Australian Rainbow Fish
Australian Rainbow Fish

Breeding Blue-Eyed Rainbow fish

Australian Rainbow Fish

Blue-Eyes are small, colorful fishes native to Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. All Blue-Eyes belong to the sub-family Pseudomugilinae. Blue-Eyes look similar to the more well-known Rainbow fishes and are found in virtually the same range and habitat. One example of a popular Blue-Eye species is the Australian Blue Eye (Pseudomugil signifier). Since Blue-Eyes are so similar to Rainbow fish, they are sometimes referred to as Rainbow fish in the hobby.

Breeding Blue Eye rainbow fish

Breeding Blue Eyes is very similar to breeding Rainbow fish, and many of the guidelines provided in this article can be used when breeding Rainbow fish as well.

During courtship, the male will swim around in front of the female, trying to show off by erecting his fins. Blue-Eyes are egg-laying fishes that produce rather big eggs. In the wild, they use algae, plant moss or similar as spawning media. The eggs are laid over the course of several days, a few eggs per day. At 26 degrees F, Blue-Eye eggs normally hatch within 10-15 days. The emerging fry is really small.

Raising the fry

Most breeders separate adult fish from the offspring, but it is possible to raise fry in the presence of the parents, at least if the aquarium is large enough and well decorated with plenty of hiding spots. Blue Eyes will normally not eat their own eggs.

australian blue eye, Rainbowfish
Australien Blue Eye - Copyright

One method commonly used by Blue Eye breeders is to provide the fish with a spawning mop to use as spawning site. The mop can them easily be transferred to a fry rearing aquarium. A fry rearing aquarium can be really small; a plastic container filled with 1 inch of water from the adult aquarium is enough. Include a hiding spots for the fry, such as a piece of Java muss or similar. A live plant from an established aquarium will also help keep the water quality up and provide the newly hatched fry with some food.  Add an air stone but avoid vigorous aeration.

As mentioned above, Blue Eye fry normally hatch within 10-15 days if you keep the water temperature at 26 degrees F. Some breeders add a few drops of salt water (marine salinity) to the fry rearing aquarium, since this is believed to aid in fry development and promote successful hatching.

When the fry emerge, they can survive a few days feeding on micro organisms living on the plant. You can also give them liquid fry food and micro worms. After roughly one week, at least some of them will be big enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp. When the fry are two weeks of age, you need to move them to a bigger aquarium with more water than just 1 inch. A 2-3 gallon aquarium is enough.

Keeping the water quality up is important when breeding Blue Eyes. Ideally perform small, frequent water changes regularly instead of doing large, drastic ones once in a while. Dramatic changes in water quality can have an adverse effect on eggs and fry.

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