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FAQs on the Rainbowfishes Identification

Related Articles: Rainbowfishes, Fishes at the rainbow's end; An introduction to the Atheriniformes, the rainbowfish and silversides by Neale Monks

Related FAQs: Rainbowfishes 1, Rainbowfishes 2, & FAQs on: Rainbow Behavior, Rainbow Compatibility, Rainbow Selection, Rainbow Systems, Rainbow Feeding, Rainbow Disease, Rainbow Reproduction,

Re: Paradise Gourami with Curved Tail... Hyphessobrycon Tetras... Rainbow ID 9/18/10
Hello Neale & Bob,
You have helped me much with my unusual problem with my Paradise Gourami but I regret to inform you she passed away last night.
<Too bad.>
The unusual thing was that she didn't die, I believe, from whatever was plaguing her but from becoming entangled in the roots of a type of large fern plant I had in the tank with her.
<Almost certainly not the case.>
I woke up in the AM and found her lodged in the center of the plant. I used tongs to pull her out and it was difficult for me, so I believe she got stuck with the roots lodged behind her fins so she couldn't back out. I am sad and disappointed since I had two angel fish lodge themselves in a large driftwood piece I had and died just three months ago.
<Fish rarely get "stuck" in things. It's almost certainly not why either the Paradisefish or the Angels died. Much more likely they were weakened for some other reason, and either died hiding in these objects, or else drifted into them post mortem.>
Just an odd set of circumstances but I thought I would let you know. I am now afraid of placing this large plant into my main tank. I have attached pics. I'm not sure what type of plant it is but you can see the pocket of roots in the center.
<It's a "Windelov" variety of the Java Fern. Nice plant.>
PS...I have some fish I believe to be Rainbow fish and was wondering if you could confirm this. Again, I have attached pics.
<You do, the red fish are male Glossolepis incisus, and the silvery fish with colourful horizontal bands are Melanotaenia fluviatilis or some other Australian Rainbowfish species. You also have some Hyphessobrycon tetras, which tend to be nippy, especially the group of species we call Serpae Tetras. Among other things, these fish could easily harass your Paradisefish, and I'm surprised the Angel hasn't been nipped.>
Thanks again for all your help.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Paradise Gourami with Curved Tail 9/18/10
Wow! I knew you guys were AWESOME but now I know you are totally AWESOME!.
<Yes we are.>
Dead on with the rainbow fish. I have a third one that is opalescent/iridescent with a yellow tail that I forgot to attach pics from (in the second and third pic he is the one at the top of the tank, you can sort of see the yellow tail).
<Looks red in those photos, in which case Melanotaenia praecox would be likely. But really, to identify fish we need sharp, in focus photos that don't have so much flash you can't see the colours. If you have to explain where the fish is, and use words like "sort of see" it's a good clue the photo isn't good enough. In the meantime, avail yourself of Fishbase, and review the species in the genus Melanotaenia.>
I am relieved to here that you don't think that she got suck in the fern as the reason why she passed. I will be looking to place the fern into my main tank but will need to make room. It's almost 8" in diameter as a large ball so it will need some space. As for the tetras, I know of their nipping history, along with black & white skirt tetras I have in the tank but have had them successfully in there for several months now.
<For "now" being the operative word here. Both Hyphessobrycon eques and Gymnocorymbus ternetzi are nippy fish.>
They don't even chase anyone around and kind stay out of the way of the Angles, so I figured I will take them out when they get too mean. I have been keeping an eye on the rest of the fish that I have in the tank since I have gold gouramis and blue dwarf gouramis but I do not see this mysterious curved/arched tail symptom.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Australian natives - Attention Neale, and his BW book 5/1/08 Hi Neale, Not a question, more of a conversation. You can tell me to stop bothering you if you want. I don't often get the chance to talk Australian freshwater natives (I use the term freshwater loosely), which are a bit of a favourite of mine. I have read some of Bruce's work, although I can't say I've read any of his stuff on Pseudomugil. Will have to try to get hold of a copy of your book. Just to make sure, its title is "Brackish-Water Fishes: An Aquarist's Guide to Identification, Care & Husbandry" right? <Indeed so; should be available at all good bookstores, or else via your library system. I have to admit to enjoying Bruce's chapter enormously, as well as Richard Mleczko's chapter on Mudskippers, another group of fish Aussies may well be able to enjoy better than anyone else.> I've done a fair bit of research on many Australian natives. Both personal and professional. I did my masters thesis on Melanotaenia splendida splendida. An often overlooked yet stunning rainbowfish if I do say so myself. Some of the regional colour morphs I've collected far outshine many of the more common rainbowfish sold in the trade. My personal favourite has to be the ones from a little stream on the way to Greenvale. Absolutely stunning. I still have some of those from my research (they'd be pushing 8 years now). <I would tend to agree with you on this species. It used to be quite commonly traded here in the UK (along with M. maccullochi) as the "Australian rainbow" but you hardly ever see these fish now. They always seemed incredibly variable, and also very hardy and reliable. Seemed to put with anything, even quite salty brackish water.> I do agree that the P. signifer colour up fantastically in brackish water, they also tend to live longer and grow bigger as well, but I've personally found they breed much better in fresh (more eggs, with a significantly increased fertilisation, hatching and survival rate). For several years I changed their water type seasonally. Three months full brackish, three months changing from brackish to fresh, three months full fresh, and three months changing from fresh to brackish. I do have to admit I've gotten rather lazy with that one of late and have had them in full fresh for at least a year now. I do tend to try to breed any that I wild collect so in some ways it's probably more practical to keep them in freshwater from the breeding point of view. I've had quite good luck breeding all the different specie of blue eye and found that even most of the euryhaline specie breed best in freshwater. That's one of the reasons I want to speak to more people about the P. cyanodorsalis. My prior experience tells me they should do well in fresh, but my gut tells me they may be more brackish then any of the others I've kept. <Bruce says P. cyanodorsalis is "more consistently found in brackish water".> I've had a few of the gudgeons as well and have had limited success with them. The Empire Gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa) and Northern Purple Spotted Gudgeon (Mogurnda mogurnda) are my newest projects. I've had luck with the empire from the Rolling Stone area, and am working on my success with the purple spotted. I am hoping to go out west and get some from the interior in a year or so when I have their reproduction a bit more stable. I've heard the ones from some of the inland areas are beauties. <Oddly enough, Morgunda spp. and also Peacock Gobies are quite common here, and some stores have Chlamydogobius eremius as well, another superb little goby. Gudgeons (or Sleeper Gobies as we call them) are fairly popular, thanks to their good colours and generally hardy nature. Regular gobies always seem that bit more fussy about their food.> Unfortunately a lot of the regional colour morphs are being threatened. One of the reasons why I collect and breed according to location. Up here the Gambusia is doing a real number on the blue eyes and tilapia are threatening just about everything else. It's always disappointing to me when I go to an area to collect fish and discover an introduced species when I am there. I always try to remove any introduced that I can catch, some are harder then others. Unfortunately it seems every time I go out there are more introduced fish and more different types then the year before. The number of Oscar I've been finding of late has me a bit concerned. I also caught a disturbing amount of other cichlid species which I hadn't encountered before. I always take a deep breath and enjoy any place I go that I don't encounter any introduced fish although those seem to be getting fewer and farther between. The flooding we get during the wet season is the real problem. It allows the introduced fish to get to new water that they wouldn't be able to access otherwise. <This is a problem everywhere. The UK govt. has recently gotten serious about limiting the trade in species that could become established in UK waters. Aquarists do have to deal with the fact that they, or at least their trade, has been responsible for some terrible exotic species introductions. So while I'm not wild about the idea of "white lists" of species my government says we can keep, there's an argument for making the hobby a lot more aware of their potential to do harm. I can't think of any other hobby where for small amounts of cash a person can buy wild fish from location X and feel free to release them at location Y.> Anyway, I'll stop before this turns into a novel. Cheers! Amanda <Cheers, Neale.>

