Rainbowfish Species, Schools, Etc.

JGombs99
  • #1
My question relates to keeping different species of Rainbowfish together, and proper numbers, schools, etc. From seeing posts, advice, etc. from various members of this forum, it seems like the popular school of thought here is that each species of Rainbowfish should be kept in their own "proper" school (6+ fish). However, I've also seen examples of people keeping Rainbowfish tanks where overall there are more than enough fish to make a "proper" school, but there aren't necessarily enough of each separate species of Rainbowfish to make "proper" schools for each species. Now, I know that not everything seen on YouTube, or other online sources is best practice, but since I've seen it several times, I wanted to pose the question, and learn more about the why behind what folks on here think.

So, if you would, please let me know if it's OK to keep smaller numbers of specific species, but enough fish, overall to create numbers that would otherwise indicate a "proper" school. I would like to hear specifically why, or why not in addition, and I'd like to hear whether this can be done with certain species, but not others. Hopefully this all makes sense. Thanks in advance!
 
Sarcasm Included
  • #2
Think of it this way...
People tend to hang around other people that they have in common over people they do not, but this doesn't mean that they can't be perfectly happy in a diverse group. The same can be said of Rainbow with the caveat that as long as they are not threatened and that many will interbreed.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
Thanks. So, it sounds like you'd be one to mix different Rainbows? Are you of the thought that Rainbows will school with Rainbows, or that only specific species will school together?
 
TexasDomer
  • #4
The problem with that analogy is that people are all one species, and rainbowfish are not. They should be in decently sized groups of their own species. They may swim with rainbowfish of different species, but you won't see the same natural behaviors as you would with larger schools of one species.

There does seem to be more wiggle room with rainbowfish though, so I would shoot for having at least 4 of each species.

What size tank and what species were you thinking of?
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #5
Thanks, TexasDomer. I'm considering other options for the 100 gallon. I'm really looking at adding more color to this tank, so I wanted to pose the question. I also like learning about this sort of stuff, so I was also looking for knowledge even if it's not an option.

There's the issue of how many schooling species are too many, of course, since I still have the Eastern Rainbows, and Congo Tetras in this tank. Easterns still haven't regained all color from the tank upgrade, plus these aren't nearly as colorful as most other species of Rainbows, anyway.
 
TexasDomer
  • #6
Your tank is 5 ft long, right? If so, you have room for a third species.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
6ft, actually. Meant to mention above, I may or may not consider replacing the Easterns, but I'm going to keep the Congos for sure.
 
Sarcasm Included
  • #8
The problem with that analogy is that people are all one species, and rainbowfish are not. They should be in decently sized groups of their own species. They may swim with rainbowfish of different species, but you won't see the same natural behaviors as you would with larger schools of one species.
Humans are mammals as well, has nothing to do with the anology of behavior. I have kept numerous species of rainbows, a good dozen on hand right now. They do not require a full school to be happy, can easily mix and you will still get flashing behavior with many. My millenniums show off to any fish but by far their favorite being Madagascar. I have parva and maccullochI that all show full colors and stay together, though I have 5 of each in the tank.
RobM who also breeds rainbows will tell you the same. I have tanks with full schools without others and they are no more active than the ones that aren't.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #9
Any other thoughts on mixing species of rainbows?
Anders247, tyguy7760, Dave125g, anyone else at all?
 
mollybabes
  • #10
With my experience, I have 2 Boesmani, 2 Parkinsoni(I think that's what they are called ) and one dwarf rainbow(Buddy)
Since I put the other rainbows with him, he is so much happier. The others seem happy too.
 
Anders247
  • #11
I wouldn't, it's best to keep them in groups of 6+ of their own species.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #12
Anders247, but why exactly? With looking into this more, it seems like lots of folks keep a mix of Rainbows. Why is this wrong, exactly?
 
tyguy7760
  • #13
jdhef keeps rainbows and has for a while. I personally have no experience keeping them and can only go by what rainbow people have told me.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
Thanks, tyguy7760! I'll wait, and hopefully jdhef will weigh in.
 
Dave125g
  • #15
I agree with Anders247. They will school and even breed with other species of rainbows, but there best kept with there own species.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #16
So, what are the drawbacks to keeping mixed Rainbows? Some of you guys are saying they're best kept with their own species, but not really giving much explanation of why. Am I likely to have species interbreed by accident, or is it just a slight possibility?
 
jdhef
  • #17
If you look down at my signature, you'll see the Rainbows I keep.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
I'm working on the mobile app. I'm not sure I can see a signature on here.
 
jdhef
  • #19
It's okay, my signature is a little bit wrong. I wanted to change it, but then someone came into my office and...

So anyway, my current stocking in my 46 gallon bowfront is:
2 BoesemanI Rainbows
1 Red BoesemanI Rainbows
3 Three Turquois Rainbows (Or maybe 2 Turquois and One Lake Kamaka...hard to tell the difference and I'm not sure which one died a few weeks ago)
3 Millennium Rainbows
2 Emerald Green Rainbows
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Oh, sweet! Thanks, jdhef. So, obviously you're one who sees no issue with mixing species. Would you say there's any benefits to doing a larger school of one species, or to mixing them up?

