Rainbowfish live in large schools in the wild to protect themselves from lurking predators and forage for food. In captivity, rainbowfish thrive in groups of 8 or more and prefer to school with their own kind. Keeping rainbowfish in a small group stresses them.
Let’s now understand why these fish prefer to live in schools.
Why Do Rainbowfish Prefer To Live In Schools?
Rainbowfish usually prefer to live in groups than alone in the wild.
This is because they share space and resources. They get a lot of benefits from being in school.
Given below are the most common reasons why rainbowfish form schools in their natural habitat.
1. Provides Safety
The primary reason for rainbowfish to live in schools is safety.
They use schools as a defensive mechanism against attacking predators in the wild.
By grouping into a tight and disciplined pattern, rainbowfish minimize the chances of attack by predators.
It’s always easy to catch a lone fish than to attack a large group of fish.
Rainbowfish look like a single, large creature when they form a large school.
It creates a blending effect because of which the predators struggle to catch a single fish as they get confused easily.
Schooling also increases the survival chances of young fish that can be an easy target for predators.
A large group of fish is also better equipped to defend their territory from attackers.
2. Helps In Foraging
Food is a primary concern for aquatic creatures in the wild.
Schooling helps boost a group’s foraging success compared to a solitary fish searching for food.
It’s because the chances of finding food are higher in a group.
A school of fish has many eyes looking for food. This makes it easier for them to forage for food.
Schooling also reduces the time spent on feeding.
This is good because the time spent on feeding is directly proportional to the risk of being caught by predators.
3. Enhances Communication
Schooling also enhances communication among the members of the school.
When one rainbowfish in the school senses danger, it immediately alerts other members through sound signals.
These alerts help the rest of the school to react quickly and take action against the threat.
Also, schooling allows the whole group to act together and coordinate with each other.
4. Improves Swimming Ability
It’s believed that schooling helps to conserve energy while swimming.
When fish swim alone, they expend more energy. However, they save energy when they swim in groups.
This is because swimming close to each other reduces the friction in the water. So the fish require less effort to move forward.
Schooling not only conserves energy but also improves the overall health and performance of the fish.
Alright! Now that you know the benefits of schooling, let’s understand how many rainbowfish should be kept together in an aquarium.
How Many Rainbowfish Need To Be In A School?
Rainbowfish are schooling fish that thrive well in a group of at least 8 or more.
The larger the group, the better it is. You can increase the number of fish as per the tank size.
If you house different species of rainbowfish, then there should be at least 6 of each species.
A large group helps rainbowfish to feel secure. This enables them to explore more of their surroundings in the aquarium.
This also makes the tank look attractive by enhancing the visual impact of their coloration.
Keeping rainbowfish in a small group can make them timid and lead to stress.
They can also lose their bright coloration due to stress. A stressed fish is also more susceptible to diseases.
Another vital thing to remember is that you should house more than one male in the group.
This helps to enhance their colors as they compete for the females’ attention.
However, always outnumber the males with females as it reduces aggression.
Female rainbowfish will also not get harassed continuously by the males during the breeding season.
Do Different Species Of Rainbowfish School Together?
Rainbowfish are schooling fish that like to stay close to each other and often swim in groups in their natural environment.
They prefer to swim in schools of their own kind.
Rainbowfish may shoal together with other species when kept in captivity. But they usually don’t form a school with other species.
Different species of rainbowfish can be housed together and live in harmony.
But while forming a school, rainbowfish prefer members of their own species.
Are All Rainbowfish Schooling Fish?
The majority of the rainbowfish species are schooling fish.
They can be found swimming in large schools in their natural habitat, where they’re vulnerable to attacks by predators.
So rainbowfish usually don’t stray away from the school and swim openly in the wild. They behave the same way in captivity too.
You can find them forming a group with their kind. They also come together at feeding time.
However, it’s not unusual for some rainbowfish to be on their own.
They don’t feel threatened in an aquarium unless there’s a large or predatory fish as their tankmate.
So they often wander around in the tank on their own.
Are Australian rainbowfish schooling fish?
Australian rainbowfish swim in schools in the wild and can be found in heavily planted environments that allow them to swim freely.
They mainly assemble near logs or riverbanks in their natural habitat.
In captivity, Australian rainbowfish should be kept in schools of six or more.
Are banded rainbowfish schooling fish?
Banded rainbowfish prefer to remain in schools in their natural environment.
They can be found schooling in large numbers in the wild. They stay healthy when kept in a school of six or more in an aquarium.
Keeping banded rainbowfish of different gender together helps enhance their coloration.
Are celebes rainbowfish schooling fish?
Celebes rainbowfish are beautiful, hardy, and active schooling fish that live in large schools in the wild.
These fish prefer planted aquariums with ample hiding places.
Keeping them in a group of six or more with a male to female ratio of 1:3 helps enhance their coloration and brighten the tank.
Are dwarf neon rainbowfish schooling fish?
Dwarf neon rainbowfish are elegant little creatures that love to stay in schools.
When kept in a group of 8 or more, these fish can be found happily schooling around in the tank.
Dwarf neon rainbowfish can get lonely, depressed, or stressed when kept alone or in a small group.
Are Lake Kutubu rainbowfish schooling fish?
Lake Kutubu rainbowfish are schooling fish.
These fish can be skittish and are better when kept in a group of at least 8 or more.
The males display the best coloration when kept with their own species.
They also need a large tank to stay healthy when kept in a large group of their kind.