How do I keep Pseudomugil signifer?

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The Pacific blue-eye is one of the smaller species of rainbowfish. Heiko Bleher offers some advice on its care.

There are quite a few different variants of this fish. They are found along almost the entire Pacific river drainage of Queensland, Australia, from the extreme northern part to the extreme southern state border into New South Wales.

Pseudomugil signifer are freshwater fish, but I found some populations in brackish habitats and tidal mangrove creeks. Yet I am sure those in the hobby are all freshwater populations and offspring of the latter.

The aquarium set-up should be of sandy ground with not too large gravel and driftwood. Aquatic vegetation could consist of Cyperus (maybe C. difformis or C. helferi), Eleocharis (maybe acuta, dulcis or spacelata), Hydrilla verticillata, Hydrocotyle  ranuncloides, Potamogeton species (crispus, geayi or pectinatus), Lagarosiphon major and Myriophyllum rubra.

If you have problems finding any of those you can also use Vallisneria gigantea.

As mates I suggest Ornate rainbowfishes (Rhadinocentrus ornatus), one of the Melanotaenia trifasciata populations or Melanotaenia splendida splendida, some gobies like the Empire gudgeon (Hypseleotris compressa) or a Mogurnda species (such as M. adspersa, clivicola, larapinatae or the type species M. mogurnda).

Water parameters depend on population. Some come from very alkaline habitats, but they should be pH 5.8-7.0; conductivity 50-200 µS/cm. Temperature in nature ranges from 15-29°C/59-84°F.

This item was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. It may not be reproduced without written permission.