after the researcher Dr. Marinus Boeseman, who discovered it during the 1954 expedition.

After 26 years, in 1980, this specie was “rediscovered” and finally received a complete scientific description.

General Information

The fauna island territories of Indonesia have given us a lot of attractive aquarium fish species, among which highlights the “Boesemani Rainbowfish”.

The fish has a very peaceful character, high activity, and simple in keeping, and due to these facts, This fish is loved by many aquarium hobbyists.

Even though the species is quite new in the aquarium industry, the popularity of this fish is very high.

Boesemani Rainbowfish is a large (more than 10 cm) fish, which is distinguished by a calm attitude towards their tank mates and living plants. Their bright color and “fussiness” are immediately evident.

Boesemani Rainbowfish fry looks gray and inconspicuous, but it is worth keeping them in a spacious aquarium with suitable water parameters, feeding them with quality food, and they turn into magnificent inhabitants.

Unfortunately, due to uncontrolled fishing and destruction of natural habitats, the species was on the verge of extinction and is listed in the International Red Book.

The Indonesian government is taking steps to protect the natural populations of Boesemani rainbowfish.

Boesemani Rainbowfish Appearance

The Boesemani Rainbowfish has an elongated high oval body, compressed from the sides. In males, a well-defined “keel” is noticeable under the head.

The head is narrow, with a terminal mouth and large eyes. The usual length of the male is 10-12 cm, and the female is about 8 cm.

The dorsal fin in rainbowfish is bifurcated: its front part is small, and the back fin extends from the middle up to the tail. The anal fin is located symmetrically in the lower part. The tail is wide, two-lobed.

The coloration of Boesemani Rainbowfish is interesting: the front part of the body is blue, and the back is yellow-orange.

In the place where the colors change into each other, you can see several transverse dark stripes. Sexually mature males have such a variegated color, females are colored dark blue with a silvery sheen.

The long unpaired fins are orange with white or greenish edging. Paired pelvic and pectoral fins are transparent or with a slight bluish sheen.

The color of this rainbowfish is a good indicator of the condition of the aquarium. When conditions deteriorate, the fish become faded.

The life expectancy of Boesemani Rainbowfish in home aquariums is 6-8 years.


Boesemani Rainbowfish are endemic to the western part of the island of New Guinea (belongs to Indonesia). Here they can be found in the waters of three small lakes – Aumaru, Hain, and Aitinjo, as well as small rivers in their area.

The water in these biotopes is characterized by transparency, high hardness, and pH values.

Fish prefers to live in shallow water among dense thickets of aquatic plants. Catching fish in natural habitats is prohibited; they come to the market from special fish farms.

Boesemani Rainbowfish Aquarium Setup

To keep Boesemani Rainbowfish, an aquarium of at least 100 liters is required, ideally, it should be extended in length. This is necessary for two reasons.

Firstly, the rainbowfish are schooling fish, they need to be kept in the amount of 6-10 or more individuals.

Secondly, representatives of this species are unusually mobile, they need space for a comfortable life. For the same reason, the aquarium will need a lid to prevent the rainbowfish from accidentally jumping out.

Any soil suitable for growing live plants can be used. It is recommended that the aquarium has areas of dense thickets in which the fish can hide, as they like to do in nature.

You can keep almost any type of plant: Echinodorus, Cryptocoryne, Anubias, Cabomba, etc.

You can also use natural driftwood for scenery purposes.

Boesemani Rainbowfish loves aquariums with stable water parameters, so they should not be placed in newly filled aquariums. Good filtration is necessary (an external filter is best).

At the same time, the current should not be strong, because the rainbowfish are inhabitants of mostly stagnant bodies of water. Adequate aeration is equally important.

Boesemani Rainbowfish Care

Once a week, water changes are required in the amount of 20% of the volume of the aquarium. This will help remove toxic metabolic products from it.

Most often, water for changes is taken from the central water supply, but it is worth remembering that the water that has reached your tap can be dangerous to aquatic inhabitants.

Dissolved substances such as chlorine or heavy metals can kill fish or lower their immunity. Many people use sedimentation of water, but this only helps to get rid of chlorine, but its compounds from the water will not disappear anywhere.

Tetra AquaSafe Conditioner is the best way to instantly make the water liveable for your fish. It not only instantly binds chlorine and heavy metals, but also enriches the water with useful vitamins and microelements.

Thus, the need to settle water becomes irrelevant,

It is worth noting that Boesmani Rainbowfish prefer more alkaline and hard water.

Optimum water parameters for Boesmani Rainbowfish: T = 24-27°C, pH = 7.0-8.0, GH = 10-25.

Boesemani Rainbowfish Tank Mates

Despite their rather large size, Boesemani Rainbowfish are peace-loving fish. They go well with other types of ornamental fish, with only one caveat – the tank mates should not be very slow.

The rainbowfish are active and with their constant movement, They can drive some fish in a state of stress and not to mention the fact that timid tankmates may simply not get food.

The best tank mates for Boesemani Rainbowfish will be species that are similar in temperament: barbs ( Tiger Barb FishDenison Barb, Rosy Barb, etc.), Silver Shark, Congo tetra, ZebrafishAngelfish, Gourami fish, Mollies, Swordtails, and many others.

You can keep Boesemani Rainbowfish with bottom-dwelling fish: Loaches, Corydoras, Ancistrus, Spotted Hoplo Catfish.

You can put shrimps as well with Boesemani Rainbowfish but only large species are suitable: Amano Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp.

You can keep Boesemani Rainbowfish with African cichlids as well who are fast and like hard water.

Feeding Boesemani Rainbowfish

The natural diet of Boesemani Rainbowfish is varied: insects and their larvae, small crustaceans, and pieces of plants.

At home, it is best to feed the fish with high-quality dry food, which can provide them with the full range of nutrients and will not become a potential source of infection, unlike live and frozen food.

Rainbowfish prefer to feed in the upper and middle water so TetraMin and Tetra Phyll flakes or pellets work well.

Don’t forget to pamper your rainbows with natural treats in Tetra FreshDelica Nutritional Jelly. Artemia silt bloodworms will surely please your fish.

Reproduction and Breeding

At home, you can easily get the offspring of Boesemani Rainbowfish. This will require a couple of the most beautiful and healthy producers.

It is possible to distinguish a female from a male-only after the onset of puberty – at the age of 10 months.

Boesemani Rainbowfish Males have a taller body and are brighter in color.

It is best to separate and feed abundantly some time before spawning. For breeding, you need an aquarium of 40 liters or more, in which you should install a small filter and plant small-leaved plants.

When the female is ready for spawning (this is visible by the thickening of the abdomen), she is planted with the male in a spawning container.

Temperature can be up to 27-29 ° C which can stimulate fish. Spawning in rainbowfish is rather long: every day the female lays a small portion of eggs and sticks it to plant leaves.

The male immediately fertilizes the eggs. Upon completion of spawning, the producers should be removed as they do not show care for the offspring.

Incubation lasts 7-12 days, after which fry are born, which quickly switches to self-feeding. It is necessary to feed the fry little by little, but often, food debris is removed with a siphon.

Fry can be kept in a common aquarium when they reach a length of 3-4 cm.

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