Probably the most commonly encountered rainbowfish, the Australian Rainbowfish is also the least expensive rainbowfish offered. In my opinion, this is one of the prettiest rainbowfish out there, and also severely underrated. The fins fins and body around the fins develop a lot of bright red or orange, with blue and green striping on the main body. The fins and body may also develop a striking black web. Like most rainbowfish, juveniles can be fairly drab, and often take 6-12 months to develop mature colouration.
An active, schooling fish, Australian Rainbowfish should be kept in large groups, with a minimum of six fishes. They are unaggressive, and can be mixed with virtually any other community type fishes. They should not be mixed with large cichlids, or othe fish which may eat them. They make excellent dither or target fish for smaller, moderately aggressive cichlids, such as Pelvicachromis. Their bright colouration can also make them a focal point in a planted aquarium.
Care should be taken when mixing similar species of Melanotaenia, as they may hybridise in the aquarium.
The Australian Rainbowfish is found at the extreme southern end of Australia, and is able to tolerate water temperatures into the 40s (though, obviously, we don't recommend keeping your fish tank this cold). It's ability to withstand colder temperatures and general hardiness make it an excellent candidate for a small, outdoor pond. However, as they are unlikely to overwinter, it is recommended you remove the fish in autumn. The Australian Rainbowfish will likely spawn in an outdoor pond, laying numerous eggs in fine plants or roots, and makes an excellent insect control fish for these ponds. A diet of live food, and sunlight is likely to make this fish spectacular by autumn!