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

Boesemani Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani), commonly known as Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, belong to the family Melanotaeniidae.

This family consists of various Rainbowfish species, famed for their striking colors, and Boesemani Rainbowfish are no exception. Their brilliant hues will not just brighten your aquarium, but also your day.

These tropical inhabitants are endemic to the shallows of the Ayamaru Lakes in Indonesia. Their availability is widespread due to captive breeding, making them a staple in pet shops worldwide.

Generally, the cost of each fish ranges from $5 to $10.

Their lifespan is quite extensive, typically 5-8 years, though a well-cared-for Boesemani Rainbowfish may reach the ripe old age of 12! Provided you are well-versed with their care requirements, these fish are easy to maintain, thus making them a perfect fit for beginners.

The world of freshwater fish-keeping is awash with color, with numerous vibrant species vying for attention.

Boesemani Rainbowfish, a vibrant and charming species, stands out in this vivid tableau, boasting a unique design that captivates aquarists worldwide.

This guide dives deep into the world of Boesemani Rainbowfish, offering insights and advice to help even the most novice aquarist to successfully cultivate a thriving shoal.

Quick Stats About Boesemani Rainbowfish

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Blue heads with red rears
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Size: Up to 4.5 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Melanotaeniidae
Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater with plants and swimming spaces
Compatibility: Peaceful community

Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish, scientifically known as Melanotaenia boesemani, are an undeniably captivating species in the aquarium world.

As if painted by an artist’s brush, these vibrant fish are renowned for their striking coloration that paints an underwater rainbow. No wonder they’ve earned their place in the hearts of aquarists across the globe.

Their appearance is a brilliant display of nature’s artistry, a fusion of contrasting hues that coalesce in an enticing visual spectacle.

The anterior half of a Boesemani Rainbowfish is usually adorned with splendid shades of blues, greens, or purples, invoking the cooler tones of the color spectrum.

In stark contrast, the posterior half basks in a riot of warm shades, including reds, oranges, or yellows, radiating a fiery allure. This dual-tone visual treat is what sets Boesemani Rainbowfish apart from their aquatic peers.

Boesemani Rainbowfish don’t alter their colors, but they possess a fascinating ability to modify their color intensity.

Often, this mirrors their health status or mood, as brighter colors may hint at readiness for mating, while dull or pale colors could suggest underlying stress or health issues.

Additionally, their environment and social interactions can also affect their color display.

Natural Habitat of Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish reside in nature’s version of paradise: the tropical freshwater bodies of the Ayamaru Lakes in Indonesia. It’s the warm, tranquil waters of these lakes that serve as the primary habitat for this colorful species.

In these lakes, Boesemani Rainbowfish favor the shallow areas, staying closer to the surface and steering clear of the deeper sections where larger predators reside.

This inclination towards the shallows means that they spend their days surrounded by the luxuriant vegetation that blankets these areas, providing them with security and an abundant supply of food.

The lake bed is typically adorned with a mix of sand, rocks, and various debris.

However, as Boesemani Rainbowfish are mid-dwelling fish that prefer to hover higher in the water, the composition of the lake bottom doesn’t greatly impact their lifestyle.

Origin and Distribution

Boesemani Rainbowfish were first discovered in the Ayamaru Lakes of Indonesia, a region known for its rich biodiversity. As such, these lakes are the natural home and exclusive geographic range of the Boesemani Rainbowfish.

Endemic to these particular lakes, Boesemani Rainbowfish thrive in their native habitat’s tropical climate.

However, due to the growth in popularity among aquarium enthusiasts worldwide, they’re extensively bred in captivity, making them readily available in many pet shops around the globe.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish offer a combination of visual appeal and a fairly substantial size for a freshwater fish. Upon reaching maturity, males can grow up to 4.5 inches long, while females typically max out at around 3 inches.

One notable aspect of this species is their surprisingly long lifespan. With proper care and a healthy environment, they can live for 5-8 years on average.

Some individuals have been known to reach the impressive age of 12 years, making them a long-term companion for dedicated aquarists.

As with all fish, their size, growth rate, and lifespan are largely dependent on the quality of care provided.

A well-maintained aquarium that closely replicates their natural habitat, coupled with a balanced diet and consistent care, is essential to ensure that your Boesemani Rainbowfish thrive and live long, healthy lives.

Boesemani Rainbowfish: Behavior and Temperament

Boesemani Rainbowfish are fascinating not just for their vibrant colors but also for their lively and peaceful temperament. Known to be active swimmers, they frequently indulge in darting and playful antics, making them a joy to observe in the home aquarium.

Despite their vivacious nature, Boesemani Rainbowfish are surprisingly peaceful, showing little to no aggression towards tank mates.

They prefer to dwell in the mid to upper levels of the aquarium, adding a splash of color to those areas. These are schooling fish, which means they like to live in groups, usually of six or more.

This community lifestyle contributes significantly to their overall well-being and vibrant color display.

Ideal Boesemani Rainbowfish Tank Setup

Now that you have a clearer understanding of their behavior and temperament, it’s time to create a suitable environment for these aquatic gems.

Remember, mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible is key to their longevity and happiness.

Tank Size

Given their active nature and preference for swimming in groups, Boesemani Rainbowfish need ample space. A 30-gallon tank serves as a suitable minimum size for a small group.

However, if you plan on keeping a larger group or adding more species, you’ll need a bigger tank.


A soft, sandy substrate is most suitable for a Boesemani Rainbowfish tank. This not only reflects their natural habitat but also prevents potential injuries, as these fish can sometimes dive towards the bottom.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Incorporate a mix of live plants, rocks, and driftwood to replicate the lush environment of their natural habitat.

Live plants, like Java Moss and Anubias, not only provide hiding spots but also contribute to the tank’s overall health by filtering the water and providing oxygen.

Water Parameters

Maintaining appropriate water conditions is crucial for the well-being of Boesemani Rainbowfish. They thrive in warm, slightly alkaline water, with temperatures between 77-82°F (25-28°C), a pH range of 7.0-8.0, and a water hardness of 9-19 dGH.

Filtration and Aeration

These fish need clean, well-oxygenated water to stay healthy. Therefore, a reliable filtration system is a must. Furthermore, an air pump can enhance oxygen levels, especially in larger tanks.


Boesemani Rainbowfish do well under moderate lighting, which not only brings out their vibrant colors but also promotes the growth of aquatic plants.

Tank Mates

As peaceful fish, Boesemani Rainbowfish can cohabit with a variety of other peaceful species. Good choices include Tetras, Guppies, Corydoras, and other Rainbowfish species.


Boesemani Rainbowfish are omnivores, enjoying a balanced diet of both plant-based and meaty foods. High-quality flake foods, along with occasional treats of live or frozen brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, can ensure they receive all necessary nutrients.

Remember, a well-cared-for Boesemani Rainbowfish can be an aquatic companion for up to a decade, providing endless enjoyment with their vibrant display of colors and active behavior.

Boesemani Rainbowfish: Tank Maintenance

Maintaining your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s tank is key to their overall health and happiness.

Proper maintenance goes beyond simple tasks; it’s about creating and sustaining a livable and enjoyable environment for your aquatic friends.

Below are crucial aspects to consider when maintaining your Boesemani Rainbowfish tank.

Regular Water Changes

Water changes are a vital part of tank maintenance. Over time, toxins can build up in the water, which can negatively impact your fish. To ensure your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s health, schedule regular water changes, preferably once a week.

During each session, aim to replace about 20-25% of the tank’s water. Make sure the new water matches the old in terms of temperature and pH. This ensures a smooth transition and prevents shocking the fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Just like any living space, an aquarium needs regular cleaning to remain hospitable. Algae can accumulate on the glass, decorations, and substrate. Use an aquarium-safe scraper or pad to gently remove algae from the tank’s walls.

Decorations and artificial plants can also become breeding grounds for algae. Every so often, take them out and clean them using hot water. Avoid soap or chemical cleaners, as residue can harm your fish.

Filter Maintenance

A tank’s filtration system is its lifeline, keeping the water clean and well-oxygenated. Over time, debris and toxins can clog the filter, decreasing its effectiveness.

Inspect your filter at least once a month. If you notice a decrease in water flow or a buildup of materials, it’s time for a clean. Remember to replace filter media as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Monitor Fish Health

Keeping an eye on your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s behavior and physical health is vital. Regularly observe your fish for any changes. Are they eating well? Are their colors vibrant? Do they swim actively around the tank?

Any unusual behavior or physical changes could indicate health issues. For instance, a sudden loss of appetite, fading colors, or lethargy warrants immediate attention. Remember, early detection and treatment are crucial to managing fish diseases.

Maintaining your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s tank isn’t just about cleanliness.

It’s about creating a safe, comfortable, and stimulating environment where your fish can thrive.

And while it might seem like a lot of work, the reward is a healthy, vibrant aquarium that brings joy to both you and your fish.

Acclimating Your Boesemani Rainbowfish

When you bring a new Boesemani Rainbowfish home, it’s crucial to acclimate them to their new surroundings gently. The process of acclimation allows your new fish to adjust to the water chemistry of your tank, reducing the risk of stress-related illnesses.

To acclimate your new Boesemani Rainbowfish, float the sealed bag they came in on the surface of your tank for about 15 minutes. This will let the water inside the bag match the temperature of your tank.

Next, slowly add small amounts of your tank water into the bag over the course of an hour, letting your new fish adjust to the pH and other water parameters of your tank.

Once the acclimation process is complete, gently net your Boesemani Rainbowfish from the bag and release them into your tank. Avoid adding water from the bag to your tank, as it may contain potential pathogens or toxins.

Boesemani Rainbowfish: Diet and Feeding

Your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s diet plays a huge role in its overall health and vitality. As omnivores, these fish thrive on a balanced diet that includes both plant-based and protein-rich foods.

Here’s a detailed guide to feeding your Boesemani Rainbowfish.

Variety is Key

Boesemani Rainbowfish benefit from a diverse diet. Mix things up to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients.

  • High-Quality Flake Food or Pellets: These should form the staple of your Rainbowfish’s diet. Choose a high-quality brand that’s packed with nutrients.

  • Live or Frozen Foods: Supplement their diet with treats like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms. These foods are a great source of protein and can be fed once or twice a week.

  • Plant Matter: While not their primary food source, Boesemani Rainbowfish will also nibble on algae and vegetables like blanched peas or spinach.

Feed in Small Amounts

Boesemani Rainbowfish should be fed small amounts of food 1-2 times a day. Only give them as much food as they can consume in 2-3 minutes to avoid overfeeding and water pollution.

Adjust Food Portions As Needed

Keep an eye on your fish and adjust food portions as necessary. If you notice leftover food or if your fish seem less active, you might be feeding too much.

In conclusion, providing a balanced diet and following proper feeding practices can greatly contribute to your Boesemani Rainbowfish’s health, coloration, and longevity.

Always remember, what goes into your fish is just as important as the environment they live in.

Tank Mates for Your Boesemani Rainbowfish

In an aquarium setting, Boesemani Rainbowfish are peaceful species that generally get along well with similarly sized and temperament fish.

However, some species may not be compatible due to different water parameter needs or behavior. Here is a guide on suitable and unsuitable tank mates for your Boesemani Rainbowfish.

Your Boesemani Rainbowfish will thrive with these companions:

  1. Tetras: Species like the Cardinal Tetra or Neon Tetra are peaceful, non-aggressive, and enjoy similar water conditions.

  2. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling fish are friendly, easy-going, and provide balance in your tank’s vertical space.

  3. Rasboras: With their similar size and non-aggressive nature, Rasboras make excellent tank mates.

  4. Dwarf Gouramis: These tranquil fish are a good match for your Rainbowfish.

  5. Angelfish: Despite their size, Angelfish are peaceful and share similar water requirements.

  6. Dwarf Cichlids: Species like Apistogrammas make great tank mates, given their peaceful nature.

  7. Livebearers: Mollies, Platies, and Guppies can share a tank comfortably with Boesemani Rainbowfish.

  8. Small to Medium Loaches: They occupy the bottom layer of the tank, adding diversity to your aquarium.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Be cautious of these species while selecting tank mates for your Rainbowfish:

  1. Large or Aggressive Cichlids: Avoid species like Oscar Fish or Jack Dempsey Fish, as their aggressive behavior can stress your Rainbowfish.

  2. Bettas: Known for their territorial nature, Bettas might not get along with your Rainbowfish.

  3. Red Tail Sharks: They are known to be fin nippers and might harass your peaceful Rainbowfish.

  4. Arowanas: These predatory fish may view your Rainbowfish as food due to their large size.

  5. Puffers: Their aggressive temperament can stress out the peaceful Boesemani Rainbowfish.

Breeding Boesemani Rainbowfish and Caring for Fry

Breeding Boesemani Rainbowfish can be an exciting venture. If you provide the right conditions, these fish are known to breed quite readily in the home aquarium.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to breeding Boesemani Rainbowfish and caring for their fry.

Preparing for Breeding

  1. Tank Setup: Set up a separate breeding tank. A 20-gallon tank should suffice. Ensure the water parameters match the main tank.

  2. Conditioning the Fish: Feed your fish high-quality foods and a variety of live and frozen foods to encourage breeding behavior.

  3. Choosing the Right Pair: It’s easier to let Boesemani Rainbowfish pair off naturally. Look for active, healthy fish showing vibrant colors.

The Breeding Process

  1. Spawning Mop: Introduce a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants where the female can deposit her eggs.

  2. Egg Laying: Once the female Rainbowfish lays her eggs, the male will fertilize them. This process can take several days.

  3. Post Spawning: Once spawning is over, remove the adults to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Caring for the Fry

  1. Egg Care: The eggs will hatch in about seven days. Keep the water clean and maintain stable water parameters.

  2. Feeding the Fry: Initially, the fry can be fed infusoria or commercially available fry food. As they grow, introduce baby brine shrimp and finely crushed flake food.

