Exquisite Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia exquisita
Exquisite Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia exquisita

Exquisite Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia exquisita

The Exquisite Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Allen in 1978 and its scientific name is Melanotaenia exquisita. In 1977, Allen found the species in Edith Falls, which is a series of waterfall and pools located roughly 60 km north of Katherine in the Northern Territory. The area is protected since it is a part of the Nitmiluk National Park. 

The back of the adult fish is olive coloured, while the lower half of the body is silvery. You can see a pair of black stripes running along the middle of the side, and right below them is a red stripe. The Exquisite Rainbowfish is also decorated with dark zigzag striping between the red stripe and the anal finbase. Dorsal, caudal and anal fins are all red, sometimes with black spotting.   

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Exquisite Rainbowfish lives in streams in Australia’s Northern Territory, and there is also a population to be found the King George River in Western Australia. The typical habitat for Exquisite Rainbowfish is small and clear streams that flow swiftly through the upland areas of Northern Australia, but you can also encounter Exquisite Rainbows in Lake Malkyullumbo. Large groups of Exquisite Rainbows can often be found in rocky pools located after waterfalls. The Exquisite Rainbowfish is not considered an endangered species.

Keeping Exquisite Rainbowfish in aquariums
Keeping Exquisite Rainbowfish is not very hard, but it must be provided with a large enough aquarium since it is an energetic swimmer. Do not keep Exquisite Rainbows in aquariums smaller than 100 cm (3 feet). Try to resemble the natural environment of the Exquisite Rainbows when you arrange the aquarium and include both hiding spots and open areas for swimming. Generally speaking, changing 25% of the water each week will be enough, but this figure might have to be adjusted to fit you particular species and the stocking density in the aquarium. Keep your Exquisite Rainbowfish on a varied and nutritious diet.  You can for instance use dry prepared foods as a base and supplement with live and frozen foods.

Breeding Exquisite Rainbowfish
If you want to breed Exquisite Rainbows you must provide them with a suitable spawning spot in the aquarium, e.g. java moss or spawning mops. Live food might increase the chances of spawning. After spawning, the eggs will normally hatch within 10 days. Feed the fry infusoria and powdered flake food until they are large enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp.

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Other Australian Rainbowfishes

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