Max Size: 10cm

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi)

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is a beautiful coloured fish that becomes more colourful as it ages. In the aquarium, these fish are peaceful, active and lively. However, it would be beneficial for your fish if you provide them with plenty of swimming space alongside dense patches of vegetation or other hiding spots.

These Rainbowfish are shoaling fish that you should keep in groups of 6 to 8 individuals; otherwise, they can be pretty skittish. The males will also be inspired to display their best colours in the company of their own kind.

You can keep Lake Tebera Rainbowfish with other similarly-sized Rainbowfish, Barbs, Danios, Characins, and peaceful Corydoras. These fish have also been housed with Rift Lake Cichlids in a community aquarium.

These Rainbowfish have bright yellow bodies with a greenish tinge decorated with a bluish to black mid-lateral stripe that begins just before the eye and moves to the base of the caudal fin. Their caudal, dorsal and anal fins can be either red or yellow in colour. Significant male individuals usually are very deep-bodied.


Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia herbertaxelrodi
Other NamesAxelrodi Rainbowfish, Yellow Rainbowfish
OriginsPapua New Guinea
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan6 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.5 - 8.0
GH10 - 15
68 - 79℉
20 - 26.1℃


In the home aquarium, the Lake Tebera 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

It is effortless to distinguish males from female Lake Tebera Rainbowfish if they are in spawning condition; otherwise, it can be tricky.

Spawning males develop a white or intense blue stripe that begins at the first dorsal fin and extend over the neck to the tip of the snout, and the entire head of the male turns almost entirely black, and the rest of the body turns a bright yellow with red fins.

Males are also more brightly coloured and more extensive than females and develop deeper bodies with longer anal and dorsal fins.


Breeding the Lake Tebera 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.

Frequently asked questions

Are Lake Tebera Rainbowfish a shoaling species?

Yes, Lake Tebera Rainbowfish are naturally a shoaling species that you should keep in groups of at least six individuals. However, more would be better as they can be reasonably skittish in smaller groups. They will also exhibit more natural behaviour in a bigger group.

How big do Lake Tebera Rainbowfish grow?

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish can grow up to 10 cm in length, with the males being slightly larger than the females.

How long do Lake Tebera Rainbowfish live

The typical life span for Lake Tebera Rainbowfish can be anything from six to eight years, depending on their quality of life and their water conditions.

What are the best tankmates for Lake Tebera Rainbowfish?

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is an excellent community fish and can be kept with other similarly-sized Rainbowfish, Characins, Barbs, Danios and peaceful Corydoras. Some people have also kept these fish with Rift Lake Cichlids.

What is the difference between male and female Lake Tebera Rainbowfish?

Unless your fish are in spawning condition, it can be somewhat tricky to differentiate between male and female Lake Tebera Rainbowfish. However, males are usually slightly larger and more colourful than females.

What should I feed my Lake Tebera Rainbowfish?

You should feed your Lake Tebera Rainbowfish on good quality flake foods making sure you include some vegetable matter; this can be in the form of vegetable flakes, boiled peas, blanched spinach or lettuce. Alongside regular feedings of live and frozen foods, this will improve their colour.

Other Rainbowfish of interest

Banded Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia trifasciata)
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)
View all Rainbowfish
Date Added: 09/06/2021 10:52:19 - Updated: 12/08/2022 12:44:39