Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi

Lake Tebera Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi

The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Allen in 1981. Its scientific name is Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi. The species was first collected for scientific purposes in 1980 by Allen and Parkinson.

The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish can reach a length of at least 12 cm (4.7 inches). The body is bright yellow and decorated with a bluish to black mid-lateral stripe. Dorsal, anal and caudal fins are yellow or red. Large male specimens are normally very deep-bodied.  

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish lives in the southern highlands Papua New Guinea. It has only been encountered in Lake Tebera and streams that flows into Lake Tebera. Lake Tebera is not really a single lake; it consists of several pools of varying size that are connected to each other, plus several springs and marshes. This collection of bodies of water is situated roughly 800 meters (over 2 feet) above sea level and is surrounded by mountainous terrain.

The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is listed as “Data deficient” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Keeping Lake Tebera Rainbowfish in aquariums

Lake Tebera Rainbowfis
Lake Tebera Rainbowfis - Copyright

Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi
Melanotaenia herbertaxelrodi - Copyright

The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is not very tricky to care for in the aquarium and it has become an appreciated rainbowfish even outside Australia. Try to mimic the natural environment of the fish when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of aquatic plants. The recommended water temperature is 21-25 degrees C (70-77 degrees F). The water must be alkaline, ideally in the 7.6-7.8 range.

Feed your fish a varied diet to ensure optimal health and colouration. The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is an omnivore species that feeds on both meaty foods like ants and beetles in the wild and herbivore food like fruits and filamentous green algae. In the aquarium, you can for instance combine high-quality algae based food with live meaty foods such as brine shrimp and insect larvae. Your Lake Tebera Rainbowfish might survive on dead food only, but it will not thrive and its beautiful colours might turn really dull.

Breeding Lake Tebera Rainbowfish
The Lake Tebera Rainbowfish is a comparatively prolific rainbowfish in the wild as well as in the aquarium. If you want your fish to breed, provide them with a suitable spawning medium such as densely grown java moss or spawning mops. During the courting period, the male fish will display a white or bluish stripe on his forehead. When you notice that eggs have been deposited and fertilized, the safest course of action is to move the spawning medium with the eggs to a separate container since the adult fish might eat eggs and fry. This rainbowfish will typically release some eggs each day so you have to check the aquarium regularly.

If you keep the water temperature in the upper part of the recommended range, you can expect the eggs to hatch after roughly 7-10 days. You can feed the fry infusoria, egg yolk and finely ground flake food until they are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp.

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