Rainbowfish from Australia and New Guinea belong to the family Melanotaeniidae. It should be noted that the taxonomy of this group of fish is somewhat confusing and fish from different river systems often have different colours. To help with identification, they are distinguished by including the source in the name, for example Goyder River.
Many hobbyists don’t keep rainbowfish for the simple reason that when they see them in aquarium stores they look bland and unattractive. However, it should be noted that rainbowfish develop their colours slowly over a period of time. So while juveniles lack colouration, the adults have some magnificent colours.
Most rainbowfish grow quite large, so a minimum tank length of 120cm (4ft) should be considered. They are aslo very active, so that extra tank space will not go to waste. They are also suitable for planted tanks, where their colours stand out against the backdrop of the green plants.
Rainbowfish make excellent beginner fish as they are hardy and are not prone to many diseases common to other tropical fish. They are also peaceful for the most part and are suitable for community tanks.
Murray River Rainbowfish, as with most other rainbowfish, will do well in aquariums with a neutral pH (7 – 7.5), soft to hard water with a GH between 100 and 350ppm and a temperature between 22 and 28 °C. Murray River Rainbowfish can tolerate quite low temperatures and are suitable for ponds or outdoor aquaponics systems in most areas of Australia.
Rainbowfish will feed on a wide range of artificial and frozen foods and will readily accept most standard aquarium foods.
These fish are easy to breed. However, hobbyists should be aware that hybridisation can occur if keeping multiple species in one tank.
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This article was sponsored by Nature at Work.