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March 22, 2018
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Title Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox)

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the dwarf neon rainbowfish.

Image result for praecox rainbow

The dwarf neon rainbow is a small schooling fish that is endemic to the Mamberamo river system, New Guinea, Indonesia, where it tends to inhabit swiftly flowing tributaries off the main river, as well as surrounding swamps and marshes.  These fish will often congregate around areas of aquatic vegetation or submerged roots and logs.  This species is of  the typical elongated rainbow appearance.  It has a shiny blue and silvery body with orange to red fins and tail.  It grows to an adult size of up to 3.2 inches in length.  Males are larger and deeper bodied than females and have brighter coloration. 

Image result for praecox rainbow

The dwarf neon rainbow should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 gallons or larger, as it is a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 6 to 8 or more.  They will look their best on a dark, sandy substrate (CS6631) with driftwood (ZM2000) in a well planted aquarium.  Dried leaf litter, such as Indian almond leaves (CS706), can provide extra cover and a secondary food source.  Moderate water flow and subdued lighting is preferred.  

Image result for Super Natural Tahitian Moon Black

The dwarf neon rainbow prefers a temperature of 73°F to 82°F, a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and a hardness of 5 to 15°H.  

The dwarf neon rainbow is typically a very peaceful fish and suitable for a community aquarium.  It will fare especially well in a heavily planted aquarium.  Do not keep the dwarf neon rainbow with any fish large enough to eat it or with aggressive fish.  Good tank mates include other similarly sized rainbowfish, cory catfishes, many tetras, small peaceful barbs, pencil fishes, freshwater gobies, hatchet fishes, peaceful dwarf cichlids, and small algae eating catfishes (otocinclus, bristle nose, clown, and rubber plecos).  

Image result for community aquarium

Dwarf neon rainbows are not fussy eaters in the aquarium and will readily accept a wide variety of foods.  For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics in addition to a balanced diet including quality flake, freeze dried, and frozen foods.  A combination of AquaLife Bio-Pro Plus and CS Pro Flakes with Calanus and Spirulina (AL165) in addition to frozen blood worms (SF4792) and brine shrimp (SF6777) will provide excellent nutrition and health.


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