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Maximum size : 9 cm

Exquisite Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia exquisita : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Exquisite Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia exquisita), known for its peaceful nature, active behaviour, and vibrant colours, thrives in a community aquarium alongside other tranquil species. Therefore, it is advisable to refrain from introducing disruptive inhabitants. A minimum school size of six is recommended to ensure the well-being and preservation of its natural behaviour.

In order to accommodate the Exquisite Rainbowfish's swift swimming habits and preference for well-oxygenated waters reminiscent of the base of waterfalls and rapids, it is advisable to provide it with ample space and enhanced aeration beyond the standard recommendations for fish of similar size. When arranging the aquarium, it is beneficial to replicate the natural environment of the Exquisite Rainbowfish, incorporating both hiding spots and open areas for swimming. The optimal aesthetic can be achieved by implementing a well-planted aquarium with darker gravel, further accentuating these Rainbowfish's colours.

Adult Exquisite Rainbowfish possess an olive hue on their dorsal side, while the lower half exhibits a silvery white shade. A distinctive pair of stripes runs along the midsection, accompanied by a red stripe just below it. Situated between the red stripe and the base of the anal fin, a pair of dark zigzag stripes can be observed. Additionally, the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are adorned with red edges, often accompanied by small black spots.

Exquisite Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Exquisite Rainbowfish is a straightforward process. Mature males can be identified by their noticeably elevated first dorsal fin, which extends beyond the point of origin of the second dorsal fin when in a depressed state. On the other hand, females can be recognized by their smaller and rounded dorsal as well as anal fins.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMelanotaenia exquisita
Year Described1978
Max Size9 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 15
75 - 86
24 - 30

Natural habitat

The Exquisite Rainbowfish is an indigenous species exclusive to Australia, found explicitly in freshwater habitats. Its distribution encompasses the Edith River, located approximately 1 kilometre upstream from Lake Malkyullumbo in the Northern Territory, as well as the King George River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Subsequently, another population was discovered in Bindoola Creek, a small stream converging into the Pentecost River within the Cambridge Gulf region in northeastern Western Australia.

These Rainbowfish prefer to inhabit steep gradient streams characterized by a multitude of cascades, along with water that typically maintains remarkable clarity. They tend to congregate in pools located at the base of small waterfalls, where water flow is rapid. Additionally, they can also be found in calmer sections of streams and lakes. These fish exhibit a proclivity for areas that receive ample sunlight exposure.

How to breed the Exquisite Rainbowfish

To successfully facilitate the breeding of Exquisite Rainbowfish, it is essential to furnish them with an appropriate spawning location within the aquarium, such as java moss or specifically designed spawning mops. 

Augmenting their diet with live food can potentially enhance the likelihood of successful spawning. Following the spawning process, the eggs typically hatch within ten days. During this stage, nourishing the fry with infusoria and powdered flake food is recommended until they reach a size that allows them to consume newly hatched brine shrimp.

Diet & feeding

To ensure the optimal health and vitality of Exquisite Rainbowfish, it is recommended to maintain a diverse and nutritionally balanced diet. A suitable approach involves utilizing dry prepared foods as a foundation and complementing them with a selection of live and frozen foods. This combination provides a comprehensive range of essential nutrients necessary for the well-being of these fish.

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