Eastern Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia splendida splendida
The Eastern Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Peters in 1866. Its scientific name is Melanotaenia splendida splendida.
The Eastern Rainbowfish is a fairly big rainbow; it can reach a length of 14 cm. The various populations display different colours, but the ground colour is normally olive or bluish with a silvery white lower body. Most specimens display a dark mid-lateral stripe, but not all, and some specimens only have a very pale mid-lateral stripe. It is common for Eastern Rainbowfish to be decorated with a colourful stripe between each horizontal row of scales. The exact colour of this striping varies between the different populations and can for instance be solid black, deep red, reddish, orange or pale yellow. In addition to this, the Eastern Rainbowfish is often decorated with decorative fin-dots in various shades of red, yellow and black.
Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Eastern Rainbow lives in north-eastern Australia and is present in many of the river systems located east of Queensland's Great Dividing Range. The typical Eastern Rainbow habitat is a small stream, but you can find this species in lakes as well. The water is normally clear, but this can change during floods.
Young Eastern Rainbowfish prefers to stay near sunken trees and densely grown banks and should therefore ideally be provided with wood and plants in the aquarium. Adult fish will also happily hide in plant rich areas, but they can also be found in rocky streams where there are no plants.
Melanotaenia splendida splendida is not included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. It is still commonly found throughout its natural geographic range.
Keeping Eastern Rainbowfish in aquariums
The Eastern Rainbowfish needs both plant material and meaty food in its diet to stay happy and healthy in the aquarium. You can for instance use a high-quality prepared food for omnivores as a base and supplement with fresh vegetables and live meaty food.
Breeding Eastern Rainbowfish
The Eastern Rainbowfish reaches sexual maturity when it is about 4 cm (1 ½ inch) long.
Wild Eastern Rainbowfishes spawns year round, but the wet season is especially hectic when it comes to breeding. In their natural habitat, the wet season starts around November and normally continues until May. If you need to coax your Eastern Rainbows into spawning in the aquarium you can therefore try simulating the change from dry season to wet season. Once they have started to breed, the female can release up to 200 eggs in two weeks.
Eastern Rainbowfishes normally release their eggs during the early morning hours. The female will only release one to three eggs at a time. In the wild, the eggs are deposited among plants along the sides of the river or lake and you should therefore include plants or spawning mops in the aquarium. The eggs are roughly 1.5 mm (0.05 inches) long and will normally hatch within a week if you keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range.
Other Australian Rainbowfishes
Lake Eacham Rainbowfish
Murray River Rainbowfish
Central American Cichlids
Frogs and Turtles
Lake Victoria Cichlids
Marine Aquarium Fish
Responsible Fish Keeping
South American Cichlids
Tropical Fish Food