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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The last couple of times I've dropped by my local store I've seen Boesemani Rainbows for sale ($15/pair). I remember seeing pictures of them online and being stunned by the colors (for example, see here. But the ones in the store are never anywhere near to brilliant (I mean, nowhere even in the same realm). I'm wondering, are they likely to brighten up when they get in better surroundings or when they mature? Are they only that brilliant when they are mating? Or are they just not quite as beautiful as I had hoped?
 

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I had the same thoughts about threadfin rainbows when I first purchased them. Pictures online often look much better for some reason than in person. Although, I do know for a fact, that rainbows tend to color up once they are established into a comfortable environment. When I first purchased my threadfins, they were dull with little to no color. Now I see red, black and yellow on them. Much better than before, now that they have established to a good home.

Colors WILL brighten up when they flash around trying to mate as well. So it's a little bit of both mating + environment to see their true colors.
 

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Fish in general, and Boesemani Rainbows in particular, tend to not look their best at the fish store because they are usually stressed out. With Boesemani Rainbows the males are more colorful than the females and the colors become more pronounced as they get more mature (shades change from yellow to orange).
 

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They will color up. I've had a group of them for several years now. Colors will develop more as they mature but the biggest color change I got was when I went from a very light color gravel to eco-complete. Wow what a difference.
 

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They don't show their real colors until they're at full adult size. Most bosemanii that I've seen are sold when they're pretty small. Give them a nice planted environment and a few girlies to show off to. The males will be outstanding soon enough.
 

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I've bred these guys before and they definetly become more colorful as they mature. They are normally sold at around the 2" mark and for the most part they don't look like much. Its when they start to reach 3" or more they will show their adult colors.

Also $15 a pair is a good price IMO since they are normally sold for $12 each where I live. But I would be very secptical of the pairs. Rainbows are very hard to sex when they are young. And its not very common to see female rainbows for sale in petstores since females don't get very colorful. IMO they are all probably going to be males.
 

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It might be wise to get more than one pair to take off the edge. I used to have a 6 pack of males, down to 2 over the years. These 2 are always bickering and both have a raw patch on one side :mad:
 

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With Melanotaenia boesemani quality can vary greatly. I first saw this fish in the mid 80s and they were beautiful. Rainbowfish are known to degrade quickly the farther you get away from wild stock. To be honest I haven't seen any really nice quality boesemani for almost a decade now. It's not only the colors that have been lost but the body shape has also changed. The fish aren't as laterally compressed as they once were.

I say it's really hard to tell if the boesemani's will color up. To answer your question....Melanotaenia bosemani can be much nicer than the picture you are talking about....they can also be uglier.....it really comes down to quality.

To be honest it's going to be really hard to find any really good quality boesmani in any local pet shop. Maybe if it were a petshop in PNG. lol
 

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Gene,
There's almost never any wild caught rainbows available. For one it is illegal to export fish from PNG and Australia except under very special circumstances. The few who have 'taken' wild animals out surely wouldn't just sell them on aquabid. Wild fish would probably be too valuable for them to sell. I think the best chance is getting F1 fish. Either from someone who collected wild fish themselves or from breeders in Australia willing to mail F1 eggs. I would be very cautious if anyone claims that they have wild rainbows available.
aaron
 

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That's good to know about the availability of wild-caught rainbows. Nevertheless AquaBid.com could be a good alternative source for rainbows if you don't mind paying the shipping charges.
 

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Colouring up of rainbows seems to be never ending debate. I found this forum years ago while looking to get my rainbows at the time looking better. From my observations/experiences having a colony seems to work better with a 2m/3f or better seems to get the males going and the females get a bit of a rest. A dark substrate always helps them, a heavily planted tank is always beneficial, algae seems to make up a fair part of the diet and makes them more comfortable. However the best thing i ever did was feed live foods brine shrimp,daphina and mosquito larvae work exceptionally well and surprisingly small ants. Another theory that some of the veteran rainbow breeders use if the addition of salt, i've never used this as i've got plants in the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the great information on the rainbows.

A further question--are they likely to disturb shrimp? If a rainbow encounters a young cherry shrimp, for example, is it likely to become lunch?
 

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Short answer is yes, rainbows will eat shrimp. Threadins and blue eyes are petty good but large rainbows will eat shrimp no worries.
 

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about adding salt:

There are all kinds of rainbows from all kinds of habitats. Some prefer harder alkaline waters and some are from softer acidic waters. Even within a single species there are different localities which require different types of water. M. trifasciata for example has several different color forms all coming from different rivers, streams, ponds, lagoons, etc.

For the harder water species it can be beneficial to add salt to the water. What I've found to be the best is a combinations of "instant ocean" and epsom salt. A typical 'generic' dose for me was 1talbespoon instant ocean and 2 tablespoons epsom salt per 10 gallons of water. For certain species such as P. cyanodorsalis and P. signifer 'ross river' more salt can be added.

These are things that I believe may help rainbows to 'color up'. Salt, if applicable. Some direct morning sunlight. Good quality food. Of course females in the tank will also help.

Having said all of this, the most important thing when it comes to rainbows is aquiring good stock to begin with. I once had a lone male praecox rainbow. I got him when praecox was first released into the hobby. My memory is a little foggy but i think it was somewhere between the early to mid 90s. At that time it seemed like only males were released. About 5 years later he was the lone survivor of 5. He got fed maybe once a day (only flakes), he was all by himself in a 75 gallon tank, and I almost never changed the water but he was the most gorgeous praecox I've seen....even in pictures. His body was still laterally compressed, he was tall, super bright but dark blue, and blood red fins. I believe this is because he was probably an F1 fish. I ended up giving him to a friend who had a small breeding group of nice high quality praecox and he was put to good use.

I was also lucky enough to have aquired several F1 rainbows from friends throughout the years and am now 'jaded' in a sense. My advice is be very picky when purchasing rainbows. Even more than color, body shape can change significantly as quality diminishes. One of the common changes is the fish become 'husky'. Many rainbowfish should be very much laterally compressed. In other words although they may appear tall they should be very narrow if viewed from above. This quality is lost in many rainbows. It is common to see fish that have lost their height but have gained width.

Sorry for such a long message, i got a little side-tracked. My original point was that some rainbows like salt and some don't it's not a general rule for all of them.

aaron
 

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Here's a link that shows video of just about the nicest M. boesemani that I've seen since the mid 80's. They used to be this blue. I've seen animals that have really bright orange, sometimes almost red but in most cases most of the blue has been lost.

 

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I have bought boesemanis both online and in fish stores, and they all have colored up very nicely either way. just my experience. if you put them in a good environment, they'll be fine, for the most part. as with any fish you buy from about any pet store, you always run the risk of getting poor quality specimens. however, do not let the poor coloring discourage you, as even good specimens will likely have poor coloring in a pet store.
 
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