Red-striped Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia s rubrostriata
Red-striped Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia splendida rubrostriata

Red-striped Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia splendida rubrostriata

The Red-striped Rainbowfish was scientifically described by Ramsay & Ogilby in 1886. Its scientific name is Melanotaenia splendida rubrostriata. Melanotaenia splendida rubrostriata is one of several subspecies of Melanotaenia splendida. Melanotaenia splendida rubrostriata was first collected from the Strickland River by Froggatt in the 1880’s. Froggatt was a part of an expedition sponsored by the Geographical Society of Australasia.

The Red-striped Rainbowfish can reach a length of roughly 15 cm (6 inches). The body colour is of a pale bluish-grey shade that turns into white on the lower sides. Between each horizontal row of scales along the body there is a thin orange or pinkish stripe. The membranes located between the rays of the second dorsal and anal fins are wine red.  

Geographical distribution, habitat and conservation
The Red-striped Rainbowfish inhabits streams, lagoons, shallow lakes and man-made bodies of water (including water filled gravel pits) in the southern part of New Guinea. It is one of the most widely distributed species of rainbowfish in New Guinea and it geographical range stretches from the Aramia River (which is located near the more well-known Fly River) in Papua New Guinea to Etna Bay in central West Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) in Indonesia. The species is also present on both the Aru Islands and the Daru Islands.

The typical Red-striped Rainbowfish habitat is located on a coastal plain where the water is clear or turbid. It is often present in the tributaries of the larger rivers south of the central dividing range of New Guinea. It seems to prefer areas with rich aquatic plant growth. The water temperature in its natural habitat will normally stay in the 25-30 degrees C (77-86 degrees F) range. This subspecies has been found in acidic conditions as well as alkaline ones, from pH 5.6 to 7.4. 

The Red-striped Rainbowfish is listed as “Not Evaluated” in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Keeping Red-striped Rainbowfish in aquariums

Red-striped Rainbowfis
Red-striped Rainbowfis - Copyright
The Red-striped Rainbowfish is a highly adaptable species. It is especially easy to keep for those who have already kept Western Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia splendida australis) since they belong to the same species and have virtually the same requirements.

The Red-striped Rainbowfish should be kept in groups consisting of at least five individuals and a minimum of 2-3 females for each male.

The Red-striped Rainbowfish can adapt to a water temperature of 23-32 degrees C (73-90 degrees F), but the water temperature in its native home will normally stay in the 25-30 degrees C (77-86 degrees F) range. This subspecies lives in acidic conditions (down to pH 5.6) as well as alkaline ones (up to pH 7.4) in the wild. Even though this is a very adaptable fish, rapid changes in aquarium temperature and/or chemistry are not recommended.  

Breeding Red-striped Rainbowfish
The Red-striped Rainbowfish is normally bred in groups. It is important to keep several females for each male and include hiding spots in the set up. A 30 L (8 gallon) aquarium is big enough to serve as breeding aquarium. Provide the fish with suitable spawning media, e.g. man-made spawning mops or densely grown java moss. The females will typically release a few eggs each day, usually early in the morning. Well-fed adult fish will normally leave the offspring alone in a well planted aquarium. Feed the fry infusoria and egg yolk until they are big enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp and crushed flakes. 

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Other New Guinea Rainbowfishes

Axelrods Rainbowfish
Bleher’s Rainbowfish
Bulolo Rainbowfish
Higlands Rainbowfish
Silver Rainbowfish
Barred Rainbowfish
Lorentz’s Rainbowfish
Sentani Rainbowfish
Red Rainbowfish
Spotted Rainbowfish
Sepik Rainbowfish

Tami River Rainbowfish
Ramu Rainbowfish
Lake Wanam Rainbowfish
Threadfin Rainbowfish
Northern Rainbowfish
Ayamaru Rainbowfish
Angfa Rainbowfish
Arfak Rainbowfish
Boeseman’s Rainbowfish
Corona Rainbowfish
Waigeo Rainbowfish
Serong Rainbowfish
Goldie River Rainbowfish
Lake Tebera  Rainbowfish
Irian Jaya Rainbowfish
Strickland Rainbowfish
Yapen Rainbowfish
Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish
McCulloch’s  Rainbowfish
Mayland’s Rainbowfish
Misool Rainbowfish
Mountain Rainbowfish
Ogilby’s Rainbowfish
Oktedi Rainbowfish
Parkinson’s Rainbowfish
Lake Kurumoi Rainbowfish
Pima River Rainbowfish
Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish
Fly River Rainbowfish
Van Heurn’s  Rainbowfish