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Popular Blue Eye Rainbowfish – Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish, Spotted Blue Eye, and Forktail Blue Eye - "Pseudomugil furcatus f Aquarium DG" by Dirk Godlinski is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Popular Blue Eye Rainbowfish – Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish, Spotted Blue Eye, and Forktail Blue Eye - "Pseudomugil furcatus f Aquarium DG" by Dirk Godlinski is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Introduction

Blue eye rainbowfish, belonging to the genus Pseudomugil, are a captivating group of freshwater fish that have charmed aquarium enthusiasts worldwide with their dazzling colors and dynamic behavior. Native to the clear, shallow waters of Australia, New Guinea, and surrounding islands, these small, peaceful fish are renowned for their striking blue eyes and the vivid hues that adorn their bodies. Their adaptability and relatively straightforward care requirements make them an excellent choice for both novice and experienced aquarists looking to add a splash of natural beauty to their aquatic habitats.

In this article we’ll cover a few of the more popular kinds, including the forktail, spotted and neon red blue eye rainbowfish.

Overview of Blue eye Rainbowfish

Blue eye rainbowfish, belonging to the genus Pseudomugil, are small, vibrantly colored freshwater fish known for their striking blue eyes and dynamic swimming behavior. These fish exhibit a range of brilliant colors, from iridescent blues and greens to vivid oranges and reds, making them highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts. They are ideal for community tanks due to their peaceful nature and modest size.

The term “blue eye rainbowfish” broadly encompasses several species within the Pseudomugil genus, each with its unique color patterns and fin shapes. These species thrive in varied habitats, including streams, rivers, and swamps, primarily across Australia, New Guinea, and parts of Southeast Asia. Their adaptability to different environmental conditions makes them relatively easy to care for in home aquariums, provided their basic needs for clean water and appropriate diets are met.

Brief History and Origin in the Aquarium Hobby

The fascination with blue eye rainbowfish in the aquarium hobby began to gain momentum in the late 20th century as more species were discovered and imported for ornamental fish enthusiasts. Their origins trace back to the diverse freshwater ecosystems of Australia and New Guinea, where they play a role in the natural aquatic food chain. The combination of their striking appearance, active behavior, and the challenge of breeding some species in captivity has cemented their popularity among hobbyists.

Initially, only a few species were available to aquarists, but as exploration and breeding efforts expanded, a wider variety of blue eye rainbowfish became accessible. These efforts not only brought new species into the hobby but also helped raise awareness about the importance of habitat conservation for these and other freshwater fish.

The breeding of blue eye rainbowfish in captivity has become a passionate aspect of the hobby, with enthusiasts striving to enhance the natural beauty of these fish while ensuring their health and vitality. This has led to a better understanding of their needs and behaviors, contributing to more successful care and breeding programs.

Today, blue eye rainbowfish are celebrated for their beauty, ease of care, and the lively dynamic they add to the planted aquarium. They serve as a testament to the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems and the importance of conservation efforts. As the aquarium hobby continues to evolve, the interest in these mesmerizing fish remains strong, inspiring both novice and experienced aquarists to appreciate the natural wonder of blue eye rainbowfish.

Popular Types of Blue Eye Rainbowfish

Among these, some species or variations are particularly noted for their striking blue eyes. Here are a few popular types:

  • Blue eye Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil sp.): This is a general term that encompasses several species with distinctive blue eyes. They are small, active, and display vibrant colors, especially under proper aquarium lighting.
  • Forktail Blue eye (Pseudomugil furcatus): Known for its forked tail and shimmering blue eyes, this species is a favorite among hobbyists. It has a relatively peaceful demeanor and does well in community tanks with similar-sized fish.
  • Spotted Blue eye (Pseudomugil gertrudae): This species is admired for its spotted body and bright blue eyes. They are small and can be a bit shy, but they show their best colors and behaviors in well-planted aquariums.
  • Red Neon Blue eye (Pseudomugil luminatus): Previously known as Pseudomugil cf. paskai, this fish has intense blue eyes and a striking red-orange coloration on its body and fins. They’re a relatively new species to the aquarium trade and are becoming increasingly popular.

