Aquarium Fish

Western Splendid (Australian) Rainbow

posted: 05/15/12
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Western Splendid (Australian) Rainbow
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Western Splendid Rainbow, also known as the Australian Rainbow, is one of more than five subspecies of Melanotaenia splendida. Rainbowfish are known for their characteristic large eyes, black or silver band that runs through the middle scale rows, deeply forked mouth, and two dorsal fins.

This peaceful Rainbow is a schooling fish that thrives best in a planted aquarium, but not too densely planted that there is insufficient free-swimming places available. The aquarium should have a gravel substrate; the colors of the fish may intensify with a dark colored gravel.

An egg layer, the Western Splendid Rainbow reproduces more easily in a separate breeding tank with a moss substrate. Courtship begins with the male displaying his brightest colors. At a temperature of 75°F, the fry will hatch after six or seven days. After the fry hatch, the adults should be removed from the breeding tank. The fry should be fed an omnivorous diet starting 24 hours after they hatch, as they are still being fed by their yolk sac.

Although the Rainbow has a large mouth, its throat tends to be narrow. With this in mind, foods should not be too large. The Western Splendid Rainbow is an omnivore and should eat a mixed diet of flake foods, live foods, and plant matter.

Fish Facts

Name: Western Splendid (Australian) Rainbow (Melanotaenia australis, Melanotaenia splendida)

Family: Melanotaeniidae

Range: Australia

Size: Up to 5.5 inches

Diet: Omnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Plants, rocks

Tank Conditions: 72-75°F; pH 6.5-7.2; dH 10-20

Minimum Tank Capacity: 50 gallons

Light: High

Temperament: Peaceful

Swimming Level: No specific level

Care Level: Easy

Reproduction: Egg Layer

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