The Western Rainbowfish is known for creeks, lakes, marshy lagoons, reservoirs, rivers, and swamps. Here, it forms large aggregations along the marginal areas where there is dense vegetation and submerged logs/branches. This is a medium-sized, peaceful species that is ideally suited to planted community aquaria. The tank should be as spacious as possible, as these are fairly active fish, and they should be maintained in groups of 6 or more due to their shoaling nature. The juveniles of many rainbowfish species can often look a little drab compared to the adults, and as such are sometimes overlooked in the shops. However, once settled into the security of the planted aquarium, these young specimens will begin to color up, gradually revealing their stunning adult beauty. Western Rainbowfish will not bother smaller tankmates, as their mouth/throat is too narrow to be able to swallow them. May also be seen on sale as the Red-tailed Rainbowfish.
Flake, green flake, micro pellets, and small frozen foods such as mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, and daphnia.
There are many variants of M. australis, and they were once considered subspecies of M. splendida. Western Rainbows are found in slow-moving streams out of the main channel through much of northwestern Australia, where they congregate near floating vegetation for cover.
The fish are omnivorous and should be fed quality flake food with supplemental proteins such as baby brine shrimp. They require clean water but tolerate a wide variety of water parameters. By providing frequent water changes, you will be rewarded with nearly continuous spawning attempts. Melanotaenia species deposit eggs in weedy areas (often mimicked by a yarn mop) and the eggs hatch 7-10 days later. Eggs can be harvested for hatching in separate tanks to avoid predation. Most Rainbows show their best colors at sunrise when the males display their bright fins for potential mates. Having more females than males will allow for proper color displays and avoid any unwanted aggression toward lone females.
Scientific Name: Melanotaenia australis
Common Name: Western Rainbowfish
Max Size: 4″
Region of Origin: Oceania
Captive Bred or Wild: Captive Bred