Max Size: 13cm

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata)

The remarkable Banded Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia trifasciata, gets along with other large fish in a community aquarium but does exceptionally well in a biotope aquarium housed with other Rainbowfish.

Rainbowfish should not be kept with aggressive species; instead, they should be housed with good-natured, playful fish.

There may be sparring between your Rainbowfish, especially mature males, but it is unlikely to cause concern unless the fish is continuously harassed or injured or has nowhere to hide.

As a naturally hardy fish and incredibly tolerant of changes in water conditions, Banded Rainbowfish are an excellent fish for beginning aquarists.

This species has various colours, such as blue, green, red, yellow, or purple. Their anal, dorsal, and caudal fins are generally red or yellow, and their lateral stripes are usually dark blue to black.

The colours of the Banded Rainbowfish are bright, and every river system has its own uniquely different colour pattern, and there are estimated to be over thirty variants.


Banded rainbowfish
Banded rainbowfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia trifasciata
Other NamesJewel Rainbowfish, Goyder River Rainbowfish, Three-striped Sunfish, Regal Rainbowfish, Three stripe Rainbow
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.5
GH8 - 25
70 - 79℉
21.1 - 26℃


In the home aquarium, the Banded Rainbowfish will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

There is a relatively straightforward way to distinguish male Banded Rainbowfish from females. The males are typically larger, deeper bodied, and more vividly coloured (especially when spawning and sparring), possess a more prominent arched back, and have longer anal and dorsal fins. Conversely, females are smaller, slimmer, and less coloured compared to males.


Breeding the Banded Rainbowfish is straightforward once these fish are happily established and settled into your aquarium. You will need a mature pair or group of males and females, along with a spawning mop, preferably floating at the top of the aquarium downwards to the substrate.

Despite spawning year-round, Rainbowfish lay many eggs at the beginning of the rainy season. In addition, temperature increases, and live and frozen foods often encourage spawning.

Check your spawning mops daily for any eggs that have been deposited and either remove the eggs from the mop or, better still, remove the entire mop to avoid contamination of the Rainbowfish eggs.

Tip: Have several spawning mops at hand so you can place a fresh spawning mop into the aquarium while you wait for the eggs to hatch on the other mop/s.

Place the spawning mop with eggs still attached into a separate small cycled aquarium with a sponge filter for flow, and add a few drops of Methylene Blue (Methylene Blue helps prevent fungal infections of eggs).

Your rainbowfish Eggs will hatch within 7 to 18 days, depending on the species and the temperature. We recommend 27°C = 80.6°F for the fastest development of fry.

Once the Rainbowfish fry hatch, they absorb their yolk sacs quickly and become free swimming, moving towards the water's surface. Once the fry reaches the water's surface, you can start feeding. We recommend feeding on Micorworm (the most straightforward live food to culture) and decapsulated brine shrimp egg powder several times a day while being careful not to overfeed and pollute the water column.

After a week or two, you can start to add newly hatched brine shrimp, but this isn't necessary to achieve a high success rate in our experience.

Rainbowfish fry grows slowly, so you should expect to wait several months before the fry is large enough to be added to the adult colony.

Other Rainbowfish of interest

Boesemans Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia Boesemani)
Celebes Rainbowfish(Marosatherina ladigesi)
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia praecox)
Forktail Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil furcatus)
Honey Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil Mellis)
Ivantsoffs Blue Eye Rainbowfish(Pseudomugil ivantsoffi)
View all Rainbowfish
Date Added: 26/11/2020 - Updated: 12/08/2022 11:58:36