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One of the most overlooked groups of aquarium fish are the rainbowfish.

Posted: January 4, 2011

By David Lass

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One of the most overlooked groups of aquarium fish are the rainbowfish. There are a number of varieties of rainbowfish that are being commercially raised in either Florida or the Far East, and they make wonderful additions to any aquarium. Some of the large rainbowfish include boesemani, red Irian Jaya, turquoise and three-striped. These rainbowfish all top out at around 5 inches each and, while they do require some swimming room and therefore a good-sized aquarium, they are perfect community tank inhabitants. Another group of rainbowfish that stay small, are the praecox (or neon dwarf rainbowfish) and the “featherfin” (Iriathena werneri). Praecox rainbowfish get to around 3 inches and featherfin rainbowfish around 2 inches.

The main problem with rainbowfish in the local fish store is that small specimens don’t really show much color. Rainbowfish are what a good friend of mine used to call “little gray fish.” However, all rainbowfish are also available at a large enough size to show some of their beautiful adult colors. Of course a 3-inch boesemani rainbowfish costs more than a 2-inch fish, but at 3 inch, they show enough color that you can actually tell males from females.

In addition to buying and offering for sale larger size rainbowfish, another excellent way to market rainbowfish to your customers is to keep a display aquarium filled with adult rainbowfish. One store that I wholesale fish to had a large bow-front aquarium with probably 20 adult rainbowfish. The aquarium was kept in immaculate condition, and the rainbowfish were displaying and spawning on a regular basis. The answer to the question was always, “No – these are not for sale, but we do have some smaller ones; they will look like these in just a few months.”

Too often, local fish stores will overlook what could be excellent money-makers for their aquatics business. Rainbowfish are just such a group. In addition to being beautiful, they are also very hardy. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I lost a single one of them in my wholesale business. And I have a 300 display aquarium right here across from my desk with turquoise and red Irian Jayas--and they are gorgeous.


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Jorge    Ridgewood, NJ

1/19/2011 6:49:28 PM

Cool fish

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