Max Size: 15cm

Madagascar Rainbowfish (Bedotia madagascarensis)

The Madagascar Rainbowfish are an excellent fish for the larger community aquarium. They can adapt to a variety of water conditions. Hobbyists often find that the Madagascar Rainbowfish is more cultured than the other Rainbowfish, making it suitable for housing with a broader array of tank mates. They are a schooling fish and seem to fair better when kept in groups of six or more. However, they are generally peaceful with each other and friendly with other fish of similar size and temperament.

The Madagascar Rainbowfish is an easier rainbowfish to care for and breed. However, these fish are better suited to the more advanced aquarist rather than a beginner. Like all Rainbowfish, they require pristine water, meaning frequent water changes are a must to avoid disease and keep them healthy. With a conventional filter and oxygenated water, this fish will be a rewarding addition to your aquarium.

The Madagascar Rainbow fish's body is long and slender with fins that are short but sturdy. The primary body colour is a pale yellowish-brown with silvery scales and a slight blue shine. A prominent, dark blue band runs the length of the fish with a second fainter and shorter bar just below it. The fins of males are black at the very base, fading through white into striking red, and finally ending with a black edge. The female's fins will be transparent or sometimes a subdued version of the male's fins. There are many regional colour variants.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameBedotia madagascarensis
Other NamesRed-Tailed Silverside, Madagascan Rainbow Fish, Zona
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.5
GH8 - 25
TDS0 - 268
72 - 77℉
22.2 - 25℃

Photos of the Madagascar Rainbowfish

Madagascar rainbowfish
Madagascar rainbowfish
Madagascar rainbowfish
Madagascar rainbowfish

Natural Habitat

The Madagascar Rainbowfish is endemic to the Mananjary River on the island of Madagascar off the east coast of Africa. They inhabit incredibly soft, clear, small flowing streams and lower stretches of rivers that drain into the coastal lagoons and lakes usually in the shaded parts of water. You will typically find them at altitudes of around 500 meters above sea-level.

Because of habitat modification and rapid deforestation, the Madagascar Rainbowfish is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as vulnerable.

What to feed the Madagascar Rainbowfish

In captivity, these Rainbowfish are easy to feed. It would be better to provide them with high-quality pellet or flake food as the staple of their diet and occasionally offer them live foods such as tubifex worms, bloodworm, daphnia and brine shrimp.

The live food should be fed at least twice per week as a supplement to the prepared diet, and if these are unavailable, they would also accept frozen substitutes. It would be best if you fed these fish twice a day and only what they can consume in less than 5 minutes.

How to sex the Madagascar Rainbowfish

It is relatively straightforward to distinguish males from female Madagascar Rainbowfish. In general, adult males are much more colourful and have a greater degree of colour in the fins than females. In contrast, Females are duller and fuller-bodied than males, particularly when gravid.

How to breed the Madagascar Rainbowfish

The Madagascar Rainbowfish is an egg scatterer that is relatively easy to breed in an aquarium environment.

You can accomplish spawning by placing a pair or a small group of one male and two or three females into an established aquarium.

The males can be quite aggressive towards females during spawning so make sure the tank is heavily planted with some large, fine-leaved plants, a few floating plants, and some driftwood roots for cover.

The females will lay several large brown eggs daily amongst the plants continuously over several months until spawning is completed. The female attaches her eggs to the plants by fine threads, and you can remove them every day and place them into a grow-out tank. Alternatively, you can leave them with the adults until the fry hatch out as the parents will ignore the eggs and the fry.

The eggs will generally hatch around 6 or 7 days after spawning occurs at which time you can offer the fry infusoria, rotifers, paramecia, or commercial powdered fry food. After a week or so later the fry will be big enough to consume newly hatched brine shrimp.

At first, you will find that the fry will swim in a slanting position, but within a few days, they should be able to swim normally.

The fry is exceptionally susceptible to fluctuations in water parameters and is considered challenging to raise. During the early stage, you should avoid performing any water changes for at least a couple of weeks. After this time minimal water changes are advised until they are a lot bigger.

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: 02/11/2020 - Updated: 02/02/2022 16:31:43