The Rainbow Fish are living proof of Australia once being joined to New Guinea! Many species are found in both of those huge, and now far apart, island-nations. Interestingly, it is said that fully mature specimens are only found in aquarium conditions, thought to be due to predation of aging fish in the wild, preventing them from living out their full natural lives. The rainbow fish are largely very rugged species, which do well in captive conditions, and are easy to breed.
Boeseman’s Rainbowfish (melanotaenia boesemani) is one of the most colourful species of the genus. It starts life as a rather insignificant fish, but matures into a very stylish fish to grace any suitable aquarium. Like most other Rainbows, Boesman’s Rainbow is peaceful and undemanding regarding water chemistry.
The Red Rainbowfish (glossolepis incisus) is another slow starter, having a plain looking silvery body at the outset of its sub-adult life, but males assume the glorious metallic scarlet through to crimson colouring, depending on the strain, with maturity.
The Rasboras of the East could be thought of as that part of the world’s answer to South America’s Tetras. Some of these peaceful species are among the hobby’s most popular aquarium fish, and also boast two of the tiniest species to be regularly offered to the hobby from South East Asia. Sometimes the initial change of environment can be upsetting to certain rasbora species, but once settled they are rarely anything other than simplicity itself to keep and enjoy.
The Scissortail Rasbora (rasbora trilineata) is a long-time favourite tropical fish yet it lacks any strong colouring. The black-backed white patches on the tail are its outstanding feature, but the glassy-green body has much to commend it also. A hardy, long-lived, aquarium fish.
The Harlequin Rasbora (trigonostigma heteromorpha) is the best known of the genus, and a well grown fish is spectacular. The proper acclimatisation and conditioning of this species is essential to its ongoing success as an aquarium fish. Established specimens live well and are no trouble to keep.
The various Barb species have formed an important stock item for the tropical fish aquarium throughout its history, and rightly so. These active, colourful and easily kept species have much to commend them to both beginner and veteran fishkeeper alike. Barbs range from diminutive to large, with a useful range of intermediate sizes between. Something for practically everybody!
Tiger Barbs (puntigrus tetrazona) are one of the most readily recognisable popular tropical fish. Known to every fishkeeper. It is recommended that this strikingly marked fish should be kept in small groups to reduce the risk of fin-nipping, a vice for which they have a reputation! Gold, green, black and albino varieties are often available to the hobbyist.
Rosy Barbs (pethia conchonius) have been in the tropical fishkeeping hobby for many years, and is one of the most colourful pioneers. It is a hardy fish, easy to keep and breed. Some beautiful colour varieties have appeared in recent years, including a vibrant fire-red fish and a glowing orange form, also a few very ornamental longtailed varieties.