ANIMAL: Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish Melanotaenia praecox Type of Animal: Rainbowfish Habitat: Vegetated areas & areas w/ submerged roots/logs in swiftly flowing clear soft waters w/ temps of 72-82 F & pH of 6.5-7.5 (slightly acidic to slightly basic): streams, tributaries off main rivers, swamps/marshes surrounding tributaries/main rivers, rivers Location(s): Mamberamo River basin of West Papua Appearance: Bright blue iridescent bodies & colorful fins, males brighter w/ deeper bodies, males have red fins, females have orange-yellow fins Food/Diet: Small shrimp, shrimp fry, brine shrimp, worms, plant matter, small rainbowfish fry (including own species), insects, insect larvae, Daphnia, fish flakes, fish pellets, algae, fish eggs Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquariums, zoos, & aquaculture. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish. Restrictions on trade of wild-caught fish. Lifestyle: Schools of 6-30 w/ more females than males Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Fry Group: School Gestation: 7-10 days Life Span: 3-5 years Body Length: Male: 2.5 in Female: 2 in Tail Width: Male: 0.75 in Female: 0.7 in Also called Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish, Dwarf Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon Praecox Rainbowfish, Turquoise Rainbowfish, Peacock Rainbowfish, & Diamond Rainbowfish. Color intensity can be sign of mood/health. Like other rainbowfish, they’re very active swimmers. Dorsal/ventral fins lend stability in swimming while tail/caudal fin helps it propel through water. Pectoral fins for locomotion & side to side movement. Spawning lasts a few days w/ female laying new fertilized eggs each day. Females scatter hundreds of eggs on vegetation. Males often show better coloration in presence of females/other males & male competition often results in better breeding. Fry spend much of their time very close to surface. Best coloration often seen at sunrise. After female produces eggs, male displays & directs female to spawning site. Sometimes hybridize w/ related species in captivity. Fun Fact(s): These fish breed easily in captivity but raising fry can often be quite difficult. These fish secrete mucus through skin providing protection against infection/parasites. When spooked/startled, they will jump. One of the most popular rainbowfish species in home aquariums. They 1st became popular in aquarium trade in 1990s.