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.

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℃


Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish

Natural Habitat

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is endemic to the Tebera Lake basin in Papua New Guinea and its bordering streams, ponds, swamps, springs and marshes that are surrounded by rainforest-covered mountain slopes. They inhabit the clear, slow-flowing, densely vegetated areas both in the lake itself as well as the surrounding tributaries.


Lake Tebera Rainbowfish are unfussy, omnivorous species that will accept most dried food such as flakes, granules and micropellets alongside high-quality algae-based food such as green flake as well as frozen and live foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and daphnia. Regular feedings will help to ensure the fish exhibit their best condition and colours. In addition, these fish also thoroughly enjoy eating duckweed.

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.


Lake Tebera Rainbows are easy to breed. They are egg scatterers and will readily deposit their eggs amongst the vegetation and substrate.

You will need to set up a separate breeding tank and fill it with fine-leaved plants or Java Moss; spawning mops will also work just as well. The water needs to be slightly hard and alkaline, and the temperature needs to be between 72 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These Rainbowfish do not do well well in soft, acidic water conditions. You will not need substrate; however, you will need a small air-powered sponge filter to provide the pair with water movement and oxygenation.

You should then condition the group with plenty of live and frozen foods until you notice the females becoming plumper and the males starting to display to one another. Once you have chosen the fattest female and the most colourful male, you should place them in the breeding tank.

You can induce spawning by raising the water temperature in the breeding tank by a few degrees, at which point the pair will lay several batches of eggs daily for several weeks. Then, the eggs will be attached to the plants or moss by a tiny thread.

Although the parents will typically not eat the eggs, it's much easier raising the fry if you remove the eggs daily and introduce them into a rearing tank.

Depending on the water's temperature, the eggs will usually hatch in around 7 to 13 days. At that time, the fry will need Infusoria until they can accept microworms, baby brine shrimp or commercially prepared fry foods. Sinking foods are inappropriate because the fry will tend to stay very close to the water's surface.

Frquently 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: 02/02/2022 16:31:09