Boesemans Rainbowfish

The front half of Melanotaenia boesemani’s body is blue, and the back half is yellow-orange. In some specimens, you may also see a stripe or two of silver-black scales. Boeseman’s rainbowfish have the typical large eyes, pointed snout and two separate dorsal fins as most other rainbowfish species. This species was originally collected by Marinus Boeseman, Ph.D., in 1954 while on a Dutch expedition, but this species was not kept in aquariums until Heiko Bleher sent live specimens to Europe in 1982. These fish were bred in captivity and created our current aquarium Boeseman’s rainbowfish strains.

Provide your school of Boeseman’s rainbowfish with a 55-gallon aquarium or larger with a lot of plants and plenty of swimming room. Include tall aquatic plants to give them a place to rest and hide, and keep dark gravel to help their colors stand out. These fish inhabit the middle waters of the aquarium. Males may spar with each other.

Feed your omnivorous Boeseman’s rainbowfish a commercial flake food and small live foods, including bloodworms, Tubifex worms, glassworms and Daphnia, as occasional treats.

Breeding: It is tricky to determine the sex of Boeseman rainbowfish, but males are brighter and have longer dorsal fins than females. Set up a 15-gallon breeding aquarium with a slowly bubbling sponge filter, as well as mossy plants or spawning mops to serve as spawning sites (including Java moss). Females lay 100 to 200 eggs, and the eggs hatch about a week later. The breeders will spawn continuously for two or three days at a time about once a month. The fry hatch after six or seven days and need infusoria, liquid fry food and small live foods.

Breed Details

Scientific Name:
Country of Origin:
From the Vogelkop Peninsula (aka Bird’s Head Peninsula) from the Ajamaru Lakes region of Papua New Guinea
3.5 to 5 inches
72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit
Moderately hard, alkaline water
6.5 to 8