View Full Version : Help, how many Rainbowfish and what types?

08-20-2014, 12:25 AM
Hello, I have a 55 gallon tank that has some bottom level fish but no mid/top level at all. I was considering getting some rainbowfish-but am not sure of which kinds/amounts would work in my current tank.

This is what I have; a 55 gallon set up with a Filstar XP3 and Eheim 2217 canister filter, a pressurized CO2 system, planted tank with anubias, a tiger lotus, water sprite, and some large ?hairgrass?. I have high light LED, and Eco-complete fine (sand-like) substrate mixed with sand. I have some 3 nerite snails, a small colony of MTS, 3 bamboo shrimp, 3 Dojo loaches, 7 false juli cories, 2 emerald green cories, a albino bristlenose pleco adult (5"), an adult clown pleco (3"), a juvi rubber-lip (1.5"), and a juvi green phantom pleco (2.5"). I love plecos (blush).

I wanted to keep to Rainbowfish 4" or smaller, and read that they are the most comfortable in shoals of 10+, but if I would do 2 or 3 varieties of 8, would they shoal together? I was considering the Threadfin or Celebes as well as the Boeseman's or Turquoise Rainbow...any thoughts on if I can do this or

I heard they were relatively peaceful and do show but don't fin nip. I also heard they were hardy fish.

08-20-2014, 01:17 AM
Sorry I'm no expert on Rainbows but let me say your tank sounds awesome. Your right about your Pleco obsession, hehehe. My son had a school of 12 small rainbows (sorry forget the species), and they were peaceful, dwell in the middle regions of the tank, and were active constantly. They did develop a weird kind of grayish head growth after some months which we never conquered but they were fun.

Question, how often do you feed all those pleco's and what? Do they spar with each other over the food?

08-20-2014, 02:05 AM
My plecos get along so well with each other. I had originally had a female bristle-nose to go along with my male albino and they would constantly lay eggs, it was never-ending fight to find them before they all hatched! She died a couple months ago, she was older and I guess it was her time but I miss my Georgia. My little rubbernose Roscoe loves to snuggle with the Albino bristlenose Ghost when he is sleeping. The green phantom Peridot loves to hide, and she was wild caught so I will just be happy to see my jewel on occasion peeking from the plant growth. My little clown pleco Mocha is always out and about and used to sleep with Georgia when she was alive on a particularly big piece of driftwood I have in the tank. She is so small it is sometimes hard to spot her sitting on the driftwood-she blends right in. Plecos are only territorial to other plecos of the same species and only of the same sex. If you get two juvenile plecos of the same sex and raise them together they usually grow up to tolerate each other and not be territorial. But the only two "like" plecos I had were the bristlenose, and it was a mating pair so they didn't fight. If i could I would get a 120 gallon tank and fill it with plecos of all shapes, colors and sizes!!!!:hmm3grin2orange:

I feed my plecos a bunch of things both fresh, manufactured and frozen-my fish are very, very spoiled:1luvu:. Plecos LOVE slimy foods like zucchini and cucumber-they like it fresh but then it floats so I par-boiled it so that it would sink. I will also take broccoli stalks and take the skin off of one side (to tease them) and clip it to the bottom-they love that too.They also LOVE Asian sweet potatoes, they like the regular too but go after the Asian one with gusto! I think its more fibrous and they like the texture. They also have an assortment of driftwood to chew/hide behind as well as a cave to sleep on. I also give them shrimp pellets and the Hikarri "algae" wafers. The fresh food is in there for 2 days-tops otherwise you will regret it, ruins water quality! The corys also love snacking on all of the above too and will occasionally get some freeze-dried tubiflex worms. They also get blood worms on occasion and the loaches love those, it is funny to see them shoot around the tank grabbing them as they drift down, trying to beat the corys to the treats!

09-07-2014, 02:42 AM
I wouldn't do any more than 2 varieties of large schools in a tank that size. You would have the room for say 4 or 5 Boesemanis if you wanted to keep them and a slightly smaller type of rainbow that you could have a school of 8-12 of. There are a some rainbows out there that are more uncommon but are in the 3" range, you would just have to look around a little.

I know the Dwarf Neon rainbows could be kept in a school of 12 in a 55 gallon. The Celebes as well would be good in a large school. You just need to keep in consideration that a lot of rainbows like a Ph in the range of 7.0-8.0 and harder water.

09-09-2014, 05:52 PM
Sounds like a pretty tank. How about some pics? :)

Boesmanis and turquoise rainbows are both marginal in a 55g. I've kept them in mine, but I've been told that they are much happier in a larger tank. From what I've seen I believe it--they are very active fish and get quite large if given room to grow.

If it were me, I'd stick with the smaller varieties.


09-09-2014, 06:12 PM
Thank you, I am working on pics. I was thinking the smaller varieties too probably one large school of blue-eyes, or two schools one blue-eyed and the other either threadfin or forktail...maybe clebs. Not 100% yet, but I have a month or 2.

09-09-2014, 07:06 PM
I've never kept rainbows but strongly considered it so I've done my Research. Rainbowfish are super active fish and need a lot of room to swim. So small species would fit your tank perfectly! Boesemani Rainbows, although not one of the bigger species, they have a bulky shape and are in between the small species and the larger ones. I don't know if you'd be able to fit enough for them to be comfortable. I quickly read through all the above so it might have already been mentioned, but my personal favorite is the Dwarf Neon Blue Rainbowfish! A smaller species, you could do 8-12 comfortably and a school of your second species.

I'd also LOVE to see some pictures of your tank! Sounds like a pretty nice setup! With some photo-bombing by the plecos hopefully! thumbs2:
I've kept Rubber Lips and Bristlenose plecos and just love their personalities! I just gave my Bristlenose her first veggie last night. Now if I could just keep her off my Amazon sword...

