Many people gravitate towards guppies, platies, and zebra danios sold at major pet store chains because they are small, energetic, and colorful. But if you’re looking for a slightly uncommon fish to liven up your aquarium, let us introduce you to the forktail or furcata rainbowfish.
What are Forktail Rainbowfish?
Pseudomugil furcatus hails from the rainforests of Papua New Guinea, where it is often found in clearwater streams that are teeming with plant life. This 2-inch (5 cm) rainbowfish is known for its glowing blue eyes, yellow fins, and distinct fork pattern on the tail. Because of the yellow tips on their pectoral fins, it almost looks like the fish are waving little pom-poms as they swim around. Like most rainbowfish, the females are less colorful than the males, but we definitely recommend getting 1–2 females for every male. In the presence of females, males display brighter coloration and “spar” with each other in a delightful, circular dance.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Furcata Rainbows
This nano fish is quite the speedy swimmer, so set up a 20-gallon aquarium or bigger to give them plenty of room. They enjoy temperatures between 75–80°F (24–27°C), slightly alkaline pH above 7.0, and at least 5° (90 ppm) GH. Rainbowfish tend to swim in the upper half of the aquarium, so an aquarium hood or lid is a must to prevent them from jumping out. Given their natural habitat, consider creating a forest of live aquarium plants for them to explore and swim between.
As schooling fish, they appreciate being surrounded by as many of their own kind as possible. Fish stores often sell rainbowfish in male-female pairs to make sure that people don’t buy up all the boys, so start with a healthy group of at least three pairs (or two males and four females).
What fish can live with forktail rainbowfish? These happy-go-lucky fish can live with almost any peaceful community fish of similar sizes, such as corydoras, tetras, and rasboras. However, they may outcompete slow-moving fish during mealtimes, so keep an eye on the food situation to make sure everyone gets a bite. In our experience, they did not bother the adult dwarf shrimp, but they will happily eat any baby shrimp that happens to attract their notice. Also, we have successfully kept Pseudomugil rainbows in community tanks with a betta fish, but it all depends on the betta’s temperament so be prepared to remove him if necessary.