The Fascinating Boeseman’s Rainbowfish: A Guide to Keeping and Breeding

Published on:

** This post contains affiliate links and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

The Fascinating Boeseman’s Rainbowfish: A Guide to Keeping and Breeding takes you on a journey into the captivating world of these colorful aquarium fish.

In this article, we will explore their origins, appearance, behavior, care, and breeding.

Learn how to create the perfect tank environment, choose suitable tank mates, and provide the ideal diet for these stunning fish.

Whether you are an experienced fishkeeper or a beginner, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is definitely a fish to consider adding to your collection.

Get ready to dive into the vibrant world of these mesmerizing creatures!

Quick Facts

AppearanceBrilliant array of colors: blue, green, yellow, orange. Males more vibrant than females, with deeper hues on the back transitioning to bright colors towards the ventral side. Females display a silvery hue.
LifespanUp to 5 years or more with proper care.
Size4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) in length.
Behavior & TemperamentCalm and peaceful, suitable for community tanks. Non-aggressive, thrive in small groups (at least six individuals). Active in the middle and upper levels of the aquarium.
Tank RequirementsTank Size: Minimum 30 gallons (113 liters).
Water Parameters: Temperature 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C), pH Level 7.0 to 7.5, Water Hardness 8 to 12 dGH.
DietOmnivores. High-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and vegetable matter.
Tank MatesCompatible with peaceful fish like Neon Tetras, Guppies, Swordtails, Corydoras Catfish, Rasboras, Dwarf Gouramis, Cherry Barbs, Zebra Danios, Harlequin Rasboras, Honey Gouramis.
BreedingSeparate breeding tank with fine-leaved plants or spawning mops.


Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, scientifically known as Melanotaenia boesemani, is a stunning and vibrant species.

With its striking colors and peaceful nature, it is a popular choice for aquarium owners.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the origin, appearance, behavior, care requirements, and more, so you can provide the best environment for these beautiful fish.

Species Summary

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is native to the rivers, streams, and lakes of Papua New Guinea.

This species was first described by renowned ichthyologist Gerard Krefft in 1874.

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish Appearance

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish boasts a brilliant array of colors that can rival even the most vibrant rainbow.

These elongated fish have a streamlined body with a slightly rounded head and a small, slightly upturned mouth.

From tip to tail, they showcase a mesmerizing spectrum of colors, including shades of blue, green, yellow, and orange.

The males of this species are particularly striking, with more intense and vibrant colors compared to the females.

They often have a deeper blue or green hue on their back, transitioning to bright yellow or reddish-orange towards their ventral side.

The females, on the other hand, have a more bland coloration, typically displaying a silvery hue.

In terms of size, they can range from 4 to 5 inches (10 to 13 cm) in length, with males often growing slightly larger than females.

Large shoal of Boeseman's Rainbowfish


With proper care and a suitable environment, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish can live up to 5 years or more.

To ensure a long and healthy life, maintaining optimal water conditions, providing a well-balanced diet, and minimizing stress are essential.

Behavior & Temperament

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is known for its calm and peaceful temperament, making it an excellent choice for community tanks.

They are generally non-aggressive and get along well with other peaceful fish species.

However, it’s crucial to avoid housing them with fin-nipping or aggressive tank mates.

These fish thrive when kept in small groups, ideally consisting of at least six individuals.

This enables them to exhibit their natural schooling behavior, providing a sense of security and reducing stress.

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish are most active in the middle and upper levels of the aquarium, creating a lively and dynamic display.

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish Care

Caring for Boeseman’s Rainbowfish requires attention to their specific needs, but with the right setup, it can be a rewarding experience.

Here are some key factors to consider:

Tank Size

These fish should be housed in a tank with a minimum size of 30 gallons (113 liters).

This provides enough swimming space for these active fish and accommodates their schooling behavior.

Remember, the larger the tank, the more comfortable and healthy your fish will be.

Water Parameters

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish thrives in freshwater environments.

Maintaining stable water conditions is crucial for their well-being.

Here are the recommended water parameters for this species:

  • Temperature: 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C)
  • pH Level: 7.0 to 7.5
  • Water Hardness: 8 to 12 dGH

It is important to regularly monitor and adjust the water parameters to ensure optimal health for your fish.

Close up photo of a Boeseman's Rainbowfish

What To Put Inside Their Tank

To create a suitable habitat for Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, it’s essential to mimic their natural environment as closely as possible.