Rainbow Congos? 7/27/06 Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail. <Hotay> I was sold five of these fish and told they were Congo tetras. Three with red fins, which I take to be males, and two with yellow fins (female). They behave in the way I have read about Congos behaving, but their fins appear different. Are they Congo tetras? Or another species in the family Alestiidae? I have enclosed a photo. Thank you again for your help, Johan Kohler Cave Creek, AZ <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/rainbows.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: Rainbow Congos. (Dwarf) Neon Rainbows from New Guinea. You are quite right. <Have been out, collecting these...> Still glad to have the fish; they are beautiful, peaceful, and reproducing! Thank you again, Johan Kohler <Yay! Bob Fenner>

Blue and yellow rainbow fish ID -- 07/23/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Branon. Marco here with you.> I've been looking all over for a good ID on some rainbow fish I bought recently and have pulled up zeros on WWM, Fishbase, and a few Bow sites...though it was a case of "Which picture looks like you?...". <It would be good to know where they came from. That'd make an ID easier. Have a look at http://www.fishbase.org/keys/keyslist.cfm?famcode=564 . The first link will provide information on genera, the other ones on species. These keys provide probably almost any ID information on this group available (e.g. fin rays, head shape etc.). With the fish in front of you and those keys you likely will be able to identify your fishes. That's better than just comparing pictures.> They were labeled 'blue-green rainbow' and 'Yellow rainbow'. Please help me ID these guys. <My first guess for the yellow ones is: colour morph/subspecies of Melanotaenia splendida e.g. http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=13102 . If the black stripe is very prominent also have a look at http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=11307 . If it is bordered orange or reddish see http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=25621 . The blue one is possibly an colour morph/subspecies of M. splendida e.g. Melanotaenia splendida inornata. Anyway, using the keys probably will give you more reliable information.> Thanks, Branon. <Hope that's sufficient. Cheers, Marco.>

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