Banded Rainbowfish

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Melanotaenia trifasciata - (Rendahl, 1922)
Banded Rainbowfish


Rainbowfishes are active schoolers with many admirable qualities. They are best kept in groups of two females for every male—or larger schools in bigger tanks. The Banded Rainbowfish appears in several color variants based on the river of origin. Most common is the Goyder River form replete with red fins, purplish body, and black midline band. The high arch of the back increases with age. These fish are slow to color up, requiring maturity and a mate to reach full coloration. Females are smaller than the males.

Family: Melanotaeniidae

Other common name(s):

  • Jewel Rainbowfish
  • Three-Striped Sunfish

Native range:

  • Northern Territory, Australia
  • Queensland, Australia

Habitat: The aquarium should have a layer of floating plants and be aquascaped around the perimeters, leaving plenty of open swimming room in the center. Decorate sparingly with rocks, driftwood, and a dark substrate and a planted backdrop.

Maximum length: 13 cm (5 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 114 L (30 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to top


The Banded Rainbow is an omnivore that takes prepared, frozen and live foods with equal enthusiasm. It is an active hunter that will capture live prey the instant it hits the water.

Aquarium Compatibility

Tankmates should be peaceful community types that have differing swimming habits and occupy different zones in the aquarium.


Pairs spawn in the morning and scatter the eggs, which adhere to fine-leaved plants and the roots of floating plants. Spawning mops can be used to collect eggs for hatching.


These fish jump; cover the tank securely.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW