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Maximum size : 15 cm

Parkinsons Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia parkinsoni : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Parkinson's Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia parkinsoni) possess captivating personalities, making them a fascinating addition to any aquarium. Renowned for their remarkable hardiness, they are an ideal choice for both novice and experienced aquarists, provided their specific requirements are met. These sociable and peaceful fish thrive in community tanks, adding a lively and harmonious presence to their surroundings. With their playful nature and gentle temperament, they readily coexist with larger, tranquil fish species. To ensure their well-being, it is crucial to keep Parkinson's Rainbowfish in groups of six or more, as they are naturally inclined to shoal together. In addition, these active and relatively large-growing fish require ample swimming space, necessitating aquariums of at least 4 feet in length or larger.

Parkinson's Rainbowfish display compatibility with various community fish species. However, their ideal tankmates include other Rainbowfish, larger Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Dwarf Cichlids, and Catfish. It is advisable to avoid combining them with extremely shy or passive fish, as the Rainbowfish's exuberance may overshadow them during feeding. Creating an optimal environment involves providing a dark substrate, abundant aquatic plants, and ample open space for their agile movements. Adding dried leaf litter mimics their natural habitat, enhancing their overall well-being. It is important to note that a secure and tightly-fitted lid is essential, as Parkinson's Rainbowfish possess impressive jumping capabilities.

Regarding their physical appearance, Parkinson's Rainbowfish exhibit an elongated and slender body. With age, the body deepens, and the back arches gracefully, adding to their visual allure. The front half of their body is adorned with a mesmerizing silvery-blue hue, while the back half displays captivating broken orange markings, forming intricate blotches or stripes that extend into the fins. Adult males exhibit vibrant bright orange fins with striking dark edges, creating a dazzling contrast. When housed in a well-lit aquarium, the orange hues emanate a fiery glow that captivates onlookers. Although less common, a geographical colour variant may showcase yellow markings instead of the traditional orange, adding a unique and captivating dimension to their appearance.

Parkinsons Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between the male and female Parkinson's Rainbowfish is a straightforward task. Males exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from their female counterparts. They tend to be slightly larger in size, boasting a deeper body structure. The vibrant colours displayed by males are notably more intense, creating a captivating visual contrast. Additionally, some males develop large extended dorsal and anal fins featuring an eye-catching ragged appearance.

On the other hand, females possess their own unique attributes. They are generally slightly smaller in size compared to males and exhibit a more subdued, less striking colouration. In addition, their appearance lacks the vibrant hues and intricate fin extensions observed in the males.

By recognizing these notable differences in physical characteristics, aquarists can readily identify and differentiate between male and female Parkinson's Rainbowfish.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameMelanotaenia parkinsoni
Year Described1980
Other NamesOrange Rainbowfish
OriginsPapua New Guinea
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
LifespanUp to 7 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.5
GH8 - 25
70 - 79
21 - 26

Natural Habitat

Parkinson's Rainbowfish, are indigenous to the captivating landscapes of the Kemp Welsh River and the Milne Bay on the southern coast of eastern Papua New Guinea. While these fish have been observed in this specific area, their distribution within the region remains a subject of exploration. In their natural habitat, Parkinson's Rainbowfish inhabit serene lowland streams and small pools adorned with lush grass and intermittent patches of enchanting rainforest. The substrate of their dwellings is often adorned with fallen trees and branches, adding to the picturesque scenery these fish call home.


To successfully breed Parkinson's Rainbowfish, it is recommended to establish a separate breeding aquarium of suitable size. The breeding tank should consist of 75% mature tank water and 25% dechlorinated fresh water, providing an optimal environment for the breeding pair. Utilizing a substrate of marbles ensures the safety of the eggs during spawning. Incorporating a small air-driven sponge filter with a mature sponge promotes gentle water circulation and filtration within the breeding aquarium. Maintaining a temperature of 28°C sets the ideal breeding conditions.

Once a conditioned pair has been acclimated to the breeding aquarium, it is essential to furnish the tank with abundant fine-leaved plants or Java moss clumps. Over time, the male will display the characteristic mating stripe on his forehead and initiate the courtship process. Then, leading the female over the plants, he will utilize the entire tank length for spawning. Parkinson's Rainbowfish are known as "continual spawners," indicating that the spawning activity occurs over several days, weeks, or even months. This prolonged spawning period can pose challenges, as some adult fish may consume the scattered eggs.

Many experienced fishkeepers have successfully employed strategies such as siphoning the eggs into another aquarium with matching water parameters from the spawning tank to address this concern. Alternatively, using spawning mops proves effective, allowing for the collection of a batch of eggs, which can then be transferred to a separate tank with corresponding water conditions. Furthermore, the empty mop can be replaced with a new one as each series of eggs is deposited, facilitating the preservation of the offspring.

The eggs typically hatch within 8 to 10 days, with the exact timing influenced by the temperature. Once the fry becomes free-swimming, its nutritional needs evolve. Initially, offering infusoria serves as an appropriate food source, gradually transitioning to larger food items as the fry continues to develop and grow. Careful attention and monitoring throughout the breeding process will help ensure the successful propagation of Parkinson's Rainbowfish.

Diet & feeding

Parkinson's Rainbowfish exhibit a versatile appetite and are generally not demanding eaters. To ensure their optimal nutrition, a well-rounded diet should be provided. A high-quality dried food selection such as flakes, micropellets, green flakes, and granules can serve as the staple diet for these fish. Additionally, incorporating occasional feedings of live, freeze-dried, or frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, bloodworm, daphnia, brine shrimp, and tubifex will further enhance their colouration and overall health.

By offering a varied and nutrient-rich diet, aquarists can support the well-being and vibrant appearance of their Parkinson's Rainbowfish. Therefore, it is important to prioritize the quality and diversity of the food provided to ensure these captivating fish thrive in their aquatic environment.

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