  3. Monitor the Fry: Keep an eye on the fry for any signs of disease or stress. Make sure they are growing evenly.

Breeding Boesemani Rainbowfish and watching the fry grow can be a rewarding experience.

By following these steps, you’ll be well on your way to raising a new generation of these beautiful fish.

Signs of Stress in Boesemani Rainbowfish

Like all fish, Boesemani Rainbowfish can exhibit signs of stress. As a pet owner, being able to recognize these signs is crucial for ensuring the well-being of your fish.

  1. Hiding and Less Activity: Rainbowfish are generally active swimmers. If they are hiding or displaying a decrease in activity, it could be a sign of stress.

  2. Loss of Appetite: Stress often leads to loss of appetite. If your Rainbowfish are eating less than usual, it may be time to investigate.

  3. Rapid Breathing: Fast, labored breathing is a common sign of stress in fish.

  4. Changes in Color: Stress can cause Rainbowfish to lose their vibrant colors.

If you notice these signs of stress in your Rainbowfish, it’s crucial to identify and rectify the cause, which could be anything from poor water quality to incompatible tank mates.

Health Issues and Treatments in Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish are generally hardy, but like all fish, they can fall prey to various diseases.

Here are some common health issues and their treatments:

  1. Ich: This is a common parasitic disease that causes white spots on the fish’s body. It can be treated with commercially available medications and by increasing the tank temperature slightly.

  2. Fin Rot: Often caused by poor water conditions, fin rot can be identified by the fraying or discoloration of fins. Improve water conditions and consider antibiotics if severe.

  3. Fungal Infections: These often appear as white or cottony patches on the fish. Anti-fungal medications are effective treatments.

Always quarantine new fish and plants to avoid introducing diseases into your main tank.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

A healthy aquarium is key to happy, vibrant fish. Here are a few tips to ensure your aquarium remains a safe and comfortable environment for your Boesemani Rainbowfish:

  • Maintain the water parameters and keep the tank clean. Regular water changes and filter maintenance are crucial.

  • Provide a balanced diet to ensure your fish get all the nutrients they need.

  • Avoid overcrowding in the tank, which can lead to stress and disease.

  • Make sure to observe your fish regularly to identify any signs of stress or illness early.

Should You Get a Boesemani Rainbowfish for Your Aquarium?

Boesemani Rainbowfish make wonderful additions to most aquariums due to their vibrant colors and peaceful nature. They are also hardy fish that can adapt well to various water conditions, making them suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarists.

However, they do require some specific care, including a balanced diet, a suitably sized tank, and regular water changes.

If you are willing to meet these needs and enjoy watching these colorful fish swim gracefully around your tank, then yes, a Boesemani Rainbowfish could be a perfect choice for your aquarium.

Conservation Status of Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish are currently listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This means that, as of now, they aren’t facing any immediate threat of extinction.

However, it’s crucial to be aware that their natural habitats in Papua New Guinea face ongoing threats due to deforestation and other human activities.

As responsible aquarists, it’s essential to buy from reputable sellers who source their fish responsibly to ensure the sustainable future of this remarkable species.

Availability & Pricing of Boesemani Rainbowfish

Boesemani Rainbowfish are quite popular among aquarists, thanks to their bright colors and friendly temperament. As such, they’re readily available at most pet stores and online.

Pricing can vary based on the age and size of the fish, but generally, you can expect to pay between $10-$15 per fish.

Always remember to check the health of the fish before purchase. A healthy Boesemani Rainbowfish will exhibit vibrant colors and show an active, lively behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions About Boesemani Rainbowfish

Q: How big do Boesemani get?

A: Typically, Boesemani grow to a length of about 4 to 4.5 inches.

Q: Are Boesemani Rainbowfish good for community tanks?

A: Yes, they are excellent for community tanks due to their peaceful nature. However, they’re best suited to share a tank with fish of similar size.

Q: How long do Boesemani Rainbowfish live?

A: With proper care, Boesemani Rainbowfish can live for up to 5-8 years in an aquarium setting.


Boesemani Rainbowfish are a great choice for both novice and experienced aquarists. Their striking appearance, combined with a peaceful demeanor, makes them an excellent addition to community aquariums.

They’re also relatively hardy, provided you maintain proper water conditions and provide a balanced diet.

However, remember that all fish deserve our respect and care. Proper fish-keeping involves a commitment to the well-being of the fish and responsible practices to ensure the longevity of the species.

With the right care, your Boesemani Rainbowfish can bring you many years of enjoyment as a beautiful and engaging part of your home aquarium.