Tag Archive | "Melanotaenia Trifasciata"

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Blyth River]

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata)

The Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) is found in the northernmost part of Australia, however their range is extremely limited. In the Northern Territory they can be found in the Mary River, Melville Island, Arnhem Land, and Groote Eylandt. On the Cape York Peninsula, an isolated population lives in the McIvor River, and they are also found north of the Archer River.

Banded Rainbowfish are mostly found in small, gravel or rocky bottomed clear water streams and creeks, that often become littered with leaves and other debris during the dry seasons when they are forced to live in stagnant ditches and puddles with little to no water movement.

They inhabit a variety of habitats including swamps, lagoons, lakes, and rivers in densely grown semi rain forests, to the open savannahs shadowed by Eucalyptus and other trees along the banks of the waterways. Banded Rainbowfish are subject to seasonal changes in temperature, water levels, and dissolved sediments, and can tolerate pH values from 5.2 to 7.0 in their geographical range. They are extremely hardy in an aquarium environment but develop their best colors in slightly acidic water.

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Rocky Bottom Creek, Goyder R]

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Rocky Bottom Creek, Goyder R]

The Banded Rainbowfish is a stunning species that grow to over 5″ in length and in the wild are found in a plethora of color variations.

As adults, the fish have dorsal, anal, and caudal fins that are red, orange, or yellow in color. The upper part of the body can be colored red, green, blue, purple, yellow or gold. Most specimens have a distinct blue to blackish colored mid lateral stripe and in most populations, older males have a deep body with a humped forehead.

Banded Rainbowfish are not difficult to care for. They can be kept in a community aquarium with other peaceful species with the same water requirements, or in a single species biotope setting.   Because this rainbowfish can be quite skittish, it should be kept in shoals of at least 6-8 of its own kind, preferably more. One male to two females is an ideal grouping, and males will display their best colors in the company of conspecifics.

They do best in a densely planted 30 gallon or larger aquarium, with a gravel or sandy/gravel substrate, some driftwood roots for them to hide among, plenty of swimming space, and slightly acidic (down to pH 5.2) water. The water temperature in the tank should be kept in the 73-80 degrees F range.

Banded Rainbowfish are egg scatterers and prolific spawners that will readily breed in the aquarium. Although sexing can be tricky, the first dorsal fin in males will normally be longer than in females. Keeping at least two females for each male is recommended.

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Goyder River, Jewel]

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Goyder River, Jewel]

Although Banded Rainbowfish have been bred in alkaline conditions, acidic water is recommended for this species. Get the pair or trio into breeding condition with live, frozen, or freeze dried daphnia, bloodworms, tubifex or brine shrimp in addition to their normal flake food diet. When the females are plump, place the fish into a spawning tank with Java Moss or spawning mops and no substrate. Properly conditioned females will lay at least 50 eggs a day on the spawning mops or moss and continue for some time.

When the eggs are laid, remove them to a separate rearing tank with a “seeded” air powered sponge filter for circulation. The eggs usually hatch within a week to ten days and the tiny fry will absorb their eggs sacs and become free swimming approximately 24 hours later. Feed the fry infusoria, liquid fry food or powdered flake food until they are large enough to take newly hatched baby brine shrimp.

Adult Banded Rainbowfish are not fussy eaters and will accept most freeze dried, frozen, and live foods. Regular feedings of live and frozen foods will produce the most vivid colors in adult fish.

Like other rainbowfish, adult Banded Rainbowfish specimens are seldom available for sale. The more drab juvenile fish that are usually offered for sale to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts are usually 1 3/4″ to 2 1/2″ in size.

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Goyder River]

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia Trifasciata) [Goyder River]








Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
Water Conditions: 75.0 to 91.0° F, 8 – 20 dGH, pH 6.5-8.0
Max. Size: 4.5”
Color Form: Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Green
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: OK with like sized peaceful species
Origin: Northern Australia
Family: Melanotaeniidae
Lifespan: 5-8 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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