09-09-2014, 08:09 PM
Unfortunately I had some CO2 issues and I lost 2 of my plecos, my green phantom and the rubber-lip.

09-09-2014, 10:05 PM
Sorry about your plecos.

If you go with neon dwarf rainbows, they have a high oxygen requirement and need a dGH of 10.

09-10-2014, 03:32 AM
Unfortunately I had some CO2 issues and I lost 2 of my plecos, my green phantom and the rubber-lip.

Sorry to hear that! I lost my 2 rubber lips to some kind of ick back when I first started with aquariums. I spotted it too late and didn't know how to fight it. The dream is to one day have a very large tank (the largest one I can get :biggrin:) and a bunch of small species of plecos at the bottom! I'd have to over filter a ton, but it'd be worth it!

09-10-2014, 07:18 PM
The Pygmy rainbowfish, Melanotaenia pygmaea is another small species that I wish we would see more.

09-10-2014, 08:05 PM
A free PDF-book about Rainbows. The file is pretty huge, so don't download on a cellphone aso !! http://peter.unmack.net/tappin/Rainbowfishes.2011.pdf

09-11-2014, 05:57 PM
OMG, I want to do the same...like 120 gallon filled with small plecos!!! Tons of driftwood and really nothing else...there is a youtube tank filled with plecos and I see it and just say "want it" every time!

09-11-2014, 06:47 PM
OMG, I want to do the same...like 120 gallon filled with small plecos!!! Tons of driftwood and really nothing else...there is a youtube tank filled with plecos and I see it and just say "want it" every time!

I don't think I could do just driftwood. I've seen a few nice hardscape tanks but I prefer planted. Plus, I would need something to eat up all the waste from the super-poopers!

09-11-2014, 06:48 PM
Okay I am going to try and get some photos of my tank old tank set up and some of my recently deceased rubberlip and green phantom :yellowcry:

36573Old 55 setup
36574Pleco Roscoe and Ghost (Roscoe died, my baby bulldog)
36575 Roscoe close up, he was so territorial but loved to be with Ghost
36576 Peridot (also passed with my bulldog/rubberlip)
36577 Squiggle 1 (of 3, Dojo loaches, they are suck posers!)

09-11-2014, 06:54 PM
Okay those were photos of the old tank setup in my previous post. Last weekend I rearranged some plants, trimmed and relandscaped, and those are the photos below.

Ignore the romaine, my latest attempt to thin the horde of MTS snails in my tank...




09-11-2014, 07:20 PM
I think there is an issue with the photos, here they are;




09-12-2014, 11:19 PM
Well I finally had time yesterday to take some photos, today the lettuce is gone (didn't work) but in its place are dozens and dozens of peppered cory eggs...Something must be going right cause my Tank 1 was swimming around with a smaller peppered and they dropped eggs EVERYWHERE. No I have to figure out how long I have until they hatch so I can cover the intakes with foam...


09-12-2014, 11:31 PM
Nice tank and congrads on the new editions (hopefully). Why not cover the intakes now instead of waiting?

09-13-2014, 01:15 PM
Your tank would look a whole lot better if you clean the glass. A minor tip...but it makes a difference.

09-17-2014, 02:53 PM
Nice tank and congrads on the new editions (hopefully). Why not cover the intakes now instead of waiting?

Thank you, the coverings won't be needed as some cleaning crew ate all of the eggs the very night she laid them! Not sure if it was the other corys, the Dojo loaches or the MTS. But they are gone!

09-17-2014, 03:25 PM
So sorry for the eggs. Are you sure they all went?

09-17-2014, 04:25 PM
Checked the leaves, gone...
Back wall of tank, gone...
Filter input, gone...

Maybe I missed one or two, but haven't seen any more. I am kind of glad as I love corys but want to phase them out of my tank. Which just means that as they go I would not replace them.

10-23-2014, 07:11 PM
Okay, so I am (knock on wood) going to get my tank setup this weekend. I wanted to see if anyone who has had rainbows could tell me if they have had experience with any of these.

Threadfin Rainbowfish
Celebese Rainbow , Celebese Sailfish
Gertrude's Blue-eye Rainbowfish

10-23-2014, 10:02 PM
I also read that they can inter-breed, so I was going to try for all males. I read on another site that many do that with success, of course it will be months before I fully stock the tank...

10-23-2014, 11:54 PM
Read the last 6-7 pages of Matt's thread here


11-06-2014, 12:56 PM
Thanks, I love the videos and almost like the forktails more than the getrudae...almost. This has made me change my mind on an all male population- I will get females too, I believe the ratio I have been reading is a 1:3 male:female.

11-08-2014, 09:13 AM
That is correct.

10-17-2016, 11:39 PM
I've kept rainbows in the past - had a group ranging in size from 4-12 fish, and they seemed content enough either way. There is a definitely noticeable increase in shoaling behavior the greater the size of the group and aggression between individual fish becomes more dispersed, but I've kept them successfully either way.

Some people will argue that you should really keep at least 5+ individuals of a species, but I've also found (and know others who have found similar) that you can do a bit of mix and matching when it comes to rainbows. I've kept turquoise, boesemani, and dwarf neons in the past. Turquoise are my particular favorite (I have a thing for blue fish), the dwarf neons are surprisingly colorful. With the boesemani its a bit more of a gamble - some are super colorful while others are more dull.

10-17-2016, 11:42 PM
Old thread, I'm curious to read how Nat responds after all of this time.

10-18-2016, 01:05 AM
Me too, but I am grateful to samoyed for bringing back some good memories, both of my turquoise rainbows (I miss them) and of a time when Nat was relatively young and clueless...