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Rainbowfish / Melanotaeniinae / Western Splendid Rainbowfish

Western Splendid Rainbowfish
Melanotaenia splendida australis

Synonyms: Melanotaenia solata, Nevatherina australis
Physical description: An elongated species with lateral compression.   There are two dorsal fins, the caudal fin is forked, and the anal fin has a long base.  The eye is large, but the head is small.   The back is brownish red and the lower parts are bluish gray.  A broad, dark blue band runs from the eye to the fork of the caudal fin.   The upper flanks have a reddish iridescence, while the lower have a blue iridescence.  The rear two-thirds of the body is marked with several red to black lateral stripes that run to the caudal fin.  The fins are bluish, marked with red spots, and bordered with black.
Size/Length: Males to 4.3" (11 cm), females to 3.2" (8 cm)
Similar species: Other sub-species of Melanotaenia splendida, other Melanotaenia, Chilatheria
Habitat: Western Australia (Swan River) and in the Northern Territory.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 36" (91 cm) with a capacity of 35 gallons (132 L) is suggested.   Use plants as a backdrop and leave open swimming areas in the front.   Place the aquarium where it receives morning sun light.  Use a tight-fitting cover as this species may jump.   The tank should have an efficient filter and frequent water changes should be made.  Suggest a dark substrate to bring out the colors of this species.
Water chemistry: pH 6.5-8 (7.0), 8-18 dH (12), 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: An active, schooling species that is peaceful enough to be kept in a community tank.   This rainbow should be kept in groups of five or more.  
Suggested companions: other Rainbows, Gouramis, Tetras, Corydoras
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, crustaceans, worms, insects; flakes
SEX: Males are larger, more colorful, and higher backed with age.
Breeding techniques: Provide a large tank furnish with Java Moss and bunches of fine-leafed plants.   The water should be clean-with regular partial water changes- and have a temperature from 75-82°F (24-28°C).   A pair forms following much chasing.  This pair should be conditioned in the breeding tank with Artemia and insect larvae.   During spawning the colors of both fish are enhanced.  Spawning usually occurs at dawn and 10-20 large eggs are scattered among plants.  The eggs adhere to plants with sticky filaments.   This process continues for about two weeks.   The eggs hatch after 7-8 days and the parents should be removed.   The young should be first fed liquid and powdered dry foods.  The fry are easy to raise and grow quickly.  
Breeding potential: 6.   Breeding is not difficult provided the proper tank set up.
Remarks: There are six described sub-species of M. splendida, although only four are commonly seen in the hobby: M. splendida australis, M. splendida inornata, M. splendida rubrostriata, and M. splendida splendida.   The colors of this species only develop after the fish is over a year old.
Difficulty of care: 5.  This peaceful species requires frequent partial water changes.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com