The Complete Guide to Boesman’s Rainbow Fish Care


boesman rainbow fish

The Boesman’s Rainbow Fish, more commonly referred to as the Boesemani Rainbow Fish, is a standout specimen in both color and shape. Adding the Boesemani Rainbow Fish to your community aquarium is sure to turn heads and keep you entertained all day.

If you’re a freshwater hobbyist, don’t overlook the Boesemani when considering a Rainbow Fish. Read on to discover everything you need to know about providing the best environment and care for this distinct species of freshwater fish. Included is information about their preferred tank conditions, ideal tank mates, what they eat, and how they reproduce.

Care Level:Easy
Color Form:Blue, orange
Lifespan:5-8 years
Size:4 inches (10.2 cm)
Minimum Tank Size:30 gallons
Tank Set-Up:Freshwater with plants and swimming spaces
Compatibility:Peaceful community


The Boesemani Rainbow Fish really takes center stage in a community tank. While you might not recognize them by their scientific name Melanotaenia Boesmani, you will surely recognize their flat oval body with a pointed tail and two-tone color. 

The Boesemani Rainbow Fish is a popular fish and you’ve likely seen one in a doctor’s office or public tank because they are truly stunning to look at.

Originating in Indonesia in the shallow waters of the Ayamaru Lakes, they are accustomed to a tropical climate. Even though the retail Boesemani you find for a home tank were born in captivity, they will still require warmer waters afforded to their wild counterparts.

The Boesemani Rainbowfish, or Boesman’s Rainbowfish, belong to the Melanotaeniidae family, which contains a number of different Rainbowfish. The Rainbowfish gets its name from its bright colors. 

Boesemani Rainbow Fish have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years in captivity if you keep a pristine aquarium and monitor tank conditions regularly. 

The Boesemani Rainbowfish is a good choice for novice aquarists since they are not difficult to care for and are so much fun to watch.

See Also: Boesemani Rainbowfish – A Complete Care Guide

Typical Behavior

A peaceful species, Boesemani Rainbowfish are a great fit for a community tank: they stand out because of their unique appearance but blend well socially. 

Be careful in pairing them with slower-moving fish because the Boesemani Rainbowfish move quickly and may spook the slower fish; keeping all members of your aquarium stress-free is important.

The Boesemani Rainbowfish prefer to dwell in the middle level of the aquarium, so you could keep slower fish who occupy the bottom or top parts of the tank. 

These rainbowfish are really active and like to be in constant motion, showing off their vibrant hues.

Boesemani Rainbowfish are shoaling fish, so they do best in groups, although they do get along with other species, too. It’s an incredible spectacle to see the Boesemani Rainbowfish moving in colorful unison.


Aptly named for their outstanding coloration, you won’t be disappointed by the two-toned oval beauty swimming around your aquarium.

The head and front part of their body is a cooler blue, green, or purple hue. The tail and lower part of their body is a warmer orange, red, and yellow hue.

Interestingly enough, Boesemani Rainbowfish can control the intensity of their colors. The intensity of each fish’s color reflects its health and mood. For example, if their colors are pale, they might be sick or under stress; if they appear more vibrant, they could be preparing to mate. 

Pro tip: Male Boesemani Rainbowfish tend to be more colorful than their female counterparts.

After exploring their bright coloring, we move to their unique body shape, a flat oval with the tail fin jutting out of the oval. Their other fins are Their body is shaped like a flat oval, with their tail fin poking out at the end. The rest of their fins are relatively small and don’t extend far from the body.

The dorsal and anal fins, on the top and bottom of their body respectively, run along the rear half of their body and stop and the tail fin. Their physical shape is similar to Dory of Finding Nemo fame.

Narrowing to a point at the front, their heads look flat and pointy at the same time and they have large eyes and a small mouth.

In addition to the color variance between males and females, the males are an inch to an inch and a half longer than the females.

Like other Rainbowfish, the Boesemani Rainbowfish has the trademark blackish-silver scales patterned laterally from the gill to the tail.

See Related Article: The Complete Guide to the Bloodfin Tetra

Habitat and Tank Conditions

boesman rainbow fish

The Boesemani Rainbowfish needs lots of room for swimming. They also appreciate a planted aquarium, so you’ll have to find the right balance of vegetation and open space. 

Dark sand or gravel substrate can contrast with the Boesemani’s coloring and really intensify their appearance. 

This peaceful Rainbow is a schooling fish that does best in a planted aquarium with plenty of room to swim. If a dark gravel substrate is used, the gravel may aid in intensifying the colors of the Boesemani Rainbow. When maintaining a school of Boesemani Rainbow, an aquarium that is at least 4 feet in length should be used.

