Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata)

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Banded Rainbowfish
Melanotaenia trifasciata
Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata)
Name Banded Rainbowfish
Name Lat. Melanotaenia trifasciata
Family Rainbowfishes
Family lat. Melanotaeniidae
Order Silversides
Order lat. Atheriniformes
Origin Australia
Habitat Streams, swamps
Diet Omnivore
pH 6.5-8.0
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Egg scatterer
Breeding Moderately difficult
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 12 cm
Temperature 25-30 °C
Hardness 10-20 °dH
Aquarium 200 l
US Units
Size 4.7"
Temperature 77-86 °F
Hardness 178-356 ppm
Aquarium 50 gal

Distribution and habitat

Jewel Rainbowfishes are widely distributed in the waters of northern Australia. They are found in a variety of habitats with dense underwater vegetation, such as lakes and swamps, but mostly in streams and small rivers with clear water, where they often live in shoals among branches and roots. There are populations that differ considerably in coloration.


The aquarium should have a dense background and edge planting, with shelters and hiding places (roots) and plenty of swimming space. A fine sandy substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves), light slightly shaded with floating plants (e.g. Rizzia) and medium hard water is ideal.&nbsp

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


The food supply consists of high-quality dry food supplemented with live food, which is also accepted without problems in frozen form, such as artemia, mysis, daphnia and mosquito larvae or a commercially available frozen food mix. In addition, they regularly require vegetable food, e.g. in the form of algae leaves or dry food (granules, flakes) with spirulina or kelp.

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day. Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms. Only as much should be fed as is eaten immediately (in a maximum of 10 minutes).

Behaviour and compatibility

They are lively, swarming fish and at least 5, but preferably much more should be kept together. In the shoal they show their most beautiful coloration. They are very peaceful and can be socialized well with rainbow fish of similar size, but also with other peaceful fish, such as barbs and catfish. Basically, only compatible fish species with similar demands on water conditions and water temperature should be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

The male is more colorful and has a distinctly pointed anal and second dorsal fin.

Reproduction and breeding

They are free spawners, which during the reproductive period daily in the morning (morning sun) deposit their eggs with adhesive filaments in fine-leaved plants. The fry hatch after 6-7 days. The parents do not engage in brood care.

Fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (dust food, infusoria). In community tanks breeding is hardly possible, because the spawn is easy prey.


They like to jump, so the aquarium should be well covered.

Different populations of the Jewel Rainbowfish should not be kept together, as they can interbreed (hybridize).

Feeding with live or frozen food, especially mosquito larvae should not be missing, they get an intense coloration.

Since they are very voracious, a fast day should be inserted once a week

The well-being of the fish should be checked regularly. The temperature should be checked daily, the pH, hardness and nitrate value at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); BAENSCH & RIEHL (2004): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 2, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF