Profile Photo

Maximum size : 8 cm

Ornate Rainbowfish - Rhadinocentrus ornatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The captivating and highly sought-after Ornate Rainbowfish (Rhadinocentrus ornatus) holds a special place in the hearts of passionate aquarists. Renowned for their peaceful nature, moderate size, and remarkable adaptability, these aquatic gems have become a favourite among hobbyists worldwide. Whether you opt for a dedicated species aquarium adorned with lush vegetation or choose to integrate them harmoniously into a community tank, the Ornate Rainbowfish promises to captivate and inspire.

While creating an ideal environment, it is crucial to consider the compatibility of tankmates. Ornate Rainbowfish thrive in the company of small, non-aggressive species that share their tranquil disposition. Careful selection ensures a harmonious coexistence, as boisterous or aggressive companions may overshadow the delicate beauty of these elegant creatures. To truly unlock their vibrant splendour, keeping them in a shoal of six or more individuals is recommended. This social arrangement fosters a sense of security, enabling the males to unleash a kaleidoscope of colours as they compete for attention within their own species.

In appearance, the Ornate Rainbowfish boasts a slender and elongated body, exquisitely adorned with two striking rows of jet-black scales gracefully tracing the middle of their flanks. As light dances upon their form, metallic hues of ethereal light blue or fiery red iridescence shimmer above the lateral line and below the dorsal fin. Each glance at these radiant creatures reveals a living work of art, a testament to the wonders of nature's brushstroke.

Ornate Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Ornate Rainbowfish is a relatively straightforward task. Males exhibit more vibrant and striking colours compared to females. Additionally, males possess an elongated second ray in the second dorsal fin and an extended anal fin. During the breeding period, males display a captivating red stripe extending from the snout to the second dorsal fin. On the other hand, females exhibit shorter fins, more subdued colouration, and are typically slightly smaller in size when compared to their male counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameRhadinocentrus ornatus
Year Described1914
Other Namessoft-spined sunfish
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH10 - 20
68 - 82
20 - 27

Natural habitat

The captivating Ornate Rainbowfish can be found exclusively in the enchanting landscapes of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland in Australia. These remarkable fish inhabit a diverse range of habitats, from the calm and tannin-stained waters of coastal streams to tranquil pools, meandering creeks, and even the secluded backwaters of more significant streams. They also find solace in the serenity of dune lakes and charming ponds. Ornate Rainbowfish have a predilection for forming small schools, seeking comfort and safety under the protective embrace of branches, submerged logs, swaying reeds, lush grassy banks, and the intricate web of lily roots.

How to breed the Ornate Rainbowfish

Breeding Ornate Rainbowfish requires careful attention and a well-executed plan, though it is not an overly daunting task. A separate breeding tank becomes necessary to ensure successful reproduction when housing these Rainbowfish in a community aquarium. Creating an optimal breeding environment entails heavily planting the tank with fine-leaved plants or utilizing spawning mops as a suitable substitute. In addition, it is essential to adjust the temperature to slightly lower than their usual conditions, accompanied by water that is slightly hard and alkaline.

A small air-powered filter should be implemented to ensure proper water flow and sufficient oxygenation. Preparing the fish for spawning involves conditioning them with protein-rich live or frozen foods over a span of several weeks. Recognizing the readiness for spawning can be observed through the males' displays to one another and the females' increased plumpness. Selecting the healthiest and most vibrantly coloured individuals, these chosen pairs are then transferred to the breeding tank.

Once in the breeding tank, the male takes charge, leading the female to a suitable spawning site. Then, using a delicate thread, the female attaches bunches of eggs to available surfaces, such as plants or similar structures, while the male diligently fertilizes them. This process unfolds over several days until the female has exhausted her egg supply. Therefore, vigilantly monitoring the spawning medium throughout the day is crucial to promptly remove the eggs and transfer them to a separate grow-out tank, minimizing the risk of parental consumption and ensuring optimal results.

The eggs will hatch within approximately 7 to 10 days, revealing tiny fry. At this stage, providing the newborns with a suitable diet becomes essential. Freshly hatched baby brine shrimp, microworms, or powdered fry food serve as appropriate nourishment for the fry's initial weeks until they grow sufficiently to accept larger food sources. Diligence and attention to detail during this critical period will contribute to the successful development and growth of the offspring.

Diet & feeding

The Ornate Rainbowfish demonstrates a versatile palate when it comes to feeding. A well-rounded diet can be achieved by offering high-quality flakes, micropellets, green flakes, and granules as their primary food source. However, to enhance their vibrant colours and overall health, it is recommended to supplement their diet with regular feedings of live, freeze-dried, or frozen foods. Providing delicacies such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and tubifex will contribute to the optimal display of colours and ensure their well-being.

Other Rainbowfish you maybe interested in