In their native habitat, they swim in shallow waters with sand, rocks, wood, and other items, and even though they stay mid-tank, it’s important to mimic their natural habitat. They prefer water that is warmer since they are tropical fish and need it to be alkaline, slow-moving, and hard.

Tank Conditions

Sand is a good substrate and will be safe for other tank species. It’s imperative to add live plants to the substrate. They’ll be OK with other decorations, but the plants are non-negotiable. They really like a lush, dense plant setup.

Make sure they have a swimming space, too, since they are incredibly active.

Water Parameters

You’ll need a filter and a heater to keep these gorgeous specimens in optimal health and well being. Unless the other tank inhabitants need air or water pumps, avoid them since they may create a stronger current than the Boesemani Rainbowfish will tolerate without stress.

The ideal temperature is 81-86°F (27.2-30°C) and pH should range from 7.0 to 8.0.

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

The tank needs at least 20 gallons and 4 feet long, especially since as shoaling fish, they do better in groups.

How Many Can Be Kept Per Gallon?

You could keep a group of 6 in a 30-gallon aquarium — if you go smaller they will not be able to move freely and will get stressed out. Each additional fish will need an extra 5 gallons in the aquarium.

If you’re creating a community tank with a variety of species, you will certainly need a larger tank.

Suitable Tankmates for Boesman’s Rainbow Fish 

The best companions for Boesemani Rainbowfish are fish that are close to the same size. You could also choose invertebrates like snails or shrimp since the Boesman’s Rainbow Fish has a small mouth and can’t eat them.

Some suitable co-habitants include:

  • Assassin Snails 
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Danios
  • Ghost Shrimp 
  • Other Rainbowfish
  • Rasboras
  • Rift Lake Cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Tiger Barbs

Keeping Boesman’s Rainbow Fish Together

Boesemani Rainbowfish should absolutely be kept together. They are a shoaling fish and need to be in a larger group of at least 6-8 in order to maintain their comfort and bliss. They are not solitary species and would become incredibly stressed without friends, a predicament which could compromise their color and their health.


As omnivores, Boesemani Rainbowfish will eat both meaty food and vegetation. They are, however, limited by the size of their mouths. 

In their natural habitat, they prefer small pieces of plants or tiny insect larvae. Although the Boesemani Rainbowfish in your home tank are bred and have never actually been to Indonesia, they have an affinity for the same type of food, so you should mix some live or frozen food in with pellets or flakes.

Providing a combination of nutritious foods will ensure good health and vibrant colors.

Good nutritious choices

  • daphnia
  • flakes
  • mosquito larvae
  • pellets
  • spinach 
  • zucchini

Use the 2/2 formula when feeding the Rainbowfish. Feed them as much as they can eat in two minutes, two times per day.


boesman rainbow fish

The best thing you can do for your Boesman’s Rainbow Fish is to keep their tank clean and monitor the water conditions; otherwise, they are fairly easy to care for.

As long as you do regular water changes, you should be able to prevent bacteria and fungi that cause disease from growing and attacking your fish. 

In addition, you should quarantine any new species, plants, or decorations that you are planning to add to your aquarium. This is vital because you don’t know what you’re introducing into your tank.

Ich is a common attacker of freshwater fish. Also known as white spot disease, it’s caused by a parasite that attacks the fish’s body. If your fish comes down with ich, you should quarantine and treat the fish immediately. If caught early, it’s treatable with over the counter medication.


Boesemani Rainbowfish are fairly easy to breed at home. The female lays eggs on moss and the male fertilizes the eggs; this process repeats over a period of days. After about a week, the fry hatch and will need very small pieces of live food in order to survive.

If you’re trying to breed your Boesemani Rainbowfish and are unsuccessful, try raising the temperature in the tank.

Don’t feed sinking foods because the fry prefers to stay at the water surface. Keep them away from other tank species that might see the fry as a meal.

Are Boesman’s Rainbow Fish Suitable for your Aquarium?

Boesman’s Rainbow Fish is a great community member and suitable for both novice and expert hobbyists. You’ll be thrilled by their high level of activity and brilliant coloring. You will also appreciate their undemanding care and social personalities.

Are Boesman’s Rainbow Fish your fish? Let us know why in the comments below…

About Robert 378 Articles
Robert Woods is the creator of FishKeeping World, a third generation fish keeper and a graduate in animal welfare and behavior. He is also a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America and the Nature Conservancy.

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