Celebes rainbow Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: November 24, 2022

The Celebes rainbow is a beautiful freshwater fish that is native to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.

This fish is relatively easy to care for, and does well in a community tank as long as it is given plenty of hiding places.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Celebes rainbow care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

Celebes rainbows (Telmatherina ladigesi) are a freshwater fish that’s native to Lake Matano on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

They are found in a wide range of habitats in the wild, from fast-moving rivers to more stagnant ponds. However, they seem to prefer areas with lots of vegetation and a sandy bottom.

Due to their popularity, Celebes rainbows are widely available in the aquarium trade. They are a peaceful fish that does well in community tanks as long as they are kept with similar-sized fish.

One of the most striking things about Celebes rainbows is their coloration. The body is a beautiful blue color with a yellowish-orange tail. This coloration is what makes them such a popular choice for freshwater aquariums.


Celebes rainbow

The Celebes Rainbow is definitely a beauty to behold. As the name suggests, these fish come in a wide variety of colors that can really brighten up your tank.

The most common colors you’ll see are red, blue, and purple. However, there are also green, yellow, and orange varieties. The colors can be solid or have a bit of a gradient to them.

These fish have a long and thin body that’s shaped a bit like a torpedo. Their fins are all moderately sized and have a bit of color to them as well. The dorsal and anal fins are both rather tall and start about two-thirds of the way back on the body.

The caudal fin is forked and symmetrical on the top and bottom. The pectoral fins are a bit shorter and begin right behind the gill plate.

The coloring on the Celebes Rainbow is definitely one of their most standout features. However, they also have a very interesting pattern on their body. There are three vertical stripes that run the length of their body (one in the middle and one on either side).

These stripes are usually black, but can also be dark blue or green. In between these stripes is where their coloration really shines through.


The average lifespan of a Celebes rainbow fish is 5 to 8 years.

The primary factor that determines how long these fish will live is the level of care they receive. If they’re kept in a high-quality tank with pristine water conditions, they’ll likely live on the upper end of this range.

Conversely, if they’re kept in a subpar environment, their lifespan will be shorter.


The maximum size for a Celebes rainbow is around 4 inches, but they are typically a bit smaller than that. These fish can live in tanks as small as 10 gallons, but they will be much happier in a tank that is at least 20 gallons.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for Celebes rainbows is 20 gallons. If you plan on keeping a school of 5 or more fish, you should bump that up to 30 gallons.

As with most rainbowfish, Celebes rainbows are relatively peaceful and can be kept with a wide variety of tank mates.

Water Parameters

The Celebes rainbow is a freshwater fish that is native to the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It is found in slow-moving streams, rivers, and lakes.

The water parameters for Celebes rainbow fish are as follows:

  • Water temperature: 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.6
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

Celebes rainbows are one of the most peaceful freshwater fish you can keep. They do well in a community tank with other fish that share similar temperament and size.

When setting up their tank, you want to make sure you have a good mix of plants and hiding spots. These fish like to have plenty of places to hide and feel safe. Driftwood, rocks, and caves all make great additions to their tank.

As for plants, you have a few options. You can go with live plants or fake plants, it’s really up to you. Just make sure the plants you choose can tolerate the water conditions in your tank.

The substrate you use is also up to you. Gravel is always a good choice, but sand can be used as well. Just avoid anything too sharp or abrasive.

Common Diseases

Celebes rainbows are a pretty hearty bunch and don’t get sick too often. However, that’s not to say that they can’t get sick at all.

Just like any other fish, they can fall ill if the water quality in their tank is poor or if they contract a parasites.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. Ich is a pretty common freshwater disease that’s caused by a parasite.

It manifests itself as white spots on the body of your fish. If left untreated, it can be fatal.

The best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain a clean and stable tank. A well-maintained tank will lead to healthier and more resilient fish.

Behavior & Temperament

The Celebes Rainbow is a peaceful little fish that does well in community tanks. They are not aggressive and will not bother other fish. In fact, they tend to stay to themselves most of the time.

These fish are mostly active at night, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see them much during the day. When they are active, they tend to stick close to the bottom of the tank where they feel most comfortable.

The Celebes Rainbow is a timid fish, so it is important to provide them with plenty of hiding places. If they don’t have somewhere to hide, they will become stressed and may not do well in your tank.

Overall, the Celebes Rainbow is a peaceful and easy-to-care-for fish that makes a great addition to most community tanks.

Tank Mates

There are a few things to consider when choosing tank mates for Celebes rainbows.

First, these fish come from slow-moving waters in Indonesia. As a result, they prefer tanks with similar water conditions. This means a tank with soft, slightly acidic water.

Secondly, Celebes rainbows are peaceful fish. They’re not aggressive and can get along with most species.

Finally, these fish are mid-level swimmers. They’re not fast, but they’re not slow either. This means you can add tank mates that occupy different parts of the water column.

Some compatible fish for Celebes rainbows include:

  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Endler’s Live Bearers
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Glowlight Tetras


Celebes rainbows are a little more difficult to breed than other species of fish. This is because they’re picky about their environment and need very specific water conditions.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should hold at least 20 gallons of water and have a sponge filter. The water should be soft and slightly acidic. Keep the temperature between 74 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, add plenty of live plants and some driftwood. The plants are key, as the female will lay her eggs on them. Java fern and Anubias are good choices.

When ready, add two females for every male. The males will be the ones with the more pronounced fins.

Feed the fish plenty of live foods. Then, do a large water change. That should trigger spawning.

The female will lay her eggs on the plants. After she does that, the male will fertilize them. He will also guard the eggs until they hatch.

The eggs will hatch in about a week. You can then move the fry to a nursery tank. Feed them live foods and baby brine shrimp.


The Celebes Rainbow is an absolutely stunning fish that is perfect for the intermediate fish keeper. They’re not too difficult to care for, but they do require a little bit more attention than some of the other fish on this list.

But we think they’re worth it. These fish are absolutely gorgeous and will add a ton of personality to your tank.

If you’re looking for a fish that is both beautiful and a little bit challenging, the Celebes Rainbow is a great option!