Currently I have 7 Eastern/Australian Rainbows, but I'm looking to add color to the tank. I'm considering replacing what I have with more colorful Rainbows. Other stocking/tank info: 9 Congo Tetras, 3 Nerite Snails, 1 Featherfin Catfish (will be adding a couple smaller synos or Hoplos), 1 Red Spot Gold Severum, 2 Blood Parrots. 100 gallon, 6ft tank.
 
jdhef
  • #21
Yeah, I don't see any issue with mixing species. I really don't know of any benefit to a larger schools of one species (especially in my all male tank). If it had males and females, I might want to have larger schools just so I could have a better male/female mix.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #22
Thanks, again! Rainbows I like best are Red Iranian (I've been told by TexasDomer they're not temp compatible with my Parrots, but my research hasn't shown that), Banded/Goyder River, Bosemani, Turquoise. I've never seen a Rainbowfish I don't like, but the above are among my absolute favorites. Any thoughts/suggestions?
 
TexasDomer
  • #23
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
Ok, I'm sorry! I could've sworn you said these weren't temp compatible. Perhaps we were talking about something else. If so, my mistake. I'm glad these will work, though as they're among my absolute favorite.

Would BosemanI work, or are they too high in temp needs to go along with the rest of my stock? Are any of the favorites I mentioned above any better or worse for my tank than the others?
 
TexasDomer
  • #25
I could easily have made a mistake as well! No matter now

BoesemanI would be okay at 80 F, as would the reds.

If you are not happy with the eastern rainbows, why not trade them in? You could do 8 of the BoesemanI and 8 of the reds? with the Congos and BP.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #26
Really? I can have that many on top of my current stock, minus the Easterns? Without having constant sky high nitrates?

Yes, trading or rehoming the Easterns is on my to do list. My temp is around 79 (fluctuates a bit from 78.something to 79.something). Do I need to mess with it, or am I close enough?
 
TexasDomer
  • #27
With weekly water changes, nitrates shouldn't be an issue! I forgot about the other BP and the sev, so maybe just start with 6 of each species of rainbow instead of 8.

79-80 F should be fine!
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #28
So, my goal with water changes is to do 25% to one third per week. However, I want to keep my stocking low enough where I don't HAVE to do it every week. I'm not trying to be lazy, but I don't want it to be catastrophic if I miss a week.
 
TexasDomer
  • #29
It won't be catastrophic if you skip a week occasionally, but it shouldn't be a regular thing to skip.

If anything, the rainbows don't have a heavy bioload. Your cichlids have a larger bioload than the schooling fish, and this will only increase as they get larger.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #30
Ok, thanks. No, skipping won't be a regular thing. I just don't want to worry about my tank if I go away for a weekend and can't get to my tank until the following weekend. I don't go away often, but just wanted to put it out there.
 
TexasDomer
  • #31
Should be fine! I do that occasionally too.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #32
Great, thanks!
So, I mentioned four types and you recommended two. Does that mean you don't think the other two (Banded/Goyder River, and Turquoise) are as compatible?
 
TexasDomer
  • #33
Turquoise need cooler temps. Banded would work, but they get a little larger than the other two. You could do 4 of the banded, red Irian, and Boesemani?
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #34
Nice! Ok, thanks. I think the Banded might a bit harder to get in my area, but wanted options. I do love all of them!

Do you know if all of these will get roughly the same shape to them, or will some get a more pronounced hump than the rest?
 
TexasDomer
  • #35
I think they all get around the same shape, but I haven't seen too many adults in person, so I'm not positive.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #36
Gotcha, ok. My current Rainbows haven't really developed that shape too much yet. Some have it to a small degree, some don't at all. So, I was just wondering.
 
Dave125g
  • #37
Getting back to keeping different species, the only problem comes in is mixed breeding. When 2 different species breed more often then not they lack color. If your not planning on breeding them there shouldn't be an issue with keeping different species, so long as there temperature compatible.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #38
Thanks Dave125g! Definitely not planning on breeding them, and although I may be naive, I'm not worried about accidental breeding. Between the fact that my current 7 Rainbows haven't bred in approximately a year of having them, and my 3 cichlids and Featherfin.

Just wanted to thank those who have helped me out with this. I've decided to start out with the two species of Rainbows that was suggested by TexasDomer (Irian Red and Bosemani). Once I have those in, I'll decide on whether I want to go for a third species, or if I want to increase the numbers of these two a bit. I'll be rehoming the Easterns next week.

Update: I bought 3 of each species, and I'm definitely excited! They have some nice size, but obviously need to color up. Once they do, I'll be sure to add a few pics. Thanks again to everyone who helped me with this!

So, now that I've added 3 BosemanI and 3 Red Rainbows, I need to decide for sure where to go from here. I can't decide if I want to go for continuity, and go for a total of 6 of each, and rehome all the Easterns, or keep a few, and go with a fewer number of all 3 species (either way, I plan to go with 12 total Rainbows).

Does anyone have any thoughts? Would either way be better for the fish? Would any way be more pleasing to the eye?
 
NavigatorBlack
  • #39
Rainbows neither school, nor shoal in an aquarium. They forage, and display when they meet.

We seem to be skipping over that.

I see zero problem with keeping mixed groups of rainbows, as long as they stay about the same size. That is very important. A trifasciata with a praecox is not going to work.
But if they are evenly matched and you have a good sex ratio, there is no reason to keep single species groups unless you breed the fish.

And I don't breed rainbows in a community.

I used to have an excellent community of sexlineata, boesemani, parkinsoni, and duboulayi.
 
JGombs99
  • Thread Starter
  • #40
Thanks, NavigatorBlack! That being said, I assume you see no issue, or difference at all between keeping any number of any particular species within the larger group?
 

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