Banded rainbowfish Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 24, 2022

The banded rainbowfish is a freshwater fish that is native to Australia and Indonesia. They are a peaceful community fish that can add a splash of color to any aquarium.

Banded rainbowfish are not difficult to care for, but there are a few things you should know before you add them to your tank. In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about banded rainbowfish care.

We will cover topics such as diet, tank mates, breeding, and more!

Species overview

Banded rainbowfish (Melanotaenia trifasciata) are a freshwater fish that is found in slow-moving rivers and streams in New Guinea.

They are very peaceful fish and are known to get along well with other community fish.

The banded rainbowfish is a very popular choice for aquariums because of its beautiful colors. It is also a very hardy fish, which means it can withstand a wide range of water conditions.


Banded rainbowfish

As the name suggests, these fish have very distinctive bands running vertically along their bodies. These bands are usually a dark color (like black) that contrast sharply with the lighter base color.

The base color can be a variety of different shades, but it’s usually either silver or gold. This color covers the majority of the body with the exception of the bands and the fins.

The fins on these fish are also quite colorful. The dorsal and anal fins are usually the same color as the bands. The caudal and ventral fins are usually a lighter color that compliments the base color.

The caudal fin is forked and the ventral fins are very long and thin. Banded rainbowfish have a very long and thin body that’s built for speed.


The average lifespan of a banded rainbowfish is around 3 to 5 years. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some fish have been known to live much longer, while others don’t even make it to their first birthday.

As with any other animal, the lifespan of a banded rainbowfish is greatly affected by the environment it lives in. If the water is too cold or too hot, the quality is poor, or there isn’t enough food, the fish won’t live as long.


Banded rainbowfish are a relatively small species of fish, only growing to be about 2-3 inches in length when fully mature.


Tank Size

The minimum tank size for banded rainbowfish is 15 gallons, with 20 gallons being the recommended size. If you’re keeping them in a school, you’ll need at least 5 or 6 fish which means you should increase the size of your tank accordingly.

As with most fish, the more space you can provide the better. These fish are known to be quite active and will often swim in mid-water levels rather than staying at the bottom or top of the tank.

Water Parameters

Rainbowfish are a diverse group of fish that come from all over the world. Because of this, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to water parameters.

The best thing you can do is research the specific species of rainbowfish you plan to keep. This will give you a good idea of the water conditions they prefer.

For the banded rainbowfish, these are the water parameters you should aim for.

  • Water temperature: 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.8
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 3-10 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Banded Rainbowfish are a species of fish that come from slow-moving rivers and streams in Australia.

In the wild, they’re used to a lot of vegetation and hiding spots. When setting up their tank, you should try to recreate this environment as best as you can.

The substrate you use is up to you, but we recommend something dark in color. This will help them feel more comfortable and hide any potential messes.

As for plants, you have a lot of options. They’re not fussy eaters, so you can go with just about anything. Some good choices include Hornwort, Water Wisteria, or Java Moss.

You should also include some driftwood or rocks in their tank. This will give them plenty of places to hide and make them feel more at home.

Just be sure that any rocks you use are smooth and free of any sharp edges. These fish are known to be a little clumsy, so you don’t want them to hurt themselves.

Common Diseases

The banded rainbowfish is a pretty hardy fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick. There are a few diseases that these fish are prone to, the most common being ich.

Ich is a really common freshwater disease that affects a ton of different fish species. It’s caused by a parasite that latches onto the fish and starts to feed off of them. The most obvious sign of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of the fish.

If you notice any white spots, it’s important to act fast. Ich can kill your fish if it’s not treated quickly. The good news is that ich is pretty easy to treat, you just need to get your hands on some ich medication and follow the instructions.

Other potential diseases include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasites. These are all less common than ich but they can still affect your fish if the conditions are right.

As always, the best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable tank. This will create a healthy environment for your fish and make them less likely to fall ill.

Behavior & Temperament

The banded rainbowfish is a peaceful community fish that does well in groups. In the wild, they live in large schools, so it’s best to keep them in groups of six or more.

They are active fish that enjoy swimming in the middle and top levels of the water column. They are not shy, so they make great additions to community tanks.

Banded rainbowfish are not known to be fin nippers, but they may nip at the fins of long-finned fish. They are also known to eat small invertebrates, so they are not recommended for tanks with shrimp or other delicate creatures.

These fish are not aggressive, but they can be territorial with their own kind. If you keep them in a group, make sure there is plenty of space for them to spread out.

Tank Mates

The banded rainbowfish is a peaceful community fish that does well with other small fish. They are not too territorial and can coexist with other fish that occupy the same space in the water column.

Banded rainbowfish are also not aggressive eaters. They will not compete with other fish for food and are not known to eat smaller fish.

Some good banded rainbowfish tank mates include:

  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp


Banded rainbowfish are easy to breed in captivity. All you need is a well-decorated tank with plenty of hiding places.

To start, you’ll need to sex your fish. The males are typically brighter in color and have longer fins.

Once you’ve chosen your pair, add them to the breeding tank. The tank should be at least 20 gallons and have a sandy bottom.

Then, add plenty of plants, driftwood, and rocks. The more hiding places the better. This will help the female feel safe when she’s ready to lay her eggs.

Banded rainbowfish are egg-scatterers. The female will lay her eggs in the plants and the male will fertilize them. After that, the parents will have no more involvement in the process.

You’ll know the eggs have been laid when you see small, white dots on the leaves of the plants. The eggs will hatch in about a week.

Once they hatch, you can start feeding the fry live foods. Baby brine shrimp and bloodworms are good options. As they grow, you can transition them to flake food.


The Banded Rainbowfish is a great fish for beginner aquarists. They’re easy to care for and don’t require a lot of special attention.

They’re also a beautiful fish that will add some color and life to your tank.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish that’s still a joy to own, the Banded Rainbowfish is a great option.