Max Size: 15cm

Parkinsons Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia parkinsoni)

A beautiful fish with many personalities, Parkinson's Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia parkinsoni, is a sociable fish with many personalities. They have proven to be very hardy and an excellent fish for beginner aquarists as long as their needs are met. These peaceful, active fish will do well in most community tanks. They are playful but good-natured fish and get along well with other larger peaceful fish.

Parkinson's Rainbowfish should be kept in groups of six or more because of their shoaling nature. As an active and relatively large-growing species, much swimming space is required, so it is essential to house them in aquariums at least 4 feet long or larger.

Parkinson's Rainbowfish can be kept with most community fish; however, their best tankmates may be other Rainbowfish, larger Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Dwarf Cichlids, and Catfish. It would be best if you didn't combine these Rainbowfish with extremely shy or quiet fish as they are very boisterous and will probably outcompete them for food.

A dark substrate and many aquatic plants would be ideal for these fish, leaving them plenty of room to swim around. The addition of dried leaf litter will help to mimic their natural environment. You will also need to ensure a tight-fitting lid on the aquarium, as these fish are excellent jumpers.

The body of the Parkinson's Rainbowfish is slender and long, but with age, the body deepens and the back arches. The front half of the body is a silvery blue, and the back half has blotchy or striped areas of broken orange colouration that extend through to the fins. The fins of adult males are bright orange with dark edges.

A well-lit aquarium will give the orange a lovely fiery glow. Despite being considerably less common, a geographical colour variant displays yellow colouration in place of orange markings.


Parkinson's Rainbowfish
Parkinson's Rainbowfish
Parkinson's Rainbowfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia parkinsoni
Other NamesOrange Rainbowfish
OriginsPapua New Guinea
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.5
GH8 - 25
70 - 79℉
21.1 - 26.1℃


In the home aquarium, the Parkinsons 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 easy to differentiate between the male and female Parkinson's Rainbowfish. Males will be slightly larger, deeper bodied, and have more intense colours than the female, and some males also develop large extended dorsal and anal fins with a ragged appearance. In contrast, females are slightly smaller and have a duller appearance than males.


Breeding the Parkinsons 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.

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: 15/11/2021 10:46:54 - Updated: 12/08/2022 13:07:42