These species thrive in well-maintained aquariums with good water quality and plenty of hiding spots. They are generally peaceful and can be kept with other small, peaceful fish. It’s also worth noting that their vibrant colors can become more pronounced with the right diet and lighting conditions.

The Red Neon Blue eye Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil luminatus)

The red neon blue eye, scientifically known as Pseudomugil luminatus, stands out as a captivating species within the blue eye rainbowfish family, steadily gaining popularity among aquarium enthusiasts for its vibrant colors and lively demeanor. Previously known and sometimes still referred to by hobbyists as Pseudomugil cf. paskai, it highlights its close resemblance and relation to other species within the genus. Originating from the freshwater habitats of West Papua, Indonesia, these fish are prized for their striking appearance and relatively easy care requirements, making them a splendid addition to community aquariums.

Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish

Description and Appearance

Pseudomugil luminatus showcases a stunning display of colors, with males featuring a brilliant neon red-orange body that vividly contrasts against their iridescent blue eyes. The females, though more subdued in coloration, also boast the characteristic blue eyes and present a more transparent to pale yellow body color, with slight hints of neon red-orange hues along their fins. Adults typically reach sizes of about 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8 to 5 cm) in length, making them an ideal choice for nano and medium-sized aquariums.

Habitat and Natural Behavior

In their natural setting, red neon blue eyes inhabit clear, shallow waters abundant with vegetation. They favor environments with slow to moderate flow rates, where dense plant life provides ample opportunity for foraging. These conditions should be emulated in the home aquarium to ensure their wellbeing. Their behavior is notably peaceful and schooling, with these fish displaying the most vibrant colors and dynamic activities when kept in groups of six or more.

Aquarium Care for Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish

To replicate their natural habitat, the aquarium should be densely planted with ample swimming space provided. Water conditions are optimal with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C), pH levels of 6.5 to 7.5, and moderate hardness. They thrive in environments that mimic their natural settings, including soft, acidic water, although they have shown adaptability to a range of water conditions when properly acclimated.

Moderate lighting should be provided to highlight their colors, and filtration should offer a gentle flow to maintain cleanliness without creating strong currents. Regular water changes and maintenance are crucial for keeping these fish healthy.

Diet and Feeding

The red neon blue eye rainbowfish is omnivorous, requiring a diet that encompasses both plant-based foods and proteins. Their natural diet consists of small insects, larvae, and plant matter. In captivity, they flourish on a varied diet of high-quality flake foods, frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia, and micro pellets designed for small, omnivorous fish. Providing a diverse diet ensures they receive all necessary nutrients and also enhances their coloration.

Breeding

Breeding Pseudomugil luminatus can be a rewarding endeavor, with the species exhibiting interesting spawning behaviors. They scatter their eggs among dense vegetation or spawning mops. To encourage breeding, setting up a separate breeding tank with similar water conditions as the main tank is recommended. The fry are small and require infusoria or commercially available fry foods until they grow large enough to eat crushed flake food or micro worms.

The red neon blue eye rainbowfish is a gem in the freshwater aquarium hobby, offering both aesthetic appeal and engaging natural behavior. Their care and breeding present a delightful challenge to hobbyists, rewarding them with the vibrant spectacle of these lively fish. As with all aquatic pets, providing responsible care and attention to their needs is paramount to ensure the health and longevity of these beautiful creatures in the home aquarium.

The Forktail Blue eye Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil furcatus)

The forktail blue eye, scientifically named Pseudomugil furcatus, is a striking and delicate species within the blue eye rainbowfish group. It captivates aquarists with its elegant appearance, characterized by its luminous blue eyes and the distinctive forked shape of its tail fins. Native to the freshwater streams and lagoons of Papua New Guinea, this species adds a touch of grace and color to any aquarium.

Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish - "Pseudomugil furcatus m Aquarium DG" by Dirk Godlinski is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish – “Pseudomugil furcatus m Aquarium DG” by Dirk Godlinskiis licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Description and Appearance of Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish

Adult forktail blue eyes typically reach about 2 to 2.5 inches (5 to 6.3 cm) in length. Males are particularly colorful, displaying vibrant blue and yellow hues across their bodies and fins, with the namesake forked tail being a standout feature. Females are less colorful but still possess the species’ characteristic blue eyes and subtle body hues, making them equally captivating in their own right.

Habitat and Natural Behavior

Forktail blue eyes prefer habitats with clear, shallow water, dense vegetation, and a gentle flow. These conditions provide them with ample hiding spots and foraging opportunities. In the aquarium, they exhibit peaceful behavior and thrive best when kept in small schools, which helps to reduce stress and encourage natural shoaling behavior.

Aquarium Care

Simulating their natural habitat, an aquarium for forktail blue eyes should include plenty of plants, driftwood, and open swimming spaces. Water conditions should be maintained with temperatures between 75°F and 80°F (24°C to 27°C), a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, and soft to moderate hardness. Gentle filtration is recommended to replicate the slow-moving waters of their natural environment, with regular maintenance to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.

Diet and Feeding

The forktail blue eye is omnivorous with a preference for small, live foods. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of small insects and larvae. In captivity, they should be fed a varied diet that includes live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and daphnia, as well as high-quality flake or micro pellet foods. A diverse diet supports their health, coloration, and overall vitality.

Breeding

Breeding Pseudomugil furcatus in captivity can be achieved with careful attention to water quality and feeding. They are egg scatterers, laying their eggs among fine-leaved plants or spawning mops. Raising the fry can be challenging due to their small size and specific dietary needs, requiring infusoria or finely crushed flakes as initial food sources.

The Spotted Blue eye Rainbowfish (Pseudomugil gertrudae)

The spotted blue eye rainbowfish, known scientifically as Pseudomugil gertrudae, is another enchanting member of the blue eye rainbowfish family. It is renowned for its beautifully spotted body and, as its name suggests, striking blue eyes. Originating from the tropical waters of Australia and New Guinea, this species brings vibrancy and activity to the planted aquarium.

Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish - "Pseudomugil gertrudae ARUII Maennchen DYK" by Der Regenbogenfisch (Diskussion) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Spotted Blue Eye Rainbowfish – “Pseudomugil gertrudae ARUII Maennchen DYK” by Der Regenbogenfisch (Diskussion) is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Description and Appearance

Spotted blue eyes are small, typically growing to about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length. They display a translucent body adorned with distinctive spots and hints of orange and yellow, especially in the fins. The intense blue coloration of their eyes adds a captivating contrast, making them a favorite among aquarists. Males often exhibit brighter colors and more pronounced finnage compared to females.

Habitat and Natural Behavior

In the wild, Pseudomugil gertrudae is found in shallow, densely planted waters with slow-moving currents. They are social fish that prefer the company of their kind, displaying the most vibrant colors and engaging behaviors when in groups. Their peaceful nature makes them excellent candidates for community tanks with similarly sized and tempered species.

Aquarium Care

To accommodate spotted blue eyes, aquariums should be set up with plenty of plants and hiding places to mimic their natural habitat. Water temperatures should range from 75°F to 79°F (24°C to 26°C), with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. Soft to moderately hard water is ideal, and like their forktail counterparts, they thrive in environments with gentle water flow and high water quality.

Diet and Feeding

Spotted blue eyes are omnivores, requiring a balanced diet of plant material and protein. They do well on a diet that includes fine flake foods, micro pellets, and small live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia. Regular feeding of varied foods will ensure proper growth and color development.

Breeding

Breeding Pseudomugil gertrudae follows a similar pattern to other blue eye species, with egg scattering among plants or spawning mops. The breeding tank should have soft, acidic water conditions to encourage spawning. Fry are tiny and need very fine food, like infusoria or liquid fry food, until they can eat larger items.

Popular Blue Eye Rainbowfish – Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish, Spotted Blue Eye, and Forktail Blue Eye - "Pseudomugil furcatus f Aquarium DG" by Dirk Godlinski is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.
Popular Blue Eye Rainbowfish – Red Neon Blue Eye Rainbowfish, Spotted Blue Eye, and Forktail Blue Eye – “Pseudomugil furcatus f Aquarium DG” by Dirk Godlinski is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Aquarium Setup for Blue Eye Rainbowfish

Setting up an aquarium for blue eye rainbowfish involves creating an environment that closely mimics their natural habitats—shallow, plant-rich waters of Australia and New Guinea. These fish thrive in conditions that provide both ample swimming space and areas of dense vegetation. Here’s a guide to setting up the perfect aquarium for blue eye rainbowfish:

Aquarium Size

  • Start with a tank of at least 10 gallons (40 liters) for smaller species like Pseudomugil gertrudae(spotted blue eye) or Pseudomugil furcatus (forktail blue eye). Larger species or groups will require more space, so consider a 20-gallon (80-liter) tank or larger to give them ample room to swim and exhibit natural behaviors.

Water Conditions

  • Temperature: Maintain water temperatures between 75°F to 80°F (24°C to 27°C). Blue eye rainbowfish are adaptable but thrive in this temperature range.
  • pH Level: Aim for a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5. They can tolerate a range but prefer slightly acidic to neutral water.
  • Water Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is ideal.
  • Filtration: Use a filter that provides gentle water flow, as strong currents can stress these small fish. Sponge filters or hang-on-back filters with adjustable flow rates are good choices.

Tank Layout

  • Planting: Mimic their natural environment with plenty of live plants. Plants not only provide hiding spots but also help maintain water quality. Species like Java fern, Anubias, and various types of mosses are great choices that are easy to care for.
  • Substrate: Use a fine sand or small rounded gravel substrate that resembles the bottom of their natural habitats.
  • Decor: Include driftwood, rocks, and caves to create additional hiding spots and visual interest. Make sure there are open areas for swimming as well.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is sufficient for blue eye rainbowfish and will support plant growth without encouraging excessive algae.

Community Tank Considerations

  • Blue eye rainbowfish are peaceful and suitable for community tanks. They do well with other peaceful fish of similar size.
  • Avoid housing them with large or aggressive species that might bully or eat them.
  • Since they are schooling fish, keep them in groups of at least 6 to 10 to promote natural behavior and reduce stress.

Water Quality Maintenance

  • Perform regular water changes, typically 10-20% weekly, to keep the water clean and stable.
  • Test water parameters regularly with an aquarium test kit to ensure the environment remains healthy for your fish.
  • Avoid overfeeding, as excess food can decay and degrade water quality. Feed small amounts once or twice a day.

Acclimation

  • When introducing blue eye rainbowfish to your aquarium, acclimate them slowly to avoid shock from sudden changes in water parameters. This can be done by gradually mixing some aquarium water into the bag over the course of an hour before releasing them into the tank.

By following these guidelines, you can create a thriving aquarium for blue eye rainbowfish, providing them with a healthy and visually appealing environment that encourages their natural behaviors and beauty.

Conclusion

Blue eye rainbowfish, including the forktail, spotted and red neon blue eye rainbowfish, offer a unique blend of aesthetic appeal and engaging behavior, making them a beloved addition to the freshwater aquarium community. With their vibrant colors, peaceful nature, and fascinating social behaviors, they not only enhance the visual appeal of an aquarium but also contribute to a harmonious and dynamic ecosystem. By providing them with an environment that mimics their natural habitat, aquarists can enjoy the full spectrum of their beauty and activity. Whether you are new to the hobby or a seasoned aquarist, incorporating blue eye rainbowfish into your aquarium promises a rewarding experience filled with the joy and satisfaction of keeping these exquisite creatures.