Boesemani Rainbowfish


Common Name: Boesemani Rainbowfish
Scientific Name: Melanotaenia boesemani
Adult Size: 4-6 inches
Life Expectancy: 5-8 years
Tank Size: 30 gallons minimum

The Boesemani Rainbowfish is a striking species known for its vibrant coloration, which typically includes a blend of blue and orange hues. Originating from the lakes and rivers of West Papua, Indonesia, they are a popular choice for aquarists looking to add a splash of color to their tanks.

A 30-gallon tank is considered the minimum size to comfortably house a small school of Boesemani Rainbowfish, allowing them ample space to swim and display their natural schooling behavior. These active fish thrive in well-planted aquariums with plenty of open water for swimming and some hiding places.

Boesemani Rainbowfish are omnivores and do best on a varied diet that includes high-quality flake foods, pellets, and live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms. They are generally peaceful and can be kept with other community fish of similar size and temperament, making them a great addition to a mixed-species display.

Origins and Natural Habitat

The Boesemani Rainbowfish, scientifically known as Melanotaenia boesemani, boasts a vibrant display of colors, originating from a very specific geographic location. Your curiosity might lead you to discover that these fish are native to the tropical waters of Western Papua, Indonesia. More specifically, they are found in the Ajamaru, Ayamaru, and Hain lakes—a trio of lakes often referred to as the tri-lake region.

In the wild, your Boesemani Rainbowfish would be swimming in the shallow parts of these freshwater ecosystems. Let’s take a more detailed look at their habitat:

  • Water Parameters: Warm, with a temperature range typically between 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F).
  • Environment: Consists of clear waters with abundant vegetation and a soft, sandy substrate.
  • Population: They have a limited distribution in the wild, confined to the aforementioned lakes.

The natural environment of your Boesemani Rainbowfish is crucial to understand, especially if you aim to replicate their habitat in an aquarium setting. Achieving a similar environment helps in maintaining their health and vivid coloration. This includes aspects like water temperature, vegetation, and substrate that mirrors their native Indonesian lakes.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up the proper aquarium environment is crucial for the health and wellbeing of Boesemani Rainbowfish. These fish thrive in a specific set of conditions that mimic their natural habitat.

Tank Size and Environment

Your Boesemani Rainbowfish will need a spacious aquarium to accommodate their active swimming behavior. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended for keeping these fish. They originate from environments with plenty of vegetation, so creating a densely planted aquarium with areas for open swimming is ideal. Including driftwood and rocks can also provide hiding places and contribute to a more natural setting. Ensure there is sufficient space for swimming as well, since they are quite active.

Water Conditions and Parameters

Boesemani Rainbowfish are best maintained in water that closely aligns with the following parameters:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 74°F and 82°F (23°C – 28°C).
  • pH Level: The pH should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.5 to 7.8.

Maintaining immaculate water quality is essential, which means regular water changes and efficient filtration are a must. Aim to keep ammonia and nitrite levels at 0 ppm, with nitrate levels as low as possible, ideally below 20 ppm. Use a reliable water testing kit to monitor the parameters regularly.

Behavior and Social Dynamics

Boesemani Rainbowfish, known scientifically as Melanotaenia boesemani, exhibit a calm and peaceful behavior, making them well-suited for a community aquarium. In the wild, they reside in schooling groups which suggests a need for social interaction. Your Boesemani Rainbowfish will thrive in the company of their own kind, as they prefer to be in groups rather than in isolation.

In an aquarium setting, it is crucial to replicate their natural social structure. This can be achieved by maintaining a school of at least six individuals, which reduces stress and encourages natural behavior. You may observe a social hierarchy within the school, with dominant males often presenting with brighter colors especially during spawning.

During the mating season, males become more territorial and display vibrant colors to attract females and deter rivals. It is important to provide ample space and hiding spots in your aquarium to prevent any territorial aggression. Despite these displays, Boesemani Rainbowfish generally maintain their peaceful demeanor.

Your fish will display the most natural and engaging behaviors when they feel secure in their environment. To create a comfortable habitat, mimic the conditions of their native Indonesian lakes with plenty of aquatic plants and moderate water flow. This will allow you to enjoy the social interactions and dynamic behavior of Boesemani Rainbowfish in your own aquarium.

