Western Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia australis)
The Western Rainbowfish, also known as Australian Rainbowfish, is a striking fish with vibrant coloration, ranging from green to blue on its upper body and a bright red or orange hue along its lower body.
They are peaceful, schooling fish that reach an adult size of 4-5 inches in length. This rainbowfish can be quite skittish and does far better when kept in a shoal of at least 6-8, preferably more. The males will also be encouraged to display their best colors in the company of conspecifics. Western Rainbowfish are very peaceful but can disturb smaller or slow-moving fish with their rapid movements and relatively large size. Good tankmates include other similarly-sized rainbowfish, characins, danios, barbs, freshwater gobies, and catfish such as Corydoras.
Western Rainbowfish have an omnivorous diet, feeding on insects, crustaceans, and plant matter in their natural habitat. In captivity, provide a varied diet of high-quality flake food, live, and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.
To replicate their natural habitat, use a sandy or fine-gravel substrate with plenty of live plants for cover and hiding spots. Driftwood and rocks can also be added to create a more natural setting. A minimum tank size of 30 gallons is recommended, with moderate water movement to ensure proper oxygenation. Use a power filter to maintain water quality.
To replicate their natural habitat, house them in a densely planted aquarium with a sandy or fine-gravel substrate, along with driftwood and rocks for hiding spots to provide them a sense of security. Their natural habitat features various leggy plants like Dwarf Sagittaria, Vallisneria, and Anubias, which are easy for the fish to navigate through. When arranging the plants, ensure to leave unobstructed open swimming areas. A substrate consisting of rocks and sand with driftwood can help recreate their native environment. The addition of floating plants to diffuse the light entering the tank also seems to be appreciated and adds a more natural feel.
Maintaining a clean and well-oxygenated tank is crucial for Western Rainbowfish, as their water should be free from nitrates and ammonia. They prefer moderate water currents and appreciate a substantial water flow, making a power filter an excellent choice for their aquarium.
A minimum tank size of 40 gallons is recommended, with 60 gallons or larger in community aquariums. The ideal water parameters for these fish include a pH of 6.5-8.0, a hardness of 8-15 dGH, and a temperature range of 70-77°F (21-25°C).
Do not add this fish to a biologically immature aquarium, as it can be susceptible to swings in water chemistry.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.