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Maximum size : 9 cm

Aru Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia picta : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Aru Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia picta) is a captivating and medium-sized species that thrive in peaceful community aquarium setups. However, to fully appreciate their natural behaviour, keeping them in groups of six or more is recommended, as they exhibit a shoaling nature.

When selecting tankmates for the Aru Rainbowfish, it is crucial to choose compatible companions that promote a harmonious environment. Seek congenial and playful species while avoiding aggressive individuals. Although mature males may occasionally engage in minor territorial disputes, these encounters never pose a significant threat. Additionally, the Aru Rainbowfish's narrow mouths ensure that smaller tankmates remain unbothered and free from harm.

Creating a suitable habitat for the Aru Rainbowfish involves furnishing the aquarium with ample driftwood, rocky structures, and strategically placed aquatic plants. In addition, a spacious tank is highly recommended to accommodate their active nature and provide ample swimming room.

It is worth noting that juvenile Aru Rainbowfish may initially appear dull in colouration compared to their striking adult counterparts. However, once they settle into the security of a well-planted aquarium, these young specimens will gradually unveil their stunning adult beauty, transforming into vibrant and visually captivating individuals.

Mature Aru Rainbowfish males display a unique colouration pattern. Dorsally, their heads, nape, and two uppermost horizontal scale rows of the back are adorned in a captivating blue-grey hue. Their cheeks and operculum shimmer in silver to grey tones, with a distinct blood-red spot adorning the upper part of the operculum. The primary colouration of their iris is a pale yellow shade, while the sides of their bodies transition from blue to pale grey, with golden yellow edges outlining most scales.

A prominent patch of golden yellow can be observed on the anterior body, just behind and above the pectoral fin. Further golden yellow hues accentuate the base of their dorsal and caudal fins, as well as the membranous portions of their dorsal and anal fins. The remaining fins exhibit shades of blue-grey, with the exception of their semitranslucent pectoral fins, adding an extra touch of elegance to their appearance.

Aru Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Aru Rainbowfish is relatively straightforward. Males exhibit notable differences in size and body shape, being larger and slightly more robust in their physique. As they reach maturity, their vibrant colours become strikingly evident, setting them apart from their female counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMelanotaenia picta
Year Described2015
Other NamesPainted Rainbowfish
Max Size9 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 15
72 - 82
22 - 27

Natural habitat

Nestled within the enchanting Mareremar River system of Kobroor Island, Indonesia, the Aru Rainbowfish reveals its captivating presence. This remarkable species gracefully navigates the crystal-clear waters of rainforest brooks, where the tranquillity of quiet pools harmonizes with the gentle murmurs of small cascades. In this mesmerizing habitat, the substrate, adorned with smooth limestone, offers a unique tapestry of textures. At the same time, aquatic vegetation plays a minimal role, allowing nature's artistry to shine through fallen logs and branches, providing ample shelter for these remarkable fish.

How to breed the Aru Rainbowfish

To successfully breed Aru Rainbowfish, it is essential to establish a separate and appropriately sized breeding aquarium. This aquarium should be equipped with a small air-driven sponge filter that provides gentle circulation and filtration. As for the fish, a group of three females and two males should be carefully acclimated to the breeding aquarium. To create an ideal breeding environment, the tank should be adorned with an abundance of fine-leaved plants or clusters of Java moss.

Once settled in the breeding aquarium, the male Aru Rainbowfish will display courtship behaviour by swimming in front of a female and enticing her to follow. This mesmerizing display often involves the male leading the female over the plants, utilizing the entire tank length. During this process, the female will deposit a few relatively large eggs at a time, attaching them to the plants.

It is important to note that Aru Rainbowfish are known as "continual spawners," meaning that the spawning activity occurs over several days or even weeks. This can pose challenges for the aquarist, as some adult fish may exhibit cannibalistic behaviour towards the scattered eggs. However, ensuring that the adults are well-fed can help mitigate this issue.

Many experienced fishkeepers have discovered that Aru Rainbowfish eggs are surprisingly resilient. Some have successfully siphoned the eggs into another aquarium, while others have used spawning mops. By capturing a number of eggs on the mop, it can then be transferred to a separate tank, allowing for the replacement of a new mop to collect subsequent batches of eggs.

Under optimal conditions, the Aru Rainbowfish eggs typically hatch within a period of 6 to 9 days, influenced by the water temperature. Once the fry becomes free-swimming, they can be provided with infusoria as their initial food source, gradually transitioning to larger foodstuffs as they mature and develop.

Diet & feeding

Creating a well-balanced diet for Aru Rainbowfish is essential to support their overall health and vitality in the aquarium. Once acclimated to their new environment, these remarkable fish display a relatively straightforward feeding regimen. However, providing them with a diverse range of nutrient-rich foods is important to ensure their dietary needs are met.

Incorporating high-quality commercial flakes or small pellets into their daily meals is crucial as a foundation. These serve as a staple diet, providing essential nutrients and sustenance. In addition, supplementing their meals with meaty foods and vegetable matter is highly beneficial to mimic their natural feeding habits and promote a varied diet.

Meaty foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms should be included to satisfy their protein requirements. These sources of animal protein not only provide essential nutrients but also contribute to the nutritional diversity of their diet. Furthermore, integrating spirulina or algae wafers into their feeding routine fulfils their need for vegetable matter, supplying vital plant-based nutrients.

By offering a balanced combination of high-quality commercial flakes or pellets, meaty foods, and vegetable matter, aquarists can ensure that their Aru Rainbowfish receive a well-rounded and nutritious diet. Embrace the opportunity to curate a diverse culinary experience for these captivating aquatic inhabitants, unveiling their full splendour and supporting their overall well-being.

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