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Maximum size : 15 cm

Red Rainbowfish - Glossolepis Incisus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Red Rainbowfish, (Glossolepis Incisus) is one of the more significant varieties of their kind. They are hardy, peaceful and active fish. The Red Rainbowfish stands out as one of the most noteworthy and beautiful species of its kind, sought after for its hardiness, peaceful nature, and active behavior. This aquatic gem is a popular addition to community aquariums and can adapt to various water conditions with ease. However, to truly appreciate their splendor, they should be kept in schools of six or more, containing both sexes. While the Red Rainbowfish may possess a large, deep-bodied adult size, their narrow mouths prevent them from harming smaller tankmates. Yet, their swift and sudden movements could potentially stress out smaller fish, and their offspring could become an easy snack for the Rainbowfish. Therefore, carefully selecting compatible tankmates such as other Rainbowfish, Barbs, Danios, and Catfish is crucial. Aggressive species that enjoy snacking on plants, such as some Cichlids and Puffers, should be avoided. Providing the Red Rainbowfish with ample swimming space is essential, as they are highly active creatures and can grow quite large. Ideally, an aquarium at least 4ft long should be provided, along with areas of dense vegetation and open swimming spaces. The water movement should be gentle. The Red Rainbowfish 's physique is long, slender, with a highly arched back and a thin head. Two dorsal fins and a deeply forked mouth complete their stunning appearance. The males boast a breathtaking blood-red coloration that emphasizes their silver scales and fin coloration. Truly a sight to behold, the Red Rainbowfish is a valuable addition to any aquarium.

Red Rainbowfish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively simple to discern the sexual distinctions between male and female Red Rainbowfish. The males exhibit a pronouncedly higher back, displaying solely the red coloration, and feature longer fins. They tend to be highly territorial in nature. Conversely, the females possess an olive-brown coloration and exhibit a notably more placid temperament.\r\n

Quick Facts

Scientific NameGlossolepis Incisus
Year Described1907
Other NamesSalmon-red Rainbowfish, Red Irian Rainbowfish, and New Guinea Red Rainbowfish
OriginsPapua New Guinea
Max Size15 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan6 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 8.5
GH10 - 20
72 - 82
22.2 - 27.8

Natural Habitat

Red Rainbowfish are native to the Northeastern region of West Papua New Guinea, near the city of Jayapura. These remarkable fish are found exclusively in Lake Sentani and its connecting streams, which are surrounded by hilly terrain, creating a unique and breathtaking environment for these beautiful fish. The Red Rainbowfish inhabits streams with very clear, warm water and rapidly moving currents, as well as dense vegetation and bogwood. However, these precious fish are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List due to the human population growth in the area. Like all Rainbowfish, Red Rainbowfish are sensitive to water changes, and the introduction of pollutants and waste into their waters can be detrimental to their survival. Recreating the perfect environment for Red Rainbowfish in your home aquarium requires a bit of effort, but the rewards are well worth it. With their vibrant colours and active personalities, Red Rainbowfish are an excellent addition to any aquatic community. So why not take a plunge into the captivating world of West Papua New Guinea 's aquatic life and discover the wonders of Red Rainbowfish for yourself?


Breeding Red Rainbowfish can be accomplished with relative ease when proper techniques are applied. It is imperative to establish a separate breeding tank, densely planted with fine-leaved flora, and slightly elevate the water temperature. Water with slight alkalinity and hardness is desired, and a small air-powered filter is highly recommended for proper flow and oxygenation. Spawning mops can serve as an alternative to plants when unavailable. Before breeding, the Red Rainbowfish should be conditioned with protein-rich live or frozen food for a couple of weeks. Males will exhibit a dazzling display of intense colors, and females will become plumper when they are ready to spawn. Choose the healthiest and most vibrantly colored fish and place them in the breeding tank. During the spawning period, the male will lead the female to a suitable area where the female will attach clusters of eggs to available plant surfaces or equivalent via a tiny thread, and the male will fertilise them. This process will continue until the female has exhausted all her eggs. It is advisable to check the plants or spawning mops daily for any eggs and transfer them to a separate tank to avoid potential consumption by the parents. After about a week, the eggs will hatch into small fry, requiring liquid fry food for approximately a week until they can consume food such as nauplii or brine shrimp. Raising the fry can be challenging and requires a clean water environment throughout the process until they are approximately two months old.

Diet & feeding

The Red Rainbowfish is not a fastidious eater and readily accepts a variety of food sources. A high-quality diet consisting of micropellets, flakes, granules, and green flakes should be the primary source of nutrition. To enhance their vibrancy and overall health, periodic feedings of freeze-dried or frozen food, such as mosquito larvae, tubifex, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia, are recommended.

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