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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

November 9, 2010

Rainbowfishes

By David Lass

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

The main problem with rainbowfishes in the local fish store is that small specimens don’t really show much color. They are what a good friend of mine used to call “little gray fish.” However, all rainbowfishes are also available at a large enough size to show some of their beautiful adult colors. Of course a 3-inch boesemani rainbow 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 fishes, another excellent way to market rainbowfishes to your customers is to keep a display tank filled with adults. One store that I wholesale fish to had a large bow-front aquarium with probably 20 adult rainbowfishes. The tank was kept in immaculate condition, and the fish 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. Rainbowfishes 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 tank right here across from my desk with turquoise and red Irian Jayas--and they are gorgeous.

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