Are These Rainbows Suitable for My Tank, or Did I Mess Up?

Megaanemp

Hello,

I am a first time rainbowfish owner in need of advice from some pros

Ive been wanting some rainbows for a while now but don’t have a big tank for them, so I was looking into dwarf neon rainbow fish. I would have liked to do some more research but I also happened to need some emergency dither fish today, (long story) so I went ahead and bought them. I find the staff at this store is extremely knowledgeable about fish I do have experience with. So I took their word for it today when inquiring about the dwarf rainbow fish. I’m hoping I didn’t make a big mistake, I could always return them if I did, I want them to be happy and healthy

Here are my questions:

1. Is a 20 long (30”) big enough for a group of them?

I bought a marineland 20 long for them and went to set it up, only to find that it’s make very crooked (idk how I didn’t notice).
Anyways if the 20 long isn’t big enough the store also has 30gallon long for not too much more $. It fits my stand and is another 6 inches longer and I think slightly wider. So I would be open to upgrading to that one instead of just exchanging for another 20g.

2. What’s the best male to female ratio?

I know they’re schooling fish. But since there is so much conflicting info about gender ratios, after talking it over with the staff (who having kept these had slightly different opinions) we decided it would make sense for me to buy 3 females and 2 males for now. The plan is to observe whether or not I need a 3rd male to prevent to much aggression directed towards one male or need to save room to add more females if they’re being harassed too much. What would you recommend? Typically I would buy a min. of 6 individuals per school but am just worried that anymore than 6 would be too many, so that’s why I wanted to wait and see if I should fill that position with a male or female. They’ll be in a 10 gal quarantine for 3 weeks, and are about 1”. So even if I should up their numbers long term, should I be putting anymore in a 10 gal? I think I could manage the bioload totally fine, just not sure if the males will be stressed being together in a smaller tank.

3. How do they do at a lower gh?

From the articles I could find they need softer water than some rainbows. However, my gh is only 2 degrees hardness, the pH is 7.2. The store keeps them, in similar parameters as do the staff in their home aquariums. However, no one I spoke to has owned them for more than a year so I’m still a little worried about how this may affect their long term health. Should I slowly increase gh with equilibrium?

4. Do you have any other general neon dwarf rainbow advise?

For now they’re in a 10 gallon quarantine (temp is 76F) the fish are about 1” but did appear old enough to sex based on fin colour.

I know I have quite a few questions, I’d be so grateful if anyone would be willing to take time out of their day to help me.
 

fallfever

I've found my dwarf rainbows to be quite hardy. It's more important to have stable ph than an actual number in mind. They are quite adaptable. As for tank size, the longer the better. Rainbows are avid swimmers, school loosely together and constantly on the move so they would appreciate the space. 2:1 ratio of female to male is ideal, though I got a group of juveniles that turned out to be all male. Haven't noticed a problem. Add another female and you'd have the ideal ratio. I've never heard of emergency dither fish. Do tell o_O
 
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Megaanemp

I've found my dwarf rainbows to be quite hardy. It's more important to have stable ph than an actual number in mind. They are quite adaptable. As for tank size, the longer the better. Rainbows are avid swimmers, school loosely together and constantly on the move so they would appreciate the space. 2:1 ratio of female to male is ideal, though I got a group of juveniles that turned out to be all male. Haven't noticed a problem. Add another female and you'd have the ideal ratio. I've never heard of emergency dither fish. Do tell o_O
Thanks for the reply, I really appreciate your help, I think I’ll get the bigger tank tomorrow ans another female.

My pair of rams had to be moved to a new tank last month. The move was upsetting to them and the female was bullying the male. It’s escalated in the last week but I hoped they’d work things out. My poor male ram was literally frozen in fear this afternoon but I’m very fond of both of them so I decided to go to the fish store and buy another tank to move the female into. So that’s where the rainbows come in as emergency dither fish, lol. However, only 2-3 mins after I got home, after a literal solid month of pretty bad aggression between the two rams they decided to start swimming around together like nothing ever happened.
I’m keeping a close eye but will give them one last chance to work things out. I figure I’d better just keep the new tank in case they do start hating each other again. So... now I have a new tank and 5 Rainbowfish not how I though this day would go, but hey I’m not complaining!
 
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fallfever

Ahhh, cichlids being cichlids. That's a win win with another tank. They will do well with the rainbows who inhabit only the upper portions of the tank. It will be a lovely and lively tank. Enjoy!
 
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Megaanemp

Ahhh, cichlids being cichlids. That's a win win with another tank. They will do well with the rainbows who inhabit only the upper portions of the tank. It will be a lovely and lively tank. Enjoy!
Yes, I can’t wait to watch the rainbows grow up, always fun to buy young fish!
 
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GlennO

I have 6 of them, 3m/3f, and it seems to work well. With rainbows in general I often see recommendations to keep more females than males but I haven’t actually found the ratio to be that important. That is unless you’ve got a large number of males and only one or two females in which case the females are likely to get stressed by all the attention.

A 20gal long might be sufficient for a small group, mine are nearly 2 years old and still only just over 2”. But I think the bigger tank will be better. Mine are in a 48” long tank with other rainbows and they do tend to use most of it. They are quite active like all rainbows.

I’ve never kept them in such soft water so am not sure about any long term effects. My GH is about 6. If you choose to raise it, rather than adding Equilibrium with each water change it might be simpler to add some crushed coral to your substrate or filter. You'd need to be careful not to raise it too high though if you're keeping Rams with them.
 
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Megaanemp

I have 6 of them, 3m/3f, and it seems to work well. With rainbows in general I often see recommendations to keep more females than males but I haven’t actually found the ratio to be that important. That is unless you’ve got a large number of males and only one or two females in which case the females are likely to get stressed by all the attention.

A 20gal long might be sufficient for a small group, mine are nearly 2 years old and still only just over 2”. But I think the bigger tank will be better. Mine are in a 48” long tank with other rainbows and they do tend to use most of it. They are quite active like all rainbows.

I’ve never kept them in such soft water so am not sure about any long term effects. My GH is about 6. If you choose to raise it, rather than adding Equilibrium with each water change it might be simpler to add some crushed coral to your substrate or filter. You'd need to be careful not to raise it too high though if you're keeping Rams with them.
Thank you for the detailed reply! I think I’ll go for the larger tank then, and also 1 more rainbow. I do currently run crushed coral in the filter, unfortunately it doesn’t reall raise the gh by much, only about 1 degree gh. I believe this is because my water is so soft that very little is needed to change the pH. I have started adding tiny amounts of equilibrium to my more heavily planted tanks and have found it doesn’t change the pH as much so I think I’ll give it a go with the rainbows. Hopefully I can find a happy medium for two species
 
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