Natural Habitat of Boeseman’s Rainbowfish

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish originates from clear rivers, streams, and lakes in Papua New Guinea.

These bodies of water are rich in lush vegetation, creating a habitat filled with plants, rocks, and driftwood.


Incorporating a variety of live plants into the aquarium not only enhances the aesthetics but also provides natural hiding spots and grazing areas for the fish.

Suitable plant options include Java fern, Amazon sword, Vallisneria, and Anubias.


A sandy or fine gravel substrate is ideal for Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, as it resembles the sandy riverbeds where they are found in the wild.

This substrate allows for natural foraging behaviors and provides a comfortable environment for bottom-dwelling species.


Adding rocks, driftwood, and smooth pebbles can create hiding places and mimic the natural structure of their habitat.

These additions also create visual interest in the tank and give the fish a sense of security.

Water Flow

Maintaining moderate water flow is beneficial for Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, as it replicates the natural currents they encounter in their native habitat.

Use a gentle filter to achieve the desired water flow.

Boeseman's Rainbowfish swimming through aquarium plants

Food & Diet

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish are omnivores, and in the wild, their diet consists of small crustaceans, insects, plant matter, and algae.

Replicating this diverse diet in the aquarium is essential for their overall health and well-being.

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish Diet

You can feed them a high-quality flake or pellet food designed specifically for tropical fish.

To promote a balanced diet, supplement their meals with frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, or vegetable matter like blanched spinach or spirulina pellets.

Feeding Recommendations

Feed these fish small amounts of food two to three times a day.

This helps maintain good water quality and ensures that all fish receive an adequate amount of nutrition.

It’s essential to monitor their feeding habits and adjust the quantity as needed to prevent overfeeding.

Tank Mates

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is generally compatible with other peaceful fish that share similar water parameter requirements.

Here are ten suitable tank mates for Boeseman’s Rainbowfish:

These species coexist well with Boeseman’s Rainbowfish and provide a colorful and harmonious community display.


Breeding Boeseman’s Rainbowfish can be a rewarding experience, but it requires some specific conditions to be met.

Here is a step-by-step guide to breeding this species:

  1. Set up a separate breeding tank with fine-leaved plants like Java moss or spawning mops.
  2. Introduce a well-conditioned pair into the breeding tank, preferably with a ratio of one male to two females.
  3. Maintain a temperature of 77°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C) and slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8.
  4. The female will scatter her eggs among the plants or substrate.
  5. Remove the adult fish after spawning to prevent them from eating the eggs.
  6. The eggs will hatch within 7 to 10 days, and the fry can be fed infusoria or commercially available fry food.
  7. Gradually introduce crushed flakes or powdered food as the fry grow.

It is important to provide proper care to the fry, including regular feeding, monitoring water parameters, and providing suitable hiding places.

As they grow, you can eventually introduce them to the main tank.

Why You Should Consider This Fish

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is a captivating addition to any aquarium.

Their stunning colors, peaceful temperament, and lively behavior make them a joy to watch.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, these fish offer an opportunity to create a vibrant and harmonious community tank.


Can Boeseman’s rainbowfish live in a community tank?

Yes, these fish are well-suited for community tanks, as they are generally peaceful and get along well with other peaceful fish species.

How often should I feed Boeseman’s rainbowfish?

It is recommended to feed Boeseman’s Rainbowfish small amounts of food two to three times a day.

Do Boeseman’s rainbowfish require a heater in their tank?

Yes, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish are tropical fish and require a heater to maintain a stable water temperature between 75°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C).

Can Boeseman’s rainbowfish be kept with small, delicate fish?

Yes, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish is generally compatible with small, delicate fish. However, it is important to avoid housing them with fin-nipping or aggressive species.

What is the ideal water flow rate for Boeseman’s rainbowfish tank?

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish thrives in moderately flowing water, which replicates their natural habitat. Opt for a gentle filter to achieve the ideal water flow rate.

Photo of author


Irma Bense is the founder of She has over 42 years of experience in keeping fish.She has kept both freshwater and saltwater fish through the years.She has extensive knowledge in breeding numerous species of fish from Show Guppies, Cory Catfish, German Blue Rams to Apistogrammas.You can learn more about Irma on the 'About' page.

Leave a Comment