Maximum size : 8 cm

Gary Lange's Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia garylangei : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The enchanting Gary Lange's Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia garylangei) bears the name of the esteemed rainbowfish enthusiast Gary Lange, who made the remarkable discovery of this species. Versatile and adaptable, these vibrant fish thrive in a community aquarium alongside larger species or within a  biotope aquarium alongside other Rainbowfish.
It is important to curate their tankmates carefully, avoiding aggressive species and instead opting for congenial and playful companions. While mature males may occasionally spar, such encounters are typically harmless unless a fish is persistently harassed, injured, or lacks good hiding spots.

With their inherent resilience and remarkable tolerance for fluctuating water conditions, Gary Lange's Rainbowfish are ideal for aquarists starting their journey. Nonetheless, ensuring clean water is paramount, regularly replacing 25-50% of the tank water, particularly in heavily stocked setups. In addition, these active swimmers possess a proclivity for jumping, underscoring the importance of a secure tank cover.

To truly appreciate the beauty of these captivating fish, it is advisable to maintain them in groups of six or more, as they are inclined to shoal. Furthermore, their energetic nature calls for a spacious aquarium, with a minimum length of 4ft, to provide ample room for swimming. Often overlooked in stores due to their comparatively drab juvenile appearance, these young specimens quickly transform into stunning adults once settled in a planted aquarium, showcasing their captivating colours.

Male Gary Lange's Rainbowfish boast an exquisite blend of hues, featuring a blue hue on the anterodorsal portion of the body and olive green on the remainder of the upper side. A yellowish tinge adorns the body's side anteriorly, while the belly region radiates in shades of red to orange. Their golden yellowish iris complements the mid-lateral blackish stripe spanning two scale rows, occasionally broken by a narrow dark stripe above the upper mid-lateral scale row. 

The mesmerizing ensemble continues with one to two red stripes above and below the mid-lateral stripe. The first dorsal fin is gentle blue, while the second dorsal, pectoral, anal, and central portion of the caudal fin boasts a vivid red. A lateral row of 5 to 12 red scales adorns the region behind the pectoral fin in the scale row beneath the dark mid-lateral stripe. Females exhibit a similar stripe pattern but generally display a light brown overall body colouration, with a whitish ventral area, lacking the blue nape and red fins found in males.

Gary Lange's Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Gary Lange's Rainbowfish is a relatively straightforward task. Generally, males exhibit slight physical differences that set them apart from females. They typically possess a slightly larger body size, accompanied by elongated fins, an exquisite display of their vibrant and captivating colouration. These distinct characteristics contribute to the visual distinction between the sexes, allowing for a clear differentiation between male and female specimens.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMelanotaenia garylangei
Year Described2015
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 7.0 - 8.0
GH 5 - 15
Ideal Temperature
77 - 82
25 - 28

Natural Habitat

Gary Lange's Rainbowfish is a captivating species that originates from the pristine rainforest creeks nestled within the enchanting West Papua Province of Indonesia, situated in the heart of Southeast Asia. These magnificent Rainbowfish inhabit the gentle currents of the Brazza River, which is part of the remarkable Eilanden River system.

These remarkable creatures thrive in their natural habitats, which boast a unique blend of clear and tannin-stained waters. The collection sites exhibit a diverse range of environments, with muddy substrates dominating the landscape. While submerged aquatic vegetation is a rarity, one exceptional site showcases the ethereal beauty of these underwater plants.

Gary Lange's Rainbowfish demonstrate a penchant for shallow regions adorned with the delicate allure of floating grass. These vibrant fish find solace within these tranquil areas and create a harmonious existence with their surroundings. Undisturbed habitats, gracefully sheltered by the towering forest canopy, provide a sanctuary for these remarkable creatures. In contrast, the more exposed and sun-kissed disturbed sites offer a glimpse into the dynamic interplay between light and life.


Establishing a dedicated breeding tank with specific parameters is crucial to breed Gary Lange's Rainbowfish successfully. This specialized environment should consist of soft and acidic water, supported by the use of a sponge filter for efficient filtration. In addition, an abundance of fine-leaved plants can be incorporated to provide suitable spawning substrates or a spawning mop can be employed.

Introducing a carefully selected group of three males to two females into the breeding tank after conditioning them with a balanced diet of live and plant-based foods is recommended. This dietary regimen aims to replicate the natural abundance observed during the flood season, fostering optimal reproductive conditions. When ready to lay eggs, the males will showcase a striking display of vibrant colours, enticing the females to accompany them to the designated spawning site.

To prevent the parents from consuming the precious eggs, it is essential to remove the spawning mop or plants promptly once the spawning process is completed. The fish will continue to engage in daily spawning activities for several days, albeit with diminishing egg production. Therefore, it is advisable to remove the parents from the tank when the egg count noticeably declines or when signs of fatigue become evident in the females.

Approximately 7 to 12 days following the completion of the spawning process, the eagerly anticipated moment arrives as the eggs hatch, heralding the arrival of the fry. At this stage, the fry requires nourishment in the form of infusoria or liquid fry food until they reach a size suitable for consuming small live foods. The rearing process of the fry demands attentive care and close monitoring, ensuring their well-being and development until they reach an approximate age of two months.

Diet & feeding

In the controlled environment of the home aquarium, Gary Lange's Rainbowfish showcases its adaptability and willingness to embrace a diverse array of nourishment. These remarkable fish readily partake in a well-balanced diet that encompasses a variety of high-quality dried foods, such as nutrient-rich granules, flakes, and sinking pellets. These meticulously formulated food products have been designed to cater to these vibrant aquatic creatures' specific nutritional requirements and overall well-being.

While these comprehensive dried food options provide ample sustenance for the thriving health of Gary Lange's Rainbowfish, there are additional foodstuffs that can further enhance their vitality. Including live, frozen, or freeze-dried delicacies, such as mini bloodworms, daphnia, and tubifex, once or twice a week, imparts additional benefits to the overall health and contentment of these magnificent fish.

Although this species primarily demonstrates an omnivorous nature in the wild, consuming a range of plant and animal matter, it is worth noting that modern fish foods conscientiously incorporate essential vegetable components. Nonetheless, for the discerning aquarist, supplementing their fish's diet with blanched vegetables, such as nutrient-rich spinach, vibrant broccoli, and succulent zucchini, adds an extra layer of nutritional diversity and satisfaction.

While providing nourishment for your Gary Lange's Rainbowfish, it is vital to exercise moderation in feeding practices, ensuring that an appropriate amount is offered and any remnants are promptly removed the following day. This mindful approach guarantees optimal dietary balance and maintains the overall water quality within the aquarium, preserving the health and well-being of these remarkable aquatic companions.

Other Rainbowfish of interest