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Neon rainbowfish - Melanotaenia praecox

Neon rainbowfish - Melanotaenia praecox

Scientific name: Melanotaenia praecox

Common name: Neon rainbowfish

Family: Melanotaeniidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 4 - 5 cm (1.57 - 1.97 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 8 - 18°N (142.86 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 25 °C (71.6 - 77°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: Oceania

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


Neon rainbowfish are to be found in Indonesia.


Expected lifespan is 3- 5 years.

Short description

Keep Melanotaenia praecox in groups of at least 6, the best ratio is one male to two females. They do best in soft, acidic water with lots of swimming space but always include some plants in the tank. Keep the planting to the sides and rear of the aquarium to allow for open swimming spaces and supply a decent water flow as they do originate from fairly fast flowing waters. The water quality needs to be kept high so regular water changes must be performed and never add the Neon Rainbowfish with larger species of fish or they could be seen as a food source due to their small adult size.M/p>

Suitable tank mates include other peaceful species such as danios, characins or even other small rainbowfish.

The Neon Rainbowfish does not like bright lighting so adding some floating plants will help to diffuse the lighting. To get the best colouration from these fish use a dark substrate.

Food and feeding

Ensure that no large particles of food are given to these fish as they have a relatively small throat. This species will accept flake or small pellet foods, also include in their diet some blood worm and brine shrimp.


Females tend to be less colourful than the males with a yellowish tint to the fins. With the males the fins have a deeper red colour.


Melanotaenia praecox tend to breed themselves in the tank without any help. Use a tank designed for breeding purposes and use an air driven sponge filter for better control of the water flow and ease of cleaning. They are egg scatterers so add fine leaved plants or Java moss to use as spawning areas spawning, mops can also be used as an alternative. The eggs can be removed once fertilised but keep checking the breeding tank as several batches may be deposited over a period of a few weeks. There is a high mortality rate with all rainbowfish species when it comes to raising the fry, this can be lessened by keeping the fry tank clean and performing daily water changes to keep the quality as high as possible. If breeding purposely, remove the parents when the eggs are laid and after hatching feed the fry on micro worms. Any larger food may cause damage to the young due to their small size.


The following answer was moved here on March 24th 2011 due to merging with related pages.

Why do rainbow fish change colors?

Answer: This is perfectly normal behavior for this fish. Sometimes they will change color depending on their temperament at the time, sometimes they will do it when they are displaying to the partners prior to mating.


Thanks to Sayer for his picture. Other pictures were bought from

Neon rainbowfish Neon rainbowfish, picture 2 Neon rainbowfish, picture 3

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