Checkered Rainbowfish
Checkered Rainbowfish

Chequered Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia splendida inornata

The Chequered Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Castelnau in 1875. Its scientific name is Melanotaenia splendida inornata. It is believed to have been collected for the first time in the early 1870’s by Staiger, the Curator of the Brisbane Museum. The common name can be spelled Chequered Rainbowfish or Checkered Rainbowfish.

Just like the common name suggests, the Chequered Rainbowfish features a chequered pattern. The upper part of the body is silvery grey or bluish, while the lower part is pinkish. Along the sides, you can clearly see a series of horizontal stripes; one stripe between each row of scales. The stripes are yellow or red in colour. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are decorated with the characteristic checkered pattern; the background is red, blue or yellow while the pattern is made up by black and yellow streaks and spots. In addition to having beautiful colours and an intricate pattern, the Chequered Rainbowfish boasts really long dorsal and anal fins and it comes as no surprise that this species is very popular among aquarists. 

The Chequered Rainbowfish can reach a length of 12 cm (4.7 inches). Old males are deep bodied with a hump on the forehead.

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Checkered Rainbowfish lives in the northernmost extremes of Australia. It is chiefly found in rivers in northern Queensland and the northern parts of the Northern Territory. It lives in clear streams and is sometimes found in turbid floodplain rivers near the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Checkered Rainbowfish has not been evaluated for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is still abundant throughout its natural range.
Keeping Chequered Rainbowfish in aquariums

Checkered Rainbowfish
Chequered Rainbowfish
The Checkered Rainbowfish is an adaptable fish that can be kept even by beginners. Keep the water temperature in the 25-28 degrees C (77-82 degrees F) range. The water should be acidic or at least neutral, from pH 6.0 to 7.0.

It is important to provide your Chequered Rainbowfish with natural algae and algae based prepared food in the aquarium since this is its staple diet in the wild. It will also appreciate fresh vegetables such as lettuce, kale, zucchini and cucumber. In addition to this, it is recommended to give the Chequered Rainbowfish occasional servings of live or frozen meaty foods.

Breeding Chequered Rainbowfish
The Chequered Rainbowfish readily spawns in the aquarium. Once you have gotten your fish into breeding condition, the females can release up to 100 eggs per week. Small females are however known to release much fewer eggs than this. Since the Checkered Rainbowfish is such a prolific species, is a good idea to plan in advance. Do you have room to house all the fishes or are other aquarists willing to take them off your hands? If not, the fry can be used as live food. Cramming hundreds of juvenile fish into tiny containers is not a good option.

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Other Australian Rainbowfishes

Cairns Rainbowfish
Threadfin Rainbowfish
Lake Eacham Rainbowfish
Exquisite Rainbowfish
Murray River Rainbowfish
Slender Rainbowfish
MacCulloch’s  Rainbowfish
Black-banded Rainbowfish
Pygmy Rainbowfish
Western Rainbowfish
Eastern Rainbowfish
Desert Rainbowfish
Banded Rainbowfish
Ornate Rainbowfish