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Melanotaenia australis
Western Rainbowfish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Western Rainbowfish - Melanotaenia australis

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Melanotaenia_australis_1.jpg (15kb)
Photo Credit: Kate Claxton

Name: Melanotaenia australis
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Western Australia
12 cm 200 L 7.0 24C


These rainbows tend to be harder to come by in the UK than most other rainbows, and in my experience are quite delicate fish - I have had a couple of cases of 'mysterious fish death' with them despite water parameters and the other tank inhabitants being fine. I have not found any cause for the loss of 2 to date - they were quarantined in the LFS for three weeks prior to transfer and did not show any signs of ill health prior to their death. The two I currently have in my 400 L rainbow tank have been in the tank for nearly a year now so maybe I was just unlucky with the first two. Regular water changes are essential to keep nitrates low. A current in the tank is appreciated by most rainbowfish. Adult rainbows kick out a LOT of waste so regular gravel vacuuming is a must!

These rainbows have beautiful colouration as adults. They have similar requirements to most of the Melanotaenia in that they appreciate a planted tank with lots of open swimming space. Compatible with community fish in a larger tank, these rainbows are peaceful and tend not to nip as much as some rainbows can. They love a wide range of foods, from vegetables to bloodworm.

Contributed by Kate Claxton

While these rainbows must be called peaceful, their harmless chasing over time leads to the creation of an internal aquarium pecking order among themselves. Although indifferent to other species, their somewhat constant activity also causes behavioral inhibitions among quiet, more timid tankmates such as especially leeri gouramis and even angelfish which need to stay out of their way. I would not advise them with discus for sure.

Contributed by Richard Scott

I have 7 Melanotaenia australis in a 400 litre with pearl danios, odessa barbs, a male Geophagus brasiliensis (to be re-homed) and a weather loach (soon adding more). The tank temp is generally 22-24C. Mine have bred at 24C and pH 7.2. These are often sold as Melanotaenia maccullochi. Highly recommended for someone with space in their tank and a tank over 180 litres.

Contributed by David

We have two Australian rainbows in our 300 liter tank with some giant danios, one oscar, a jack dempsey. The Australian rainbows and giant danios school together and are so fast that the other fish can't get them. It started out that we wanted some dither fish so our Oscar would be too bored.

Contributed by Jenny

This is a fantastic schooling species with great colouration. They are very peaceful, as with all rainbowfishes, and make a great addition to a larger community tank. They are very active and mine reall enjoy their 180 litre planted tank.

Contributed by Rowan

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