Compatibility and Community

Boesemani Rainbowfish are recognized for their peaceful nature, which makes them an excellent candidate for community aquariums. Ideally, you should pair them with other fast-swimming species that match their size and energy levels. Suitable tankmates include other types of rainbowfish, loaches, barbs, gouramis, danios, and medium-sized livebearers. It’s important to avoid housing them with overly aggressive fish or much smaller species that they might view as prey.

Tank Dynamics:

  • Size Compatibility: Ensure tankmates are similar in size to prevent bullying or predation.
  • Activity Level: Companions should be active to match the Rainbowfish’s energy.
  • Disposition: Opt for species with a peaceful to semi-aggressive temperament.

While Boesemani Rainbowfish can thrive in a community setting, caution is advised with smaller inhabitants. They are likely to eat small cherry shrimp and fry, so it’s best not to include potential food-sized tankmates. To maintain a harmonious environment, plan your community with consideration for each species’ needs and behaviors, ensuring ample space for all to coexist comfortably.

Environment Considerations:

  • Plant Density: Heavily planted tanks mimic their natural habitat and help reduce stress.
  • Open Swimming Space: Provide areas for free swimming, essential for their wellbeing.
  • Tank Size: A larger aquarium is necessary to accommodate the Rainbowfish and their community, with a minimum suggested volume of 30 gallons.

In summary, with thoughtful selection of tankmates and proper attention to the environmental setup, your Boesemani Rainbowfish will be a lively and captivating presence in your aquarium community.

Health and Maintenance

To ensure the well-being of your Boesemani Rainbowfish, a stringent health and maintenance routine is essential. Proper cleaning habits and disease management are crucial for a thriving aquarium environment.

Cleaning and Maintenance Routines

Your tank should have consistent cleaning schedules. Weekly water testing is recommended to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels, keeping them within safe parameters. Bi-weekly, replace 20-25% of the tank’s water to remove waste and contaminants. Equipment checks, including filters and heaters, are vital to ensure they are functioning correctly and maintaining the appropriate water conditions for your fish.

  • Clean substrate using a siphon to prevent accumulation of detritus.
  • Algae control is necessary; regular scrubbing of tank walls will keep growth in check.
  • Ensure proper filtration; clean or replace filters as directed by the manufacturer.

Disease Prevention and Management

To prevent common ailments, such as ich or fin rot, maintain high water quality, offer a balanced diet, and observe your fish regularly for signs of stress or illness. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank to prevent the spread of disease. If your fish show symptoms of sickness:

  1. Isolate the affected fish to avoid spreading the disease.
  2. Identify the illness; consult with a veterinarian specializing in fish if unsure.
  3. Treat accordingly with a recommended medication or adjusted water conditions.
  4. Monitor all fish during and after treatment to ensure full recovery and prevent recurrence.

Diet and Feeding

When caring for Boesemani Rainbowfish, you need to provide a varied diet to ensure they receive the necessary nutrition. These fish are omnivores and do well with a mixture of plant-based foods and protein.

Here are the key components of their diet:

  • Protein: Feed your fish small, appropriate-sized foods such as frozen or live bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp.
  • Flakes and Pellets: Incorporate high-quality flakes and pellets formulated for tropical fish to provide essential nutrients.
  • Plant-based Foods: Offer spirulina or algae-based flakes to complement their protein intake.

Feeding should be done once or twice daily, offering only the amount your Boesemani Rainbowfish can consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and should be avoided. Always ensure the food is small enough for their mouths to grasp.

For optimal health, consider these tips:

  • Variety: Regularly alternate the types of food to cover all dietary needs.
  • Moderation: Keep portions small to maintain water quality and prevent obesity.
  • Quality: Choose reputable brands to ensure food is free from harmful contaminants.

Breeding and Reproduction

Breeding Boesemani Rainbowfish can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. Key to success is understanding their breeding behavior and providing suitable conditions.

Gender Identification and Breeding Behavior

To breed Boesemani Rainbowfish, you first need to differentiate between males and females. Males typically have more vibrant colors with a distinct two-tone coloration; blues and oranges or yellows are more pronounced. Females are generally duller with more subdued shades of grey or silver. Once you’ve established a group with both genders, look for common breeding signs like males displaying brighter colors and performing dances to attract the females.

Creating Optimal Breeding Conditions

Tank Setup: Set up a designated breeding tank to ensure a controlled environment. The breeding tank should be equipped with:

  • sponge filter to keep water clean without posing a risk to tiny fry.
  • Fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop to catch eggs.

Water Conditions:

Ensure the following parameters:

  • Temperature: Keep the water slightly warmer than usual, around 78-82°F (25.5-27.8°C) for optimal breeding conditions.
  • pH Level: Maintain a slightly alkaline pH of 7.0-8.0 to match their natural habitat.
  • Hardness: Aim for moderately hard to very hard water to simulate the conditions they would experience in the wild.

Feed your Boesemani Rainbowfish a varied diet rich in nutrients to condition them for spawning. High-quality live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms can be particularly effective in encouraging breeding behaviors.

Growth, Development, and Lifespan

The Boesemani Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani) is an active, eye-catching species that you’ll find rewarding to raise. During their developmental stages, these fish display a rapid growth rate, reaching their full size, approximately 4 to 6 inches in length, typically within their first year of life.

Growth Stages:

  • Juveniles initially show subdued coloration.
  • Adolescents begin exhibiting their vibrant hues, evolving with age.
  • Full-grown adults present with intense blue and orange coloration, a hallmark of health and maturity.

In terms of lifespan, when well cared for in a carefully maintained aquarium, your Boesemani Rainbowfish can have a substantial longevity. The average span ranges from 5 to 8 years, but in optimal conditions, some may reach up to 12 years of age.

Caring for Lifespan Extending Basics:

  • Maintain pristine water conditions: Keep an eye on temperature, pH levels, and cleanliness.
  • Provide a balanced diet: Ensure they receive a mix of high-quality, nutrient-rich foods.
  • Consider tank dynamics: Harmonious relations with tank mates and an enriching environment can influence their well-being and lifespan.

Regular observation of your fish’s behavior and physical condition is key to ensuring a long and healthy life. It’s your care strategies that will largely determine the extent of their growth and longevity.


Where Do Boesemani Rainbowfishs From?


What Is the Natural Habitat of a Boesemani Rainbowfish?

Habitat. Has a very limited natural range, being known only from an area of three lakes known as Ajamaru, in the remote Vogelkop Peninsula of Irian Jaya, and from nearby Lakes Hain and Aitinjo. The rainbows tend to congregate in the clear shallows of the lakes, where aquatic vegetation grows very densely.


Although Boesemani Rainbows have large mouths, their throats tend to be narrow. Offer foods that are not too large. The Boesemani Rainbow is an omnivore and should be fed a mixed diet of prepared flakes, frozen, and live foods.


Boesemani rainbowfish are active fish that need a lot of open space for swimming. Their large bodies and sudden movements can easily stress out smaller, less active fish. They also tend to be pretty skittish and may immediately react to movements outside of the tank

Tank Setup

Thus, they would appreciate a densely planted tank with areas of open space for swimming. In fact, one of their favorite pastimes is traversing back and forth along the entire length of the aquarium, so we recommend getting a fish tank at least 4 feet (1.2 m) in length once they are fully grown


For their high activity level, we suggest keeping them with other fast swimmers of a comparable size. This includes other rainbowfish, loaches, barbs, peaceful catfish, gouramis, danios, and medium-sized livebearers.


An egg layer, Melanotaenia boesemani spawns on moss throughout the course of several days. The fry hatch after six or seven days and requires small pieces of live food. We offer juveniles of this species, and they are too immature to differentiate between the sexes


In general, Boesemani rainbow fish are very hardy and can tolerate a broad spectrum of water parameters. We like to keep them at tropical temperatures between 75–82°F (24–28°C). They can go warmer, but higher temperatures tend to shorten their lifespan


What Do Boesemani Rainbowfish Eat?


Are Boesemani Rainbowfishs Aggressive?

Tank Size

How Big of a Tank Does a Boesemani Rainbowfish Need?


What Are the Best Tank Mates For Boesemani Rainbowfishs?


How Big Do Boesemani Rainbowfishs Get?