Rainbow fish is small group of small (3-15 cm in length) freshwater species common in tropical waters of Australia and Madagascar. The group is recognized by a pointed and flattened snout, large scales and the two closely set dorsal fins. These fishes become more brightly colored at spawning time, with males much more colorful than females. Rainbow fish are perfect companions to many kinds of cichlids. As a group, they are easily fed and highly adaptable to a wide range of pH and water hardness. As an added bonus, rainbowfish prefer the upper reaches of the water column, thus providing activity to a portion of aqarium normally shunned by cichlids.

Red Rainbowfish
Red Rainbowfish Glossolepis incisus

Parkinson's Rainbowfish
Parkinson's Rainbowfish Melanotaenia parkinsoni

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Rainbowfish are active fish and require bright lightning and clear water. Dense vegetation and a great deal of swimming space should be provided. Recommended plants are Vallisneria, Bolbitis, Cratopteris, and Aponogeton. Cushions of Java moss are an ideal site for the red rainbowfish. They are sensitive to a pH below 7. The ideal temperature is 75°F, plus or minus 3°F.

Photography by Larysa Johnston


  1. Australian Fish Guide. Francis Bernard Prokop
  2. Cichlids: Everything about Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Behavior, and Training. Georg Zurlo, David M. Schleser
  3. Small Animal Care and Management. Dean M. Warren

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