freshwater community4


Western Rainbowfish

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Scientific Name:   Melanotaenia australis      
Min. Tank Size:   40 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   72-82°F      
pH:   6.5-7.5/5-20°dGH      
Size:   4.5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Other Rainbowfish, Danios, Barbs, Characins, Gobies and Catfish. For a more exciting display consider a species tank appropriately sized to house 15 - 18 fish.

Western Rainbowfish

The Western Rainbowfish is endemic to western Australia where it can be found in rivers, creeks and the accompanying tributaries. They have also been observed living in the still waters of swamps and ponds as well as larger pools of water such as lakes and resevoirs. This particular species of Rainbowfish also displays a variety of colors and patterns depending on which region/population it came from. One of the most identifying chatacteristics is the dark colored pair of zig-zagging lines on the lower portion of the body. Adult males are larger, more colorful and deeper bodied than the females. Usually, it is the drabber juvenile fish that are most often seen for sale.

Tank Set-up

In their natural habitat, Western Rainbowfish prefer areas of dense vegetation as well as the cover of submerged driftwood. In the home aquarium it's best to mimic this habitat to provide a sense of security. A tank that's densely planted around the back and sides with some floating plants and driftwood for additional cover would be ideal. This is an active species so be sure to leave plenty of open space in the middle area for swimming. Like most Rainbowfish, Western Rainbowfish are peaceful fish but may intimidate smaller, slow-moving species.


In the wild Western Rainbowfish feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects as well as crustaceans and filamentous algae. They are not fussy eaters and will eagerly accept most foods offered. Feed a high-quality flake or pellet as a staple and supplement several times a week with live and/or frozen foods. Brine shrimp, Daphnia, and bloodworms are all good choices. Feed a diet consisting of a variety of foods on a regular basis to promote the best health and coloration.


Breeding Western Rainbowfish is relatively easy in the home aquarium. However, the adults may eat the eggs so you may want to consider a separate tank for raising the fry. The breeding tank should be kept at a pH of 7.0 and the temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Because these fish are egg scatterers, the breeding tank should be filled with plenty of fine-leaved plants, like java moss, in which the female can deposit her eggs. Hatching time for the eggs is usually around 7 - 10 days and the newborn fry can be fed infusoria until large enough to start accepting a baby brine shrimp.

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