Care Guide for Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish – Housing, Food, And Breeding


Care Guide for Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish – Housing, Food, and Breeding

The neon dwarf rainbowfish is a beautiful, almond-shaped fish with an iridescent blue sheen that flashes under the light. This robust species is very active and pairs well with many peaceful, semi-aggressive and calm tank mates. Learn how to care this rainbowfish, which is beginner-friendly.


What are Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish and How Do They Work?

Melanotaenia praecox is a 3-inch (8 cm) rainbowfish found in streams and tributaries of the New Guinea rainforest. The males have a bright blue body and red-orange fins. The females have a silvery, yellow body and fins. These fish are one of the smallest Melanotaenia varieties and can be bought for around $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 come from tropical habitats and do well in 74-80degF (23-27degC). While they can handle a wide range of pH and GH, they prefer harder, alkaline water. We like to add crushed coral to buffer the pH.

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 should praecox rainbows be kept together? Rainbowfish require at least 6 of the same species. To minimize their quarreling, keep at least one female for each male. Males are more expressive and have a shiny stripe on the top of their heads when they display their best colors in front females.

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 are Praecox Rainbowfish’s Favorite Foods?

These omnivorous fish can be very easy to keep and will happily eat any food you put in the tank. We prefer to feed them small foods that can float or sink, such as brine shrimps, frozen cyclops and nano pellets. They love bloodworms, flakes and fish food. To ensure that they have a varied diet, it is essential to offer them a variety of food options.

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. A floating spawning mop is placed in the tank. This allows the adults to lay eggs in the yarn strands. Fill a catch cup with water from your breeding tank, and place it inside the tank. To keep the water oxygenated, place the spawning mop with eggs in the catch cup. Some breeders will add a few drops of methyleneblue or cherry shrimp to the water to prevent fungal growth.

The eggs should hatch within one week. The fry need to be fed very little food, like vinegar eels, microworms and infusoria. Regular water changes are necessary to maintain a high water quality. The rainbowfish fry should reach the size of a baby brine shrimp after two weeks. This is the best food for healthy and rapid growth.

We love the neon dwarf rainbow for its iridescent scales, energetic behavior, and compact size as one of the smallest Melanotaenia rainbowfish. You can find them at your local fish shop, or you can order them online from our preferred vendors list. If you are looking for a smaller species, check out our care guide for the forktail-blue-eye rainbowfish.