Max Size: 5.5cm

Sahul Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia sahulensis)

Sahul Rainbowfish are stunning, peaceful, and active. They are generally hardy and easy to look after, making them suitable for a beginner aquarist and perfect for a community aquarium with other temperate species.

It would be best to maintain Sahul Rainbowfish in groups of 6 or more individuals as they are a shoaling species in nature. Ideal tankmates for Sahul Rainbowfish could include other Rainbowfish, Dwarf Barbs, larger Tetras, Rasboras and peaceful Cichlids. These fish will also do well with Catfish, Loaches, Gudgeons and Garras.

Sahul Rainbowfish will need a reasonably spacious aquarium as they are an active species that need space to swim around. These Rainbowfish are also excellent jumpers, so you will need to have a tight-fitting lid on your aquarium.

Sahul Rainbowfish have small silvery-white to greyish-brown bodies contrasted by 7 or 8 black stripes along the white bottom half of the body. These fish also have a greyish-brown head, greyish lips, a small reddish to orange spot on the upper gill cover, and a silver eye. In addition, their dorsal and anal fins are tricoloured, with a wide dark band dividing a narrow white to orangy-red margin and an area of yellowish-orange below the dark band.


Sahul Rainbowfish
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMelanotaenia sahulensis
Year Described2019
Other NamesSkull Creek Rainbowfish
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 8.0
GH5 - 20
KH8 -12
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Sahul 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.

Tank Mates

1 interesting tank mate ideas for the Sahul Rainbowfish could include:

Congo Tetra(Phenacogrammus interruptus)

Sexual Dimorphism

It is simple to differentiate between male and female Sahul Rainbowfish. Males are somewhat slimmer and have more prominent body stripes and brighter fin colouration than females. In contrast, females have rounder bodies, especially when gravid and are duller than males.


Breeding the Sahul 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: 01/04/2022 13:26:46 - Updated: 12/08/2022 13:20:56