Rainbow Shiner (Notropis Chrosomus)

Rainbow Shiner also known as Notropis Chrosomus or Hybopsis chrosomus is a North American species of ray-finned fish. It lives in springs and small clear rivers of drainage areas of Coosa, Cahaba, Alabama, Black Warrior River systems in northwestern Georgia, Alabama, and southeastern Tennessee. It also inhabits gravelly and sandy pools of creeks and small rivers.

Notropis Chrosomus are benthopelagic, that is they live and feed near the bottom of rivers and in midwaters as well as near the surface.



Rainbow Shiners have elongated translucent pinkish bodies with a bright golden band along the midline of the flank that starts behind the operculum and ends at the base of the tail fin. They have red or orange blotches on the dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins.

During spawning seasons, the midline of the flank will turn into silver-black in males. They develop a purple band above the midline band and a shiny blue band below it, their heads become purple and noses become red while their ventral fins turn into blue.

Adult size varies between 5 to 8 centimeters. Females have thicker bodies and have a more faded color than males.

Patterning variant and iridescence changes with reflected light. Using LED lighting may help to enhance the view of their metallic coloration. The fish is also known for its impressive metallic coloration and popular in the aquarium hobby.

Behavior and Compatibility

Rainbow Shiners are peaceful active shoaling fish and need to be kept in groups of 6 or more, consisting of males and females to ensure that males have potential mates to display to and rival males to show off against. They are mid to top dwelling species and they can share their space with similar types of fish (in size and temperament) that are likely to enjoy the same environment and conditions.

They will do well with tankmates such as nemacheilid loaches (Schistura, Nemacheilus, and Mesonoemacheilus). Because these fish occupy the lower levels of the tank. Also, botiid loaches (Sinibotia pulchra and Ambastaia nigrolineata), Weather loaches (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus), Black Banded Darter (Percina nigrofasciata), Alabama darter (Etheostoma ramseyi), Alabama shiner (Cyprinella callistia), and Rhinogobius sp. gobies are other good tankmates.

It is not recommended to keep Notropis Chrosomus with long-finned tankmates.

Water Parameters

Rainbow shiners are unfussy and adaptable cool water fish.
The general water hardness required is between 10 and 20 dGH at a pH value between 6.5 and 7.5. The temperature should be in the range of 10° to 20°C (50° to 68°F).

Proper Tank Conditions

The minimum tank volume required is 95 liters and well filtration is necessary. They need to have sufficient swimming space – 6 fish for 200 liters- and they will also need plenty of hiding places (you can decorate the tank with rocks, bogwood, and live robust plants).

The higher the temperature of the water, the greater the level of oxygenation is required. Since these fish require well aeration in case the water temperature has raised, the aeration must also be increased. To resemble a natural habitat for Notropis Chrosomus it is necessary to create a slow-moving riffle or stream (moderate water-flow). Using sand, pebbles, and gravels of various sizes at the bottom will also do well. Driftwoods and water-worn rocks are also suitable for decorating the aquarium. They will leave plants untouched, so they can live in planted aquariums with success.


Notropis Chrosomus are omnivorous drift feeder fish. In the wild, they feed on small-sized food like invertebrates and plant matter drifting in the current. In captivity, their diet is adaptable. They will eat live (bloodworms, brine shrimps, etc.) frozen (mosquito larvae, daphnia, bloodworms, and vitamin-enriched brine shrimps) and flake food and pellets.

The fry can be fed with liquid fry food, Artemia nauplii, and microworms.



Notropis Chrosomus become sexually mature at one year of age and spawn between May and June in the wild (late spring/early summer) when the water temperature starts to rise. So, to breed Notropis Chrosomus, you will need to slightly increase the water temperature. The male will start to woo the female by dancing and displaying his bright colors. The nests are made on the fine gravel substrate and during spawning, the males become territorial and defend the nests.

The parents do not care for their eggs and will eat them when spawning ends. So, it is best to remove the parents into a separate tank following the spawning ritual.

The eggs are temperature-dependent and hatch in around a week. After they are hatched the fry stays at the bottom to finish absorbing their yolk sac. During this period the fry does not need feeding with anything else. Once the fry becomed free swimming, they can eat vinegar eels, microworms, and rotifers. Afterwards, once they get bigger, they can also eat newly hatched brine shrimp and later grindal worms. Gradually they will accept larger size dry fish foods both in granule and flake form.

Image Source:

https://www.plantica.pl/ – Paweł Czapczyk


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