Max Size: 6cm

Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox)

The Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish is a small, peaceful, intelligent, beautiful and above all, spirited fish. If kept healthy and happy, these fish will always be active and enjoyable, making them a great addition to any community tank.

Dwarf Rainbowfish do not need a lot of special care, but they are not recommended for new tanks or beginners as they cannot deal with stress very well.

The Dwarf Rainbowfish can be somewhat skittish so keeping them in a group of 6 or more is recommended plus the males will be inspired to show off their best colours in the company of their species.

These fish are all excellent jumpers so tightly cover the tank.

They have an elongated body, big eyes, and the body colour is greyish-pink; however, the scales will light up and look bright blue and iridescent by reflecting light hitting them from the front. The range of blue tones is surprising going from lavender to a teal depending on the light they also have brightly coloured twin dorsal fins.

Tank Mates for the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

3 ideal tank mate ideas for the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish include:

Dwarf Gourami(Trichogaster lalius)
Glowlight Danio(Celestichthys choprae)
Ivantsoffs Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil ivantsoffi)
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia praecox
Other NamesNeon Rainbowfish, Dwarf Rainbowfish, Peacock Rainbowfish, Praecox Rainbowfish, Diamond Rainbowfish,
OriginsIndonesia, Papua New Guinea
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
72 - 79℉
22.2 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Drawf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish


Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia praecox) Freshwater Aquarium Fish Species Profile & Care Guide

Natural Habitat

The Dwarf Rainbowfish can be located in the small, lavish jungle streams in Western New Guinea, the Mamberamo region of West Papua in Indonesia in Southeast Asia.

They inhabit swiftly flowing clear soft and acidic waters off the main river as well as surrounding marshes and swamps. The fish gather around areas of thick aquatic vegetation, or submerged logs and roots.

What to feed the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish are not picky when it comes to the food they eat.

High quality, micropellets, flakes, granules and green flakes should be the primary source of their diet. Recurrent feedings of frozen or freeze-dried food such as bloodworm, daphnia, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp and tubifex will help the fish to display their best health and colours.

How to sex the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

Sexing Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish is straightforward and effortless.

Males are larger and display brighter colouration than females. They also exhibit a much deeper body than females as they grow. The male's fins will be edged in red whereas the female's edges are an orangy-yellow. The females are also more silver in colour.

How to breed the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish

The Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish is relatively easy to breed; however, raising the fry could prove quite difficult.

You will need a separate breeding tank that is heavily planted with fine-leaved plants. The temperature needs to be raised by a few degrees compared to their average temperature, and the water needs to be slightly hard, and have some alkaline in it. A small air-powered filter is also advisable; this will provide adequate flow and the oxygenation that is needed.

You can also use Spawning mops as an alternative to plants if these are not available.

You will need to condition the Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish with protein-rich frozen or live foods for a couple of weeks before spawning. Remember, you are trying to initiate the flood season so feed more and higher quality food than you usually would.

You will be able to identify when the fish are ready to spawn as the males will start to perform to each other, and the females will become noticeably fatter. Now is the time to pick the best-coloured and healthiest fish and place them in the breeding tank.

The mating couple will continue to produce for several days. To get this going the male will lead the female to a spawning area, here, the female will lay groups of eggs and attach them to the available surfaces of plants or equivalent by a tiny thread, and the male will fertilise them. This manner will continue until the female has run out of eggs.

It is advisable to check the spawning mop or plants every day for eggs and remove them into a separate grow out tank to avoid them being devoured by the parents. However, this is unlikely, for maximum results, this is the most suitable way.

After around 7 -10 days the eggs will hatch into little fry, you will need to feed them tiny invertebrates for about a week until they are free-swimming and able to eat food such as brine shrimp or nauplii.

Other Rainbowfish of interest

Banded Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia trifasciata)
Boesemans Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia Boesemani)
Celebes Rainbowfish(Marosatherina ladigesi)
Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil furcatus)
Honey Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil Mellis)
Ivantsoffs Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil ivantsoffi)
View all Rainbowfish
Date Added: 04/09/2020 - Updated: 02/02/2022 16:20:42