Max Size: 13cm

Banded Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata)

The Banded Rainbowfish gets along with other large fish in a community aquarium but does exceptionally well in a biotope aquarium housed with other Rainbowfish. Extremely shy or docile tank mates tend to make bullies out of them. It would be best if you did not keep Rainbowfish with overly aggressive species instead keep them with other good-natured, playful fish for most excellent results.

You may sometimes notice chasing between Rainbowfish, but this is rarely a concern unless a fish has nowhere to hide, or is continuously harassed or injured.

The Banded Rainbowfish is an exceptional fish for the beginner aquarist as they are incredibly tolerant to water condition changes and naturally can fight off most aquarium diseases.

Banded Rainbowfish are schooling fish, and the proportion of males to females is significant to keep a reasonable peace amongst them. Although single-sex schools are always a possibility, you will miss out on the striking displays of colouration only seen in a mixed-sex school.

The Banded Rainbowfish has a long and deep body. Their heads are tapered, and they have an arched back. They possess two dorsal fins and have large eyes.

This species come in a variety of different colours such as blue, green, red, yellow or purple. Their anal, dorsal and caudal fins are usually red or yellow and will typically display a dark blue to black mid-lateral stripe.

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 variations.

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 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Banded Rainbowfish

Banded rainbowfish
Banded rainbowfish

Natural Habitat

The Banded Rainbowfish is endemic to Melville Island, Mary River, Arnhem Land, and Groote Eylandt in Northern Australia. Due to the changes in their natural environment, these Rainbowfish inhabit many different conditions.

They typically live in well-vegetated slow-flowing streams and rivers with clear water and waterholes as well as swamps, lagoons, and even stagnant puddles during the dry season. You can also find them in areas with strong water flow.

The substrate in their natural habitat contains rocks and small stones covered in dead leaf litter. You will typically find this fish underneath floating plants or submerged branches, driftwood and bogwood.

What to feed the Banded Rainbowfish

The Banded Rainbowfish is unfussy and will readily accept most high quality dried flakes and pellets as well as live foods such as Bloodworms, white worms, tubifex, daphnia and brine shrimp. Making sure you regularly feed them will ensure their best condition and colouration.

How to sex the Banded Rainbowfish

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish males from female Banded Rainbowfish. Males will typically be larger, deeper bodied and more vividly coloured, have a more significant arched back and possess longer anal and dorsal fins. In comparison, females are smaller, slimmer and are less coloured than males.

How to breed the Banded Rainbowfish

you should set up a breeding tank with a sponge filter and plenty of fine-leaved plants. Spawning mops work just as well.

It would be best if you introduced a pair of healthy adult Rainbowfish to the tank and then condition them with live and plant-based foods. Remember, you are trying to imitate the liberality of the flood season so feed them with a higher quantity and higher quality food than you would normally.

Once the female has created eggs, the males will then display a fantastic show of intense colours and lead the female to the spawning site, spawn, and then relax.

The plants or spawning mops should be removed and replaced after spawning has taken place, or the parents will consume the eggs. The pair will repeat this daily for several days until the female is spent of eggs. You should remove the parents when egg numbers decline or if the females show symptoms of fatigue.

The fry will usually hatch after around a week, and you should initially feed them with a liquid fry food or infusoria until they are capable of eating small live foods.

The fry is challenging to raise until they are around two months old. The fry grows slowly and requires clean water during the entire process.

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: 02/02/2022 16:24:05