Notropis chrosomus is a drop dead gorgeous fish. Even more interestingly, they are native to the Eastern United States, being collected from Georgia, Alabama, and southeastern Tennessee. One of many species of fish known as “shiners”, Notropis chrosomus is known as the rainbow shiner. Most months out of the year, they have a reddish orange lateral line, and are a dull purple above, and a pale cream below. However, for a few months out of the year, during breeding season, the males develop a brilliantly blue face and top side, and the fins get striking red, blue, and orange streaks, truly embodying the word rainbow. Breeding season is typically in May and June in the wild, right when the water temperature starts to rise for the year, most likely a trigger which allows the fry to get as large as possible before the temperatures drop again for the year. In the home aquarium, there has been marginal success in using temperature cycles to bring out color in these fish, since they do not seem to like being in warm water for extended periods of time. Ours are tank bred in the Czech republic, and they are currently over 2 inches in length, nearly at their adult length.
This fish is naturally collected from riffles and pools in relatively quick moving water, in creeks and small rivers. This is something that you should consider when setting up an aquarium for these cyprinids, as they are definitely capable of swimming quite quickly, and so you’ll probably want to add a stronger powerhead to generate a current for them to swim against. A riffle is a place in a creek or river in which the current doubles back on itself and circulates, so maybe designing in an area for your fish to rest, in which the current is mostly or completely blocked off. Another thing that typically accompanies high flow is high concentration of dissolved oxygen, which is a fairly critical thing for this species, which consumes a lot of energy when it is constantly fighting current, so you may want to add an airstone to supplement the gas exchange as well. Some river rocks and maybe a few branches are good to recreate its natural environment.
This fish is not the simplest fish to set up but if you get a big group of them all swimming together in breeding dress, you will be hard pressed to find something that is more beautiful. The range of color you can get, as well as the behavior as they dart to and fro, is something not many species can match. Some good fish to keep with these guys would be things that can handle a strong current, such as stiphodons or ancistrus possibly, and maybe some larger, quicker tetras. You could also opt for a more natural style setup, as there are a few species of darters that are native to the same area, and live their lives clinging to the rocks in high current zones, as well as many other similarly beautiful species of shiners that are also native to the United States. These fish do not ship individually bagged.
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