10+ Different Species of Rainbow Fish

The Dazzling colors of a Rainbowfish

You know how, when kids draw fishes in preschool, they give them every possible color to turn them into rainbow fish? Try asking a small child what they feel like everytime they look at their fish, and you will get one, expected answer: happy!

They feel good every time they look at their rainbow fish. Trust me, that feeling does not go away with age. No matter how old you get, should you keep an aquarium with some rainbow fish in it, you are sure to feel happy whenever you look at the vari-colored fish in your fish tank.

So what is the rainbow fish? Is it really that big blast of colors you can see in your mind every time you say the word, Rainbow fish? Or is it just another freshwater fish that is swimming around in your aquarium?

What kind of fish is Rainbow Fish?

Rainbow Fish are very colorful species belonging to the family of Melanotaeniidae.

You’ll find them naturally in freshwaters (rivers, lakes and swamps) of Northern and Eastern Australia, New Guinea, Sulawesi and Madagascar.

Rainbowfish grow up to 12cm in length and are often kept in aquariums.

10+ Unique Types of Rainbow Fish

1. Boesemani Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia boesemani)

Boesemani Rainbow Fish

The Boesemani rainbowfish are small peaceful fish. The young fish of this species are one to two inches long with narrow necks and largemouths. 

This is an omnivorous species and typically appears in blue or orange. The male boesemani rainbowfish have a bluish-purple head and an orangish-yellow back, while the females of this species are less vivid. 

This fish has a calm demeanor and requires a lot of space to swim in. That does, however, mean that your fish tank should be at least four feet long for the boesemani rainbowfish to grow healthy. These fish eat largely prepared flakes and live meals. This fish is frequently grown for home fish tanks in fish farms in Thailand.

2. Forktail Rainbowfish

“nose to nose” by swordw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. 

The Forktail Rainbowfish are a tropical fish species that likes clean, slow-moving lowland tropical rainforest streams with dense vegetation cover.

These little fish are members of the Pseudo Mugilidae family which refers to the blue eyes that are typical with this species. 

They look well in a small to medium fish tank with heavy vegetation. This is a friendly fish species that would be ideal if your fish tank already has other occupants.

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The Forktail rainbowfish get on easily with other tiny, peaceful species, or can even dazzle your tank as a single species shoal in a high-end aquascape.

The Forktail rainbowfish fish are easy to breed and care for which is why it is a rarity that they are caught in the wild. Most Forktail rainbowfish are bred at fish farms and sold to decorate fish tanks across the country.

During the spawning season, the forktail rainbowfish has blue eyes, a silvery body, and vivid yellow stripes on the top and bottom of the body.

In breeding season, these tiny jewels have two upturned nearly wing-like pectoral fins that are bright yellow in hue, or as bright yellow dorsal fins. 

These unique feathers make this species a star attraction of any tank and can elevate the overall aesthetics of your fish tank.

3. Australian Rainbowfish

Australian Eainbowfish

The Australian rainbowfish is a small friendly fish at a length pof about four inches. This fish is a visual treat with its silver and golden pattern. It looks especially amazing as it swims through the water in streams of silver and gold. These beautiful creatures are native to Australia, thus the name.

Another name that this species of fish is known by is the Murray River rainbowfish. This species enjoys a habitat with a dense population of vegetation, though it does also require plenty of room to swim around freely. 

Being a species of schooling fish, these little creatures do require some free room and a few tank pals. That means that you need to have at least a four feet long fish tank. The Australian rainbowfish is an omnivorous species that is often offered as a juvenile fish and range from one to two inches.

4. Red Rainbowfish

“Three fishes” by Tambako the Jaguar is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0. 

The red rainbow fish is a brilliant red as you would expect from the name though it is also characteristic of this species to have a bright yellow stripe across the top. These brightly colored fish aren’t your average small tank fish though, they can be huige in comparison, growing to a staggering six inches on average.

Size is not the only impressive feature for this fish. It also tends to have quite a lifespan, averaging a life of about five years. This may not seem much but it is at the higher end of average home aquarium fish life. 

These fish are generally lovable and friendly fish, tranquil in nature and spend most of their time near the surface of the water. These pleasant features also mean that the red rainbowfish is a high maintenance pet.

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Not only does this large fish require a large fish tank, it also requires a carefully ph controlled environment. The water’s ph must ideally be kept between 7 and 7.5. 

5. Celebes Rainbowfish

“Celebes Rainbowfish” by swordw is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Celebes rainbowfish are native to Indonesia and have calm temperaments that make them easy to care for. They grow to be around three inches long and require a lot of space to swim in, so don’t expect a tank that contains less than 20 gallons of water.

They are typically black in hue, and their color deepens when exposed to natural light. Because the Celebes rainbowfish is sensitive to environmental changes, you should keep its water conditions as consistent as possible. They also eat things like live meals, flakes, and algae.

6. Threadfin Rainbowfish

“Newly added fish tank mates – Threadfin Rainbowfish” by NHN_2009 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. 

What distinguishes the threadfin rainbowfish is that the males have lengthy threads that stretch from their anal and dorsal fins. This is a schooling fish that thrives in an aquarium with lots of plants.

It has a placid demeanor, requires moderate care, and grows to be around two inches long. The threadfin rainbowfish is long and slender, and it prefers small-sized prepared and live meals. It is native to Asia and Australia.

7. Desert Rainbowfish

“IMGP0350 rainbowfish” by FISHMAGNT is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The Desert Rainbow Fish has a sandy body and orange-colored fins. Because these fish prefer to be in groups, it’s best to buy a few at once.

They are placid, do not attack other fish, and prefer to dwell near the top of the aquarium.

Adult Desert rainbow fish may grow to be around 4 inches long and survive for about 5 years if they are properly cared for and have at least 20 gallons of water to swim in.

8. Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish

Turquoise rainbowfish grow to be one or two inches long but can grow to be four inches long. They are a teal-blue tint with nice temperaments that make them very easy to care for. They are egg layers that spawn in low to moderate illumination and can consume frozen, live, and flakes as long as they are tiny.

Turquoise rainbowfish, like many other varieties of rainbowfish, require tanks with at least 50 gallons of water and aquariums with plenty of plants and swimming space.

9. Lake Wanam Rainbowfish

The Lake Wanam RainbowFish has a green tint and a white belly. It’s a little shorter than many of the others and won’t be more than three inches long.

They are quite quiet and enjoy being a part of a school, but don’t mind being the only one in the tank.

This type prefers a tank larger than 20 gallons and prefers to stay at the top.

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10. Axelrod’s Rainbowfish (Chilatherina axelrodi)

Rainbowfish Axelrodi may reach four inches in length and are generally blue in color. They are easy to care for, have excellent temperaments, and love diets like live foods and flakes. They lay eggs, and the males are more colorful than the females.

This is an excellent fish to start with if you want to add diversity and gorgeous colors to your aquarium, and if you use dark-colored gravel, the natural color of the fish will deepen.

11. Crimson Spotted Rainbowfish

As a species of rainbow fish hailing from Eastern Australia, the crimson spotted rainbowfish is known for its larger than usual size. It is also known as Duboulay’s rainbowfish, and is generally believed to be the original Australian rainbowfish.

Male crimson spotted rainbowfish can grow to be 10 to 12 cm long, while females are somewhat smaller. This fish is distinguished by its thin body, two dorsal fins placed tightly together, the first smaller than the second, and changeable fin color

Males have more vibrant colours than females, as well as extended posterior rays in their second dorsal and anal fins. Female fins are more rounded, smaller, and lack the black margins that male fins of this species have. Instead, they have a prominent location on the operculum. The color of the body ranges from silver blue to greenish, deep blue, and yellow.

The red spotted rainbowfish is popular among aquarists all over the world, but breeders in Australia have worked hard to maintain the original varieties with all of their unique mutations.

Final Thoughts about Rainbowfish

Well, the rainbowfish is a low maintenance and popular fish you could have in your aquarium. A freshwater fish, it is also one of the smaller fishes that is very popular with aquarium keepers. It is not only the size of the rainbow fish however, that makes it so appealing to its buyers. The real attraction lies in the beautiful colors.

Imagine walking inside your house after a long, tiring, no absolutely exhausting day at work. You enter and, almost immediately, see your fish tank in front of you. There are some beautiful rainbow fish swimming around in the tank. Immediately, your mood begins to lighten up.

You smile. That happiness that preschoolers feel when they color their fish drawings with a medley of colors? That happiness is a reflection of what you will feel at that precise moment. And this is the way in which, just looking at the fish in your fish tank, can make you relieve that same childhood happiness you felt when you drew the picture of a rainbow fish.

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