Care Guide for Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish – Housing, Food, and Breeding
Neon dwarf rainbowfish is an attractive, almond-shaped fish that has an iridescent sheen under the sunlight. This robust species is very active and pairs well with many peaceful, semi-aggressive and calm tank mates. This beginner-friendly rainbowfish is easy to care for.
What is Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish, and how do they differ from other rainbowfish?
Melanotaenia Praecox, a rainbowfish measuring 3 inches (8 cm), can be found in streams and tributaries to the New Guinea rainforest. Males have shiny blue bodies with red-orange fins. Females have silvery bodies with yellow fins. As one of the smallest Melanotaenia species, they are relatively inexpensive for a rainbowfish and can be purchased for roughly $5-$7.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Neon Rainbowfish
Since they are a fast-swimming fish, we recommend keeping them in a longer aquarium, such as a 20-gallon long or 29-gallon tank at the minimum. Dwarf neon Rainbows are a tropical species that can tolerate temperatures between 74 and 80 degrees F (23 to 27 degrees C). While they can handle a wide range of pH and GH, they prefer harder, alkaline water. Our tap water is quite soft so we use crushed coral to buffer pH and add mineral supplements (e.g. Wonder Shell or Seachem Equilibrium). This will increase the GH.
Neon rainbows look amazing in planted aquariums, and taller plants can help block line of sight when the males are tussling with each other. Rainbowfish love to swim freely, so make sure that the foliage isn’t too dense.
How many praecox Rainbows should you keep together? Rainbowfish are schooling fish that need at least six of the same species. While males are more brightly colorful than females, make sure to keep at least 1-2 females for every male to minimize their squabbling. When males show their best colors, they get a shiny stripe to their heads.
How can dwarf rainbowfish live with other fish? Their deeper bodies and fast speed make them a good choice for many tank mates of similar size. They can be peaceful or aggressive, depending on their temperament. They have been kept with angelfish and pearl gouramis as well as tetras and corydoras catfish. While they will make a meal out of your cherry shrimp, they seem to leave larger amano shrimp and filter shrimp alone.
What does the Praecox Rainbowfish eat?
These omnivorous fish are very easy to feed and will eagerly devour anything you drop in the tank. We give them small, slow-sink foods like frozen cyclops, brine shrimps, and nano pellets. They also love bloodworms and flakes as well as live fish foods. The key is to provide a variety of foods to ensure they receive a well-rounded diet with all the necessary nutrients.
How to Breed Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Rainbowfish are egg-spreading fish that don’t require parental care. Rainbowfish can spawn daily if they are fed properly and have fish of both genders. But, the tiny 1mm eggs can produce difficult-to-reach fry. To allow the adult to lay their eggs, we like to place a floating mop or spawning mop inside the tank. After a few days, fill a catch cup with water from the breeding tank and hang it on the inside of the tank in order to keep the water warm. To keep the water oxygenated, place the spawning mop with eggs in the catch cup. To prevent fungal growth, some breeders add a couple of drops of methylene blue or even a few cherry shrimp to help clean the eggs.
The eggs should hatch within one week. The fry need to be fed very little food, like vinegar eels, microworms and infusoria. Frequent water changes are also necessary to keep the water quality high. After two weeks, the rainbowfish fry should be large enough to eat live baby brine shrimp, which is the best food to ensure healthy and fast growth of the babies.
We love the neon dwarf rainbow for its iridescent scales, energetic behavior, and compact size as one of the smallest Melanotaenia rainbowfish. Check out our list to find the best online vendors if your local fish market doesn’t stock them. However, if you’re looking for an even more petite species, read our care guide on the forktail blue-eye rainbowfish.