Freshwater Rainbowfish

Sparkling and Serene – Get some Australian Rainbowfish in your community tank today!

Much like the best-selling children’s book character of the same name, rainbowfish are a brilliantly iridescent fish with a friendly temperament. They are very tolerant to a wide array of water conditions and play well with other small, placid fish. Read more
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There are over 50 identified species of rainbowfish, though most are exceedingly rare. Many feature a large bump on their heads and are typically around 11 cm (4.5”) at maximum length. An excellent fish both for beginners and experts, rainbowfish are perhaps the most popular native fish for Australian aquarists.

Rainbow fish Care

Rainbows are fairly low maintenance fish, although they can be picky about water cleanliness and nitrate spikes. Be sure to cycle your water regularly and so a planted freshwater aquarium can help to control your tank nitrate levels. Other than these necessities, you have a wide range to work with for your water parameters and tankmates. Rainbowfish have no specific diseases to worry about, though they are not immune to the more common issues like ick. Although they are a very placid fish, they can be susceptible to stress, so be sure to follow this guide for tips on how to minimise stress on your Rainbowfish. Some of our popular species include the Bleher’s Rainbowfish, Chequered Rainbow and our 10x pack of Flyspeck Hardyheads.

Natural Habitat

Rainbowfish are found throughout Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, far northern Australia and parts of Indonesia. This diversity will mean some species will have slightly different preferences, but they all enjoy clear, slightly warmer water and live plants to shelter amongst.

Behavior/Compatibility for Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish are a very placid fish that get along well with just about all similarly sized species. Only super aggressive fish such as Cichlids or Betta Fish(Siamese Fighting Fish) should unsurprisingly be avoided as tank mates. As a naturally shoaling fish, rainbows should be kept in groups of no less than 5 in order to avoid stress. They may show some aggression between males at breeding time, but even this is very mild. Rainbows are mid-level swimmers that should have no problems swimming out in the open water of your tank as long as they know they have some hiding spots available. Some of our recommended tankmates for Rainbow fish include Angelfish, Barbs, Danios, Gouramis, Sharks and other Rainbowfish.

Housing Rainbowfish and Aquarium Fish Tank Set-up Tips

  • Tank

    As avid swimmers, rainbowfish should have a slightly larger tank comparative to their size. A shoal in a small tank may appear to have enough room, but this will eventually cause them stress as they naturally claim a fairly large territory in the wild. Shoals should also consist of a minimum of 5 of the same species of rainbows, with a bias towards females in numbers, with longer tanks being far better than tall. It should be noted that the vast array of different species reach slightly varying maximum sizes, so be sure to check on individual species needs before deciding on a tank or number of fish. The chart below is representative of mid-range species such as Bleher’s Rainbow Fish, with a max length of 11 cm (4.5”), starting with the minimum recommended shoal size.

    Recommended Max Fish Count Tank Volume
    5 Rainbowfish 134 litres (30 gallons)
    8 Rainbowfish 160 litres (35 gallons)
    12 rainbowfish 227 litres (50 gallons)
    15 Rainbowfish 318 litres (70 gallons)
  • Base

    The type of substrate is really up to you when it comes to rainbowfish. They will rarely venture to the bottom of the aquarium to dig for scraps, so you may decide based on the needs of your other species or aesthetic reasons. As for colour, dark substrates work particularly well with rainbowfish. This makes your fish look extra iridescent by contrast, and can also help them feel less exposed and more at ease.

  • Foliage

    Live plants are an absolute must for Rainbowfish and we have those available for your to order from our online aquarium plant section, but you will need to strike a balance to avoid too much clutter. A few Java moss and/or Crested Java Fern plants are ideal, just be sure to keep the vast majority of the water column clear for swimming space. A central piece of driftwood is also highly recommended to simulate the tree roots they would naturally converge amongst in the wild.

  • Water

    Having adapted to a range of different water conditions in the wild, most rainbowfish can handle fairly diverse water parameters. Keep in mind that the following parameters are recommended for only the majority of rainbowfish species, so please always check the needs of your specific species. They can usually tolerate temperatures of 24 to 30 degrees C (75 – 86 F). Depending on your local climate, you may need to install a water heater to ensure the temperature stays within this range.

    Your Ph should be of 7.2-7.6 and you should aim for a hardness of 5-15 DGH. To ensure your pH and hardness are suitable you should invest in a testing kit. Always ensure your water is properly filtered, and regularly change the water (25% weekly or 50% every other week). This is especially important with rainbowfish.

    You should also filter the substrate regularly and adjust the chemistry of any tap water you use to top your tank. You may do this with one of our many water conditioning products.

Feeding and Care

Rainbowfish are omnivorous, with a bias towards meat and insects. They are not particularly fussy eaters, so just be sure you are providing a balanced variety of nutrients. High-quality fish flakes are a great staple, with regular feedings of bloodworms, mosquito larvae and minced vegetables. You will be able to find a suitable diet for your rainbowfish on our fish food page. Please note that you will need to take extra care not to overfeed them as Rainbowfish are surface feeders only and will not scavenge for scraps on the bottom.

Great reasons to keep Rainbowfish in your tropical fish tank

  • • Their iridescent scales look absolutely amazing, particularly in the proper light.
  • • They are very sociable and will spend the majority of their on full display.
  • • They are very hardy and make excellent tankmates for a wide range of fish.

Check out our range of Rainbowfish from Australia below to select your newest and most brilliant resident of your freshwater fish tank. Will you go for some of our most popular varieties like the Neon Rainbowfish, Boesemani Rainbowfish or the Murray River Rainbowfish? Order below and we'll have them delivered to you in no time at all!

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Rainbow Fish

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  1. Neon Rainbow 3cm Melanotaenia Praecox
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