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Melanotaenia boesemani
Boeseman's Rainbowfish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Boeseman's Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia boesemani

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boese2.jpg (9kb)
Photo Credit: Matthius Lettington

I have a 208 liter tank, for which I purchased a pair of Bosemani rainbowfish about 3 months ago. Their initial introduction to the tank was peaceful, but the next day, the 2 fish were embroiled in a one-on-one smack-down with each other. This behavior was marked with head-butting, lip-lock wrestling and fin shredding. This type of action carried on in decreasing fashion for 3 days. In the ensuing months, there has not been any kind of reoccurrence of this behavior. The fish are peaceful and the injuries incurred have healed. The pair have grown from their original 4 cm to about 6 cm. Their body size deepened considerably and their dorsal fins are now outlined in a white line. This is because of a rich diet of beef heart mixture and shredded sole. Their diet also consists of flake food and freeze dried blood worms. The pair seem to enjoy spending a great deal of time at the deepest part of the tank and occasionally enjoy swimming in the current directly in front of the filter. These fish are relatively docile, unaggressive feeders, compared to their tank-mates, which are Congo Tetras, Pathirana Danios, Trifasciata and New Guinea rainbowfish. All in all a great addition to our tank and with its exotic color in vertical patterns it can be the center-piece of your tank.

Contributed by Evan Andrade

I love my Boesemanis! They peacefully share a tank with 4 corydoras. The Boesemanis are very fast swimmers and need a fair amount of room for swimming. With the proper water conditions and java moss, you'll see almost immediate spawning behaviours. The male will point his nose toward the java moss and the female will look. Then they start to do their thing. I have 2 females and 1 male, but I'm going to change that ratio by adding more. I've been stocking slowly. From what I've read and what I've observed, their gullets are small in relation to their mouths. It's important to feed them food which will break up easily. I place the corydoras food in a place the Boesemanis cannot get to, since they would choke on the pellets and/or wafers. Feeding in the dark also works for the corys. Their colors seem most intense after periods of darkness, stress and mating. What a beautiful fish!

Contributed by Amanda Parker

I had 4 boesemanis. Their colours are amazing, but they all had to be returned after 2 weeks of constant fighting with each other and especially with my congo tetras. It was only spawning behaviour, but if you like a peaceful tank, you may find these beauties have other plans.

Contributed by Lee Richardson

This fish is listed as an endangered species - mostly due to overfishing for the aquarium trade. Unless you plan to ship young ones back to the three tiny lakes these come from, consider keeping another fish instead. For more info see the endangered species website -

Contributed by David Patte

I bought one of these guys out of sympathy for him as he was only in with a bunch of guppies at the store. Well, I soon figured out why he was by himself. He is a little terror! It's been such a task to find him a proper place among my three tanks. I finally put him in with the betta and now the betta has shredded fins! On a different note however, these guys are really cool to watch feed. They cut through the water like a missile and can change directions in the blink of an eye. Despite my bad luck with one I still think he is beautiful and entertaining.

Contributed by Lauren

These are by far some of my favorite fish. They get along good with angels, dwarf gouramies and even bumblebee gobies. They do show more color when they are in school, trying to impress females. They are easy to breed when you have a planted tank. My problem is the other fish eat the eggs, but I'm not trying to breed them. I also have tricolor and red rainbows and they all school, it's pretty cool.

Contributed by Gary

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