Max Size: 7cm

Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia maccullochi)

Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish are relatively popular amongst hobbyists as they are very peaceful, reasonably small and hardy and can adapt to both alkaline and acidic conditions.

You can keep Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish in a species only aquarium or house them together with other small and non-aggressive fish in a community aquarium. It would be best if you did not keep it with aggressive species because it will have difficulty fending for themselves.

Like other Rainbowfish, these can be quite skittish and do much better when kept in a shoal of 6 or more as this will encourage the males to display their best colours when they are in the company of their species.

It is popular amongst hobbyists as it is very hardy and can adapt to both alkaline and acidic conditions.

Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish generally have brownish bronze colouring on the upper half of the body and brownish to white colour on the lower half of the body. They typically have seven or eight lateral body stripes, some may be continuous, and others are broken, especially when they are young. Their head and lips are a brownish-grey colour, sometimes with a hint of white or orange.

They have a small reddish-orange mark on the upper operculum. Their fins range from light yellow to an orangey-red near the base changing to darker orange almost red across the outer half of the fin, sometimes displaying a series of brown spots or occasionally lines near the lowest part of the second dorsal and anal fins.


Redfin dwarf rainbowfish
Redfin dwarf rainbowfish
Redfin dwarf rainbowfish
Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia maccullochi
Other NamesMacculloch's Rainbowfish, Dwarf Rainbowfish, Red-finned Rainbowfish
OriginsAustralia, Papua New Guinea
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH8 - 15
68 - 86℉
20 - 30℃


In the home aquarium, the Redfin Dwarf 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 relatively easy to differentiate male and female Redfin Dwarf Rainbowfish. Mature males are far more colourful than the females and have longer anal and dorsal fins, as well as having more resonant bodies than females. Also, males colours intensify when in breeding condition with more prominent body stripes and intense red fin colouration.


Breeding the Redfin Dwarf 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: 25/11/2020 - Updated: 12/08/2022 13:19:22